Life

Ever, only, all for Thee

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“Take myself and I will be, Ever, only, all for Thee.”

I remember the spring I was preparing for my mission trip to Ireland and applying to be a leader on the team, I was asked the question that was something like, “What is God’s purpose for the Christian life?” Obviously there’s not a magic answer to this question. They were just looking at what we felt in our hearts God was telling us. I took some time to pray and study my Bible, and I clearly remember thinking it’s all about God. Everything in the Bible points to Him. My life should be all for Him and His glory If I’m not doing that, then it’s pointless. My purpose is to glorify God in everything I do.

Obviously that is easier said than done, right? It is in our human nature to want to make everything about us, to make sure the credit goes to us, to make sure we get what we want, to make sure that our own cause is being promoted. This leads us to a divided heart, and God makes it clear that we cannot serve two masters. It’s either all for us or all for Him, not half and half. We live in a me, me, me focused society, and I believe now more so than ever. With social media it has become the norm to promote our ‘best’ selves to the world and taking selfies has become just a usual thing that we do. And I’m not saying I’m not guilty of this kind of thinking in any way. This mindset has become ingrained in many of us in my generation because we grew up in it, although that is no excuse for our actions.

It’s either all for us or all for Him, not half and half.

I want to challenge you to be different than the norm. After all that’s what we’re called to do right? There’s a hymn that goes, “Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to thee.” It goes through stanza after stanza proclaiming the message, God take everything I do and let it sing your praise, let it bring you fame!

There’s a verse that says, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” In this passage people were concerned about whether it was right or wrong to eat certain foods, and so Paul addresses them by saying, “you are asking the wrong question. Examine your heart and see if what you are doing glorifies God.” It was more of a heart thing than anything else.

When our hearts remain in a place of awe and wonder of who God is, we can’t help but live our lives every second for his glory.

So examine your heart, and keep on examining it daily. Ask God to show you parts of your life and actions that are divided. Ask him to show you things you are putting above him and seeking the glory for instead of giving it to him. It may be hard to hear, but allow God to speak and transform your heart. He deserves all the glory. Remember all the things he has done for you. Ask him to show you how great his love is for you. Ask him to help you understand more and more how great and powerful and big he is. When our hearts remain in a place of awe and wonder of who God is, we can’t help but live our lives every second for his glory. Ask God to help you live your life for Him and Him alone.

Take My Life and Let It Be Frances R. Havergal, 1874

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.

Take my silver and my gold, Not a mite would I withhold. Take my intellect and use Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it Thine, It shall be no longer mine. Take my heart, it is Thine own, It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour At Thy feet its treasure store. Take myself and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee.

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When Making the Right Decision Becomes Crippling

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Today I’m writing this blog as much for my own encouragement as for anyone reading this. If you have been following my posts at all you may have noticed that I write from my own personal experiences. A lot of the time when I’m going through something and God gives me a word of encouragement I want to share it because I realize the powerful truth that I’m not alone in my struggle, that there is probably someone or maybe lots of people going through the same thing. So as you read this realize I don’t have it all together. I’m still figuring things out and trying to get the hang of things in my own walk with Christ. I'm telling these things as much to myself as to anyone else.

Alright, so in Psalms 33:11 it says, “But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken.”

Here is a thought: Sometimes when things are falling apart, they may actually be falling into place.

What does that have to do with the Psalm? It says, His plans stand firm forever, so in life when things are falling apart remember God’s ultimate plan cannot be moved. It may seem like everything is coming apart, but either it’s something the enemy planned for destruction and God says, “I will use this for good,” or maybe some things needed to be removed and reshaped in order to get you where you need to be.

So often, we worry about missing out on an opportunity. We put so much stress on making the “right” decision, but did you ever think that maybe God intentionally wants us to miss out on certain things to position us for something greater.

God sees the bigger picture and He knows where we need to be, so don’t you think He will make darn sure we are there despite our own human stupidity?

Like it says in the Psalm God's intentions CANNOT BE SHAKEN! That means His will and His plan will come to be somehow. It might not be the exact way He originally wanted, but it will happen.

So there are a few different cases. One is that, yeah maybe God wanted you to make a different turn that you didn’t, (oops we made a wrong a decision…again), but I strongly believe that just because say maybe I decide to not do something, that opportunity is not missed. No, if God planned for something to be it will be. Either He will send someone else in my place to accomplish it or He will redirect my steps to get me back to where I need to be.

There are other times when we have a decision to make and we think it’s right because it’s good, but just because something is good doesn’t mean it’s the best. Or sometimes we think we’re going to get a job, and we believe that it would be such a great opportunity, so of course it’s where I’m supposed to be, but maybe God is saying no to that because He has something better in mind. Yes, other people are involved and they can make the wrong decisions, but we must trust that God has everything in control and He will make another way.

