Faithful.

Oftentimes, when I hear the word ‘faithful,’ I think about it in the context of relationships. Romantic relationships, friendships, business relationships, etc. I also think about God’s faithfulness, and His many promises to us in His Word. I think about how Jesus gave His life for our freedom, and the hope and joy that it brings.

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And every now and then, I think about my faithfulness to God. Is my faithfulness to Him apparent in my life, my actions, my words? I believe that my faithfulness to God goes far beyond showing up at church every Sunday. I believe that my faithfulness to God is a lifestyle. Faithfulness is consistent and intentional. It requires you to look past what others may think, or the temporary things that you may lose.

“But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”

Matthew 10:33 (KJV)

I remember having friends that only contacted me when they needed something. A ride to an event, a letter of recommendation, help writing a paper. They didn’t contact me to see how I was doing, but to see what I could do for them. I was also there for them during their dark times, but I didn’t receive the same level of support in return. After a while, it no longer felt like a friendship. Instead, I just felt used.

Have you ever found yourself in a place where you weren’t paying as much attention to God, but you still expected Him to do everything you needed and wanted? I’ve been in that place before. And I’ve wondered how it made Him feel. The truth is, we’re all faithful to something. We’re all committed to something.

It’s not a bad thing to be committed to your job, the family that you cherish, or something that God has blessed you to have or be a part of. However, we must remember that we cannot allow those things to take God’s designated place in our hearts.

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How can we be faithful to God? We can start by intentionally spending time with Him. Even with the busyness of life, it’s important to set aside time each day to spend with our Savior. We were created in His image, and we were created to communicate with Him. The more time you spend with God and reading His Word, the more clearly you can hear His voice. The Holy Spirit will also lovingly convict you and lead you to make changes in your life that are pleasing to God.

Living a life that honors God is not always the most popular choice. But from an eternal perspective, it’s all that matters. Not your past, and not your mistakes. Jesus died so that your past no longer matters. In this moment, you have the choice to surrender to God and make the decision to live a life committed to Him. You have the choice to build a relationship with the very one who created you, who has amazing plans for you, and who loves you without conditions.

65546bb39e57322a3fc1054234a6ce9fYou have the choice to stop putting Him second, and make Him front and center. At the end of your life, will God be pleased with your relationship with Him, or will He wish that He could have spent more time with you?

“I want you to show love,
    not offer sacrifices.
I want you to know me
    more than I want burnt offerings.”

Hosea 6:6 (NLT)

My prayer is that our faithfulness to God will be unwavering, and that we will cherish the opportunity we have to be in relationship with Him. “First and Only” by Elevation Worship reminds me that God is enough, and that He is faithful to restore us, even when we’ve drifted away.

 

First and Only by Elevation Worship

Eternal Perspective

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of my book ‘Chosen for Such A Time As This’. You can find it here on Amazon, and I blogged about it here.

 

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16 (ESV)

One thing that I like to do is travel. Whether it’s a quick road trip or a cruise to another country, I love going to different places, and also learning about other cultures. There are so many states and countries that I would like to go to, and also revisit, in the future. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Imagine that you’ve been granted an all-inclusive trip to your dream destination. Your food, airfare, accommodations and the resort are paid for. On top of that, you can invite anyone you want to come with you, and they won’t have to pay either. This is a gift that has been given to you, and although you don’t have to spend any of your money, you must prepare for it. You have to tell other people about it, pack your bags, get your passport, and it helps to research the place you’re travelling to.

However, you don’t know exactly when the trip will be… You just have to get ready! So you learn about this amazing trip and in the beginning, you’re super excited! You’re telling everyone about it and you’re preparing for it. You’ve gone shopping and you’ve saved money. Your bags are packed, you researched the culture, you’re ready! Right? You’ve got everything set, but the trip hasn’t happened yet.

