That Real Place

I imagine you’ve struggled with feeling distant from God. Empty. Lost in a sea of messages insisting the God you set your heart on won’t be found.

Doubt sets in as you grieve the loss of that mountaintop feeling—the one that made you excited to follow Jesus. Now the loneliness of the valley makes you wonder if the feeling you long for came from your imagination rather than your memory.

Today I’m excited to share a post from the teenage daughter of a friend of mine. I pray you will see yourself through her transparency. More than that, I pray you will see your God.



That Real Place

By Alia Dyke

 “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

So lately, my heart has been far from where it was created to be. From where it belongs… And when you’re far from where you belong you get homesick and lonely, you crave that place of belonging. I didn’t blame that on anyone but me and I tried and tried to sit down and focus on Jesus. To actually take away something when I read my Bible. To feel something… And I just didn’t. I was far enough away from the place I belong that I didn’t know how to get back.

I am writing this post from that place. That place of being lost. It’s a real place.

Over the time period of my heart trying to stay above the waves of the world that were constantly pulling me right back down, Jesus never stopped pursuing me. He never stopped loving me. He never stopped speaking to me. It’s just that sometimes when someone is speaking to you and you are caught up in yourself, you don’t hear anything they say until after the fact.

Knowing Jesus is there but feeling nothing… That is a real place.

My day to day life was me trying so hard to feel the closeness of Jesus, but being too caught up in my feelings to do that.

One thing Jesus spoke to my heart time and time again is that it isn’t about how I feel. He is still God and He is still good. If I feel happy, sad, lost, confused, loved, lonely… He is still God, and He is still good.

Who knew you could be so caught up in your own feelings to feel Jesus.

When we feel distant from God we try so hard to feel something. We try to connect to a good worship song and feel his nearness. We try to read a verse that we know we like because maybe we will feel the way we did the first time it was read. We try to sit outside with our Bibles in hand and feel his peace. We try to go to church so that hopefully we will hear a message that just relates to our life.

That place where all you do is want is to feel something, that is a real place.

But what if we are trying too hard to feel? What if human nature is all about feelings. And Jesus’ nature is not.

So, I sat down and read Psalm 121 without trying to feel anything. I put on worship music and didn’t listen to it just to feel something. I wanted to be still and know that even when I don’t feel close to God he is still God and he is still good.

That place of sitting and knowing God is good no matter how you feel, that became a real place for me.

And you know what? He met me in that real place. Just like he met me in every other real place. I wasn’t overcome with emotion, I didn’t hear an audible voice, or even feel a change in my heart. I told myself that whether I felt anything or not I would sit knowing that God is good.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, From where does my help come? My help comes from The Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

Who am I to doubt God simply because I cannot feel him? He meets you where you are. In every place.

God says be still and know. Not be still and feel.

God says be still and know. Not be still and feel. Click To Tweet

So I sat and knew that He is good. I didn’t sit trying to feel His goodness. And He met me there. And I felt him.

After sitting and knowing, I felt.

And He said to me, “my daughter, it is only from knowing me that you can feel me.”

You’re a Star! You Just Don’t Know It.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” Matthew 5:14-15

Jesus called you and me the light of the world.

It only makes sense, really, since He is the “the true light that gives light to every man” (John 1:9) and now He dwells within us. As His body, saved and redeemed by His blood, Jesus asks us to shine His light. And according to Matthew 5, that light should never remain hidden. Instead, it should light up the sky like a city on a hill.

Do you shine, dear one? Are you giving Jesus what He asked for?

I can’t help thinking of the song I used to sing as a little girl in Sunday school. We’d proudly hold up our hands with fingers pointing toward the heavens and proclaim, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.”

Only it didn’t shine. I never let it out.

We often make the mistake of trying to act like Jesus. We think we shine His light by simply imitating what He would do. But we don’t have the strength to act like Him all the time, so that inner “self” we try to hide through our good behavior reveals itself more often than we’d like it to. And the watching world looks at our version of Christianity and calls it hypocrisy.

Can we really blame them?

You and I aren’t supposed to act like light, dear one. Jesus intends for us to become light.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

Jesus carried the burden of our sin to the cross so that we could become His righteousness. He actually changed our nature. Now He invites us to believe it.

For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. Ephesians 5:8

Beloved, Jesus doesn’t want us trying to act like something we’re not. He wants us to know who we truly are and allow His Spirit to empower us to live it.

Jesus doesn’t want us trying to act like something we’re not. He wants us to know who we truly are and live it. Click To Tweet

Jesus gave us His nature the moment we put our faith in Him and received His Spirit to dwell within us. Now we need to let Him out. We need to yield to the power of His Spirit and let His nature take over.

You see, beloved, Jesus shines through a transformed heart.

Have you offered Him your heart to mold and change, dear one? Have you told Him you’re willing to let go of your bitterness? Have you invited Him to circumcise your heart to love with His selfless love?

It’s time we stopped pretending and let Jesus set us ablaze with His light!

Times are changing. Evil shows itself in increasing measure. Scripture foretells of astonishing things to come—some of them terrible, some wondrous—but all of them remain certain.

Yet in Christ, we have glorious hope!

