Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Highlights of 2015







My Top 5 things that happened this year:

1. I switched my major to Nursing and Global Comm. Development ! Scary, exciting, and fun!
2. My best friend got married (big deal ;))
3. I got the privilege of being spiritual director at summer camp, helping create a play, and leading kids to Christ.
4. I learned more about fitness and became a personal trainer.
5. I got my drivers license, turned 21, and moved into an apartment  with some friends.

So ya praise God. He has been good to me and He has blessed me abundantly more than I ever could have imagined. And He has given me the MOST AMAZING friends and family in the entire universe =)

Humble -- it hurts

"The sign that God is at work in us is that He is destroying our confidence in the natural virtues, because they are not promises of what we are going to be, but only a wasted reminder of what God created man to be. We want to cling to our natural virtues, while all the time God is trying to get us in contact with the life of Jesus Christ— a life that can never be described in terms of natural virtues. It is the saddest thing to see people who are trying to serve God depending on that which the grace of God never gave them. They are depending solely on what they have by virtue of heredity. God does not take our natural virtues and transform them, because our natural virtues could never even come close to what Jesus Christ wants. No natural love, no natural patience, no natural purity can ever come up to His demands. But as we bring every part of our natural bodily life into harmony with the new life God has placed within us, He will exhibit in us the virtues that were characteristic of the Lord Jesus.And every virtue we possess-Is His alone."
You don't think it's painless do you? To die to self, to take up the cross of Christ, and become a servant.
By all means I haven't attained this nor I am close. Yet when I asked God to start (and really meant it) yikes God started His work all right. And it is definitely His signature. No regrets because it is far better than I could have ever imagined. Yet oh how humbling the journey has been and how hard it is to be humbled- how hard it is to die to pride- to myself. 
For me this is the cost- the cost is my pride. My pride is my everything. 
For before I asked God to take it all away:
I felt strong. I felt capable. I felt athletic. I felt smart. I felt highly qualified. I felt like a good person, a faithful God follower, a descent woman.
And ever since I asked God that day in Peru 2 years ago as I prayed (laying in a dirty smelly orphanage teared eyes with a sky full of starry wonder) I prayed God take it away. Take away the comfort because I want what you have and that day I asked God to break my heart. It wasn't the first time. But it was definitely the hardest. That night I lay it all before God- my career choice, my future, where I would live, if I would be a missionary for life, if I would date or be single- I layed it all on the table.
And since then God began His work, chipping away at my prideful heart and saying "let me strip away everything you call your own and make you empty until you choose me" and let me love you while I do it.
And it is hard, it is painful, it is difficult to die- to give up worldly desires.
Yet compared to the cross of Christ, it is nothing. Compared to heaven and the hope we have in Jesus, it is worth every struggle. For this sacrifice that I may make even though it cost me everything is worth nothing compared to the joy and hope I have found in God, compared to His promises, compared to His love. I will endure anything for His sake and His name because He alone is worthy to be praised and by God's grace, I will endure it joyfully =)

FEELINGS

You know the feeling. I don't want to pray right now, I don't feel close to God, I don't feel like opening my Bible. Instead I feel like (you insert the blank).

According to the Myers Briggs personality test, I tend to value thought and reason over emotion. Yet that does not excuse me from making stupid decisions due to uncontrolled spirit of mind. I often find myself watching a feel good movie that isn't best for me, eating something that does not nourish my body, saying harsh words that do not edify others, or stupidly making comments or texts that I do not mean. Why? Because it feels nice, it feels right, at the time it is what I want and it seems ok. And I don't feel like praying about it.

Yet Proverbs 12:15 says that a fool is right in his own eyes and Proverbs 14:12 that there is a way that seems right to a man that in the end leads to death. And James 4:7 that if we could only learn to submit ourselves fully to Christ the Devil the one who is tempting us would flee.

If we want to follow God then we must learn to not live by feelings and instead to live by prayer. Indeed we cannot be ruled by our stomachs, our lustful minds, our intemperant spirits- but we must learn to submit each and every part of our body to Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says that we should learn to pray without ceasing. To which my selfish soul asks the question "How can I pray when I don't feel like praying? What do I do when I don't feel God?"

And the answer I know from the bottom of my heart is..
Pray anyways. --That this time when you don't feel God is when you need to pray the most.

A quote from Shade of His Hand says "If a man cannot prove his religion in the valley, it is not worth anything."

Our relationship with God is not based on feelings. At times we will feel the more in love than we could ever express but at times we will not feel God and I believe these are times when we must know God, remember God, what he has done for us and how faithful He has been and we must be faithful to pray anyways, to love anyways, to read our Bibles anyways.

For the Devil is at work. This is war. If he knows that we live by feelings he will do everything in our power to make us not want to read our Bibles or pray.

So let us rise up. Let us overcome. Let us not act by feelings or impulses but by the power of Christ.

Are you ready?

Often I find myself asking God questions and telling Him that I want to know His plans for me. What am I going to do for my career? Who am I going to marry? Where am I going to live? Am I going to be a missionary? I hate not knowing... Sometimes I get so impatient.

I sometimes tell myself if I could just know exactly what was going to happen, then my life would be simpler. But then I realize that if I knew what my future would bring I would probably be scared to death. And what if I wasn't ready to know or to do this career yet, to meet this man yet, to live in this place with this certain responsibility yet? And what if it didn't matter so much about what I want and what my dreams are, so much as what God wants and how I can follow Him.

Already I have seen God's fingerprints in my life in such crazy ways. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that God is real or that it has been Him who has his hand on me. He has taken me to places I only dreamed of doing and transformed my character literally into a different person with different values and a different college major. Yet the more I know God, the more I realize I am so far away from Him. The more I know, the more selfish and rebellious I realize that I am. And each day as God increases awareness in me, I must arise to choose to follow God to this new thing.

Something I learned in a sermon the other day is that God wants three things in order to reveal His will to you. Now I don't believe that God goes through the checklist and I think sometimes He just shows you because God is God and does as He thinks and knows best. But it makes sense that God desires these three things from us:

*Obedience
*Purity of Heart
*Desire to follow God and do what He shows

The first of these is obedience. We are either slaves to sin or slaves to Christ. We are not our own we will always have a master. The difference is that one master chooses to love us and adopt us as children while the other chooses to manipulate and use us for his own good all the while destroying us.

Do we obey God in the things He has already revealed to us? Are we following the truths that He has shown us? The little things matter (the music and movies have been a big temptation area to me lately). God is not going to continue to reveal more truth to us if we cannot show Him we are willing to obey.

The second of these is purity of heart. What are our motives? Why do we really want these things? What are the desires or thoughts behind them? If we are seeking selfish gain, worldly possessions, or side idols we are not purely seeking Christ and His direction for our life? If we are saying "Now, now, now" then maybe we are lustfully or selfishly following emotions or fads. For impulses are often not of Christ but the things of God are patient, clean, purified by time of trial.


In Ezekiel 20 the Lord God says "Have you come to inquire of me? As you live, I will not be inquired of you." He tells Israel that He will not answer any more questions for them- that He will not reveal anything else to them. It continues to talk in Ezekiel about the reason for this and it is because the Israelites have been rebellious, they have not obeyed what God has already asked them and they are not ready to obey something else.

