1.30.2012

The girl in the past...

You think of me as the girl I was in the past and I'm not that same girl anymore.

People label me sweet, kind, troubled, rebellious, crazy, etc. These labels do not define who I am. They didn't define me back then (though I did think so) and they don't define me now.

If people could get their heads out of the past, both for themselves and for others, the blessings we would see in our lives would probably be mind-blowing. People don't do that, though. No, what you did in your past will follow you wherever you go. I've learned this first hand.

Everyone will believe that you have gone off the deep-end if someone tells them you're in to.. drugs, alcohol, sex outside of marriage, etc. No one will question that. As soon as your choose to follow the Lord everyone thinks you're just pretending. That there is no change there. You must not get discouraged. People will question it. Brush it off and show them that you're for real surrendered to the Lord and living for Him.

No one will believe you're legit if you keep making the same mistakes choices over and over again. Lauren Conrad said, "You make a mistake once, after that, it's a choice." Word! That's the truth. We say we made a mistake, but after the first time you are making a choice. Don't get upset when people don't think you're a real Christian when you keep showing them that you have no discipline over yourself and your choices.

You are not the same person you were. Stop believing the lies. We must tell ourselves over and over that we are not the same person we were. If you are after accepting Christ, do some evaluation and ask Him to take away everything that is hindering you from being the follower of Him that He desires.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come." - 2 Corinthians 5:17

I am not the same girl I was. I have been introduced to grace by a Father who is so amazing.

I am redeemed. I am chosen. I am set apart. I am His.

My identity does not come from people. My identity is found in the Lord. So is yours. Go find it! :)

Have a really blessed Monday!

1.28.2012

I'm following Christ... right?

What does the Christian life consist of?
That's a really good question. It's been weighing so heavy on my heart recently that we who are Christians might not know exactly what we have gotten ourselves into. Allow me to explain.

Pastors, evangelists, etc. all tell people about the unexplainable joy you get from following the Lord and living for Him. It's true. I have never been more happy, more joyful, or more satisfied than when I am following my Savior. However, following Christ is hard.

Hear that? It's not all fun and games. It's not happiness and rainbows all the time. Knowing that there is a enemy attacking you every day.. there are a lot of times where I have go to my Daddy in tears because it's too much to take. He can take it though.

I feel like the Church has been trying to make everything "fun". Everything will not be fun. Having fun does not prepare you for life. Having fun all the time will not get God's will done. You can have fun while living for God, but maybe you should ask yourself a question, are you living for God or are you living for fun?

If you want to follow Christ, let me tell you that it will be one of the most rewarding, amazing, incredible, worth while journey's you will ever take. Let also tell you that it will be a life of the most difficult, confusing, and just plain hard times, too. The good does outweigh the bad. Don't get confused, but following Christ needs to be something we take seriously, not lightly.

I wish someone had told me 5 years ago that following God didn't mean saying a prayer and trying to be good after that. I wish someone had told me that it would cost me everything. Not because I've changed my mind about following Him, but because I see so much time wasted. So many opportunities missed. I don't look back though, I press forward.

When we choose to follow Christ we must realize that it means giving over every single aspect of our lives. Every. single. part. Every beautiful mess. Every ugly struggle. Everything.

Following Christ means being compelled to love what He loves and hate what He hates. Loving people, hating sin. Truly being His hands and feet not because we think it will earn our way to Heaven (because it won't) but because we truly delight in doing God's will.

"Help me stay on the path of Your commands, for I take pleasure in it." - Psalm 119:35

This life you're living is for His glory, not yours. I pray that you see that and accept His love and forgiveness and plans for your life. But I also pray that you realize that it's not something we should love in the good times, but hate in the bad times.

“You speak as a foolish woman speaks,” he told her. “Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?” Throughout all this Job did not sin in what he said." - Job 2:10

There will be struggles, more than you can count probably, but the beauty in those struggles is seeing that truly, only by God's hand can we ever truly overcome them. You might think you're winning in this life, but without God, you are failing more than you know.

Have a blessed weekend!

1.26.2012

Stay Faithful

So I have a story to share with you guys today! :D I love stories, but I really like this one because it actually happened... to me.

For the past 6 years my family has been without a car. So when we need to get groceries, we walk to the store. Not a big deal, but for 6 years.. I'd be lying if I didn't say that sometimes it does get old.

