Monday, August 22, 2016

Forgiving Doesn't Make You Weak ; It Sets You Free

John 13:34

"A new command I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."

For the past few weeks we have been teaching the kids at Kids Club about love, kindness and forgiveness. Forgiveness isnt always easy, but in the end the only one it ends up hurting is ourselves. When we think of how much God loves us, in sending His Son to die on the cross for our sins so that we may be forgiven, it should make it easier for us to love and forgive one another. In comparison to all that God has forgiven me for, anything that anyone does here on earth is nothing.

I have struggled with forgiveness in some areas, and have harbored anger and bitterness in my heart. Throughout my entire life there have been many instances where I have been deeply hurt by others. I have been sexually abused, physically abused and emotionally abused. I have held on to anger, bitterness, resentment and hurt for years on end, and as a result of holding on to those things and not letting it go, I was weighed down and would seek things of the world to help ease the pain and feel the freedom from it. I was caught in a cycle of these things repeating themselves over and over again, and at one point I had accepted that my life would that way. I had been hurt so many times that I just thought that was the life that i was destined to have. The enemy had fed me so many lies, and I reached a point of just giving up and trying to take my own life. And though I had almost suceeded, God brought me back. He had always had bigger and better plans for my life and He wasnt ready to give up on me yet. He had plans and a future for me that I could never fathom. Now, I have been able to look back on all that hurt, and I have finally felt the freedom of letting it go. I have been able to love others as God loves me, and forgiven as He has forgiven me.

I was reminded of something recently that has really helped me pertaining to forgiveness. I was told, "Forgiveness does not go hand in hand with trust. You can forgive but still not trust, and need time to rebuild that trust." That statement made a huge impact on my life. I struggled with that fact, because I knew that I had forgiven but I still struggled with trust, and it made me question myself. I know the enemy will do anything he can to bring me down and get in my head. As long as I stay in the Word and diligent in seeking the Lord, He will keep me on the right track and crush the lies of the enemy.

Today, I will pray for all of those that have hurt me. I will pray that they will pursue God and desire to know Him, and that the enemy would release any hold that he has on thier lives.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Power Of Words

Proverbs 18:21 (a)
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue."

This verse makes me think of that old saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." That saying can not be farther from the truth. Words can absolutley be hurtful, and can actually bring someone to hurt themselves or even commit suicide. Death and life are in the power of the tongue. We may think that we aren't hurting anyone, or only joking around, but deep down it could be affecting that person in a horrible way.

This verse speaks to me because honestly im a jokester. I make jokes about EVERYTHING, and most of the time Im really just trying to lighten the mood. There are times though that I jokingly say something about someone else, and I may do it harmlessly, but that person may have taken offense to it, and without realizing it, I hurt them one way or another. The reason why I joke so much is because I love to laugh and I love to make people laugh. I hate when people are upset, or hurting, or when there is tension in the air, so I just make a joke in hopes that it'll lighten the mood in the room. I do know, though, that there are times when I have said hurtful things and joked about someone, and I knew I shouldn't have said it. Whatever it is that I may have said, could have a negative lasting effect on that person. I dont know what goes on in everyones head, and how the devil is attacking them, or what lies he is feeding them, and for all I know I could have just given the devil more ammo, and thats the LAST thing that I want to do. I truly hope and pray that I haven't hurt anyone with anything that I may have said, because I never intended to do that.

I do believe though, that humor and laughter are both amazing gifts from God. I just need to stop and think more carefully before I make a joke or say something that might be hurtful to someone else.

Today, I am going to ask my entire team here to hold me accounatble and to call me out if and when I say something that could have been hurtful to someone. I am also going to pray and ask God to help me choose words of life, and not of death.

Friday, July 29, 2016

How Great is Our God

John 3:30

"He must increase, but I must decrease."

What does it mean when John the Baptist said that He must increase ? To me it means that Jesus must become more prevelant in our lives. It means that everything that we do should glorify God. We should constantly be living testimonys and witnesses of Christ, and desire to become more Christ like everyday.

When I think of the characteristics of Christ, there is a neverending list of wonderful and amazing qualities that come to mind. A few of these are : compassionate, loving, caring, honest, prayerful, gracious, patient, kind, gentle, humble, forgiving .. the list goes on and on. Jesus is the perfect example of how we should all be. But on the contrary, in order for Him to increase, the second half of the verse says that then "I must decrease". How do I decrease and what does that mean ? I relate it to the lusts and characteristics of the flesh which are complete opposites of being Christ like. A few of these are : prideful, self centered, hateful, lying.. etc. I must stay diligent in my walk and pursuing God so that I may grow in Him, and allow God to soften my heart and mold me to be more Christ like.

