Thursday, February 28, 2013

Purity and the Media

About two weeks ago, I was riding back from a Gym Master tour and I saw that one of my guy friends was going to watch a movie. He didn't have anyone sitting next to him so I asked if I could watch too. He said of course and asked me what I wanted to watch. My response was "nothing bad".
He was like "Well does it look like I'm the type to watch bad movies?" He then proceeded to turn on a comedy movie. It said the f word twice, showed about 2 sex scenes, and made some inappropriate jokes..  he paused the movie, looked at me, and asked "What do you consider bad?" He said that this was probably an R rated movie and that we could switch movies. I felt bad but I said that'd be  cool if we could watch something else.
Today I read an article from SusieMag about movies, sex, and purity. There is a statistic that shows for every hour watched of sexual content in movies, teens are five times as likely to lose their virginity within six years. This should be very concerning.
If you know me well, you might make fun of me because I will normally watch Pg-13 movies but I close my eyes when couples make out or during sex scenes. You might think this is funny or just cute, but I honestly don't appreciate these scenes. I believe that kissing and sex are special. Not just for everyone to see, but reserved for one special person. I believe the more you look at sexual pictures of the hot girls and hot guys in the movies doing all this stuff, you will begin to want that in your life. It's unrealistic and stupid, to me it's kinda like porn. Tell me honestly after watching a sex scene with Taylor Lautner, or whoever you like in it, that you don't secretly want the guy you have sex with to look and act like that. That's not fair. And it's wrong!We talk about the dangers of pornography- but that's what these movies are. They're messing with our heads. You wonder why people are so perverted these days, making jokes about everything, it's because of the media. Clearly, the media has changed our generations' minds, perverting what is right and wrong (especially in relationships).
So what does God have to say about this? And what should this mean to those of us who want pure minds? Proverbs 4:23 says "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." Purity is so much more than saying no to sex, it's about your thoughts, your minds, and your actions focusing on Christ. Should I start avoiding Pg-13 movies altogether? I'm not for sure yet, but I'm definitely considering it. I want a pure heart and mind and the media makes that a challenge. I know that choosing not to watch Pg-13 movies will cost me some "popularity" or "pleasure" from this world- but I know that I am called to be not of this world, but of Christ. He will reward our efforts in following Him.

Jesus I'm so in love with you

Jesus I'm so in love with you.
Like that outta the ballpark, homerun feeling that gives you total happiness- that kinda feeling
Like those romance stories where the guy rescues you and carries you off to the castle- that kinda feeling
Like when your laying out on kayaks with your bestfriend talkin bout life and see a shooting star- that kinda feeling.
And I know that feelings do not make relationships. Feelings do not determine love, nor should love or obedience be determined by feelings.
But when you have those feelings you can enjoy them, you can praise God!
Because our God is a Spiritual God, but also a sensual God- He wants you to feel Him and know Him through words, smell, taste, touch, and physical contact.
I once asked my youth pastor on senior survival why I didn't feel God. It was clear that my classmates around me felt Him. We were up on a mountain and we were doing team bonding activities, but I just didn't Feel God. He told me this, Your spiritual walk with Christ is going to be a roller coaster- ups and downs. When your up praise God for who He is and what He has done. When your low remember those highs and praise God that He will raise you up again.
I'm just so grateful right now for all that Christ has done for me in my life, especially in the past year. I feel like I've changed a lot in the past year and grown so much spiritually. Like 1 Corinthians 3:1 talks about infants- in the spiritual walk- I feel like that's who I used to be. I used to do the right things, pray at the right times- and be good. But being good is not what God's about.
God wants a personal, crazy passionate relationship with Him. I know I don't have it figured out- my walk with Him is so messed up sometimes! I hate the things I do. But God is changing me. God is not giving up on me. This past year being at Southern, God has shown me that I only need Him. I need nothing else but God. He has shown me that a true relationship with Him is so much bigger and intimate than I ever imagined. He desires every part of me. He wants me to surrender my independence, my personality, my dreams.. and in return He says: You are mine. And I will give you perfect peace.
I'm so in love with God. His ways are so pure. His love so gentle. His power so mysterious. I'm in awe of Him.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Well


Today is Wednesday, February 27th and on Friday at about 4am, I will be leaving with Gym Masters for a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Prayers would be much appreciated! I will be gone for about 10 days so this might be one of my last blog posts for a bit, but I will be taking a journal with me along the trip. Supposedly this is a mission trip like no other :) but coach is getting me a little scared. Many years they have gone much of the team has fallen to sickness throwing up and diarrhea and had to get ivs. We will be traveling around the Dominican Republic doing gymnastics shows, sharing Jesus' love, and doing random service projects. It's exciting to see how God will be leading and what He will do. I pray you all have a blessed spring break as well.

This is a special devotional to you from the book My Utmost for His Highest by Oswold Chambers. I sincerely urge you to read this book because it is very powerful.