Yesterday I was walking home from the store and a man stopped me. Usually I don't pay any attention. It's either a guy wanting a number or someone who is just a creeper.

But this man was different. He opened his mouth and said something about the Lord and I knew I had to stop. So I did. The words that came out of his mouth blessed my heart like no one could understand unless it happened to them. He said,

       "I've been seeing y'all walking for about a year now. You go to the store, you get your groceries, and you walk home. I want to tell you to stay faithful to God. He sees what you're doing. You're not unseen. Stay faithful to Him. You will be rewarded. I've been wanting to tell you that for a month. God bless you!"

That moment was so precious to me. I hope I never forget it. So many thoughts ran through my head. I wanted to cry because I knew God had given me the encouragement I needed just a few days ago. I love how faithful our Lord is!

That man didn't have to stop. He didn't have to talk to me. But he did. I'm sure it was uncomfortable, but he knew God had something to say to a couple people who were feeling weary. What if he had been afraid? What if he told God 'no' because it was just "too scary" or "too uncomfortable"?

You don't go un-noticed. I can promise you that. Stay faithful to the Lord. Not only does He see you, but just like that man, there are people that are watching you. The life you're living, if giving glory to God, can be one of the greatest examples and best witnessing tool you have. Don't take it for granted.

Let's also not be afraid to step out. God has been teaching me that to live a comfortable life is to not be fully surrendered to Him.
                                                
                                “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
                       and your ways are not My ways.”
                       This is the LORD’s declaration.'
                                                                  -Isaiah 55:8

If I'm surrendered completely to the Lord, there will definitely be uncomfortable situations. Why? Because His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways and therefore we will not be in the situations we think we ought to be in. We will be placed in the situations circumstances He has a greater plan in; no matter how scary or uncomfortable they are.

How much do you love God? Let your life show it!

"Jesus answered, "If anyone loves me, he will keep My Word." - John 14:23

Jesus says that true love for Him is  keeping His Word. Your life will show that. I can promise that. And if doesn't show it... then you're probably not following God like you think you are.
(Side note: There's more to that verse, so for sure go and check it out later.)

Be an encouragement today. Follow God with all you've got. You're not going without being seen. Even if you are, remain faithful. He deserves our very best!

Happy Thursday!

1.25.2012

Warning

Hey guys! Last night I went to this thing called 'Shake the City'. It was really good!

I'm gonna share with you something the speaker talked about last night because it was really helpful to me and something that God has already been teaching me.

So anyways, Sunday night/early morning we had tornado's come through. Here's what happened to me:

I woke up to the sound of tornado sirens at 3:00am and flipped on the TV to see where exactly the tornado was. Turned out it wasn't near my house... yet. About 45 minutes later I'm listening to the TV and the dude on there is like, "If you live in __________, _________, or _______ you need to get to your safe place now!" As soon as he said that, the power went out. I was scared so bad! My thoughts were exactly as followed... 'Oh my gosh! The tornado is right above my house. My family isn't awake good. We need to get to the bathroom. I hope we don't die. Dear, Lord, please protect us. We've never had a tornado this close before. I'm so, so scared!'

Thankfully by God's protective hand, we weren't hit. Unfortunately not too far up the road was hit really bad. It's so crazy to think that it didn't hit here, but lives were changed not too far from me. It's crazy to think how our lives can change in a flash. But that's truth. Life can change so quickly. We must not forget that.

The speaker said last night that just like we have tornado warnings to warn us, so we also as Christians must warn other people. That is the cold, hard truth. We must warn other people.

Life is short. Here one day, gone the next. You never know when you're gonna die. Yeah, no one likes thinking about that. But just because you don't think about it, doesn't mean it's not true or it's not gonna happen.

I want to warn you. I want to tell you that life really is short. I want to tell you that there is a Savior waiting to take you in His arms and hold on to you like no other. There is a God who loves you more than you or I could ever know, and He desires and longs for you. I want to warn you that if you don't get right with Him now, you may never have the chance to later. That's for real the truth.

I'm reminded of a story I heard a few years ago. There was a guy who had been living his life for himself. He didn't know the Lord. He went to a worship service one night and got saved. On his way home he was hit and killed in an accident. Can you imagine what would've happened had he not gotten saved? Where he would've gone?

