These Trials Are Precious

Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

(Philippians 1:6 NKJV)


I believe that there’s purpose in pain.

In God’s Word, we’re reminded that there will be tremendous difficulties on this earth. In John 16, Jesus warns us that this world will bring great trouble. But there is a reason that He tells us to be of great cheer.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NKJV).

As believers, if we’re to take up our cross and follow Christ’s example, we will be dying to something. The cross was an instrument used to put Jesus to death. However, Jesus’ death on the cross wasn’t a moment of defeat. He rose again in victory, conquering death. As we die to ourselves–that is, our old, sinful ways–we, too, are rising from death, becoming the people He called us to be.

Oftentimes, the trials meant to destroy us are the instruments God uses to perfect us.

Continue reading “These Trials Are Precious”

The Life God Designed for You

How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

(Psalm 104:24 NIV)


On Tuesday, January 23, I was in prayer during my morning quiet time. Just as I began praying, I felt a sudden chill. I was sitting near an open window, but I didn’t feel a draft whatsoever moments before.

Before I knew it, the sky darkened, and rain began pouring down. Heavy, hitting the cement in hard, rhythmic drops. Loud. Out of nowhere.

Snapchat-749328947
The window I sat next to that day.

Within three minutes or less, the rain stopped. Silence all over again. The clouds parted slightly letting in some light back into the room.

Talk about a dramatic change.

It got me thinking about how miraculously God works. When God moves, He moves. It’s obvious, it’s clear. You know He’s present. You see His fingerprints. You see doors open. What might take a human years to do, God can do in the blink of an eye.

Now, almost two months later, Thursday, March 22, I was again reminded of this phenomenon. This time, my morning devotions didn’t involve a sudden shift in the weather. Instead, it involved a look into Psalm 104.

Continue reading “The Life God Designed for You”

Don’t Doubt Your Value | Video

What defines your worth?

What you look like? What you have? What others think of you? How educated you are? Your first instinct might be to say no…but it can often feel the opposite.

Let’s change that.

Click below to watch my new YouTube video!

 

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Day 14: I am your strength | Love Letters

Strength:

  1. Physical power and energy.
  2. The emotional or mental qualities necessary in dealing with situations or events that are distressing or difficult.
  3. A good or beneficial quality or attribute of a person or thing.

I know I’m not the only one who is completely lazy when it comes to charging my phone. A typical day involves me waiting until my battery hits 1% then scrambling to plug in my charger before my phone dies. Throughout the day, I notice my phone battery is draining over time, but I don’t make the effort to recharge it until the very last minute.

This seems silly (and inconvenient), yet we do it all the time!

We often act the same way when it comes to reaching out to God. We go about our everyday lives, using our power, our strength, our insight–then all of a sudden, we find ourselves running low. But before the crash–hopefully–we then remember God is there.

Before this realization happens, there’s usually damage that has been done. Stress, fatigue, doubt, worry, anger, and confusion. These emotions are the result of relying on yourself as your power source. These are the negative emotions that lead to rash decisions, mistakes, consequences, and eventually wanting to quit after all that you’ve experienced.

God’s love for you means He will help you endure. 1 Corinthians 16:13 (NKJV) instructs us, “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” This verse doesn’t just tell us to be brave and be strong–it tells us to stand somewhere. In our faith. Ephesians 6:10 reminds us to be strong in the Lord and mighty in His power. We’re not told to simply be strong and mighty–we’re told strength is found in God and might in His power. Isaiah 26:4 tells us to trust in the Lord forever, for “in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.”

This power we receive from God is in God–not just from Him. This means we find it by being plugged into Him. Similar to connecting a phone to a power source, we must connect ourselves to God to receive this power. When you unplug the phone, your device is no longer connected its the power source, and it will stop charging. When we unplug ourselves from God, we are no longer connected to our source, and we will no longer receive His power.

The beauty of relying on God is that His strength is unending. He doesn’t run out of strength, and He wants you to understand this. In Jeremiah 32:27 (NIV), He says, “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” In His Word, God reminds us that He is capable. Nothing can overtake Him. We need to get used to saying, I can’t. God can.

God can take you through it!

You don’t need to sustain your faith alone. You don’t need to maintain anything or anyone on your own. You can’t care for yourself by yourself.

Don’t inconvenience yourself by waiting to trust in God. Power is found in the Lord to cover you in every area. Your physical power and energy. Your emotional and mental ability to overcome hardship. Your helpful qualities and skills. God gives you strength, He develops your strengths, and He sustains your strengths.

Now is the time to partner with God in your life. The love you need is found in Him. God’s love for you is here today. Give your heart to Him, and let Him write an amazing story of your life. Rest in His promises. Know that He has more for you. He will meet your needs. He will secure you now and for eternity in heaven. With Him, you can accomplish more than you can ever accomplish on your own.

