In the World but not of it: A Call for Knowledge

Sunday, August 30, 2015

It was my first day of school, but something inside of me knew it would happen. I slumped cowardly in my desk as my history teacher proclaimed proudly that because “Christians think that evolution is just a theory,” they’re crazy, demented, intelligently compromised even. I was baffled that a school employee could speak against a faith that at least fifty percent of the school held. I was even more surprised that not one, including yours truly, tried to prove him wrong. And I live in the Bible belt. Sure, we all rolled our eyes, but no one offered a reasonable defense for his faith, for his God.

American Christianity is facing a harsh reality: the teaching of evolution and Darwin’s theories has stealthily and victoriously crept its way into public school curriculum. The world seems to see Darwinists speeding along the racetrack of knowledge in a freshly furnished Camaro as Christians roll by on a horse and buggy. The world is constantly shooting out new ideas and looking for new evidence to disprove God. They call it progress, and in their eyes, Christians seem to think the word is foreign.

This rejection spurs from each human heart waging a silent war against its Maker. Everyone wants to believe that all this progress has happened because of the laboring working class and determination of strong men. No one wants to believe that the only possible reason people exist is because God formed them from nothing more than clay. And no one wants to accept that he is held accountable for his innumerable sins and expected to live up to the perfection of a Holy God, lest he die.

The world is writing its own story, and it has just so happened to leave God out of it entirely. It seems to have separated the realm of fact and the realm of value, teaching all its inhabitants that what you see is what you get, but weaving in a little bit more. Religion has been reduced to merely an aid in the developing of civilizations and the shaping of morality. But as soon as God’s morality contradicts the world’s morality, it’s out the window with it; they don’t need it anymore.

The line between good and evil, set in place by our Holy God, has constantly shifted. Perhaps good and evil have switched places altogether. But so many of us do nothing.

We sit back and say, “Oh, the world is bound to spiral down the drain, and there’s nothing we can do about it.” Some of us seem content to let them all put us down, to wallow in our “intellectually compromised” worlds. I simply do not think that’s enough, though. Proverbs 1:7 tells us that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,” and God repeatedly calls us to be wise and discerning. Having a relationship with God that is based on the feeling you get when you read His Word is not enough. Going to church on Sundays because the worship music makes you feel good isn’t how Christianity is meant to be. We must truly live in the world but not of it by developing a decisive worldview based on the Bible. We must strive and pray for the knowledge to defend our faith and our God all while spreading God’s love wherever we go.

 I’ve learned this summer that knowledge is not something to be taken for granted. God calls us to be wise, and to do that we have to put Him first and measure everything around us by His eternal norms. True Christianity must rely on knowledge, not a feeling. Living on a feeling is easy, and this life is not meant to be a walk in the park. With God by our sides, we must search for the knowledge He has provided for us and proclaim it to the world with love and peace.

I have a quick announcement: I've been invited to be an administrator of the new website! So check periodically there to see what's up!
This post is something that has been on my heart all summer. I genuinely hope y'all will take this to heart and try to apply it to your lives, as that's what I'll be doing.  And a quick note: the amazing CeCe from CeCe designs has done it again! Seriously, y'all, go check out her portfolio! 

the art of letting go

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I was determined
not to write him poems,
not to sing him songs,
not to limit him to the boundaries of my pen.

For what would he be
but just a figment of my mind,
a wisp of jumbled words,
a puddle of murky water?

So I learned the art
of letting go.

I released him
to the clear mountain air,
to the early morning sunrises,
to coffee shops and campfire worship.

There he was real,

and there I found him.

m.s. reid

p.s. hold on; he's coming soon.

p.p.s. ignore my awkward arm hair in the picture above.

The Truth About Christians // So Unworthy, Yet So Loved

Friday, August 21, 2015

As a small child I would always run everywhere: down the hall, down the stairs, around the pool, through my grandparents house, everywhere. Too many times to count I received scrapes, cuts and bruises, once running into the corner of my dresser. I went to the emergency room to get stitches, easily the most traumatizing experience of my life (or maybe a second to the twenty yellow jacket stings -- not sure about that one). Anyway, the point is that I've received my share of bruises, and they aren't fun.