We all have a choice. Heaven or Hell. The choice really is yours. You can choose the Lord and have eternal life with Him. Or you can choose Hell... and the Word tells us that it gets really hot down there. Not a place I want to go to and not a place I want you to go to either.

If you aren't saved, this is your warning. God loves you. He wants you. If you want Him, tell Him. Life without Him isn't worth living. Life with Him is how it's supposed to be.

If you are saved, you need to start warning other people. Start sharing the love of the Lord and letting people know that it's HIS love. Not yours. We can't love on our own. Only through and by God can we even begin to truly love.

I'd also like for y'all to be in prayer for everyone that was affected by the tornado's. So many people lost everything but their lives. May God bring restoration, healing, and comfort to a broken place. Love y'all!! Have a great Wednesday!

1.24.2012

I just want to be real...

I just want to be real.

I'm tired of going to church and being afraid to show that I'm struggling because when you're a Christian you're 'supposed to have it all together'. Pshhh. That's a lie.

I just want to be real.

I want to be able to cry openly when something breaks my heart and not be told to "toughen up".

I don't want to hide my emotions, the pretty ones and the ugly ones. I want to be able to share those happy times as well as those painful, angry, unhappy times, with the people around me.

We aren't robots. We were made to feel. If we weren't meant to have emotions, God wouldn't have given them to us. We are meant to feel just like we are also meant to live. I'm not gonna filter out my emotions before the Lord. I'm gonna hand them over to Him and let Him do the work because truthfully, on my own, without the Lord, I don't know what is right or what is wrong. God can show me what is true and godly, and what is a lie and ungodly.

So.. let me be real with you for a minute.

Sometimes I hate the way I look. Sometimes I spend more time on my outward appearance than I do on my inward and sometimes I think that the outward matters more (for the record, it definitely doesn't!)

Sometimes I tell God I'll serve Him and then turn around and sin against Him.

Sometimes I get so down about a sin that I think God couldn't possibly love me. Yes, He does, but lies can sound really good sometimes.

I have to die DAILY. More like, hourly. There are so many things that catch my attention and I wonder sometimes if I'll ever get it right because I can get so distracted.

Satan can creep in on you if you think you've got it all together. Let me tell you, you don't! But that's okay. Give it to God. Give your entire being over to Him. You won't be perfect and He knows that. He knows that! He still loves you and He still wants you!

Chris August knows what I'm talking about.



Let's be real with God and with each other. As the body of Christ we can encourage and build one another up if we would just share our struggles. There's no sense in hiding from God. He knows you better than you know yourself so you better believe He sees potential in you despite your flaws.

Have a blessed day! ^.^

1.23.2012

They will call you stupid...

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." - 1 Corinthians 1:18

You worship a God you cannot see and people think you're crazy.

You tell people His love satisfies every craving your heart desires, they think you're weird.

You live your life for the unseen, though in your heart's eye everything is clear. They say you're stupid.

You must not let what the rest of the world says about you, dictate the way you live your life. Words from the world are not facts, only opinions.

Sometimes I wish everyone could just see that God is who He says He is and He is so real. Unfortunately, people will see what they want to and we have all been in darkness before we came to Light.

Life seems simple at first. We live for ourselves. Look for all the happiness and pleasure we can find, but eventually it gets old. Running around in circles is only satisfying for a little bit before you want to see something new.

I know how discouraging it can be when someone says what you're doing, 'doesn't matter.' or 'makes no sense.', but we must not allow the words of others keep us from following the Word of God.

Stand strong. People will fail us, discourage us, and let us down, but God! He never fails us or lets us down. He always has your back! Let Him be your encouragement. Let the thoughts of one day hearing, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." be your motivation. His love makes it all worth it.

Happy Monday!

1.21.2012

Your story...

The wounds are deep.
I could pretend that they're out of reach, but I think that would spell defeat.
I'm supposed to be "perfect", no problems at all, dust myself off when I stumble and fall and pretend like it never happened.

My heart is never meant to broken, stolen, left wide open. I am to guard it all times, pushing those away who might try,
and take what was always "mine".

Truth be told,
the same old...
is getting older by the minute and I'm supposed forget that I am a witness in my life.
Of the routine that seems to drive me insane.

