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5/11/16

To The Christian Too Scared To Share


Hey Christian Who Is Scared to Share Their Story,

Sharing is scary. Being vulnerable is hard. Opening your heart is not easy. The fear of shortness of words or lack of vernacular is standing in the way of being bold for Christ. You might be thinking that you are unqualified. My story isn't amazing. It doesn't include overcoming this horrible trial and falling to the ground in surrender. I don't have this amazing talent to say my words in an eloquent way. Compared to this person, my story is small and inadequate. This is so out of my comfort zone. I would rather stay in my little box. I can't spit out Bible verses like how Kanye spits out raps. I am not an Einstein of the Bible. I am so unqualified.

 God isn't looking for the qualified. If that were the case, then no one would be sharing. God isn't just looking for just the people who leaped through trials and mountains and found redemption in His name to share their story. The Devil is going to taunt us and say that we are inadequate. He is going to say we have no right to share the righteousness of the Lord. But hey, Jesus did not die for the holy, He died for the broken. We are chosen. We are His chosen people. As His chosen people, we are commanded to go into the world and preach His Word (Mark 16:15). We are to declare His beauty and delight in His great name. We are all equal. All of us were paid for. Regardless if you came to Christ out of rebellion or came to Christ from your future rebellion, our testimony is a witness to God's amazing grace and mercy.

Our testimony is an amazing thing. In telling your story, you are telling how God worked and moved in your life. This story is not about you but about God. When we tell others about how Jesus made in you a new creation, we can gain this deeper understanding. We are called to be the vessels of God. We are His hands and feet on this earth. Yes, sharing is scary. It's intimidating. God bridges that gap that stands in the way from you sharing your heart. He stands beside us and put in us the words to say. We don't need to know all the words in the dictionary to describe how amazing and powerful our God is. All we need is Christ. He will give us words. He will help us plant those seeds within people.

Roman 10: 15 // "And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" We can be those people. We can preach because God has entrusted us with His words of life. He has given us the tools to do it. He has given us the Bible to proclaim it and prayer to lift it. He has given us truth upon truth so that we can share that truth. The Gospel is powerful within itself. We can all ignore that push to share our story. I tried. My heart began to grow weary and longed for something more. The burden of fear was overcoming me. I hate being vulnerable and raw. I could not sleep with the devotions from that morning prompting me to share or the verse I came across that gave a certain commandment. I wrestled with this fear and could not win. I could not win without Christ.

Sometimes in our walk with God, it is going to be uncomfortable. But God doesn't say our walk is going to be all rainbows and butterflies, the Christian walk can be kind of bumpy and this world is going to try to knock us down. It's going to push us in the opposite direction. The narrow path is not easy. God tells us to step out of our comfort zone and be His disciples. As disciples, we are chosen to spread His name. Our mission is to spread the Gospel. We are called to be bold. Go out on a limb. Trust that God can work through you. Let's be brave. Let's lift up our hearts and remember that God has an amazing plan.
Lift your battered heart up to God. Let Him take you up and wrap you in His comforting arms.
God wants to use you, mold you, and grow you. He wants for His name to be ever so glorified. He wants for us to spread His love to His lost children, and we have the opportunity to do that.  God will remove this fear if you just let Him.Our story can be the truth that sets someone else free.
The truth sets us free from our fears. Faith speaks louder than our fears. So Christians, let's step out and overcome the fears that have burdened us and grown us weary. Let's share the story that God gave us.

5/5/16

When You Don't Get What You Want



You know that disappointment of not receiving that gift you really wanted for Christmas? or the one thing you asked for for your birthday? or not receiving the raise you had pushed for for the last few months? or the "wrong" answer to your prayer? Yes, that disappointment. 
There is not only disappointment but a lot of times anger. Anger rises when the answer you want isn't received. When the answer you so badly needed now, did not appear quick enough. Notice how much I said "you" instead of God in those last two sentences. We get angry and blame that on God. We get angry and forget our purpose as sons and daughters of Christ. We forget to listen before we react. We confuse ourselves when we don't get what we want by saying "God didn't answer my prayer".  
Many times we take the passage of Matthew 7:7 out of context: 

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

Simple, right? Ask and you will receive what you want. No, ask and you will receive what is best for God's plan for you. Prayer is not just a vending machine, and we put in a little bit of change to receive what we want. Prayer is a two way conversation -- not just a one way where we can ask and ask and ask and not give anything back. He wants our praise. He wants our joy to be His joy (John 15:11).