Time continues to go on and you get back into the swing of your regular routine; studying, exams, working, bills, happiness, frustrations, everyday life. You still think about the trip, but you don’t have the same zeal that you used to have. You’ve actually began to take a few things out of your suitcase, and you also spent the money that you saved. Even though you told your family and friends, and even strangers about the dream vacation, you don’t really mention it anymore.

Then one day, you get a phone call from your travel agent. He says, “You know the all-inclusive vacation that you’ve been preparing for? We’re ready! I need you to be at the airport in an hour.” What do you do now that your bags aren’t packed, the people you invited aren’t ready, and you’ve spent all of the money that you’ve saved?

Salvation doesn’t work exactly like this, but it is similar. When Jesus died for us, He gave us a free gift – eternal life. Discovering and accepting that Jesus died for you and is preparing a place for you brings excitement, hope and peace! As you learn more about Jesus and grow in your faith, your life changes and you tell others about Him. And sometimes, it seems as though life gets in the way.

You know that Heaven will be better, but right now all you can see is what’s happening in your life and in this world. There are times where we may even fall off track or begin pursuing things that we know we shouldn’t. It is dangerous to think that you have plenty of time to turn your life around. Because the truth is, we don’t know exactly when Jesus will come back, or when our lives might end. Our travel agent, our Savior, can call at any time, and we just have to be ready!

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)

 

Available for purchase on Amazon (click here)!

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Chosen For Such A Time As This [New Book!!!]

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always loved writing. Whether it was poetry, short stories, plays, or just my thoughts, writing has been a part of my life. Growing up, I enjoyed reading, and always wanted to write my own book. However, I didn’t know what exactly I would write, or how it would be published.

In 2015, I wrote my first book. Just about every single day, for months, I worked diligently on this project. It was not an easy process, but I kept going because I knew that God had given me wisdom to share. And He was still teaching me the things that I was writing about.

My plan was to publish the book in 2016, but when the time came, I was afraid. What will people think? I’m not even worthy of writing a book or sharing this information. I have to be perfect. People are going to judge me. No one will buy it. There were so many thoughts that plagued my mind. I knew that God wanted me to do this, so I prayed that He would change my heart and deliver me from the fear of what other people thought of me. I prayed that I would view myself the right way and that I would be okay with sharing my heart and being vulnerable. I asked God to let me know exactly when to publish my book.

People that knew I had written a book would occasionally ask about how it was going. I would give them a rehearsed answer and then change the subject. Eventually, my heart began to change and I knew that God was preparing me to finally publish.

It was now 2017 and I no longer cared about what people thought. I was okay with being vulnerable because I knew that God had birthed a message within me, and I needed to share it. I was not concerned about being judged, but I desired to please God and to walk by faith in doing what He had asked me to do. I wasn’t worried about who would or wouldn’t buy it. I prayed that God would use it to bless everyone who read it, and that He would lead the right people to this book. That’s the same prayer that I prayed during the writing process and I believe that God will do just that!

On Valentine’s Day – February 14, 2018 – I published my first book! It is available for purchase here on Amazon.

 

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The reason why it is called Chosen For Such A Time As This, is because I believe that God will place us exactly where we need to be, when we need to be there. No matter what season you are in, there is beauty in that season. This book was written to encourage single women, but I address issues that many women face today, so I also encourage married women to check it out as well. It highlights that regardless of your marital status, the most important relationship that we could ever have, is with Our Savior, Jesus Christ. And through that relationship, we will be made whole, and we will find contentment through Him.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made with a unique purpose that only you can carry out. Despite what you’ve gone through, what you’ve done, or whatever is happening right now, God has a plan for your life. He created this plan long before you were born; He knew you before you were born! Even if you are not able to see it right now, you were chosen for such a time as this. There is beauty in your season and in this journey! 🙂

Before each chapter of this book was written, I had a conversation with God. I prayed about what He wanted me to write and how He wanted me to say it. I prayed for each person that would be reading this book, and how it would impact their lives. If you do choose to purchase this book, I pray that it inspires you. I pray that it encourages you, motivates you, and brings you closer to God. And if there is something that God is leading you to do, if He’s revealing your purpose to you or speaking to you about an assignment, go for it! Walk by faith. Trust that He will bless you with the resources that you need, and the support that you need. God is always with you, ready to guide you and take you to beautiful places far beyond what you could ever imagine!

