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Poor in Spirit

Yesterday morning during my quiet time I was reading in Matthew and Luke, and what I was learning I couldn’t help but feel like I needed to share. 140 characters on twitter just wouldn’t do it justice. Posting a status about it on Facebook would be too long to where people would probably just scroll through it. I mean ya gotta admit… sometimes you see a long status and think, “Ehhhhhh too long”. So a blog… yes, a blog was my final conclusion so that if you are meant to read this blog for whatever reason you decided to click on it, then you will! Which, I say in advance, thank you for reading! Haha I hope you are blessed the same way the Lord blessed me while reading it and what He was stirring in my heart. I only hope I can do it justice!

Luke 18:9-14, He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’ “Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’” Jesus commented, “This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.” Now lets think about the Pharisee and the tax collector. How were they different? The Pharisee stood by himself, thanking God that he wasn’t like other bad people, and telling God that he fasted twice this week and gave a tenth of all he has. As to where the tax collector stood at a distance, wouldn’t look up, and beat his chest as he prayed, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Now which of these two men were justified? Well… The tax collector! The tax collector was poor in spirit, and broken. He came to the Lord knowing he is a sinner and humbled himself before the Lord, therefore, God exalted him.

This story leads me to my main point and final scripture. Matthew 9:10-13, While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Now how does this relate to the parable I mentioned above? The Pharisee in the story didn’t humble himself before the Lord knowing he was a sinner like the tax collector did. The tax collector was poor in spirit, meaning he realized his sin and his spiritual emptiness and poverty. BOOM… connection made. That happened. The Pharisee in my opinion considered himself perfect enough and trusted in his works. Romans 8:3-4 says, “The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.”’ But who is good enough? None of us are qualified, but it is Jesus’s death on the cross that makes us able!

We are all sinful. We were born that way!! We are so, so unworthy. I mean do you realize how dirty we are? How bad we are and we may not even really realize it? I sin daily. I am in constant need of Gods grace and mercy! I am sick and in need of a doctor… in need of Jesus. Jesus came for the sinners! You and me! We are unworthy of Gods love and mercy, and the tax collector knew that. He couldn’t even look to heaven he was so ashamed! He knew he was unworthy and therefore God exalted him. We must humble ourselves and realize that we are sinners, unworthy and undeserving of Christ. But the joy in knowing that, is that he loves us so much and that he came down and took on the pain on the cross for our sins. Was crucified to set you and me free from having to be ‘perfect’. Then we must confess with our lips and believe in our hearts that He is God, and that He rose from the dead, and then live to bring Him joy and honor! The one who gave us life in the first place. Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

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Joy of being broken

Hey Everyone!

Wow I haven’t written a blog in forever. But an amazing friend of mine, Laura, encouraged me to write another one. I met her while working at Kanakuk this summer and she is such a lady of God. She and other great friends have inspired me and encouraged me in so many ways and have continued to push me towards the cross. They are great examples of godly women wanting to grow more and more in their walk with Christ, just as I want to do. A different part of continuing to grow in my relationship with Christ is something I want to write this blog about, which is about the joy of being broken.

In James 1:2 it says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” Suffering is a part of this world. It just is! Trials are inevitable. Paul says that we should expect them and even rejoice in them! Wait, what…? Rejoice in trials? Rejoice in pain? Rejoice in being broken? How am I supposed to do that? Well you know what? Lets start off with this… You never hear anyone complaining about not having a 2nd mouth do you? Well… first off, it’s because that is just silly, but why else? Because having a 2nd mouth is not even an option! In the same way, why do we argue against suffering? How can we look around and say this is wrong? Because every time we experience pain there’s a voice in our heads that cries out, “It shouldn’t be this way!” Well it’s because there is hope beyond the suffering we have now. Beyond the suffering that we feel we can’t escape. Beyond being broken. A man named Ben Stuart says, “There is potential for good locked in every situation. Something to rejoice in.” He gives an example of lifting weights! Your muscles are being put in a crisis. We are putting them in pain! But we know it is producing something we want. The burn feels good! Pshh… lies. No it doesn’t. Haha it hurts!! But you know it is producing something great and in the mist of pain, you can rejoice and be glad.

