Are You Hydrated?

“Push fluids” are always his orders.

 Whenever someone calls or comes in sick to our office with a stomach virus, that’s always the first order of treatment from the doctor I work for.

 “Push fluids” (drink water, and a lot of it)

 Of course the obvious reason is because of the risk of dehydration. When our body loses water either by sweat from exertion, loss of fluids through illness, or just simply not drinking enough, we will become dehydrated if we don’t replenish what we have lost. Dehydration can wreak havoc on your body and if left unchecked can cause your organs to shut down and lead to death.

 Because water is our life-line in these physical bodies.

An extremely healthy person could only live 3-5 days without it, and that’s dependent on conditions they’re in, and if they don’t exert themselves at all.

 And in most cases, dehydration can be avoided if only we took the necessary steps to hydrate ourselves. We must replenish, on a daily basis, it’s a never ending cycle, if we want to stay healthy. Thirst, is the first sign that we need it.

And just as the body gets thirsty, so does the soul. And the only way to quinch the soul’s thirst is to drink from Jesus. When the soul is cracked and parched from lack of water from the Well of life, which is Jesus, the only way to survive is drink His water He gives so freely.

Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. John 7:37-38

Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. John 4:13-14

And we can drink of the things of this world and our soul will always be thirsty, always searching for more, always parched or we can drink of Jesus and let Him heal the cracks, let Him quench the thirst forever, rehydrate the soul.

 And just as we must replenish our bodies daily with fluids, so we should replenish our souls daily with Jesus, letting Him well up in us, so the living water He gives will flow from us.

 When we stop going to the Well, we become weak in our flesh. When we stop going to the Well, the spirit gets dehydrated, when we stop going to the Well we become like the man who’s lost in the desert and drinks the stagnate water- he reaches for what looks good but it only makes him sicker.

So how do we stay hydrated?

We go to Him in prayer, we read His Words daily, because His Words are the spring of water that will rise up in us and only in Him will we have eternal life, and thirst no more.

I also guest blogged this as a devotional over at www.awakeningyourday.com

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What’s Your Life Message?

“Too blessed to be stressed”, he said.

Always smiling as he said it, always looking me straight in the eye, this response every time to the question: “How are you today?”

His smile was contagious, and I never felt it was a contrived answer. I don’t even remember his name now. I used to go to the same church…saw him every Sunday…can still see his face, worn with time, but I can’t remember his name. What I do remember is how he never wavered in giving that answer and how I knew deep down he was being honest. He even had pins made with these words of wisdom boldly printed on them, passed them out for people to wear.

I was not naive to believe this man never went through trials or hardships or sufferings in his life. I’m not sure if he had always known this grace, or how long it took him to know it’s truth,  but he lives this message always:

“Too blessed to be stressed”

He lives the message of the grace given to him. All grace is a gift, and all grace is a blessing, and our blessing and our grace and our hope to know and to live every day while we are here on this earth is that while we were yet sinners, Christ gave His life for us. And how do we pass along that message to others if we don’t live what we believe?

What’s the message when there’s wringing of the hands, when the heart’s drumming hard with worry, when the tongue’s lashing out at the ones you love the most–striking quick with venom that seeps into souls, when sleep won’t come in the night, when Facebook is used to tear down instead of build up, when instead of giving grace, you give hate, when stress is as an excuse for all our inadequacies? When we’re praising God one minute and the next we’ve failed to trust Him with our lives?

The ultimate message we send out to others when we’re claiming stress, when we’re lashing out, when we’re unforgiving,  is:

We don’t trust God to take care of every detail of our life, we are hypocritical, we are selfish and because of all this are we really who we say we are? Have we really felt the grace of God? Have we really believed? And aren’t we made new in Him? Because once we’ve really tasted the sweetness of His grace, how can we not pass along the message to others? How can we consider ourselves not blessed?

