You’re Not Alone — July 14, 2017

You’re Not Alone

When I was single I looked to the day I’d date again so I wouldn’t be lonely. Praying that God would take away the loneliness instead of filling the void. Then I started praying God would fill the void of loneliness in my life. 

Then today I’m talking with a friend. He seemed astonished that God understands what we’re going through. My friend struggles as a single man in his 20s feeling lonely and unwanted. 

It hit me today like a ton of bricks. The Father turned His face away from Jesus when he was on the cross. The single most lonely moment in history. Jesus cried out when it happened, wanting his Father, but knowing he would have to endure the loneliness so he can take our place. 

When you think God doesn’t understand us, it’s quite the opposite. When we think we can’t go to God with our pain and loneliness we forget that He understands better than anyone. 

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭4:15-16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

We can, with respect, go to God boldly with our request and praises. 

What’s holding you back from boldly approaching the throne of grace? 

God bless.  🙂

Missing You — July 3, 2017

Missing You

I’ll be honest. Being in a long distance relationship is tough. The other day Ash and I were planning the next time we can hopefully see each other. Pending that the train tickets and hotel room for him are available. We were saying how we miss each other and discussing plans a few months down the road so distance isn’t a barrier anymore. 

Then last night, as I was laying in bed, my mind was wandering like it normally does. It hit me like a freight train. So often we “miss the text” from God where He says “I miss you”. 

Growing up in the church I heard Jesus loves me all the time. In all honesty it lost the awe that it should inspire. I think Francis Chan in his book Crazy Love puts it into perspective. 

“Recently, out of a desire to grow in my love for God, I decided to spend a few days alone with Him in the woods. 

“Before I left, a friend prayed, ‘God, I know how You’ve wanted this time with Francis…’ Though I didn’t say anything at the time, I secretly thought it was a heretical way to pray and that he was wrong to phrase it that way. I was going to the woods because I wanted more of God. But He’s God; He certainly wouldn’t want more of me! It seemed demeaning to think that God could long for a human being. 

“The more I searched the Scriptures, however, the more I realized my friends prayer was right on, and that my reaction to his prayer indicated how much I still doubted God’s love. My belief in God’s love was still theoretical, not a reality I lived out or experienced.” 

Francis Chan, Crazy Love, excerpt from pages 57&58

Forgive the semi long excerpt. Francis Chan hits it right on the mark. So often we forget that God tells us that He desires a relationship with us. 

God misses us when we’re not spending time with Him. 

It’s seen over and over again in the Bible in the way Christ describes His relationship with us. They’re intimate relationships. A Shepard and sheep, a father and child, a husband and wife. 

All those relationships have such a close bond. Now days most people relate to father and child relationships, or husband and wife. That love and bond is nothing like the love and bond that Christ has/wants with us. 

When you grow up in the church it’s easy to lose sight of the depth of God’s love for us. It’s easy to get caught up in daily life that we neglect our relationship with Christ. 

What can you do to strengthen your relationship with Christ, and remember He desires a relationship with you? 

God bless. 🙂 

Redeeming a Moabitess  — June 2, 2017

Redeeming a Moabitess 

Let me set the stage. Naomi and her husband moved to Moab with their two sons. Her two sons married women from Moab that worshiped the gods of Moab. Ruth was one woman that married to Naomi’s son. 

Eventually Naomi’s husband and two sons died. Leaving them widows. 

Shortly after Naomi decided to move back to be with her people in Judah. Ruth and her sister in law followed, until Naomi tells them to return to their fathers homes. Even after watching her sister in law turn back Ruth refused and followed Naomi to Judah. 

During the years Ruth and Naomi knew each other Ruth wanted to learn more about Naomi’s God. Ruth began to believe in the God of Israel and wanted to serve Him. 

This is why Ruth wanted to stay loyal to Naomi, because of her God. 

Upon return, we see in the book of Ruth, Naomi was very upset and understandably so. She says this when greeted by family and friends in Judah:  

“She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?””

‭‭Ruth‬ ‭1:20-21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I wonder, if she realized the events that took place would lead to her daughter in law giving birth to a son that would carry on the lineage of the Messiah, that she would have said those words. If she would’ve said God was dealing bitterly with her. 

I wonder if Naomi realized that her families kinsman redeemer and Ruth would carry on the line that the Messiah would be born through. Ruth didn’t know this either when she was determined to follow Naomi. 

Little did Naomi and Ruth know they were so blessed by God! That God used yet another gentile woman in the line of David. 

How can you live in the knowledge that God could use devastating circumstances to bring His glory years down the road? 

God bless. 🙂 

New Life — May 30, 2017

New Life

This year I decided to try something I’d never done before: grow cucumbers. Actually, I’ve never grown anything before! Let’s just say this process hasn’t gone to plan. 

Three of my four plants have died. 

Naturally, I took to facebook asking my friends more experienced in gardening I could plant new seeds in the pot. After I got the okay to plant new seeds I planted them. 

