7.29.2011

Erasing Hell by Francis Chan


I just finished reading Erasing Hell by Francis Chan and I must say it was one good book. Not an easy read though and here's why.

Hell is not an easy topic. Period. End of story. It's not an easy thing to hear, read, or talk about but yet it vital to each and every person on this earth.

Francis takes you through the beliefs that are true and false about hell and goes in depth with the reader as he talks about where hell is, what it consists of, and who will go there.

While reading it I came to an even greater thankfulness for the love of Christ and the Cross and Abba's grace for His children. I think this book is a necessity for any person (believer and non-believer alike) to read. Why? Because we may think that we are in the Father and know Him, yet Jesus told us in Matthew 7:22-23 that "Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name and in Your name drive our demons and in Your name perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me you evildoers!'" Jesus said many people will think they followed Him and yet have missed it entirely. I don't want that to be me, I don't want that to be you and I pray that God the Father and Jesus Christ reveals to you whether you are a follower of Him or not. And if it be that you are not that you will become a true follower of Jesus Christ. That He reveals Himself to you each and every day of your life.

I encourage you to go find this book and read it. There are questions at the back that go along with the focus in each chapter about hell, answered rather well if you ask me and there are notes after each chapter that will help you see clearer while reading this book. May God bless you abundantly and may we, His children, praise His name. 

7.25.2011

Sitting Still And Being Quiet...

I've been growing so much in the Lord and its so amazing!! I've learned that He is my Abba (Daddy), and that He loves me like none other. I'm still getting to know Him and His love, but my prayer life, I would say, has been really good (always room for improvement and growth), but meditation... not so much.

I was thinking over the weekend (really the Holy Spirit was pointing this out to me) that I don't listen as much to Him as I need to. I mean actually taking some time and on purpose sitting quietly in His presence and simply listening. This morning I came across something that was talking about how I spend so much time talking and praying, but not as much time listening to God. I was like, oh my goodness! That's so right and I know that's You Lord! Psalm 46:10,

"He says, "Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.'"

How many times a week are you actually quiet and still? How many times a month do you sit down and just listen to His voice and what He's telling you? Do you ever just sit there and enjoy His presence? Don't worry, I'm not condemning you at all. I'm asking myself these same questions.

My challenge to you is to spend some time at least once this week just sitting quietly, no ipod (maybe have some worship music playing softly in the background), no phone, no tv, no internet. Just you and the Father and just ask Him to begin to speak to you. Then... listen. I will be doing the same. Can't wait to hear what the Father tells you!! God bless you all.

7.23.2011

Jesus More Than a Savior...


A friend of mine put this on their page yesterday and it really blessed me and challenged me and convicted me. Hope you enjoy. God bless.

7.22.2011

Gone, But Not Forgotten...

Today marks one year since a dear friend (really more like a family member) died. He was my Pops (we weren't blood related, but try telling me and if he were here, him, that. :) I didn't have the privilege to know my grandfather, but this man came into my life when I was 2 and he and his wife were no doubt the most loving, incredible, God - fearing people I have ever met and became second grandparents to me. Tears fills my eyes just thinking about them.

People ask questions like, who is someone who has influenced your life the most? Who has been the most Christ-like example in your life? Those two people always come to mind. I've never seen anybody that when you were going through a tough time, didn't matter what was going on in their life, they would take you under their wing and nurture you.

I remember two years ago, I fell in the bathroom and hit my head really hard. It was 9 o'clock or so at night, my family called them to take me to hospital because no one who could at my house and they told me to come right up. They took me.

I was going on a camping trip and didn't have a sleeping bag to take, guess who went and bought me one without even being asked to? Yep, they did.

Who came to my house and comforted me when my grandmother died just one week after her husband died? She did.

I remember spending countless hours talking with Pops about life, what he's learned throughout it, his views on things, amongst other stuff. I miss those times.

