Monday, October 6, 2008


"God has a paintbrush and he is painting our life out on a canvas and oh how wonderful and beautiful it is, but then we think we can do better so we take the paintbrush from God and we start painting our lives. Pretty soon the canvas is no longer beautiful but a brown smeared mess, but God loves us and forgives us and gently takes the paintbrush back and starts all over painting a wonderful picture of our lives. As long as I allow God to paint my life it will be perfect, but if I take control I will only mess things up."

One of my friends said that to me and wow how profound and powerful it is because of the truth that is in it!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Letting Go

Letting go. It's one of the hardest things to do. There are so many things in my heart, so many people in my life, so many great friendships, so many great things that I just do not want to ever have to let go of.

Yet what if God asked me to let go of it all? What if He asked me to let go of everything? What if God asked me to let go of my life?

He has.

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it."
-Matthew 16:24-25

God has asked me to deny myself - to let go of myself and know that He is the one in control of me and my life. I must take up my cross and follow Him.

When I read that, I get a picture in my mind of Jesus carrying His heavy, splintered cross on his bruised and bloody back with every last bit of strength that He has. He is carrying it up the hill, knowing full well what lies ahead for Him - even more suffering. And death. His head is down, and He is in excruciating pain. Each step He takes on the hard ground is one more painful throb in His head and one step closer to His death. He finally reaches the top of the hill and the Roman soldiers continue to mock Him. All I hear are the screams and shouts of the people as they deliberately force the huge nails into His hands and feet. He screams in pain. I stand on the sidelines with tears streaming down my face, knowing that His screams are because of me. His pain is a result of all the wrong that I have done. They lift His cross up between two others and His flesh tears as the nails cut through His scarred, bloody, and bruised hands and feet. He has no strength left to even hold His head up. The people continue to scream and shout profanities at Him. He blocks it all out and as He hears the mocking murmers of the people in the background of His mind, He mutters His last breath, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." With Jesus' last breath, I hear Him asking His Father in Heaven to forgive me. There is an earthquake and all is black - and I know that His death was extraordinary. His death gave me life. His resurrection three days later gave me hope.

And now He asks me to take up my cross and follow Him. He asks that I take up my cross - my life, my dreams, my plans, my pleasures. He asks that I let go of all of them just as He let go of His life that day. He asks that I take up and let go of my life. And let us not forget that three days later His Father raised Him from the dead and He is now seated at the right hand of God the Father! His life was not taken from Him. He went through great suffering and pain, but He is now seated beside God in Heaven.

And our lives will not be taken either - they will only be placed into God's loving hands and rearranged and perfected. He knows what is best and He wants what is best for us.

Jesus says that if I want to save my life by living it my own way, I will lose it.
"But whoever loses his life for Me will find it."
If I give up my plans; If I let go of my dreams; If I take up my cross and follow God wherever He leads me - I will find true life.

God is asking each one of us to walk up to His splintered and blood-stained cross and lay down our regrets, our past, our sin, our mistakes, our fears, our dreams, our plans, our friendships, our relationships, our life.

He is asking us to let go of our lives so that we can find true life in Him; so that we can live our lives to the fullest; so that we will lose ourselves and truly find Him.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Finding True Joy

So I thought I'd share a testimony with you guys... it's not my testimony of how I came to Christ, but it is a testimony of how God has worked in my life, and so I thought I'd share it.So, when I was little, I was legalistic. I'd do things just because my parents, especially my dad, who I really looked up to [and still do], did it. I'd believe things because my dad believed them. I was pretty strict, too... just with little things, I'd judge people because they did something that I thought was wrong. Or they believed something that I didn't; or they didn't believe something that I did. Anyone who didn't believe like I did I judged. I realize now how so wrong and hypocritical I was, but at the time, I was so blind to it.

As I got older, I wanted so badly to make a difference for Christ. I wanted to obey God in everything. Everyone around me saw Christ in me, because I was just so on fire for Him. I was strong-willed and very set in my ways. There was no turning back for me. If I did something, I did it full force... with everything I had.

And so I began reading devotions everyday and having my own quiet time with God. I got so many devotions through email that I read every day. I read and wrote a chapter of the Bible every day. I started a Bible Study with my friends' help. I tried starting a Bible Study online. I went to church every week. I went to youth group every week as well. I'd talk to my friends about Christ a lot. I'd only listen to Christian music, and I listened to it a lot. God was pulling me out of my comfort zone in different areas, and I followed Him.

Eventually, I just got burned out. Everything I was doing became stale to me. I didn't get any joy out of reading the Bible anymore. I didn't get any joy out of talking to God anymore. I didn't get any joy out of talking about God anymore. I didn't get any joy out of Bible Study, out of church, or out of youth group anymore. I didn't get any joy out of devotions, and to put it bluntly, I didn't want to do them, I didn't want to pray, I didn't want to read the Bible. I was burned out and dehydrated. I also became depressed. Yet I put on a fake "mask" and became someone that I really wasn't. Everyone around me thought that I was strong, that I had it altogether. Some even thought I was perfect! If they only knew the hypocrite I was being... the fake person I had become.

I didn't know who I was anymore. I felt like joy had just left me. My heart ached. I was depressed. I was so distant - I didn't feel like doing anything, because I didn't get joy out of anything. And the entire time I felt guilty - so guilty - because I wasn't doing anything for God. I knew that I was wrong, but I felt so stuck. I would get defensive over little things. I would get angry over stupid things. There was so much built up inside of me that I needed to get out, but I didn't know how. I didn't know who to talk to. I didn't even understand my own situation, so why would anyone else? Friends came and talked to me about their problems, yet I couldn't go to them about mine because I had put out this front that I was 'perfect, a good Christian girl, put together' and I really wasn't. I felt like such a total failure.