It made me think about how God gives us a new life. When sin withers away like those cucumbers have done, we’re given a new life, a second chance. God “plants” a new seed” 

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭NASB‬‬

It’s not easy, and you have to grow, but in the end your new “plant” won’t wither away, much like I’m hoping these plants grow healthy and strong. With our spiritual growth, though, it’s not a guess if you’ll grow. Just keep working to strengthen your relationship with God and you’ll keep growing. 

Are you living like a new creation? 

God bless. 🙂 

Strike a Pose  — May 20, 2017

Strike a Pose 

It astounds me how much emphasis is placed on looking beautiful. Time and time again in the Bible we see the importance of inward beauty. The other day I’m talking with friends, and one is 16. I try to impart wisdom, and encourage the 16 year old. 

The topic of biblical beauty comes up, and I bring up that I could probably count the times physical appearance is brought up in Proverbs 31 on one hand. I was correct. Physical appearance is only brought up twice in the description of this woman. Twice! 

“She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬ 

She’s strong. That can be emotional, or physical. Based on the work she does, I’m guessing it’s both emotional strength and physical strength. 

But even that’s a stretch because the mother of King Lemuel isn’t defining that as beauty, but a mere observation of how she is strong. 

“She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:21-22‬ ‭ESV 

May be two verses but I’m counting it as one because it’s a continuation, I think. 

It’s not even talking about the style of dress. The scarlet would be a warm material, which is practical in the cold. Fine linen and purple in that time represented status. Could be metaphorical to her demeanor, saying she has class and is respectable. However, with her husband being an elder in the city gates she probably had high status which would explain the color of the linen. 

Not once did it say she was a certain size, had a certain skin tone, or hair color. Nothing of that nature. 

Her value, and yours as well, comes from character.  She’s described as a virtuous woman, which means she’s known for her character. This woman is wise, and she’s praised for it. People recognize her for the loving and caring woman she is. 

“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:10‬ ‭ESV‬

Do things that help you remind yourself of your value. Not in an arrogant way, but so you focus on where your value really comes from; instead of the lies of where media tries to tell you where your value comes from. 

God bless. 🙂

Redeeming a Prostitute: Rahab — May 13, 2017

Redeeming a Prostitute: Rahab

This woman, Rahab, in my humble opinion is one of, if not the most understated women of the Bible. You see her name mentioned nearly a dozen times, in seven books of the Bible. Why is she not talked about more? The line of King David, and consequently Jesus, mentions this woman, yet she isn’t talked about much. 
I’m sure you’ve heard the story of how she hid the Israeli spies in her rooftop. (Found in Joshua 2, and you see how she was blessed for her actions in Joshua 6) 

Not too often though, is she talked about as a matriarch in the line of King David. It’s mind blowing to me that God would use a prostitute to carry the line of the Messiah! Does this not blow your mind?! When I first realized this it took “Jesus, friend of sinners” to a whole new level. 

Now, she may or may not have been a prostitute in the way we use the word today. Some scholars suggest the word in the original language may mean “inn keeper”, implying nothing more than she ran an Inn. Others imply the word to mean that she ran a brothel type home for travelers. And, still others think it could mean inn keeper, but being a prostitute would be a part of her job. Personally, if most versions of the bible says prostitute I’ll trust it implies her duties as an inn keeper included prostitution. 

I think people sometimes get uncomfortable talking about a prostitute, and praising her for the good she’s done. God had no problem saying she was a prostitute in the Bible, and I believe there’s a reason for it. Rahab was redeemed and forgiven, in spite of her promiscuous lifestyle. Ultimately in the title she bore we see enormity of God’s love, and mercy. 

Rahab and her family were saved because she believed in the God of Israel. At that moment He became her God. I believe at that point she put away her sinfulness, otherwise she would not have been mentioned in Hebrews 11, affectionately known as the “Hall of Faith”. Only two women commended by name for their faith, and Rahab was one of them!  

I can’t help, but see just how big God’s grace is, when He forgives and commends a woman like that because she changed and followed God. God is quick to forgive and love. That’s the beauty of not erasing the tough parts in our lives, or the parts we don’t want to talk about. 

It’s in those uncomfortable moments and parts of lives where we see God’s love and mercy. Otherwise we wouldn’t see the enormity of God’s love and grace through the life of Rahab. 

How is God’s love and mercy displayed in your life? If you look intentionally I’m sure you’ll see it. 🙂

God bless. 

Not A Good Friday  — April 14, 2017

Not A Good Friday 

Many people who know me can tell you, I am a very empathetic person. I put myself in people’s shoes, and can literally feel sorrow they may feel. Well, any emotion, but sorrow is the one today. 

You see, it was not a Good Friday. Mary wouldn’t say it was a good Friday. I don’t think Jesus’ disciples would’ve said it was a good Friday. 

Jesus was mocked, beaten, tortured, and ultimately killed. How is that good? 

You see. The story doesn’t end there. The story goes on to Easter Sunday, and the days following. Jesus was buried, but didn’t stay buried. His followers claimed, and wrote about experiences they had seeing the risen Jesus, viewing the scars received from the beating He took. They recall meals, walks, and other instances where they interacted with Him after His crucifixion. 