Once we grasp that this life is short and everyone of us stands on the brink of eternity, we’re all just passing through, and in the blink of an eye…it’s either Heaven or Hell, and there are people dying every second that don’t know this grace we were given and the only thing that will matter is if He says to you “Well done my good and faithful servant” and that IS our blessing, then we realize this is the only message we should be living.

God takes us beyond our own aspirations and ideas for our lives, and molds and shapes us for His purpose, just as He worked in the disciples’ lives after Pentecost. The purpose of Pentecost was not to teach the disciples something, but to make them the incarnation of what they preached so that they would literally become God’s message in the flesh.-Oswald Chambers

And he’s too blessed to be stressed, and shouldn’t that be our message?

 

Allow God to have complete liberty in your life when you speak. Before God’s message can liberate other people, His liberation must first be real in you. Gather your material carefully, and then allow God to “set your words on fire” for His glory.- Oswald Chambers

For the mouth speaks what the heart is full ofMatthew 12:34

Is your message what your heart is full of? Are you speaking with words “set on fire for His glory”?Are you liberated in His grace? But most importantly…are you living it?

When We Forget {And Why I’m Observing Lent This Year}

The alarm went off at 6 am as it does every morning, but this particular morning I couldn’t keep hitting the snooze. I had to wake up so I could get my daughter to school earlier than usual for her band practice.  I fought hard to climb out of bed, not happy about sacrificing just an extra 20 minutes of my sleep.

I went into the kitchen to make coffee and observed the crusted dishes in the sink from the night before thinking: Why hadn’t I just put those in the dishwasher last night? Would have been less work tonight, and my kitchen would have been clean this morning and I wouldn’t feel the ball of dread that always comes with knowing when I get home from work I’ve one more thing to do.

I rushed to throw some clothes on, still mentally grumbling that I was having to get up earlier. I overheard my son and daughter arguing (as they do most mornings) and I decided to bring up the stress factor in the house by hollering at the both of them. A simple question from my son turned into a long tyrade from me filled with everything but the answer.When it’s time to leave the house, those last 5 minutes are crammed with running to the coffee pot, grabbing forgotten snacks for school, putting the dogs in the kennel, trying to find my phone, getting to the door and realizing I don’t have keys, looking for said keys, turning the house upside down only to find them in my pocket and then running to the car. And this sets the whole mood for the entire day. The rest of the day I tend to be short-tempered with everyone, I’m preoccupied with my own thoughts, I find it hard to hold a conversation, and I have to force smiles. These days happen more often than I would like to admit.

When I later stand at the sink, scrubbing the grime from the dishes of the night before, not really liking myself for the way I acted that day, I’m reminded of His grace.

I’m reminded of His scrubbing my soul clean of it’s grime with His blood that shed on the cross.

And I’m reminded of why He did and why I need grace:

Because there is no good thing in me.

Paul wrote :

For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. Romans 7:18

I’m reminded that apart from Christ, this flesh of mine… is no good.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23

And how easily I seem to forget that my freedom was bought at a heavy price. How easily I forget that I’m really a wretched mess, and that without the precious gift of Grace, there would be no hope for me. How easily I forget the suffering that was endured. How easily I forget the sweat that turned to blood that dropped from His body because He knew what was coming. How easily I forget the lashes that tore the flesh from His body, the nails that were driven into His limbs, the blood that gushed to wash me clean. How easily I forget that He could have called a legion of angels to stop it all, but He didn’t because He loved me and He knew the only way I could ever be His again was to die for me.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Titus 2:11-14

And in this thing called life when you get so busy that  you forget the only reason you’re even breathing, the only reason you even opened your eyes that morning was only by His mercy, it’s time to slow down. It’s time to remember. And time to praise God for His mercy and His grace that He bestows daily.