I had an experience a couple days ago that really reignited that flame and desire to draw closer to Him. We went hiking in the mountains and when I reached the top, I was in such awe of the beauty of God's Creation. I was brought to my knees in prayer and just bowed down and worshipped God. I know that I get off track sometimes and get distracted by things but for some reason being on top of that mountain helped me see how magnificient and amazing that God really is. I started meditating on all the ways in which God has blessed me, all the times that I have seen His Hand in my life, and all the times He has saved me, and I couldnt help but to just praise Him for who He is and what He has done. I am so small, even smaller than an ant i imagine when Hes looking down from Heaven, yet He still has loved me and cared about me so deeply. Theres been a lot of hurt in my life, and I have had such low self esteem and hatred for myself, and used to not think I was anything special. The enemy still creeps in and reminds me of things that I have gone through, and memories of being hurt, and then some of those old feelings will come back. On that mountain though, God reminded me just how special I am to Him. Deuteronomy 7:6-8 says, "For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord you God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of the peoples; but because the Lord loves you." A special treasure. Isn't that beautiful ? I am a special treasure in His sight, and He loves me and cares about me.

As an application, I will memorize Deuteronomy 6:5, which says, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." I want to truly hide this Scripture in my heart, and to live each day truly loving God and worshipping Him with all my heart, all my soul and all my strength.

Thank you for loving me like you do, for saving me,for reminding me that I am special, and for showing me how magnificient and great that You are ! Lord, I want to be a light for You. Soften my heart God and help keep me diligent in my pursuit of You and to glorify Your name in all that I do.
In Jesus Name,

Monday, July 18, 2016

Self Control

Galations 5:25

"If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit"

What does it mean to walk in the Spirit ? When we give our lives to the Lord, He gives us the gift of His Holy Spirit, who guides us daily in our walk with God. In Galations 5:22-23, we are given a list of the fruit that come from walking and obeying the Holy Spirit in our lives. It says this, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." We are also given a list of the lusts of the flesh and are told in verses 16 and 17, "I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish."

Walking in the Spirit is a daily surrending to God's Will in our lives. It requires self discipline, humbling ourselves, admitting and confessing our sins daily, constant communication and prayer to the Lord, and reading His Word everyday. When I surrendered my life to the Lord, there was a complete turnaround and change in my life, and God is still molding and shaping me everyday.

As I read the list of fruit of the Spirit, I examined my own life and where I need the most growth. There are two that I struggle with the most which are patience and self control, but today Im just going to focus on self control. When I think of self control I am brought to Proverbs 25:28, which says, "Whoever has no rule over his own spirit, is like a city broken down without walls." In other words, I interpret it as, whoever lacks self control has no boundaries in thier life. I must have full control over my entire body, and if I am lacking self control in one area then I am allowing the enemy to gain a foothold and destroy me. The hardest part to control for me is my mind. I have to control where your mind goes, and what I allow to control my thought life. Proverbs 16:3 says, "Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established". I must die to self daily, and constantly put to the death what the flesh wants, and turn around and surrender it to God. A huge lesson I have learned recently is that when I open the door just a little bit, pretty soon afterwards it is thrown wide open and has gone completley out of control. When I allow the enemy to gain a foothold in one area, he will continue to play on that, break into it and break down any walls that I had. Thats why self control and self discipline is so important, so that I don't get off track and keep my mind and my thoughts pure and my focus on God. James 4:7 and 8 says, "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."

Application :

I haven't been as diligent as I should be in my walk with God. I have slowly been neglecting my prayer time alone with God, and not reading my devos everyday. These areas are so important in order for me to continue to grow and to be able to daily walk in the Spirit. I have asked my roomate, Tianna, to hold me accountable everyday and make sure that I don't go a day without doing both these things.

I know that I haven't been diligent in seeking You daily. Please forgive me for not pursuing You as I should everyday. Help me to have self control and self discipline in my life, humble myself and die to flesh daily so that You can continue to mold me and shape me .
In Jesus Name I pray,

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

2 Timothy 1:7
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."

Feeling fear well up inside of me is one of the worst feelings I have ever experienced. I have experienced it many times before coming to Christ. When I look back and think about it, everytime I felt fearful, there was some kind of evil behind it.

I like this verse especially because it puts fear and love on opposite ends of the spectrum. There should absolutley be no fear in any kind of relationship . Fear is not of God. This is not an easy subject but it is something that has been on my heart latley. Im referring to different types of domestic abuse and abusive relationships. It is something that I have not only witnessed, but I have personally experienced as well. Before I came to Christ I had a completley different outlook on myself. I went through different forms of abuse , and ended up in a cycle of pain and instead of fighting back I just accepted thats how it would be. For some reason or another I thought I was destined to be treated unfairly, and that I deserved it. There were so many lies from the enemy, and the drugs that I did to cope with the pain only further encouraged those lies and abusive behaviours. Im not only talking about a relationship with a significant other, although thats where most of the abuse was for me, but Im talking about any relationship where there is fear involved. If you feel that heaviness in your chest, and are fearful of someone for one reason or another, it is not love. No matter how many times that person may say they are sorry and even cry, if the abuse continues then they are not truly sorry. All the sorrys and all the tears are often only a form of manipulation and control to get you stay with them. Unless there is a true heart change, which can only come through Jesus Christ, then this abuse can and will continue.

