Stepping Out On Faith | Feature Fridays

Welcome back to Feature Fridays!

Obedience isn’t easy…but is fear holding you back from doing what God has called you to do?

Click below to check out Heather Lindsey’s video on stepping out on faith. Even in uncertainty and doubt, making decisions based on faith can lead to blessings you’d never imagine.

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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)

Worship Wednesdays #12 | Seasons Change

The profile // about the artist 

United Pursuit - Simple Gospel.jpg
Simple Gospel (2015)

United Pursuit

  • Christian worship band
  • From Knoxville, Tennessee

The pull // why i like it

A friend of mine introduced me to this band, and I binge-listened to them on Spotify. Needless to say, I was hooked–especially to this song. Its calming melody always brings me into worship and acknowledging God for who He says He is.

The message // what it means

God is faithful and loving, and He is truly enough. Although the world around us, people and circumstances in our lives change, He does not change. His character and promises remain the same, and we can have confidence in that.

“Lord you’ve been faithful to plant the seeds
And you will be faithful to always send your rain”

The call // best to listen if

You need a reminder of who God is. There’s something beautiful in this worship, declaring the truth of His character over and over again…”Though the seasons change, Your love remains.”

“Trusting God During the Process” | Feature Fridays

Welcome to Feature Fridays–quick insights to fuel and encourage you after a long week!

I came across a wonderful video by YouTuber LeahsEssence on learning how to trust God during the process–not when we get the victory but before we even see any change.

I definitely feel as though I’ve been challenged in this area. I have mostly seen testimonies about how God has helped someone after his or her trial is over. These are powerful accounts of God’s blessings, but I also like to hear insight about what faith looks like in the process–how we can trust God in the midst of uncertainty.

This YouTuber shares her encouraging testimony on how she’s learning to trust God now even when she doesn’t know the future.
Check it out!

Beyond the Flesh: Thoughts on Forgiveness

Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

(Romans 12:16-18 NKJV)


How would you evaluate your interactions with others? shaking-hands_black-and-white

Sin often gets between our relationships, because Satan wants us to live contrary to the way God has called us to live. He wants us to be angry, unforgiving, jealous, and judgmental. Many of these emotions emerge as part of our sinful nature, especially when we face difficult situations, but these reactions are traps that cause destruction, brokenness, and distraction.

Even if we don’t react outwardly in negative ways, our inner heart is still visible to God:

“I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:10 KJV).

…And somehow, what’s inside will come out in public. Numbers 32:23 says, “But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out” (NKJV).

Of course, God doesn’t leave us hopelessly stuck in our weaknesses–He provides a solution. I love looking at the Fruit of the Spirit, because it sets standards for our character that we should follow:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23 KJV).

The Lord wants us to grow and be transformed–to do away with the wrong things we might say or think (see Colossians 3:8). Practicing the Fruit of the Spirit can transform who we are and how we treat others.

It’s important to see the reality behind our human struggles. Ephesians makes it clear that these fleshly battles are spiritual ones underneath:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12 KJV).

There is an invisible battle around us in which the enemy is trying to tear people apart, stealing lives that have potential to glorify God. However, we can choose forgiveness and a Christ-like mindset. When we reject our sinful ways, we are fighting the enemy, opening eyes to Christ, and winning lives for the Kingdom–and it’s all possible through Him.

When we respond in fear of people or focus on the wrongs they’ve done, we can be wasting precious time. Dwelling in the past is a time-waster, a joy-killer. There’s a reason that God values relationships, families, and friendships. There’s great power in just two or three people coming together for Christ (see Matthew 18:20). The more godly connections, the more He shines.

Satan tries to manipulate relationships, because he knows he is no match for the body of Christ. I believe he tries to distract us from our mission and purpose on this earth with these earthly battles. Losing sleep over people is not part of God’s plan. Separation and pain caused by grudges, bitterness and anger are not part of God’s plan. Fallouts and unnecessary disagreements are not part of God’s plan.

The devil is your enemy, not people. 1 Peter 5:8 states, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (KJV).

Although situations can come into our lives without our control, without being our fault, we must remember that God restores. He has the power to replace what has been taken unjustly, and He has the power to provide better things from what has gone away. Don’t allow the enemy to lock you in the past, but also don’t allow him to control your actions in the future.

We have authority in Christ! Guard your heart, and respond with maturity and Christ in mind when it comes to personal conflicts. God has something greater for us to do than be distracted by Satan’s schemes.


Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

(Proverbs 4:23 KJV)

Baby Clothes & Growing Pains

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

(Ephesians 4:14-15 NIV)


Growing in faith is like growing out of your baby clothes. baby-clothes-white-short-sleeve-background-42489266

There are things you think you need forever, or things God even provides when you need them, that will no longer fit you as you grow. When you mature in Christ, God leads you on a different path than you were on before.