Lent is a 40 day period leading up to Easter that many Christians observe to focus on self-denial and self-examination from what I’ve read. I have decided to observe it this year for the first time. I want to make clear that Lent is mentioned no where in the Bible. It originated as a practice to reflect on Christ’s death, fasting as a means to depend on God more wholly and giving to the poor. It’s based on the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness.While it’s not mentioned biblically as a practice, it’s based on biblical principles. Christians observe it in different ways, but the most common is to practice some form of self-denial to prepare our hearts for Easter.  It is not a means to obtain righteousness because as we know faith in Jesus Christ is the only way. It is a spiritual discipline. The more we practice spiritual disciplines, the more we mature spiritually. It does not makes us acceptable to God, we are only made acceptable through Jesus Christ.  Just as people fast for different reasons, so is the period of Lent.

How Do We Serve?

He holds babies.

This man, who teaches math to boys. This man who has a reputation for being strict and stern with his students, because in his own words, he has to be. What, with 30 male teenagers, someone has to have the upper hand right?

This man who’s never been married, never had children, who is a Vietnam veteran, and has a reputation for being one of the hardest teachers in his school. He holds babies. His students never knew this side of him until they went to the hospital on a field trip and realized he had a name for himself there as well. Only not as being a stern, strict stiff of a man, but a soft, sweet, cuddler of babies.

Babies who are sick, babies who are abandoned, and babies who just need to be calmed. He’s done this for twenty years.

Baby whisperer they call him.

And what does he say about his ability to calm then? He doesn’t take any credit, says he’s got nothing special, they just want someone to hold them. And I say, do any of us ever grow out of the need for someone to hold us?

I read about him the other day and it touched my heart in so many ways.  See, we often get caught up in the question of what are we supposed to be doing with our lives. What do I have to offer? What does God want me to do with my life? How can I use my talents? How can I serve? And we get so caught up in dwelling on that question we don’t do anything.

Sometimes the question becomes an excuse. “Well, I really don’t know what God wants me to do. I’ve prayed, I’m not sure. I feel like I should be doing this..but not sure if it’s God’s will, etc, etc.” And so we sit and our questions, our doubts, become an excuse to not do anything.

And we wait to obtain something in order to be able to accomplish whatever it is that God’s got in store for us, when what we should be doing is using what we already have.

Jesus called us to be servants, as He was a servant.

Luke 22:27 For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves. (emphasis mine)

Jim O’Conner, the teacher, he serves these babies. To some it might not seem like a lot. But for twenty years this man has gone to the hospital a few times a week and has served these children just by being there to hold them.

He also holds the status as being the top donator of blood in the last twenty years to the hospital. Over 72 gallons they say.  How many lives have been helped by the blood drawn from his veins? With over 72 gallons, I’m sure many.

It’s not cost him anything but his time (and loads of blood). He’s used what he had and that’s his body.

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 11, 2013:  Volunteer Jim O'Connor walks around the hospital with month-old patient Mace De Luna at Children's Hospital Dece...

Photo Source:Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

He uses his mind to teach his students, his blood to help save lives, and his arms to cradle babies.

And all you have to do to serve is use what you have.

And whether you’re washing dishes, or washing clothes, or waiting tables, or administering shots; whether you’re taking care of your children at home, or giving advice to a friend in need, or preaching to a man in prison or giving 72 gallons of blood over a lifetime…you’re serving. And the apostle Paul said:

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

And if we don’t have a heart to serve others, do we really have a heart for Jesus?

The lesson in Mr. O’Connor’s story, is that we don’t have to be rich to serve others, we don’t have to be in a foreign country to serve others, and so on… we use what we have available to us..it’s all about perspective.

It’s about doing and doing everything in the name of the Lord, and humbling ourselves to see the need around us..taking grace and extending it to others.

We don’t have to question how to serve, we just have to be willing.

When You Feel Like A Failure

I didn’t see it coming, but it snuck in quietly and deliberately, at a time when I was weary and vulnerable. At a time when nothing seemed to be going right, even though I was trying, I grew weary, and sin creeped in, and I let it. I had said, “Never”. And before I knew it, that never was my reality.  And instead of stumbling, I was falling, diving…headfirst into that never.

And that’s the way the Snake does,  he crawls in on his belly and whispers lies and tempts the eyes, and the flesh is weak and he knows your weaknesses and if you’re not careful you’re taking the fruit and you’re biting into it, and your world spins.