"Where then do You get that living water? —John 4:11

"The well is deep”— and even a great deal deeper than the Samaritan woman knew! (John 4:11). Think of the depths of human nature and human life; think of the depth of the “wells” in you. Have you been limiting, or impoverishing, the ministry of Jesus to the point that He is unable to work in your life? Suppose that you have a deep “well” of hurt and trouble inside your heart, and Jesus comes and says to you, “Let not your heart be troubled . . .” (John 14:1). Would your response be to shrug your shoulders and say, “But, Lord, the well is too deep, and even You can’t draw up quietness and comfort out of it.” Actually, that is correct. Jesus doesn’t bring anything up from the wells of human nature— He brings them down from above. We limit the Holy One of Israel by remembering only what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past, and also by saying, “Of course, I cannot expect God to do this particular thing.” The thing that approaches the very limits of His power is the very thing we as disciples of Jesus ought to believe He will do. We impoverish and weaken His ministry in us the moment we forget He is almighty. The impoverishment is in us, not in Him. We will come to Jesus for Him to be our comforter or our sympathizer, but we refrain from approaching Him as our Almighty God.
The reason some of us are such poor examples of Christianity is that we have failed to recognize that Christ is almighty. We have Christian attributes and experiences, but there is no abandonment or surrender to Jesus Christ. When we get into difficult circumstances, we impoverish His ministry by saying, “Of course, He can’t do anything about this.” We struggle to reach the bottom of our own well, trying to get water for ourselves. Beware of sitting back, and saying, “It can’t be done.” You will know it can be done if you will look to Jesus. The well of your incompleteness runs deep, but make the effort to look away from yourself and to look toward Him.

So where is your well of hurt or trouble inside your heart, your scars that are limiting Christ? No matter what you are going through, God is stronger. No matter how big your giants and enemies are, Your God is bigger. No matter how weak your flesh is, Our God is Able.
Don't put limits on God. No trouble is too big for Him. Trust Him to surrender your life too. Other people may have let you down, but God never will.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Prayer


Oswold Chambers writes “The reason many of us leave off praying and become hard towards God is because we have only a sentimental interest in prayer.” The word sympathetic according to the Merriam dictionary means “resulting from feeling rather than reason or thought.” When you pray, do you actually think about getting close to Christ and talking with Him? Is the goal of your prayer to commune with God himself and come in contact with his heart and mind? Or is it simply a feeling that you should pray or something you were taught how to do while young?

Chambers says “we hurl our own petitions at God’s throne and dictate to Him what we wish for Him to do”. Unfortunately, I identify with these types of prayers myself and these prayers are not worshipping God nor seeking to form the mind of Christ. Chambers questions “Are we living in a holy relationship with Christ or are we hard and dogmatic?” I did not understand the word dogmatic so I looked it up and it means “characterized by or given to the expression of opinions very strongly or positively as if they were facts.” God does not want us to pray to him with all our requests. That is treating God like he is Santa Clause. God wants us to seek communion with His mind. God wants to talk with us. He wants to develop a true friendship. God does His part in listening to us, but are we listening and seeking Him?

Chambers writes that intercession and worship must go together because one is not possible without the other. If this is true, then have I not really been worshipping before because I was not in true intercession? Intercession means that we rouse ourselves up to get the mind of Christ about the one for whom we pray. Chambers says intercession is a “work that has no snare”.
 

 

Where are you?


The more I seek you the more I find you.
The more I find you the more I love you.
I want to sit at your feet.
Drink from the cup in your hand.
Lay back against you and breathe.
Feel your heartbeat.
This love is so deep.
It's more than I can stand.
I melt in your peace.
It's overwhelming.
Your love is overwhelming me and oh my love, your love is overwhelming me, holding me.

Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from there you seek the Lord your 'God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.
Isaiah 26:3 You will give him perfect peace, him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

I believe that chaos is one of Satan's favorite weapons because to see God, we need to be still. We need to trust, and we have to slow down to talk to Him. Our God is spiritual. He loves you and the more you take time to get to know him, the more you will dance in His love and want Him. I encourage you to just clear your mind for just ten minutes. Pray to God, meditate in His love, this song today brought me to tears because the last few days have been so stressful. I have been getting angry and frustrated because I'm so tired, I'm so wore down. But this song made me realize how much I need Jesus and how much I love Him. I can't wait to hug God in heaven. This song gives me so much peace. I pray right now for everyone who reads this- that YOU will find peace right now in GOD who loves you more than you can ever imagine BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD Psalm 46:10. Peace I leave with you sisters of God.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Meaningless

Today I feel unmotivated. I am trying to do everything possible in my power to avoid doing my homework. My desires to get good grades seem to have faded this year. I mean I know I need good grades for PT school, but other than that, I just don't seem to care as much anymore.
There's so much going on: Gym Masters, school, friends, possible boyfriends, volleyball, God stuff, and social life.. sometimes it seems really overwhelming. I have realized that in the past week I haven't spent much quality time with God. And I miss God- I need God.

James 4:8  Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

When I die how will people remember me?
When I die where will I go?
What will God think of me?
Will God call me "friend" or will He say "I never knew you."

