3 Ways to Be More Financially Confident

We all want to be confident. From faith to relationships to everyday life, having a sense of confidence propels us to live the purpose we were created for with boldness. But if there’s one area that can be challenging to gain that security, it’s finances.

Whether you’re in college or tackling the post-grad world, these early stages of adulthood are the best times to organize your financial life! Like confidence, financial peace is a process. However, if we want to improve our relationship with money, we must learn to approach finances with the right mindset.

By adjusting our perspective and making small steps, we can easily build money confidence. Money confidence is having a healthy, realistic outlook on your finances and the knowledge and tools to handle them wisely. With time, we will find freedom from fear and build smart habits that can change our lives.

Continue reading “3 Ways to Be More Financially Confident”

All Other Ground Is Sinking Sand

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

(Psalm 20:7 NIV)


Ever done a “trust fall?” You know, that go-to icebreaker everyone does at a school orientation, first night of camp, training at a new job–wherever.

You stand straight, close your eyes, keep your arms still, and fall back, knowing (hopefully) that there’s someone behind to catch you.

It’s a moment of vulnerability. For those few seconds in the air, you’re not supposed to stop yourself from falling. Instead, you trust someone else to help you.

But when you feel like you must catch yourself, trust doesn’t come easily.

One of my favorite hymns, “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less,” includes a familiar refrain:

On Christ the Solid Rock I stand

All other ground is sinking sand

Throughout the song, hymn writer Edward Mote emphasizes the fact that the Lord is our Rock–our strong foundation that can never be shaken and will not move.

Essentially, He’s the person you want behind you during a trust fall.

Continue reading “All Other Ground Is Sinking Sand”

Day 2: You can give Me your burdens | Love Letters

Bur·den:

  1. Something that is carried.
  2. Something that is emotionally difficult to bear; a source of great worry or stress.
  3. A responsibility or duty.

[Source]

You were not made to carry everything. But it’s quite easy to think you’re supposed to.

We live in a DIY culture: Do it yourself. Make it happen. Figure it out. Find a way. Solve the problem. Don’t wait for anyone.

Now. There is some value we can take from these thoughts: Don’t just lean on anything. When the storms come, you discover what is made of substance and what is not. A house set on an unstable foundation is bound to crumble when a natural disaster strikes. A boat built with weak materials will sink when it’s tossed to and fro on the ocean.

We need to stand on something with substance–something that is stable enough to hold us up, to keep us afloat no matter what.

Leaning on yourself can’t do that.

Have you ever been in a situation where you stop and think, Wow. I can’t do this…? Have you tried pulling an all-nighter to meet a deadline only to realize you fell asleep hours in? Have you promised a friend a favor only to realize days later, I can’t believe I forgot to do that!

We get tired, we get faint, we run out of energy. We fail, we break promises, we forget. It’s normal. But it shows how human we are.

You were not made to carry everything.

God provides access to Him because He knows this. We can go to Him freely. God takes joy in talking to you. He loves providing a way for you, opening doors, and seeing you fulfill your purpose. He sees you in your challenges, and He wants to help.

It’s not your duty to carry your burden on your own. Whatever you’re carrying today, give it to the Lord. What does that mean? Go to Him about it. Talk to Him about it like you would talk to a friend. Humans can only do so much.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)

Love Letter 2.png

14 days of learning God’s love. Learn about the Love Letters here.

Read Day 1

Read Day 3

 

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Need Encouragemet? Check Out These Verses

The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe. (Proverbs 29:25 KJV)

Teach me to do thy I will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. (Psalms 143:10 KJV)

Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. (Psalms 66:16 ESV)

When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. (Psalms 94:18‭-‬19 KJV)

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9‭-‬10 KJV)

Build Each Other Up

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.

(Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NKJV)


How open are you to help?

Sometimes, it can be totally awkward to ask for help. I was a shy child, and the thought of raising my hand and asking the teacher a question in class was terrifying. Something about it put me outside my comfort zone. Of course, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown out of that, but it’s interesting to see how far I’ve come.

Today, I was reflecting on the power of community. Many times when I have faced a challenge, God provided someone to guide me. Sometimes, I prayed and asked for help, other times He simply provided the help before I could even think of it. Whatever the case, I was extremely grateful.

Community is a significant part of our faith. God places loving each other as a command. Romans 13:8 states, “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.” We can exercise love through acts of service such as being hospitable, praying for each other, going out of our way to meet a need. But I find when it comes to correcting each other, we tend to shy away.

Continue reading “Build Each Other Up”

Worship Wednesdays #14 | Purge Me

The profile // about the artist 

Urban Doxology
Urban Doxology (2014)

Urban Doxology

  • Worship band and music ministry
  • From Church Hill, Richmond, VA

The pull // why i like it

This song is so raw. A sincere cry to the Lord in utter surrender. I’ve listened to this song through so many tough times just in worship. It always reminds me of God’s goodness, even when I feel like I can’t see what He’s doing in the midst of hardship.