Finally, if we want God to reveal His will. He must ask us "Are you ready for my answer? Are you ready to listen and obey?" If we are not to that point yet, then asking God will do no good for I think often He wants to bless us or teach us yet we are not ready to listen.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I don't need you

"I don't need you..
so I don't love you
and I don't want you."

Isn't this one of the scariest phrases in the world? You don't often hear it put quite so bluntly to words. Yet you see it time after time all around you with relationships that fall apart quite too smoothly, like cotton candy

And honestly why are we surprised? We are a generation that is taught from a young age not to give our money to things that won't generate income. Taught not to let ourselves be taken advantage of, but to work our way to the top of each pyramid (climbing at the stake of others if necessary). Isn't this college? How to move to the top of the educational and then professional food chain? We are taught that independence is glory because we should have control. That we should seek self fame, a selfish safety net, and seek someone to marry who will fulfill our self needs and desires. We should seek a help-mate. We should love things that help us and most importantly the basics- things we NEED. 

And what do we rich Americans need? Well to most of us: we need a daily shower hot water of course, nice soap (hotel samples do not qualify), bread (multigrain) and butter (to taste), varied nutritional index of foods, soft mattress, and a non-leaking roof, a warm heater, and there's a few others of course. Yet although we have quite the list that many people around the world would never even think to include on their "needs" checklist, we still have everything. We have presents under the Christmas tree, bright lights, and cookie cut outs, food for days not just a meal, and toys to entertain and when we look up at the Giver of all Good gifts we tell Him "I don't need you." 

I don't need you right now God. I'm doing just fine.
You can keep your extra eggs til a famine comes on my land or my mom Sally dies of cancer but right now God I'm just fine. I've got movies and music for days and clothes to look cute all winter so God just give me chance to live young and free and do what I want too.
God my life looks just fine right now. There's alot of things I still want to do before I die, places to see, people to date so God you don't need to come so soon. I'm happy. Really I'm quite content in my selfish life of insecurities.

And we are stupid, foolish, and unprepared- sleeping with our eyes closed as the Devil pulls toy out of toy out of his toolbox and laughs happily for he has gained our hearts once again.

And the clock ticks and Jesus calls out "Sanctify yourselves, take up your cross and come follow me. For I am coming soon to take you who are pure in heart home."

Yet we are not ready.
For we do not think we need God.
And we do not know love
Thus we do not realize the danger we are in

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Wedding



I went to the most beautiful wedding today.

It was gorgeous- I wish you could see pictures and I'll post more later. There were flowers, open windows with gorgeous glass and greenery, an elegant chapel, bridesmaids and groomsmen looking their Christmas best- and then a stunning bride and groom.

The wedding was perfectly planned and thought out. Dances were rehearsed, dress rehearsal was performed, hair and makeup done early in the morning..

So that everything could be in the place for the big day: when Hunter would marry Kaitlyn and they would be set apart as husband and wife forever.

It was a joyful event full of laughter, tears of joy, friendships and family. This union was long awaited for.


Isaiah 62:5 says "For as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons will marry you; And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you.

Like this wedding, there's another wedding that's coming quite soon.
I know the groom and he is preparing to come for His bride.

This groom is no ordinary man. He is a King himself, royal, majestic, just, and righteous. He comes for only the purest brides who are willing to serve Him with a loving heart- brides to whom He has fallen in love with and she Him with as well.

This bride will be clothed in white- with a robe of righteousness that has been made pure and holy by the blood of the prince. The bride will be no ordinary human but one of grace, one of justice, one who loves his neighbor, one who has love written all over her. The bride will have prepared for the wedding by cleansing herself properly from injustice, from unsure thoughts, lust, secular desires. Instead grace will be manifested from her lips. She will be beautiful awaiting the coming of her King- He will be her only desire.

She will say her vows that she has studied and memorized- not because of duty- but out of the love in her heart. Together on that day He shall come in the clouds and every eye shall see Him. He will come for His beloved. What a glorious day that shall be when we shall be united with the lover of our hearts and souls.

Matthew 25 talks to us about the ten virgins and the five who were ready for Jesus' coming. My question for you today is Are you ready for the wedding?

Our time here is short. The music is sounding. Our Savior- the hope of nations is coming. Are you ready? I pray we'll both be ready for that day.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Brave


"You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave. You make me brave.
No fear can hinder now the love that made away"

What's the scariest thing about ISIS?
Or the tough part about the Crusades and Dark Ages?
It's that religion and the surrendering of God one hundred percent somehow takes away all fears. It literally makes people fearless and crazy, willing to do anything for the name of Jesus or the god who they may believe in.

And this is nothing new. If we look at the Bible we see many of Christ's disciples doing crazy things. We see Paul- totally fearless- not afraid of shipwrecks, prisons, beatings, torture. We see Daniel not afraid to pray even though they said he would be thrown to a pit of lions. Shadrach, Meshach, Obednego, Rahab, Joseph, Esther, Ruth-- we see no Biblical cowards.
For if we know Christ what can mortal men do to us?
Yet sometimes I wonder if we, the current generation, has become quite timid and lost quite a bit of this fearless faith.

"I wouldn't want to offend anyone so I won't share with them what I believe"
"I'm afraid that I will step on toes here."
"I'm afraid for the children in the church that if we bring homeless people off the street they could be hurt."
"We wouldn't want to send student missionaries to dangerous places around the world."
"Have a backup plan just in case it (our prayer)  doesn't work"

What happened to prayers to raise people from the grave?
From interceding with power instead of stuttering thank you's when we are unthankful.
What happened to honesty with our brothers and sisters in the faith?
What happened to fearless followers of Christ who died singing hymns while burning at the stake?

1 John 4:18 says "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out all fears."

Satan wants us to be afraid. He wants us to be afraid of terrorists, crimes, calamities. He loves it when we watch horror movies so our brains will become fearful and distrusting.

He wants us to be afraid of the End times- guilting us that we haven't spent enough time with God or our faith is not good enough.

He loves it when we are fearful for when we are afraid we are self-absorbed. We build walls around us and enlist our own army to serve for our benefit and our weapons in case we must fight. We assume that people have done something against us and choose not to forgive them. We call our-self victims instead of choosing to become rulers of sin and darkness.

Fear takes advantage. It manipulates. It takes over our mind and our choices and forces us to do things we wouldn't normally do- because we are desperate. We are scared.

Love on the other hand 
Gives us choices
It looks at all people with kind eyes and chooses to forgive the ways they have hurt us
We choose to become a part of the healing of their lives and stories
Love makes us champions- to rise above our own weaknesses
Love gives us joy and peace
Companions to dance with, to laugh with
Freedom and faith
That no matter what may come
Nothing will separate us from our lover
And the love of Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

For me personally, I am finding that the more I follow Jesus, the more I become fearless and bold. I used to be afraid of the medical field, of snakes, of cutting my hair short, of standing up for myself or speaking about Jesus to people. Yet all of these fears, I have faced with the help of Jesus and by God's grace I am overcoming.