I feel alone. Truly I know I'm not, but can you explain that to my wounded heart?
Because it cries 24/7, 365, and I'm left to sit here and ponder why.

I woke up. Wiped the sweat off my head. I'm sitting still in my bed.
There He is. Always with me. He said He forgives me. I believe Him.
What reason would the King of kings have to lie to me?
Why would I even try and think that He could be anything less than True and Loyal?

I'd left Him for years, searching for approval, but the approval was only "pretty" disposal.
I was used and abused by those that I called my 'friends', yet I left the One who has always called me HIS.

I was left in shame, inside my brain, nothing made sense, until I met the One who knows me better than myself.

You may call me stupid. I call you ignorant. Though we all were at one point or another.
Let me introduce you to the One who sticks closer than a brother.
Who loves you more than your father or your mother.
His name is Jesus.
The King of Kings,
the Lord of lords,
who doesn't need guns, knives, or swords. He will win your heart, if you give Him the chance.
You can hold onto His hand and start to dance, a dance that will never end.
Eternity is in His hands. You have one chance. Get it right, before your story comes to a sad end that could've been,
one of the greatest stories ever told.

1.19.2012

Names...

Fat. Ugly. Gay. Stupid. Loser.

Only a few of a titles we give one another.

We take one look  at a person and without even knowing them, we label them.

The homeless man on the side of the road. We don't know "for sure", but he's probably into drugs, or alcohol, or both.

The girl who sits alone at church, she's probably "emo", suicidal, anti - social. Probably.

We take one look at a person and judge them and then wonder why people look at Christians and call them hypocrites. Though we are not all hypocrites, there are a large portion who are.

You know I think if Jesus saw that homeless man He'd probably give him some money, and talk with him for a few minutes. Maybe just small talk, maybe something deeper.

That girl who sits by herself, Jesus would probably sit next to her. Give her a smile. And see if she needs a friend.

The problem is we all have a name, but we don't know the true one. The one that says who we really are in Christ. We all have a "title". You may be the one who calls them self a loser, stupid, ugly. Maybe you really are suicidal, but you go to church every week and pretend to be okay.

Christians are not perfect. Only forgiven. Look at the Cross. YOU are forgiven.

What if you switched those names you call other people (and maybe yourself) from...
loser, to valued.
From ugly, to fearfully and wonderfully made; beautiful.
From stupid, to loved beyond belief.

What if we saw others through the eyes of God? What if we saw ourselves through the eyes of God?

We can all be guilty of believing grace and love and mercy for other people, but not for ourselves. Grace is given to all. Jesus paid the price and now He holds out His hand with His gift and asks you to take it. Will you?

Everyone is loved. Everyone deserves to know they are loved. Gay, straight, bi, God loves us all. Though His Word clearly states that girls are not meant to be with girls, and guys are not meant to be with guys, His Word says we are to love everyone as we love ourselves. We all have things we must work out and go through. I want you to know you are loved. No matter what you've been told before. Nothing you've done or will do can ever earn the love of the Father. That's the awesome thing about it. He never changes therefore, His love never changes. I pray that makes your heart leap! Walk in His love. Stay blessed! :)

1.16.2012

Broken with no vision

I have been called a deep thinker before. In my opinion I don't think that deeply. I just refuse to filter my thoughts away from the things that make most people uncomfortable. I think if we only let our mind focus on happy and pleasing things to us, we will never find our true identity in the Lord.

That being said, the other night I was laying on my bed, crying out to the Lord, and thinking. He was speaking to me about brokenness.

I was telling Him about how my heart breaks for so many people. I told Him about how I felt broken so many times and just chose to stay broken. That's when He told me, "You allow yourself to be broken and that's good, but sometimes you just stay broken, never producing any change or growth through/in that."

I wanted to be defensive at first. Like, 'Okay, God, you might be right, but I'm pretty sure something good comes out of my brokenness... right?' Then, I was like wow. That's so true. We see the pictures of babies in Africa starving, but do nothing about it (well the majority of us at least). We see the homeless man on the side of the street and have broken hearts as we pass him by, but we never stop to see if he's alright, what he needs, or if he knows Jesus.

Brokenness without vision produces no change.

Truth. You can be broken... and only broken. But while your heart is breaking for someone else, you can choose to find God's vision, see from His point of view, and make a change.