I remember asking God for certain healing and not getting the answer I wanted. I wanted something that I knew God had the power to give. I knew that God was an all powerful God. Why should I even of asked if I didn't get the answer I wanted? Why should've I even bothered? I am a daughter of the King. Why am I asked to pray when there is a chance I will receive disappointment? I was fighting a battle with the illusion that I was wronged. I was fighting the battle that did not only leave me with pain but also a lack of faith. I did not look at the bigger picture and how God would transform my life through this trial. 

In the moment where I was throwing my stone at Christ, I remembered "God is good". While my trust was wavering, my God was working. He was working in my life. Our life is God's vessel. We are His hands and feet. We are the tools in His toolbox. I remembered when I accepted Christ as my Lord I said "not my will, but yours be done". If our hearts align with God's and we are focused on God, then most likely the answer we are looking for is the answer God will give. He wants us to delight in Him -- be growing and falling more in love with Jesus. If we start focusing on Him and knowing Him more, we will walk the path of His. Our desires will become His desires. Our thoughts will become His thoughts.

Sometimes we getting an even harder answer -- wait. Patience is definitely not a virtue I have yet to possess wholly. Waiting is so hard for me. As humans living in this century, it is only natural for us t get what we want now. Because of the fast-pace technology we have, we are use to getting a quick response. If God is asking you to wait, that doesn't mean no. It means that there is a perfect time for the answer. It means God is intentionally giving us time to grow. As I wait for God to put me out on the mission field, I have this time to get to know Him more. I have this time to explore His Word and dig deeper so that I can fulfill His plan for me.

God loves and wants to answer our prayer. He loves us enough to answer us to protect us. He knows so much more than us. We may not know why He said "no" to this specific prayer, but we should know that God is protecting us. God never makes a bad decision. He never mistakes. He always answers. 

While we may not always get that answer of healing, for the raise, for the restoration that we asked for, we can be assured that God has this awesome plan Yeah, it is hard. It's hard to understand. We aren't all-knowing, but we have an awesome God who is.
What do you do when you don't get what you want? You trust God and remember that His plan for you is perfect and is best for your future (Jeremiah 29:11).

4/18/16

An Open Letter to Christian Millennials


Dear Christian Millennials,

We are a technology changing generation. We are an ever changing generation. Throughout the years, fads have faded in and out. Our fashion style has shifted to the past styles. Conformity of the world has been an ongoing battle in all of us. I want to tell you something. There is no such thing as a "good Christian". Your actions do not contribute to how "good" of a Christian you are. You do not have to have a certain look to be a Christian. Your Instagram feed does not have to be filled with aesthetically pleasing photos of coffee, outdoor adventures, open Bibles, and captions that go on like a book. You do not have to wear flannels and chacos all the time. You do not have to have an interesting testimony to go and spread your love for Christ. 

To be a Christian, you only need God alone. You need His grace, His peace, His strength, and His wisdom. You need His sufficient love. You do not have a certain standard to be a Christian. Don't just let your light and joy for the Lord shine through your social media posts. Let your light shine through every word you say and every action to another person. As you blast Lauren Daigle and Hillsong music in your car, do not just let the words be just something you sing. Let the words empower you to spread your love for His name that we praise. 

Let your heart be overwhelmed from the sunset that you captured. Do not just let it be something that fits your Instagram theme. Let His creation be a reminder of how great and powerful our Creator is. When you post that picture of your open Bible, what are your true intentions? Are they to glorify Christ or to glorify you? Instead of being full of pride in yourself when you do something good and worthy, glorify Christ and give Him all the glory. Besides doing something good should be done on a daily basis and not just on special occasions. You do not have to go out of the country to be a missionary for God. God's plan for you may be to be a disciple right where you are. Serve humbly, act justly, and glorify Him freely. Let's not be worried more about our likes and our snapchat streaks rather than our streak with God. As the world evolves, resist evolving around with it. Be separate. Be the change. Allow God to be your strength and to be your Rock. You cannot fight this battle alone. 

