A Need For Love

I see these children and so want to hold and care for them.  One day…

http://www.ransomforisrael.com/orphans-die/

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Selfish Fear

One of my least favorite words: Fear.

As I’ve shared in previous posts, I very much want to help children with special needs. Even more than that, I don’t want to live a shallow life knowing with faith in Christ I could’ve accomplished so much more.

I wish I could say I’m living fearlessly, but nope…there are still plenty of times I am afraid. I am afraid I won’t be good enough or will be unprepared. I’m wondering if it’s worth the risk—if it is a risk I am willing to take.

Something that God reminds me that helps keep me going is that living in fear is selfish.

I’m going to try and give an example. Let’s just suppose you somehow know in a couple weeks you’re going to be near deep water where people could easily drown if they don’t know how to swim, and you somehow know you are going to be in a situation where you are the only one who can save a child from drowning if you have the skills to do so. Now, suppose you don’t have the skills to yet, but you have the time to learn. Would you be willing to learn so this child has the chance to live? I would hope so. Being afraid to learn to swim, afraid you won’t swim fast enough, afraid of the water—that would be a selfish fear.

A lot of us are living in this selfish fear. We should be doing our best to “learn to swim”. We should be willing to “jump in”, even if we’re not 100% sure our effort will be a success.

So, is this selfish fear keeping you from doing anything for the benefit of others?

Reflection

1498682497718.jpegA glimmer and light in ripples they flow,
temporary reflections of the person they show,
A mirror, an image, a face they perceive,
Making a man think that he truly believes.
He walks away and forgets what his natural face was,
the Word is not shown in all that he does.
He was a hearer of words, but didn’t take them to heart.
He saw the example but he still took no part.
He has now been deceived, but of his own choice.
He will live for his pleasure, temporarily rejoice.
His happiness will fade as the truth is revealed,
That he has put off for later, and that has been concealed.
The facts of life are often ignored,
it’s our choice now to listen, rather than keep it all stored.
Why wait till the end, and be filled with regret?
When we still have the choice that we haven’t made yet?
Make it now while there’s time, be prepared, watch and pray.
The hour is soon coming, when before us may lay,
The consequences of what we have chosen to be, what could have been erased, we could have been free.
Yes, there are struggles, we may suffer in our choice,
There will be trials and often pains, but even through it we rejoice.
Be glad in the Lord, he has paid for our sin. Examine yourselves. This faith…are you in?

Taste and See that the Lord is Good

IMG_5744I’ve been trying really hard lately to eat healthy. Pretty much living off of smoothies with fruit, veggies, protein, nuts, grains and such. (Maybe I should’ve said drink healthy. 😛) After a couple weeks or so I got used to the change and now I really like them.

Just a few moments ago I was offered some chocolate pudding, (Okay, I know this sounds really random but hold on a minute, I’m going somewhere with this lol) I took one bite and thought something was wrong with it. I looked at the packaging and tried to figure out what was wrong with it—I usually love chocolate pudding! I just plain didn’t like it…it didn’t have the same kind of sweetness as the fruit I’d been having daily.

Now to the point:
It made me think of what we are feeding ourselves and digesting spiritually. We are surrounded by things in this world that we try and satisfy ourselves with, and many times we think we are satisfied even though we’re not because we don’t truly know what it means to be satisfied.

I think many of us haven’t really had enough of a taste of what God has to offer to where we want more of Him and no longer can satisfy ourselves with what the world has to offer. (Like I can no longer satisfy myself with chocolate pudding 🙃) It takes some time to adjust. It takes self-discipline and perseverance, but once we are adjusted it’s like a different lifestyle with different appetites. We no longer want the fake stuff, but rather have a distaste for it.

To truly taste and see that the Lord is good it takes time. We have to watch what we are feeding ourselves and before long we will have more of a desire for God than anything else in this world.

Fix Our Eyes On You

Only in You do I find hope; in Your arms my heart finds rest.

Where the weary fall and the weak faint I will not go, for Your strength carries on.

You bring healing to the broken and provide peace to those who trust in You; Your faithfulness continues on.

The wicked do not understand Your ways; no, even Your children cannot fully comprehend.

Much of You remains a mystery to all, even as we seek Your face.