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 NIV)

Love Letter 14

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

Read Day 13

Special Note: Thank you so much for joining me in the Love Letters series. Over these last two weeks, I’ve been challenged and pushed every day as I studied the Word to write these daily posts. I hope you’ve been encouraged and have learned about God’s love and purpose for you. I encourage you to revisit any letters for encouragement whenever you need it, and share them with others. Most importantly, go deeper. Seek God for yourself. Open the Bible, communicate with Him in prayer, and allow Him to lead you to discover His unique plan for your life. Let me know your thoughts on the series below!

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Day 13: I enjoy spending time with you | Love Letters

Re·la·tion·ship: The condition or fact of being related; a connection, association, or involvement.

[Source]

Relationship requires investment.

When you want to build new relationships with people, you make time for them. Conversations over texts and calls. Time spent together. You ask questions, you share details about your life. Eventually, you’ve gotten to know them well and have developed a closeness with them.

The same thing goes when you want to deepen an existing relationship with people you already know. You make the time, you show up, you involve yourself in their lives. You connect. You associate yourself with them.

Our relationship with God takes on a similar process. When you decide to follow the Lord, you are able to build a relationship with Him that can grow and get even better over time. You involve yourself with Him. You connect with Him. You associate yourself with Him.

Like a friendship, you must invest in your relationship with God if you want to develop it. When you care about someone, you sacrifice for that individual. If you want God in your life, you sacrifice to make time for Him and to get to know Him.

Did you know that God rejoices in spending time with you? He absolutely loves it!

As a loving father cares for his child, God sees you as His child whom He loves deeply. He wants to have a real relationship with you.

The Bible talks of a God who takes delight in His people. Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV) states, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

Psalm 147:11 (ESV) says, “But the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.” Fear in this passage does not mean to be afraid; we’re not meant to simply be afraid of God. Rather, it means to have reverence for or to respect. In other words, God notices those who have reverence for Him–those who acknowledge Him for who He is–and He honors those people!

Genesis 1:27 mentions that God created humankind in His image. This means that we were created to have an association with Him. We are meant be in relationship with our Creator. We are made to bear His image, or represent Him well–to show who He is and the attributes of His love. The only way we can reflect this image is if we know what it looks like. And so, in order to know our true identity, we must know God, the One who knows who we’re made to be!

Our hearts yearn for something greater that cannot be found on this earth. And God yearns for you, too. James 4:8 says if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. He is available, but He does not force. He is near, but He does not push Himself. He waits patiently. And when you come, He will come.

Do you ever feel neglected when a friend doesn’t show up for you? Or forgotten when someone doesn’t reach out to you? God gets it. He understands how you feel, and He has compassion towards you: “The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him” (Psalms 103:13 NLT). He also notices when you don’t reach out to Him, too.

Revelation 3:20 mentions that God is calling out for you. When you answer, He will “eat with,” or fellowship with, you.

A relationship with God cannot be built through someone else. For example, just because your parents have a relationship with Him, doesn’t mean you have it, too. God is acquainted with them already, and He wants to get to know you. Consider this: if your friend is friends with someone else, it doesn’t make you friends with that same person (even if you know a little or a lot about them). You must take the initiative to get to know that person for yourself.

It’s never too late to build or rebuild a relationship with God. Study His Word–get to know what He says and who He is. How He sees you, what He wants you to know. Talk to Him, reach out to Him. Even if you can’t find words, you can sit in silence and ask for the comfort of His presence.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20 ESV)

Love Letter 13

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

Read Day 12
Read Day 14

 

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Day 5: I have made a sacrifice for you | Love Letters

Sac·ri·fice: to make an offering of; to destroy, surrender, or suffer to be lost for the sake of obtaining something.

[Source]

True love means action.

It’s one thing for God to claim He is loving, but we can know His love is fact for ourselves, because He has demonstrated it to us. He has acted upon His love, and He continues to do so today.

But sin separates us from understanding God’s love.

It’s no secret that evil exists in the world today. By simply watching or reading the news, we become aware of tragedies, injustices, and horrific events every single day.

This is the state of mankind, which began when humans first rebelled against God. Romans 5:12 (ESV) states, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—.”

That is, after Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden, sin entered the world. Since then, man has continued to fall into a path of sin–evil acts that have resulted in death and destruction. Initially when we think of sin, we probably think of obvious evils such as murder, stealing, and other unjust crimes that clearly lead to death and destruction.

However, sin also includes acts that may seem justifiable at times such as lying, jealousy, etc. These “little” sins have big consequences. It’s like a domino effect–one thing leads to another. Deceiving someone can cause extreme brokenness–many relationships suffer greatly because of that. Jealousy can lead people to do some pretty messed up things. I mean, think about Cain and Abel (the sons of Adam and Eve) in Genesis 4. It was Cain’s jealousy of his brother, Abel, that led him to murder him. And just like that, sin continued from one generation to another and literally led to death.