When you get sick, what do you do? Do you continue running around 24/7, going to bed at 3am, take no medicine and just hope you get better? No. Most of us don't at least. You slow down, get some rest, take your medicine, and get better way faster than if you didn't do any of that. Same thing goes for when our hearts are breaking. If you just look at our broken world and think, 'How sad.' but do nothing about it, change nothing about it, the world will stay broken and never get any better.

I am talking to myself especially. You're not alone. There have been many times when opportunities came my way and I just did nothing. I chose to sit and be broken, but never rise up and pursue God's will and plan for healing and restoration in this world.

My prayer not only for this week, this month, or this year, but for however long I have on this earth, is that I will be broken, but have a vision, God's vision, that will eventually bring change and healing to our world. If God cares about brokenness, then so shall I. I will do something. No longer will I sit back and think about how sad it is. I will take action. Do something. Life is too short not to.

"For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." - James 2:26

1.13.2012

Quality over quantity...

The first time I really thought about the phrase, "Quality over quantity." was when I started working out a few years ago. I was told that if I only did 25 crunches correctly, better that than 100 done the improper way.

You also hear that when people are talking about food. You know, your mom is at the store and you want some cookies that have like 50 in the package and she says, "I'll take quality over quantity.".

When it comes to reading the Bible, quality over quantity.

When I first became a Christian I thought I was supposed to read as much of the Bible as possible. So, I would sit down and read 4 - 5 chapters a day. Nothing wrong with that, except I wasn't really soaking in the Word. Sure, I read through the whole Bible in no time at all, but I really learned nothing.

I've heard some people say things like, "I'm almost done reading the New Testament." I'll ask when they started and they'll tell me like 2 weeks ago. That's a bit too fast. One of the best pieces of advice my pastor has given me is to read the Word slowly. S-L-O-W-L-Y. We don't know too much about that anymore. We want to rush through everything. Make it as fast as possible. When it comes to spending time with God, we shouldn't be rushing through it. We should enjoy His presence. If you're eating a meal and you scarf it down, you're probably not going to enjoy it too much. But when you allow yourself the time to slowly savor every bite, you enjoy it. Our time with the Lord shouldn't be rushed through, it should be slowly enjoyed, every single minute.

My advice to you, don't rush through your time with God and in His Word. Don't think that you have to read 4 chapters of the Bible every day or God is unhappy with you. He's not. He wants us to slowly enjoy His presence and really get something out of our time with Him. That's satisfaction. We are satisfied in Him.

Have a great Friday! :)

1.11.2012

Because...

I lay my head on a pillow at night and think.

I think about those girls. I don't know their names, but I feel as though I know them.

I know nothing about what they're going through, but my heart breaks thinking about it.

Why would someone be so cruel? How in the world, could someone be so cruel?

I don't understand it. It's not right. It's not fair. Nobody on this earth really seems to care. Probably because it isn't happening to them. Maybe because it hasn't affected anything around them much less someone they know. I don't have to know the person to feel a tiny bit of their pain.

My heart is breaking as we speak.

The A21 Campaign does care though. Thank God! They have stepped up and shown us, the ignorant ones, that there is so much more going on right in front of us. Watch the video below.



That video is heart breaking. It is also very eye opening. Maybe we would care more if we thought 'that could be me'. People are so selfish. Why not step up and be selfless?

From today on to January 21st, The A21 Campaign is trying to raise awareness for human trafficking. You can go to this link and pick one way to raise awareness during these 10 days. At least watch the video. One thing we can all do is pray for them. Pray for the girl right now who is being taken as you read this. Pray for God to show you a way to get involved.

Because no ones life should be deemed unworthy.

1.10.2012

The lonely valley...

I am walking in a lonely valley.

There are many people around me, yet none of their words comfort me.

No, I look to my Father and His love, His words, they bring me comfort. Still, I cannot mask the pain my heart is feeling. He knows. He knows my pain better than anyone. I trust Him. If I must walk in a lonely valley to find Him for the rest of my life, then I will.

Often times when we are alone, when we are afraid, tormented, angry, in pain, sad, depressed, hungry and hurting, we find God the most.

Why is that? Well, when we're happy we just don't depend on Him as much as we should. We think we can handle life. We think, 'I've got this.' No. You don't. We have nothing but Him. He is enough.