The message // what it means

Trusting in God is a process, but even when we have problems, we can CHOOSE Him. He is still sovereign. He still reigns! The enemy lost when Christ Jesus defeated death on the cross to save us–and even so, He still saves us in our much smaller, daily challenges.

I’m crying out

I’m desperate for you

And I’m not afraid to open my heart and give you all

We’ll declare your name

Jehovah reigns despite our problems

And through the pain We’ll learn to trust in you

The call // best to listen when

You need to cry out to the Lord. Declare the truth of the Word: God is in control–and He’s a God of deliverance. He has you–call out to Him.

Don’t Ignore the Signs

What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. (1 Corinthians 2:12 NIV)


One of the most amazing things that happens when we build a relationship with God is that the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf. The Spirit dwells within us and gives us guidance in every area of our lives. Maybe you’ve been praying about a job opportunity for months, and you’ve finally come across an offer–but something about the opportunity might cause you to shift your priorities in a way that distracts you from your walk with God. Maybe you’re in a romantic relationship that strips away at your relationship with Him. Or maybe you’re hanging out with people who lead you to compromise areas of your faith. If we’re being honest with ourselves, there are many situations in which it’s quite easy to see when something or someone is not right for us. Then we hold onto that thing or person, and there’s pain that follows from rejection or the consequences from the negative choices we’ve made.

1 Corinthians 2:12 says that by the Spirit we can understand–recognize–the good things that come from God. But what about the things that are not of Him? How do we prevent ourselves from stumbling into them and falling into a trap?

Flee.

Maybe you see the signs.

You know exactly what you’re about to get yourself into if you continue down a certain path. We are made new as Christians–don’t accept the old baggage and mistakes from the past. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

The Bible teaches that the best way to rid of temptation is to flee from it, and I couldn’t agree more. If you keep someone around who is continuously hurting you, chances are, you will still get hurt by this person. The best way to detach yourself emotionally and psychologically from something is to first physically distance yourself from it.

Pray.

Maybe you’re feeling quite torn.

Guess what? God isn’t going to leave you alone to fend for yourself. Satan knows our weaknesses, and he knows exactly how to infiltrate our minds or use situations to keep us in a situation–especially emotionally. Confused about what you should do about a relationship you’re in…or that job that seems appealing? Seek God earnestly–purposefully and diligently set out time to quiet yourself before Him.

Taking action while in a state of confusion can be our biggest downfall. Being still may not be our first instinct because we live in a very fast-paced world. We want answers now. We want clarity–which isn’t a bad thing to want–but what if we have to wait? Our emotions–fear, excitement, infatuation–can sometimes be the loudest voices in our minds and drive us to make rash choices. But who is to say that we must accept this for ourselves? It’s astonishing how many verses call us to wait on God.


Be still, and know that I [am] God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalms 46:10 KJV)

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. (Psalms 37:7  KJV)

The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. (Exodus 14:14 KJV)

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation [is] from him. (Psalms 62:5  KJV)

Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred. (Job 6:24  KJV)


Accept rest. Understand that God does not give us confusion. He already knows how confused we are! He provides clarity through the mess.

When in doubt…

Aim for the decision that will glorify God. Sometimes, when you ask yourself…”Will this honor God?” or “Will this bring me closer to God?” you get the clarity you’re looking for. When you prioritize that relationship with Him, you are better able to distinguish what is right for you and what is not.

Think of it this way: people often say that when you know who you are and what you want, you are able to avoid the things that do not serve you. So, when your identity–who you are and what you want–is rooted in Christ, you are able to avoid the things that do not serve you.

Ultimately know that there can be great danger behind people and circumstances.

Be open to God’s will, His voice–because He may surprise you.  Proverbs 12:15 says that a fool’s ways seems right to him. Proverbs 3:7 tells us not to be wise in our own eyes. God places commands in His Word for a reason–because unfortunately, we tend to do the opposite of these commands (i.e. the unwise things). We want to trust our instincts, but we have such a limited view of the world and our circumstances that it will always be wiser to put our trust in the Lord, who holds the future and knows the hearts of men.

The worst mindset we can develop in our circumstances is one that is based on conditions: If this does not work out, then I will never trust God again. If this happens, I will never forgive that person. If this falls through, then I will be miserable. Absolutely not! Reject those thoughts. Don’t allow the enemy to trap you in a dry season by making these negative promises to yourself.

