Meet Amanda | Confidence Without Compromise #19

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Amanda, United Kingdom

Founder, FemelleSoul

Meet Amanda. A blogger, creative, and follower of Christ. In this week’s feature, Amanda talks about the process of developing a personal relationship with God and shaping our perspective on His Word.

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Meet Tatiana | Confidence Without Compromise #6

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Tatiana, New York

Creator, Rise and Pray Power Call

Meet Tatiana. A prayer warrior, leader, and encourager. In this week’s feature, Tatiana talks about the power of community and pursuing our purpose in Christ.

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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”

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 10: I provide peace | Love Letters

Peace: Inner contentment; serenity.

[Source]

During my second year of college, I did what I never thought I’d do and took a studio class in drawing. Over the course of the semester, I had a rewarding experience as I was challenged to learn various art mediums and concepts.

One of the most challenging concepts to draw was perspective–essentially, the ability to make something look “real.” You give an image a sense of depth by creating the illusion of a three-dimensional view on a flat, two-dimensional surface.

Visually, it’s like going from this:

To this:

With perspective, your image changes depending on your viewpoint–the spot where you (the artist) observe your scene. If I wanted to draw a building, I could walk around it and gain a different viewpoint at different areas–perhaps one spot will show the right side of the building, the other the left, and so on. At the end of the day, I could only choose one spot and draw that, giving only one perspective.

Meanwhile, there’s an entire building my eventual audience won’t see in my finished piece.

In our lives, we might view a current situation we’re in only from one perspective, because that’s where we are at that point in time.

You likely feel frustrated when you don’t like the place where you are now. Maybe you’re being unfairly treated by a “friend.” Or your job is getting increasingly stressful. Perhaps you wish you could relocate to a different place. The scene you’re looking at now doesn’t look so good, and it’s been draining you for quite a while now.

When we enter seasons of waiting, God gives us the opportunity to gain a better perspective. God’s love for you means He wants you to grow, to become a better version of who you were yesterday. Maybe the unfair friend is growing your ability to forgive. The stressful work environment is growing your ability to trust Him and not yourself. The desire to move is growing your ability to have patience–and wait until the best time.

In these difficult seasons when you’re longing for understanding, God first offers His peace. I can’t imagine a person who doesn’t want peace. Oftentimes, when we’re stressed and uncertain, we turn to everything but God. We want an instant sense of security. We keep searching and searching for it, but anything or anyone that isn’t your Heavenly Father cannot give you the peace you long for.

Nothing in this world has the perspective of the entire “building” you’re looking at except God. He is all-knowing, and He knows you can’t figure it out on your own. He offers His help, so you can lean on Him for peace–an inner contentment, or serenity.

When you rely on God for peace, He gives you a satisfaction that cannot be taken away from you.

Peace is the result of an understanding of your own shortcomings and a confidence in God’s care for you. It can look like saying, God I don’t understand this situation, but I know that You have control in it. You have the best for me, and I expect the best from You. I’m excited for what You have in store for me.

And you should be excited. God’s preparing wonderful things for you. Plus, He’s giving you the ability to mature and gain His wisdom in the process.

Instead of moving around, making decisions on your own, and putting pieces together, be still and seek God for the perspective He’s showing you.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27 ESV)

Love Letter 10

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

Read Day 9

Read Day 11 

 

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Day 7: I provide a way out | Love Letters

Path:

  1. A route, course, or track along which something moves.
  2. A course of action, conduct, or procedure.

[Source]

In the midst of challenges, we sometimes feel alone. We might feel as though our prayers aren’t working. That God doesn’t hear us. And that He doesn’t love us.

These ideas are sneaky lies the devil tries to seep into your thoughts. Satan wants you to believe God isn’t listening and doesn’t love you, because he doesn’t want you to turn to God. And so, these difficult moments are the times we must hold onto the Lord even more.

In a battle, the opposing side you’re up against doesn’t want you to win. Your enemy will try any tactics to get rid of you. It’s a huge bonus if your enemy catches you distracted, because that’s the best time to strike. Similarly, the devil–your enemy in this world–will try to get your eyes off God to distract you in order to attack you. Negative thoughts aren’t from the God of love and freedom–they’re from the devil who comes to steal, kill, and destroy you (John 10:10). Spoiler alert: God is more powerful than the enemy, so you have nothing to fear if you follow Him.

God doesn’t passively watch you struggle in life. He actively fights for you. You can’t know the future, and you can’t see things from miles away. However, your Heavenly Father can. Not only is God working on your behalf now–He’s clearing your path of future obstacles you can’t see.