We need to stop worrying about being in the right place at the right time because that will just begin to wear us down. In the end we already know that God wins the battle. His will and His plan will not be shaken. Did you hear that? HIS PLANS WILL NOT AND CANNOT BE SHAKEN! If we believe that in the end the battle is already won, then why wouldn’t the same apply to our lives and those around us now?

So keep praying for God’s will over your life and those around you. Keep walking; don’t let fear and worry stop you from moving even if it means moving backwards.

until next time
until next time

Speak It!

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In this life we are all too familiar with broken promises. It is because of this that it can be hard to trust that when God makes a promise to us He will fulfill it. We think in human terms, and thus we can begin to lack faith in God to make good on His promises. I have been studying lately the story of Abraham, and more specifically the promise God gave him that he would become the father of many nations.

We can learn something from Abraham’s life when it comes to the promises of God. God spoke that Abraham was the father of many nations before it even happened. He spoke life into something that did not even exist yet. He changed his name from Abram, which means, “exalted father” to Abraham, which means “father of many.” God literally spoke Abraham’s future into existence. He didn’t call him by what he currently was, but by what he was going to be.

In Romans 4:17 Paul is writing about Abraham becoming the father of many nations and it says in the Amplified version, “As it is written, I have made you the father of many nations. [He was appointed our father] in the sight of God in Whom he believed, Who gives life to the dead and speaks of the nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed.

I love the last part of that verse! God speaks things that are not existent into existence, and they are the things that he has promised us. Look at how Genesis accounts the creation of the world. God spoke the universe into existence. He called Abram Abraham and he became the father of many nations. He caused a valley of dry bones to rise up from the dead (Ezekiel 37:1-10).

What are things God has promised for your life? What are dreams you have for the future? Speak them out loud. Thank God right now, in advance, for all the things he is going to do in your life. Thank him as though you have already received them. You have to speak in faith about such things.

Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Our words are powerful, so we must use them to speak life. We must claim the promises of God.

Here are some promises in Scripture: our God will never leave us (Deuteronomy 31:6), he will supply our every need (Philippians 4:19), all things will work for the good of those who love and serve him (Romans 8:28), He has promised us eternal life (John 10:27-28).

Live now in the promises God has given to us!

until next time
until next time

The Kindling to the Fire of Life

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I believe that dreams are the kindling to the fire and passion of life.

Has God ever promised something to you or given you a dream or vision of something awesome He is going to do in your life? When we see those glimpses of glory, the slightest hint of what God has in store for our lives, it is so exciting. I love that God is a God of vision and of dreams. He has placed dreams in all of us. It could be a dream to one-day get married. A dream to start your own business. A dream to graduate college. A dream to be a missionary. A dream to have a family.

Dreams keep us going. They give us fuel to push through the hard times, and they shine even brighter because of those hard times.

Dreams are a great thing. They give us hope and expectancy for the future. I believe it is always good to look ahead with such things. But it is also good to stay focused on now. For me personally there are so many things I wish were a reality for my life right now, but I know that I must wait. God is preparing me.

I have realized that I like to jump the gun on a lot of things in life. I’ll think it’s time, but then I jump into the giant lake realizing that I’m not an adequate enough swimmer to swim to the other side, so I have to get out, and jump into a smaller pool and continue training.

What I love is that when this happens, God is not waiting to slap me on the wrist for being so impatient. He is waiting patiently to continue walking with me. You see, we need to go where He goes; but instead we often we try to go where we think we’re supposed to go. It is true, He will come with us wherever we go, but God is so much better at leading than we are, so we need to let him guide us. You might not do this, but a lot of times I do something simply because it’s a good thing and it may even be a Godly thing, so, I think, “It has to be something God wants me to do.” But that isn’t always the case.

I have realized that there are a lot of things I start on my own without even going to God to see if it’s right or not. So instead of just jumping in it is important to go to Him first. I need His OK to walk that path because even if it is an altogether good thing, I might not be ready for it or it might just be that God has something even better in store.

I am currently finishing my last semester of college and to many, college is a season in life of waiting. Waiting to get a degree. Waiting to have a big person job. And the biggest lie, waiting for life start. I like to look at it as more of a season of preparation. It’s not like my life hasn’t already started and I am waiting until I get my degree to go and fulfill God’s plan for my life. No, I am doing that right now, every single day I am living and breathing His plan is unfolding in my life. He is preparing me for things He has promised for my life and for things I don’t even know about yet. The same is true for you, no matter where you are in life.