I couldn't take it anymore. I talked to my mom and just told her everything that I could, but I didn't quite understand myself or my situation, so I didn't know how to tell her. I felt like I had nothing at all figured out in life. I couldn't make any decisions, and at the time, I had to make a lot. I was so frustrated, depressed, and just down on life... and yet no one knew. I didn't know who I was. I didn't know who I was supposed to be. I didn't know who I was meant to be. I didn't know who God wanted me to be... I didn't even know how to live because even though I knew the difference between right and wrong, it was like I had become blind to it. I didn't understand what was going on in my heart, but it was definitely something and I didn't know how to deal with it. I had no joy at all.

Just the other day I was faced with another hard decision. I didn't know what to do and so I decided to go to my parents with it. They didn't offer much help at first, just told me to do what I felt I should. Well that didn't help! I finally just spilled everything... I cried and told them how I've been feeling. Some of it didn't come out right because I was confused, but I got it out. And my heart felt so light afterwards. They helped me to realize that I had been doing too much spiritually and that I had become burned out. I needed a change. And so I decided to take their advice and took a few steps to get my life back together...

This next couple of days I'm going to try to get creative and do different things with God. Take walks with Him, maybe. Instead of having a routine with Him, I want a relationship again. Instead of feeling like I have to read a certain passage of Scripture because that's what my devotion is about, I'll read what I feel led to read.

Good works will not get me to Heaven. I used to "preach" that to people, and now look at me. I am a hypocrite. Good works follow Salvation. And even though I got saved at 4 and had a very close relationship with God, I began to put good works before my relationship with God. And eventually I became burned out and depressed.

I realize now that true joy comes from having a relationship with God. The rest will follow. I'll also get joy from doing things for God. When I am dead center in the middle of God's will for my life, I will find personal fulfillment.I think I've finally found joy. And it's not a feeling. It's a way of the heart. And it is so totally different from temporary happiness.

I praise God that He revealed all this to me before I went through the rest of my life only existing and not truly living.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

God's Dreams

Decisions, decisions, decisions! I don't like them and I have a hard time making them. Yet life is full of them. Every single day is full of decisions. Sometimes I think I make the right one but it all turns around on me. Other times I deliberately make the wrong one and pay for the consequences. And then there is that still, small voice inside of my heart that rises above all of the conflicts within me that says, "Stop. Listen to Me. Just obey me and everything will work out."

You'd think I'd just listen to that voice. But I am a stubborn person and usually just decide to do what I want to do. And where does that get me? Usually farther back then when I started.

My pastor's message today really spoke to my heart. It made me realize that I am not living for myself. My decisions affect those in my sphere of influence - my family, my friends, even acquaintances. So I need to make tough, hard, good decisions.

Sometimes I wonder if I make my life harder than what it really is. Am I too uptight? Too "good"? Too "Christian"? Or do people just make me feel that way? Where do I draw the line? And what is too close to the line? What is crossing the line? How do I know what is right in situations?

How can I be on fire for God without becoming legalistic like I used to be? Why can't I just live like everyone else? Yes, I have a high calling and I realize that. God has called me to be so much more than this world in which I live, just like He's called you to be so much more.

But how do I know what that is?! I know for certain that I am living for God. I know for certain that I want to live His dreams for my life. I've committed my life to God, and I am not backing out of that commitment. Never, not for anything. He is my life.

"When God created you, He created a person the world has never seen - and a person the world will never see again."

That quote that my pastor shared really got me thinking. I want to make an impact. I want to make a difference. That is a passion and a desire of mine! But sometimes I think that I am such an over-achiever that I try to do too much, I try, try, try... and fail, fail, fail. Why? Because I'm not living God's dreams! I'm trying to live my own! And it's all in vain.

It contradicts itself completely. I want to live a life that is worth something, that will make a difference and have an impact on the world. But my dreams won't do that - my dreams, no matter how big I think they are, are too small. I need to dream God's dreams. His dreams are huge, they are impacting, they make a difference.

I am here to bring glory to God. Have I been doing that? Has my life been radiating with the light of Christ?

Am I dreaming God's dreams?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

On Fire

Hey guys! I haven't posted in a while. I guess the reason for that is because I haven't been spending much time with God lately or putting much effort into our relationship. And as a result, I haven't been motivated to update my blog. Tonight at Bible Study we were talking about laziness... how we can be so lazy spiritually and in our relationship with God.

I haven't been putting any effort into reading my Bible.
I haven't been putting any effort into talking with God.
I haven't been putting any effort into going out of my way to encourage others or share Christ's love with them.
I haven't been putting much effort at all into my relationship with Christ.

I've become lazy in my walk and journey with Him. It's a sad realization, but it's true. I think of that verse in Revelation 3:16, "So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth."

God doesn't want me to be lukewarm. He wants me to be on fire for Him... and lately, I've been lukewarm. I hate it, I want to change... I want to be on fire for God again. I want to live my life on the edge for God. I want to live my life radically for Him. I don't want to compromise in my faith.

"You are My Hope" - Skillet

Times are hard
Times have changed
Don't you say
But I keep holdin on to You
It's hard to keep the faith alive day to day

Leanin on the strength I've found in You

You're the hope of all the earth

You are my hope
You are my strength
You're everything, everything I need

You are my hope

You are my life
You are my hope
You are my hope

Far beyond what I can see and comprehend
Etching Your eternity in me
Nations scream and angels sing
Jesus rains
Every knee bows down

You're the hope of all the earth
You are my hope
You are my strength
You're everything, everything I need
You are my hope

You are my life
You are my hope
You are my hope

Carry on and I sing of how
You love and I love You now
All the times that I start to sink
You come and You rescue me

You are my hope

That explains so well how I've been feeling lately. Times are hard and times have definitely changed. I think that in a way my faith is more real to me now than ever. I have to rely on my faith in God more now than ever. Now is the time in my life where I'm really starting to think about my faith, about who God really is, and about my relationship with Him. It's a good thing, yet it's also hard. And for someone like me who contemplates and really thinks into everything, well, it can be a bit stressful. Satan has been trying to attack my mind a lot lately. He's been putting barriers up in my relationship with Christ.

