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Are YoU LivInG?

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
~ John 10:10 ~

yolo

YOLO! Yep, that’s right You Only Live ONCE!!  What are you doing with the life that God has so richly blessed you with? Are you looking at all the bad in life and letting it bring you down, or are you choosing to see the rainbow midst the storms? Do you let the world drown you with its waves of chaos and despair, or do you call upon the One True God that can cause you to walk on the water? Do you sit on the throne of selfishness and greed, or do you humble yourself in the joy of giving and loving?

Life indeed throws us turbulence and turmoil frequently, and we often have exceedingly difficult choices to make, but we as Christians know that there is more than the insanity this world offers us, and we assuredly know that all the choices we make have lingering consequences both here and now that echo into the eternity to come! When the Lord leads your life, there is hope, there is freedom, there is mercy, there is light, and there is overwhelming love!

Yes, there will be sad times, times of anger and pain, and times where the mind is downcast, but Psalm 126:5 states, “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.” God is true, just, and holy, and all that he allows to occur while we walk the face of this fragile world are to mold and shape us into the righteousness of Christ! He fulfills his promises of joy, peace and comfort daily….all you need do is trust and lean on him!

My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments;
For length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.
Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.
~ Proverbs 3:1-8 ~

No matter what you face, no matter how big the storm, no matter how hindering the mountain…God has you! He is in control and he will bring joy each and every day!  Choose to praise despite the chaos.  Choose to see the beauty and blessings of life instead of dwelling on the disparity and ugliness.  What you choose will bring you life or it will destroy your life!

Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones,
And give thanks to His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for a lifetime;
Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning.
Now as for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I will never be moved.”
O LORD, by Your favor You have made my mountain to stand strong;
You hid Your face, I was dismayed.
To You, O LORD, I called,
And to the Lord I made supplication:
“What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your faithfulness?
“Hear, O LORD, and be gracious to me;
O LORD, be my helper.”
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
~ Psalm 30:4-12 ~

Be the light of God’s love and the beacon of eternal hope to a desperate and hurting people! Choose to LIVE and live FULLY. Choose to LOVE and love DEEPLY. Choose to HOPE and hope ENDLESSLY. Choose to REJOICE and rejoice with SINGING. Choose to SERVE and serve HUMBLY.

May God grant you joy every morning and hope each day! May he bring you peace beyond measure and shower you with love overflowing! May your heart and mind always be set in eternity and not the here and now, and may you find the strength and courage of Christ to help you through the trials and persecution.

All my love!

Why?

Searching for meaning? Seeking more for your life? Have the nagging feeling that there is more to your existence than the day-to-day routine? Guess what? You are right! You are called to so much more than what this world has in store for you. Did you know you were designed by God Himself for a purpose? You were created to fulfill a mission that is of the utmost importance! Yes, you!! You are called to share the word of God, to bring His truth into deceived hearts, to bring hope to those who have lost theirs, to be a light that shines midst the darkness. You were created on purpose for a purpose. As scripture says in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God designed you to desire more than the mundane routine of this world! Stand in His strength and live your life to the fullest! Glorify God’s kingdom and bring eternal joy to your heart.

All my love! ❤

He said to them,
“Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,
but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
Mark 16:15-16

why

Why?

Why am I here?
What is my purpose?
There is an answer
I do propose

You were created on purpose
To fulfill your destiny
Designed to share God’s love
Even in the midst of scrutiny

You were created for such a time as this
To declare the mystery that is of God
Revealing His truth
Breaking through the world’s facade

You have been called to something higher
A mission from God, the Creator Himself
You were created to shine His light
Not to live for yourself

You are needed to bring salvation to the lost
To shine light were darkness resides
You can be an instrument God uses
Bringing  hope to desperate, longing lives

Why are you here?
To reveal God to the lost and dying hearts that be
What is your purpose?
To stand in faith that shines for the entire world to see

Listen to your heart
Heed that still small voice
Know that you were made for so much more
Will you stand on your own or abide in His choice?

Growing Pains

As another crazy, yet blessed year comes to a close, I find myself glancing back at what I have accomplished, how far I have come, and how much I have grown. I think it is truly amazing how God uses all things to bring growth and glory in my life, and in the lives of all his children (including you!).

This past year, like so many before it, has seen its share of pain and anguish: the death of my father, my uncle, and a close friend, family chaos and fighting (which often sadly occurs when death comes), broken relationship and a shattered heart, an unexpected move, and financial strain. Yet, oddly enough, this year brought beauty, healing, love, and provision through it all.

You see, despite the pain and suffering, God was in it all, working his will, his plan, his glory through all of it. Pain and suffering is a normal part of life and an integral part of spiritual growth.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.

Hebrews 5:5-8 So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, “YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU”; just as He says also in another passage, “YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.” In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.

Jesus Christ Himself was not exempt from the pain and suffering of this world. Pain and suffering in your life is one way that God prunes you, building you up and making you stronger. Much like a great work out at the gym, there is often pain afterward (even during the workout as you push yourself), but the results are wonderful in the long run if you keep working out and building up muscles that increase your strength. Another example is the olive tree. A farmer must cut (or prune) the branches back in order for the tree to produce a more abundant crop the next season. If it is not pruned, it grows unkempt, producing less fruit, and therefore yielding less profit for the farmer.