And you forgot that Jesus said to pray so you won’t be tempted…

Then He came and found them sleeping. “Simon, are you sleeping?” He asked Peter. “Couldn’t you stay awake one hour? Stay awake and pray so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  Mark 14:38

Yes, He even had to remind His disciples who were right there with Him..

Peter, who He said He would build His rock on.

Peter, who broke bread with Him.

Peter, who witnessed His miracles.

Peter, who professed he would always follow Him.

Peter, who walked on water as long as he kept His eyes on Him.

Peter, who was the first to claim Him as the Messiah.

Peter, who said He would never deny Him.

Peter, who denied Him.

Peter, who wept bitterly.

Peter, whose spirit was willing, yet his flesh was weak.

And when the world stops spinning and you realize what you’ve done, you realize that fruit was pretty on the outside, but rotten on the inside, you realize that you denied Him, after you had confessed your love for Him, you realize if you had only kept your eyes on Him, you wouldn’t have started sinking in the first place,  and you weep bitterly, like Peter, because you know in your weakness you failed Him– what do you do?

Do you let that sin that nearly destroyed you convince you that you’re no longer good enough? Do you believe the Serpent when he comes slithering back in to remind you and accuse you? When he tells you there’s no hope for you now? When he tells you that you’re a failure?

Don’t you think Peter felt like a failure? Peter, who had boasted he loved Him more than anyone. How many of us must know exactly how Peter felt the moment he heard that rooster crow?

 But read what happened:

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter,“Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”  Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

Some of the first words Jesus spoke to Peter after His resurrection, were “Do you love me?” He knew the answer. He knew Peter’s heart. He knew Peter’s flesh was weak. He forgave him and He restored him. And He told him to follow Him. He gave him instuctions… “take care of my sheep, feed my lambs“.

And Peter was given grace, we all were given grace. He restored Peter, He restores us too. Peter had failed and we all fail, but it’s what you do afterwards..It’s what’s in your heart when He asks “Do you love me?”

And Peter’s hope is all of our hope, Peter went on to lead many to Christ. Peter is proof that no matter how you’ve gone astray, you can be forgiven. Peter is proof we’re all a work in progress and that no matter where you’ve been God has a greater plan, and He can still use you, He will still use you. 

Don’t listen to the enemy when he tells you it’s unforgiveable, don’t listen when he tells you you’re a failure, don’t listen when he tells you you’re too old or you’re too young, or whatever lies he will fill your head with.

Just rise up, like Peter, and go follow Him.

Unwrapping Jesus

I used to be envious of others in church.

As I listened to them tell their story of their own salvation, the exact time, date, how old they were, how from that point on they never looked back, they were changed forever, I sat there envious.

I was envious because I had not had that kind of moment with Christ and I wondered with fear and trembling, had I ever really been saved?

Sure there were those nights when I would lay next to my father in the dark, a child believing whatever Daddy told me, because he was my hero, and he wouldn’t lie, and he said Jesus loved me, he said Jesus died so I could be saved, so we all could…and I believed him  and he would pray, and we would sing Jesus Loves Me. 

We would go to church on Sunday, me with my shiny shoes, and I would sing “This Little Light of Mine” in Sunday school, I would drink the grape juice the preacher said was like Jesus’ blood, I would take the cracker and examine it while heads were bowed in prayer, wondering why I needed to eat and drink Jesus. I asked many times for Jesus to come into my heart because at the end of every sermon the preacher said we should if we weren’t sure and as a little girl  I wanted to be sure, even though I didn’t quite understand how someone could live right inside my heart.

I never doubted that it was true.

And as I grew older, my parents divorced and church became less, but I still prayed most  nights. I turned twelve and got a brand new Bible for Christmas with my name etched right there in the bottom corner  and I stayed up late reading those red-lettered words like I never had before, but I didn’t understand them all and it discouraged me because I couldn’t, so I set it aside and it was two years before I picked it back up.