A verse God has been bringing to my mind a lot lately is Psalm 33:11 which says, “But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken. God made plans for your life before the beginning of time, and He planned for when the dreams He has placed in your heart would be fulfilled. So there is no need to worry and try to hurry up the process because everything will happen in His time.

So live everyday intentionally, seeking direction from God every step of the way. His Holy Spirit is here to guide us, so listen to Him. God’s promises never return void. The dreams and visions for the future He has given you will happen in time. Now it’s your turn to actively wait in preparation for something big and exciting to happen, remembering that every step you take is bringing you closer to that dream. You will never get there if you do not move forward, so start now! If you already have, keep on trekking and don't lose hope for the dreams God has given you.

until next time

Is Purity Worth Fighting For?

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There have been multiple blogs and articles going around talking about sexual purity, so I thought I’d weigh in on the topic. I believe your sexual purity is definitely worth fighting for. Now before you write me off, please hear me out.

Yes, I am one of “those” people who wears a purity ring. And no, I am not some brainwashed Christian who recited some pledge years ago at a purity conference. I made the decision myself because I understand my value in Christ and respect my body and realize that God's design and plan for sex is the best.

I wear my ring as a reminder and symbol of a commitment I made. It’s kind of like the act of being baptized, although it’s not the same thing obviously. Part of baptism is that it is an outward expression of an inward commitment. Back in the time of John the Baptist, when he baptized people it was a very public thing. Others knew that these people were followers of Christ, and sometimes that meant that they would be persecuted. Wearing a purity ring is my outward expression of a commitment I made to fight for my purity. And plenty of people have looked at me judgingly after I tell them what it is and others just laugh like it’s the dumbest decision ever or they say that they respect me for it, but that they wouldn’t be able to live that kind of lifestyle.

They tell me I’m missing out. Missing out on what? Heartbreak? Diseases? Pregnancy and having to become a single parent? (Not that having a child wouldn’t be a blessing; it would just be very difficult to have to do that without support of a spouse)

I am not under some idea that wearing a purity ring will keep me from having sex or from wanting to have sex. We were made with a sex drive, and that isn’t a bad thing. Sexual desire is something God created in us, so it is a good thing, if used in the right way.

Pastor Steven Furtick gave a great analogy about sexual desire. He said that sexual desire could be related to fire. Fire is inherently pure, like sex when used in the way it was intended (inside of marriage), but when misplaced or misused it is dangerous.

I believe that sex was created for marriage and outside of marriage it is not good, not that it wouldn’t be pleasurable, it just was not intended for two people who were not committed to each other in marriage to have sex.

Pastor Furtick says, “You can have the right passion, but have the wrong expression of that passion and it can have a terrible result in your life.”

It can lead to shame and guilt and uncertainties. It can open a door to other things that you never thought you would do because our sexual desire is like a fire and when a fire is not contained it spreads and burns anything it touches.

So I’m not sitting here saying things like “If you wait until you’re married to have sex, you will have the best sex.” Or “Sex is a bad thing.” Even once we’re in a marriage we have to keep the “fire” aka sexual desire contained within our marriage. If all we ever do is go from one person to the next and sleep around, it’s practice for cheating on your future spouse and divorce because you don’t know how to control your sexual desire.

So many people say that they have sex with and live with their significant others because they want to give it a test run. They often use the analogy of test-driving a car, but would you want to buy a car that had multiple owners who racked up the mileage and wore down the car? Probably not. You would want a car that had been taken care of by its previous owner or one that had never been driven. So I don’t believe the “test drive” analogy is really the greatest. Those in relationships should respect their significant other and focus on who they are as a person not just physically, but mentally and spiritually. One day we’re all going to be old and wrinkly and our physical attraction will deteriorate, but who we are inside will remain.

The simple version of what I’m trying to say is, respect one another and yourself. You are worth more than just a hook-up. You are worth waiting for, and trust me, there are still guys and girls out there who are waiting too, so don’t give up or give in.

Stay Unique

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I remember my junior and senior year of high school everyone would always ask me that one question I dreaded. "What are you going to major in, in college?" But what I heard was, ”What do you want to do with the rest of your life?"

The reason I dreaded that question and still am not to keen on it is because I had no clue what the answer was.

This is a question we are confronted with at an early age. I remember in first grade I wanted to be a veterinarian, and then it was a professional figure skater, and then chef, and the list goes on.

I have never been that person that is exceptionally great at one thing. I feel like I'm good at a few things and mediocre in some others. I couldn't see how the things I loved would ever work together. I would always ask God, "How are you going to use this gift and this other one together?"