Matthew 7:21-23 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

It takes time to build a relationship and it takes sacrifice as well. We cannot serve two masters for our God is a jealous God. We say we love Him more but is He the one whom we really spend the most time? Is He our desire that we think and dream about as we go to sleep every night? God wants your life, He wants your time, He wants your focus.
Friends and popularity will fade.
After you graduate not many people will care about your 4.0.
But what you do for God- you might change a life forever-
Or you might waste your entire life..
So is your life meaningless? Get God before it's too late.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Captivating

When I was a girl my daddy showed me I was captivating.
My brother taught me to be tough, to fight, and to compete.
My friends told me to save them and I did.
Guys never talked to me- they didn't give me much attention.
I was tough so I didn't choose to care or even try.
I was strong enough on my own and didn't need a boyfriend.
Some older guys in my life gave me attention- it was a good feeling.
But then they destroyed my trust
I said I don't need you because boys only hurt people
I looked around at my friends who had been hurt so bad and I didn't want that
I was a good girl anyways
I was a strong girl and I could help people I could play sports and I could make friends
Who needs boys?

I had some amazing guys come into my life and tell me I was beautiful and worthy
I trusted them but I didn't believe them
I kept hiding, because I was afraid
I didn't want to have to trust guys, to get hurt, to be the victim, to lose my "strength"
I tried to be the hero
Some guys were there for me and they proved to be best friends
They helped me learn to have confidence
They helped me not be afraid to be myself
They helped me dance
When I learned to dance, I began to smile more
I've always smiled but I began to smile because I was truly happy
I didn't want to be a "suck up" or a "goody goody"
I wasn't afraid anymore
I got comfortable and it was great
Then God said Go
And I said why? He took me to a new place... AGAIN
With new beginnings comes new things
God made it good
God said You are beautiful not because of them but because of me
You are worthy not because of what you do but because you are my child
You are loved not because of your friends but because of my heart

I danced, I danced alone sometimes
I danced with new friends and new guys
God has given me freedom.
He has taught me to trust
He has taught me that I can't be my own Hero
God wants to be my hero
And because God is my hero I will dance



What women rightly long for is spiritual and moral initiative from a man, not spiritual and moral domination.- John Piper

Song of Solomon 4:1 Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful! Your eyes are doves behind your veil. Your hair is like a flock of goats leaping down the slopes of Gilead.

Titus 2:3-5 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. 

Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised

 1 Peter 3:3-4 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight

Psalms 27:4
One [thing] have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

Psalms 29:2 - Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pure Bride

Purity * Modesty * White
Justice, Mercy, Faithfulness

The Ten Commandments In Law and Spirit
Law                                                                 Spirit
"No other God before me"                              loyalty
"No graven image"                                          worship
"The Lord's name in vain"                               reverence
"Remember Sabbath day"                               holiness
"Honor your father and mother"                     respect authority

"Shall not kill"                                                 love
" Shall not steal"                                              honesty
"Shall not bear false testimony"                      truthfulness
"Shall not covet"                                             contentment

For all these ten commandments we are called not to just follow the rules but to abide by the Spirit of God which is loyalty, worship, reverence, holiness, respect authority, love, honesty, truthfulness, and contentment.

This law crucifies us. By beholding it, we realize we are wretched and our righteousness is like filthy rags before the Lord.

He has shown you O man what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8.

God's standards are so high. He wants a pure bride. This is how our righteousness looks to God.

We must learn to loath ourselves for what our independence is, our natural talents are, and our sinful history says about us. God wants to purify us. He wants to clean us from the mud and trash of this world and make us beautiful. He wants a pure bride- that's who He's coming back for.
So clean up daughter of the King.
You need to watch the things that you are letting into your mind and your heart. First start with the people around you. Second look at where you are spending your time. Often your treasure lies where you spend the most time. Clean out your entertainment. Cussing, gambling, selfishness- that's mud sister. Get away from your gossiping friends and your flirty, sexual show offs.
Best of all daughter, put on your princess dress: the beautiful wedding dress God has created only for YOU. He knows you inside and out so it will be beautiful. Spend time with your lover. He is waiting to spend more time with you. Finally, dance with God =)



"There is no need to make the dress question the point of your religion. There is something richer to talk about- talk of Christ! When the heart is converted everything that is out of harmony with the Word of God will stop. - E.G.W

butterflies in my tummy



I feel funny
I feel happy
I feel wiggly
I feel butterflies in my tummy

I feel dreamy
I feel hopeful
I feel giggly
I feel butterflies in my tummy.

Have you ever watched "The Ultimate Gift?" That movie makes me want to cry. I love the part where the girl who is about to die talks about heaven being like butterflies. Now when I think of butterflies I think of heaven too, when we will be home forever.
What is it about butterflies that makes them so special?
They are beautiful and they fly. They seem so pure.
When I was a young girl I used to want to catch butterflies, most children do, as our favorite senses seem to be touch and taste.
But after I caught a beautiful butterfly, my mom told me I was hurting it and that because I touched it, the butterfly may never be able to fly again. Butterflies scales on their wings are very sensitive.
This brings me to think about us and this world.
See you like the butterfly pictures above were made beautiful.
You were soooo pretty, you were a masterpiece.
And then God gave you these special abilities, just like how butterflies fly, you were given special talents, even better than flying.
You were a beautiful creation and the angels oohed and ahhed over you.
But then Satan came into the picture and started destroying with you, tampering with your wings, trying to ruin your ability to fly.
Satan doesn't like the fact that God followers will all fly away to live with Him after this earth so He messes with us.
Just like I grabbed the butterflies wings and injured his delicate scales,
Satan tells us lies. He tempts us and deceives us. In his hands, we are hurt and we lose our ability to fly.
He doesn't want us to realize we are beautiful, prettier than the butterflies.
He doesn't want us to realize we are loved and sought after more than children chase butterflies.
He doesn't want us to realize that with God's help we can still fly.
But God does, and He says My child you will fly. I will heal your wings. YOU WILL FLY TODAY