God will not leave you hanging in the midst of the battle. He won’t suddenly desert you, leaving you to fend for yourself. He will provide the path–the course of action, or the route–that will lead to your victory.

Although you don’t see the way out now, it doesn’t mean it’s not coming. I urge you to keep your trust in God and find protection in Him. One way you can practice trust is by waiting on God–instead of rushing ahead and making final decisions without His instruction.

God’s instruction comes with peace. It may not be what you expect, but you’ll know it’s from God if you know Him. God keeps His word. He’s unchanging and acts based on His character, which you can learn for yourself by reading the Bible (His Word).

Take your hands off, and allow God the space to move in your life. He won’t force you–He’ll look for your willingness to let Him work. But whether God has told you to wait, leave, go ahead, or stop, your obedience will be worth it.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

Love Letter 7

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

Read Day 6

Read Day 8

 

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Day 6: You can tell Me anything | Love Letters

Con·fide:

  1. To have confidence; trust.
  2. To give to the care or protection of another; entrust.

[Source]

There’s great comfort in being around a close friend. You can talk for hours about anything or you can say nothing, enjoying each other’s company in silence. Your presence together is effortless; you feel comfortable to share what’s on your mind, and you’re free to be yourself.

This effortless relationship with a good friend is the type of relationship we can have with God. As we learned yesterday, when we accept Christ as our Savior–reconciling our relationship with God–our sin no longer separates us from Him. We have complete access to go to God in prayer and confide in Him.

When we confide in God, we have confidence in Him that He will care for and protect us. Because of His everlasting love, we know we can give everything to Him.

Giving something to God, means you know longer have it. It means entrusting Him with something. This can mean giving sinful habits to Him, trusting and knowing He has better for you. After all, sin might feel good or justifiable in the moment, but it never has better for you.

We can also give Him our worries–trusting and knowing He has better for us. The Bible shows us that God is all-powerful, and when we trust in Him, we’re trusting Someone who is more powerful than our biggest fears.

Either way, He has you. He’ll lead you to the better path.

To build a close relationship with a friend, we have to get to know them and communicate with them regularly. We can build this close relationship with God by getting to know Him, reading His Word and speaking to Him prayer. This way, we learn more about His character and His love, and we understand His plans for our lives.

A close relationship with God is even better than a close relationship with a good friend. God loves you enough that He wants you to confide in Him–to be honest with Him. Where there is honesty, there is freedom. When you do wrong, He offers His forgiveness. When you’re afraid, He’s there to take away your fears.

Take the weight off your shoulders. Tell God what’s on your mind today.

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. (Jeremiah 29:12 NKJV)

Love Letter 6

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

Read Day 5

Read Day 7

 

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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 3: I can offer you more | Love Letters

More: to a greater extent.

“Maybe this is as good as it gets.”

Have you ever found yourself saying that? That you have no choice but to stay where you are, because it will only get worse from here?

You might feel you must stay within a bad relationship, because there’s no one else for you. Or, you feel you have to hang out with toxic friends, because otherwise you’d be alone. Maybe you feel you need to sacrifice your health to get perfect grades, because you’re convinced you’ll fail if you don’t. You feel you have to perform perfectly at work, or else you won’t be valued.

Whatever the case is, you feel as though if you don’t hold onto something, you have nothing.

Any of these things–relationships, grades, or careers–can disappear at any moment. And you probably know this, which is why you feel the need to maintain them constantly.

These are all things you can enjoy, if they are good things. But when you find your entire worth in them, you’re going to find yourself empty.

You were not made to find your security in temporary things. God has more for you than that. He provides more, or to a greater extent. But how do we get to this “more”?

Understanding God’s love for you is the first step. His love for you is unchanging, and it lasts forever. When you secure yourself in God–a sure and permanent thing–you’re able to make better use of non-permanent things in life.

You won’t put pressure on others to reassure you. You won’t feel defeated over your mistakes. You’ll be able to walk away from negative people and situations, because you know your worth is not in them. You’ll be able to enjoy your blessings–knowing your worth is not in them, either.

Your value is not based on what you have or don’t have. God sees your value. He created you with value.

God can do more for you than what you can do for yourself.  What you see with your own eyes is the surface. When you commit your life to Him, you’ll find that good moments in life can get better. And better.

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 ESV)

Love Letter 3

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

Read Day 2

Read Day 4

 

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