I've come to find that faith in God can't be lukewarm. It can't be fake, or it's not really faith at all. To have faith in God is so much more than just believing that He's real. Having faith in God is a way of life, a journey, sometimes an adventure... and it's a challenge.

But I've also come to find that it is very, very worth it.

Life with Him is definitely a journey. But I've come to find out that it is a journey of a lifetime - and not just a lifetime, but an eternity!

You are my hope! You are my life!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

To Be Lonely

God: "What's the matter?
Me: "I'm lonely!"

God: "I know! Don't you think I know that?"
Me: "Yes Lord."

God: "Then what's the problem?"
Me: "I'm lonely."

God: "What do you want?"
Me: (Repressing the honest answer I speak:) "I want what you want Lord."

God: "You have it."
Me: (dead silence)

God: "Something is still bothering you. What is it?"
Me: "I'm alone."

God: "Why is that a problem?"
Me: "I'm not happy."

God: "And why not?"
Me: "I don't want to be alone."

God: "You said you wanted what I wanted."
Me: "Yes Lord."

God: "You have it."
Me: (silence)

God: "Isn't that what you wanted?"
Me: (at last honesty) "No Lord."

God: "Then you do not want what I want?"
Me: "I do, but I also want to feel loved. I also want what I want."
God: "The problem is not your desire to feel and be loved. That is a good desire.
The problem is that you expect that I should give you
what you want when you want and how you want.
If a sparrow does not fall without my knowledge...
If I dress the lilies in such splendor...
If I clothe the grass of the field which so quickly withers...
Do you imagine I have forgotten beloved?
I have not forgotten not worry.

God: "You are still troubled...why?"
Me: "I'm lonely."
God: (gently) "I know."

That was written by Hudson Russell Davis. I changed it around a bit, but how much does that describe you and me at times in our lives? Whether you're young and you have a desire to date and feel loved; whether you're older and have a desire to be married; whether you feel like you have no one to turn to; whether your parents have abandoned you; whatever the case, this describes almost all of us so well. I thought it was a touching "conversation" that this man wrote up and I wanted to share it.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

MAD 4 Christ

Me and my friend David started Christian teen forums. We'll be doing Bible studies on there [right now I'm doing a study on growing to be like Jesus], as well as sending out devos every day throughout the week and having different discussions on the website. There's a place for advice, prayer requests, praises, and just to chat. Go check it out and join if you want! There's already almost 20 members and over 130 posts!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Finding True Love in Christ

Okay, all you girls out there! I just read this great article that I wanted to share with you. Guys, you can read it too. It's great for anyone to read. It's long, but it's very good.


Your girlhood dreams of becoming a princess may have become grown up dreams of finding a prince to marry -- a man who'll make you blissfully happy. But no such man exists, because no human being has the power to make your dreams come true.

That doesn't mean you need to stop dreaming, however. You do, indeed, have a prince waiting for you. And if you discover Him, you'll experience the greatest love of all.

Here's how you can devote your heart to your true prince, Jesus Christ:

Don't settle for a broken heart and shattered dreams. Even though this fallen world is full of sin that can disappoint and even destroy you, it's also full of hope. Don't assume that you'll never meet a man you can trust, who'll treat you with dignity and respect. Pass untrustworthy men by while you wait for one who'll treat you right. Refuse to lower your standards for relationships. Pursue only the best -- all that God wants for you. Don't sink into depression when your wait takes longer than you'd like. Instead, use your time to live to the fullest, growing as a person and enjoying all God has for you while you're single.

Place your faith in Jesus alone. Realize that it's futile to expect a man to fulfill your deepest desires. Don't put pressure on any man to rescue you from your circumstances and make your dreams come true. Instead, make your relationship with Jesus your top priority, and expect to see everything else in your life fall into place as a result of that relationship. Trust Jesus alone with your hopes and dreams.

Make Jesus the foundation of your life. It's not enough to try to fit Jesus into your life; you need to fit your life around Jesus. If you just utter some quick prayers occasionally and don't hear any reply, that doesn't mean you need to figure life out on your own. It means that you need to deepen your relationship with Jesus so you can discover His great plans for you. Commit to wholeheartedly pursuing a relationship with Jesus -- the Prince who made the ultimate romantic gesture by giving up His life to save you. Just as He gave everything for you, decide to give your all for Him, out of love. Make Jesus the center of your existence.

Turn your heart into a sanctuary. Set your heart apart from the world and guard it to become a sanctuary for the Holy Spirit to reside. Ask God to show you the trash that's lurking inside your heart and needs to be removed to prepare a proper place for your Prince to live. As He reveals the kind of trash you need to remove -- from small lies and unhealthy compromises to traumatic memories and deep bitterness -- write it all down and pray about each piece of trash specifically. Don't allow any sin to clutter up your heart. Take action to remove it however God calls you to -- from apologizing to people you've hurt or disrespected to throwing away items that fostered sin in your life (such as seductive clothes you wore to attract unhealthy attention from men, or CDs of music that celebrated impurity). Examine your heart again regularly, making trash removal an ongoing process in your life. Whenever you notice that you've allowed any wrong habits to creep back into your life, or whenever you encounter a situation or relationship that needs to be made right, take action as God leads you.

Kick out other lovers. Don't allow any person or thing in your life to take away time, thoughts, energy, or devotion that you should be giving to Jesus. Take a hard look at what you've been pursuing -- romantic relationships, popularity, comfort, material possessions, achievements, and more -- and honestly consider how your pursuit of them may be keeping you from pursuing Jesus wholeheartedly. Then eliminate activities that distract you from growing closer to Jesus, and change your goals so that your life is truly focused on Him. Don't worry about feeling deprived by cutting out unhealthy attachments from your life. Once you pursue intimacy with Jesus above all else, you'll discover that your relationship with Him will actually enhance every part of your life.

Change your lifestyle. Ask God to show you what practical changes you can make to your life so you'll be better able to develop a closer relationship with Jesus -- from waking up earlier each day to pray more and watching less television, to tackling a service project and making more an effort to share your faith with others.

