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