In James 1:3 it says, “…because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Within pain there is potential! Like we said earlier, there is potential for good locked in every painful situation. You can rejoice in pain and being broken because you know this pain, if I walk through it correctly, will change me into something that’s better. I don’t know about you all… but God has to continue to break me. He has to continue to break me of the things that I either put ahead of Him, and or of the things that are displeasing to Him. And wow… it can hurt. Personally, for me, I find myself depending on people for my joy, and God has to break me of that.  It really hurts my heart in the moment. To be more specific, one of my greatest fears is separation from the people that I care so much about. These are ultimately the people who I find myself depending on a lot. Sometimes I have to go through moments of feeling alone for God to break me and bring me to my knees to remind me that I can’t put my dependence on other people. He wants me to depend on Him! Despite the pain and the hurt, I am so glad it doesn’t end there. Guy’s we can rejoice in being broken! There is potential for good when being broken… and it is how we handle it and if we can let it be used for Gods intended purpose; which is to help shape us into someone better. The person He wants us to be and made us to be. Reminds me of that example of a statue … we are the rock and God is the master sculptor. Sometimes it may hurt getting pieces chipped off… and us not being able to see what’s going on and possibly wondering, “hey what are you doing God?” We don’t see that God is sculpting us, breaking us and letting us go through trials that eventually, if we trust God even when we are hurting, is helping to form us into a magnificent statue, a beautiful person. A better person who is more like Jesus.

All the pain and the suffering that we have caused, He endured the punishment for, so that we might come to know God. God has done something glorious! He took the pain in this world and sent His son to endure the cross. Used death to bring life! (Talk about a trial!) God will take the pain, the suffering, and the being broken and bring life through Jesus. When we don’t understand the reasons of those hard times, hopefully we will know and be reminded that God Himself, who is sovereign and good, sent his own son Jesus to take on pain. Ben Stuart said, “What if we all began to see our sufferings, be it physical, emotional or relational, as a bruising blessing, a severe mercy, all reminding us of Gods sovereignty”. When we live our lives in complete submission to Christ, we can look at each and every broken piece or scar as a precious unusual gift.  There lies the true blessing of being bruised. Lean on Him. Learn that there can be joy in being broken because God is doing something special in you because He loves you. I challenge both you and me, to take our trials, our struggles, and give them to God. To trust Him enough to know that there is potential for good in every situation. And I also pray that we will be able to find the joy in being broken. God break my heart for what breaks yours. Help us become more of the men and women you want us to be!

Thanks for taking time to read this blog! If you have any comments or questions feel free to contact me. God bless!

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One life, One song

Hey ya’ll!

Hope you have had an awesome week! Mine was a blast! I had to miss out on Mystery Monday because they went zip lining. Unfortunately I get lower back pain and the last time I did it, it was quite painful! But besides missing that I had a great week with my friends and being able to do life with them as Link Year comes to an end! Ahhh so only two more blogs. Can ya’ll live without them?? Haha just kidding but I just might miss writing them!

Well this week Joe White came and spoke to us as well as Tim Watson. Something that stood out to me was when Joe White gave an illustration of how we could compare our life to the show “The Voice”. Which I’m sure you have heard of! If not… then you are wrong. Haha just messing. I haven’t even watched it this year. But just in case there is a sad reader reading this, who has no idea what the show is about… I will tell you. Haha there are four big celebrity singers and each will form teams of singers that they will coach and mentor throughout the competition. In order for the most talented to be picked, the audition process is blind…the coaches have their backs turned and can only hear the singers performing without seeing them. So basically, if they like the voice they punch their button and their chair turns around while lighting up, “I want you!”. Picture yourself on that stage right now… except instead of you singing and it being about your voice, (thank goodness because I’m awful) it’s about your life and how you are living and what you are living for. The four judges in the chairs are God, Jesus, your future spouse, and kids. Take a moment and think about how you live your life right now. Like really… do it!! Just like the people on “The Voice” have one song to try to get the judges to turn around, you have one life. Is your life going to make those judges I named turn around and say, “I want you!”? I don’t know about you… but I want all of them to turn around and say they want me! I want them to see my ‘lifesong’ and be proud to turn that chair around and claim me to be on their team. You know… the cool thing about singing God’s song is that it’ll have all four chairs turning around at once. Reality is, when we go to Heaven we will be judged. 1 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” Whether you choose to believe it or not, it is going to happen!! I promise. But I have amazing news for you that we can’t be reminded of enough. God sent his son Jesus to die a terrible death on a cross for our sins so that we could have a relationship and be able to live a life for Him! Right now is our time to decide what our ‘lifesong’ is going to be about… and if it’ll be a song (life) that will glorify and honor God. I want all four chairs to turn around for me. My future husband and kids to see that my ‘lifesong’ is for Jesus. And at the end of it, be able to make the team… the team that will be able to spend eternity in Heaven with my Father. What a great day that will be!!! And it will all have been worth it. You have a choice right now to determine what your ‘lifesong’ is about. And you only have one chance to turn those chairs around. I pray and challenge myself and you to sing a ‘lifesong’ that is glorifying and honoring to God. And you can start that song today! Don’t wait. You only have one shot at it! One song, one life. Who are you going to sing it for??