If He were to let us run our lives and give us the "power" we think we have, all our lives would be empty and disappointing. Thank God that He is God and will bless our lives with His power if we choose to allow Him to do so.

It's not pleasant all the time. Not at all. I want His joy to overflow through me again. To fill me up and spill over into every aspect of my life. But if I'm happy all the time and never truly know my God... what kind of life is that? What type of relationship is that? Sounds like a sad life.

I am still smiling through it all. Why? How? Those questions have crossed my mind a few times. I mean, my heart is hurting, but I'm still happy in a sense. It doesn't make sense to a person who doesn't know Love. But if you know the Lord, then you know that trusting Him is the absolute best thing you can do, and that when you truly trust Him, you can smile through the pain because you know that He will take care of it all. There will be tears, but the tears will be wiped by the very hand of God and you will know comfort. Eventually. It's a process.

Don't be afraid of lonely valley's. Don't allow your emotions to be your god. Happy, sad, joy, grief, none of those things can ever overcome God and who He is. Don't let the devil lie to you and say they can because they can't. Being sad changes nothing of how God looks at you or how He loves you. His love is unfailing. Always. Happy or joyful. Sad or angry. He is our God. Trust Him.

Have a blessed day!

1.09.2012

Warm and fuzzy?

You won't always have warm and fuzzies.

Why doesn't anyone talk about that? So when life throws you a day where you feel like garbage, you begin to think there must be something wrong with you, because a Christian; a follower of God, is not supposed to have a bad day. Right? Wrong.

It is true that you should be passionate about your relationship with the Lord and you should have feelings of warmth and happiness and joy in that relationship, but to think that it will always be that way is plain stupid.

I thought that for a while and the minute those feelings were fading and changing into feelings of depression and sadness, I began to question my relationship with God. No one told me that the warm and fuzzies wouldn't always be there.

This time in my life I have found my heart broken. Why it is broken I haven't quite figured out and believe me I will share once it's known, but this time is very trying. Can't we all just be real? I mean, honestly, I don't want to go sit down in my Sunday school class and pretend everything is okay. I want to talk about it. No, we must put on our fake smiles and our fake "Life is good" motto and never, ever begin to think that maybe life isn't that good right now. Why would anyone think that God would want us to be fake?

I am being tried severely right now. Just two weeks ago my heart was blossoming with love that overflowed so greatly for God and for other people. Now, my heart feels empty. Hurt. Deeply cut. I find myself crying out in worship instead of just singing the songs that I know are so true. Maybe that's the purpose in this time, that though everything might try and tell me not to serve God (and being a very emotional human being, if I placed too much value on feelings I might have already given up on this relationship) I will still pursue the Lord and I will still sing His praises because "feel good" emotions or not, my God is still God and He is still good. No matter what.

Prayers would be great right now. And if you need prayer for something please don't hesitate to post me a comment w/ your prayer request in it. If it is too personal for the whole world to see you can send me an email. It's on my profile.

My reminder to you, regardless of whether you're "feeling it" or not, God deserves your very best. I know it's hard when your emotions are playing with you, but don't forget the great love God has for you and that He is always with you, fighting your battles (Exodus 14:14). Have a blessed Monday! :)

1.07.2012

Be ALL In

This fasting thing is harder than I thought it would be. Like way harder.

I decided to fast Facebook, Twitter, Dr. Pepper (for those who don't know me personally.. there is a HUGE addiction to that stuff ;) ), sweets (cake, candy, pie, ice-cream, etc.), and any secular music.

Fasting Facebook and Twitter isn't too bad, I needed a break from that stuff. The secular music was mostly country stuff anyway so I don't miss that too/too much. The sweets... oh goodness I had no idea how dependant upon them I was until I told myself I couldn't have any.

So some people have asked me recently why I'm fasting. Plain and simple, I want to get closer to the Lord. Also, fasting helps us to see that God supplies all of our needs. So even though you might find yourself dependant on certain things, once you take them away, you'll see that through God you can do anything.

I find myself sometimes thinking, 'Hmm.. I can totally cheat on this fast and no one will know.' I mean no one is watching me that closely. Then I remember I am doing this for God. And while no one around me may know, He would. I think about how if someone was doing something for me, I wouldn't want them to go back on it later simply because it brought up some trials.

