The Fear of Hopeful Hope

Jen O'Sullivan with Renee Strauss

A very blond version of me at a white party I hosted to self-promote. With celebrity Renee Strauss of hit TLC show “Brides of Beverly Hills.”

Life was never promised to be easy for us as Christians or anyone for that matter. In fact, life will be hard. Sometimes really hard. Here in the United States, especially in Southern California, and even more so in South Orange County life is easy. The complaints I hear most are things like, “I have too much going on, my schedule is so overwhelmed that I can never find any time to do anything for myself.” “I’m so tired all the time and have no patience for my kids. All I do is yell at them constantly.” These comments are from us stay-at-home-moms who realistically should have considerably the best life on the planet. People are worn out wherever they live and whatever circumstances they live under. The big difference I find is in hope. Christians have a sure and firm hope. Even though things are bad here and we go through trials we still have assurance. People who have a hopeful hope are the ones I fear for the most.

When I look back at my pre-salvific life, I see a life full of abundance and things going my way. Even though when I was living those moments I thought things were hard and I had to work really really hard to get ahead but ahead I always got and my life was filled with things of this world that were dazzling both in relationships and objects. Now, post-salvation, my life is way harder than I would have ever thought possible. Things no longer “come easy” and trials and tests seem to be around every corner. God is sharpening, pruning, and disciplining me week after week. It is a brutal but necessary part of being a child of God.

Sharpening hurts. There is heat and sparks that fly but in the end I am becoming more and more sharp in my walk with God. The searing pain of learning how to speak with more mercy and grace. I am sharpened. The pride-crushing agony of learning to submit to my authorities and leaders. I am sharpened. The singe of realizing the amount of work it is to be an ambassador and not wanting to give up. I am sharpened.

Pruning is painful. Clip clip clip goes this and that in my life. Things I did not even consider a barrier to loving God is now a full blown assault on my walk. The daily barrage on my spirit with the conflict of TV. I am pruned. The struggle in giving up certain foods that God revealed to me are emotionally damaging fire-hoses. I am pruned. The true sadness in loosing friends and a career over following Jesus. I am pruned.

Discipline is hard. When a child that is not my own does something wrong I don’t discipline him. If my own child does something wrong I am all over him. Discipline is for his own good. I want him to succeed so in my love for him I must discipline him. The same is true for you and God if you are his child. The immature idea that it is ok to not claim cash on your taxes because everyone else does it and getting audited the first year of becoming a Christian. I am disciplined. The fit throwing tantrums that lead to stubbornly not studying the Bible and watching TV instead, our jealous God slammed me to the ground and hit me with the flu keeping me from going to multiple social gatherings I was so looking forward to. I am disciplined. The arrogant, self-serving, do-it-on-my-own mentality that used to serve me so well in my previous life now gets me a firm slap of humility when I stumble and trip in areas I used to glide through with ease. I am disciplined.

These pains and struggles, tests and trials are real and palpable. When God chooses you and you respond rightly by giving your life to Him, your life here on this earth will not get easier, nor will it stay the same. You are going to encounter troubles and pain and heartache like you never thought possible. But, the silver lining is that it is ALL for the glory of God, and as a true Christian you will deeply desire the glory of God. You are guaranteed through the sealing of the Holy Spirit an inheritance that you can’t even imaging. The angels in Heaven must look at us all the time shaking their heads and saying to each other “if they only knew the half of it.”

My hearts desire is for you to take a good hard look at your life. I came to Christ in true repentance and faith 25 years after I fully thought I was already saved! Believe me, it can happen, and looking back I know for sure, without a doubt, that I was not saved back then, but I definitely thought I was. Think about your life for a bit longer than a moment. Has it been hard and full of lessons and trials and tests and yes discipline from God or has it been a relatively easy life where things tend to go your way? Read 1 John. All of it. If you feel convicted in any way at all, start praying. Pray as much as you can for God to reveal himself to you. Question everything. Work out your salvation with intense effort. Think of a few friends that you have always respected their Christianity. Reach out to them. Ask them to meet with you and talk through your life. If you can’t think of anyone, please reach out to me. I would love to help you work out your salvation. Let’s audit yourself and know for sure. Find a sure and firm hope in your salvation. It is the most important thing you will ever tackle in your life.

Text me if you want to talk or I’d be happy to take you through a one-on-one discipleship program so we can work out your salvation now. 949-282-9745

 

Reposted with permission from:
LinkedCyclingWomen.com

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In the Dog House with God

This may sound odd to you, but when you think about it, it actually makes sense. Before I was saved, I would sin and most of the time I would get away with it. What I mean is that no actual consequences were felt from many of my sins. To put it plainly I would lie to get a better interest rate on a new home or car purchase, I would not claim cash income, I would get mad and drop a bunch of f-bombs, I would steel an extra movie once in the theater, I would lie to get late payments removed, I would break the law by speeding or illegally parking, and on and on. I was entitled because everyone else was. I was also not a child of God. What I mean is that I was not adopted yet. I was not part of his family. Other people’s parents do not discipline you. If you have kids, you do not discipline other people’s children and you certainly hope other parents do not discipline your kids. Discussing right and wrong is one thing, but going so far as to enforce and inflict discipline is something left up to one’s parents and usually one’s dad when it is really bad.

So, here I sit, now an actual child of God, adopted into his family after believing I was saved but truly was not. For those who have not read my testimony, please check it out HERE. I know I am a child of God because he has been disciplining me. Yes, I have been forgiven for my sins, but I only grow in Messiah and am further sanctified through him through testing, trials, and sometimes discipline. I get it now. When I discipline Jacob, my 5 year old son, I do it because I love him. Here is an example: He stuck out his tongue the other day at me and we sat down for about 30 minutes discussing the ramifications of why sticking your tongue out at your mom could lead to you becoming homeless. Yes, I know, my parenting style is a bit odd, but my 5 year old is crazy logical so I must play to his logical nature. Here is the sequence.

Stick your tongue out at your mom + no disciplinary action = Jacob with a lack of respect for authority =  grown up Jacob as a man at job + disrespecting his boss because he has a lack of respect for authority = loss of job = lack of income = a homeless Jacob. Seriously… he gets it.

This is what I call logical discipline. Sometimes we need a logical reality check from God, a wake up call so to speak, while other times we need a slap on the wrist. God knows how we learn and what works best for each one of us. Just know this, if you are going along in your life and hardly ever seem to feel like you are being disciplined for your actions by God, you may want to consider if you are in fact saved. Take a look at our Fruits Audit Section to the right to test yourself against what God has to say about what it means to be truly a child of His.

Do Not Grow Weary (Hebrews 12:3-11, ESV)

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. – Hebrews 12:3-11