Now let me talk about love. In 1 Corinthins 13, God tells us what love truly is. He says, "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." Recently, I compared the love of God to the way my mother has loved me. She has loved me with a pure and true love. She has exhibited all of these qualities and went above and beyond for me. I could never thank her enough for loving me the way she has, and I could never thank God enough for her. That is true love. Someone who does not judge you, someone who forgives you and who is there to pick you back up when you fall; Someone who does not think they are above you, someone who doesn't only "love" you for what may be in it for them, someone who will do anything to mend that relationship...etc. This type of love comes from God, and I think about the way Christ loved us and even willingly went to the cross to die for us. It has become so important to me to become a Proverbs 31 Godly woman so that I can be the wife that God desires for me to be. It is also important to me for the man that I end up with to be a Godly man and have the same desire to put God first in his life. When both people are seeking the Lord first in thier lives, the pure and true love of God will be evident in thier relationship and in thier lives as a whole.

I have started to pray that God will bring me a Godly man when its His timing. I am also, in the meantime, preparing myself to be the Godly wife that I was meant to be and diligently and eagerly seeking God first in my life. I also will start to pray for oppurtunities to reach out to people who are in abusive relationships.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Create in Me a Clean Heart

Acts 5:32

"And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him."

First, I'm going to write a little background on the context of the Scripture surrounding this verse. Peter and the apostles had been imprisoned for performing miracles, healed the sick and cast out demons in Jerusalem. Many people were brought to Christ during this time. The high priests and religious leaders weren't happy with what was happening and the fact that they were teaching in Jesus name, so they threw the apostles in jail. While they were at the jail, later that night, an angel of the Lord appeared to them and opened the prison doors and let them out. The angel said to them, "Go stand in the temple and speak to the people al the words of this life." So they left the prison, and entered the temple and taught there. The high priest sent officers to check on the apostles, and when the officers got there they found a closed, empty prison cell with guards still standing outside the door. One officer had heard that they were in the temple and told the others that the apostles were in the temple teaching the people. The captain and the officers went to the temple and brought the apostles back and put them on trial again. The high preist asked them "Did I not strictly command you not to teach in this name?" and Peter and the other apostles answered and said ,"We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. (32) And we are witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him."

The apostles were first hand witnesses to Christ's life, death and resurrection. They had so much boldness in preaching the Gospel and teaching about Jesus to the people. They weren't afraid to speak out, and even were willing to be imprisoned for their beliefs. I hear of people like this today. Martyrs for Christ, and it prompts me to ask myself the question, Would I be a martyr for Christ? Am I bold in speaking about Him or would I rather please men ? Galations 1:10 says, "For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men ? For If I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ." This verse is pretty clear. Its important for us to search our hearts and make sure that we are always aligned with Christ. Recently, the Lord gave me Psalm 51 and it has really stuck out to me and its something that I want to make my prayer everyday. Verses 10-12 say "create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me". I want the Lord to search my heart and reveal any wicked way within me, and start my day aligned with Him. When my heart is pure and my posture is aligned with God, then my intentions will be aligned with His will as well.

The Apostles may have physically seen Jesus firsthand and witnessed His life, death and resurrection, but we see Jesus today in many different forms. For me personally, God has made Himself so evident in my life. When I look back on my life, and where I was, and where I could have wound up, I see God's Hand guiding me and protecting me through everything. There is not just my testimony, but also the testimonies of those around us, and of those in the Bible that witness to us about Jesus and His never ending love, grace and mercy on us everyday. I also feel His presence everyday. Because I have obeyed Him and have made Jesus my Lord and Savior, He has given me the gift of His Holy Spirit whom has been my Comforter, my Advocate to the Father, and also the One who convicts me daily of my sin. Once I confess my sin to the Lord with an open and pure heart, that burden and heaviness on my heart is lifted and there is a peace that washes over me and I know that I have been forgiven.

As I mentioned earlier, I want to be more diligent in making Psalm 51 my prayer every morning when I wake up. So tonight, I will write it down in my prayer journal, and then wake up tomorrow and start my day with it as my prayer every morning.