The Bible assures us that Jesus Christ's sacrifice gives us eternal life with Him. It tells us that because of God's regenerating grace, we are constantly made new and others will know us by our works. American Christianity has changed, though. We've become arrogant and focused on ourselves instead of our God. We scoff at others because they sin, but we don't see our own sin. We've become too confident in ourselves. We're running the race, but not with God by our side.

When we become too confident in ourselves and run without God by our side, we fall. We all make mistakes; we all see ourselves as adequate, but in reality we are miserably inadequate. 

I've found that Christians often appear more miserable than non-believers because the Holy Spirit has made us more aware of our sin. We know that we're falling short of God's glory daily. We see the scrapes and bruises and black eyes that so many cover up. We so often hold ourselves to God's standards without accepting God's grace. We are lured into the trap of thinking that Christians are perfect, and if we're not perfect, we're terrible Christians.

I have been struggling with this since the day Jesus saved me. I have fallen into idolatry, disrespected my parents countless times, and so much more, all while proclaiming the name of Jesus. But you know what? Peter denied Jesus three times; Paul confesses just before writing what is known as the greatest chapter in the Bible, Romans 8, that his heart is wicked (Rom. 7:21-25); King David, known as a man after God's own heart ordered that his friend to be killed because he committed adultery with his wife. All this does not justify our sin, but it does make God's grace all the more powerful. 

Christians, when you are accepted into the body of Christ, you do not become perfect. You do not become suddenly better than everyone else; you become saved -- saved from the sin you have committed and saved from the sin you will commit. This is not because your heart is a little better than your next door neighbor's; this is because Jesus' gift of salvation satisfies God's need for justice. As R.C. Sproul said, "We are saved by works, but they're not our own." Jesus not only died for us, He lived a perfect life for us. Not only are our sins transferred to Him; His perfect holiness and righteousness is transferred to us. We are not saved because we reached out to God in our time of need. We are saved because God chose to save us by His amazing, unexplainable grace. 

You're going to slip up. Sometimes you could come home with a black eye, some days a broken leg, or some days just a little scrape, but you are never too far gone for God. God lets us mourn over our sin so that we will rejoice over His grace. He humbles us so that His strength will be shown through us. He lets us fall so that we repent and let him pick us up again. 

Psalm 37:23 reads, "The steps of a man are established by the Lord when he delights in [God's] way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand" (ESV).

With that, I have a confession: I've been putting people over God. I've been yearning for human love instead of God's love. I've decided that His grace wasn't enough for me, but, oh, how empty that made me feel. Once you have tasted the Lord's goodness, there is no adequate substitute. I am blessed that God has convicted me of this sin because it can bring me closer to Him and make me more dependent on Him. 

Salvation does not point to our adequacy, but God's great grace. It does not make us more deserving than anyone else. This life is not about us, but about God. God doesn't promise that this life will be great, but we're not living for this life; we're living for the next. And, oh, I long for that day. But until then, we must point to God and his grace at all costs because you know what? The only reason this post is possibly affecting you is because of God's power. Without Him, my words mean nothing. With Him and because of Him, though, these words can change hearts.

Christians were named Christians not by themselves, but by other people. People saw the Church and said, "They must follow Jesus." Can we come to that point again? Can we stand out and point to God with everything we have? My burden for countries where Christianity is legal, like the U.S., is for the Christians to become renewed in their confidence in God, not themselves, for them to boast in God's greatness, not our own, to make God look big, not us. Can we do that? Philippians 4:13 says we "can do all things through Christ." Let's do it; let's start a revolution for God and by God.

 P.S. This morning I woke up to 1,430 page views on [this post], and I am beyond thankful. I'm thankful for anyone who reads this little site. Know that this is God's power, not mine. Know that I fall, but God picks me up. It is by His grace that I am saved. He planted this faith inside me and He cultivates it. Jesus intercedes on my behalf daily, and for that, I am obligated to live a life of praise to Him. To God be the glory, for great things He hath done.

Title creds to my best friend Madilyn. She tweeted it and I had to use it.

