Friday, November 22, 2013

Cry Out to Jesus.

There is truly nothing else like driving down the road, completely alone, crying out to the One who created you. This past week has been overwhelming with so much confusion, but also confirmation all mixed together with answered prayers. I've learned the peace of crying to God rather than running to people to find comfort. You know what I'm talking about. As humans, our natural instinct when we feel confused or alone is to find someone to comfort us and tell us what we need to hear. As great as it may seem at the time, the comfort from them only lasts for a short time. And then eventually the cycle starts all over again. 
I am thankful now that God showed me a greater alternative.
When I was driving home Wednesday night I just turned off the radio and started talking to God. I was so confused about why some things were happening in my life. Why I had to lose things that were so important to me. Why I was so confused and didn't just simply understand everything. It was in that moment I completely lost it. Literally driving down the road at night crying and yelling to God. I wasn't mad. I wasn't upset. I was begging for Him to keep breaking me. To keep tearing me apart. To keep taking everything out of my life that He wanted to if it meant I would see His will for my life more clearly.
And don't get me wrong, this is without a doubt not an easy thing to pray. And honestly, I used to avoid it simply because I didn't want Him to really take everything away from me, ya know. Just last week I went through a series of different situations that seemed like the end of the world. Yet every single one of them has led to Christ growing more in me and His kingdom truly being glorified. During my quite time Thursday (the morning after my needed conversation with God) this was the scripture I came across..
"As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret. See what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what punishment..
2 Corinthians 7:10-11
I. was. speechless. When I am reading my bible, 9 times out of 10 I look up the definition of quite a few words. So I googled the actual definition of grief and eagerness.
Grief: a response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something to which a bond was formed.
Eagerness: enthusiasm to do something
So going back I reread it as.. " For you felt a godly loss of someone or something, but this loss produces repentance. See what earnestness this GODly loss has produced in you, but also what enthusiasm you have to clear yourselves."

Once again, speechless. I honestly thought God wrote this in my bible overnight because I knew I had read all of 2 Corinthians before and never came across this! How stinkin awesome that God can not only be with me in my car, as I yell and cry and beg for Him to break me and SHOW me that what I was going through was what He wanted from me, but that He is just as much alive in His word. That night I remember saying "God I want to do Your will, I'm fine with losing anything you want me to, I want to do everything it takes to clear myself of whatever is keeping me from being fully centered on You"....and BAM. I suffer godly grief and it leads to eagerness to clear myself.

God's faithfulness is unfathomable. His love is never-ending. But above all, HE IS ALIVE. Terrible times in your life can lead to your best moments with God if you just realize that He is greater than anything you could go through. When you feel God tugging at you to give up something or someone to strengthen your relationship with him, do it. It won't always be easy, but I guarantee you the moment you truly feel yourself striving to be more like Christ and less concerned with yourself will be the moment His peace will overwhelm you in a way you've never felt before.

The god of Vanity.

Have you ever thought of the definition of vanity? When I was younger all I wanted was a beautiful vanity dresser in my bedroom. I never really wore makeup growing up, but I knew if I had a perfect vanity I would sit in front of it for hours just brushing my hair and putting on makeup. That's what they were made for, right? The word vanity itself means to have excessive pride in or admiration of one's own appearance or achievements.

Basically, what I am going to refer to as the god of vanity, has been battling for my life since I was a little girl. And, I can't say that much has changed. Wanting to look not our best, but the best..Having the best figure than those around us..Fixing our hair absolutely perfect everywhere we went. Bottom line for everyone who has strived to obtain these goals, we were simply worshipping our own image. It's at this moment that we need to realize whether our sole purpose is to please man or to please God.

"Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10

I've heard this verse a lot, especially since I've been a Christian. And in my head I always thought "Of course I'm not trying to please people, I love Jesus and He is all I care about." But here lately I have really been convicted about just how much I have been focusing on appearance. It's easy to think to yourself that everything is going fine, and you just have a few struggles, but it's really no big deal. Until someone else points out to you exactly what you constantly talk about, what you're constantly complaining about.