Choosing to pursue a career in a medical field where I am not comfortable is not easy but stepping out of your comfort zone, taking that leap of faith to wherever God may be calling you, is always worth it. I have never experienced more of Jesus than when I was most afraid, most in need, and I let the Lord deliver me. He has never failed me- not once- but always has come through for me time and time again. So that I can declare surely the Lord is good and loving. Surely He will provide for me and He is enough for whatever my fear may be.

I encourage you to overcome your fears today. Not by might, nor by power, but by the strength of the Lord God almighty =)


Friday, December 11, 2015

Mary did you know

Mary did you know?
that your baby boy..
would one day walk on water
would save our sons and daughters
has come to make you new
would calm a storm with his hand
has walked where angels trod
Is Lord of all Creation
would one day rule the nation
Is heaven's perfect lamb


Mary did you know?
That your baby boy
Would die the most shameful naked death
Would spend his last moments with the people he tried to save
Spitting on his face
And shouting curse words at him
Calling Him a liar for the miracles He had done to save them
Beaten, mocked, bloody, worn
He would die

Mary how could you have known?
And what would you think if you did know?
Would you have done anything differently?

But Mary did you know
That your baby
Would overcome the grave
And prove to be a Savior
Show that He is Lord over death, over pain, over shame
Over suffering, over murder, over sinfulness
And that He has the keys to eternal life forever

This is the Jesus we serve. This is the Jesus I know.
So how dare we tremble at the trials in front of us?
How could we stand back and not proclaim in a loud voice to the nations
Do not fear for my King saves
Why are we worried or stressed
Why are we crying like those who have no hope?
For our Savior is ruler over the dead.

Today I saw a beautiful baby in the Nicu.
I also met a woman in labor and delivery in the hopsital whose baby had just died.
As she told me I was stunned
What can I say to this kind of pain?
Except for the name of Jesus-
That He is Savior.
That He is the God who does miracles.
Who raises the dead, who sets the captives free, who heals the sick
That's my Jesus.




Monday, December 7, 2015

college in perspective

I was talking to a guy in the gym the other night when the conversation turned to Christianity and he recited a scriptural reference to the verse. Immediately I was taken back. I mean, I know scriptures but I don't always remember their references and their are not that many people at our school who can quote the Word of God.  As I continued to talk to Him, He added about four more scriptural quotes to our conversation and I was like "Ok, this man knows his stuff." But then two minutes later he mentioned he was a theo major and I had to sigh.

Are the only people who memorize scriptures these days pastors?
What if we studied the Word of God as much as we studied for our classes?
What if we stressed out for our sins as much as we do for finals?

Honestly, I believe it is so easy to turn our college degrees into bragging rights, trophies, and idols and studying into selfishness..
"What's your major?" becomes your identity- it's who you are- and it shouldn't be- because it was never meant to be about us.
In fact if we look at Jesus, He was the carpenter, the untypical Rabbi that said ANYONE (not just the best students) could follow Him.
Everything we do should be about making us less and Christ more.

If we don't know our Bibles then how can we stand up for what we believe?
If we aren't spending time in the Scriptures every day then how we can love people throughout our work?

This video is really good. I encourage you guys to check it out and to remember to glorify God in everything you do (eating, sleeping, studying, flirting, working out, talking, and serving). https://vimeo.com/128292930

1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, this is your spiritual act of worship.




Friday, December 4, 2015

What is Christmas?

It seems that without a blink, Christmas is here and there and everywhere. In every store, every tree, lights on the house, and music on the radio. And I'm left thinking just a few simple thoughts..
Where did Christmas come from?
What's the point of all this holiday cheer in the midst of a suffering world?
And finally, how do I have time for Christmas, when I'm just trying to survive school?
I spent Thanksgiving with the family this year all the while having about 20 hours of homework to complete during break and little holiday spirit. I was exhausted- worn out from college and I didn't care about seeing the lights or watching the Grinch but just wanted to breathe again. And yet here it is the festivities and holidays in full season swing.. and before we know it Christmas season will be gone and this spirit of community and opportunity to get close to family will be out the window. I was listening to Mary Did You Know and The Little Drummer Song on Youtube by Pentonix (great stuff!) and the Little Drummer Boy song starts like this..
Come they told me Pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
A newborn king to see Pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
Our finest gifts we bring?
To lay before the King...
So to honor him Pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
When we come...
So here in the beginning of this song we are talking about searching for a Savior. We are looking for a light in the darkness- following a star of promise. But we are not just following blindly, doing our selfish thing, but instead we are searching for a gift. A gift that is not something money can buy for we do not have much, not something to work for, but something that is worthy of a King- of a Savior- of whom His feet we are not worthy to wash.
We ask what finest gift can we bring? For we want to please our King. To be Holy for Him, to give Him our best.
I think we easily forget this part of Christmas. This great search for Jesus- that isn't quick mind you but takes days, months, sometimes even years. The giving up of our finest possession- the thing we hold most dear to us- the choice to surrender everything, in order to give the Savior we are searching for with everything our best.
Maybe Christmas isn't just about lights, music, and hot cocoa. Maybe it's not about friends and family whom we haven't seen in so long. Maybe it's more. 
We can't forget that Christmas is a journey to our Savior. A journey to the cross of surrender. Of surrendering our fears, our shame, anything that hinders our walk with Christ, of surrendering ourselves fully . 
Only when we learn to embrace Jesus and truly give Him our finest gift will we find the joy and - peace He promises to give us. For truly in this suffering world, these end times, we must look for an answer for ISIS, for the shootings, for the tragedy, for the sick, for the broken families... 
And Jesus- our Savior- who promises us that when we seek Him we will find Him and that He is with us- Immanuel. Truly Jesus is our only hope and joy for this season of Merry Christmas.
So may we stop running around like soldiers with our heads cut off shopping, doing homework, baking, working too hard- whatever you do this season- and may we quiet our minds and hearts and pray for the spirit of Christ who sometimes speaks in whispers to come to us and dwell in us as we surrender our finest gift to Him.
May God bless you this Christmas season and may you find Him- may you find it- the joy of Jesus Christ. 
Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Remind me what matters

Sometimes I have to remind myself
That everything I'm doing doesn't matter
If I don't remember
Why I'm doing it

That loving isn't walking by
and smiling and saying hello
That caring
Comes from the heart
And can't be faked with a smile

I have to remind myself that my GPA doesn't matter
If I fail to represent Jesus

That each patient at the hospital
Is a human being suffering from one of the worst days in their life

I have to remind myself that when I'm stressed and in a hurry
So is the rest of the world
And that other people
Have bigger problems

So if I can remember
to be thankful
To smile
When I am so afraid

To hug people instead of hating them
To listen to stories when I have no time
And to remember that I have a Savior
Who loves me
Enough to die on the cross for me

If I can remember that
Then maybe I can get through this day
Not just to cross off more things on my to-do list
But to praise God and glorify Him in this life
That I will only live once

Help me to remember God what really matters.

So you want to help the poor?