Conviction kicks in. When you abandon the things that hinder your relationship with Christ or cause you to sin, your desire for them lessens. The music you once listened to no longer appeals to you. Or maybe, the movies you once watched no longer seem OK. You stop enjoying the things that never brought glory to God in the first place. Then, suddenly, the friends you have don’t fit. It’s like you don’t have anything in common anymore. You don’t do the same things they do anymore. It feels strange. You’re not able to get past “hello” with those you could once talk to for hours.

And you wonder why.

These were your baby clothes–and you’ve grown! Your baby clothes were comfortable, one-size-fits-all, but God is putting you on a unique path. Not everything will fit you anymore. It will be a lonely path, because it’s a path that is made for you alone. Believe it or not, there are others who are following God, too, on their own unique paths. Nevertheless, you will be placed in situations where you are the only one following the Lord, looking for Him. But remember, the God you’ve trusted all along has not abandoned you on this path.

As you keep walking with Him, you’ll find how limited your baby clothes were. They begin to be restricting, because they are too small. You’ll find new clothes. You’ll find that God has more variety for you. Clothes come in different shapes, sizes, cuts, and fabrics. He knows your style. He knows who will fit in your life, and He will guide you to those relationships. He knows your future spouse, and He will supply that in His time. He knows the career you need, and He will arrange that for you. He knows which city, state, or country you need to be in, and He will get you there.

Your job is to walk behind Him on this path, because you don’t know what’s up ahead. If you walk in front of God, you’ll most likely veer off, trying on clothes that don’t belong to you.  It might be scary to leave them behind, but these things which are no longer for you will only toss you too and fro and bring confusion.

Your job is to not turn back to your baby clothes. They’re not for you anymore. In fact, if you look at them, they’re too tiny for you now. If you even tried to put them on, you’d rip them.

However, you’ve changed, and it’s beautiful. You’ve followed God, and you’ve transformed. If you ask God for direction, He will give it to you. And it will hurt at times. Many times. These are growing pains. You’ll have to turn away from the things you love. But if they’re not God-approved, they were never for you in the first place. If you try to keep fitting into old, ill-fitting clothes without God, you’ll have to keep mending the rips on your own.

This is the good news: Even if you veer off onto your own path, His path for you still remains. It’s waiting for you, so come back.

If you say God is Lord of your life, let Him be Lord.

Ask Him to lead you. Ask Him for the eyes to see what He wants in your life. Ask Him for the strength to respond to His calling.

If God leads you to abandon something, trust Him. He has variety for you. He has plans for you that are way bigger than your baby clothes.


You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

(Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV)

3 Ways My Faith Has Changed Since College

Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore. Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

(Psalm 105:4-5 KJV)


Recently, I started my final year in college.

As the day I returned to campus approached, I found myself reflecting on my past three years as a student. I’m definitely a changed person. I’ve stepped into my skin, gotten acquainted with myself, and I’ve stepped out and explored areas outside my comfort zone.

Picture_20160825_005913446The changes I’ve been through have been essential, even though many were the result of difficult times–yet I’m grateful, because I’ve come out stronger as a follower of Christ.

Whether you’re starting college, finishing college, somewhere in between, or nowhere there at all, you should strive to grow in your faith. Here are three areas of my faith that have changed since I’ve become a college student:

1. My alone time became my quiet time.

Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart (Psalm 119:2).   

One thing about college that quickly became clear is that people are everywhere. This might sound obvious, but I really mean everywhere. My first lecture had 700 students (of course, class size depends on the size of your school). When I started college, I loved interacting with many people on a daily basis, but when I finally had time to myself, I just wanted to kick back and relax. When I became busier, down time became shorter, and I felt I had no time for God. I attended church, Bible studies, and prayer groups, but my personal time with God was virtually nonexistent. I’d go weeks without even talking to Him, until I realized how much I needed Him. When things became stressful and I needed direction, I turned to God, and He happily welcomed me back. Reopening dialogue with the Lord made me realize how much I had missed out all along.

An intimate relationship with God sets your life on the right path. Your perspective is directed, your attitude corrected. Spending time with God better equips you for the day ahead. Through prayer and Bible study, you hear God’s voice, His secrets, and He’s able to reveal His plan for your life. I missed out on several days of this, wishing I had direction in various scenarios–yet the One who had all the answers was right there!

Since then, I’ve learned to make God a priority throughout my day. If I’m walking to class, have a morning alone to myself, or have time between classes, I communicate with God and meditate on His Word, instead of being idle. It’s fine to relax and enjoy your favorite hobbies in your free time, but if these things take precedent over your relationship with God, you’re missing out on crucial moments with Him.

2. I learned to value community more.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)

Though I love my alone time, I love being around others as well. However, when I first started college, I didn’t realize how valuable and essential a Christian community was for my walk with the Lord. I grew up in church and accepted Christ at a young age, but I never had many Christian friends, because there weren’t many believers my age around me. I entered college ready to find them.

It took time, but when I built relationship with other believers who shared my values, I noticed how impactful these friendships were in my life. I have had the most challenging and encouraging conversations with other Christians. When I felt discouraged, it was amazing to know there were others who could pray for me–and I could do the same for them. I’ve grown as a leader in my Christian fellowship because of these relationships. God has given me a heart to know others and care for them.