Fix our eyes on You, Lord; draw our hearts nearer to Yours.

Let Christ Define You

Many people who know me would define me as “the girl who plays all those instruments” or “paints all those paintings”. I’m working on that. When people look at me, I don’t want them to see me, but Christ in me. I want Christ to define who I am.

I’ve only known a small handful of people who when described to someone that has never met them one of the first things said is something of their relationship with Christ–how they truly love the Lord, serve others with a humble heart, and have a rare kind of joy–people who Christ tangibly defines who they are. Over the years I’ve noticed people with this special kind of trait have become increasingly rare. Why is that?

To put it into one word: Selfishness. The world has become more and more self-centered, self-reliant, greedy, and just plain selfish!

Why the increase? Well, my answer to this is just my opinion from what I’ve observed: We’ve grown. We’ve found so many ways of making life more convenient and comfortable, our overall knowledge has increased, (not to be confused with wisdom) we have invented so many things that cause us to rely on ourselves, and oh, the entertainment…I am blown away at how much people put into their own pleasure. And yet, despite these things, this seems to be just about the most unhappy, unsatisfied generation ever!

We are surrounded by SO MUCH. It used to be just “the grass looks greener on the other side”, but now with the way we can easily drive from state-to-state or get online we can see thousands of “greener hills”. The more that’s available the more we aren’t as easily satisfied and are therefore greedy. We find ways to make providing for ourselves easier, which gives us the idea that we can fully rely on ourselves. We know a lot, but we assume we know more than we really do. We see people who’ve got an easier life than we do, making us think of how hard our life is and making us self-centered. We’ve found things that make us “happy” that have distracted us from knowing what true joy is really like.

I could be wrong, but I believe we have a whole lot more temptation going on with these things than we did just a few generations ago. It is so easy nowadays to have this jealous, self-centered, self-reliant mindset, which is hardly the mind of Christ but quite the opposite.

We don’t have to let the world define us, but it’s no easy task to prevent it. That’s where we are denying ourselves and surrendering to God.

Now, before you say, “I’m not selfish!” look at yourself. Are you living selfishly? When you get on your feet each day are you doing and saying things for your own benefit or for the benefit of others?

It has sadly become quite normal to live selfishly. We are typically living how we feel like it. Occasionally we are helping people when it’s not too terribly inconvenient and we feel like we ought to, but then it ends there.
Let’s not allow this selfish way of living define who we are. Let’s see if we can figure out what it really means to die to ourselves. Let’s break this habit that we’re surrounded by and allow Christ to define who we are.

God’s Seed

Hearts are hardened as stone and you ask why the seed does not grow?
The seed is planted among thorns and you wonder why when sprouted the plants are choked up?
It is no use to plant where the ground is not prepared to receive it;
time is wasted when you plant where nothing will survive to harvest.
Search for ground that has been prepared;
look for land that has not been swallowed up.
Plant where it will be well-tended and fed;
if there is no water and sun it will whither away.
Be sure the roots go deep so that a storm only makes it stronger;
plant among others so that it may bear fruit.
Do not keep the seed to yourselves or hide it away, for if you do when the Master returns it will be taken away.

 

 

The Walk–And The Story Behind It

1498185379975So, something I never really shared from about 6 years ago:
While spending some time with God–nothing fancy, just stretched out on my bed staring at the ceiling–I pictured a beautiful girl on a beach in a simple white dress, walking and talking with God, carefully listening to every word He said and speaking with a special kind of joy and laughter. After awhile she began to collect seashells contentedly in a basket, later tossing them back onto the shore again. Next, the sky grew dark and a storm came over causing strong winds and harsh waves. She was on her knees through the storm, hurting and in tears before God. After a time of weeping, while still in pain she began to worship; the sky grew clear and the beach calm again. She stood up, leaving what had burdened her on the ground and raised her hands before Him, the tears of sadness changing to tears of joy. She then began to dance and sing in praise to God.

After awhile of thinking about this, I remembered hearing of a verse about “a time to dance”. I had no clue where it was, so I had to look it up. I found it and thought it went well with what I had seen:
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:1-8‬ ‭

I later wrote a poem (which I have shared on my blog years ago):

The waves reach out, and they slowly pull back,
As she walks on the shore in delight.