Let's be the generation who makes this a God generation. Let's actively pursue a life with God and not just on social media. Do not let being a Christian be just a trend. Instead of just keeping a constant theme on Instagram, keep a constant theme of love in your life. We will never be able to spread His Word and make a change if we do not truly live by the Word. We will not make a change if we celebrate ourselves rather than celebrate God. Let your faith be more than just attractive, let it be always active. 

Sincerely,

A Christian Millennial Who Is Guilty Of Letting Her Faith Be Attractive More Than Active

3/11/16

Waiting | Devotions of the Week Vol.13

"Psalm 27:14 // Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord."

Oh, how patience is a virtue I am definitely lacking. Waiting in the "fast" food line, I tap my foot in complete annoyance as the customer in front of me orders slowly. As I walk with an unnaturally, slow pace due to the crowd in front of me with their current gate, I am try to hold myself from stormily, running past them. As I wait for God to really use me in a mighty way, I try to bring that task upon myself. As I wait for God to place the man He has chosen for me, I long for Him to place that in my life now. 

As I struggled with patience this week, I was encouraged by the words:

His timing is always perfect, never failing. 

There is beauty in this waiting period, because there is a reason for it. God's timing is always perfect. While the aches of your heart may say other wise, it is. This battle may seem like a horrible burden to carry, but it doesn't have to be. Surrender this to God, and He will carry you. His strength will become your own.

As I lifted up this desire of my heart, I put my trust in Him. I know His plans are exactly what He wants for me. In this season, He is encouraging me to grow and build my faith so that I will be prepared. There is beauty in singleness. God has given me time to fully focus on growth. While I am looking for a treasure of this world, He wants me to refocus on the treasure that is our God. 

As David waited for his crown and Abraham waited for his child, they all grew deeper in their faith during that period. 

As we wait for the Lord to place His perfect plan in our lives, we are called to put our trust and hope in Him. He rewards those who trust Him. The question He will continue to ask you is, "Will you trust me when my answer is wait?"

As a human being, we want everything to go according to our own plan. Our life is not our own. Live with an attitude of faith. Our God is a God of love and of good.

Reflection:

God's timing is always good and perfect. He will answer you always. If He directs you to wait, remember it is, because He wants to prepare you and give you time to refocus on Him. Treasure waits for the one who puts their trust in Him. Surrender this situation to Him, and He will direct you. He will always give you strength.

Verses:

 Psalm 16:11// "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Matthew 6:33 // "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
  
Psalm 37:4 // "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart" 



2/26/16

Purpose of Prayer | Devotions of the Week Vol. 12

Prayer. 
In our small groups, small pieces of paper were passed around. Each person wrote down a few words describing prayer.
A conversation.
Talking with God.
Connection.
Communication.
Pointless?

It may seem silly and even pointless to some. How can you talk to someone who you cannot even see? How can I expect someone who I cannot touch to move in miraculous ways? There are so many questions that I cannot answer. There is so much that I do not know, because I am not perfect. There are so many times that I cannot explain why He did not fulfill the answer I wanted when praying.
Pointless. Many people fall short of their walk with God because of an "unanswered" prayer. When my dad was in the hospital, all I could was ask God to please heal him. Heal him of his pain. Take it all away. It may not be apparent in the present time that you pray, but He always answers prayer. 
 He will always answer -- yes, no, or later. 
Matthew 7:7-11 // "Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened."

He did answer my prayer with my dad. He did take away his pain and used his death to bring me closer to Him. I did not see it at the time that He answered my prayer. As a human, I am guilty of always wanting the answer I want. As a Christian, my life is not my own. God wants the best for me therefore He will give me the best answer.
Prayer is not just a 'ask and you shall receive' gesture. Prayer is about being intentional. Resting in Him. Prayer is not just a time where you ask God to do this, give me this, arrange this. Prayer is a personal time and connection with God.
In a friendship, how do you grow closer to that person? You talk to them, right? You get to know them. That is what prayer is for. Prayer is the opportunity we have to grow and strengthen our relationship with God. Prayer is knowing and believing that He is there, He is near, and He is love. 
Psalm 25:6 // "Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old."
You may not be able to use the eloquent words that your pastor may use. I certainly cannot. Prayer isn't just about the words. It is about being intentional about connecting with God. 

