Light and Momentary Troubles

That Sunrise

2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

If you’re anything like me, perhaps you thought that this would mean that our troubles would always feel small, and we would be unfazed.  And if that’s the case, like myself, you’re in store for a very rude awakening.  In the very same passage, the life of a disciple is painted through words like “hard pressed” and “struck down” paired with hopes of not being destroyed.  However, as Jesus stated very plainly in John 16:33, we WILL have trouble.

Now, there is a clear difference between trouble we get ourselves into by sinning and trouble that disciples face for being disciples, but I won’t delve into that right now.

I suppose what I really want to say is that I’ve learned a lot about fighting the fight, and I’ve been struck, but not knocked down as well.  Depression has been a battle of mine for as long as I can remember, I just didn’t quite know what to call it.  Since I was small, there would be days where it was just hard to get up, where I didn’t feel motivated to eat, move, talk, and essentially live.  When I became a disciple, I fooled myself into thinking that this struggle was finally over.  Yay, no more depression!

But I was wrong.

Though it’s still a battle, it’s on an entirely different field.  Not only has God given me the grace of His help, but He’s surrounded me with people that are here to help me.  The struggle sometimes, though, is asking for help.  Pride is killer, and we aren’t meant to fight alone.  There will be months when I can easily forget about ever being depressed, through wonderful Bible studies and grand adventures, the journey seems to remain in the peaks of the mountains for a time.  And while the summits are beautiful, I wouldn’t learn very much if I remained up there.  Even Jesus himself had to suffer to be made perfect;

Hebrews 5:8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered

So don’t lose heart, and if you feel like you aren’t really fighting, maybe it’s time to start.  If you want to study the Bible more, get deeper into the heart of it all and find the hope that drives us heavenward, contact me, I’d love to study with you.  Though these troubles are light and momentary compared to the hope that we have, without that hope, they can kill.  Believe me, there’s a huge difference in fighting them with the hope I have now.

Don’t give up, keep fighting, the Son is coming.

~Tori Lynn

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When it Comes to Start Living

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
― Benjamin Franklin

I never knew this was a Benjamin Franklin quote until yesterday, but I have sort of tried to live by it for many years.  However, it is a large reason why my writing has tapered quite a bit.

Something worth reading.

I always ask myself when I write something, if it will benefit the reader, and if it truly reflects love.  Otherwise, is there a real purpose to writing it?  Though, it is true that the best writings come from negative emotions, what do they leave a person with?

Perhaps it’s simply come time to start living.

Life is an adventure, seize it.  For this is our journey, and what is a journey if left uncompleted?

~Tori Lynn

Iscariot

As the new year approaches and the pagan holiday turned Christian (whatever that means) aka Christmas has passed, a lot of sentiment is passed around.

I digress.

Why Iscariot?  Perhaps because for me, the picture of Judas Iscariot is most appropriate for this time of year.  It’s a rather graphic image, not for the faint of heart or certainly not for the heart that craves comfort, it challenges anyone with their eyes truly open.

The name known synonymously for betrayal.  The man no one wants to admit they’ve related to, or even felt sorry for.

I’ve been reading a wondrous work of historical fiction based around his life.  It’s rather uncomfortable to imagine Judas whole heartedly pledging his life to the long awaited Messiah.  I’ll be honest, it’s rather difficult to read for the same reason most historical accounts are- I already know the end.  Rather, his end.

Why is it so uncomfortable?

Perhaps the same reason we find comfort in the regular Christmas traditions.  They’re a bit glossed over, it’s not pleasing to talk about the real story, it’s not cozy and there are certainly no warm feelings attached to Judas splayed on the ground after his suicide.  In all truth and honesty, it’s painful.  It’s comfortable to remember baby Jesus, but don’t talk too much about him being spat on and beaten, not right now anyway.

But why?  Why is it painful to think of a man who lived and died thousands of years ago?  Perhaps that’s just it.

Living and dying isn’t that great a feat, after all.  All of us do it, or will.  That’s what makes Jesus so wonderful, isn’t it?