Embrace God's dreams for you. Be willing to give up your personal agendas in order to embrace God's better dreams for you. Trust that God, who created you, knows what plans are best for you. Pursue His dreams for your life rather than your own.

Set your heart apart for your future husband. Make a commitment to keep yourself sexually pure as a gift not only to God, but also to the man you may eventually marry. Ask yourself: "Am I truly set apart for my future husband? Or am I just doing the bare minimum for him by putting up a few physical and/or emotional boundaries in my life?", "Do I seek male affirmation through flirting, hugging, touching, etc.?", "Do I draw guys' attention by showing off my body?", "Do I casually offer my heart, mind, emotions, and body to guys by jumping into short-term flings?", "Do I allow my mind to fantasize about guys I'm attracted to?", "Do I offer too much of myself to guys, even in friendships?", "Am I willing to sacrifice pleasure, attention, affirmation, and temporary fulfillment to live a lifestyle of lily whiteness for the man I will spend the rest of my life with?", "Am I willing to allow my faithful Lord to bring a love story into my life in His own perfect time and way?", and "Am I willing to hand over the pen of my love story to Jesus and trust Him completely?". Write your future husband a letter to solidify your purity decisions, and read that letter whenever you struggle with purity. Ask God to forgive your previous sins of impurity, as well as to help you heal from whatever sexual sins have been committed against you (such as through abuse). Also ask God to help your future husband live a life a sexual purity himself.

Protect your intimacy with God on a daily basis. Be alert to any and every sin that tries to encroach upon your inner sanctuary and lessen your intimacy with God. Every day, pay attention to what you're thinking, saying, and doing, and consider whether or not that pleases God. Repent immediately of whatever doesn't reflect the love you should have toward your true Prince.

Overcome temptation. Although you'll often be tempted to sin, you can always resist temptation if you don't give it an opportunity to grow in your mind. At every crucial moment of making a decision about how to respond to temptation, say "no" to it. Then the temptation will have no chance to grow, causing it to lose its power over you. Read the Bible often, and study, memorize, and meditate on its words so you can absorb its truths into your mind. Whenever you encounter temptation, the Holy Spirit will then remind you of biblical truths that will help you overcome the lies temptation tries to tell you. Don't hesitate to pray against all forms of evil that are enticing you to cave into temptation. Identify the areas of your life where you're most vulnerable to temptation, then use the spiritual authority you have as a Christian to pray for deliverance from evil that's trying to harm you in those areas. Create boundaries for your behavior to protect yourself from unnecessary temptation, such as refusing to watch movies that tempt you to engage in sexual impurity or avoiding nightclubs where impure behavior surrounds you. Ask yourself: "Are there voices I need to start ignoring?", "Are there shows or movies I need to stop watching?", "Are there places I need to stop going?", "Are there people I need to stop spending time with?", "Are there certain clothes I need to stop wearing?" and "Are there songs I need to stop listening to?". If any friendship, activity, or influence tends to draw you away from Jesus or keeps you from reflecting His purity, create a boundary around it. Guard your relationship with your true Prince, no matter what the cost, knowing that it's always worthwhile to do so.

Don't compromise your standards in romantic relationships. Value the high standards to which God has called you (for your own good) more than you value romance itself. Ask God to help you be willing to live a set-apart life out of love for Him, even if you never find a man who's worth marrying. Set yourself apart for your true Prince no matter what happens in your future. Making that decision will give you the confidence and strength you need for every circumstance you'll ever encounter. It's better to remain single than to settle for a romantic relationship with a man who doesn't treat you as God wants you to be treated. But be assured that many worthwhile men do exist. Look for men who enjoy intimate relationships with Jesus and show integrity, compassion, courage, and selfless love -- men who will help you protect your inner sanctuary. Pursue a romantic relationship that draws you closer to Jesus, while avoiding those that draw you farther away from Jesus.

Cultivate ongoing intimacy with God. Your relationship with God doesn't have limits. There's always more you can learn about Him, always more to worship in Him, and always more to experience with Him. Develop a lifestyle that helps you constantly grow closer to God. Study the Bible often. Write your prayers down in a journal, like personal letters to your true Prince, and write down His responses to your prayers. Read great Christian literature to learn how to deepen your relationship with God. View every challenge as an opportunity to grow closer to God and every triumph as an opportunity to praise God.

Delight in God. Learn how to notice God's constant presence with you, and delight in Him moment by moment. Ask Him to help you speak and listen to Him no matter where you are or what you're doing. Develop a quiet mind. Cultivate a heart of worship. Meditate on the Bible. As you walk through each day with God rather than just representing Him, you'll experience unshakable peace and strength in every situation.

Pursue healing if you've had your heart broken. It's crucial to heal from a broken heart before you can be ready for true intimacy -- both with God and with your future spouse. Ask God to reveal what mistakes you made in the broken relationship, and to help you learn from them. Forgive yourself and the person who hurt you. Ask God to give you His perspective on what you've gone through, and to help you see yourself as He sees you -- someone who is extremely valuable and deeply loved. Find some people you can trust to talk through issues and encourage you as you deal with pain while going through the healing process.

Build spiritual oneness with a potential romantic partner. Don't rush into romance with any man, no matter how promising he seems. First, savor a season of friendship, getting to know each other well without the pressure of romance. Keep an open hand, refusing to hold on to the relationship too tightly. Trust God to do whatever He sees fit with the relationship, remembering that He wants the absolute best for both of you.

Adapted from [i]Authentic Beauty: The Shaping of a Set-Apart Young Woman, [/i]copyright 2007 by Leslie Ludy. Published by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., Colorado Springs, Co.,

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A True Friend

I haven't posted on here in almost two months! You guys have probably left my blog by now! I hope some of you are still out there...

I have been going through a rough time in my relationship with Christ lately. It was getting to the point where He didn't feel personal to me anymore. He didn't feel like mine. People would talk about Him, and I would believe what they said, but I wouldn't take it to heart and grasp it as mine. I didn't have that close, intimate, personal relationship with Christ. He didn't leave me. I chose to quietly, slowly, walk away from Him, tiptoe by tiptoe. Why? I really don't know. I think it was a mixture of doubt and rebellion. Two of the most dangerous sins that I could commit.