Needless to say they both have shown me the love of the Father and there's no doubt in my mind that one day I will see Pops again in Heaven. So while I'm sad he's gone and he is dearly missed, I am comforted by my Abba knowing its not goodbye forever.

R.I.P. Pops.

If you don't mind, dear brother or sister, please pray for their family on this day especially his wife who is left behind for a short while. Thanks. God bless you all.

7.19.2011

Heaven Is For Real


I finished reading this book last week. I don't know where to begin... it's a really, really good book. Todd Burpo goes through and tells the story of his 4 year old little boy named Colten who says he went to Heaven. What follows will blow. your. mind. Not kidding.

I've heard many people speculate about this book, whether the child did or didn't go to Heaven. Here's my opinion, if God wants to use a 4 year old child to spread His message then He will and can. The things he talks about are Biblically sound and there's no way that a child can know all this unless he has seen it. Personally I believe the whole thing did occur. And God used this book to grow my faith and open my mind.

I really.. strongly encourage you to go find this book and read it with an open mind. Pray before you read it and ask God to reveal His Truth to you while reading it. God will change you while you're reading this. Your faith may become more child-like. Let the Father do His work in you. Love y'all! Stay blessed.

7.16.2011

Weeping With Good Reason...

Living in the South, football fans are crazy. No lie, they are crazy for their team and will do pretty much anything to cheer them on and support them. One thing I shared with someone this past week was how messed up it is that when someones favorite team loses, they cry over it. How messed up is that, that when something as small and meaningless as a game is lost, people will shed precious tears over it??!

A while back I prayed God would break my heart for what breaks His. He indeed has and is doing just that. Romans 12:15 says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." I would say most Christians have the rejoicing with those rejoice thing down somewhat (there is always room for improvement), but the weeping with those who weep... hmm.. not so much.

I'm not gonna waste my tears on something so meaningless. You can cry for a lost football game (baseball, hockey, soccer game; or a stinking chipped nail! lol) whatever... but I'm gonna cry for the lost, the orphans, the poor, those who are my brothers and sisters and are being neglected. I will weep with them, I will pray for them, and I will do what I can, and even what I can't because I know through Christ, I can do all things. (Phil. 4:13) I hope and pray you will join me.

Let's spend a little more time focusing on cheering on our brothers and sisters in Christ and a little less time on the meaningless things of the world. God bless you in rich and amazing ways.

Super Summer 2011

Well as you can see I am back from Super Summer 2011. Wow. I'm not really sure where to start except to say that my life is changed forever by God through this amazing camp. I am not the same person I was and my mind is being transformed (Rom. 12:2). I met some of the most amazing people, I learned so much (which I will share later) and I have been set free from so many things. One thing I want to remind you of is that God loves you unconditionally no matter what you do. Never doubt the Truth.

"It is by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God." - Ephesians 2:8 

Love you guys! Stay blessed.

7.10.2011

Leadership Camp 2011

Hey blog friends. :) I won't be blogging this week until probably Saturday because I'll be at a leadership camp the whole week. Just wanted to let you know so you didn't think I was M.I.A. ha ha.

I hope you have a fantastic week filled with God's love and blessings and I'll post ya' on Saturday. He he :)

And, if anyone feels so inclined as to pray for me and the people that are going and while we're there I would be much appreciative of it. God bless. :)

7.08.2011

Life, In Spite Of Me



Have you ever felt like life is too much? Like there is so much going on and you can't possibly get through this life? Has suicide ever played around in your mind? Kristen knows exactly how that feels. She felt this way and ended up climbing onto some train tracks to end the madness. But God had bigger plans for her.

While reading this book I laughed, cried, found myself nodding my head along with Kristen as she shares her journey of finding the love and joy of Jesus Christ through such a tough time. I would encourage any believer to read this book, to just remind you of the love of God. And I would definitely encourage anyone who has or is contemplating suicide to pick up this book.