But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. Daniel 12:1-3

Those who walk in truth drawing others to their light will shine like stars. When will these things be fulfilled? God made this astonishing announcement to the prophet Daniel centuries ago.

“… When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.” Daniel 12:7

When the power of the holy people has finally been broken? Why would God break His own people?

Consider the power struggle that rages within you. Each day you must choose whether to bow to your own self-will or submit to the Spirit’s leadership. More often than not, your flesh wins the battle, quenching the Spirit’s power.

Our selfish desires have remained too important to us.

Yet in the last days, the power of the Spirit will rise victorious. Christ’s own will finally overcome and claim the victory Jesus purchased for them through the cross. Like in the days when Christ first birthed the church, believers will choose to abandon self-will, leaving its power broken. His church will rise, yielding to His Spirit in glorious surrender, uniting in the love and unity glimpsed at the birth of the church and restored in time for the return of the King.

Beloved, you and I can hasten His return.

You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. 2 Peter 3:11-12

As we choose to surrender to the Spirit’s work in our lives, allowing Him to sanctify our hearts and renew our minds with His purpose, we move toward the fulfillment of Christ’s kingdom.

Like the Disciples who first answered Jesus’ call and paved the way for us, will you choose to live radically for Jesus, abandoning all else to the rise of His glory? I pray that you will, beloved,

. . . so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe. Philippians 2:15

Then our eyes will finally gaze upon our Lord and King without a veil. Glory rises, dear one. Will you allow Christ to reveal it in you?

Don’t Starve with Food in Front of You

Happier were the victims of the sword than the victims of hunger, who wasted away, pierced by lack of the fruits of the field. Lamentations 4:9

I spent Sunday afternoon walking amid billowing flags. Each flag bore a name—and a story. They represented the lives lost on September 11, 2001.

I find it difficult to describe the feeling. I stood before a seemingly endless display. 3000 flags simultaneously representing life and death. Joyful memories. Devastating anguish.

The mind battles to accept the magnitude of it. We weep for the families suddenly ripped apart in one, single terror-filled day.

But God whispered something into my heart as I stood in that sea of red, white, and blue.

Happier were the victims of the sword than the victims of hunger, who wasted away, pierced by lack of the fruits of the field.

We waste away, beloved. God’s children and the lost He sends us to. We starve rather than thrive because the fruit meant to nurture and sustain us has depleted.

And according to God’s Word, we’re better off dying quickly at the hand of another than wasting away slowly and painfully, starving for fruit.

Perhaps you know the starvation I’m talking about. You feel empty. Alone. But you can’t really explain why. You struggle to find joy, even when something good happens to you. In fact, if you’re honest, you really haven’t felt happy in a long time. You have much in your life you should be thankful for, yet you don’t feel grateful. Something looms before you unattained, and the weight of it feels heavy. Too heavy. You feel overwhelmed, and you don’t know how you’re going to make it.

Can you relate to any of those feelings, dear one? They point to the absence of fruit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

God created us to bear fruit in His image, beloved, to fill the earth with all that He is (Genesis 1:27-28). Man has filled the earth, but we don’t reflect the image of our Creator. Instead, we more closely resemble His enemy. Sin’s seed implanted in man’s heart has changed our fruit.

Love has become selfishness that breeds hate.

Sorrow overtook our joy.

Instead of peace, we naturally worry.

Instead of patience, anger erupts.

In place of kindness, we hurt people.

Evil has overrun goodness.

Faithfulness withers into doubt.

Harshness crushes gentleness.

Self-control is all but lost.

God’s image on earth has become overshadowed by the image of the evil one. And all humanity wastes away, starving without proper fruit.

Happier were the victims of the sword than the victims of hunger, who wasted away, pierced by lack of the fruits of the field.

God wants to change that, beloved. Jesus went to the cross to make us fruit bearers.

“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” John 15:8

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” John 15:16-17

Dear one, Jesus died to restore us to God’s image, equipping us to fulfill our original purpose. He calls His church to rise in the power of the cross, putting sin to death and allowing His Spirit to reunite us with our Creator. Fully. Completely. So that His fruit may come forth in us and the earth can flourish with His life.

But instead of rising in the cross’s power, we exalt the power of sin. We proclaim its strength over our inadequacy. We justify its presence in us, giving life to what Christ put to death.

Why do we exalt sin's power? The cross conquered sin. Don't give life to what Jesus put to death. Click To Tweet

Perhaps we should read what God says about us.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 2 Peter 1:3-4

Jesus gave us His own divine nature, dear one. The nails that held Him on that cross also crucified our sin there. Sin has been defeated, rendered powerless.

I sense the question rising. Then why do believers still sin?

Because we do not yet believe we’re who scripture says we are. We still see ourselves in our fallen state. 2 Corinthians 3:18 holds the key to our sanctification.

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Experiencing the power of the Gospel comes down to one simple choice: opening the Word to see God as He truly is. When we behold God in truth and believe, the Spirit within us transforms us bit by bit into the image that we see. Why? Because everything God is, you now are. And as you receive the truth of your new nature into your heart, the Spirit waters that new seed giving it life, and fruit bursts forth.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. Psalm 1:1-3

Oh, beloved. Let God show you who you are. People are starving. They need fruit.