Thanks for reading this weeks blog! I can’t believe I only have one more week after this. Wow. What a blessing this year has been! Life changing! I ask for prayers that my heart will be prepared to let go of this place. It’s going to be tough. God bless!

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Open Hand Living

Hey ya’ll!!

Hope you have had a fantastic week! Mine was great! Started off with Mystery Monday where we went to a marshal-arts place and learned how to beat someone up and how to make sure we don’t get beat up. Haha I had the privilege of having one of my best friends Rachael as my partner and when trying to practice how to get out of a choke hold, we somehow ended it in a dance move that was quite impressive if I say so myself! Yes… I will soon be teaching lessons that you can all sign up for. Haha, obviously kidding but it turned out to be a lot of fun and very informative! Too bad, I unfortunately don’t remember a lot of what he showed us on how to defend ourselves (awkward), so please, don’t try and beat me up. Unless it’s Rachael… challenge accepted.

This week we were joined by Austin Ochs and the thing he talked on that stood out to me was about “open hand living”. He took out his phone and placed it in his hand, gripping it, and not letting it go no matter what. This is often how we are with many things in our lives, whether that be our families, our friends, phones, cars, stuff, I mean just anything! We seem to hold on so tightly to the things that God has given us that we forget they really belong to Him. When we hold on too tightly, we are allowing two things to happen. One, if we lose them, we can become mad, hurt and even devastated. Family and friends will disappoint us, (they just will!), they may not always be there for us, and they will eventually pass away. Things we own will break, they will become old and we just want more and more different things and are NEVER truly satisfied. They never bring us real joy. We can’t depend on other people or things in our lives to satisfy us. The one who created and died for us so that we could have a relationship with Him and eternal life in Heaven is the only one who truly can. What a burden I would feel if someone was so dependent on me, you don’t want to do that to people! To be really honest this topic is something I can struggle with. I am totally in love with my family. God has blessed me with such amazing parents and siblings that while I’m writing this my eyes are getting watery. But that’s the thing… God BLESSED ME and GAVE me my family. While I was in Ireland I realized that I have loved my family more than I have loved God. And knowing that in my heart just kills me. It’s hard! I finally chose to open my hands and give my family to Christ while in Ireland. It was an emotional and big moment for me. I am continuing to learn to let go of them and trust and remind myself that they are gifts from God and He has blessed me with each of the things and people he has put in my life. I just have to be a good steward of them! The 2nd thing that can happen when we hold on to people or things too tightly is that we miss out on the possibility of God giving and blessing us with something better. God could be trying to put something else in our hands and we miss it because we only see what’s right in front of us and what we THINK will satisfy us. Ya’ll… we can’t out-give God. I become overwhelmed when I really think about the people and things he’s blessed me with. But the best gift Christ has given us has been the death of his son Jesus on the cross. I mean do you get it?? Our sins put him up on that cross! And because of what He did for us we get to have a relationship with Him and eternal life in Heaven. We just have to trust and believe in Him. It’s called faith!!! Living with open hands, trusting Him and placing our lives in His hands. Who better to give it to than the one who gave us life in the first place? We have a great God. Can I get an amen please!? I pray and challenge myself and you to live life with an open hand, not holding on and expecting the things of this world to satisfy us, but that we will be satisfied with the only one who truly can… and that’s Jesus.

Thanks ya’ll for taking time to read! Feel free to contact me if you ever have any questions or comments. God bless!

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Most important truth

Hey ya’ll!

Hope you all have had a great week this week! Mine was great as it usually is! Mystery Monday we went to Dogwood Canyon which was really cool. Just got to hang out around there enjoying nature and hanging with my friends. Who wouldn’t love that!

This week we were joined by Sean McDowell who discussed the differences between subjective and objective truth. Subjective truth being for example the best ice cream. We all have different opinions of what the best ice cream is (or we are all smart and know it is obviously cookies and cream… I mean lets be real!) haha, jk but you get the point. It is more of an opinion and not a fact! And then objective truth being like we need gas in order to drive our cars. It’s evident and there’s no argument because it doesn’t change determined on our feelings as on what the best ice cream is! Sorry ya’ll… we do have to buy gas. It’s a rough life. Haha just messing but okay on a serious note I want to tell you all something that I know is subjective truth. And that is that our God is alive and active and he loves us incredibly and wants a relationship with every single one of us! There is no question and our feelings don’t change it. Yes it’s easy for me to say, but here is just one of tons of reasons why we need to believe our God is real. Did you know that all but one of the disciples were killed because they proclaimed to have seen Christ die and then to have seen Him alive. They all died because of their unwavering, confident claim that Christ rose from the grave. They died for Easter! I won’t name all of the “how they died” because they are pretty gross but here are a few so you know and understand.