I didn't really talk to anyone about this, and that hurt me even more. It got to the point where I had to ask someone for prayer, so I asked two people that I look up to if they would pray for me. They said that they would, I thanked them, and that was that. I continued to tiptoe away...

I realized that I couldn't live this way anymore. There was no way that I could continue on without my personal, intimate relationship with Christ. He was my everything, and without Him, I was nothing. Sure, I was still talking to God everyday, but it wasn't personal. It was more of a "thing I have to do". I wasn't reading the Bible every day anymore. I was serving Him by helping out at church, but it was more of a chore and not a joy. I had become numb and dehydrated. It wasn't until a good message at youth group about being away from the source of Living Water [Jesus] and becoming dehydrated did I really surrender my life over to Christ once again.

I wanted to become a new person. I didn't want to live the way that I was anymore. No, I hadn't turned totally away from God. No, those that I didn't tell didn't know that I was feeling this way. But I needed to break out of this bondage that I was in. It was almost as if I was in a depression. A subtle depression. I didn't feel joy. Only numbness. I couldn't focus in school or church. I felt like I couldn't pray.

I think I fear commitment. It's not that I fear that God will turn His back on me or forget me, because I know that He would never do that. But I think that I fear totally committing myself to Him out of fear that He'll let me down. Yet He promises so many times in Scripture that He knows and wants what's best for me! He promises that He holds me in His arms! He promises that I am His child because I have chosen to accept and follow Him! So why do I fear committment? I'm still not totally sure. Let's just say that satan has really been attacking my heart a lot lately.

I feel that I have slowly broken away from the depression and numbness. Only God can make me whole. God is all that I need. I need Him so badly. To deny or doubt or not trust Him is a dangerous thing! I thank my God that He has pulled me out of this pit that I fell into. He is my Solid Rock, my Redeemer, my Savior, my Lord. But more than that, He is my best friend. And I thank Him so much for not giving up on me - ever.

You know, only a true friend would pursue you and knock on your heart because He wants you back. Yet God doesn't pursue you until He gets you back. He doesn't want to make you come to Him. He wants you so badly, so desperately - yet He waits for you. He wants you to be willing to go to Him. He doesn't want you to go to Him begrudgingly. And so He waits for you. Only a true friend would do that.

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
-Psalm 73:26

Monday, March 3, 2008

Safe is Dangerous

Growing hurts. Growing is uncomfortable and growing is painful. I just want to stay where I am, where I'm safe and where I'm comfortable. I don't want to go through the whole painful growing process - why can't I just stay where I am in my walk with God, where it's safe and comfortable? Well, I could, but you know... safe is dangerous.

If I would stay where I am in my relationship with Christ, I'd be "safe". I'd be comfortable. But the thing is, safe is not safe in your relationship with Christ. There is nothing "safe" about not growing in God. If I were to stay where I am, it would be easy for me to become content and complacent and comfortable. God calls us out of our comfort zones and into His Zone. He calls us out of "safe". Safe is where everyone is - it's where everyone wants to be. God calls us out of that and into His Zone, where you are not always safe (from yourself and being uncomfortable) but where you are free to grow in Him. His Zone is not safe. His Zone is not comfortable. It is very unsafe and probably the most "dangerous" place to be. Why? Because it's uncomfortable. Growing is painful. Following God can be dangerous (you're constantly being called out of your comfort zone), but you know what? I've said it so many times before and I'll say it again: it is so worth it.

I went to hand out food, clothing, blankets, etc. to the homeless this past weekend with my youth group and another church that walked the streets with us. It was such a humbling experience. When we got back to the church, the speaker was talking about the verse in the Bible that says that if you do something for the poor, you're doing it for Jesus (Matthew 25:40). And I remembered a man that I had smiled at as he sat on the streets, crippled and cold with nowhere to go. I didn't expect him to smile back at me - but he did. And he had the warmest smile I've ever seen. His eyes just glowed. I saw Jesus in that homeless man, and I don't think I'll ever forget that smile. It melts my heart just to think about it.It's in moments like those that I see Jesus "face to face". It's in moments like those that I realize that living life for Christ is very much worth it.Growing in Christ is the most amazing, worthwhile thing you will ever do with your life. Don't ever for a moment think that it's not.

Challenge: Safe is dangerous. Don't stay where you are; don't stay in your comfort zone. Reach out of "safe" and grow in God this week. It may be to help a friend, to reach out and make a new friend, to do something for God that He has called you to do, or just to read His Word and let His Words soak into your heart. Growing may be scary, it may be painful, it may be different, it may be hard, but is it worth it? Yes!

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Truth

So wow... I don't even really know what to write about on here. I do know that life is so unpredictable and at times, really hard. Life is so full of disappointments, pain, sorrow, and brokenness. The reason is because this world is full of those negative, bad things and while we are passing through this earth, we are going to experience those things as well. I know of so many people who are going through such hard times in their lives right now, and I realize that I take so much for granted. I have God, for one thing. He is my hope, my life, my Sustainer, my Provider, my strength. He is my everything. I really do not know what I would do without God. I would be so totally, utterly lost. I would have given into so many temptations that with the strength of God, I didn't give into. I would have fallen so many times and not have gotten back up, but God has saved me with His mighty hand and He picks me up everytime that I fall. I would be a broken, lost, hopeless mess if I didn't have Christ. I know it's something that you hear all the time - "God is going to help you through this" "God is so good" "God will give you strength" - and it's like, "Maybe He did for you! But He's not giving me strength, He's not being good to me! He's not helping ME through this!" It can leave you broken and depressed when you allow satan to plant these lies in your mind and heart. These lies that satan plants in your mind will make their way to your heart, where they will thrive and grow and choke and break your heart. Don't let satan and his lies cultivate in your heart. Ask God right now to replace those lies with His truth. Because the truth is, God is good - all the time. The truth is, God will and does give you strength - everytime you need it. The truth is, God will help you through this hard time in your life. The truth is, God is waiting for you to run to Him and give Him all of your fears and all of your burdens and all of your pain. He is. Don't let anyone ever tell you that God doesn't care. He most definitely does care... He cares about every detail of your life.