What is the image you have of the poor? When you think of Africa and India the BoP (Bottom of the Pyramid) approximately 1.4 billion people receiving less than $1.25 a day what comes to mind?Maybe you see hands reaching up, asking you for money, begging. Maybe you see crying, family members dying, suffering and pain.

And then you envision yourself? A superhero. Flying in to Africa or India prepared to hug the children (take a selfie of course) , feed them food, buy them brand new toys, and change their life for the good. Even though you are only prepared to spend a couple weeks living with them in their misery. You are making a great sacrifice indeed (or so you are reminded by 10 other church members who applaud you when telling children's story from the pulpit.)

You want to help- that's why you do it..
 Well at first you really do. At first you think you can make a difference and you have a genuine love for the people. You want to be Jesus' hands and feet.
That's how it starts (hopefully) and that's great because Jesus commands us to help the poor (and not just when we feel like it). He says that whatever we do and don't do for them we do for Him and goes to show us that how we treat the "least of these" is a salvation issue. For if we know Him surely we will love our brothers.

But then you read the Bible verse that says "the poor will always be with us". You look at the statistics of 5 billion people earning less than $40 a day while you the top of the pyramid makes so much money. And you start to feel a little guilty- like maybe you aren't giving enough.

You go to church and they shove pamphlets down your face showing you pictures of children wearing nothing but bones an dying of thirst from unclean water. You go to your school convocation with five more ways you can do something to make a difference. And so you leave a dollar here and there, to justify your guilt, and continue to live a rich, "blessed" life- the way God wants you too right? You leave some money here and there, do your school's community service project, and you even go on a mission trip. Helping the poor one step at a time? You think?

Yet we have a problem.

The cost of short term missions every year is around nine billion.
The US issues around 50 billion a year in foreign aid.
There's more than 17,000 charities that represent more than 30 billion collectively in revenue.
Somehow giving money doesn't seem to be solving the world's problems..
Short term trips and charities (while not all bad) don't seem to be the full solution either.

And we have an even bigger problem.

The poor are not miserable people living miserable lives crying out for our help. The poor do not want money or bread sent to their door *. The poor have families, they have relationships, they play soccer, they do their hair. The poor are probably on average happier than most Americans who while having everything still have not discovered how to have joy.

We typical Americans know almost nothing about the poor. The poor are individuals. They are families. The woman who needs to find water to give to her child in Africa is completely different than the South American who has been raped and is fighting to get through college. We cannot just travel over to another country and think that we will be of service. Especially if we are not asked.

So if you want to help the poor...
If I want to help the poor..
Maybe I should help myself first.
Maybe we should learn to love- to love God.
Because in a world where everyone is suffering,..
Where everyone is poor. Because we are all lacking something are we not? We all have needs. The poor just have bigger material ones that are life and death

In a world where we are all drowning..
If we don't have Jesus Christ
If we don't listen Him
If we don't follow Him. If we don't love Him enough to hate our selfish ways. If we are not prepared to give everything up and to love others enough to listen to them, to see them for who they are, to take time to study about what they really need..
Than who are we to try and help them?
Who are we to help the poor?

*Note not all points are fully evidenced. This is an unedited, opinion paper about my personal reflection on poverty.




Thursday, November 26, 2015

saying thank you

Do they know I'm thankful for them?
Does he know how much I love him?
Do they know how much they have changed my life?

Of course there's my family: my rock. The people who yell together, chase each other around the house, work out together, go on way too long road trips where they declare that we dislike each other... But my family is beautiful and I love them to death. I do nothing to show them the abundance of love I have for them. My family has been with me from the beginning when I was a fearless little girl who talked to strangers, to a self-conscious and determined middle school who refused to talk to boys, a young adventurer who went away to boarding academy and Peru, and a heart broken lover of orphans only wanting to save the world in her naive and jaded heart.

My mom- a river of love, hope, and joy. "Every day is a good day, she says. Happy day happy day." Nothing can shake her joy or kindness, the way she gives everything she has for anyone with the smallest need. She gives until she has no more and has invested in my life in so many ways I can no way repay her for what she has done for me or for anyone else.

My father- a brave fierce man of God who has taught me to think before acting, to stop before speaking and to understand that not all things are as they appear. He has taught me to be brave and how to love even when you may be hurt at the same time.

My brother Jeremy- a man who puts me in my place, tells me when I am being selfish and stupid yet never fails to catch me when I am broke. The boy I have grown up playing hide and go seek, ninjas, swimming, and camping with.

My friends- A girl who has taught me how to speak and say what I want to say- that life isn't always easy- but that there is always something to laugh about.

A girl who has shown me what it means to have a best friend, to be chosen, to be a sister for once in my life, to be the in crowd, to understand what it means to have someone who will be by your side and embrace femininity. She taught me how to cry and how to feel, how to laugh and eat chocolate in a better way.

A girl who has shown me the perseverance of waking up every morning to study her Bible and pray- a woman of wisdom and digression who chooses Christ over the pleasures of this world and is not afraid to stand up for the Kingdom.

I have so many close friends, so many people who I count close to my heart. So many friends each in different parts of the world who have impacted my life in so many ways. People who have taught me so many lessons, loved me in so many deep places, blessed my life in so many ways. Truly they are God's greatest gift.

I'm not a girl that uses lavishing words, nor buys many gifts, nor always speaks in the most encouraging words. Occasionally my bluntness can hurt those closest to me the much. But this thanksgiving I have to think about my inner circle. Do they know how much I love them? Do they know that I would do anything for them?

I think my goal for the next month is to show these people, to show some of them how much they mean to me and how they have changed my life. I want to tell them thank you...

Somehow I want to learn to love better, to show how much I care better. I don't want to be too afraid to love vulnerably. Time is short and I want to be there for my people so I will start by telling them thank you..


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

carried to the table

Earlier today I was working on a project when I heard the cries of my little baby cousin
She was upset because she had broken her toy
It was something small indeed but she was sad and tired
Tears dripping down her face
Her little heart had all she could handle
So I picked her up and carried her in my arms
Cuddling her precious little head and rocking her so she could find rest
I carried her to the table...

Broken girl, ashamed, and angry
Feeling like I wasn't good enough
Discouraged by my failures
Afraid I couldn't measure up
Time after time the Savior has gathered me in his arms
And carried me to His table

He does it for us time and time again
He is faithful to deliver our sins
And to cleanse us from all unrighteousness

We do not deserve to be brought to the banquet feast of blessings
Yet Christ seeks us out
He searches every hospital, every empty church pew, every bar, every lonely college dorm
And then He runs to us
And says "She is mine"

He says come and feast with me
Let me provide you with your daily bread
Let me give you my sweet honey of kindness
Let me give you more than milk for babies
Let me give you scriptural meat
Let your cup overflow as you dine with me
And taste and see that the Lord is good

He invites us to His wedding feast
With music and dancing
He tells us to have joy
It doesn't mean there isn't suffering
But it does mean we have hope
Because we know the master

So we will eat, drink, and be merry
Not as gluttons, selfish pigs, or prostitues
But as humble and worthy daughters of the Kingdom
Who know their Father's house
And are to celebrate the King and His victory.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Flesh and Spirit