Shalom: A Charge to Students Everywhere

Monday, August 17, 2015

- I actually entered this photo in Glory Haus's Live Original Contest, and I really like the way it turned out, so I'm using it for this post. -
Back to School Part 5

I think all of us can say that we have had a little bit of a bad attitude about school, the dreaded s word. I know I have. (Like, a really bad attitude. Ask the madre.) Half of me dreads walking into the hallways of my high school, and half of me is strangely excited. All of me, though is nervous about how everyone will see me. I've been writing all summer, trying to encourage people with my words. I've been setting a standard for Christian teenage living that I often can't meet, and I'm afraid people will see that. I'm afraid that I'll become so frustrated that I'll break and fail in front of everyone.

Keeping that in mind, I have one last challenge for everyone, including myself:

Let's stop the gossip and lift each other up instead. Let's stop beating around the bush and be truthful and loving at the same time, like Jesus did. Let's stop building up barriers around our cliques and be genuinely nice to everyone. Let's spread shalom wherever we go, creating an atmosphere of peace and acceptance. Let's recognize sinful behavior with a loving attitude without endorsing it, and let's look into our own hearts daily to see if there is any sin we need to confess before we criticize others. Let's be real wherever we go and stop saying, "I'm fine," when we're really not fine. Let's bear each other's burdens and really care about each other.

I'm tired of drama and bullies. Let's make people realize that the greatest joy comes from spreading God's peace, not spreading hate and building up barriers between fellow classmates. Even if we're bound to forget at least a fourth of what we learn, let's really enjoy high school and be ourselves, because you know what? Puzzle pieces don't all look the same, but when they're put together they form a beautiful whole.

My prayer for myself and everyone this year is one of my favorite verses: "Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer" (Psalm 19:14).

Let's be the light, Christians. Let's point to Jesus instead of ourselves and live a life that He would approve of.

Good luck at school, everybody. Let's make this year count.

Wait, Restless Soul

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Wait, restless soul. 

I know it's hard.

I know right now you feel like you are sitting in the depths of nothingness, but more is coming.

so much more; oh, so much more.

I know right now you feel like you are trapped inside the crowds of the world and you cannot break through.

But your day will come.

One day you will break through in brilliant light. One day you will be seen and heard.

One day could be coming soon, restless soul.


Wait upon the Lord.

"But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."
Isaiah 40:31

The Constant in the Storm

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

There has been a battle going on inside myself lately. Sometimes this world seems too big, and sometimes it seems too small. Right now it feels awfully cramped. I have this feeling coming from somewhere -- perhaps inside of me, perhaps from the outside -- that keeps telling me that there's something bigger. Maybe a whole nation of people waiting to hear the Good News, or maybe a house with a front porch that wraps all the way around and looks off into the sunset, whether it be east or west.

There's a  some kind of longing coming from somewhere, and I can't find it. 

I've made a lot of decisions this summer, some that are sure to affect every aspect of the future, near and far. It will take time to see their effects, and I am so impatient. I suppose I'm impatient about everything. Will I grow into this life? Will my introverted heart finally find where it belongs? But maybe it already has. Maybe I just haven't noticed yet. I don't know. 

Life is a lot of maybes right now. It is times like these that force you to look somewhere besides yourself, for if you don't, you'll collapse from the inside out. Your uncertainties will eat you slowly and painfully and eventually take over every single aspect of your life. It is times like these when you cannot look to yourself  or friends or even family; they're human, too, and rarely do they have all the answers. In times like these you must look to the One who knows you better than yourelf: the Alpha and the Omega, the Lord Almighty. He knows where you're going, and even if you happen to be getting there awfully slowly, He still knows. He always will. That's the beauty of this wonderful relationship you have with Him if you're a believer: He is your everything. You are His and He is yours, and no one can ever change that.

P.S. My favorite book series, the Christy Miller series, is about a teenage girl. The series begins when Christy is fifteen, and she goes through all sorts of emotions. I used to wonder why, but now I know that fifteen is a very emotional age. Be prepared, ladies, and keep your eyes on God through it all.

This is Me, messy haired and messy hearted.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

I'm sorry. I'm sorry I'm not perfect or unquestioningly affectionate. I'm sorry that, for now, I see more flaws than anything else. I'm sorry that I'm jealous.

I'm sorry that no matter what I write, nothing is good enough.

I'm sorry that one day I'll amount to no more than a starving artist, destined to write and write and write.

I'm sorry that I'll never be enough.

So really, I guess, I'm sorry that this is me. I'm sorry that you're somehow acquainted with a miserable, inexcusably wretched mess. 

