Being Lead instead of Going Ahead

Dear God,

I wanna know! I want to know about all the things you have for me. Where will I be in 10, 20, 30 years? Will I still be alive? Who will I marry? How many kids will I have? Will I be walking in my purpose? Who will I impact? Will I ever get past the pain? I get so impatient at times and feel like I need to help you out. I feel like you’re moving too slow for me, and that's exactly where I mess up. I always fall into going ahead of you instead of being led by you. I get impatient. This has thrown me off course so many times and I’m not even sure why I still do it. God, will you teach me to be patient in ALL things? Will you teach me to wait for your best and not what I think is best for me? Teach me to be lead by you instead of going ahead of you. Tomorrow starts a new month. A fresh start. I want a heart change. I want to look more like you than I ever have. Teach me to be as patient with you as you are with me. I want to be all you’ve called me to be and not miss out on anything you’ve planned because I got impatient.  

I love you and thankyou for being patient with me!

Amen.

The Time is Now

Attending church as a teenager, I noticed more elderly adults than young adults in attendance. Elderly adults always outnumbered the children, teens, and young adults.

I always thought you had to be older to really experience God. To develop a deep relationship with him. To really understand that he sent his one and only son Jesus to die for us. To understand what the Holy Spirit was.

A lot of people want to be faithful to God and live righteously. But they feel they aren't ready? They focus on what will be taken away from them rather than what will be given to them. Once you let God into your heart, the things you thought you wanted, won't even be desirable anymore. You will be transformed from the inside out.

 So when is right time?

We can never be fully ready...we just have to make the first step. We have to be intentional with God. Make a decision to spend time with him daily. The more time you spend with him, the more you will get to know him. Just like we spend time with friends to get to know them, we should do the same with our Heavenly Father.

The time is NOW to serve God! No matter how old or young you are, you can start now. We may never know when our last day on earth is, but we can prepare ourselves today and be ready. 

You starting now will  influence someone else. Everything we do is influencing someone. It's so easy to influence others in negative ways, but we should strive to influence others in positive ways.  Your family sees you going to church, they may start going to church. You tell a friend you are going to bible study, they may start going with you. Your coworker sees you reading a devotional on your lunch break, they may ask where to get one. 

 God is waiting for you to make that first step. You can be the change for our generation.  The next generation needs someone like you. Make that step!

Moving Forward

A question that I am often asked is how do I stay faithful to God in a world full of temptation? It's easy to get distracted with things that aren't of God. It's easy to crave attention or give attention to the wrong things. It's easy to become lost in this world.

The truth is even when I mess up... it does slow me down but I never stop moving forward.

Think of a train for instance, even if it has to stop, eventually it has to move forward again. It has a destination to get to.

Just like a train, I have a destination to get to as well. My destination is heaven.

Attending a good Bible based church weekly keeps me moving forward. Hearing God's word and being around other believers has really strengthened my walk with Christ. I've been attending church regularly for six years now. My church has helped me understand the benefits of walking with Christ which now makes me want live a life that pleases Him.

I have developed trustworthy relationships with members of my church. When I've made a mistake, I know that I can go to one of my  friends and trust that they will point me into Christ's direction.

Having a relationship with Jesus is also important. I look to Him as a friend as well.  To develop this intimate relationship with him, I had to spend time with him. Reading my bible, understanding how powerful he is, and how he wants to bless me. Praying is having a conversation with him. I talk with him all throughout the day.  

When I sin, I know I can go to God and tell him how I've messed up. He already knows, but he wants us to confess it. I acknowledge my wrong, ask him for forgiveness, and ask him to help me do better. That's all we can do. Nothing is too bad for God not to forgive us. NOTHING!  Carrying guilt or shame from what you did yesterday, two days ago, or even five years ago is not healthy for you.  What you did may have been horrible, but you aren't a horrible person. So confess that sin, leave it at the Cross, and never look back.