She follows the steps, she knows the right track,
Footprints she sees ahead in the light.

Often storms of great force arise, and waves crash with violence and strength.

With clouds so dark, she could not see the skies,
She struggled often for times of length.

On her knees the tears quickly came down,
She lifted her hands in praise.

She was lost, but now she has been found,
On the ground her burden lays.

She lifted her head in awe to the God who can save,
On her feet she stood with confidence in the True One.

She humbly gives thanks to Christ for the gift that He gave.
Across the sea she watches the rising of the sun.

In the Light she dances,
Her heart overwhelmed with love.
She’s been given so many chances,
By her Father above.

In gentleness and peace she now follows,
Through laughter, through pain, and through sorrows.

He has taken her hand,
She walks closely by His side.
Taking steps in the sand,
She goes by her Shepherd’s guide.

The Will Of The Lord Will Come About

The Lord is my foundation; firmly He holds me in place.
I cannot be torn down, for my God is with me.
In His word I find peace; His statutes guide me through the night.
He holds me tight within His arms; He protects me with the strength of His wings.
I am not alone, for the Lord is with me.
I do not need to be afraid, for the enemy flees from Him.
Nothing can separate me from the will of the Lord; He is my desire, the One that I seek.
He knows my every need and weakness; He cares for me in ways that I cannot see.
His ways are perfect and cannot be stopped; the will of the Lord will come about.

A True Friend

A true friend never loses hope. A hardship is when true faithfulness is shown. One who is trustworthy never gives up, but encourages you in all your days. Their words of kindness are strength to your bones; their words of truth help you grow. Their honesty brings wisdom to your heart; their confidence helps sustain you.

Who Can Satisfy?

Who can satisfy but the One who puts the desires within me?
Who can fill my hunger but my own Creator?
In my Father’s arms is my place of rest;
The Spirit of the Lord is my strength.
Where on my own I can’t continue,
He carries me through to a safe place.
My Father alone will forever be praised;
Even His enemies will fall at His feet.

Oh, the internet…

IMG_5620.JPGSo this may seem a bit drastic, but were we really created to spend our free time the way we do today? Every time I watch another movie, TV show, or spend way too much time going through my news feed, I get this feeling of emptiness, knowing I could’ve had something way better.

If you think I’m saying we should never watch movies or have anything to do with the internet you’re missing the point…they’re not a bad thing unless we allow them to be. I’ve seen plenty movies and articles online (and here I am writing one) that had a great message and things were learned from watching/reading them. I just think we are investing TOO MUCH of our lives into things like Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Spotify, email–and on the list goes, increasing every year–when we could be investing our lives into something much healthier and, believe it or not, more satisfying, relaxing, and stress relieving.

I think a lot of times we use the media/entertainment to try to escape from the real world, to get our mind away from life’s problems, and to find something that just sort of makes us “feel good”.

Now, of course we shouldn’t dwell on our problems, but going to the movies is only a temporary fix…many times causing us to avoid facing up to our problems, therefore causing them to increase, and build up even more stress. Sure, we’re going to need time to “cool down” and rest our brains from a hectic world…but is this really the best way to do that?

If we are in a healthy relationship with God, then spending time with Him should be the most stress-relieving thing ever. I think the book of Psalms is in excellent example of what our time with God should consist of:
1. Being completely honest…if you’re angry, frightened, or hurting in anyway, say so and why.
2. If you need help in anyway, ask for it.
3. Thank the Lord. We have so much we should be thankful for and it has been scientifically proven that gratitude is good for your brain. (No joke)
4. Praise, worship, and surrender to Him with a humble heart. There is a lot of stress with authority…when we give everything over to God…well…it takes away the stress.
5. Listen. At a time of day where there’s no pressure on time (if possible, lol) just take some time to listen. Even if you find this boring or awkward, do it. That means you need it even more. We were meant to do things like walk in the garden with God since the creation of earth.

Whether you’re writing in a journal, taking a shower, sitting on the porch, or going for a walk in your neighborhood, this is SO MUCH MORE restful, beneficial, relaxing, and stress-relieving. You NEED it.