I value all solid friendships–with believers and non-believers–but as a Christian in college (or anywhere, really), it’s vital to have people around you who share the same beliefs and can push you forward. Iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17). Those you spend time with will rub off on you, so if you want to grow in Christ, stay connected to those who want to do the same–whether it’s on campus, at church, or another Christian community.

If you’re having trouble finding these people, bring it up to the Lord, and be patient. When opportunities to build relationships emerge, be a friend, and be consistent. God will provide the company you need in your life.

3. God’s power became more evident to me.

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust (Psalm 91:2).

In high school, I often noticed that after I prayed, I wouldn’t always have peace. I’d ask God to help me not to worry, yet I still found myself worrying. I didn’t realize at the time, but I had little faith when it came to prayer. I doubted whether whatever I prayed about would come to pass. Ultimately, I was doubting God. Even when He was answering prayers, I wasn’t able to see His blessings, because my perspective was wrong.

I also failed to realize that answered prayers didn’t have to manifest the way I wanted them to. Nevertheless, I only wanted my way–not God’s way.

However, in college, my mindset changed. I learned to surrender large and small requests to God. When I was a freshman, I had lunch with a dear friend who was a junior and a fellow believer. I told her about all the assignments I had coming up–particularly a paper due soon that I hadn’t started. She had a simple response to my workload: “Don’t worry. Trust God. Everything will get done.” It was a simple answer, yet it inspired me to change my entire mindset.

I started seeing my assignments in this way–that as long as I put in the necessary effort, the work will get done. Not only that, but God was with me wherever I went–in and out of class, even if I had forgotten.

Over time, I saw God in every detail of my life as I continually pushed to have this mindset. All my successes and failures could and would be used for His plan for my life as I walked with Him. As I grew in my relationship with God, spent time with Him, and spoke about Him with others, I realized He was everywhere. I prayed and left things up to Him. Even if I didn’t know how to surrender, I asked Him to help me do so.

Through faith, I now pray and leave things up to God–and praise Him through it. When my prayers aren’t answered as I think they should be, they are answered nonetheless–only His solution is better–whether I realize it now or a year from now.

 

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2)

Transitional periods in our lives can be fruitful experiences. I cannot express the gratitude I have for not just the good times but the hard ones that God has allowed over these past three years in college. We can use trials and triumphs to grow in our relationship with Christ–or let this relationship crumble. I’ve realized for myself that it’s up to us to make this choice. God will not force us to choose Him, but if we do choose Him, He will help us through it all. Please, make it easier and follow Him. There’s no better way to transition into a new season than with the God who brought you there. And if you didn’t get a great start, walking with Him will get you a strong finish.

For my final year of college, I’m excited to take the lessons I’ve learned with me, and I’m ready to learn new ones. I’m ready for the challenges, the blessings, knowing that I get to experience them with my heavenly Father by my side.


“…Look for Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”

– C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Love Series | Final Thoughts

Why did I start the Love Series?

Love has always been on the human mind, and I believe there are reasons for that. We’re designed to serve something, to live for something, and if we don’t have a love oriented towards God, this can get out of control.

It’s easy to panic about who God has for us in friendships, marriage, and other relationships. Who does God want in my life? Is this person supposed to be there? Will I even get married? So many young and/or single people go through these thoughts. I’ve seen people, men and women, young and old, go through depressions and anxieties over this.

The problem is that we’ve been consumed by romantic love for so long. It’s a beautiful thing, but it’s one thing out of several other beautiful things life has to offer. We’re a multidimensional people. Life has many other components–yet we get stuck on love.

What is it about love?

Through this series, I wanted to show that God’s love “works,” and it’s real. It’s an active love from an active God. It’s a love that surpasses all earthly things and restores us beyond comprehension. It has worked for those in the past, it is working now, and it will work in the future.

God has so many plans for us on earth, and our lives don’t start when we fall in love or get married. For those who are in relationships or married, a relationship with God is vital to uphold. A person who is dedicated to the Lord will be able to love and serve in that relationship from a Christ-like perspective.

Relationships will not cure loneliness, insecurities, fear, or lust. I believe we limit ourselves, others and God by viewing romantic love as the turning point of our lives, the quick fix solution to any issues. As I’ve emphasized in the series, this thinking leads to making unwise choices, having unrealistic and unfair expectations of our loved ones and can bring severe conflict. However, a God-centered mindset about love can foster godly relationships that can live up to their potential.

Overall, it’s important that we stop waiting and finally live the life God has for us. We have a purpose bigger than marriage. We cannot foresee the future, but we keep trying to control it. Although I have written the Love Series from the perspective of a young, single woman, everyone should let go. Let go of idealizing people. Let’s let go of fears and worries about the future. Instead, let’s continue to understand who God is, who we are in Him, obey His commandments, and live life as it ought to be lived.

If you missed it, check out the Love Series, in the links below!

Introduction

Part 1: Ruth

Part 2: The Samaritan Woman at the Well

Part 3: Anna

Part 4: Elizabeth