As I am challenging myself to dig deeper in my prayer life, I challenge you to find time to just talk with Him. Sit down, rest in Him, and lift up your thoughts in prayer. 



2/25/16

End It Movement | 2.25.16

 

27,000,000* 
That is the number of enslaved victims today
Slavery has many forms and names, but it’s still slavery. And it’s still wrong.
Can you imagine being forced to work without pay, trapped, unable to walk away, subject to violence or the threat of violence, by another person as they control you? Own you? Isolated, yet hidden in plain sight. This is reality for those trapped in slavery today. In the year 2016. Slavery is illegal in every single country in the world. Yet it still exists.
Proverbs 31:8-9 // "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice."
Join us and raise your voice for the men, women and children trapped in slavery around the world today. Draw a RED X on your hand, snap a selfie and post it using #enditmovement. Awareness isn’t everything, but without it, slavery will never end.
 Today, everyone who visits this website will first see a message about END IT and SHINE A LIGHT ON SLAVERY, so they can join the fight for FREEDOM!
Break the chains of the broken and join the @enditmovement

2/24/16

He Let The Light In | Kennedy Clayton | Music Video Launch




2 Corinthians 4:6 // "For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ."

Through the words "let their be light", light entered into this world. Through the voice of our almighty God, we can be transformed into light from darkness. No longer do we have to live in the dark, no longer do we have to be burdened with our sin. Because we have a God who in the midst of darkness, shines His light. 

Afflicted.

Perplexed. 

Destroyed.

Restored. 


"I am like a blind man seeing for the first time
He let the light in, let the light in
All of His wonder, this world in color
You let the light in, let the light in
Took a little while
But He stayed by me faithfully
He's alive and His hope is shining
You let the light in, let the light in.."

Those lyrics are from my beautiful best friend's original song, He Let the Light In. Through song, she illustrates how with God she overcame sickness. The Lord worked a miracle in her life.

Kennedy's mom: 
"We are so excited to present to you Kennedy's first original song and music video! This is a story of a miracle. A story of hope. As many know, and just as many don't know....Kennedy was very sick from age 6 until age 12. When she was 6, she came down with a sore throat, which ended up being a strep infection that was missed. Little did we know how much something as simple as strep throat could change a little life. As the ramifications of this common diagnosis snowballed, it caused life to be next to impossible for her. Her childhood was stripped away as she struggled daily to function. Doctor after doctor could not diagnose her and did not know what was wrong. (She went nearly 3 years not knowing why or what was causing her symptoms/sickness). We finally contacted a doctor in NJ, Dr. Rosario Trifiletti. To this day, we believe he was sent from God. He was able to diagnose and treat her despite the miles between us. Doctors had given her a "there's no hope" prognosis...That whatever it was causing her symptoms would always just be there. They were baffled and just simply said it wasn't treatable. Dr. T, as we affectionately called him, disagreed and aggressively began to attempt to treat her. In a world where not much was known about what he diagnosed as PANDAS, whether or not she would fully recover was up in the air. Was the damage already done after 3 years of no treatment? At that point, we were unsure. Would she get better? Yes, it was possible. Would she fully recover? Unknown. But God STILL WORKS MIRACLES!! In medicine, you can work with variables that human hands have tested through trial and error. But ultimately, He is the Great Physician who can cure all. And that's what He did. He completely cured Kennedy. She is completely healed! No residual symptoms...Nothing! You would never know what she has been through! After following stories of others with this same diagnosis, we know that this road when handed to a parent and child seems impossible to navigate. Great strides are being made in this area of medicine and only time will tell if man can find a complete cure. But Kennedy saw COMPLETE RESTORATION AND HEALING. God is so good!! Please enjoy this and let this be an encouragement to you if you are searching for answers. The video chronicles our search for answers...From darkness, to glimpses of hope, to complete freedom/healing. Please, please share this video and tell her story!!"

How amazing is our God?! 

We would love if you took a look at her new music video and shared it.