The past few months I have struggled with wanting to lose weight. I've always been underweight for my height so weight was never an issue because I was always playing a sport year around from the time I was big enough to hold a softball bat. (I am not saying that I am overweight now and miserable because that isn't the case. I had become prideful of myself and struggled with the desire of wanting to be unhealthy underweight again.)... However, two years have passed that I've been completely done with high school and college sports and I have become ridiculously insecure with my body image. If you know me then you know how bizarre my eating habits are. There were some days I would go without eating a single meal. Then other days I would be certain I didn't miss a chance to eat. As small of a problem as this may seem, it had completely controlled my mindset for entirely too long. All I thought about everyday is how much I needed to lose weight. How many calories I needed to burn. How much exercise I needed to do every single day. How long I could go without eating at all. It had become not only a problem but a challenge because I wanted so bad to be so tiny that I had let this lifestyle become a god in my life. Yes it is important to take care of your body and to be healthy. But I believe there is a fine line between being healthy and just wanting to look great to the people around us.

"For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promises for both the present life and the life to come." 1 Timothy 4:8

"...people look at the outward appearance, but The Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7.... As amazing as this verse should make me feel, it absolutely terrified me. God looks at my heart. The part of my body from which everything flows. THAT is what God sees when he looks at me. I will tell y'all right now that for me to be so overwhelmed by my own "god of vanity," My heart was certainly not where it needed to be with Christ. And this literally scared me to no ends. A verse that I have heard all my life and just now, when I am 21 years old and closer to God than I have ever truly hit me. My heart wasn't completely surrendered. The answer to my insecurity wasn't to go on a diet or constantly pressure myself to lose weight. Rather it was to surrender my soul and HEART to the One who made me exactly like I am! Matthew 5:6 "BLESSED are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." All this time I was hungry for the wrong thing. Hungry for the self praise I wasn't giving myself. Hungry for the constant acceptance of people who in the end are fighting the SAME battles I am. For us to not appreciate who we are, just the way we are, is implying that God could have done a better job when he knit us together in our mothers womb. And who am I to question God?

I'm not saying that I haven't been growing spiritually over the past few months because I have. But I will tell you that following Jesus completely is a lot harder when you have a particular struggle or sin that you are dragging around with you instead of leaving it at the foot of the cross. Maybe you're struggling with your walk with Christ but you don't know what's holding you back or why you can't seem to have more desire to feel the presence of God. If this is the case, look at something that disappoints you the most. God will use disappointments in your life to remind you of the idols you are letting overpower your life. "What we complain about reveals what really matters to us. Whining shows what has power over us."

"As water reflects the face, so one's life reflects the heart." Proverbs 27:19

The heart is the truth of your identity. Dont trade the Creator God for a god of your own creation. Next time the god of vanity tries to fight so hard to win over your heart, surrender it to the only God who has the power to save you from this world. The One who created you. Jesus Christ.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What's inside your mind?

Have you ever thought about how important your thought life is to Christ? Yes, your actions are very important. Yes, they are a reflection of your true obedience to Christ. Through our actions we can quote some scripture, pray a prayer, attend church, participate in a social church event. But what about the real you. The constant battle of your flesh and the spirit inside your MIND. Are your thoughts pure? 

"We will get no closer to feeling the presence of our Savior until our hearts and thought life measure up the the actions we put on display for others to see."

If you're mind isn't completely focused on glorifying God and pleasing Him, then chances are your mind is not where it needs to be. The root of all sin is within us. We were born into sin. So naturally sin has been filling up our minds. BUT, as a born again Christian, the day you gave your life over to Christ, you laid down your old life. You gave up the sinful nature you had. Jesus Christ willingly gave himself so that we could live without the bondage of sin. So if this is the case, if we are really free from sin, then why do we continually give into the same sins that ruled over us before we surrendered our lives to Christ?