Instead of looking at your mistakes as taking steps back, look at them as a stopping point. It's where you stop and figure out what direction you are headed towards. Going backwards isn't an option, we must keep moving forward.

 

Stepping Stones

It's seven weeks into the new year, and I have to admit I feel a little off balanced in some areas of my life. I set some goals at the beginning of the year, and a few of them have been difficult to commit to.

So I decided to sit and write down some of the areas I need to be more committed to.

1. Finances-being a good steward of my money and being faithful with what I've been given. 

2. Relationship with Jesus- making time to spend with Jesus daily in the mist of my busyness.

3. Dreams- not losing sight of my dreams when it seems they are taking longer to happen than I expected.

4. Working out- being consistent with working out three times a week.

As I reviewed my list, I noticed that all these areas can work together.  Instead of focusing on them separately, I look at them as stepping stones to each level I want to achieve.

Starting with my relationship with Jesus, I know I must put Jesus first daily. As soon as my eyes open, I will pray and thank Him for the day and express gratitude.  Maybe even listen to some worship music. After work, I will set aside time to just sit in silence and let Him speak to me. Before bed, just thanking Him for all he has done, express my worries and concerns, and leave all else at his feet.

Me being consistent with putting Him first daily shows I can be consistent with anything. My body is a temple, which means I need to take care of it. Working out will be looked through the lens of me taking care of God's temple.

Remembering to keep God first and being consistent with my finances means that I will tithe faithfully. Tithing is me returning the 10% God has blessed me with back to him. Creating and sticking to a budget shows that I am being smart with my money. Giving to others when God prompts me to is another priority when it comes to my finances.

All three of these areas contribute to me following my dreams. Keeping God first helps me to gain wisdom and faith to take next steps. I will be able to hear him clearly. Working out keeps my body in shape so whatever the plan God has for me, I will have the energy to complete it. Being a good steward of my money now will prepare for even bigger financial blessings God has in store for me. Me focusing on these things keeps my focus off the wait it takes for my dreams to come true.

I realize it is all a process that is preparing me for the next level God is taking me to.

Keeping him first is the fuel I need to be able to achieve all else I want in life.

I pray this blog inspires and motivates you to never give up! You may have failed this week at some of your goals but let that be a reason to sit down and reevaluate them . Make them simple and realistic.

2017 is our year! We got this!

 

Roots

I've had a small plant in my apartment for almost a year now.  A week after I got it, I noticed the leaves began to brown and it started to lean over. It was my first plant so I wasn't very knowledgeable about a plant' s needs.  It seemed lifeless and needed some love. So I gave it some water, opened my blinds to give it sunlight, and began to speak life over it. 

As I completed these steps, God reminded me that these three steps were essential to my life as well.

The water represents the bible. Water helps a plant by transporting important nutrients through the plant. The bible feeds me wisdom to apply to all areas of my life. Every answer I need is within the pages of the bible. It helps me grow into all God needs me to be.

The sunlight represents God shinning his light into me. A plant receives  it's energy from sunlight. The action of me opening the blinds is me opening my heart to God. Expressing to Him what's on my heart and in my heart, while I let him do the changing. Him shinning his light into me, changes me. I am becoming his reflection. I am less of what I use to be, and more of what he wants me to become.

Speaking life over the plant represents me needing to speak life over myself daily. Speaking life over your plants is something I learned from my grandma. I've always observed her speak life over her plants, and they are beautiful and bold.  Your words have power. Everything you say will show up in your life.  If I am speaking from abundance, my life will reflect abundance. Faith comes by hearing, so what you are speaking over yourself is what comes to pass.

A plant can't grow without healthy roots. So how is your life any different? I challenge you to take a look at your roots and see what needs to be nourished. Maybe you need to read your bible more so that you will be fueled with wisdom for what comes your way. Maybe you need to open your heart to God, and let Him shine his light into you. Or maybe you need to replace your negative self talk with positive affirmations.

Continue to grow yourself daily, and stay rooted in Christ.