"O LORD, you have searched me and You know me."
-Psalm 139:1
"You hem me in—behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me."
-Psalm 139:5
"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?"
-Psalm 139:7
"Even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You."
-Psalm 139:12
"I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
-Psalm 139:14
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
-Psalm 139:23-24

At Bible Study tonight, we read Psalm 139 and talked about the verses that stood out to us. These were a few that stuck out to me. I encourage you to read it and even memorize it if you want to. They are such encouraging words. Because the truth is, God does care about you. He cares so, so much about you - every little detail. He cares about what you're going through. He cares about every little thing. Yes, He is a big God - yet He loves you so much that He cares about you and your life. And that's the truth.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Talking With God

I'm sorry I haven't posted on here in a while. I've been busy with lots of school and things and I just haven't been posting on here. I've also been in a "spiritual slump" again and have been thinking about a lot of things. It is so easy to fall into those spiritual slumps and valleys, yet you need to be there in order to see God's hand at work in your life. If you were good in your spiritual life all the time, you would never have a chance to grow. So I am thankful for those times, yet I do wish that I wouldn't have to go through them. A song that has been helping me is "Believe" by Mainstay. It describes how I've been feeling so well. Here are the lyrics:

I don't know if I still have the strength to get up again
I don't know if I can face my own reflection
Jesus, take this heart that feels so cold again and make it new
I hold this hope inside that You will never leave me
When all around me starts to fall
And when my faith it seems so small
Even in my darkest hour I will believe
I don't know how I could turn my back and walk away
All I really want is for Your love to hold me
Jesus, take this heart and make it whole again
I know You will never leave me
When all around me starts to fall
And when my faith it seems so small
Even in my darkest hour I will believe
Even if the sun begins to fall
Even when I feel nothing at all
Even if I'm all alone I will believe
I'll believe
I'll believe
I'll believe
When all around me starts to fall
And when my faith it seems so small
Even in my darkest hour
Even if the sun begins to fall
Even when I feel nothing at all
Even if I'm all alone I will believe

I love that song, it is so inspiring and encouraging. But of course there was something bigger that helped me through it, and that was God. I write to God every night in a journal - so much happens in one day and when I go over my day at night with God, it helps me so much to sort out my thoughts. Sometimes I begin writing with so much regret and guilt and then when I'm done talking with God, I feel refreshed and new. Other times I'll begin writing feeling down and stressed and when I'm done talking with God, I feel ready to go to sleep with a clear mind. It is so great how amazing it is just to give the things that are pressing on your heart to God. It is so freeing.

I encourage you all to keep a journal something like this. Instead of writing out fancy prayers, just talk with God. That's all He wants. He loves to hear His children's worries and fears and pains. He wants to talk with you. He wants you to give Him all of the things that are weighing on your heart. And when you're done, you will feel so free and refreshed. Just give Him your burdens. He will give you rest.

"'Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.'"
-Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Be Authentic - Be Real - Be You!

Friends... how hard it is to find a real, true, authentic, genuine friend! God has been opening my eyes lately to how blessed I am to have those kinds of friends in my life. Everyone makes mistakes and I am always going to be let down by people. God does tell us, "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD" [Jeremiah 17:5]. I cannot depend on people to fulfill and satisfy my needs and desires. But sometimes you need a true, genuine friend to be there for you. And I am so, so blessed to have more than one friend like this! You guys know who you are - and I am so thankful for you.

Tonight at Bible Study we were talking a lot about being yourself and being who you are everywhere you are. We were talking about not wearing your heart on your sleeve, yet letting people know who you are. I don't know about you, but sometimes I try to fit in somewhere before I let the people see who I really am. And then I get close to them, yet it's not really me because I'm being superficial. So they're accepting me for being someone I'm not - and then I'm stuck. So I want to encourage you to try to be who you really, truly are everywhere that you are and with everyone that you're with. Who are you? Well, if you've accepted Christ as your Savior, you're a child of God. And being children of God, we need to live like we are children of God. We all have our own unique, individual personalities that God has blessed us with, and we need to let ourselves blossom into who we really are in Christ by allowing ourselves to be authentic and genuine and real.

I had to write an essay for English class about an important decision I had to make in my life. So this is what I wrote:

"The most important decision you'll ever make in your life is who your master will be. There are only two choices: God or satan and the world." My pastors words have stuck with me and planted themselves in my heart since that message he had preached early one Sunday morning. Yet the meaning of his words went far deeper than what he said. I knew that I needed to make the decision to either follow God wholeheartedly and let Him be the master of my life or to let satan lead my life by way of the world and lead me into darkness and despair.
I had two choices. There were no in-between or gray areas. There was no turning back. I knew that I had to choose who to follow or someone or something was going to choose to lead me. The way that my heart tends to lean towards the world and its ways, I realized that if I didn't choose a master, the world was going to master me. I knew that I didn't want that, because I knew that eventually that would only lead me into darkness and depression and heartache. The only other choice was God - the One who promises light, joy, peace, and real, true life.
You would think that one would choose to allow God to be their master if He promises so much good to His followers. Yet there are many people who allow the world to become their master and they follow it and its crowds into darkness. Many people choose the world to become the master of their hearts and lives and walk straight into a dark pit of sorrow, despair and death. Yet because of God's amazing grace and love, He has pulled me numerous times off of the edge of that pit, as I was struggling to keep myself from falling into it completely. God grabbed ahold of my arms and gently lifted me out of that deep, dark, painful pit and held me in His arms. The words that were whispered to me from Him that day were very clear. I cannot follow and allow both God and the world to be my masters. It's either one or the other. I chose God - and everytime I am hanging on with all of my strength to the edge of that pit, he pulls me out. My God is good, and my God is the master of my life.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Tears Rain Down

Well these past couple of days I've been realizing that I need to prioritize my life better. Last night I didn't read my Bible Challenge for the day because I felt like God was telling me, "Molly, you're making my relationship with you a "check-list" and a "have-to-do" thing. Don't read this tonight. Read something else from My Word that you can really apply to your life right now." So I read 1 Corinthians 13 and went through all of the descriptions of what love is and thought about the areas that I need to work on. I'd love to do a study sometime on 1 Corinthians 13 and what love truly is. Society and America and people have love so twisted and messed up. Love is so much deeper than what society tells us.