But I never doubted any of it was true.

And there has been a whole lot of stuff  in this girl’s life since that night when I was twelve.

The twenty-two years since then have been filled with a whole lot of picking the Word up and setting it aside.

A whole lot of knowing Jesus with my mind, but not with my heart. A whole lot of loving Jesus with my mind, but not with my heart.

 As an adult, I would raise my hands in worship and sing out to Him with tears streaming and feel so full of the Spirit I thought I would burst,  I would watch the Passion of Christ and weep and sob at the depiction of what He went through for us, I would walk to the altar with “Just As I Am” being sung by the choir and kneel down and lose myself. I would drink from the cup and eat of the bread because I knew this was done in remembrance.. And then after all the emotional music, the emotional movies, and the emotional testimonies would stop and the doors would swing open for us all to spill out into the bright world, to go home and get our bellies full after getting our spirits full…

I would set.Him.aside.

You see, I have never doubted the existence of God. I have never doubted that Jesus is the Son of God. I have never doubted that He died on a cross to save me and you from an eternity in hell. I have never doubted that the Word of God was written by men but breathed into life by the Holy Spirit, I have never doubted the infallible truth of His Word. Never.

But can I tell you what His Word says?

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder. James 2:19

So yes, there have been times in my life, when hearing other’s story of becoming new in Jesus, that I’ve wondered…did I miss something??

Why haven’t I had this radical change? I knew Jesus, right?  

Isn’t that enough? And He is enough. His grace is always enough, but it’s one thing to know Him, even the demons do. It’s another thing to surrender your life to Him, and this is where I always failed.

I could sing “I Surrender All” with my mouth, but never did completely with my heart.

I was given the gift of Grace,  just like you, a gift that was wrapped in His shed blood, sweat, and tears. I accepted that gift long ago, but instead of fully unwrapping it, I only tore holes in the side so I could peak in every now and then.  I would tear back the wrapping and peak in when something was going wrong , I would even look in when everything was going right. But the problem was, I only looked for a bit, and then I set it aside.

And what good is a gift if you don’t unwrap it to see ALL of it? What good is grace if you only unwrap parts of it and not the whole?And it’s one thing to know the gift is there, it’s another thing to unwrap it and behold it!

And these powerful words were written:

Belief is not merely an agreement with facts in the head, it is also an appetite for God in the heart, which fastens on Jesus for satisfaction. …

Therefore  eternal life is not given to people who merely think that Jesus is the Son of God.

It is given to people who drink from Jesus as the Son of God… The point of these images of drinking and eating is to make clear the essence of faith. It is more than believing that there is such a thing as water and food.

Faith is coming to Jesus and drinking the water and eating the food so that we find our hearts satisfied in Him.– John Piper

When you’re in the desert, it does you no good to know the well of water is before you, if you aren’t willing to drink the water found in it.

 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35

So I have wrestled at times on whether I have actually been saved when I thought I was, I have wrestled with the questions: Do I believe in Jesus, the Bible, God, the Trinity, simply because I was taught that all my life? Or do I believe because I know within my spirit that this is truth?

And I can tell you it’s the latter. I believe in my heart it is truth.  I believe, but that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with flesh. I never had one of those moments that I have heard people talk about, when I could say I was saved on this date…., but I have had many moments and many blessings where I know Jesus Christ has been changing me. And I know I desire to know Him in a deeply spiritual way, and I know if I didn’t have the Holy Spirit that desire would not be there. I know the times when I have set Him aside in my life were when I decided to love myself, more than I loved Him.

And the change comes when you surrender all.The change comes when you sip from His cup and eat of His bread daily. The change comes when you fully unwrap the gift of Grace and behold it in all it’s Glory.

When you finally stop putting Him back in the box and setting Him on the shelf…that’s when the change you’re looking for will come…

Thanksgiving on Valentine’s.

