Examine How You’re Following Christ

Each week in The Unwasted Life, I encourage readers with a fasting prompt for 3 days that week. I do this to help you eliminate the waste in your life and to encourage you to sacrifice for Christ.

We make sacrifices every single day for the things & people that we love. We sacrifice extra sleep to work out, get dressed, eat breakfast, scroll through our instagram. We sacrifice money to shop, for Starbucks, for music, for ourselves. We sacrifice time for friends, for family, for ourselves, for Netflix. We sacrifice energy for school, for play, for sports, for entertainment.

When was the last time you really sacrificed your time, energy, agenda, money, sleep, etc for JESUS?

Let’s stop wasting our lives for things that just don’t matter in the grand scheme of life, and let’s start sacrificing for Jesus in order to live a life unwasted.

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Hearing the Voice of God

The mark of a mature believer is one who hungers after the Word of God.
Sadly, I’m afraid we have a plethora of malnourished believers walking around.
When we forsake spending time in the Word, we starve ourselves of the nourishment that God longs to give us.
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What voices are you listening to? It all comes back to what you’re taking in. What are you feeding on?
Social media?
Opinions of others?
Gossip?
Locker room talk?
Discouragement?
Disappointments?
It’s time we start feasting on the Word of God. The riches at His table, rather than the junk at the world’s drive-thru.
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Who’s ready to feast with me on the Word of God? Grab your copy of THE UNWASTED LIFE on Amazon today, and you’ll find an entire section about tasting and feasting on the Lord’s goodness.
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PS: Who wants to do an online study group with teaching videos from me??
Give me a 🙋🏼 if you’re in!

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The World’s Measuring System

For a long time I was measuring and marking myself by the world’s measuring system. But God doesn’t measure by the world’s system.
Your list of accomplishments.
Your list of failures
ALL FADE AWAY IN THE EYES OF GOD. These lists just don’t matter.
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No success, accolade, or accomplish will ever bring you the identity or worth you’re searching for.
No failure, no insult, no lost friendship, mistake, heartbreak, low GPA, or WHATEVER can strip you of the identity and worth that is solely found in Christ.
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When everything else loses it’s power to measure and determine our worth, rather than ebbing and flowing with the ups & downs of successes and failures, we will remain steady and sure, FOUND IN CHRIST.
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Friend, are you tired of sliding up & down on the scale of worth that this world demands we stand on? Are you tired of being controlled by this ever-changing measuring system?
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We find freedom when all those things lose their weight, and we rest in being found in Christ alone.
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Join me in reading THE UNWASTED LIFE, as we journey to find the way to live in this freedom. ❤️
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What’s on your success list? What’s on your failure list? What is it that’s chaining you to the world’s scale of worth? Would you mind sharing below? What do you measure yourself by?👇🏼
ME:
What I measure myself by:
– How much I DO for God, rather than BEING with God.
– What others think of me.
– How much prettier others are.
– How much better others seem.

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The Unwasted Pre-Order Gift Info

Release date: DECEMBER 1st!!

By pre-ordering, you will receive a FREE copy of the e-version of From Empty to Full! This is an exclusive, never-before-released Bible Study about finding Jesus as your sole satisfaction!

In order to claim your pre-order gift of From Empty to Full, email a picture of your receipt to:

theunwastedlifebook@gmail.com

Partner with the Girls’ Club of Tulsa

You all know that I have a HUGE HEART for teenage girls. I wholeheartedly desire for girls to know Jesus, to live a life the honors Jesus, and to experience the joy that a life with Christ brings.
 
DURING THE MONTH OF OCTOBER, I have the PRIVILEGE of partnering with the GIRLS CLUBS IN TULSA!!
 
For every Cultivating a Life of Joy devotional you buy, I will donate another to the girls participating in the Girls’ Clubs of Tulsa.
 
I am praying wholeheartedly that we will be able to bless MANY, MANY girls with the Truth of God’s Word by providing them with this devotional book.
 
Will you be a part of ministering to the girls in my area by buying a devotional yourself?
 
PLEASE SHARE with as many of your friends as possible! I want to make a difference in the lives of these girls!! Please be a part!!
 
BUY THE DEVOTIONAL HERE:
https://www.amazon.com/Cultivating-Life-Joy-Simple-Ways/dp/1975815653/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1507754252&sr=8-1&keywords=cultivating+a+life+of+joy
 
OR HERE:
https://www.createspace.com/7480751

Day 8 | Unconfessed Sin = The Greatest Thief of Joy | by Vanessa LeRow

Unconfessed Sin = The Greatest Thief of Joy

By: Vanessa LeRow

I lunched with one of my dearest friends recently and as I looked at her through teary eyes I said, “I cannot find my joy. It feels elusive and intangible right now.”

My sweet friend and I walk in close community with one another. She has not only witnessed, but also shared some of my pain, grief, and loss of the past 18 months. It has been a hard road, to say the least. Too many times I’ve wanted to yell at the people on Instagram posting their Letterfolk boards and hand-painted pinterest-worthy signs that read, “We Can Do Hard Things” all while their perfectly manicured kitchens and perfectly obedient children serve as the back drop.

That’s cute.

But, it’s not my reality.

Currently, if we are keeping score, the Hard Things are winning by a margin of about 4,721 to zero. And, if the winner gets Joy as the prize, I come up short every single time.