Be attentive to how you’re spending your time. If you can’t watch a YouTube video without it turning into a marathon, or get glued to Facebook, fast from it awhile. If that doesn’t work maybe consider doing without it all together. (I’ve had to do this with Facebook, word games, and YouTube more than once…had to stop the word games all together because every time I went back to playing them I always ended up spending hours playing them—now I’m spending that time reading, writing, in prayer, and blogging instead…though there are still times I really want to redownload an app and make some words, the change has been way more satisfying!😊)

So, hope this was helpful. It’s definitely something I will be working on my entire life. Before you go back to Facebook, YouTube, or your favorite movie, listen to yourself and to God…what do you really need?

His Strength Does Not Give In

The depths of Your love are deeper than the oceans floor; the height of Your wisdom is higher than the highest mountain top.
The length of Your mercy goes beyond what the eye can see; Your grace sustains forever.
Great and mighty is the Lord of all; He doesn’t bend at the strongest wind.
His strength does not give in;
He perseveres through the night.
He walks where no man can stand; He speaks where we cannot utter a sound.
He perceives what not one can understand; He creates what we cannot see.
He brings light to the darkest places; He exposes the works of the evil one.
There is a hunger only He can fill, a thirst only His Spirit can satisfy.
He gives to those who ask of Him; He provides for those who humbly seek for Him.
All the earth proclaims His majesty; by His people is His presence made known.

Something Beautiful

Your love, oh Lord, is sweet–even in days of bitterness.
Nothing can separate Your love from the hearts of those who worship You.
You piece together what is broken into something beautiful; You recover what is lost to a better place.
You reveal Your truth to those who seek You; You quench the thirst of those who long for You.
You give wisdom to those who ask and are willing to accept it; You sustain the strength of Your children who follow Your ways.
You carry what we are unable to bear; You overcome what is outside our control.
Your reasoning is more than we can understand;
Your knowledge more than we can comprehend.
Great and perfect are the works of Your hands;
Not one task goes uncompleted.

The Mind of God

Who can grasp the mind of God?
Who can understand all His ways?
Who knows the days before they come and what the future holds?
Who can comprehend what is seen let alone what is yet to be discovered?
Who can officiate the earth’s beauty, or even make a blade of grass?
Who can create and breathe the breath of life into man?
Who from nothing can bring anything into existence?
Not one can compare to the greatness of our Lord;
Not one can grasp the mind of God.

The Spirit of the Lord

One who runs from darkness is not ashamed; they listen not to the voices of evil and destruction.
He who stands in the light is strong in the Lord; the weak walk in shadows to disguise their pain.
A warrior of God does not sit back and laugh at wickedness, but puts it to shame.
One who defies the Lord will be torn down, and those also who walk with them.
You who sit in silence are the same as those who practice evil.
Take heed to the voice of the Lord, accept not the deceiving words of the evil one.
He takes what is corruptive and makes it appealing to the eye;
he makes what is poison pleasant to taste.
Do not take of what is acceptable in your own eyes, but rather take what is good and acceptable in the eyes of the Lord.
Seek His wisdom and discernment, not the ways of this world.
The Spirit of the Lord knows good from evil, and so does one within whom He dwells.

Edification

IMG_5615A lot of times we think people need to be more like ourselves. When we find what our own calling is, it’s easy to think everyone else should be doing that exact same thing. Well, that’s just about the most selfish and painful thing we can do to a person.

If we really care about someone we should want to encourage them and help bring out the best of them. We should see things from their perspective, what they are gifted in, what their dreams are, encourage them, and pray for them.

Everyone has a gift and a purpose. God has a calling for each one of His children; He equips us all in a unique way. As we find what our own calling is, we need to be sure that we’re not tagging that on all our brothers and sisters in Christ.

While we certainly shouldn’t be going around telling people what to do, we should be trying to encourage one another with love. Give a compliment. Tell them thank you and how much they’re appreciated. Don’t let them stop, but rather encourage them to use their gifts to their fullest potential by the power of the Holy Spirit. Help build up the Body of Christ, not tear it down. 

He Is Able

1497323130678A song I heard frequently growing up was a worship song called “He is able”. (Yeah, it’s pretty old. 😛) It has been going through my mind frequently the last couple weeks as I try and remind myself that He truly is able!

“He is able, more than able, to accomplish what concerns me today.”