 

With Love,

Jheralynne

Year of Faith

Overall, 2017 was a great year for me. Many of my loved ones celebrated life-defining moments that I was able to be a part of. I graduated from college and got a job in my field. I turned 23 years old. I joined a new serve team at my church and I also led a small group. I learned how to manage my time better and how to gain more control over my emotions. I grew in confidence and grace, and most importantly, I grew in my relationship with God.

Lately, I have been feeling as though 2018 will be my ‘Year of Faith.’ Yes, I trust in God. I depend on Him to provide and protect me on a daily basis. I believe that He exists and I know that He is good. If I’m ever down or in need something, I know that He will take care of me. But this year, I believe that God really wants me to walk by faith, and to trust Him with something bigger. I believe that this year will also be a time of me being refined and just continuing to grow in who God created me to be.

I have no idea what 2018 holds. But, I do know, that I’m ready for it. I know that I trust God and that He will never leave me. I know that if He has called me to something, He will provide and He will open doors of opportunity for me. I know that not everyone will understand, and that’s okay. I want to make sure that I’m living for the audience and approval of One. This year, I want to be pure in every form; worshipping God with my life, my actions, my body, my thoughts, everything. I want to be more intentional about being intentional… as well as being a light and being grace.

There’s a verse that has really stood out to me. I heard it 3 times within the first two days of the year. And I want to take it with me into 2018.

 

“Blessed is the one

who does not walk in step with the wicked

or stand in the way that sinners take

or sit in the company of mockers,

but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,

and who meditates on his law day and night.

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither—

whatever they do prospers.”

Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV)

 

This passage is my prayer for 2018, and all of the years to come. I believe that when God is the center and the essence of your life, you simply cannot go wrong. Sometimes we become so busy and distracted that we forget that we’re here for a purpose, and that there is life after this one. I am so thankful that Jesus came to give us eternal life, and to also give us the gift of salvation. What are your 2018 goals?

Being Obedient to God’s Voice

A few years ago, when I was praying during a church service, God spoke to me audibly. I had been praying that He would speak to me, but what He said threw me completely off guard. God instructed me to let go of someone in my life, and He used their specific name. His voice was deep and clear. It was so loud that it sounded like He was speaking through a microphone, although the entire congregation was silent. My first reaction was to look up immediately and see if anyone else heard… that’s how loud and clear He was.

You may be wondering if I’m crazy, or how I know for sure that it was God’s voice. I won’t argue with you if you think I’m crazy 🙂 But as John 10:5 and 10:27 state, My sheep will hear my voice. The voice of another they will not follow. There was no doubt in my mind that it was God who had spoken to me. I knew instantly, with certainty, that it was Him. Also, this was not a suggestion that I would have made myself, nor was it one that I was fond of at the time.

I wish that I could say that I was immediately obedient, and that I cut off all communication with this person, never to look back again. However, that wasn’t the case. And as always, God confirmed His word to me numerous times.

Why was it so important that I let go of this person? Why was God concerned about this detail in my life? The Bible describes God as our Protector. Just as a loving Father wouldn’t want any harm to come to their child, God also desires to save and protect us. This doesn’t mean that we are immune from life’s difficulties and tragedies. But, in this particular situation, God knew the detriment that being connected to this person would cause. And He instructed me to separate myself.

I don’t know why God chose to speak to me audibly. Perhaps that’s just how urgent and important the message was to Him. Looking back at the turmoil and heartbreak I faced due to disobedience, I can’t help but to thank God. It is simply pure love to have been wanting to save me from that pain. I am so thankful that we serve a God who truly cares about us, who is leading us, and who is willing to intervene when we start heading the wrong way.