Matthew 26:41 "Watch and pray that you would not fall into temptation, the spirit is willing but the body is weak.
1 Peter 5:8-9 "Be sober and alert for your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking those whom he may devour. Resist him steadfast in the faith knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world."
Chambers writes "that we must beware of is not damage to our belief in God but damage to our Christian disposition or state of mind. “Take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously” (Malachi 2:16). Our state of mind is powerful in its effects. It can be the enemy that penetrates right into our soul and distracts our mind from God. There are certain attitudes we should never dare to indulge. If we do, we will find they have distracted us from faith in God. Until we get back into a quiet mood before Him, our faith is of no value, and our confidence in the flesh and in human ingenuity is what rules our lives.
Beware of “the cares of this world…” (Mark 4:19). They are the very things that produce the wrong attitudes in our soul. It is incredible what enormous power there is in simple things to distract our attention away from God. Refuse to be swamped by “the cares of this world.” (http://utmost.org/the-distraction-of-contempt/)
Truly the walk with God is a walk that requires discipline and self-surrender. As followers of Christ, we cannot afford to miss a single day equipping ourselves with the Word of God or the Devil will attack us right when we are weakest. The walk with God is a constant battle between the spiritual things and the things of flesh. Indeed there will be times when we feel like we are overcome. Yet when we feel that darkness is upon us and we are unworthy of coming back to God, these are the times we need God the most. We must pray regardless of our feelings, read our Bibles despite what our brain tells us, and stay faithful to the end. When we mess up, we must pray for the Lord's forgiveness and believe that He is faithful.
For me, I find that with my walk with God it is the little things that make the biggest difference. When I am disciplined with the food I eat, I find it easier to spend time with God and be peaceful with my neighbor. When I fast from evil social media (any magazine, movie, or song that does not edify Jesus' name) then I find the peace of knowing the Father's quiet presence in my life. When I find my joy in Christ and nature instead of Facebook and social media, texting with friends, that's when I feel God closest to me. Now we can't follow God or run our spiritual life based on feelings but we can learn to understand God's wrath against sin and His strict directions for us to live a life of purity. Is what we are thinking and putting into our mind Christ glorifying or self-seeking?
Discouraged? Feeling guilty? I understand, but this is not something we can do on our own. Truly only by God's grace we are set free from our old selfish natures and transformed into a free and beautiful, loving creation. 
Father, give us the courage to overcome battles of the flesh. Help us not to lust after things of this world but instead to use your power and the Holy Spirit to overcome. Thank you for working in us even though we do nothing to deserve it. Amen.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Christian Perspective on Health

I am blessed by God to have become a personal trainer last April and that has helped me become more aware of fitness and health in society and as an individual. Although some may say that health should not be a part of religion, I believe that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit within us. When we choose to follow God, we choose to surrender every part of our lives and wholistic being to Him: body, mind, soul, and spirit. This means that everything we do is spiritual. God wants our eating, drinking, talking, dreaming, secret thoughts, singing, and dancing to be glorifying to His name.

It's easy to see two extremes in health: obsessive or apathetic. Both can have negative consequences and the obsessive often becomes self-idolaters or more concerned about their own health needs over other people's needs. All the while the apathetic often become gluttons or drinkers who feed their emotional needs food and become lazy, causing their body illness.

So much of what we do radiates from our minds and hearts. Exercise is not purely physical but mental. It releases endorphins in your body and can help you relieve stress. The brain determines how hard you will push yourself in an exercise and what you will get out of it. Likewise, eating is mostly an emotional battle as your brain and conscious decide what foods you will be giving your system as fuel.

Thanksgiving is coming up which is a holiday of American gluttony and self-indulgence. Instead of being thankful for lives and health and choosing to praise God and serve others, we decide to become hoards. We cook fattening foods and sugars that cause disease and stuff our faces with them pretending that we will never again have food in our lives. Then we sleep, watch tv, and stuff our faces again. The next day we rush to the store to embark in consumerism and buy buy buy more goods for our-self. After days of lounging around, we return to school, and then back to gluttony and goods for Christmas. After which we realize we are unhealthy and have gained weight and start the massive dieting and exercise regimen of New Years Resolutions.

I believe that God wants to help us be healthy as He created the human body to thrive. Before sin there was no sickness or disease in the Garden and there will be no illness in heaven. I have heard it said that people who can practice self control good enough to control their appetite, can overcome almost any other discipline. I do believe that the appetite is an idol many many Americans give in too and that practicing discipline over our taste buds and stomachs could result in much good. This is possibly why Jesus himself fasted for 40 days in the desert and one of Satan's main temptations was for him to eat bread when he was hungry. Indeed the first sin in the Bible was one of eating something that looked delicious.. yet something God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat.

God pleads with us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, Holy and pleasing to Him, this is our spiritual act of worship.
What has God impressed on your heart to re-surrender to Him today? Ask God to help you learn to be healthy. Give Him reign over your physical body, your soul and emotions, your food preferences. Watch and see how the Lord will guide and bless.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fearless

"Spirit break out break our walls down."

Why is following God better than your fears? You find freedom you never knew existed.

What are you afraid of?
Give it to God. Let Him help you overcome. Don't hold onto your fears and keep telling yourself "No I can't do that I'm afraid of that." No tell yourself, I used to be afraid of that but now I'm not because God is bigger.

You see sometimes we believe this fallacy that fear keeps us safe. But it doesn't. Wisdom keeps us safe. Fear paralyzes us, takes away our joy, causes us to focus on ourselves and our weaknesses instead of Christ's love.

Truly I tell you, we will find God the most, His love and pure joy when we let Him lead us beyond the walls we naturally build to protect ourselves. When we let God break those walls down, only then will we fall deeper in love with Him as He takes care of us.

Isaiah 41:13 For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Let God help you do the thing you are most afraid of.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Joy

Today I was feeling sick and in the process of hurrying to go to work lost my id card somewhere in my room. It has been a rough week for me fighting off sickness and studying/ stressing. I went to my boss's office to ask him if he could manually put in my hours since I didn't have my id card. I told him I was still feeling sick and he asked me if I was stressed out with school.

When I said yes, he looked at me and told me Jesus loves me and that He didn't want me to feel stressed. He said God doesn't want you to live like that. I think something about the caring way he said it really struck me and made me realize the truth. God does not want us to live stressed or unjoyful lives no matter what the situation. "In every situation, with prayer and thanksgiving, we are to present our requests to God. That the peace of God which transcends all understanding can guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. "

It doesn't matter what the world may throw at us or how difficult or busy we may be- worry does no good to our hearts, souls, or bodies. How can we represent Christ to a lost world if we are busy, stressed, occupied people? How can people see the difference Jesus has made in our lives if we are not joyful?

Sometimes it's almost like I want to justify my unhappiness. Like no you don't understand my life... bluh bluh bluh. But in the end, nobody cares and we realize everybody has unhappy moments and trials in life. The difference is how we respond to them.

Thus I guess my next question is how do we Christians who love Jesus but are prone to business and stress keep our joy in Christ? The joy that radiates, the contagious smile, the high fiver, the constant supporter, the giver, the inspirer, the personality so joyful everyone wants to be our friend.