Side note: If whatever your fasting causes you to become more distracted than focused on God, then you need to find something else to fast and work your way up to whatever it is. No focus = no awakening in your life.

My reminder to you today is whether you be fasting now or later, or doing something else for the Lord, or just living your life day to day, let your heart be all in. Don't hold back. Jesus didn't hold back on the Cross, we shouldn't hold back in our every day life.

Have a blessed Saturday! :)

"Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men." - Colossians 3:23

1.05.2012

Read this...

I just wrote yesterday about how deceptive your heart can be, but this post explains it way better,

http://goodwomenproject.com/emotions/your-heart-is-not-your-enemy

Be sure to read that. It was something I needed to read and be reminded of that our heart is simply an indication that underneath, something is wrong.

Happy Thursday! ^.^

Awakening {Book Review}

Awakening by Stovall Weems

I wasn't sure about this book at first. I thought it was going to be another lame, self help book that everyone reads, but nobody does what it says. That is not the case for this book.

I didn't read the back of this book until I got it. I wouldn't recommend doing that normally, but it worked out really well this time. ;) I saw that this book was on fasting which was something I was kinda like.. 'umm... maybe this book isn't for me' at first. Then, I started reading it and Stovall Weems is such a wonderful, easy to read, yet profound writer!

Stovall talks about how important it is to fast and how Jesus talked about it and how important it is for us to just rest. Having just gotten into fasting this past year, I can say many times when the world got me down and I just took a break from everything my life became more blessed. From Facebook, twitter, phone conversations, etc. I found more of God in that time.

I encourage you to pick up this book. It's blessed my heart a lot and I think it will bless yours too.

Side note: I have started my 21 day fast today. More about that later. I'll be keeping you up to date with what the Lord teaches me during this wonderful period. :)

Have a blessed Thursday everyone!

Note: This book was given to me for free by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing company for reviewing purposes.

1.04.2012

Lead your heart, stop letting it lead you...

Sometimes I wish I didn't have a wandering heart. That my heart would just desire one thing and stick with it. That my heart would just desire Jesus and stay with Him and never look else where for satisfaction that can't be found.

However, my heart doesn't do that on it's own.

Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable- who can understand it?" HCSB

I have experienced my heart's deceptiveness over and over again. My heart has misled me so many times. Can't blame my heart though. It doesn't know any better. Really, it doesn't. I do. It's my job to lead my heart in the way it should go.

I was spending time with Jesus yesterday and began reading Proverbs 2. I encourage you to go read that full chapter. As I had just begun reading, I came across verse 2. I also went back to it a couple times. God was speaking through it to me.

"...listening closely to wisdom
and directing your heart to understanding;" - Proverbs 2:2


Now before Bible scholars attack me, I am a huge believer in reading the full context of Scripture which is why I encourage you to read the whole chapter. However, for this post I am focusing specifically on what I was studying yesterday.

So, I listened to God explain to me that wisdom is something that doesn't just come to me. It is something I must listen for; intently. Further on in Proverbs 2 it talks about wisdom is something we must seek like silver. You will not wake up one day and be a wise man or woman. If you want to have godly wisdom you must seek it, listen for it, and look for it.

After that, God hit me in the gut. He began speaking to me about how I must direct my heart. It won't go where I want it or He wants it, if I let it have free reign. So many times I've wondered why different things my heart desired so much, God didn't want for me. It was just that He has so much better in store for me. For you too. Which is one of the main reasons we must learn to tell our heart no. Certain things are not good for us or for our relationship with the Lord and just because it is your hearts desire does not mean it is God's desire.

Reminder for the day: don't let your heart lead you. Lead your heart. Lead your heart towards God and towards all His plans for your life. Don't be deceived. Your heart will do that to you. God won't. He is not deceptive. He is who He says He is. Be blessed! :)

1.03.2012

The last year of your life?

I was reading my devotional a few days ago. Of course the topic was on the new year and what we are going to do and so on. Then, at the very end it asked this question,

What if 2012 really is your last year on earth? How will you live?

Wow. That blew my mind. I mean we have all heard of those people who pretend they know when the world is going to end even though the Word already says no one knows the time or date. But what if, not in a "the world is ending" type of way, but in a, "Jesus is coming back!" way, this was your last year? How would you live it?