I wrote a poem tonight for English. I had to write about something that symbolizes something for me. So this is what I wrote:

“The Tears Rain Down”
Rain, from Heaven it pours down,
Like tears falling from the sky.
It pours out from the One who is crowned,
So the tears rain down.

As ordinary rain falls down to the earth,
I see the tears of God pouring over His people.
For their sin they should be cursed,
Instead the tears rain down

The rhythm of the tears that fall,
Are coming from the eyes of God.
He cares and loves enough for us all,
To let the tears rain down.

The sound of the rain is like hearing God speak.
Over His people the rhythm of rain falls.
Because of the sins of us who are so weak,
The tears rain down.

God is so beautiful.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Guarding Your Heart

Well I haven't been posting everyday... I think I've decided that I won't make that a goal for the year anymore. I think some days I should keep some posts up for longer than a day and then other days I'm busy doing other things, so I think it's best to not make it a goal. But I will still be updating regularly!

Something I read in Proverbs the other day really spoke to my heart:

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
-Proverbs 4:23

I now make that verse a prayer to God throughout the day when I know that my heart needs to be guarded. And you know what? It really helps. "Guard my heart, God. Above all else, guard my heart." It's a simple prayer yet God answers it for me everytime I ask Him to. Of course it takes some effort on my part. I can't just say, "God, I'm not putting any effort in this... I'm still going to think these thoughts but just guard my heart, okay?" No, I need to put effort into my request by first sincerely asking God to guard my heart, and then by putting forth some effort by trying my best to get the wrong thoughts out of my mind before they reach my heart and take root there.

I want to encourage you to make Proverbs 4:23 a prayer that you pray to God every day. And pray it everytime you realize that your heart needs to be guarded [you're thinking about a guy/girl in a lustful way, you're having thoughts that you know you shouldn't have, etc.].

"God, guard my heart. Oh, above all else, guard my heart!"

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Goal

I had a better day today than I did yesterday. I am definitely still learning that God is all that I need to truly satisfy me, though. Life with Christ is definitely a journey, and every journey has its curves and high places and low places. Some journeys aren't even worth taking, though. But I know that this journey with God that I [and every other Christ-follower] am taking is one that is worthwhile. I wrote in my journal last night to God that what keeps me going on this journey is knowing what lies at the end for me. I will see Jesus and I will bask in God's presence. I will feel His holiness and His presence stronger than I ever have here on earth. I will live with God forever in a glorious place called Heaven where He is now preparing a place for me. And that is what keeps me going when loneliness, disappointments, fears, pain, and trials come my way.

"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
-Philippians 3:14

Like Paul, I press on toward the goal to win the prize and receive my reward in which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus! How amazing - and that is what I live for and that is why I am still on this journey.

Lyrics from the song "I Belong to You" by BarlowGirl and Superchic[k]:

Everybody needs to belong somewhere
Life can feel so alone without someone who cares
And when life becomes something just to get through
That's when I'm glad that I belong to You
I belong to You,
I belong to You...
You're the One who will never let me down,
won't let me down,
I belong to You
Sometimes life brings more pain than we can bear alone
When hope is gone and I have no strength to stand on my own
Nothing helps theres nothing that I can do
You surround me and show me I belong to You
I belong to You,
I belong to You...
You're the One who will never let me down,
won't let me down,
I belong to You
When love is gone there's no arms to run to anymore
I'm all alone, theres no one for me to live for
Letting go of the things I always come to
Thats when I need to feel
That I belong to YouI belong to You,
I belong to You...
You're the One who will never let me down,
won't let me down,
I belong to You

I've been feeling that exact way a lot lately. God has been gently lifting up my head and whispering to me, "Yes, you belong to Me. Always and forever - you belong to Me." How refreshing and encouraging and amazing. I love God and I am forever grateful for Him. And I am thankful for all of you who have been encouraging me lately... thank you!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

True Fulfillment

I had a really discouraging night last night. I don't want to tell you why, but I feel that it could help you if I do, and so I will. I was thinking a lot about guys and my future husband. I was having doubts that he is even out there. I'm not dating right now, and yet my heart was yearning for someone. Maybe that's a natural thing for those who are single to think about and desire. But there is one important thing that I learned and realized last night: I can't put my trust in people. People always disappoint. People always let you down. Why? Because they're human. People can't ultimately and truly satisfy your needs and desires. People can't ultimately bring you satisfaction. But God can. And God is the only One Who can bring you that true satisfaction that your heart is longing for and desiring to have. You might be single or you might be married. The truth is, no husband [or wife] is ever going to bring you the true satisfaction that you need. Your heart may be telling you different, but the truth is, God is the only One Who can bring you that true satisfaction and the only One Who can complete your heart and the only One Who can satisfy your desires.

I want to tell you [and believe me, I know from experience considering that I have never dated], being single is a wonderful thing. You may think that you need someone right now, but the truth is: you don't. The only Someone you need is God, and even if that is hard to believe, believe it; because it's true. Use the season of life that you are in right now to serve God. Those who are single sometimes waste away their lives and their dreams, waiting, waiting, waiting for God to place the right person in their life. Don't be like that. Use the season of life that you're in right now for God's glory. Get to know Him intimately. He is the only One that you will ever need.