 

 

 

Remember the Promise

Have you ever been going through a tough time and needed a word to lift your spirits? Have you ever been searching through the bible to find that one key verse for that situation you are going through? Or maybe you just needed a word to encourage a friend.

I've been in this place many times. Where I just need something short and powerful to lift my spirits. To let me know that things will be okay. To give me peace in the mist of my storm.

For different areas of my life, I use different scriptures for encouragement.

 When I need to be reminded that God can do things beyond my imagination: 

Ephesians 3:20 ERV  "With God's power working in us, he can do much, much more than anything I can ask or think of."  

When I am worried and need peace: 

John 14:27 ERV "I leave you peace. It is your own peace I will give you. I give you peace in a different way than the world does. So don't be troubled. Don't be afraid."

When something unexpected happens, and I need to be reminded that nothing is a surprise to God:  

Psalms 139:16 NLT "You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed."

When I need wisdom for a decision:

 Proverbs 3:6 ERV "With every step you take, think about what he wants, and he will help you go the right way."

When I become weary about being single:

Genesis 2:18 ERV "Then the Lord God said,  "I see that it is not good for the man to be alone. I will make the companion he needs, one just right for him."

When I feel I'm not capable of doing something: 

Mark 9:13 ERV "Jesus said to the father, "Why did you say 'if you can?' All things are possible for the one who believes."

When I want to say yes, but have to say no because I want to be obedient to Christ:

Hebrews 12:11 ERV "We don't enjoy discipline when we get it. It is painful. But later, after we have learned our lesson from it, we will enjoy the peace that comes from doing what is right."

I hope these verses will encourage you on your journey.  Always remember,

Where there is a problem, there is a promise. 

 

 

Forgiven, Forgotten

 “I forgive you,” is a statement that lifts a heavy weight off of anyone’s shoulders. We enjoy hearing it, and it can bring instant relief. But sometimes hearing it is a lot easier than saying it.

Why is it so hard to forgive?

For me, it was because I didn’t understand God’s forgiveness. I measured his forgiveness to the people in my life forgiveness towards me and others. Someone can say they forgive you but you notice the relationship after the mistake just isn’t the same. I can say I forgive someone, but to be honest it can be hard to trust that person again.

It wasn’t until I read two scriptures that have changed my outlook on forgiveness forever.

Psalms 103:12

He has removed our sins as far from us  as the east is from the west.”

Micah 7: 18-19

 There is no God like you. You take away people’s guilt. God will forgive his people who survive. He will not stay angry with them forever, because he enjoys being kind. He will come back and comfort us again. He will throw all our sins into the deep sea.”

It states that God has removed our sins. Remove means to eliminate or get rid of. Never to resurface again.

There have been times where I thought I had forgiven myself, but caught myself feeling guilty and also ashamed about a situation over again. Every time guilt and shame resurfaced, I would feel the need to repent and ask for God’s forgiveness again. But it was already forgotten.  

I’ve learned the way to encounter God’s forgiveness is by repenting, asking for forgiveness and then it is forgotten.  

Repent means to acknowledge what you’ve done, and vow to change your ways. Forgive means to let go of. Forget means fail to remember.

God is not like people. When he forgives you, it’s never to be brought up again. He takes away our guilt. He won’t stay angry because he enjoys being kind. He even comforts us after we have made countless mistakes.

Just reading and studying about Forgiveness has change my outlook and also the way I plan to extend forgiveness to others, and also to myself.

I hope this is encouragement for you too. Understand that before you can extend forgiveness to anyone else, we have to start with ourselves.  Always remember that your sins are forgiven and forgotten.

 

Growing, Goals, and God

The beginning of 2017 was the start of something new inside of me. I have identified some areas I want to grow in and created some affirmations for myself. I wanted to share some of them with you to encourage you in these areas as well.

1. I measure my worth to God’s Word. (Living by the truth)

Isaiah 43: 4

You are precious to me, and I have given you a special place of honor. I love you. That’s why I’m willing to trade others, to give up whole nations, to save your life.”