Whenever God tells you something, know that it really is for your own good. Our lives are so much more than what we can actually see. And if we knew what was on the other side of our obedience, if we had the same mind and vision that God has, we would be quick to obey Him. But, that’s not the case. We are not able to see the things that God sees or know the things that He does. That’s where trust comes in.

Since we do not hold the same power that God holds, we have to trust in Him when He asks us to do something. When we don’t understand things that are going on in our lives, we have to know that God sees the entire situation, including the solution, and we have to trust that He is leading us on the right path… as long as we are being obedient.

If God is speaking to you about something, don’t take His words lightly. There is reason far beyond what you can understand. God’s instructions to you are a continuation of His love for you. Trust that His plan for your life is good. And if you desire to hear His voice, keep praying and keep seeking Him. God speaks through many ways; His Word, His Spirit, sermons, other people, dreams, etc. We don’t have to go through this life alone or without guidance. The One who created you desires to speak to you. Will you listen?

 

“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 29:11

 

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3

 

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

Still Waiting on God? An Encouragement to Single Ladies

I would be lying if I said it was easy being single or that I am always content in the season that I’m in. Oftentimes, I have felt as though people brush the desire for marriage under a rug and say that you shouldn’t even be concerned with it. Let’s be honest… those desires are real. And when you’re not idolizing them or allowing them to distract you, then they can be healthy desires.

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This post is not for those who believe they have been called to a life of singleness – a beautiful and honorable calling.  It is also not for those who really desire to be married, but have chosen to ignore that desire – whether its out of fear, pride, disbelief, or whatever else. This post, is for those ladies who truly desire to be in a God-honoring, committed marriage one day. This post is for the single women who are working on themselves, who are faithful to God, and who are expectant and believing that God’s best is coming… But you find yourself in a season where you are still “waiting” on God to answer your prayers and make His presentation.

Proverbs 3:5 tells us not to lean on our own understanding. My own understanding tells me that it’s taking too long. My insecurity tells me that God has forgotten about me. The enemy tells me that everyone else has their person, but me. And none of those things are true. God says to trust Him with all my heart. That leaves no room for doubting His promises or questioning His character. He never asked us to figure it all out. He just asked us to trust Him.

What you’re praying for may take time. Sometimes, others can be hard on us, and we can even be hard on ourselves. I am very thankful for my immediate family and the friends in my life that pray for me and encourage me, no matter what season I am in. But there are some people that can be judgmental or insensitive. I am not single because I “can’t find a man.” I am single because I have chosen not to settle, or to act outside of God’s will. I don’t want to be connected to anything that separates me from God’s peace.

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Please, do not settle out of impatience, fear, loneliness or pressure. No matter your age or what society has to say about timing, if you believe that God has given you the desire to be married, then also believe that He will one day fulfill that desire. I have also realized that it is so important for me to consistently find my contentment and wholeness in God alone.

Understand that God isn’t keeping you from being in a relationship to be mean. He understands all of your needs and desires. However, there is purpose in this journey, which is why I can’t refer to this season as “waiting” on God. When He created us, He had sooo many detailed plans in mind. So many ways that He wants to use us to bless others and build His Kingdom. Marriage is not the end all be all, but just one of the amazing things He can bless us with. In the meantime, are you waiting or are you living?

Don’t wait until you’re in a relationship to live your life. This past year, I was daydreaming about some really awesome things I thought would be fun to do on a date with a significant other. And then I realized that if those things are what I really want to do, I don’t have to sit around and wait to do them. So I went to the baseball game, I went to the fancy restaurant I had been wanting to go to, I still got my nails and hair done and looked my best, I still went to that concert I had been dreaming about, I went on dinner dates and breakfast dates with friends, vacation with my family, and next month I’m going to Chattanooga.

That’s not to say that you have to do everything alone, but ENJOY LIFE! I spent time with those that God has strategically placed in my life right now. I served in my church and poured into other people. I led a small group this semester and I’ve been having a blast! This time has also allowed me to learn more about myself and grow so much closer to my Savior. Don’t allow your “waiting” to be stagnant, but purposeful. There are many things that God has placed on my heart, and I’ve been working on them lately.