We all have a past. Some very different from others, but we all have them. We know what they are, God knows what they are, other people might even know our pasts. But there is someone that knows the sins you struggled with, the sins you use to be so enticed with, and the "joy" you thought it brought you. That person is satan. And because of the knowledge he has of our lives before Christ, he knows our weaknesses. He knows what to put in our path that once made us give into sin. But, satan has absolutely no knowledge of what is going on in our minds. He is not omniscient. He knows what we choose to reveal to him with our words and actions, but he does not know the depths of our minds. The only person with the power and ability to know our every thought, is our Heavenly Father. He knows when our thoughts are pure. Which means he also knows when our thoughts are not glorifying to him, when they are to go ahead and sin, to just give in to the worlds pleasures.  

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5

Are we doing this? Are we taking control of our minds? If you think your mind is pure and you don't think you fill your minds with idols, greed, lust, covetousness..then ask yourself why exactly you fall into sin. Is it because life is just hard sometimes and you don't realize what your doing? Wrong. It is in our minds that we belittle the power God has and we take it upon ourselves to justify sin. Sin is sin. And God hates sin. Too often we think, "God doesn't care about this sin, it's such a small thing for him to worry about." I'm telling you right now, that is a lie from satan in order for us to continue into sin and continue to justify it. We are at a eternally scary place when we reach the point in our lives that offending God by sinning against him no longer terrifies us

"Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes?" Samuel 12:9.    "But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord.." 2 Samuel 12:14

My prayer is that we will take control of our minds. Stop believing satan's lies that you can get away with sin. God knows your heart. He knows what you're filling your mind with. And He has the power to help you overcome whatever sin you are struggling with. Don't give into sin, instead give it over to God and seek his face in every trial and temptation. The more you seek His face and live for His glory, the harder it is to sin against Him

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with ALL YOUR MIND and with all your strength." Mark 12:30

Monday, March 25, 2013

Modesty; Our Outfits Reflect Our Hearts

We have all heard the phrase "Modest is hottest," right? But how many of us, not so much as believe it, but actually choose the contents of our closets based on it? Basically every girl's closet is important to her and she is proud of everything in it. But is God happy with it too?

I have been convicted in this area numerous times lately and it wasn't until this past weekend that I finally let God have control. By control I mean completely cleaning out my closet. I had certain outfits that I don't believe God would be pleased with me wearing. Not because it was an unacceptable outfit, but because it was unacceptable for me. Everyone has a different body type than the person next to them. What is modest on one person might not be modest on someone else. And if you haven't guessed it height has a huge factor in that area. Dresses on some people might actually be a shirt on me. And it's always the cutest ones that are too short, right. But until now I would still buy those dresses. Throw some leggings on and it was okay to wear. Wrong. I saw a picture the other day that I thought was funny, but was really 100% true. "If leggings were pants guess what we would call them...pants." Yes I laughed. You probably did to. But how true is that. And I am completely guilty of following this "trend." Some people may be thinking "it's not big deal".."if you can pull it off then wear it." This is where our society has taken a terrible wrong turn.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am NOT seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved." 1 Corinthians 10:31-33

Do not cause anyone to stumble because we are not to seek OUR OWN GOOD but the good of OTHERS. So what does what I choose to wear for myself have to do with others? From a man's point a view the way a woman dresses plays a huge role in how they look at a her. I know guys think differently than girls and I'm not going to say I know exactly what goes thru their mind. But I have heard enough guy conversations about girls outfits that would make you sick. Ladies, if the outfits we choose to wear are for the sole purpose of getting guys attention, then we desperately need to examine our hearts and realize exactly what kind of guys we are attracting. And guys, if you are searching for a girl that flaunts her body with her clothes, then I pray you will examine your heart also.