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Surrender: the only way


When I was thirteen years old I read a book by John Piper called Don’t Waste Your Life. The book introduced the idea that God did not create humans for their own pursuit of happiness but to glorify Christ and to fully surrender to Him. As a young girl, this frustrated me, making me feel used to the point where I did not think about Christ for a few months even though I continued to “go through the motions”. It has taken me years of struggling with God’s word and His will to finally begin to understand the meaning of surrender. Surrender is a beautiful, powerful concept that is often misunderstood. When sinful human beings commit their immortal lives to an amazing power, miracles happen. God loves humans enough to teach his children to surrender everything if they want to follow him. He knows that surrendering is the secret to true joy and power. There is no complacency in a true spiritual walk with Christ, but radical surrender and complete trust with God.

A true spiritual life includes surrender. One of the problems many people have with surrender is that it’s unnatural, uncomfortable, and sometimes illogical.  As Oswold Chambers says “Be stupid enough to come and commit yourself to what he really says.” Chambers is referring to the fact that God’s calling may require blind faith or following irrational thinking. Understanding that at times God’s word is hidden, we cannot fully understand all of His leadings and plans.  True surrender involves everything including being willing to totally change personality and character, moral values, and even accepting the risk of pain and sacrifice for Christ (Whiting). The word “surrender” which can be associated with military fighting and wars coincides with independence and the way man wants to relate to the world as his own (Whiting). The opposite of surrender would be “mastery, control, efficiency, handling, and manipulating” (Whiting). These are perfect descriptions of the world’s idea of “independent”, “successful”, and” boss”- things many people strive for.

The Bible not only emphasizes the importance of surrender over and over again but says that taking up our daily cross is the only way of truly following God. Biblical verses teaching surrender include Psalms 116:15, Colossians 3:5, Romans 8:13, and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 just to name a few (NIV Bible).  A story in the Bible that illustrates surrender in an illogical and uncomfortable situation can be found in the calling of the disciples (Matthew 4:18-22). When God called the disciples He asked them to leave their families, jobs, and old ways of living. He did not give them time to bury their dead or consider where there money would go. They left everything to follow God with no hesitation. One disciple had to leave behind burying his dad not knowing who would provide for him. Because the disciples chose to follow Jesus and surrender everything to Him they got the divine opportunity of walking with Jesus day by day and experiencing countless miracles and events beyond what they could ever imagine. The disciple’s lives were completely transformed and empowered by Christ, and their deaths illustrated complete surrender by martyrdom.

I recently heard my friend tell a story about when God called a Southern woman to do something seemingly illogical and definitely uncomfortable. A woman was asked by God to comb a strangers’ hair in the middle of an airport. At first the woman could not believe that God would call her to do such a strange and uncomfortable thing.  Finally after much contemplation, she decided she would follow God’s leadings and went over to the poor and elderly looking man. She asked him if she could comb his messy hair, and he said yes. She combed his hair and made it look nice. When she finished the old man began crying. She asked what was wrong and he said “Thank you”. He said he was going home to his wife who he had not seen in over two years because he had been forced to live at a nursing home. He was so thankful that someone would fix him up so his wife would be happy.

God has never called me to do something quite that illogical and risky, but coming to Southern when my friends were at a different university was quite an uncomfortable calling. I left behind my best friends that I have ever had because I surrendered to Christ’s will. At first it was not easy, I was homesick a lot and missed my old friends and family, but God has renewed my identity upon coming to Southern and shown me that His ways are always best.

A fulfilling spiritual walk requires complete trust . Skeptics question why a follower of God would be willing to suffer and experience persecution because of their trust in God. They find it unthinkable and ridiculous that faith could go so far as martyrdom. Yes, the follower of God will get rejected from society and persecuted. John 15:20 states, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also…” Through all persecution, Christ promises to never leave us and provide perfect peace as well as eternal life.

In the Bible, Paul was a martyr for Christ countless times. He spent time in prison, received beatings, and was even stoned. Through all this torture, Paul had perfect peace and even true joy. This is what Christ offers: a perfect peace that can surpass all pain and trials, comfort through anything in this world, as well as an eternal plan for salvation. After the God follower surrenders to God, they do not have any concerns about where they should spend eternity because they trust God. Their life is in the maker’s hands, and death is no longer a catastrophe but a hopeful prophesy that heaven is nearer. 1 Corinthians 15:55 “Where oh death is your victory, where oh death is your sting”

I have never been persecuted to death but I have experienced persecution from my classmates. In middle school, because I chose to follow the Ten Commandments, I got ridiculed and named “goody good girl”. Because of my relationship with God, I was deemed unpopular and friendless. At first I did not understand why God would let me go without friends for a whole year, but I trusted that God would keep His promise. My grades became so good that I received 8th grade valedictorian. I saw that God kept His promises.