Is the desire to be married still there? Absolutely. Do I sometimes get lonely, impatient and frustrated? Yes. But I don’t allow those temporary emotions to overtake me. I know that this season of singleness will one day end, and even when I am married one day, there will still be trials and tests that I must endure. I know that I can’t spend every season of my life, waiting for and anticipating the next season, when there is so much beauty in today. The people that are in your life right now, and even the opportunities in your life right now, will not always be there. So cherish these people and these moments that you have, and keep praying. Know that God has a plan for you and that He is not doing anything with the intention of hurting you or making you feel less than.

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God is being very purposeful in this season (and every season). He is preparing you for what you have prayed for. If you are like me, and you haven’t prayed for a mediocre, average man or marriage, then ladies know that this takes time. I am also not just praying for a man, but I’m praying for myself; and not just that I’ll be ready for marriage, but that I will be ready for God. Everything in this life will pass away; it is so important to remain connected to our Savior. I had to ask myself, If God never gave me a husband, would I still love Him? If God never gives me a husband, is He still good? My answer is yes! God loves me too much and has done way too much for me to ever abandon Him for any reason.

Be expectant, have fun, and trust God. Most importantly, build your relationship with God and make sure that He is always first in your life and in your heart.

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I pray that this blesses you, and I encourage you to check out my book, which is available on Amazon:

Chosen For Such A Time As This: Finding Wholeness and Contentment in Your Journey Through Singleness

Far From God

Have you ever felt like you’ve drifted away from God, or like you just weren’t as close as you were before? Or maybe you’ve never felt that close feeling, but you want to. What do you do when you feel far from God? Because being in that place can be discouraging. It sometimes feels impossible to get where you want to be. But thankfully, even when we’re spiritually stuck, God still cares and He promises to provide a way.

 

“Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.”

James 4:8 (NLT)

 

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Being a follower of Christ requires action. There is work that must be done on our part. God promises that if we draw near to Him, then He will also draw near to us. This summer, I found myself in a season where I wasn’t seeking God as I normally would. I was struggling with being consistent with spending time with Him. As a result, I didn’t feel His presence. Instead, I felt very distant. I had to choose between Him and the distractions that were pulling me away from Him. The purposeless relationships, the music, the “I’m too tired to read my Bible right now” all seemed convenient at the time.

And even though I was chasing after those temporary things that I wanted, there was still something missing. I wasn’t being fulfilled. It didn’t seem like I had that special grace and favor. And I felt sooo far from God. That’s because when God created us, He placed a void in our hearts that only He can fill.

 

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.”

John 15:4 (NLT)

 

How important is your relationship with God? I had to decide that I wanted to walk in purpose and in His will, more than temporary, worldly satisfaction. I knew that it wasn’t worth it to continue drifting farther away from God, especially when He can give me so much more, so much better. There’s a different type of contentment when you surrender to God and just trust Him.

Being close to God doesn’t happen by chance. It is a conscious decision that requires you to be intentional and faithful. If you were to stop eating, you would become malnourished. Your organs would shut down and your body would eventually go into shock. In the same way, if you don’t pursue God, your spiritual life will be malnourished. Just like any relationship, maintaining your relationship with God requires action. Complacency will not bring about growth.

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What’s the risk you take when you decide not to be close to God? You make yourself vulnerable to attack. You lose that special covering; not because God doesn’t care about you, but because you’ve pushed Him aside and chosen to do things your own way. God has given each of us power over the enemy. He has given us what we need to stand firm in faith.

“Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”

Ephesians 6:10-12 NLT (Also read v. 13-18)

 

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No matter how far you’ve drifted off or how difficult your circumstances seem, you can still come back to God. Pray and have a conversation with Him about where you are right now, about how you feel, and your desire to change direction. God never condemns us, and He isn’t mad at us for leaving.