Life has been pretty hectic as of late as my family is in the process of preparing our house to sell and move out of state while also awaiting my brain surgery next month. So this part of the song has been a good reminder that I shouldn’t be worrying about the future, but taking one day at a time, remembering that God is with me and there won’t be anything too hard to accomplish.

“He is able, more than able, to handle anything that comes my way.”

This has helped me remember that He carries the burden if I simply choose to lay it at His feet in surrender to Him.

“He is able, more than able, to do much more than I could ever dream.”

This line has stuck out to me especially, as I tend to have some pretty crazy dreams and wild ideas of things I’d like to be able to do one day and set high goals that seem next to impossible,(Particularly in helping special needs orphans/missions) but it helps me remember that with God all things are possible…even greater things than I can imagine!

“He is able, more than able, to make me what He wants me to be.”

This line I find to be the most important. There’s nothing we should want more than God—to do His will, and be who He wants us to be.

So, that’s the song. Check it out on YouTube if you’d like to hear the rest of it. (I like the Maranatha version) What I was hoping to communicate through this post is that we should never underestimate God. He is able.

 

Who Can Understand It?

I pour my heart out to You, my God, Protector, and Healer.
You are my refuge; You keep me in a safe place.
Your eyes are upon me, Your child; You never look away.
You are my Strength when I am weak, and my Deliverer when I am lost.
You lift me up from the darkness; Your fire burns within me and guides me through troubled times.
You keep me in a safe place, and embrace me with Your love.
You pick me up when I have fallen; Your mercy continues on.
Nothing can stand against You; You are Lord over all the earth.
You are an All-Knowing and Powerful God, You understand what we cannot see.
You build as with bricks that which we cannot touch.
You piece together what we cannot separate, and hold together what would otherwise be scattered.
You carefully arrange the works of Your hands; in order You give them a place and function.
You take what seems to be useless and create a beautiful art; nothing can compare to the magnificence of what You have made!
Not a fraction of Your creation has no purpose; all that exists is put to good use.
Every star in the sky is within arms reach; the boundaries of time do not contain You.
The earth has been carefully placed, and cannot be moved without Your consent.
The days are carefully numbered; time does not pass without Your knowledge.
The world cannot comprehend Your ways; Your authority shall never be taken away–who can comprehend it?

A Positive Mind

IMG_5594While difficult it may be, we can choose to take control of our minds. Satan will attempt to take control of our minds by leading us to thoughts of fear, hate, revenge, and doubt by ways that seem “fair”—such as being afraid of something most humans would be afraid of, hating someone who deserves to be hated, seeking revenge on someone who deserves punishment, or doubting what seems impossible.

This is not the mind of Christ!
We should ONLY be fearing Christ (The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. Prov.1:7), we should be FORGIVING people who don’t deserve forgiveness (But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Mat.6:15), LOVING our enemies (But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! Mat.5:44), and remembering through Christ, ALL things are possible! (I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. Phil.4:13)

What is going through our minds is critically important. As long as we are on this earth we will not have a perfect mind, but we can do our best to learn what it means to have the mind of Christ, how to do that, and live it out. By the work of the Holy Spirit, our minds can be renewed. The thoughts of anger, fear, revenge, and doubt can be replaced with something much better.

I’m going to share a verse I’ve shared before and I’m sure everybody’s heard, but as you read it, determine whether you are truly taking on the mind of Christ:
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭

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Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s

1497061112944I watched an interesting lecture on Alzheimer’s today (going through a course on understanding the brain) and learned that in addition to a healthy diet and exercise, studies have shown that “working your brain” can greatly lower your risk of getting Alzheimer’s and similar kinds of dementia later in life. Learning shouldn’t stop after high school or college! Your brain needs it, and it can have many benefits. Instead of hours of entertainment, try spending even just half of that time learning. Save some money by watching some DIY videos on fixing your car. Read some books or take classes to find ways to advance in your career. Find something that fascinates you and learn how it works. Learn. It’s good for you. 😉

An interesting article on “neurobics” to improve brain health: http://drjockers.com/using-neurobics-to-improve-your-brain/
#ilovetolearn #notashamed #itsgoodforyou

A Prayer for the Sake of Praying

Why do we pray? A fairly simple question, but not one that is always easily answered. I think we sometimes allow prayer to fall into a category of things we do habitually like turning the lights out, locking the doors, and brushing our teeth before bed.