Through the years, I have continued to fight with the idea of surrender and trusting my life fully to God’s leading. I have learned that it is my utmost privilege to live without complacency and to surrender even to the point of persecution. As I offer myself up to Him and pour myself out for His glory, His blessings are so abundant and his peace providential in my life.

Carlos writes that a total conversion and surrender to Christ is a rare and amazing human experience. Our selfish nature and our hearts are desperately wicked and sinful. God wants to reconcile us, but that requires death of all sin in our lives, some of the very things that form us and our identity. “Our natural life must not rule but Christ must rule within us” (Chambers). While I had a hard time surrendering and trusting at first because I did not want to give up my identity and selfishness, I now understand why surrender and trust are the only ways to intimately walk with Christ. Surrender is giving God permission to use power to transform lives. As we trust Him, he brings beauty and strength into human weakness and forms a new creation. I have seen God’s merciful hand in my life through many ways and even miracles, proving to me that God blesses a surrendering and trusting heart.

Testimony


Have you ever wondered why so many famous pastors were extremely horrible people before they came to Christ? I mean pastors have the best testimonies, so often they were the drug dealers, the murderers, the rapists, the haters, the abused. Have you ever thought your testimony is not that great? I mean I have been trying to follow Christ since I was born, there was never a rapid conversion or miraculous providential escape.

Luke 7:40-50 Jesus told Simon a story about two men who were in debt. One owed five hundred denarius and the other fifty; Jesus forgave both of them. Jesus asked Simon who he thought would love Jesus more and Simon answered correctly, the one who owed more. Thus what does this say about our walks with Christ on totally different roads? What does this mean for the sinner who has been there done that, done everything wrong, and still what does this mean for the “baby Christian” who has been striving to follow Christ since birth.

I understand what this passage means to the murderer, abused, rapist, spiritualist, the SINNER who feels no hope- there is hope! No matter what you have done or how many times you have been down and stupid, God is calling you. He wants you passionately and He has a special kind of love that He wants to give you as He begins to heal your heart. You the total sinner can love God so much, just because of what He has rescued you from. You also have a powerful testimony that God wants to use for His glory. Be bold enough and secure enough in Him, to pour out your heart to people, so God can use you to change lives.

Now for the baby Christian, I am seeking to understand what God means for you (for me). I think this parable can come as a warning that we cannot just keep our identity that we had with God when we were younger. We have to stop being the baby Christian, we have to stop stagnant faith, and childish like thinking for Christ. I believe that God calls us to get bold, to take risks, and to experience persecution and fights for the faith. We must keep dwelling in boldness but we must seek God’s love with a passion. We must move; we must fight. We need to get a testimony.

In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Hebrews 5:12.

I don’t know what man in the parable you represent, but I know God wants to use you. Develop a bold relationship with Him. Seek Him in the morning and at night- He will bless you and He will give you a testimony to preach to the world.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

2/17/13 short testimonies

I want to share 3 testimonies about what God's been doing in my life through the last month. I'm not sharing this because of something that I've done. I can do nothing without God. I am so weak. He is my strength. These are things He has done for me:

* Gym Masters- God has given me the strength to continue on Gym Masters and regain new confidence that I am important part of the team, I am beautiful, and that I can do more than I think. God has helped give me regain confidence and even helped me make some good friends on the team.

*God taught me to listen to His voice. I heard him speak to me two times this month and He showed me that what He told me was true by confirming that voice. The first time, I felt Him calling me to invite a girl down the row to sit with me and Autumn. When I finally did it, even though it was extremely awkward for me, she looked so happy and I knew it was a God thing. The second time He showed me a friend that was deeply struggling so that I was able to call her and reconnect with her.

* Boys- I finally feel more at peace than ever with the relationships of boys in my life. God has helped me to meet some nice guys and He has also helped me to stop leading on a "distraction" in my walk. So he has helped me to let go as well.

My Bible verse I was given for this month is Isaiah 26:3: "You will keep Him in perfect peace whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
God is working in my life. I praise Him for not giving up on me and His many blessings.

Running


When things get hard or confusing
When you don't understand what God's doing
When you are not doing as well
Stop Running.

When you seem to have lost direction.
When your struggling to heed correction
When life is not perfection
Stop Running

When you feel upside down
When you seem to have lost your crown
When you just keep turning around
Stop Running

Stop running, my child. Stop running. Be still and know that I am God- Psalm 46:10

Thursday, February 14, 2013

letters to God

Dear Jesus Abba Father, Holy One: the one who blesses and redeems, who loves beautifully and faithfully forever,
Here I am, your daughter. I am unworthy.
I am unworthy to touch your feet, to talk to you my King with my sinful words and rampant mouth.
My body is dirty. It has been trashed by the world.
I am no longer white, but spotted with dirt and mud that will take years of scrubbing to wash away.

So much dust clouds my face that my eyesight is mistaken
I see things not the way you do my Lord
My lips are chapped and strain my smile
My hair is tangled from too many fights and too many struggles
My faith is shaky like a broken roller coaster.
My heart is crushed, broken to pieces.
My mind is polluted with lies told to me since my day of birth.
I want you Lord and I want to serve you Lord, but I am unworthy.