Sin is unfortunately a part of our human nature. I know I have sinned before. We all have. Just as Adam and Eve chose to disobey God in the Garden of Eden, we often choose to do these things.

But I want to emphasize that we have a choice.

God did not create evil. He created us to have the freedom to make choices–Adam and Eve had a choice. We were not made to be robots. But once sin entered the world and evil acts could now exist, God had a plan to redeem His creation and provide justice for the effects of sin.

Again, sin separates us from God. Plain and simple–God is good, evil is bad. You can’t mix the two. Sin and the harm it causes has no place with God, and when mankind fell into sin, it broke our relationship with Him. We now had an affinity for things apart from God. We now wanted to do things our way, not His. Once again, sin has caused destruction and harm in the world. This is not God’s plan for you.

That’s why He sent Jesus Christ, His Son. We are all guilty of sin. Although Jesus did not sin, He took the blame for us, because He loved us. The wages, or the payment, of sin is death, and so Jesus had to die on the cross (Romans 6:23).

Hanging on a cross (crucifixion) was a form of execution for criminals at the time. Although Jesus is God, He is God in the flesh (aka as a man)–that means, He could feel everything we could feel, emotionally and physically. And so, as He hung on that cross, He felt every sting of pain, having His body beaten, His hands pierced, and His lungs gasping for air as He suffocated while hanging. But also as God, Jesus could rise again from the dead three days later, which would have otherwise been impossible. Fully man and fully God, Jesus could do what no man could do. Defeat the very thing that sin caused–death.

This is God’s true love for you: He sacrificed His own Son so that you could be saved from this very penalty of sin: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (1 Corinthians 5:21 NIV).

Now remember this: we have a choice. We can still choose to do things–good and bad. And so, evil still exists on earth–and there is a consequence for that. This is where God’s justice comes in. Sin, or evil, has to be punished. Hell is the punishment of sin, a place of eternal death, torment, and destruction, where we would be separated from God forever–again, because sin cannot exist where He is: “They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thessalonians 1:9 ESV).

But death is not God’s will for you. This is why He has prepared a place for us in heaven. Heaven is a place with no sin, where any suffering we experience on earth will no longer exist–it’s eternal life: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4 ESV).

You do not get into heaven by simply doing good works. Jesus was the only One who gave His life to cover for you, and it’s through Him that you can secure your place in heaven. God clearly shows us how to do this in His Word: If you confess that you are a sinner and repent of your sins, believe that Jesus Christ is your Savior who died and rose again for you, God will forgive your sins (Romans 10:9).

By accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior, you can have security that you belong to God–the God who loves you and made this sacrifice for you–and you will not perish but instead, you will have eternal life. Through this decision you make, you have no condemnation, you are no longer held guilty for your sins, and you now have power in Him to overcome sin in your life. I encourage you with my entire heart to make this decision today.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:16-18 ESV)

Love Letter 5

14 days of learning God’s love. Learn about the Love Letters here.
Read Day 4

Read Day 6

 

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Day 4: I can give you Life | Love Letters

Life-giving: having the power of providing sustenance, spirit or life.

[Source]

One of the most fascinating things about the world is how one thing can give life to another:

  • A mother can give birth, giving life to her child.
  • A flower can leave pollen behind to reproduce, giving life to other flowers.
  • A cell can divide itself to multiply, giving life to other cells–which give life to life.

In all cases, the source is vital. One living source is necessary to provide life to other things.

This fact about nature also reflects a fact about the Lord. God manifests His love for us by remaining the Source in, of, and for our lives. 

If you need to be filled, He fills you: “and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19 ESV).

If you are searching for answers, He provides answers: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5 NIV).

If you need peace, He gives peace: “The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace” (Psalm 29:11 NIV).

In short, He’s the living Source who will sustain you in this life, and the next one.

The next one? Huh?

Death is real. But life after death is as well. God gives us plenty of heads up about it in His Word–because just as God doesn’t want to hide Himself from you, He doesn’t want to hide this from you, either. He loves you so much that He wants you to find life in Him. And He wants you to know that you need to receive life in Him for later.

God provides security after death. He offers a place for you in heaven, because He loves you. And it’s free for you to take today.

This is not a place that is hidden from you or can be taken from you. When you make a personal decision to trust in God and live for Him now, you have this place in heaven forever.

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done in the past. He provides renewal, a new life. And He freely offers Himself for you to receive Him.

Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ (John 11:25-26 NIV).

Love Letter 4 bold

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

Read Day 3

Read Day 5

 

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“It Is Finished” | Feature Fridays

Welcome back to another Feature Friday! (Unfortunately, a day late!)

As we remember the sacrifice Christ made on the cross, let us rejoice in knowing His work is finished, as He declared. When we go through our daily lives, we are fighting from a place of victory, not fighting for victory.

Today’s feature is a powerful animation that depicts Christ’s death on the cross. By conquering death, the Lord has overcome the world, and we can be made new in Him.


Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

(John 11:25-26)