I have started to actually see now, 4 years into college, how God is using my different gifts and abilities together. He knew what He was doing when He made me, and the same goes for when He made you.

He made you for a unique purpose. For something that only you could do. He gave you all the abilities you needed for that purpose, and will pick up the slack where you’re not so gifted. (One thing I've learned is that God loves using the unqualified because then we know that it was all by his power, so go after your dreams! Check this post out for more details on this >> http://somethingmoregirl.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/feel-inadequate-god-wants-to-use-you/)

So what I'm trying to say is, don't try to fit into someone else's purpose. Don't try to be something you're not.

We are all part of the body of Christ, but we all have different functions. What good would a body be if it was made out of just hands? It wouldn’t be able to do whole lot that’s for sure. So I encourage you to focus on your gifts and abilities, and how you can use them to help the body of Christ.

Discover what you are really passionate about and what you love, and dive deeper into those things. That is when you will start to see how they go together.

Don't give up on what you truly love to do just because it doesn't make sense. Keep pushing through and developing the gifts God gave you, and keep on using them! When you do that, there is no telling what amazing things you will achieve, and I guarantee you will be blown away by how everything will work together because when God starts a work He always finishes it!

How to Get More Out of Life

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“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

Most of us are pretty well acquainted with this verse. We are taught that the enemy only wants bad for our lives and God only desires good for our lives. Not only does God desire good for us, but also He desires to give us an abundance and overflowing of blessings. Yet, we find ourselves in debt or with severe anxiety or depression or lacking motivation to live a full life.

When Jesus said he came that we may have life and have it abundantly that meant more joy, peace, financial blessings, blessings in our relationships, blessings in our educational and career goals, blessings in our health, emotionally and physically, and on and on. Now that sounds like getting more out of life. If you’re anything like me you’re probably wondering how do I get in on this?

I have learned in my short yet still long 22 years of life that the more I dedicate my life to and give it back to God, the more He blesses me and the more I am living life out of abundance. Here are a few steps you can take to start getting more out of your life.

Spend time getting to know God

This may seem rudimentary and perhaps unrelated, but the more we spend time with God and the more we learn about Him, the more we see that He truly desires to give good things to His children (that’s us)! It says in Luke 12:29-32, “Don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t be afraid little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.”

God is not some brooding deity in the Heaven’s looking down at us and laughing at our misfortunes. He is compassionate and loving and tender and full of mercy and grace. He so desires to have a relationship with us. He wants to know our deepest longings, and He longs to fulfill them. One thing that stuck out to me in that verse is that it says that it “gives the Father GREAT HAPPINESS to give you the Kingdom.” He doesn't do it out of obligation or because we deserve it. He blesses us because we are His children and He is a good Father.

Be content with what you have

Hebrews 13:5-6 in the Amplified version says, “Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present circumstances and with what you have; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support.” We have all heard that money itself is not the root of evil, but it is the love of money that causes ruin. No matter how much money and material possessions we gain in this life, none of it will come with us when we die. So don't put all your hope and happiness in things that are only temporary.

When we are always looking at things others have that we don’t have or always wanting the latest and best version of something it causes huge discontentment. Instead of focusing on what we don’t have, let’s focus on what we do have, like perhaps a car that runs, or roof over your head, food, loving parents, a job, the ability to see, hear or breathe, a phone that works, a computer, clothes, running water, etc… I encourage you to sit down and write out a list of what you have and are thankful for and I bet that you will have a pretty long list. Focus on what you have and be content with what God has given you.

Remember and trust that God has promised to provide our every need.

Live less for yourself and more for others

This also helps with step number two I just talked about. When we focus on others and their needs we stop thinking about ourselves as much because out attention shifts from inward thinking (me, me, me) to outward. When we use our own gifting and talents for others we feel a sense of purpose because what we are doing is making a difference in others’ lives. Did you know that every day the decisions you make no matter how small they may seem are impacting those around you? Jon Foreman, the lead singer from Switchfoot said,

"Every day you’re alive you change the world. Even a lack of involvement is a decision with lasting ramifications. No matter who you are, your actions and thoughts every moment of every day have powerful implications for not only your life but the lives of those around you.”

So live your life for others. Find ways you can help those around you. Find ways to encourage others. Find ways to bless someone’s life. When you do, you are doing those things unto Jesus and He says that He will bless those who serve the least of those among us. Just give Matthew 25 a read and you’ll understand more.

When we give our lives over to God there is no telling what crazy, amazing things He will do through us. Remember that God finds complete JOY in blessing and giving us all that we need! So put your trust in Him and He will give you a life filled with more joy, peace, love, and hope than you could ever imagine!

until next time
until next time