2 Timothy 1:10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

But there’s someone who didn’t overcome death, and that is Judas.  In the darkest hour, he gave in.

Will you be faithful to the end?  Maybe that’s the real question.  Judas was considered a faithful disciple, and when I read the account of his calling, as given flesh in the fictional history novel written by Tosca Lee, it brought me to tears.  To think that Judas Iscariot was once given the call, the very same call extended to us and many after our time,

“Come, follow me.”

To realize he also had a life to leave behind, doubts to overcome, and the very remorse of his betrayal that led to committing suicide in the end, it’s not comfortable at all.  The love God extends is unconditional, and to imagine Jesus’ pain in calling him friend, in teaching Judas and training him, knowing the end result is an example far above our own love.

The parallel of Peter’s denial at the same time shines hope, though he also betrayed Jesus verbally and abandoned him with the rest of the disciples, he returned and spoke boldly until his death of the One who called him.

And so I say again, will you be faithful to the end?

Matthew 27:3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders.

Matthew 26:75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus has spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

I share the thoughts of the author of this particular version of Judas’ life, to realize that humans rarely set on a course intending to betray or go down in history as a villain, perhaps he felt justified, or he thought he was doing what was best.  Sin is a blinding trap that almost always seems right, keep your eyes open and check your heart.

2 Corinthians 7:10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

I pray this can serve as an example, for there is certainly hope.

Happy New Year.

~Tori Lynn

Looking Ahead

Spending time in North Carolina has been excellent this time, and as much fun as I’ve had, I also learned a lot.  It was very sobering to see more of who I used to be.  To be honest with myself about the states of depression I’d been in, and to see how the old state I used to call home wasn’t near as bad as I once thought.
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DSC02537There’s a large difference between these two girls, from my senior photos to this little trip.  Seeing the old photos and sitting in my room gave me a delightful peace of how different I am now.  Who would have thought, when you really trust God, He takes care of you.  Ha.  As I look forward to 2015, I wonder what the difference will be between that woman and this one.  As I pass over the pine trees in a couple minutes, I’m entering another chapter entirely, and I’m genuinely excited about it.  All I can say is that God is good, and I couldn’t be happier that He’s in charge.  Here’s to the new year!  Love you all.

~Tori Lynn

To Russia With Love

No, I’m not going to Russia- at least not right now.  However, a large part of my heart is, and as this valiant team flies off this week, they will have my prayers.  During our time together, I’ve learned a lot about love, forgiveness and most certainly zeal.  These are things I will not forget, and people I will look forward to seeing again in the future, whether in Europe, America or wherever else God takes us.

Their example- flying out on their own money to train more deeply in the Bible and God’s ministry.

Their growth- as they’ve learned they don’t quite have it together, and their humility to change.

Their zeal- From the youngest to the oldest, I’ve seen them jumping up and down to raise money for the mission as well as singing with all their hearts to encourage one another.

Their love- Never have I felt so embraced by an utterly foreign culture as with them, I genuinely feel Russian around them sometimes.

I could say many things, but I will say this-

1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

For it surely is a fight, and you are never alone.  Я люблю тебя!

Moscow Mission Team"The Russians and Tori"

~Tori Lynn

Cliffhanger

There often comes time where you simply have to

wait.

And just when you think you’re there,

wait for it.

Because we’re simply impatient, and none of us really want to

wait.

Then again, perhaps it’s a reflection, for our entire lives we are destined to

wait.

For the very hope we have is promised, but we must

wait patiently for it.

And if our desires in this life are worth waiting for, how much more is that joy

worth the wait.

I’ve given up on a number of things, simply because I wouldn’t

wait for it.

But I’ve begun to learn, the best things truly are

worth waiting for.

And the funny thing is, as time goes on, it makes you wonder if they truly will come, but you simply have to

wait.

Though, giving up is an option, I can’t guarantee that giving up yields a reward

worth waiting for.

And in every hope of this life, as I hang over cliff after cliff, I’m beginning to understand the true anticipation of my hope that I

await.

Romans 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

~Tori Lynn