I’m one of those people that gets rather annoyed when people say, “Hey! How are you?” and then walk away without giving you the chance to answer. I get annoyed because it doesn’t seem like a question of honestly caring how I’m doing, but more of a habitual question that has very little meaning or sincerity. We need to be sure when we pray it isn’t a habitual recitation, but a conversation with heart-felt requests, listening, thanksgiving, and praise given humbly before our Lord.

Prayer is definitely something we should do, but not just for the sake of praying. Think about the word “communication” for a minute, and how humans communicate with one another. We don’t only use our words but also our tone of voice, our facial expressions, our body language, our actions, and over-all attitude.

We wouldn’t tell a friend (or at least we shouldn’t) that we’d like to do something to help them and then go have a party with someone else. We wouldn’t tell them we love them while we treat them with a lack of respect. We wouldn’t ask for help and then complain when we don’t get exactly what we want right away. We wouldn’t get together with them and not let them get a word in edgewise. We wouldn’t accept a gift without saying thank you like we meant it. We wouldn’t treat them as though they had no value. We wouldn’t say the same. Thing. Every. Day. Neither should our communication with God be this way.

It’s easy to think of prayers as a one-way communication, requests and a few thank you’s written out on paper, put in an envelope, stamped, delivered to some far-away place, and hoping we get something back one day.

Well, God hears it, but there’s not a lot of communication going on there, and there’s going to be some serious set-backs in growing in our relationship with Him if this is the only way we communicate.

Before we pray, let’s think about why we are praying, how we are praying, and how we should be praying. Don’t pray for the sake of praying, but to ask hard questions, to seek wisdom, to worship, to give thanks…and even more importantly, to hear what God has to say. Prayer is simply a part of devoting our lives to Christ by communication.

So, let’s make sure we keep the communication of prayer along with our lifestyle with real meaning—not just a habit.

 

High Expectations

1496698263886

“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

First, I want to mention that I realize there are many people out there such as stay-at-home moms that are needed 24/7. In my opinion, you’re already saving lives, so, keep up the good work. 😉

Each and every one of us are capable of doing great things. Hard things. Problem is, most of us don’t realize it…or if we do, very few of us are willing to try. We see great things that have been done or need to be done but our instinctive reaction to the very thought of us achieving them ourselves is, “Oh, no…I couldn’t do that!”

As I’ve thought about it more lately, I’m realizing how just plain selfish that is! We all, not just some, but all, are capable of saving lives. Yep. You read that right. Believe it or not, YOU are capable of saving lives.

Before you roll your eyes and go away like you don’t care, read on:

There are SO many ways we can save lives. One way I want to mention first is by our relationships. As followers of Christ our relationship with Him needs to be put first, but it doesn’t stop there. Perhaps you have an unsaved family member. Or, maybe you have a friend who is saved that just needs to be loved and reminded that their life is valuable. We should all be living this way and our saving lives doesn’t need to stop here either.

We can help by meeting the physical needs of others. There are so many places you can volunteer whether it’s in your own neighborhood or in another country. Even if it’s for one week out of the year…you can make such a difference!

Something I specifically wanted to make clear in this post is that you are unique! We each have our own gifts as an individual to reach out to others that no one else has.

Now, there are things we can do fairly easily that don’t require training/experience, and there are things that may take months or even years of preparation. That’s where it requires setting high expectations of ourselves, and that is where so many of us tend to give up.

Well, you don’t have to give up. Whether it’s by learning another language, studying to become a volunteer nurse where there are people dying daily from things that could easily be treated if there was someone willing to give their much-needed time and effort to help, using your skills as a photographer to help spread awareness of a need, preparing to teach, cook, build, mentor, and many other possibilities…just face it…no matter your current education, profession, age—whether you’re prepared right now or not—you have the capability of becoming prepared, setting high expectations, and yes, to save lives!

Perhaps I’m coming across as being too harsh…I sure don’t mean to, but I just couldn’t keep this to myself today. So many of us here in America are just plain lazy and selfish. We can spend hours in entertainment—but saving lives? And which is truly more satisfying?