Luke 15:11-32 tells the story of The Prodigal Son; a young man that left home, began making poor choices, spent all of the money he had inherited, and was now starving. He finally decided to come back home, and his father welcomed him with open, loving arms. The father even threw a celebration for the son, and gave him his best. Just as the forgiving father accepted his son with open arms, compassion and love, God is also calling you back to Him and waiting to embrace you with his love. After you’ve prayed about it, make the steps necessary to be intentional about your walk with God. Instead of trying to squeeze God into your schedule, make time for Him first. Spending time with God can include praying, studying your Bible, listening to worship music, etc. Don’t beat yourself up about your imperfections or mistakes; you won’t always get it right. But as long as God is first in your life, you can’t go wrong.

Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who are seeking God and growing spiritually. It’s a blessing to have Godly friends who encourage you, listen to you, keep you accountable and love to have fun! Pray that God will guard your heart and bless you with Godly friends and mentors that you can walk with in this journey, and who you can also be a blessing to.

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Civil Wars

“A kingdom divided by civil war will collapse. Similarly, a family splintered by feuding will fall apart. And if Satan is divided and fights against himself,  how can he stand? He would never survive.” Mark 3:24-26 (NLT)

As Christians, we are constantly in war. You vs. the enemy, flesh vs. spirit (you vs. you), and spirit vs. spirit (you vs. others). The good news is that we have already conquered the enemy. Jesus conquered him on the cross. Any power that he has, God has more. In Christ, we always win. But we must stay on guard to protect ourselves from the enemy’s attempts. He knows our weaknesses and he wants to take advantage of them.

“In order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of His schemes.”

2 Corinthians 2:11

The Bible clearly states that the enemy cannot fight himself. If he were to fight himself, he would be creating a civil war, and thus be unable to stand. Therefore, he fights those things that are a threat to him. And since you’re God’s most prized possession, you are the also the enemy’s biggest target.

You are a threat to Satan. He doesn’t want you to know the truth; that you’re fearfully and wonderfully made, that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you, that you are forgiven and that you have freedom in Jesus… He works so hard to fill our minds with lies in an attempt to keep us from having a relationship with God and from reaching our fullest potential.

With God on our side, we are capable of so much. When we know who HE is and who we are in HIM, we also know the enemy’s lies are… well, lies. Don’t allow the enemy to keep you from believing in God or from saving the lives of others. Satan is not a match for God… the battle has already been won.

He may tell you that you’re not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough… those are all lies to distract you. He may tell you that you’ll never be able to accomplish something or that you past is too shameful… those are lies to make you feel insecure. He may even tell you that God doesn’t love you or that He doesn’t hear your prayers. but those are lies as well. Not only does God hear the prayers of His children, He also cares for each of us deeply. No lie from the enemy, no circumstance from this temporary life, and not even our own insecurities can change that. When the lies come, combat them with God’s Word – truths that cannot be erased or undone.

Sometimes, we battle ourselves; sinful self vs. pure self, feelings vs. truths, and simply wrong vs. right. We can even be tempted to go back to our old ways. But we are made new in Christ. Our minds are renewed daily through prayer, studying the Bible, spending quality time with God, and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us (see Romans 12:2).

 

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”

James 4:8

Our journey of faith requires us to be intentional. Sometimes you may not want to do the right things or you may not feel like praying. Do it anyway; especially when it’s hard. It builds self-discipline and it strengthens our relationship with God. We desire what we give our time to. And as we give our time to God, our desire for Him will increase.

I relate to this on a whole other level:

Sometimes people get on our nerves, we have disagreements, we may not be having the best day, or maybe we just don’t want to be bothered. However, we don’t want to cause division by arguing, creating distance or building walls. Think about how you treat people and if you would want to be treated that way, regardless of what they did first. Imagine how God feels about how you’re treating the people in your life and the people you encounter. We have to view others as God’s princes and princesses, because we are all His children; all royalty. We have the power to influence the lives around us, but we cannot do that if we’re divided or full of anger and negativity.