One of my friends from boarding academy died yesterday in a car accident. He was only 19 years old. I was reading his facebook page the other day and it really just hit me what a man of God Moses was. But the coolest thing about it is his love with God was manifested with the joyous life he lived and the fun he had with his many friends and family. He was a guy that made friends with everyone. He was happy because He knew Jesus and this literally radiated to everyone he knew.

Here's a question for you, if you died today what would people remember about you? Would they remember laughing with you and the joy you shared with them?

I don't know about you, but I want to learn how to experience more of Christ's joy and more of His peace. My prayer is that He would give me pure joy that is representative of the light and love of His Savior. May you be blessed and find hope and joy in serving the King of Kings and Lord of all the Universe.







Thursday, November 5, 2015

Nursing

Nursing is scary.
Sometimes I fear that I can't do it.
What's a 21 year old to be doing in a hospital?
A death chamber where patients are crying
Giving their last breath
Bleeding, pooping, vomitting
It's a dirty place
But beyond the dirt, it's a place that's raw
Raw full of needs
Full of emotions
Full of desperation
Where anyone in that building could just give up
Or where prayers get a little realer
Makeup gets a little thinner
And the heart is seen and heard a little more directly

I'm scared
Scared for my mind
Can I take all this stimulation?
Can I learn all it takes to be an excellent nurse?
Will my grades be learn enough?
Can I do all the proper procedures..

And scared for my soul
Can I deal with the death cries on a daily basis
Can my faith endure when codes beep and co-workers cuzz

In spite of my massive fears
Fears of being sticked with needles
Fears of seeing a naked person
Fears of changing a bed

My fears make me want to run
Run the opposite direction as fast as I can
And say See God
I was right
I can't do nursing.

But then right as I'm halfway running out the door
I stop to the voice of a child
That whispers in my head
I need you

It stops me. I hear her again
"Help me"
To take care of me
To be the best nurse that understands a soul
Who can hold me when I'm afraid
Who loves me and will show me how worthy I am.

And for her- for the hopes of that six year old African girl- that one day I will hold and nurture back to health- for her I will keep trying. I will keep on doing paperwork that bores me to tears. I will keep on going to skills lab and overcoming my fears. I will keep going back to the hospital (the death grounds). I will be a nurse because of Christ's mercy and because of hopes of helping her someday.

But in the meantime God, how bout some miracles to help me through? =)

True beauty

"Am I beautiful?" The six year old girl asks her mom as she twirls like a ballerina, her fluffy pink tutu filling the air with glitter.

"You are so beautiful, just like a princess", her mom says lifting her up into her arms and spinning her round and round. "You are beautiful, never forget it ok?"

Yet despite the promises we make to our moms to never forget who we are. In spite of the people who have cherished us for our life, love, and beauty and taught us to be brave... we often find ourselves laying in the middle of a mud pile on the side road picking ourselves up and questioning God and the world and occasionally the poor random stranger who walks by..

Could I really be something of beauty? Am I really something worthwhile?

You see society does nothing to teach our daughters, ladies, mothers, and woman alike that their worth is not based on outward appearances. Nor is it calculated by the tricks they may perform or the talents they may be able to accumulate. It is not set by a banker, an investor, or a fashion show director or game show host who chooses who is worth investing in or who is the most beautiful or who can sing the greatest and pop out the cutest babies.

Although the world screams to women to cover up their hearts, layer upon foundation on their skin, to blot their tears dry and apply eye cream to hide their tired eyes, to run further and further away, to lift more weights, and eat more salad.. God calls for woman who are ready to sanctify themselves in His name both inward and outward and pursue the beauty of a heart transfer with God not man.

Sometimes Christian women say God doesn't care if you are beautiful. He does not look at outer appearances like man does. But God does care about our beauty, because He cares about us and because He is our Creator.

Our Master potter and painter created us each different and smiled at us when He formed our most inward beings and called us good. Although sin quickly filled the picture with insecurities, acne, fat, self-conceit, and greed. God calls us out of the shadows and asks us to trust Him with our naked selves, our most inward, vulnerable parts of being. When we surrender those to Christ, He writes His name on every part of our body and our lives so that we will be distinguishable from the rest of the world and uniquely identified as a daughter of the King.

Some ways we receive true beauty by the King:

God restores our heart of stone and gives us a loving and soft heart of flesh. (Ez 36.26)

He takes our mind, that listens to confusing voices of this world and people who we wish to impress, and exchanges it for true wisdom found in the mind of Christ. (1 Cor 2:16)

Christ takes away our "junk food" and asks us to be content with His feedings of daily bread and solid food instead of only spiritual milk. (1 Corinthians 3, Matthew 6:11)

And Christ teaches us how to healthfully take care of our body as a Father would teach His daughter to learn to treasure herself- teaching that God is Lord of our bodies including our stomachs and that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit whom we must honor. (1 Corinthians 12,13,19)

So daughter may you stop asking the random stranger if you are beautiful and may you start praying that the God who created you would restore your beauty through His love. May God bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you. May He be faithful to you and may He give you peace.





Sunday, November 1, 2015

ComPassion Hospital Ministry

Here are some ministry pictures from ComPassion. This is the result of planning, dreaming, hard work- but mostly God. Slowly I'm learning that what I do to prepare doesn't amount to much but what God leads and the way He works- it's miraculous! I'm so thankful for Him and for my friends making this ministry become possible.

Last week we had a special experience where we got to go into one little boys' room who was blind. His mom said he hadn't smiled since he was admitted into the hospital. As we began to sing some of his favorite songs the blind boy started laughing and smiling in joy. All the nurses gathered round and all the nurses and the boys' mom were crying as we sang. Little miracles like this, special moments shared, remind me why the hard work and planning is all worth it.



Friday, October 30, 2015

Standing Firm In the End Times

Matthew 24:24 says "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; in so much that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."

Jesus is coming soon. If we look around we can see so many signs of His second coming: wars, famines, natural disasters, economy, political signs, and we can also see that so many of His people and other people in the world have fallen asleep- we must surely realize the truth.

Does this thought scare you? Or does it make you leap for joy? If it brings about any thought or question of fear.. surely we must reconsider and study why, when we love Jesus so much, we feel unprepared.

How then can we be ready for the Second Coming and to stand for Jesus no matter what the cost? For many will fall and be deceived in the end. And many are sleeping already. How can we prepare for the Great tribulation and the fiery trials that we will face?

I want to share with you some things I have learned from Ellen White and Bible study about being prepared for the End. In addition, toward the end of this writing there are some of my favorite EGW quotes that are very powerful.

Here are some questions to ask our self if we are ready to stand firm in the End.

1. Who is our Master? 
For the Lord says we can have only one.(Luke 6:13). If we love our boyfriends, families, money, college degrees, popularity.. or any other thing as much as we love God, we do not know God. For God is a jealous God who destroys all other idols including one of the biggest- the idol of self. Are you ready to surrender all of your hopes, your dreams, your desires, your beauty, your reputations in order to carry the cross of Christ? This is no small commitment and the biggest decision you will make in all your life. This changes everything. There is no "have my cake (the world) and eat it too (Jesus). You choose today who you will serve and if you will be in Paradise.