The main point that sticks out in my mind when I think about girls refusing to dress modest has nothing to do with guys, but when girls try to out dress each other. According to the world, "if you got it, flaunt it, right?" No. But for some reason we would rather impress the girls that see us in passing rather than glorify the Lord that gave His life for us. Like it said in 1 Corinthians 10, "Do not cause anyone to stumble because we are not to seek OUR OWN GOOD but the good of OTHERS." If we wear an outfit, leggings for example. Yes we might have the body to wear them. Yes they might not look like a "bad" outfit choice in our eyes. But what about in the eyes of someone else. What about someone who can't "pull off" wearing leggings. How do you think they feel about us. Jealous, envious, insecure. And when they feel that way about themselves it was brought on because of what WE chose to wear. Maybe when we got dressed we were thinking about ourselves and how we looked, but I guarantee you the girl WE made feel insecure is struggling with her appearances hours after we have left her presence. I don't know about you but that breaks my heart. And part of that is because I know how that feels. I've felt jealous of other girls. Insecure about myself because I didn't look the way another girl did. And it is always based on the way we dress!
-1 Corinthians 10:33 from the message, "I try my best to be considerate of EVERYONE'S feelings in all these matters; I hope you will too."

"Your beauty should NOT come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your INNER self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." 1 Peter 3:3-4

INNER beauty. Our heart. The way we dress and present ourselves should directly reflect our heart for God. I do believe modesty is a heart issue. If you are truly seeking God in all you do, then you wouldn't think twice about wearing an outfit that would make another girl feel insecure about herself or a man lust after you. We are children of God.

"I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God." 1 Timothy 2:9-10

APPROPRIATE FOR WOMEN WHO PROFESS TO WORSHIP GOD. I can't express this to you enough. If we are born again, if we are children of the King of kings, if we say we love God...then live it out not only in what we say but how we present ourself. The way you dress when you go to church on a Sunday or Wednesday should not be any different than any other day of the week. If you wouldn't wear it on a Sunday morning then DON'T wear it on a Saturday night

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

Your beauty will fade, and all the self praise you give yourself now concerning how you look and the things you wear will mean nothing when your life here is over.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Heart > Appearance

Why are we so judgmental? We, as a whole. The entire human race feeds off the flaws and imperfections of other people. I just want to know why. This isn't an ordinary blog I'm writing to encourage you to improve in a certain area of your life. I'm not sitting in front of my journal rereading old entries about what to write about for a blog. I'm just honestly tired of this constant battle. Why do we place SO MUCH emphasis on what other people think about us. I, personally, struggle with this every single day. I catch myself all the time saying "I just have zero confidence." As a Christian this should never be my response. EVER. But like clockwork someone says something to me about my outfit or what I was doing and my self esteem goes from 0 to negative 50 in seconds. And I'm sure I'm not the only girl that feels this way. But if I am that's completely fine too because it's a horrible feeling.
Here lately I have become so sensitive to comments girls make about each other. I've literally had to stop myself from staring blankly into the face of girls having conversations with each other around me. Like what joy does it bring us to bring others down? It drives me insane when girls "creep" on social media just to run to their friends and talk about what they saw. The way I look at that is one of two's either out of jealousy or envy.

Envy is the emotion when you want something that someone else has.

Jealousy is the emotion when you fear something or someone might be taken away from you. (Something could be as much as taking the spot light off of you and having it for themselves.)

If you are a born again Christian, and some of you might not be (if this is the case please talk to me about this because everything I'm about to say can pertain to you too), but if you are then there is no room in our hearts for this emotion. When we gave our lives to Christ, we received His spirit inside of us. He now lives IN us. The negative thoughts we have about ourselves and toward other people are not from our living God within us. They are strictly from satan. And satan does not control us unless we surrender our control to Him. The bottom line is, if you are not living for God and glorifying Him..then you are living for satan. Which lifestyle do you want to have to own up to the day Jesus comes back? My main point for this entire blog is to be loving, to love every single person you come into contact with as if they are fighting the same battle you are. And as a girl, there is a great chance we are all fighting the same battle or have at some point in our lives. Love Jesus love others right? Show love even when it's hard. Even when your by yourself and a negative thought about someone crosses your mind. In Jesus name get rid of that thought. (2 Corinthians 10:5.."and we take captive EVERY thought to make it obedient to Christ.") What goes through our mind on a daily basis is going to reflect into how we live our lives. Thank about Jesus and live like He did.