It was late last night and I still hadn't read my Bible reading for the day for the challenge that I'm doing [to read the Bible in 90 days]. I was tired, I was discouraged, and I just wanted to go to sleep and feel sorry for myself. I knew that I needed to get in God's Word, though, and so I did. I read the Bible reading for yesterday, read Proverbs 1, and then got out my journal and just poured out my heart to God while I listened to some really good Christian music. And you know what? I felt completely refreshed. Completely refreshed. Now if that didn't show me that God is my only true source of satisfaction and fulfillment, then I don't know what will. But I did realize then that He really is all that I need. Now will He always be all that I want? No, of course not. I am a human with human desires. I caught myself today desiring the same thing I did yesterday. Does that mean that God isn't my true source of satisfaction? No. That means that I am a human. And I am a human - like every other person out there - who needs God. God holds my true identity, He is ultimately my only source of true satisfaction, He is always there to take me back when I fail, He is the only friend who really knows how I feel and what I'm thinking, and He is the only One Who is always there to pick me up when I fall.

I want to encourage you to right now go to God and just pour your heart out to Him. He does care. He does want to listen. Talk to Him like you would talk to your friend. Cry to Him. He won't turn you away like so many people you know do. He is your only true source of fulfillment and satisfaction. He is all that you need right now, and He is all that you will ever need.

"This is what the LORD says: 'Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.'"
-Jeremiah 17:5

Also, read the prayer that Jesus prayed for us - for you - before He was crucified in John 17:9-21.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A New Year and a New Start

Happy New Year everyone! I pray that God will bless your new year and that you will grow closer to Him this year than you ever have been before.

I have a lot of goals for the new year and I realize that I might not reach them all. My number one goal is to grow closer to God than I ever have been before. That's a goal that I intend and hope and pray to reach this year.

Last year I made a goal to read the Bible every day of the year [2007]. I did miss a couple of days, but God definitely helped me to read His Word almost every day of the year. Another goal was to get closer to God. I was reading my journal entries in my journal from last year and I realized that I have changed so much since the beginning of 2007. I really believe that that is a good thing, and I am so thankful to God that He has changed me and used me for His glory in 2007.

This year, 2008, I've made more goals than I ever have for the new year. I hope that I don't get overwhelmed with them, and I know with God's strength and perseverance I won't. I just need to realize that if I do mess up, it's okay. I just need to let go of that and move on and continue to try to reach my goals. I'm going to be putting my goals on here [monthly goals and yearly goals] so please read them if you want to. And don't be afraid to check up on me and see how I'm doing with them!

"I need a new life, a new start
Life just isn't the same anymore.
Pressure, to be someone you don't wanna see
in yourself
Lies, chasing you down; what's fake and
what's reality?
Choices, make the wrong one and suddenly your
life is broken.
Loneliness, like a disease it attacks when
you least expect it.
Worries, swarming around in your mind with
nowhere to go.
Forgiveness, is there such a thing
Changes, they are inescapable and
Regrets, everyone has them but only a few
let them go.
Life, it isn't easy; but there is Someone Who
Promises a better way.
He leads, He protects, He comforts, He loves,
God guides me all the days of my life.
And suddenly, the things of this world
don't matter anymore.
For I have seen the beauty of the Lord
and my heart has been made new!"

Just a poem I wrote the other day. It's nothing great, just something I wanted to write to get my feelings out on paper. I wanted to write something to go along with the new year and having a new start and I thought I'd share it with you.

I want to encourage you to make goals for this year. If you feel you've already failed, don't give up. Make new goals and start out fresh - even if it's the middle of the year or the end of the year! Continue to set goals for yourself and for your life that line up with what God wants for you and your life. I read something once that says something like this, "Think positive and you will have positive results. Think negative and you will have negative results. Don't think at all and you will have no results." I really want to encourage you to set effective goals for yourself that line up with what God wants for your life. Answer the questions on one of my previous posts [called "Effective Goals for the New Year"] to make goals for yourself. I did, and it really helped me to set goals and know what I want to do this year in my life with Christ.

Here are some ideas for goals that you can make for yourself:
-Read the Bible in 90 days. Sounds like a lot of reading, but it's all planned out for you. Just click this link:
-Make a prayer file. "Write down various prayer requests on index cards, using one card per request and noting: the nature of the request, the date, and where the request came from. File each request in the appropriate section of your file: things you intend to pray about daily, weekly, and monthly (divide the monthly section into 30 slots so you can pray about a different request each day of the month). Whenever you discover how God has answered a certain prayer request, record the answer on the corresponding card and move the card to a new file -- one for answered prayers." [from Crosswalk]
-Read a chapter of Proverbs every day. For example, read Proverbs 1 on the first of the month, Proverbs 2 on the second, etc. [And don't feel like you have to start at the beginning!]
-Write in a journal everyday. Write down your thoughts, your feelings, your hurts, disappointments, discouragements, joys, etc. that you have experienced throughout the day. Write them out as a prayer to God in a journal every night and evaluate your day and think about what you could've done differently or better and ask for forgiveness for the things that you know you have done wrong that you didn't ask for forgiveness for earlier in the day.

Or here's some more simple goals:
-Read the Bible everyday. Just read it - it doesn't matter how much or how little, just try to get in the Word every day.
-Pray everyday. Set aside a time everyday to just talk to God. Whether that's at night when you're going to sleep or throughout the day, just talk to God. And if you really want to set aside part of your day to spend with your Father, I encourage you to do that, too.
-Do something that you wouldn't have done last year. Get out of your comfort zone this year. Do something new and scary for God that last year you would never have thought of doing.
-Meet a new friend. Reach out to someone and make a new friend.

So there's some goals that you can maybe think about doing. I'll be doing them [or at least trying to do them], too, so if you need any encouragement, you know who to talk to!

One more thing: I really encourage you to right now go to God and ask Him to cleanse your heart from all of the wrong things that you have done last year. It's 2008 - a new year and I pray, a new start. I hope you have a really great new year and again, I encourage you to make some good goals and try to get closer to God this year!

And remember:
"A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps."
-Proverbs 14:15

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."
-Proverbs 16:9