2. Do we know Jesus?
Is He our best friend? Do we love to spend time with Him? Do we spend time with Him? Has He changed our lives? If we say no, then something has gone wrong. We are not understanding who He is. This is different than going to church and listening to sermons or Bible studies, we must know Jesus' presence in our lives. Would your life be different if you didn't know Jesus? Are you finding peace and love in His promises?

3. Are we focused?
This is an area that Christ has really impressed upon my heart lately. I just am finishing reading a devotional book and the question is given how much time I am spending in prayer and how much in Bible reading per day? And to be honest this caught me off guard... Aren't I doing good to spend 20-30 minutes every morning Lord talking to you and then pray through the day and at night? And I heard Him respond How much time do you spend in class studying nursing? Studying how to be a better personal trainer? How much time do you spend talking to your mother long distance? If you are to give my life to me, and to serve me, and to love me above anything else, truly this time is NOT SUFFICIENT. I'm sorry to put this so bluntly but reading five minute devotionals a day, Christian books, and listening to Christian music will not be enough. What about when Satan attacks you? How can you be prepared to stand...

4. Are we well-equipped for battle?
We must know that the Devil will attack us for He hates the work we are doing for Christ. But we must not be afraid; we need not quiver because we serve the Lord Almighty- the one who reigns forever and who is victorious. Every day we must wake up and put on the armor of God. Otherwise how can we stand against temptations? For Satan knows our weaknesses, our insecurities, and He will attack us at our weakest moments.. So how do we overcome Satan's attacks? First, we prepare our-self every morning by spending time with God. We ask God to give us His shoes of peace, His breastplate of righteousness, His sword of faith, the belt of truth, the helmet of the Spirit, and the Word of God in our hearts.

I believe that so much of being prepared for battle is being selective with what we put in our mind. The music we listen too, friends we hang out with, media we watch, thoughts we let linger.. play such a role in this. We must train our mind to think pure and we must implant the word of God into our memory and hymns that sing praises. For when comes a hard day, when our mind is empty, the Holy Spirit can remind us of things which we have learned deep in our heart that tell of God's love.

So are we ready for the End Times? Only by the Lord's grace...
We need not fear. God will carry us through if daily we surrender to Him and choose Him above all other idols in our life. If we make prayer and scripture a habit and lifeline, truly then we will walk in the Lord's footsteps and experience true joy and peace =) 

May we be conquerors in the Lord God almighty. For He never gives us more than we can handle, but promises to be faithful to us and to never leave us nor forsake us. 

May we prepare to stand firm in the end, even if we are all alone- may we stand firm.

Amazing EGW quotes:

In order to give such a message as John gave, we must have a spiritual experience like his. The same work must be wrought in us. We must behold God, and in beholding Him lose sight of self.

We must live a twofold life--a life of thought and action, of silent prayer and earnest work.

Prayer and effort, effort and prayer, will be the business of your life. You must pray as though the efficiency and praise were all due to God, and labor as though duty were all your own.-

No man is safe for a day or an hour without prayer

The only defense against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness. Unless we become vitally connected with God, we can never resist the unhallowed effects of self-love, self-indulgence, and temptation to sin. We may leave off many bad habits, for the time we may part company with Satan; but without a vital connection with God, through the surrender of ourselves to Him moment by moment, we shall be overcome. Without a personal acquaintance with Christ, and a continual communion, we are at the mercy of the enemy, and shall do his bidding in the end.

Christ and Him crucified should be the theme of contemplation, of conversation, and of our most joyful emotion.

But the mind must be constantly going out after God. If worldliness is allowed to come in, if we have no desire to pray, no desire to commune with Him who is the source of strength and wisdom, the Spirit will not abide with us.

Christians should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise, and this preparation they should make by diligently studying the Word of God and striving to conform their lives to its precepts.--

None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict.--The Great Controversy

Build a wall of scriptures around you, and you will see that the world cannot break it down. Commit the Scriptures to memory, and then throw right back upon Satan when he comes with his temptations, "It is written." This is the way that our Lord met the temptations of Satan, and resisted them.

every little detail

Charles Haddon Spurgeon a British preacher in the 19th century once said “The life of a Christian is a series of miracles.” 
I know I write about miracles alot..
But our God is a God of miracles.
He is a God of wonders, a God of love, a God of power who is bigger than our deepest fears. I deeply believe that as we get to know Him more and more and follow His paths for our life, we will see those beautiful miracles manifested.

For me, I know that where I am right now with God, what my major is, where I'm living in the village, how I'm paying for college, my family, who my friends are.. that all these things are miracles.

I know that you may think I am being cliche and people say: those are just coincidences or blessings. But trust me I have SO many stories about God's miracles in my life. And I believe that we should give God credit and glory for the things He does (the things we know that we could never do).

Earlier this week I was really struggling with evil thoughts. I felt tempted and overcome by the Evil one. I was desperate for help and I was crying out for God "Where are you?" Why is everything so hard? Why is my life so messy? Why.. when I tried to follow you.. did you shatter my heart in pieces on the ground like a broken puzzle?

But Jesus is doing miracles in me and I'm more than grateful because it is such a privilege to have the Lord of Lords mess up my selfish life and make it holier- something more like His. And I know that day by day, week by week, He will have to continue this process of breaking and remaking me..
And it will be hard at times, and it will hurt at times. But at the end of the day, I will look up at my Savior, potter, and healer of my life and say Thank you so much for saving me from myself.

Tonight I worshiped with Anthony Evans at vespers and the Lord just spoke to me through the music and the message. And He reminded me of the quote Ellen White says where she says "We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history." Also God gave me a verse I have committed to memory Philippians 1:6 which says being confident of this that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion at the day of Christ Jesus our Lord.

Are you recognizing the miracles Jesus is working in your life? Are you letting the Lord work miracles in you?

In the morning do you wake up and surrender your life to Christ and see Jesus change whatever you want about me, do whatever you need too in me to make me more like you? Use me today to be your hands and feet.

I want to encourage you that if you are praying this prayer and if you have committed your life to Christ, you should be seeing miracles unfold. No it won't be easy. No the world's dreams will not come upon you and plop into your lap like a flying ice cream cone but you will find peace and joy in things you never imagined. You will be restored by the Lover of life and you will understand that truly the Lord is all you need and truly He is a miraculous and good God who reigns forever.

My prayer for you is that you would ask God to do miracles in you. That you would re-surrender your life to Him. That you would watch Him lead and guide you to paths you never would have imagined. It will be the best adventure of your life =)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

God can still use you

Even in the cellars
God can still use you.
You need not be silent

Even in the waiting
God can still grow you
You can fear not

Even in the darkness
With God you can still shine
He is your joy

He doesn't need you to be good enough. He doesn't need you to succeed. He doesn't need you... You need Him. He needs you to trust Him to use you when He wants too.

Romans 8:38-29  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a]neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Wrestling with myself

Are you prepared to wrestle?

