Meet Simi | Confidence Without Compromise #31

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Simi, Oklahoma

Blogger, SimiJohn.tv

Meet Simi. A ministry leader, blogger, and speaker. In this week’s feature, Simi talks about seeking intentional time with God, being committed to a Christ-filled life, and receiving the desires of our hearts.

Continue reading “Meet Simi | Confidence Without Compromise #31”

Do It Scared

Whenever I am afraid,

I will trust in You.

(Psalm 56:3 NKJV)


I remember my first roller coaster.

It was a warm, summer afternoon at a small, amusement park outside of town.

Among the day campers, families, and tired employees, there it was–

One of the two only rollercoasters in the entire kiddy park. Tracks shaped into small hills, slight turns, and barely-there dips. A train shaped like a friendly, green dragon that glided through it all.

I started to cry.

I was tall enough to ride the coaster, but young enough to be terrified of it.

Moments later, I was sitting next to Dad, strapped in–about to take it head on. Needless to say, I wasn’t ready. When the ride started, I cried so much that the operator stopped it so I could get off.

Years later, roller coasters became one of my favorite thrills. I don’t remember the time I tried a roller coaster for the second time, but at some point I made up my mind to face the fear–again. And as a result, I found something I love to do till this day.

My most precious experiences in life began with feelings of fear. Getting my first summer job. Taking a driver’s test to get my license. Moving out of state for college. Launching a public blog. Becoming a leader in a college ministry. Pursuing a career after college. The list goes on. Although I might have began these situations afraid, they pushed me towards major growth, deepened my relationship with God, helped me discover interests I love, and introduced me to people I would have never met.

Do you stop at the point of fear when an unfamiliar situation arises? Or do you rise to the occasion?

Continue reading “Do It Scared”

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 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 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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Introducing: Love Letters

Do you know your love language? You know, the way you really receive love?

If you’re keen on receiving gifts, and someone brings you flowers, your heart might soar for a while. Or if words of affirmation are your thing, and your friend compliments your new haircut, you might be feeling fly for the next few hours.

In other words, every one of us has a unique way we recognize we’re loved by someone else.

So, when someone communicates this exact way, we feel supported, cared for, and cherished.

However, when someone doesn’t communicate the way we’d like, we can feel forgotten, overlooked, and invisible. Even though it’s not true.

It’s often a matter of someone knowing us well. Ever see a funny joke, and think–wow, so-and-so would die if they saw this!–to yourself? It’s probably because you know that person very well. The better you know people individually, the more you know what they appreciate. But even if we know each other well, we don’t always do the best job of showing our love to each other–or knowing how to.

There is Someone who knows you quite well, better than you can ever know yourself. We may not always feel loved by others, but no matter how many failed or broken attempts at love you’ve witnessed in your life, God cannot fail you in His love.

God loves you. Like actually loves you, and He wants you to recognize His love for you. He knows you inside and out, and He knows what you need. He knows your love language…your deepest needs–even the ones you haven’t uttered.

So, why don’t we always feel this love? It could be a matter of not knowing who He is.

For the next 14 days, I want to challenge you with this: what would happen if every day, you took time out to understand God? To learn how God views you? To learn His love for you? His purpose for you?

How could your life change?

That’s where these Love Letters come in. For the next 14 days, the LizMargaret blog will share a statement from God’s Word itself (not my words) about who God says you are. The Bible, His Word, is His love letter to you.

You deserve love. I know that experiencing true love can change the course of your life. I invite you to join me for the next two weeks to take a closer look at God’s true love for you.

Starting tomorrow (Valentine’s day!), we’re going to embark on a daily journey of truth, discovery, and transformation.

Subscribe to lizmargaret.com to get a Love Letter delivered to you every day for the rest of February!

I look forward to walking along this journey with you!

Read Day 1

 

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How To Be A Better Friend | Video

What makes a good friend? What’s the purpose of friendship? What kind of friend are YOU? All these seemingly simple questions require us to look deeper at the people we surround ourselves with and the person we’re becoming. Today, I talk about friendship and God’s purpose behind it.

Click below to watch the video!

 

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Feeling Stuck?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)


Imagine this:

Complete darkness.

You can’t stand, because the place you’re in is too narrow. You can only crawl. You can’t see up ahead, and there’s not enough space for you to turn around if you wanted to. The only direction to move is forward, even though you have no idea where you’re going.

One Way_Blog Featured Image
Photo: Brendan Church

Not ideal? Yeah, I know.

When I was in elementary school, I went to a science museum with my brothers, and we experienced the Touch Tunnel. Eighty feet of pitch-black darkness, and the only way to move through was to crawl. The purpose of the tunnel was to show the significance of sight in our experience of the world.

All we had now was ourselves and our ability to feel our way through a strange abyss.

I may or may not have been afraid of the dark, but one consolation was the employee’s voice that came through the speakers any time we stalled in the tunnel: “Stay to the left, the left, the left…”

(Try not to think of Beyoncé’s lyrics. Okay, now you’re thinking about them. Anyways…)

That was the key to escape: Keep left. There were alternate routes that could lead us off course, but because we listened to the voice, we were out in no time and free to enjoy the rest of our day at the museum.

Looking back, I knew I would escape (of course), but the feeling of being stuck in a cramped place was uncomfortable.

We like our freedom. We like to know we can move around whenever and wherever we want. We like to know we can show up when we want and leave as we please. We like the lights on to see, and we like to turn the lights off when we’re done.

When something comes in and restricts us or takes away what we always had, it’s not only shocking, it can be devastating.

Maybe your top university rejected your application or you didn’t get the job at the only company you could see yourself working. Perhaps you lost a relationship that was dear to you or experienced the death of a loved one. Your finances didn’t improve the way they needed to or an important event you were waiting on got canceled. You didn’t get the score to pass that exam or you weren’t qualified enough for that program.

Disappointments can come in many forms: rejection, betrayal, failure…you name it. Each case leaves the same feeling: You had a wonderful grasp on your future, and now it’s gone. The future fell far out of your hands before you could even reach out and rescue it.

You did your best. You’ve exhausted all your efforts. Now you don’t know where to go.

So, what do we when we’re stuck?

Continue reading “Feeling Stuck?”

The Reason You Are Unfulfilled

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. 

(Revelation 2:4-5a ESV)


I’ll tell you a juicy secret.

I’m guilty of something. And I realize that every believer is guilty of this, too, at some point in their faith.

In the midst of all the losses and gains in our lives, we forget our first love. standing alone_edit

A fulfilling relationship with Jesus Christ can easily stop at the moment of salvation. By that, I mean we invite Christ into our hearts, acknowledging our need for Him for eternal life. This saves us and secures us for heaven. But we need to know that salvation doesn’t stop there. It continues now in our relationship with Him. Just as you desperately needed God to save you from sin, you still desperately need him to be everything–above any earthly desire you currently have.

Are you finding it difficult to really give something to God? You can pray and pray over and over, submitting it to the Lord. And you should. We’re taught to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), to come boldly before the throne (Hebrews 4:16), to test every spirit–any thing or person that comes our way–to see if it is really from God (1 John 4:1).

But if you’re struggling with unfulfilled desires and deep longings that seem to remain unmet time and time again, you may be missing a crucial thing.

Continue reading “The Reason You Are Unfulfilled”