James was put to death by sword
Peter believed to have been either beheaded or crucified
Matthew arrested in Ethiopia and there nailed to the ground with short spears and beheaded.
James, the brother of Jesus (not officially an apostle) – thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.
Andrew was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Greece.
Thomas stabbed with a spear
Matthias (the apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot) was stoned and then beheaded.
Paul – tortured and then beheaded

And so on. I know ya’ll probably could have gone through life not knowing how those men died… but think about it. They wouldn’t have died for a lie!!!! They wouldn’t have gone through those awful things (not even comparing though what Jesus went through) and sacrificing their life for something that wasn’t true. I have full confidence that God is real and is our heavenly father. And I hope and pray that you do too. If you haven’t seen The Passion I also suggest you make time to watch it. I feel as a Christian we all need to watch it and see what all Jesus went through in order for us to have a relationship with Him. I believe we would all live differently and have a much deeper appreciation for Him. I continue to grow and want to remind myself every day of what Jesus did for MY sins… and for yours too. So please watch!!!!!! #thatsall

God bless and I hope you all have a great weekend! Thanks for reading!

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Easter

Hey ya’ll!

Hope everyone has had an awesome week! Mine was great! Loving every minute I have with the people here and with everything that’s being poured into me. God is good!

This week we were joined by Josh Straub who talked about our attachments and relationships. I’m going to touch on something he talked about that I liked. You know how in relationships we usually date someone we are attracted to, then someday after getting to know them, we might fall in love and get married. You hear people talking about how they want the person to be beautiful on the inside as well as on the outside! As we get older those looks we are attracted to in the beginning often aren’t going to be there later (obviously we grow old!). You fall in love with that person’s heart, so that later on, the wrinkles won’t matter so much… you love them because of who they are. We should also love God for who He is too! His is also a relationship! You get to know and really learn about who God is by reading His word. Then as He shows his love for us through so many kinds of experiences, and through the beauty He created for us, it should just show us what an awesome God we have to fall in love with. I’m continuing to learn more about God and falling more in love with Him and who He is. It’s the most important relationship we’ll ever have! (What I said last week!) Yes, I’ll admit, there are times it’s a struggle for me… but what relationship isn’t a process? Fact is, love all started with God. He loved us first, and that gives us the ability to love others (1 John 4:19). The only reason you can love God or love anybody else is because God first loved you. And he showed that love by sending Jesus Christ to Earth to die for us. He showed that love by creating us. He showed that love by giving us everything we have in life; it’s all a gift of God’s love.

Thanks for taking time to read! I learned some new things about me this week. Love it! God bless and Happy Easter! HE HAS RISEN!

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Thankful for my friends!

Hey Everyone!

Hope ya’ll have had a great week! Mine had it’s ups and downs… and yes I am about to tell you why so get excited:)

This week something I learned about was how awesome having good friends are and them being Christ centered makes them that much better. This week I was unfortunately affected with an illness to where lets say, I spent a lot of time over a trash can. Don’t worry I won’t go into detail about how fun and exciting it was… I’d hate for any of you to be jealous. Haha just messing but yes, it was so encouraging though to see my friends come in and out of my room wanting to help me however they could, and to pray with me for God’s healing. I gotta say I have been blessed with some great friendships here and I hope and pray that they will continue and be life-time friendships. God provides us with friends that can keep us accountable and push us towards the cross, and sometimes take care of us when we need it, but there are times we just have to go and look for them. They are there! And they play such a huge role in our walk with Him.

You know what… not only does God bless us with friendships, He provides us with parents to guide and direct us throughout our lives. He provides wise men and women in everyones life in order to direct them in the right ways (of course we have to listen to them too!). But the most important relationship any person has in their life is their relationship with God Himself. The very outcome of eternity for anyone depends on their standing with God. A man named Brain is quoted saying, “He has sovereignly drawn His people to Him so that they might live with Him in glory for eternity.” That is the relationship that God should be most praised and thanked for in a Christian’s life. For without Christ and His sacrifice, we would be living apart from Him, He who knows us best and loves us most, and have no hope, peace, or true joy in our lives.

Thanks ya’ll for taking the time to read! God is good! God bless!

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