Part of living for Christ is dying to ourselves. Meaning, sometimes we have to put our own feelings aside and make decisions that are not necessarily favorable. It’s never worth it to act out of character or to lose your peace over temporary situations or things that we can’t control. So when you’re in traffic and someone cuts you off, don’t allow that one situation to ruin your day. People may lie on you, mistreat you or deceive you… but our lives cannot be driven by how others treat us or what they think of us. Whenever you feel rejected, overlooked or attacked, remember that God’s love for you is consistent. Even when we don’t feel like smiling, we have the opportunity to accept God’s love for us, and give that love back to others.

 

“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.”

John 15:12 (NLT)

 

Others by Israel Houghton

Walking By Faith When It Doesn’t Make Sense

walk by faith

Easier said than done. Walking by faith is not something I’ve mastered… not by a long shot. But it is an area that I’m growing in. It can be frustrating at times when life doesn’t seem to make sense. But successfully trusting God has everything to do with making an intentional decision and nothing to do with temporary, unreliable emotions. Trusting God means that even though I don’t quite understand everything that’s going on in my life right now, I’ve decided to rely on God and His goodness, and believe that He is with me and has already worked everything out. Again, easier said than done.

I’ve had questions like, Lord, I have faithfully paid my tithes for years. I’ve tried my best to be responsible with saving and managing money. So why am I struggling financially, with $0 in my checking account? I’m graduating in a few months and I’ve applied for 22 different jobs, so why haven’t I been hired yet? Then I remember Philippians 4:19 that says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” And Psalm 37:25 which says, “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.”

how exciting

Or, God I have an actual relationship with you and I’m doing things the right way. I’ve spent time preparing, praying, and pouring into others, so where’s the Godly husband that you promised me? I’m reminded in Isaiah 55:9 that His ways are higher than my ways and His thoughts are higher than my thoughts. So it’s impossible for me to be able to fully comprehend His plans, His timing, and His reasoning. But I know that as I continue to delight myself in Him, He will give me the desires of my heart, according to His will (Psalm 37:4).

love of God

God’s love for us is not dependent on what we’ve done or what we have. His love for us is perfect and consistent. Being that this life is temporary and we are each called to do amazing things, we cannot become solely focused on those things that will perish. When all you see is your circumstances, it can be so easy to focus on that and allow fear and anxiety to become a distraction. Worrying about how God will provide, when things will come together, or why things aren’t working out… shifts your attention away from the purpose and assignment that God has placed in front of you, in this season.

faith will grow

Walking by faith doesn’t feel good. It’s more comfortable to sulk and worry, than to stand tall and believe. It’s more familiar to complain or find reasons as to why it’ll never happen. And it’s so tempting to just give up. But what good would that do? The process of walking by faith strengthens us and it brings us closer to God. I know that it’s frustrating to not have all of the answers or to not yet have the things that your heart has been longing for, whatever that may be. I’ve wasted time and energy being worried about the future and how everything will work out. But there’s something amazing about the peace God provides. And although the situation may not change immediately, we can always find hope in God’s promises.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)

faith tells me

Recently, all I had to give in church was $2. It wasn’t much at all, obviously. And it could have been used for food that week, or for gas. I had so many practical needs at the time, but I decided to give an offering anyway. See, in my mind, “my” finances aren’t really my finances. They’re God’s finances; He blesses me with what I need and it is my job to manage those finances well. So why not give that $2 to God? I haven’t missed a meal, my car is still running, and I still have clothes.

Initially, I wanted to hold on to that $2. But something was stirred inside of me to walk by faith, even though I didn’t understand. And instead of feeling worried or stressed, I felt peace. I knew that God would continue to provide for me, and I felt honored to pour into His Kingdom. Our church is very big on missions and serving those in need. Even though all I had was $2, it was still a seed that was planted, that will bless someone else.

