"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" Philippians 4:13 is probably one of the most known verses out there (like its up there with John 3:16 haha). I have always viewed this verse as encouraging...but to me it had almost become cliché to hear it be used. It was always the "I can pass this test" and "I can make it through the day" verse to me but this morning God revealed to me a much deeper meaning. God has BIGGG plans for all of us. If we pursue him and live according to His will they will be revealed to us! God often gives us tasks and opportunities that we just disregard because they "aren't one of our gifts" or " we could never do it". We EASILY forget that simple verse, we can do all things through Christ! Like when David faced Goliath, when Moses lead his people out of Egypt, when Esther risked her life to save her people, and even today when missionaries go out leaving their current lives behind to seek the will of God. These poeple didn't KNOW that they had the ability to do these things, but they trusted the Lord and His plans and He gave them the ability to fulfill His will. It takes courage and faith but we have to remember that God guides us to where He wants us to be. Sometimes that is by giving us ways to use the gifts we KNOW we have, but sometimes we have to do things wondering "HOW can I do THAT?!" God can use all of us in ways that we would never think possible. We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. We cant see what all we are capable of in the present, but if we live according to the will of God, He will reveal to us that THROUGH HIM we are capable of anything he wants us to accomplish. Pray that God would use you and reveal new gifts and opportunities to you! Pursue HIM and HIS will. Always remember how much you are loved. God is using you and will CONTINUE to use you in HUGE ways because we truly can do anything through Christ who gives us strength.
I have been hearing the song "More Than Anything" by Natalie Grant on the radio a lot lately and today the words really hit me for the first time. The chorus says "Help me want the healer more than the healing, help me want the savior more than the saving, help me want the giver more than the giving, help me want you Jesus more than anything" These words hit me like a brick. I realized that often in my walk with God all I tend to do is ask ask ask. I often forget how much more important it is for me to simply talk to God. I feel like often we all do this. We have so many requests and things we pray for and always just expect the answer we want. Like the song says, we focus on the giving more the giver and the saving more than the savior. Focusing on opening our prayers with praise, taking time to thank God for the little things, and opening scripture to learn about God will help us all to focus on Jesus. I want to rely more on the Lord knowing HIS plans are good for me instead of simply expecting him to fulfill my plans. Jesus loves us. He LONGS for a personal relationship with each and every one of his precious children. I pray that all of us can focus on HIM more. Lets strive to focus on our relationship rather than what we get our of it. The Lord cares for our requests and loves to hear them but don't forget that hes there for more than that. Always remember how much you are loved and remember to want JESUS more than anything<3
*Before you read this post I encourage you to go read Psalm 34 (its not too long:))*
These past few weeks have been so hard for me. I have bottled things up and I have not been relying on God as much as I should. About a week or so ago I read Psalm 34 and the words of it encouraged me more than anyone will ever know and I hope that by reading that and this post you will be encouraged too <3
Psalm 34 opens up with praise. Of course you cant "pray wrong", but I encourage you to understand that one of the best ways to grow in your prayer life is to open up with praise to God! Verse 1 says "I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise will continually be in my mouth." What a way to open up! As we read through this Psalm we see how worshipful it is. David is declaring how HE HAS SEEN that the Lord is good. in verse four he says "I sought the Lord and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears." Notice it says ALL as in EVERY SINGLE ONE of them! The word "all" is used 6 times in this Psalm (ESV version) to emphasize how the Lord cares for us! He says that the Lord will delivers us from ALL our fears and saves us from ALL our troubles. How encouraging is that?! We serve, worship and love a God that promises to protect us. When Gods people cry out to him he ANSWERS! it may not be the answer we are looking for but remember Gods plan is always perfect. Verse 19 says, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them ALL." This verse probably encouraged me the most out of all of them. God tells us multiple times in the bible that his people will face hardships and we will go through things so tough that we question whether we will make it or not. Don't be discouraged because how reassuring is it that God also promises to protect us and deliver us from ALL of our fears? Our God is so good but I was beginning to doubt his faithfulness. I was starting to focus on those hardships so much that I was no longer thinking about his promise that he will be faithful to us. I will forever be thankful to God and open my prayers with praise even when my life has been flipped upside down because ya'll, OUR GOD IS GOOD. I'm also so thankful for my sweet sweet friends who have encouraged me so much recently. Make sure that in the hard times you talk to God first, but you also find yourself a friend to pour into. God wants us Christians to gather together and be encouraged by each other. Always remember how much you are loved and if you ever feel forgotten, remember Psalm 34. My "freedom psalm" <33