She takes slow, cautious steps. Her back now in a permanent bend from years of arthritis. Seventy-four years on earth she has been, and I wonder at her life. I wonder at the what she’s seen, what she’s felt, what kind of work she did that caused her spine to bend low and forget how to straighten up. She’s always smiling and her voice is  soft and tender, always like music to my soul. I know she’s in pain and I know she has a disease that’s slowly eating at her memories, threatening to take away her knowledge of who she is and I know she’s still smiling, always full of grace.

I watch as her husband of fifty years holds her hand. I watch as he presses his hand to the small of her back always guiding her. Softly and gently. I watch as he takes her coat off. I hear her tell him he’s so good at helping her. He is always patient with this wife of his, this love of his life. He’s smiling at her.  I wonder about their love. I wonder about their fifty years together and what all they have been through, what all they will go through the rest of their years. Trying not to think about the fact that one day, she will not know who he is and he will have all these memories, and she will have none.

I listen as they tell me they’ve been together since highschool, both smiling while talking. She still remembers this, these memories not yet robbed.  I watch as he looks at her with adoration.  I watch and listen and soak in this love they have. Their love permeates. Their love is full of grace.

I think of Jesus. I think of His love for His bride. I think of the gift of Grace. Watching them I’m reminded of His love for us. His hand always gently guiding, His voice always soft, always patient. His adoration of us, His bride.

I look at them and know he will always be guiding her, reaching for her hand because she is forgetting.

I look within and thank Him for always guiding me, reaching for my hand, even when I forget to reach for His.

An Open Letter To My Daughter { Know Your Worth }

First and foremost precious daughter of mine, you are a child of God, know your worth.

There are so many things I want to tell you about life as I watch you maturing into a lovely young lady. Things I want to share so that you’ll learn from my experiences, things I wish I had known at a very young age, especially the age you are now, thirteen. Things I hope you’ll remember and take with you on life’s journey.

You accepted Christ at a very young age, that is the best and most important decision you will ever make in your years on this earth. Don’t let anyone ever tell you different. Angels and all of heaven rejoiced that day, so did I. And knowing that you are a child of His makes my heart sing. And now here is where I  want you to remember these words I’m about to tell you, because there will be times in your life you’ll need to hear them.

Respect yourself. Your body is a dwelling for the Holy Spirit now, it is a temple, treat it as such. Respect your physical body and know that it will age, take great care of it while you are young, to make that aging process less difficult when you are old.

Love yourself. You are you, God knit you together in my womb. You are one of a kind. Do not compare yourself to others, in doing so you lessen your own value. Be content with the body God gave you. Do take care of it, but don’t get wrapped up in what this world says you need to look like. You are beautiful the way you are. Know and be confident in this. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. ( Psalm 139:13-15)

If you respect and love yourself, then I really don’t have to say the following, but I will in case you forget.

Never base your happiness in life on another person. Your true joy will come by following Christ and being obedient to the Lord. Love God, and love Him with your whole heart. Speaking of your heart. It is a very fragile thing, guard it.The proverb says:

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

Be careful in who’s hands you place that precious heart of yours in,  for in the wrong ones it can be shattered.

Know your worth. Know you are a child of the Most High. Jesus loved you so much, He willingly laid down His life for you. Never let anyone make you feel worthless. Never let anyone make you feel you aren’t good enough. Never tell yourself you aren’t good enough. These are lies from Satan.

Don’t cast your pearls before swine. Your virginity really is a precious, pure gift. It is God’s will that you give that gift to the man that is your husband. In today’s society, premarital sex is not only accepted, it is promoted. But remember, you were called to be set apart from the world as a follower and believer in Christ. Do not conform to what the world ‘accepts’ and says is ok. If a man trys to sway you on this, and trust me, there will be many temptations, know that this is not God’s will. A man who loves you, will respect you in all ways, especially in your decision to wait until marriage. He will honor you and honor God by doing so. And this is the kind of man God wants as your partner in life. Anything less, is not love, but lust. Please remember there is a difference between love and lust. Lust will never hold, it is superficial and based on physical flesh. If a man tells you he loves you, in order for you to sleep with him, this is not love. Please remember that. It is never okay to sacrifice your integrity for anyone or anything.