Walking by faith doesn’t mean that you have it all figured out, or even that you feel good about what’s going on in your life. Some seasons in life are incredibly hard. But walking by faith means that you keep going because you trust God and since His love for you is not conditional, then your love for Him and your walk with Him will not be conditional either. Walking by faith is a lifelong journey. It’s what we’ve been called to as Christians. It brings us closer to our Creator, and we get the chance to see His mighty works first hand. God brings us peace when we take our eyes off of our situation, and turn our focus to God. This life is so temporary; we’re only passing through for a short time. When it doesn’t make sense, keep believing, keep pushing, and keep loving.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

me after trusting God

Fearfully & Wonderfully Made

Dictionary.com defines the word image as:  a physical likeness or representation of a person, animal, or thing, photographed, painted, sculptured or otherwise made visible. The NLT Bible defines image as: a God-given likeness or reflection; a tangible or visible representation.

How do you define your image? Is your worth based on how you look, how much money you make, or where you work? Do you constantly compare yourself to others and then feel like you’re not enough? Do you go out and buy certain things or try to achieve a certain look so that you may somehow appear to be more valuable?

You are made in the image of God; the Most High, the all-powerful, all-knowing God. He took His time to create you, giving you special gifts and characteristics, and a unique purpose to fulfill on this earth. You may share similarities with other people, you may have some of the same gifts… but only you can do, what God has created you to do.

There is no one else on this earth like you. You don’t have to compare yourself to others because by being your best self and walking in who God has created you to be… you have already won.

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As humans we tend to look at things such as how much money we make and popularity, to determine someone’s importance. We as humans determine how valuable someone is, based on what we think they can contribute, and not who they belong to. A homeless person on the side of a highway is just as important as the richest entertainer in the nation. God loves them both just the same and He does not deem us more or less important based on worldly possessions, looks, incomes, how we view ourselves, or how others view us.

Whether you have little or much, God loves you just the same. No matter what you look like at 5am, God still loves you just the way you are then, as He does when you look your very best. Whether you have holes in your clothes, or if you spent thousands of dollars on one piece of jewelry. Your worth is in Christ and He views you as His own, always.

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Until you realize that you are made in the image of God, you may allow other things to determine your worth and your value. Until you begin to see yourself the way God sees you, you will continue to view yourself the wrong way. So how does God view you?

You are a new creation in Christ. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; the new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

Your sins are paid for. “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering of our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

God doesn’t remember your sin. “I – yes, I alone – will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.” Isaiah 43:25 (NLT)

You are forgiven. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never remember their sins.” Hebrews 8:12 (NLT)

God pursues you. “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 18:12-14 (NLT)

You are a daughter of the King. “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26 (NLT)

[Insert your name] “is more precious than rubies.” Proverbs 31:10 (NLT)

You have God’s favor. “For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 8:35 (NLT)

God has given you gifts, and a unique purpose. “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” 1 Corinthians 12:7 (NLT)

You have a direct connection to the one who holds all authority in Heaven and on Earth. “Jesus came and told His disciples, ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.'” Matthew 28:18 (NLT)

God works everything together for your good. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 (NLT)

Even though this life gets hard, you have eternity to look forward to. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18 (ESV)

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How you allow others to treat you says a lot about the way you view yourself. For so long, I settled for less than I deserved because I did not truly understand my worth in the context of jobs, relationships, friendships, etc. It’s okay to stand up for yourself without being rude or negative. It’s also okay to refuse to settle for less than you deserve. It is offensive to God for you to lower the value that He has already set for you. You are a daughter of THE king. And if other people cannot see that or treat you accordingly, then perhaps you need to re-evaluate your relationships with them. Without even having to say anything, you show others how to treat you.

So instead of allowing others to determine your worth, or even being blinded by your own insecurities or lack of understanding who you are, embrace the standard that God has already set for you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You were created with a unique purpose to carry out. You are chosen, you are forgiven, and you are loved by the One who matters most.

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

Psalm 139:14 (KJV)