And Satan cried in an awful screech
I told you so Michael
I told you they don't love you
I told you they wouldn't obey
I was right: they are worthless
They are mine: for they have chosen me
They are wearing my colors of darkness and death
Their destiny is mine

Jesus said Stop
These are my children you are talking too
I want them back. I love them.
They do not know what they are doing.
They do not understand.
I must give them another chance.
You cannot have them.

Satan replied with a snarl and a smile
They deserve death
So death will it be
Unless you want to admit your acting unjustly

Satan said I will win
There is just no other way
Haha God I beat you today
Your stupid creations are naïve and weak
They give in to all of my forms of deceit

God said Stop right now they are mine
The price of death will be just fine
I have a son
Since there is no other way
I will send him to earth for the price to pay

Thus Jesus came to earth
Born as a babe
In a lowly manger and dirty hay
He was a perfect child
One ought to be loved
Treasured and cared for, He was sought from above

Then the Garden came and Jesus did know
He knew the pain and the battle
He could have said no
Jesus had a choice to make
To save you and die or live and say bye

With a kiss meant for love
The perfect babe was betrayed
The son glorified
Was humbled that day
He was subject to death
the worse of them all
On a rugged old cross
History did fall

They whipped him and lashed him
Blood poured from his face
They spit upon Him and called Him disgraced
Through all this He loved

He loved through His tears
He loved through the pain
He forgave as He died
His blood did pay

Because Jesus loved so much on that day
There is love left over so you can lay
Your letters to Jesus, your glory abound
For God has delivered you
He won't let you down

Wherever you may
Whatever you may do
Please don't forget
How much He loves you

When you see the world
Through the eyes of a man
Who has had the whole world nailed down in his hands
You will know you are loved.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentines Day

How great the love the Father has lavished upon us, that we shall be called children of God.
1 John 3:1

YOU are passionately loved more than you can ever imagine.
YOU were created by an amazing, omnipotent God.
YOU were chosen by God and given a unique and divine purpose.
Jesus died for your sins- each and every one- so that you may be washed clean and pure,
so that you can be united with your lover- Jesus Christ- forever.
Don't you know that you are beautiful, precious, and worth more than gold?

We can never grasp our imaginations upon the kind of love Christ has for us. He wants to bless you, and he wants to love you more and more every day.
So dance in the love of your Father. He wants you!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Peru-v me wrong!

I want to go! I know this is my own will, but at the same time I have this feeling that it may be a God thing! This has been my dream since like forever.. to be a missionary, not just any missionary, but a jungle missionary- kinda =) Teaching and working at a clinic. I don't even mind the thought of giving shots and iv's. That's saying a lot, if you know me!
I want to go to Peru with Amor Projects.
And everybody keeps holding me back! They say Just Wait. Wait one more year.
But I say why? And they don't have good reasons- at least not in my book.
I get the maturity thing, and yes it's scary. Mom, I know their are lions in the jungle. I know the worlds not a sweet place. I know I'm sheltered. And I know it'll be rough, and I may cry myself to sleep for nights. I may get raped and I may die, but saying these things doesn't phase me. I'm just saying if God goes with me, then I'm not afraid.
I want to go so bad within- this is a heart-mind-and family battle. I am stubborn yes I understand. But prove me wrong, why wouldn't this next year be the perfect time to go?
5 Reasons Why I wanna go next year:
1. I want more of God and I think the things I learn abroad will be life changing!
2. I'm tired of America and studying!
3. This has been my dream since I was 5 and I'm not one to put off my dreams. Plus it's always been my goal to go sophomore year.
4. This trip will determine my career: whether nurse, PT, or life missionary.
5. My heart wants this- and I hope this is a God thing.
My prayer is if not God will you please stop me, slam the doors in my face, please God don't make it possible for me to go!! Give me no false hopes please stop me Father!
But God if you are calling me Here Am I! I am more than willing, ecstatic to serve you in this way. I pray you help me go and provide the finances. I pray you work it all out according to your plan.
So in you I trust God!
Not my will but yours Lord Jesus!
I want to leave you all with this verse, it's my verse for the week and I pray it touches your hearts as well.
You will keep him in perfect peace
Whose mind is stayed on you
Because he trusts in you
Isaiah 26:3
I don't know how you've been or what you are struggling with, but God promises peace in the midst of the storm as well as the sunshine!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dangers of Hell