Understand that anything can occur in life. Sometimes, you do the right thing, and the right thing happens. Sometimes you do the wrong thing, and the right thing happens. Sometimes you do the wrong thing, and the wrong thing happens. And the hardest one of fall: Sometimes you do the right thing, and what we might perceive as the “wrong” thing STILL happens. If you base your mood on the results or responses you get in your life, you have already lost. People and circumstances are unpredictable.

The Word calls us to delight ourselves in the Lord. He blesses those that mourn. He blesses the meek. He blesses the righteous. One of the best ways we can delight in Him is to recognize situations that won’t honor our relationship with Him and avoid them. God doesn’t call us to reject these things to make us “miss out” on things or be “miserable”–He calls us to do these things, because He knows us so well that He knows exactly what will harm us.

When the Holy Spirit places caution on your heart, don’t ignore the signs.

The Choice

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

(John 10:10 NIV)


I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure how to start off this post. It’s going to be a bit more personal than my previous ones, but I do hope and pray that sharing my experience will bless and encourage whoever is reading in some way.

So, today I started my summer internship, and well, it was hard. I was able to spend the first few hours of the day meeting other interns, which was definitely my favorite part of the day. I met undergrad and grad students, and I always find it fascinating to learn about other people, especially their goals and dreams. At this point, I was convinced I was going to love this place.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t love it now. I really appreciate the fact that I am here and what my assignment is. My co-workers are very kind, hardworking, and friendly. What shocked me was my workload, however. I expected to have assignments, deadlines and projects, but I just wasn’t expecting to get so much work so soon. I felt I entered this internship fairly, with an open mind, but now I was thinking, “God why did you bring me here? I can’t handle this.” The last thing I needed was stress in the summer.

Let me now trace back to a blog post I wrote a couple weeks ago called “The Power of Encouragement.” One of the points I expressed  was that I’ve seen God use other believers in my life to encourage me in different ways that I knew had to be from Him–often times, He uses these people to meet me right where I am.

Over the weekend, preparing for the internship, I naturally felt nervous, yet I was able to see how God provided for me while I was stuck in this emotion. A ministry leader I hadn’t spoken to or seen in years messaged me just to say that he’s been keeping my brothers and I in prayer during the past few years. A friend from a past retreat also reached out over the weekend to share a scripture that was on her heart and just to say she’s praying for me. Words cannot express how much I needed their encouragement. I wouldn’t have even thought that these two would have reached out to me. Nevertheless, I think this is a great example of how obeying God’s direction and acting on the commands that He places on your heart can greatly minister to others and ultimately reflect His awesome love.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  (2 Cor 1:3-4 NIV)

Looking back to this moment after a long day gave me encouragement.

But then I started thinking, what if this never even happened? What do we do when we don’t clearly see encouragement in our lives? How do we gain hope when there seems to be none or nobody in sight? Although God is always present, sometimes it’s hard to be reminded of His goodness and comfort. It’s easy to feel distant from Him.

In those times, I think it’s important to remember and understand one, simple fact:

God is a good God. No matter what is happening in life, God is a good God. This is a fact that never changes.

We have access to a good God as believers. But Satan can catch us in a snare–that is, a trap–of disappointment and discouragement. It is essential that we understand that this is not of God. Negative thoughts, fears, and insecurities are not of God. It’s not enough to even acknowledge that these are attacks from the enemy–we must reject these emotions in the name of Jesus. There is power in that name.

We may be asked to do big tasks on this earth–ones we feel completely unqualified for. Yet God has equipped us to do all things that come in our path. He’s equipped us with the grace to get through the day before it has even started.

This is what encourages me. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but God hasn’t given me life to worry about it. He’s given me rest to rejoice in it.

Now it’s hard for me to obey. It’s hard for me to accept this truth I cannot always see, but faith itself is the hope in things that are not seen (Hebrews 11:1). So I’m taking a stand to hold onto the Lord’s promises, remembering that He has provided for me before (even this past weekend!)

In all of this, I realize how essential it is to submit my way to the Lord. My way–my mind, my actions–and He will bring it to pass. I have a long summer ahead, but I’ve already been thanking Him for all the breakthroughs, strengths, and lessons that will come to pass. I realize how much my life is not about me at all. I’ve been so worried about my performance that I became caught in the enemy’s trap of despair. But when I realize that there’s a reason God has placed me in this particular experience, my performance is no longer this heavy thing looming above my head–rather it’s my performance for God that counts. I don’t know why He brought me here, but I trust that if I submit my ways to Him in all things, He will bring this to pass and in some way, me being here will glorify Him.

My experiences all come down to a choice: falling into the enemy’s trap–where my fears and my doubts reside–or serving God–my Rock, my Redeemer–instead.


I thought I’d end this post with a song I feel fits the topic. Listen and read the lyrics–I feel it has some serious, thought-provoking ideas to take away.

Jaeson Ma | Glory