Don’t chase love. If you’re loving God and putting Him first, chasing love should not be a problem. As I said before, love God with your whole heart, and everything else in life will fall into place. That means love as well. Don’t chase love from someone who doesn’t deserve your love. Honor yourself and God in all your ways and He will place that love in your life. If you have to chase it, or force it, it’s not and never will be right. Don’t misunderstand me, you are called to love everyone, as Christ loved you. I’m referring to falling in love, to giving that special love to someone, to finding that special someone to share your life with.

Trust in God. This is so important. If you place your trust in Him, He promises to give you all the desires of your heart. Let me tell you, it will not always be easy to trust God. You live in a fallen earth, and you are surrounded daily by the chaos of this world. There will be times in your life when you hurt physically, mentally, and spiritually. But know He has a plan, know His grace will cover you, know that even when it seems He’s far away, He’s working in your life. Know that He wants and desires your trust in Him.

“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.” Jeremiah 29: 10-12

I tell you these things because I have struggled through every one of them and I am only trying to save you unnecessary heartache in life. I also know that you might not follow my advice at times, not because you don’t want to, but because flesh and spirit are always at battle and I know from experience, sometimes flesh wins. But I also know that if you keep your eyes on the Lord, focus on Him, strive to live in His will and do your very best, it makes that battle a whole lot easier.

I tell you these certain things now, because you are at such an impressionable age. And in the next few years of your teenage life you will be hit with so many temptations, mainly temptations that regard your body and your heart. Know that the Enemy is real. Satan constantly seeks to destroy, and if the house of your life is built on shifting sand, rather than the Rock that is Jesus, it will crumble.

Know your worth my sweet girl. Know who you are in Christ. Stay true to Him, and you will stay true to yourself. Always.

 

Joy In The Rain

It’s raining yet again and winter has decided to stick around for a bit. The world outside the window is dreary, and on days like this it can seem as if the cold just slips right into the soul, threatening a hard freeze right there in my spirit. On days like this I crave sunshine and warmth and flowers and all things spring, all things new.
On days like this it’s hard to put even one foot on the ground, much less two.

When you’re already weary, days like this are hard.

Days like this can make God seem far away.

Days like this when you’re missing your loved one who left too soon and now you’re here to make sense of a world without them.

Days like this when you feel like a failure because the child you birthed and you raised took a path you would not have chosen, and you wring your hands because you don’t know where you went wrong.

Days like this when your body is riddled with sickness, and that word was used, and the doctors don’t know, but they’ll do their best.

Days like this when your tears fall like the rain that is falling outside the window, because aren’t you a Christian and aren’t you supposed to trust Him? And Jesus said pick up your cross, but you didn’t realize that cross could get so heavy. The preacher preached blessings and you mistakingly thought that meant a life with Jesus meant no troubles.  You didn’t realize how hard it would be to trust Him and you question…why?

Days like this you forget that in order for a seed to grow there must be rain.

Without rain it would never take root, without rain it would never sprout, without rain it would never blossom into the beautiful flower that it was meant to be.

The same goes for you and me. We would never grow spiritually in our faith if we didn’t occasionally suffer through rain in our lives.

 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. –  1 peter 1:6-7

And where is joy to be found on the cold dreary days of your life? In Him.  In the Sonshine that promises  He is always with you if you believe in Him.

 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”- John 14:1

In belief in Him, we have that promise that no matter what we go through this side of Heaven, it’s all for His glory, He’s perfecting our faith. He’s drawing us near so that through our trials we can be a comfort to others in their time of dark days. So that through us He can be revealed and his Son can shine.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Cor. 4:17

Days like this we have hope in the promise of spring after the long days of winter. We know it will come and that gives us comfort, so we should also remember the hope and comfort in Jesus, that even though there will be days of hard, cold, rain…He wants us to trust him that spring will come, and the rain only helps us grow into what we were meant to be. And even on cloudy days..

the Son is still shining.