I want to remind you that if you are feeling like life is too much remember that God is right there with you and He loves you dearly. Never let satan tell you the lie that God doesn't. Don't believe the lies! Jesus loves you as you are and will meet you right where you're at. If you need someone to talk to you can leave a comment below and I will gladly talk with you, there are also resources that can help you. God bless you.

"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith." - 1 John 5:4

Note: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Plublishing Group for this review.

7.07.2011

Captivate



This is one of the best 5 minutes and 13 seconds you will spend in your life, I encourage you to watch this video and listen to the song... really blessed and touched my heart. I pray it does the same for you. God bless you.

7.06.2011

Life Change...

"Jesus + the Cross = salvation = transformation = change = not doing things the way you used to."

I wrote these words in my journal tonight. God has been teaching me about how if I truly love Him and truly have been saved, my life will look different from the way it has been. Slowly, I am changing completely and totally in my life. In how I walk, talk, the things I do, everything. I am no where near being where I need to be, but God is helping me through this process.

As I was writing earlier and thinking about life I couldn't help but think, I'm tired of living on the sideline of life watching things happen. Because I am a follower of Jesus I choose to follow Him even unto death. No matter what He wants me to do, I will obey. In Matthew 8 there is a story about a disciple that came up to Jesus and told Him he would follow Him, but he had a father who had died and wanted to go bury him first and then follow Jesus. Jesus replied, "Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead." (vs. 32) I've always thought, wow, that's kinda harsh. Then today during devo's I read in one of them about this story and how Jesus wasn't being mean or harsh He was simply illustrating a point, if we want to follow Him sometimes there will be choices we have to make between being with our father and mother or doing His work.

The question I ask myself and you is this, will you follow Jesus Christ anywhere He goes?

Really think about that for a minute. Are you willing to follow Jesus to depths of the earth to share His love and His gospel? Woo! That challenges me so much. It's easy to say, "I love Jesus. I go to church every week, serve people, am in the choir, do things for the Lord all the time." But can you really say you truly love Jesus, so much so that you'll go anywhere He wants to go? Even if it means being in not so nice (clean) places doing things that might get you out of your comfort zone or are just plain hard?

God has placed so heavy on my heart to not just be a "fan" of Him, but to be a true follower of Him... to truly love Him and truly live for Him. No where in the Bible does it say living for Christ will be easy (if you see that let me know), looking at the lives of people like Peter and Paul you see very clearly that it's not an easy journey, but I bet if they were here right now on this earth, the would tell you it is so worth it. I would agree. Living for Christ, as difficult as it may be, is so, so worth it. Join in on the journey, you won't regret it. Stay blessed.

7.04.2011

Freedom

Hotdogs, hamburgers, fireworks, grilling out, family and friends, swimming, laughter, happiness, fun.

These are some of the things that will probably be part of your fourth of July. I would like to suggest to you to spend some time in prayer for our soilders (past and present) and their families. And then to spend some time thanking God for the freedom He has given us both through His Son and through our brothers and sisters.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." - Galatians 5:1

When you think of the American flag also think of the Cross because without His freedom we would still be bound and burderened by a "yoke of slavery". I thank God for His grace overwhelming and for the soilders who have and are willingly sacrificing their lives for my freedom in this Country. To God be the glory!

7.03.2011

Forgive

"Hurting people hurt people." - Unknown

Whoever said that is very wise. Oh, God has been doing so much in my heart this weekend. All talking about forgiveness and unforgiveness and love. God has got me all around. Through His Word, blog postings, books, my pastor! God is moving! In His Word it says,

"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." - Matthew 6:14

and then in the next verse it says...