This is one of the many scriptures in the bible that displays God’s love for me. I am precious to him, and he has given me a special place of honor. He loves me like crazy, so why should I ever feel unloved? He thinks I’m worth so much, so why should I ever feel worthless?

The word of God contradicts all the negative self-talk I’ve spoken that has impacted my confidence. This year, I am choosing to live by what the bible says. If the creator of EVERYTHING thinks the world of me, why should I think any differently?

2. Create your own sunshine. (Find your inner joy)

I’ve learned to tuck away some joys for days that aren’t the best. Whether it be a scripture verse that reminds me of God’s promises or a memorable moment to think of. I’m learning to not let my circumstances steal my joy.  There are a million negative things to focus on, but I’m choosing to remember the positive things.

Also, I vow to do one action a day that makes me happy. Whether it be spending time with my family, eating my favorite dessert, or reading a few pages of a new book…an action will be taken place. Happiness is a choice, and it will be chosen daily.

3. Where you sow you grow. (Taking actions to grow myself)  

I have started sowing into the areas in my life that I want to grow in. One of my goals is to be a better steward of my finances. I am tithing faithfully to my church which shows that I am trusting God to be my provider. I want my finances to be blessed so I am walking by faith, and trusting God with my money even when it doesn’t make sense.

Another one of my goals is to write my own devotional book someday. So my first step in this direction was starting my own blog. I have committed to being consistent with this blog by posting weekly. I am also supporting other bloggers that I am familiar with.  I am taking time daily to support the people I know who are writers.  I know that supporting other people creates abundance in my life, and the support will be returned.

I hope you can relate to some of these thoughts and maybe identify an area where you can implement these affirmations into your life as well.

2017 is the year of change for me, and I pray the same for you.

            

Reflection

I've been away for a while, but I'm so excited to be sharing my heart with you again. I've been looking through some of my journaling and thoughts, just trying to figure out what my first blog should be about. I write daily which can cause me to become overwhelmed which leads to overthinking and  frustration. 

So instead of becoming frustrated, I wrote out a prayer,

 "Dear God, what should my first post of the new year be about? I have so many thoughts and I'm not sure how to put them together. I trust that you will give me answers and help me to not be distracted. I want all that you have for me. Show me your ways and what you want to say to your people, Amen." 

Shortly after I closed my journal, a question came to mind, "What does God look like to me?" Instantly, I started thinking of how I see God's characteristics in other people.

 I see a reflection of God in my grandmother. Whenever I'm feeling down or spiritually low she's always full with words of encouragement and knows exactly what to say in the moment. God is faithful just like my grandmother.

 I see a reflection of God in my sister. When we were younger, if someone was bullying me, my sister would always come to my rescue. I never had to question if she would be there because I just knew she would show up. God always shows up in the right moment just like my sister. 

I see a reflection of God in my mother and father. When I'm in a financial need,  they are always there to provide it...no matter the amount. I don't have to worry, because I am certain they will take care of it.  God is my provider just like my mother and father. 

All these different characteristics come from different people in my life, but one thing about my God...He's all in one.  All in one to me means: being faithful at all times, showing up in the right moments, and providing  all of my needs.

Maybe you have lost your grandma, sister/brother or even your mother and father and you feel as if you can't relate.  If I could say one thing to encourage you...it would be: God is an all in oneGod is exactly what you need to fulfill all the longings of your heart.  So what are you looking for?

 Just like you would go to your grandma for words of encouragement or a pick me up, I challenge you to go to God and expect him to give you a word to help you walk through that storm in your life. He is faithful. "Understand, therefore that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for thousands of generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands." Deuteronomy 7:9

Just like you would go to your sister or brother for protection, why don't you try asking God to cover you. Asking him in prayer for protection over yourself and your family. He is your protector. "But Moses told the people, "Don't be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm." Exodus 14:13-14

And just like you would go to your mother or father for a need. Pour out your needs to God and watch for the miracle to happen. He is your provider"And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19