Love y'all!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Your Heart is a Treasure

Purity. To many people purity is from a physical point of view. Even though that is true, a form of it that really attacks me is the emotional side of it. Purity defines who we are on the inside. It's the beauty inside of us growing every single day. As a girl, I know the longing we have to be with that one guy for the rest of our lives. The one guy who will love us unconditionally. To fully submit to one man until death do us part. But what are we doing right at this moment to save ourselves for THAT special one? A book that I was reading a few weeks ago talked about how we go through the whole dating little pieces of our hearts to every guy we pour ourselves into. And then telling ourselves that the pain of a breakup was just a "natural course" of life. Wrong. That pain is something God NEVER intended for us to experience. The way I see it, if we continue to give parts of our hearts to different guys, how much will we actually have left to give to our husbands when God brings them into our lives? That scares me to death. The fact that I could have feelings for a guy right now with zero intentions of marriage KNOWING I am robbing my husband from having my entire heart seriously makes me sick. Proverbs 31:12 says "She brings him good, not harm, ALL THE DAYS of her life." All the days. Every single day. Not just when y'all meet, but right now. Speaking for myself, this it not easy to live out. I've dated the bad guys, hung out with the wrong crowd. At the time it never seemed wrong to me. I never thought about how my future husband would feel if he knew where I was right at that moment or who I was hanging out with. I honestly just thought that since i was in love with Jesus and I wasn't going back to my old ways then it didn't matter who I spent my time with. I couldn't have been more wrong. The devil knows our weaknesses. He knows small lies to tell us that will eventually consume our minds. Philippians 2:21 says "For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ." Like whose interests have i been going after? It hasn't been until recently I've realized that those pointless "friendships" I have are nothing more than stepping stones pulling me out of God's will for my life. I know a lot of girls, including myself, that would rather have guy friends for many reasons, and I agree with this for the majority. But my problem wasn't having too many guy friends, but having too many guy friends who didn't know or refused to know the only man I should be chasing after, Jesus Christ. For me personally and all you who read this i just want you to know its time we stop settling for relationships. Stop dropping our standards for the moment, and start thinking about what God has in store for us in the future. He wants us to wait, wait for His plan and stop crushing our purity because we live how we want to and not surrendering ourselves to Him. Jesus paid for the treasure of our hearts with his own blood, who are we not to give it to Him?

"You are a daughter of the King, so hold out for a man who has royal blood coursing through his veins."

"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God." Philippians 1:9-11

Monday, February 25, 2013

Loving Other.

If there has been one thing I have struggled the most with lately, it's the disapproval of others. Bottom line is that people are mean. People will judge you. People will talk about you, and all we can do is pray for that person. And sometimes it is extremely hard not to follow our natural desire to fight back, or lash out at them for treating us the way they do. But what benefit eternally will that give us? Someone said to me once, or I might have read it somewhere, that almost everybody has had the same struggle as someone they come encounter with every single day. I know you're thinking "well yeah obviously" but it's so much deeper than that. I know several girls who are extremely intimidated by other girls. Something so simple as walking into a room of 3 or 4 girls that you don't know. It's intimidating. They might be judging your outfit, your shoes, the way you do your makeup, how cute your hair looks, and so's a constant battle of trying to "fit in" and get by without being extremely bashed by other girls. And then you throw in social networking..whether it's sub tweeting on twitter or talking about people's pictures on Instagram. The bottom line is that it is purely from the devil. God has called us to love everybody. Not just the people we like or the people who dress the same way we do, He says love EVERYBODY. Everytime I look at someone and have every intention of judging them, I am SO thankful I have the Holy Spirit inside of me saying, "you don't know what she's going through today, what pains she holds from her past, how broken she is underneath that smile," and because of this my heart has grown so much love for people. Even the ones I know are saying things about me when I turn the other way. You never know who is hurting. You never knows who is on the edge of darkness just waiting for someone to shine light into their life. And as Christians it is OUR job to be the light of this world.

"Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death." 1 John 3:13-14

"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16