We are rich, us Americans, yes we are. You say "I'm not rich, I'm a college student who has loans. I don't have money Oh really. Did you realize that the average person in the world makes less than $2 a day? You say so what. You say who cares. You say I'll try to remember to give more to charity next Christmas.
Whatever.
Whatever?
Did you know that the Bible says it is easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven? Matthew 19:24
I know you're not with me... WE ARE IN DANGERS OF THE FIRE OF HELL- US AND OUR FRIENDS, OUR FAMILY- WE'RE ALL RICH AMERICANS. I'M TALKING ABOUT WHERE WE WILL SPEND ETERNAL LIFE.
IT IS EASIER FOR A CAMEL TO GO THROUGH AN EYE OF A NEEDLE THAN FOR AN AMERICAN TO GO TO HEAVEN?
DO YOU BELIEVE THAT?
Because to be honest I don't totally, but as I begin too, it scares me.
Don't you see that us Americans are lukewarm? We are going to be spit out of Christ's mouth? It's ok because we will be saved by faith right, we are a Christian nation, we go to church on Saturdays or Sundays. Oh really? Because that's not what being spit out of Christ's mouth sounds like to me but study it for yourself.
Even worse than learning you are lukewarm, is how much you are willing to do about it. This just goes to show you, yep you are lukewarm. Because we say, it's ok, some days I'll be more on fire for God I'm ok with being comfortable.
Are you now? Because I'd rather be uncomfortable now and comfortable in paradise forever then comfortable in this sinful dying world.
So what do we do about this? Do we make a goal to pray for one more person? Do we up our Bible reading time to thirty minutes a day? Come on!! I know for me learning all this makes me want to be an SM next year. I'm not saying that's the answer for everyone. I'm just saying do what you need to do to truly get serious about God.
Because I know that I am lukewarm so much of the time, and I know that I am not ok with that!
I know that going to a different country would give me a new perspective.
I'm not saying I'm going but I'm saying if God is willing to help me get there and use me there, I'm all in. I want God to transform my life.
I want to go to Peru because I want my life to be more on fire for Christ. I'm tired of the lukewarm living. I'm tired of American thinking. I want a Jesus perspective.
Lord do whatever it takes to get me on fire for you.

Francis Chan Balance Beam

I pray you get the strength from Christ to stand up and dance on your balance beam. *Challenge for this week: Pray with a random stranger every day this week.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sanctify me

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it.

"When we pray to be sanctified, are we prepared to face the standard of these verses? We take the term sanctification much too lightly. Are we prepared for what sanctification will cost? It will cost an intense narrowing of all our interests on earth, and an intense broadening of all our interests in God." (Oswold Chambers: My Utmost for His Highest)

Never before have I been so uncontent so displeased with my spirituality except for this year at college. I don't know where I'm going. And frankly, I don't feel like I am sanctified but in the painful process of sanctification and I keep pulling back. As I walk by the fire that burns but cleans making me a new and pure creation of God, I fear that I keep running away before sanctification is over. This is not to say that sanctification is not a continual process. I am simply saying that never before have I felt so unhappy and so unpleased with my life with God. Instead of feeling like I am doing great, following His footsteps, and striving to be the "nice" Christian girl. I feel God saying "Come on Brooke what are you waiting for. I have proven myself worthy of your love and trust for years in your life yet you refuse to boldly surrender and be radically sanctified to me and me only.
I want to answer your prayers, but you are putting boundaries and obstacles in the way."
I feel the call for so much more, than I can ever imagine. Honestly, I have felt this way over and over again this past year like never before. The spiritual life has begun to baffle me as I no longer know what God's plan for me is. To explain, I don't understand what God wants me to do for a career: Physical therapy, nursing, or missionary. I have no idea where I will be spending the next summer working whether at a camp or as LE. I have no idea how I should spend the next year: Southern student, SWAU student, or missionary. So here I am, impatient, wondering... and at the same time pleading with fear God sanctify me like never before.
I have never contemplated my spiritual life so much nor felt a call so weary and burdensome. I don't know if God is preparing me for something big or what. I don't know what He's doing and that scares me.
I have dedicated myself to the Lord many times this year and I have begun to abandon some of my old self and ways. I have begun to leave behind my old friends and insecurities. Southern has proven challenging but beneficial for my life in many ways.

"Sanctification means intense concentration on God's point of view."
-It will cost us everything that is not God in us.

Throughout the year I began praying about a few relationships I was clinging too and wondering if I should let go of. I feel like God is saying the time is right to let go because emotionally I need to get past these false securities. I know God is trying to rid me of my inward selfishness as well as distractions from Him.
God has given me many examples this year of what radical living, sanctification, and true surrender looks like and truly means through friends.
I am ashamed to say that I feel like I have not gone radical but have just kept living my life trying to put God in it. God has been taking things away from me that are distractions and teaching me to rely on Him before, but I feel like the call is now.
I feel the need to be radical and I would like to follow you God and act radically but only surrendered to you fully and at my utmost YOURS. Where you lead me I will follow, here I am, change me. Sanctify me. From the bottom of my heart this be my plea, rid me of myself, rid me of "me".

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Drown Dance

Today I taught swimming lessons. My little children are becoming quite the little rascals. My first class does very well. But in my second class, the children have quite a bit more energy and smaller ears for listening. Not only that, but whenever we do an activity they do not enjoy, they do what I like to call the "drown dance." Now the drown dance is whenever the child kicks their knees and feet whichever way they please, pounds on the water with their hands, and begins to sink towards the bottom of the pool. God bless my kids in that second class because my patience wears quite quickly with them. Needless to say, they drown and I shove them off to the side and forfeit the learning for the day.

Unfortunately, I identify with these little rascals and their drown dance when I think about my relationship and trust in God. I'm like "Ok God I trust you, I am swimming confidently with your hand on my back. " But then a distraction like a hot guy, or a tough decision comes up and I start the drown dance. Freaking out I yell to God "Ahhhh what do I do, I'm drowning! Are you really holding me?" I lose peace and begin an attitude of chaos and distress. I begin to drown in all parts of my life and am desperate for anyone to rescue me: whether it be a kind soul to vent too or a guy to hug me.