I'll always be a mess, I think. I'll always fall miserably for someone I can't have. I'll always stretch for the impossible and fall short. I'll always be less than I should be, and that will drive me mad.

And so I've turned myself into a sort of monster, stretching far beyond perfection but never achieving it, driving myself to the edge of a cliff and nearly falling every time.

But I suppose that makes me who I am, for if I try to be anything else, I amount to less than nothing.

So this is my dilemma, hiding myself behind the walls of everyone and everything, but longing to be known by the world. 

I tried to change myself for them. I tried to be amiable and self-sufficient. I tried to appear as a fortress in the midst of every circumstance, and this is where it has gotten me: broken and shriveled, messy and unclean before the King of kings, the Great High Priest. 

And who am I that He should care, but somehow He does. Somehow He is broken for me. Oh, the depth and riches of His love, for when He didn't need me at all, He wanted me, and that is the most beautiful thing.

Things I've Been Loving Lately

Monday, August 3, 2015

(Everybody on blogger seems to be doing these, and I've never done one, so I figured I'd try.)

+The raw, unmistakable beauty of God's creation
(Two of my siblings, some church friends and I went adventuring at Blue Hole Falls near Walhalla, SC on Sunday afternoon. It is absolutely beautiful. The pictures don't do it justice. My brother had gotten baptized at church, but we were all washed clean by the murky water of this falls. A note to all: life can get busy, but adventuring is important, and every once in a while, absolutely necessary.)

+My internship with Tim Challies
( I've learned so much about my God, His word, and the worldview that is necessary to live an effective Christian life to the glory of God. We're called to be different, completely different. We can't slack off and be half-Christians. So what if they call you weird? You're a redeemed child of God! "Weird" is so worth it!)

+ Refreshing myself in the book of Mark
 (1:19- Immediately they left their nets and followed [Jesus]. Immediately means immediately. I know how many times I've hesitantly left my net to follow Jesus. Let's start following Him immediately.)

+ Again, loving God's creation
 ("Once in a blue moon" happened the other night, and it was spectacular. My grandmother reminded me that the next time it happens I'll be eighteen and in college. eek-kind of weird to think about.)

+Just now (literally) realizing that Robin Jones Gunn's new Christy and Todd: The Married Years book, One More Wish, is
 coming out August 15th
 (I'm finishing this section before I start freaking out. She is literally AMAZING and I love her books)

+ Rejoicing that my best friend got a car
 (because she can drive me around in it. I really hope she's reading this right now.)
- it looks like this, I think. Maybe. I got this off google -

+ Loving my new journaling Bible
 (It's so worth it to get one, although the text is very small. I hope to start a little typography soon.)

+Squad days
(squad days are the best days, after all. I admit, I am ready for high school and college football season, but these school-less days really are the bomb.)

- okay, aren't they adorable?! -

+ Remembering back to camp
(Oh, the days. I can't wait to go back in November for teen adventure weekend)
- this is my normal laughing face (on far right) -

- and this is my favorite view. I don't think I can ever forget those whispering pines. -

+ Seeing four people get baptized
(my brother included. It was a glorious time, giving all glory to God.)

+ Late night movies with fam
(Okay, Hallmark movies are a little repetitive and very predictable, but sometimes necessary.)

+ Late night swimming with fam.
(These are the days I'll look back on with a sigh, remembering their greatness.)

+ Good news from a friend
(One of my friends accepted Christ at camp. His warmth filled her soul, and I am oh so happy for her.)

+ realizing that sometimes, I'm a total introvert
(and you know what? that's okay. I don't have to be ashamed of the way God made me. And I know that when I'm outgoing, it's by His strength.)

+ write. write. write.
(I think this is what I was made do to. I hope that I'll do it forever.)

+ Getting a new dress and shoes
(I have to constantly remind myself how blessed I am. I am so so so so blessed.)

+ loving that I've got another Back To School post coming up
(but not ready for actual back to school. be ready, readers.)

+ finally, loving that you lovely people are reading this
(Sometimes this blog isn't really worthy of reading, but y'all read it anyway. Thank you, my twenty followers, and anybody else who stops by to read this.)
Celia from CeCe Designs has been re-redesigning my blog. She's quite talented; go check out her site. (And it's free, which I really don't understand, but she's amazing, so go check out her portfolio.)