My friend asked me tough questions that day at lunch—what spiritual disciplines are you using to find joy? What are you spending your time meditating on? What is your fear in this situation or that situation? Eventually landing on THE QUESTION: Who are you if this fear becomes a reality? Who are you if this dream dies in the wake of poor decisions? Who are you if everything you’re looking to for security falls apart? Who are you if everything you’re trying so tightly to control becomes the most outrageous, uncontrollable disaster?

Who are you then?

I didn’t know. I couldn’t answer.

This is what the LORD says—

Israel’s King and Redeemer,

The LORD of Heaven’s armies:

I am the First and the Last;

There is no other God.

Who is like me?

Let him step forward and prove to you his power.

Let him do as I have done since ancient times when I

Established people and explained its future…

How foolish are those who manufacture idols.

These prized objects are really worthless.

The people who worship idols don’t know this,

So they are put to shame.

Who but a fool would make her own god—

An idol that cannot help her one bit?

(Isaiah 44:7,9-10 NLT)

At best, I am a fool. More accurately, I am an idol-maker.

Nothing can steal our joy. We allow it to be taken. In my case, taken by idols. And, I didn’t even realize it.

One of the very first verses I ever memorized was: Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul, mind, and strength; AND Love your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27). I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know that verse.

However, my effort to love other people became paramount to my effort to love Jesus. Slowly, I started loving the created MORE than I loved the Creator. I placed too much importance on my relationships with people in my life and their circumstances and choices. I placed my hope unfairly in their hands.

My lack of intimacy with Jesus created a void I tried to fill with feeble, fragile, and vulnerable substitutes. Inevitably, when those shaky substitutes unravel and break under the weight of my worship, my faith and my joy become shaky, too.

My unconfessed idol worship stood in the way of my joy.

Tim Keller says, “An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, ‘If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.’”

I wrapped up my idols and identity in the same package thinking they would deliver strength and joy, but they delivered despair.

Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven,

Whose sin is put out of sight!

Yes, what JOY for those whose record

the LORD has cleared of guilt,

Whose lives are lived in complete honesty!

When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away,

And I groaned all day long.

Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.

My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.

FINALLY, I confessed all my sins to you

And stopped trying to hide my guilt.

I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.”

And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.

Psalm 32: 1-4

I’ve spent many hours over the past weeks confessing my sins to our Great God. Idols do not die easy, at least mine don’t. My situations and painful circumstances haven’t changed, but the beauty of Biblical faith is that God never asks you to deny your current reality. He asks you to hold your current reality up to the future glory that awaits those of us in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 4:17).

So, who am I when my fears become reality?

Who am I when my dreams die in the wake of poor decisions?

Who am I when everything falls apart?

I am a daughter of

Israel’s King and Redeemer,

The LORD of Heaven’s armies:

Who is the First and the Last;

There is NO OTHER GOD.

None like Him.

And I will worship Him ONLY.

In His presence there is fullness of joy.

Also? I can do Hard Things through Christ who strengthens me.

And so can you.

Maybe I’ll go change my knock-off Letterfolk sign to say that.

Vanessa is a mom, wife, and Christian blogger and speaker. Check out her blog here!

Day 7 | Productivity + Purpose > Laziness + Misplaced Priorities | by Mallory Ross

Productivity + Purpose > Laziness + Misplaced Priorities

By: Mallory Ross

I like to think of myself as a social butterfly that enjoys a nice 7 hour nap. I adore back porch conversations that go long into the night, but my body has a mind of its own and desperately needs sleep to function. Without sleep, I can magically transform from a happy-go-lucky 17 year old girl into a horrendous beast gnawing at anything that gets in my way. I’ve been told this by the many people who love me unconditionally. During my senior year of high school, I’ve discovered that sometimes compromise is necessary in order to accomplish the many items on my “to do list”. In most cases, my “compromise” becomes more of a “skip” and the Jesus department always seems to take the greatest hit.

Looking back at some of Jesus’s followers in the Bible, Peter seemed to relate to me on this. He had a heart of admiration for Christ, He was even in Gethsemane right before Jesus’ death on the Cross, but “his eyes were heavy” (Matthew 26: 43) and he fell asleep right after Jesus ordered him to keep watch and pray. Even worse, he didn’t just take a quick power nap, Jesus returned to wake him 3 different times and he was sleeping every single time. I have always viewed Peter as weak for falling asleep on Jesus whenever he needed him most. I’d like to say that I’m better than Peter and would have stayed up all throughout the night to pray for the horrendous events about to take place, but in reality I’m just like Peter. I choose sleep over Jesus more often than I’d like to admit, because I allow myself to believe the lies that the Enemy feeds me about what I need to survive instead of falling on my knees in order to receive the life giving relationship only Christ gives. The amazing part about all of this is that we serve a completely understanding and forgiving God. Jesus says in Matthew 26:41, “The spirit is willing, but the heart is weak”.  He understands that we are unqualified to serve Him, but He chooses each one of us regardless.

In all reality, the only thing that we all desperately need for survival is laid out right in front of us, begging us to receive it. We are busy, which makes us weary, but we have to prioritize Jesus first. One of my church leaders reminded me that, “Time management is much less about management and much more about perspective. You will not learn to manage time until you learn to prioritize time with the Father. Jesus did this and His work gained perspective.” I love his point of view about constant obedience towards God. We should constantly be seeking Him in order to gain greater perspective, instead of giving into our frail humanity.

Verses of encouragement:

On Working Hard:

Colossians 3: 23-24

Proverbs 12:11

Proverbs 10:4

2 Thessalonians 3:10-15

On Discipline:

Proverbs 12:1

Colossians 4:2

Hebrews 12:11

Proverbs 13:4