Historically speaking, historians don’t argue if Jesus existed. Even historians that are not Christians say he existed. I like how CS Lewis put it: 

“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said wouldn’t be a great moral teacher. He’d be either a lunatic on a level with a man who says he’s a poached egg or else he’d be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.”

C S Lewis 

He is a lunatic, a liar, or who he claimed to be. Based on what I know I’ve made my decision. Have you? This holy week we have so much to contemplate, and consider.  I cannot live knowing what I know, and not be changed.

You see. This day signifies a horrible day in history. I scratch my head at calling it “Good Friday”. 

While this day in history was horrible, it also brought the best thing ever. A chance for salvation if we choose to believe. 

Do you believe? Do you live a life that makes people wonder what’s different about you? 

Consider the price paid for your salvation, and thank God for sending His Son to pay our debt. 

🙂 God bless. 

No Fear in Love  — April 6, 2017

No Fear in Love 

I share my dating “fails” for one simple reason: so others can learn from my mistakes. It’s my prayer that this blog  is read, and encourages others, and help others learn from my mistakes. 

When in previous relationships, even a few months in, this verse was knawing away at me. The reminder that love from God wouldn’t have anxiety or fear involved. Yet I was so insecure, jealous, and anxious. 

I believe it was God reminding me, a love from Him won’t have me begging for attention. A love from God wouldn’t leave me jealous and insecure. Anxiety would take a grip on me along with this verse. Leaving me no choice, really, but to end the relationship and run back to God. 

A perfect love wouldn’t leave you needing to run back to God. A perfect love leads you to God, because God is love! 

Only since I’ve met my boyfriend has this changed for me. Even as friends Ash would pray for me, and encourage me to be what he calls “a woman of character”, or a Godly woman. Ash asks about my devotions, and we talk about our daily devotions. 

By no means am I saying he’s perfect. No one is. But Ash is learning to love from the One who is perfect. Ash leads me, and guides me closer to God. I finally understood why this verse says “perfect love casts out fear”. 

Because even if Ash is not the man God has for me to marry, Ash displays perfect love because of who he loves more than me, God. I don’t get anxious, jealous, or even insecure with Ash. 

Do you display perfect love to those around you? How can you show His perfect love today? 

God bless. ❤

Dateable Dilemma — April 3, 2017

Dateable Dilemma

Today I’m working a split shift, and I turned on my phone to a message from a friend about being date-able but not marry-able. I’ll admit I believe I was too, stuck in that stage. I’m not going to address my friend in this post, but share my thoughts on this stage, and how I, and authors I’ve read on this subject have approached this dilemma in a biblical way. 

By no means am I saying this is a one size fits all “fix”, but rather something that could possibly help. 

I believe it begins with introspection. When I was single for two and a half years I spent a lot of time looking at myself. Improving myself and becoming a Proverbs 31 wannabe. Focusing on being a woman deserving of the man I’ve been praying for. 

The authors mentioned this as well. They focused more on being a woman of God, rather then looking for the next date or their next boyfriend. When they focused on improving themselves they changed, and grew closer in their relationship with God. 

I think of a time when I was single that a guy claimed to be a Christian, and we started texting. Not long into texting he asked me “do you flirt?” I just replied saying that if he wanted a woman of God, like he claimed, that he needed to be a man of God. 

That text saying, “Do you flirt?” Was the turning point for me. That’s when I began thinking about past relationships; what I enjoyed, what I disliked, and lastly how I could be a better partner and helpmate. 

How can you improve if you’re in a relationship? In what areas, if you’re single,  can you prepare yourself to be a better helpmate? 

There’s always room for improvement. 🙂

God bless. 🙂 

Walk the Line — March 29, 2017

Walk the Line

The gear of this blog may slightly change, since I’m in a different stage of life. When I began this blog it was all about encouraging people through what I’ve been learning in my walk with God, and encouraging others. Sometimes it’s easy to think you’re alone in this life, and that no one understands. It’s true that you’re the only person living your life, but you’re not alone. Others have gone through what you’re going through if you listen, and are willing to share your struggles. 

Now to the main point of this specific blog post. Lol. Ash and I were talking today, and I remembered a lesson taught when I was in middle school. The youth pastor was using an analogy about a line. Once you crossed the line you were in sin. 

I mentioned when talking about physical boundaries, that I didn’t want to be of the mindset of getting as close to the line as we can without crossing it. We are called to resist the devil, and flee from sin. 

Why is it that we’ve got the mentality of getting as close to the line as we can without crossing it instead of running away from the line?

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7 NIV 

We need to be running from the line instead of creeping closer to it until we’re no longer convinced the sin is bad. Often times we give into temptation when we get closer to the sin. I’m not just talking about sex, I’m talking about all sin. It’s important to run from all sin and temptation into the arms of Jesus. 

Are you trying to walk the line instead of run from it? What can you do to protect your heart and run away from sin and temptation? 

Feel free to start a respectful discussion in the comments on the questions posed, because I’m genuinely interested in your thoughts on this!

God bless. 🙂