So, take some time to ask yourself a question, “Am I willing to do this?” Not, “Can I do this?” because without a doubt, you CAN. Question is, “Are you willing to do what it takes to save lives?”

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Mercy & Forgiveness

1496586397779Life isn’t always “fair”. Sometimes we’ll go through pain, trials, and temptations. But there’s a few things that can never be taken away from anyone unless they allow it.

One is God’s presence…His Holy Spirit inside us. He will protect our hearts and our minds. When we are going through physical pain or struggles He is able to bring us peace and, yes, even joy in times of suffering…if we allow Him to.

Something else important to not only remember, but also be thankful for, is God’s mercy and forgiveness. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the here-and-now struggles that we forget we’ve been saved from what we deserve–an eternity of something MUCH harder. We shouldn’t be taking the gift of eternal life for granted, we should be continuously living with a grateful heart and mind!

Perhaps you are thinking, “I know, I know…but I can’t help it. I can’t just make myself grateful and happy.”

Well, you are right…you can’t. But, God CAN. He is able to renew our strength to endure, replace worry with contentedness, create in us a clean heart, and change our attitude from one of hate to one of gratitude. It takes surrendering our lives to Him, but it is worth it. While we can’t choose what every chapter of our life is going to be, we can choose how we go through it.

Here are the lyrics of a few verses of a song I thought would be good to share. Take a moment to pray before God and allow Him to be in control of your heart instead of allowing any pain or suffering to overcome you.

“Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.

Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.”

Worthy of Respect

1496422852023We are all capable of being worthy of respect by the authority given to us from Christ. It doesn’t necessarily mean we will receive it, but even when we don’t, it gives us a sort of confidence that makes us stronger and gives us the ability to do even greater things.

A person who is worthy of respect is someone who has humility not just in their actions but in their heart. They take pleasure in giving and accept gifts with gratitude. They give up their own pleasure to do good for someone else even when it is going to be completely unnoticed. They seek to learn from their elders and strive to live their lives to their fullest potential. They do their best to use all they have been blessed with to the benefit of others and to glorify God. They take care of themselves and act responsibly with all that is in their possession. They use their time wisely, and seek God with all their heart, mind, and strength.

No matter their profession, wealth, or popularity, these are the kind of people I most look up to, honor, respect, and hope to become more like.

With humility and from the heart, seek to become a person who is truly worthy of respect…to be more like Christ.

Days of thought

1496375180351Once a month or so I find myself in deep thought for hours-sometimes for an entire day-so much so that having conversations, reading, studying, or getting anything that seems useful done is pretty much hopeless. For awhile it was pretty annoying, but then I got to thinking: (again, haha) perhaps this will cause me to make better use of the rest of my time.

I soon realized I needed to take this opportunity to re-evaluate what in the world I am called to do, if I’m where I’m supposed to be, and if I’m headed the right direction. Because if I don’t stop, think, and earnestly pray to God asking if I’m where I should be, I could be off track for days, months, or even years…so busy and engrossed in what I’m doing that I don’t realize that something is seriously wrong, and I’m wasting away a whole lot more than a day.

For me, these times of deep thought usually begin when I’m very moved by a person in need, hear of Christians that are killed for their faith, or see the way the church in America has become so weak and watered down. It’s almost like I’m seeing these things for the first time, or seeing them from a different perspective. It’s a very humbling and sobering experience, for sure. Though in a way it can seem kind of depressing, at the same time it stirs up something inside me to help, to do something about it, to make a difference…to really live my life to the fullest potential as a Christ-follower.

Though everyday I try to ask God to shape me into the person He wants me to be and offer my life as a sacrifice to Him, it really helps to have these hours of really digging deep to remember why I’m doing that, to see what exactly that should look like…and I want to encourage you to do the same.

Take some time to evaluate, refocus, and prioritize. God will likely place something totally different on your heart as we are all unique…perhaps it’ll be coworkers that you know are living in anger and don’t have the love of Christ in them that you may have the opportunity to witness to. Maybe He will give you a desire to help the homeless. Perhaps your very own children are straying away from Christ and simply need a good relationship to support and guide them in their faith.

It helps to remember what our goals are and how we are going to reach them so we can better prepare ourselves for the journey…the Way God has called us to. The Way God has called YOU to.