Ephesians 6:12 "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

Oh how the Devil loves to confuse us. If he can just get us to focus enough on the things of this world or our own faces in the mirror... then He will deceive us to miss out on the treasures of heaven and will have us sitting sidelines of the battle of the Lord. He will first have us sitting in complacency daydreaming about diamonds and gold rings and next thing we know we will have fallen asleep, on the sofa by the side of the tv to the right of the Garden of Gethsemane, forgetting to fight Satan's temptations off, so we could carry our cross with Christ.

Are you ready to fight yourself? To go to the ground and fight with your selfish desires, with the Devil, with your doubts, with your hard heart.. until you finally reach the point of the perfect melody- Surrender.

Jesus wants everything. 
I must give up everything.
The cost to me is everything..
And yet compared to His sacrifice for me, it is nothing.

I believe whole heartedly that there are many people at my school, at my church, and in my country of America that profess to be Christians and yet deny Him each and every day for this world. I see it all the time. I watch my friends go to church and text their boyfriends the entire time during the message. I listen as they share about their commitment to Jesus and then I watch them dance to secular music and watch R rated movies that night. I see them use manipulation on their friends. I watch them exclude the fat girl. My friends, this cannot be. This is not the lifestyle to which Christ calls us. We cannot choose when and where to be nice, when to be Godly and when to witness for Jesus. "We are always witnesses the question is to whom or to what."

It seems we have confused the American dream with the Christian society. We have made it ok and even a glorified image to "have our cake and eat it too". To be Christian supermodels who make lots of money, live in clean, big houses, have perfect sized families, don't smoke, and attend church. Yet what about when God asks us to stop wearing makeup, to do the janitorial job instead of taking the job promotion, to sacrifice our families for the name of Christ, to give more to others than keep for ourselves? What do we do when Christ calls us out of the world?

Christ wants everything. We cannot hold one thing back. Knowing God requires perfect surrender, perfect trust. It's not something we have to do alone but it's a process God wants to lead us through. He will help us wrestle against our sins, temptations, selfishness.. He is willing to get down on the ground of the rink with us. It is necessary for us to struggle to grow. The greatest problems in life are not our circumstances but our own selfish hearts (EGW).

If you are like me, then you find each day to be a constant fight of surrendering. Surrendering my lustful thoughts, my selfish desires, my fears, my lack of trust, my desire to put myself first... I find myself fighting each and every day and sometimes it feels like I have lost the battle...

But let me encourage you. If you are still fighting, you are not losing. Because God is with you on the ground helping you. When you are weak, He is strong. When you give your life to Him, He molds you; He changes you; He remakes you into a warrior.

Slowly each and every day we say:  God I give this to you. I give everything to you. I choose to lay face first on the ground in total surrender and humble abandonment God says I will glorify myself through you. This wrestling thing turns into a beautiful thing, a beautiful process, a transformation, and something of joy because it happens with Christ's arms around me.. and somehow, in some way, this wrestlinig thing is transformed into a beautiful love story.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

To the people who see

Have you ever noticed that there are 2 kinds of people?

People who see and people who always seem to miss it.. They look away at just the right time conveniently every time you look for them.

Whether they are too distracted by something going on in their own life, too busy, or don't actually care to give you the time of day.. they miss the fact that you are breathing and alive too. They make you feel invisible, inadequate, unworthy, self conscious; they hurt you without even realizing it. They may say sorry but you know they could care less. We all will meet people like this. People who don't see our need, who misuse our potential, who make us feel unloved...

But have you ever met someone who sees? Yes my child, I'm sure that you have. You have met someone who has made you smile and laugh when you are in the grumpiest mood. You have met that one lady who held your hand when all of life seemed to flash before your eyes and told you to take deep breaths and that everything would be ok. You have met the guy that asked you "How are you?" and actually stopped to listen and even pray with you after you answered. You have met them... and they are the individuals who have changed your life. One occurence after the other they have given you hope of something better, of something purer, or something deeper and rarer. They have given you a glimpse of the man they call Jesus.

To the one who saw people beyond their appearances but looked into their hearts. Who saw their wounds and was not daunted by their dangerous pasts, but chose to heal and forgive them. To the man who gave His all for a people who betrayed him because He loved them even though they were unworthy of love... To the man who taught us to see.

Every day we make a decision to see or to close our eyes, to look away. Sometimes seeing hurts; othertimes it's just an inconvenience. Yet God says that if we want to follow Him, we must let Him teach us to see again. To see all of life differently, from His perspective.

In John 3:3 Jesus answered "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." We must pray for Jesus to open our eyes, so that we can see beyond the surface. So that we can see people for who they are and what their needs may be, so we can see the true character of Christ, and so that we can see the signs of His second coming and the miracles He does for us. Lord Jesus, open our eyes and let us see like you.

To the people who see: thank you. Thank you for showing me Jesus.





Friday, September 25, 2015

One miracle after another

I tried to be someone's superhero today
and I realized how much I needed you
Because you are the only Superhero worth giving my life too

I realize I'm back on my knees again
Needing to be rescued
And you carried me to Your table
Once again, one miracle after the other,
You provided my daily bread

And though I'm not pain- free
My heart's joy found
Because I know you and You are beautiful
Your love is healing
It's like a rushing river
That washes me through and through

I don't know what your making me into
I don't know how I'm going to do it
How I'm going to survive so many days on this pain-stricken thing
we call earth

But I know that I am loved
I know that I have purpose
I know that I have a healer
I know that I have a potter
And I know that you won't give me more than I can handle
And that through it all you will prove faithful

Providing me with one miracle after another just like you've shown me before
So Lord grant me authentic faith
Teach me how to pray
Teach me how to weep for you and your Kingdom down on my knees
Teach my heart how to feel again
How to care for others more than myself
Change my heart into something vulnerable, tender, and warm
For me to serve you, Lord, I'll need another miracle again

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Worst Day Ever

"Come to me all you who are tired and are carrying heavy loads and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

I don't know when the last time was when you had one of those days...
You know those days when everything possible seems to go wrong.
Almost getting in a car accident, injuring your foot, getting pooped on by a squirrel, thudding to the ground in the middle of your pilates class LOL..

I was having a terrible, no good very bad day... then I went to work in the Hulsey and I watch this cute chubby five year old girl skip into the gym and I watch her fall flat on her face. My immediate response was "oh honey your day is alot like mine, poor thing". But then I watched her jump back up quicker than lightening and yell "I'm ok; I'm ok". I followed her into the bathroom where her mom checked out her bloody legs and she gleefully yelled "Nope it doesn't hurt; they feel just fine.".

Her stubbornness and perseverance made me smile and rethink my daily tribulations.
What do you do when things don't go your way?
What is your response when you trip and everyone is watching
How deep does your faith go? Can you praise God even when you are afraid, in pain, struggling, facing trials?

Sometimes when having a bad day I long for someone to just hold me in their arms and promise me that everything is going to be ok. It may seem cliche, but Jesus is the only person who can truly identify with our struggles, love us deeply, fill our heart, and assure us of his neverending presence. He says Let me help you with your worst day ever. Let me hold you when you are afraid. Let me fill your heart with the peace that only I can offer and with the joy that can make you laugh at the worst days of life.