When problems come into your life, how is your faith? It's easy to have faith when everything is going good but what about when you realize that you don't have a job, your not making all A's, your running out of money, or you still don't have a boyfriend (pick me!) You need to remember that if you choose to follow Christ, you are choosing to follow Him through the good and the bad, the blessings and the persecution, the things that you like and the things that you despise. God is not going to let you drown! But sometimes He has to teach you things that you may find unpleasant in order to make you better servants of Him.

Sometimes I go through phases where I feel stagnant in my spirituality. Other times I freak out about various problems and lose sight of God who I am following. Don't forget that God will never let You drown; He is always right beside you. When you try to take control of your own life and problems, you begin to kick, scream, and the "drown dance" happens... God is still there saying "peace my child, I love you."

Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.


Monday, February 4, 2013

angel in disguise

My God is so good!
I pray you feel this way too throughout your days because if you do not have this feeling of divine joy, something is wrong.
Because my God, He's so good to me. I know that I don't deserve it. I also know that God wants to bless you as well.
Today after lifeguarding class I was going to lunch alone and I was like well I can look for someone to sit with and sit by myself if necessary. Then I saw Kimberly, a beautiful petite girl sitting by herself in the corner looking out the window. I decided to go sit with her because she is in the lifeguarding class as well.
I believe it was a divine appointment. This girl is such a blessing and to me her face just radiates Christ love. I loved talking to her throughout lunch just about life and Southern. This girl has muscular dystrophy, so I'm really excited that God is using her to be a lifeguard. She was telling me about how many times after lifeguarding class, her legs and ankles ache and cramp because of the hard work of swim training. I find it really amazing how she perseveres. Her life perspective is so inspiring.
Another thing she said that really inspired me is how she works to overcome her fears. She said her top three fears are needles, heights, and public speaking/preaching. She has been sky diving, given blood, and is going as a missionary pastor this summer to Guatemala! What a testimony =) and also what a challenge! What are your top three fears and would you like to overcome them? Some of my top  fears are hospitals, giving blood, snakes, diseases, and something happening to the people I love the most. I would like to give blood just to overcome my fear of it. I would also like to work in the hospital next year and start a new ministry there.
Psalm 118:6
The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?
2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
I challenge you to overcome your fears in the name of Jesus Christ.
This girl Kimberly really impacted and encouraged me today. I want to be more Christ-like, gentle and loving, but bold and fearless.

Check this site out. It's like youtube but only Christian stuff!
http://www.godtube.com/

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Friendships and Mountains

I spent this weekend in the beautiful, snowy Tennessee mountains. It was such a miracle that I got to go =) God blessed me so much up there because the retreat was exactly what I needed.
I learned a few things about friendships on this trip.
So first of all, friends have a huge impact on our lives.
We were hiking up a trail down from a slippery waterfall. I was falling footstep by footstep right behind a girl named Megan. Like me, Megan was not a professional hiker or outdoor mountain woman; she was a normal chick with slippery shoes. I looked up at Megan trying not to slip on the icy trail and had this profound thought: "If Megan slips, I'm going down too." Great thinking Brooke, did you just realize this. It's a little late to be afraid for your life even though there is good reason.
Often we underestimate the power and influence friends have on your life.
For example, in hiking a good friend will lead you on the right trail and catch you before a fall. They know the safest and most direct way to get where you are going. In contrast, a stupid friend will lead you somewhere slippery or dangerous. If you are following her footsteps, and she falls, you will be taken out as well. It really is a life or death situation.
Friends are traveling one of two ways: up or down, towards God or towards the devil, heaven or hell. It is extremely risky to have friends that are not traveling the same way you are. I am not saying you should not befriend unbelievers, but I am saying you should do so with caution. You should be extremely aware of the influences friends are having on your walk with Christ. Does talking to your friend make you more Christ like or does your friend lead you into gossip?
Ouch gossip- talking about other people- that's something I definitely struggle with myself.
Proverbs 11:13 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.
It's really important to stop gossip. Sometimes you think you are doing the best thing for someone by talking about their problems to others, you aren't. Your friend is trusting you and you need to respect that. Besides, talking about others to others will confuse things, start or continue drama, and ruin friendships. To stop gossip, you have to be intentional. Talk to God about your gossip problem and then refuse to listen to gossip from your friends.
Good friends that are spiritual, uplifting, and Christ like are so important, but be careful not to walk so closely with your friends that your spiritual walk becomes a mirror image of theirs. A walk with God should be intimate and deep, between a sinner (you) and your Savior. This is not to say, that spiritual relationships should not be shared, but that you should seek God for yourself and not follow what your friends are saying and doing.
Proverbs 18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
I hope that you have a best friend. Not just any best friend, but a best friend that knows your heart and knows the heart of Christ, a best friend that is uplifting and will always be there for you no matter what happens. Friends like this are hard to come by in this day and age, so treasure them if you have one/some. If you do not have a true best friend in whom you can confide, I encourage you to look upwards and realize that no matter where you are and what is going on, you do have a guy that is crazy about you. He wants to be your best friend all the time. He will never leave you nor forsake you.