"and who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14
I started this blog post a while back but I never got around to finishing it but at DNOW this weekend the story of Esther was told and it encouraged me to finish it!!:)) Esther risked her life for her people. She was CHOSEN to become a queen. God had a special plan for her life, one that would lead to the safety and protection of the entire Jewish population. (here is the cool part) He has a plan just as incredible for YOUR life. We are all created for a purpose. We are here to impact people and to be impacted by others. We all have a place and time and we can know that when we trust God with our lives he will show us where we need to be. Sometimes our purpose is to go through something that God uses to impact someone else. Sometimes God uses us to make a difference in peoples lives when we aren't even aware of it! On the flip side, sometimes, we have others places in our lives for a reason and they can impact us and through the Holy Spirit spark a change in us. We are the hands and feet of God. Again, he PLACES US and USES US to further his kingdom!! God has our life story written out. Psalm 139 is a perfect picture of this! "You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar." (Psalm 139:2) God leads us, and all we have to do is follow him. Gods plan for us is perfect, your life has purpose, pain has purpose, and so do the good times! Always look for Gods hand in situations and rest assured knowing that he is in control! BE BOLD! use your gifts, talents, shine your light for Christ and DON'T BE AFRAID! You have been created for a purpose and perhaps now is your time. Live every day focusing your attention on Christ because he will open doors for us to reach out and be his hands and feet. Esther was bold. Esther saved the line that JESUS WAS BORN INTO and your life is JUST AS IMPORTANT AS HERS. Always remember how much you are loved<3
Bumpy. Bumpy is one of the best words I can use to describe my relationship with God. My personal relationship with Him is so many things! It is amazing, reassuring, beautiful and much more but it is definitely bumpy. When I think of a bump i think of a QUICK up and down. I can be so quick to wander and stray from our heavenly Father falling from him, but our God is so powerful and faithful that he will pull me right back up and back to himself (usually even quicker than I fall)! I am so comforted knowing that my relationship with God is forever. No matter how far I wander, no matter how many lows I hit, no matter how bumpy it is, my God is with me. When I fall he catches me and loves me endlessly protecting and comforting me every step of the way. What a mighty God we serve! I will forever be thankful for my God pulling me back up every single time I hit a bump. Some bumps are bigger than others, even scarier than others but Gods me and hes got you too. "Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up." Psalm 71:20 <-- I mean do you see that?!? "You will AGAIN bring me up." HE WILL!! Every. Single. Time. He will restore your life again. Bumpy is okay. When you fall down, he will be RIGHT THERE to bring you up again. Always and forever.
As I look at creation I see Gods beautiful eye for detail in every aspect of his work. God created an entire universe FILLED with beautiful, intricate, perfect creations. God created everything from the tiny bacteria to the galaxies of millions and trillions of stars in 6 DAYS. 6 D. A. Y. S. wow. God designed everything to be exactly the way it is!! Did you know that if the Earth was even a mile or two closer to farther away from the sun it would be uninhabitable? God placed our planet in the perfect place. God made everything in existence for a reason. Now just take a moment to think about how amazing it is that the God that made YOU! God put as much detail into YOU as he did the planet, and the patterns of the stars. God made you for a purpose, and wrote your story to fit perfectly into his plans. I often forget how loved I am and I forget how much God cares for me. I was designed to be ME. Remember God doesn't make mistakes EVER. The Lord knows exactly who you are and he made you to be who he wants you to be. God made the tiny cells to work in perfect harmony and created weather patterns far too complex for us to understand. God created oceans so deep that we cant even reach the bottom and a universe so wide that we will never find its "end". God is sovereign over all but even with all of his power and all that he can accomplish he chooses to love us and to be with us. Remember that God didn't create us because he NEEDED us, he created us because he WANTED a RELATIONSHIP with us. We are all a part of Gods plans and we all have the chance to be with Him forever and ever. What an amazing love! I will always be in awe of Gods work and the incredible amount of love that he pours out on us, and all of his wonderful creation.
READ PSALMS 107!!
Thanksgiving --> giving thanks. Giving thanks to God throughout the year (especially this week) is oh so important. God places us in circumstances, some are difficult tests to teach us things, some are happy circumstances, and some are so scary that we see no point in the pain, we wonder why we are where we are. In the testing and the hard times we must remember to rely on God and praise him knowing he has a plan. We must be like Paul and Silas (read Acts 16) praising God when we have hit rock bottom. Paul and Silas were IN PRISON and were singing praise to God, thanking him for his blessings. We also have to be careful to remember to be thankful when life is good. Remember to praise God when you are at a high point, and know that you are not the reason for your success, God is. Praise him for his loving kindness and for giving you so many blessings! God is the giver of all things and he loves you! Be thankful no matter where you are, no matter what you have. God is working in your life. He loves YOU!!
"Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things." -Psalm 107 8-9
Dear God, Thank you for pouring your blessings out on me and my family. Thank you for providing for our every need and showing yourself to us in every circumstance. Thank you for being our almighty Father and friend. I praise you because you are perfect and lovely, you have no flaw. I praise you because you love ME. You have redeemed me and I am yours. I pray that during this thanksgiving season all of the glory, praise, and thanks in my heart would be for you. I pray that I would grow in you daily. Thank you for being there for me even when my eyes are not on you. I fail you constantly, yet here you are listening to my every request. Thank you for being so wonderful. In Jesus's holy and precious name, Amen.
"I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High." -Psalm 7:17
Sin is sin is sin, but we tend to treat "small sins" like they are no big deal. Yes there is a difference in being rude to a parent and robbing a bank but they are both sins, both actions that were done against what God commands us to do and both sins were intentional. We need to personally handled all sins the same way. In our lives we tend to brush off the "little sins" but in reality there is no "little sin" James 2:10 says, For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. We need to start becoming more aware of our actions, the things that come out of our mouths, and guarding our hearts and minds. Again, sin is sin is sin. We need to take our thoughts captive and pay close attention to how we respond when we sin and when we see others sin. For example, as high school students we are exposed to a lot of bad topics, and bad language. There is so much that we almost become "numb" to it. The things that affected us in huge ways as kids seem to be "normal." Cussing is a huge example of this. I don't cuss, I just don't but I am around so many others that do I have become desensitized to it. If we let the "little sins" become "ok" then later we will find ourselves going in a downward spiral. We will go further and further into sin. We have to recognize the wrong in our own lives and correct ourselves, but we also have to be aware of what we are around. If you are around people who act a certain way then chances are you will act like that too. Do not let your self become desensitized to the little things. Take every questionable thought, word, and action captive and strive to do what it right. Always remember how much you are loved, even when you stumble. <3
The entirety of Christianity is based on faith that the bible speaks the truth, that God really created us and loves us, and that Christ died to wipe us clean and through our FAITH in him, we are saved by the most amazing example of grace known to man. The BASIS of Christianity is our belief in an all-powerful, all-knowing, amazing God who sacrificed his son to give us eternal life. We live our lives believing in the truth of the gospel, and resting in knowing that we are being guided and loved by our wonderful God. Galatians 2:20 says I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but it is Christ who lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. This verse is a beautiful example of how we are to live our lives by faith, and not by sight. We can always trust in Gods word and know that it is 100% true. Even if we cant see HIM we can see his work through creation, our lives, and the lives around us. Always strive to grow in him and to know and make him know. Always remember how much you are loved!<3
"This is God's battle, and God always wins his battles" (the Jesus storybook bible)
One of my favorite things to do during my personal bible study is to pick up The Jesus Story Bible. Yes I mean the "kid bible" that has all the pictures. This little book presents the stories of the bible in the most beautiful and simple ways that I can read, and then compare to my bible. While I was reading I came across the story of "David and Goliath", but it was titled "The Young Hero, and the Horrible Giant". We all know the story of David and Goliath. David, the little boy, defeats the fearsome and terrifying giant that no man could defeat through the strength that God gives him. This battle was not only a significant part of history and a role in the journey of Gods chosen people, but it is full of symbolism that points back to Christ. The storybook said "Many years later, God would send his people another young hero to fight for them. And to save them. But this hero would fight the greatest battle the world had ever known." (the Jesus storybook bible) Now, David defeated this Giant, this monster, he went up to him and through his faith in God, and struck him down with the single blow of a tiny stone. We know that he did this through the power of God. God was at work in this story, and painted a beautiful picture of what He would one day do for us through Christ. God LOVES using the underdog, the person that would get picked last for the team, or the one that always gets left behind. He even brought Christ into the world as the underdog, there was no majestic entrance, but he came as a BABY. Little did we know, that baby would do more than just grow up. He would defeat the greatest giant of them all. He would die for us and save us from all condemnation, he would defeat sin, and more importantly defeat Satan. He locked up death, and THREW AWAY THE KEY. He fought this battle to free us, because he LOVED US!!! Now we can have a personal relationship with God and he can defeat the giants we face each day. Psalm 91:14 says, "Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him, I will protect him because he knows my name." When we have that personal relationship with God he will defeat every Giant we face, just like he defeated the greatest giant of them all. Draw near to the Lord, let him be your help. He has more power and love for us than we could EVER imagine. He has won the ultimate battle, and he WILL win all of ours. Remember how loved you are!<3