I thought about that question and have been thinking about that question off and on for about... well ever since I read it. It's been driving me. Challenging me. If this was my last year on earth, I want it to be different. In a good way of course. I want to live all out for God. I realize now that that is how we should always live.

I don't want to look back at the end of this year, be it my last or not, and think, 'well... this was just like every other year. No consistency. No radical living. No constant pursuing. Just me, being selfish, hateful, unforgiving, and dumb.'

I want to look back and say that while it wasn't perfect, while I did stumble and fall, while I did fail the Lord, I got up, took His hand, and continued walking in His ways and being His hands and feet.

What about you? If this was your last year on earth, how would you live it? Seriously, I'd like to know. What would be one thing you made sure you did every day consistently? If you don't have an answer to share now, that's okay. But make sure you think about it. Will you give God your all this year, or think that though, tomorrow is never promised, you'll get it right "later"? Later may never come.

Have a blessed night everyone!

1.02.2012

Thoughts, feelings, and the Holy Spirit speaking...

Pressure.

Sometimes I feel so pressured. Like the whole world is looking at me. Are they? I accept my role as a leader, as a follower of Christ, as someone who is to be a reflection of Him. At times that role seems too much. I press on.

I feel like people are constantly watching me. If I mess up, the whole world gasps and looks at me with shame. Obviously that's not true, but it feels that way. Emotions are not facts, they are mere feelings. I must remind myself.

One of my greatest fears is that people will follow me more than they will follow God. Don't look at me and think that this, my life, is the way all Christian lives must be lived. It's not. God has a unique plan for us all. Everyone is not called to Africa or Haiti. Everyone is not called to be a pastor (however we are all called to be a minister of the Word, but that's a different thing). Everyone is not called to be _______ fill in the blank. My life is no more anointed than yours. If you accept the calling of God you'll see that. Everyone can be obedient, however everyone who is called won't be obedient to that calling.

I am not perfect, only forgiven.

Perspective.

Perspective changes things. A lot of things. For example, yesterday was a little rocky. While getting ready to throw myself a pity party I had a thought that could only have come from the Holy Spirit and He said to me, "So one person may not like you. That's nothing compared to the girl being sold into sex trafficking right now." Boom! That broke my heart and me.

Something God is teaching me is that my life is best lived with the focus off myself. Looking to Him first, and then, to others. I'm slowly learning that when I encounter a worry or a problem, I need to pray to God for guidance and help, ask others to pray for me, and then ask others how I may for them. Too much of the world is focused on the 'me' factor. That will not be my life. I said goodbye to the world and I will not go back. I will love and care for the people around me and not because I need to, not because I'm better than anybody else, but because Christ lives in me and He loves everyone. Only by Him am I able to do anything. Period.

A reminder to you today, even if yesterday wasn't the ideal beginning to 2012 you wanted, every day is a day for change. A day to be more who God has made you to be and you cannot do that without Him and His help. Let today be better than yesterday. Let Him move and work in you. May your love for Him not depend upon your circumstances, but because you love Him because He first loved you. Have a blessed day, beautiful people! :)

1.01.2012

2012 is here!

Well last night we said goodbye to 2011 and hello to 2012... or did you?

Let me give you a piece of advice that I've learned. Clinging to your past does you no good. It just distracts you from your future. So you made some mistakes last year. We all did. Move past it. Correct what needs to be corrected and move forward in the life that God has planned for you.

That being said, I'm so thankful to see what God has in store for me and the amazing people around me this year!!! I know that this year will be even better than last year.

Some people don't like to make resolutions because, and I quote, "It feels so bad when you break them." Okay, just because you mess up once, doesn't mean you give up. Personally, I am a huge fan of new years resolutions. I think dreaming is something God wants us to do. And not just dreaming small dreams, I know He wants us to dream big, beautiful, impossible without Him, type of dreams.

So here are a few of my resolutions for this year:
  • Grow even closer to the Father.
  • Love other people more deeply.
  • Hold nothing back.
  • Stop running away from problems and instead seek His solutions.
  • Go on another mission trip.
  • Be the hands & feet of Jesus (serve more).
  • Share Christ's love in everything that I do.
  • Find one person to mentor.
Those are just a few. There are many, many more. What about you? Did you make any resolutions? If so, what are they? Please share in a comment below! Happy New Year everyone!! Can't wait to see where God takes us! ^.^