John 15:1-3 I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.

You and I are the branches on the tree of life, and if we are not pruned, we tend to not bear the fruit of righteousness, purity, or holiness. We become weak, wild, and unkempt, losing sight of what we are here for–to produce fruit that brings honor and glory to the Lord, bringing others into his kingdom, showing the light of God for all to see.

Pain and suffering in this life are also motivators for growth. When you get stuck in the mundane routines of life–work, family, home, friends, etc., it is easy to get comfortable and not change or stretch outside of your comfort zone. Going back to the workout example, if you keep doing the same exercise routine day in and day out, you will see results, but eventually they will plateau and your workout routine will be only for maintaining, rather than continued strengthening. Even weight loss will fade if the workout routine stays the same. You have to change things up to see continued results, to build more muscle mass, to thin out more, and to tone consistently.

Spiritual growth is similar. If church and scripture become mundane routines, the same thing day in and day out, you will get stuck, your spiritual growth will plateau. God wants your spiritual growth to excel, to continue to grow each and every day. This means that you have to be forced out of your comfort zone sometimes, and often the only way to get you to do that is through pain and suffering. When life is grand, going smoothly, and you have no worries or stress, God tends to be put on the back seat. Ever notice that your prayer life and devotional time picks up a great deal when there is pain, suffering, trials, or tribulations in your life. That is because during those times, your reliance on God is stronger and more evident. You can’t fix things, make them better, or change them, and thus you seek God, seek His will, His discernment and wisdom to handle all that you are facing. You may even reach out to others in your community–church, work, home, neighborhood–for help and guidance.

Often during the most painful times in our lives, we are forced to take responsibility for our failures and learn how to adapt and change so as to not make the same mistakes next time. Other times, we are confronted with requests that take us out of our cushy comfortable place to become a witness and light for God. It may be that you are asked to forgive someone who has hurt or betrayed you. Perhaps you are being called to share your pain with someone in order to show the glory of God as he brings you through it. Maybe the pain in your life is building perseverance, patience, or other spiritual fruits in your own life. Whatever it may by, God is using the pain and suffering to motivate change and growth in your life.

James 1:2-4 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 5:11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

Romans 5:3-5 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ

Though I faced my share of pain and suffering in 2014, I can look back on each and every moment and see God’s mighty hand at work through the entire event. Through the deaths that came into my life, I was able to find courage and strength to do what was right midst the chaos and family fighting. Though my heart was broken and a relationship ruined, I was given comfort and wisdom midst the storm, making a few of the toughest decisions of my life, which ultimately brought peace to me and my son. Even through the financial difficulties, God changed my view of budgeting, helping me save more than I have before. In the moments of pain and suffering, I didn’t always see his mighty hand at work, but looking back on the year, it is evident he was with me, guiding, building, refining, and growing me into the woman of God he designed.

So, my friends, fret not when you are facing pain, trials, tribulations, or suffering, for in time, God will produce an abundance of fruit, helping you change the old patterns of life, enabling you to grow spiritually! With that said, I look forward to another year and what may come–the good, the bad, and the ugly! Bring it on, for with God, we can all rest assured that good will come, hope will be renewed, and the future will be bright.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God bless and keep you in the coming year and always! May you rejoice midst the pain and suffering, knowing that God is working all things for your good! He is with you always and forever, and will never leave you nor forsake you, providing all you need to face all that comes your way.

In Christ’s Love ❤

Shine!

“You are the light of the world.
A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;
nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket,
but on the lampstand,
and it gives light to all who are in the house.
“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
~ Matthew 5:14-16

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God designed us all to be beacons of light that emanate his love, grace, forgiveness, and beauty to the world. When life throws us hardships, chaos, disappointment, sorrow, trials, tribulations, heartache, and an endless supply of curve balls, often we sink inside the ‘basket’ where no one can see us. In my journey, I have had my share of trials, tribulations, heartache and pain, and at times I lost my desire to shine, but somewhere deep within, God always tugs at my heart and mind, whispering to my soul, and reminding me that it is in the most difficult of times that my light shines the brightest. It is in the moments where I want to run and hide, avoiding the world, that I have to step out on faith, step out on God’s promise to bring me good and not bad, to bring me a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). For when I step out of my pain and trust what God is doing, then the light of the Lord shines brighter than the full moon on the darkest of nights. God is love. God is hope. God is joy. God is peace.

So, even when life knocks you down and throws punches where it hurts the most, remember in that moment that you can be the beacon of God in the lives of those around you. Don’t be a shrinking violet, be the stunning sunflower: stand tall, look to the heavens for help, and stay firmly rooted in the Lord. He has always seen me through, and in this difficult trial filled with confusion and heartache, I know he will yet again!! I also know he will see you through the tough circumstances and tribulations of your life, bringing you to a place of beautiful peace and never-ending joy….a place where you will be the brightest light for all around to see the glory of God!

God bless and keep you and may you be the lighthouse to others through your storm.

All my love ❤