"But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, niether will your Father forgive your trespasses." - vs. 15

I thought I had forgiven someone who hurt me. I thought it was in the past. I realized that there was still some unforgiveness in that area. But then this weekend God being the INCREDIBLE God He is :) has shown me several times that if I do not forgive, then I will not be forgiven. Why? Because He forgives us even though we definitely do not deserve it. He's shown us mercy. In turn we as His children and followers are to show that same mercy to the people around us even if we don't think they deserve it, even when we've been hurt so deeply all we see is pain. Because as we know, God shows us grace and mercy we do not deserve and His Son went through the most gruesome, painful death ever so we could be forgiven. Think about that.

The world does not forgive. And if they do, not easily at all. We know that. We as Christians are not to be of this world. That's the difference between a follower of Christ and the world. 1 John 3:10 says,
"In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother." (Emphasis mine.) Do you get that? We are not of God if we don't follow His Word and put it into practice and love our brother.

This has hit me really hard and made me realize a few things. As I was thinking and praying about everything... God told me, "Forgive them as I have forgiven you. I know you were hurt, but do remember its because they are hurting. Doesn't make it right, but as My follower you are to love no matter what. Show them My love."

Forgiveness has been given. I don't care how I was hurt or what was done, I am to forgive because Jesus Christ paid for me to be forgiven. I cannot, must not, hold a grude or unforgiveness towards anyone. As my pastor said this morning, "If we have true love for God, then we will forgive and follow His commandments. We will want to please Him." Let your love for God drive you. Pursue Him. Because true love for God is obeying Him and following His Word even when it's hard. Forgiving someone who may not do the same if it was the other way around. Loving someone even when you've been hurt badly. Letting go of something done in the past because you want to move forward to the present and what things God has for you. Forgive and move forward into the life God has planned for you.

7.01.2011

Forgotten

Forgiving...
that is something I do.
I have no choice, I must forgive.
The process after forgiveness..
that is what I struggle with...

Forgetting the ways I failed my God.
Forgetting how I lost my way.
Forgetting how I was misled and hurt,
How I may have led others astray.

Yet as I sit here in distress
trying to figure out all of this,
A still, small voice whispers in my ear
"You're forgiven. And I am near,
I will take away the pain you feel,
and the hurt that holds you close,
lean back into My arms, and let Me hold you so.
Forget about those things, for I have already forgotten them."

I am forgiven. I am freed. And now I see, He's all I will ever need.

Surrenderd

Life... we all have one. And we have just that, only one. What we do with it is our choice. The good Lord has not forced us to accept Him and because of that we have choices. We choose whether to follow Him or not. I've been having this conviction though... I have chosen to follow Christ. But am I really following Him? Let me explain.

I haven't truly lived for Christ (following God's Holy Word) like I need to and should. I just now (like in the month of June) got right with the Lord. My eyes have finally been clearly opened and I have seen the error of my ways and turned from them. Does this mean I'm not gonna fail? Certainly not. But it does mean that I will do everything in my power to live for Jesus Christ to the very best of my ability.

I've told a couple people this, the girl who was here this time 3 months ago is dead. She is gone and not coming back. This girl here is new. She realizes that she is living for the Lord and seeking His glory not her own and therefore in everything she does, though she fails all the time, will continue to seek the glory of her God.

I have finally realized that my life should be that of total and complete surrender to the Lord and if it's not then I must begin to wonder if I am really following the Lord at all. If you are trying to manipulate things to go the way you want them, then are you really following and trusting God? I had to think long and hard about this a few months ago and will need to evaluate myself consistently to make sure my heart and life is in the right place. I would encourage you to do the same.

Let me tell you, placing my trust in Jesus Christ at times may not be easy, but I know He has my back, that God works all things together for my good (Romans 8:28) and that what He said He would do, He will. If you haven't decided to fully trust in the Lord and follow Him I would say you need to.  It will most definitely be the best decision you've ever made! Don't be misled, truly following God is not easy. It will take discipline and effort. However, as I said earlier, it will most definitely be worth it to be able to spend the rest of your life with the Lover of our souls. :) God bless you.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." - Hebrews 13:8