Psalm 51:1-13

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Wonderful Counselor

 John 20:29b
"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Jesus says these words to Thomas, whom doubted that Jesus was risen. Thomas did not believe the other apostles when they told him that they had seen the risen Lord. In that statement Jesus is talking about us that believe in Him and believe that He was raised from the dead.
Although I have not physically seen Jesus, I feel His presence every single day. I have not seen Him, but I have no doubt of His existence as my Lord and Saviour. He has been there for me every step of the way and its so evident when I look back at my life and all that He has brought me through. Not only in my past, but everyday, He clearly speaks to me through His Word and through prayer, and its always exactly what I need to hear. His is my Comforter, my Redeemer, my God, my Everything. Isaiah 9:6 says, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace". He has been all these things to me, but the one that sticks out the most to me is Counselor. When I was in my teens I had some traumatic events that happened to me and I didn't know how to cope. I ended up going to a worldy counselor. This person had gone through training, and had the best intentions at heart, but honestly she had only made things worse for me. I was a young girl, broken, confused and angry. I was very bitter and held onto resentment for years and used many worldy things to cope with it and just ended up falling deeper and deeper into misery. It wasn't until I surrendered to God that I was finally free from that. It was still a process, but through biblical counseling, compassion, love and prayer, I have now been able to feel the freedom that I longed to have for so many years. Through Christ, I have learned to forgive those who have hurt me, and also to forgive myself.

Application :

Today, I will pray for all those who are broken and hurting. I will pray that the Lord will comfort them and counsel them through His Word and through Godly men and women, and ultimatley mend thier broken hearts and free them from thier misery and depression. I will also pray for oppurtunities for the Lord to use me in this way as well.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Being Bold

Romans 10:9
"If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."

Both these things are crucial in our salvation. First, we must "declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord." We must speak boldly about Jesus and not be ashamed, no matter how many people mock us or make fun of us for our faith. Second, we must believe in our hearts that God has raised Jesus from the dead. If we do not believe that Jesus is God and that He has been raised from the dead, then we do not have salvation. This puts us in a dangerous situation, where we think of Jesus as just a prophet or a teacher and nothing more.
For me I believe both that Jesus is Lord and that He has been raised from the dead with all my heart. I have outwardly declared my faith in Jesus, but I do still struggle from time to time with speaking boldly about the Lord. I have been mocked and made of for my faith. It is hurtful in a lot of ways, but mostly it hurts me that they don't see the change that Christ can do in our lives. Sometimes it is hard to be bold and speak outwardly about the Lord because of this , but I also want so desparatley to help them and end thier misery. For me, I really struggle in finding a balance of what to say and how to say it. I also fear that I will be too forceful and ultimatley push someone away. There were many times I can remember that I would get annoyed and felt like I was being forced to believe something, and being stubborn and strong willed, it only made things worse. In a way it did plant seeds for me though, but what really drew me closer to the Lord was the compassion and love that I was shown in my time of need. No matter how much I messed up, there were believers that kept me in prayer and never looked down on me. Instead they loved me and showed me how much they truly care and showed me the way lovingly. That is the balance that I want to have. I also find myself being nervous when im talking to the kids here and telling them what salvation really is and asking if any of them want to know Jesus as thier Lord and Savior. I find myself holding back sometimes or not expounding on it enough because I have a fear that I am being too forceful or that they will just say a prayer and not really mean it or understand what it means. I really want to be bolder in this aspect though. Fear does not come from God, and it is so important that these kids understand who Jesus is and desire to have Him in thier lives.
Starting today, I will pray for boldness to speak about the Lord . I will also pray for the Holy Spirit to guide my words and help me find that balance of showing compassion, love and how to share about the Lord.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Need For A Savior

Romans 10:13

"Anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved"

The fact that we need to be saved implies that we need to be rescued. What is it that we need rescuing from ? Ultimately we need rescuing from ourselves, our own sinful nature and spiritual darkness . As humans we have been created to have free will, and we can do with it as we please, but if there is anything I have learned is the need for a Savior.

I want to tell a little bit about my own personal life and why I know I need a Savior. For many years I had gone about living my life the way I have wanted to without caring about any consequences and pushing away any convictions I felt . I hated the feeling that I was doing something wrong but to drown it out I turned to drugs and fleshly desires. Those things would drown it out for a few minutes, and then I would be hit harder than I was before. It was a never ending cycle of self destruction, but even in my misery, I was determined to make that lifestyle work. I can't even begin to explain the sheer addiction to that life and even the addiction to just being miserable. That is how I lived for a very long time, but like many others, I hit rock bottom, not just once, but multiple times. Each time I tried to pick myself back up, and would get clean for a little while, then fall back into the same things that destroyed my life to begin with. Finally I realized just how much I needed saving. I had already turned to the world multiple times for help but I was still in bondage. I felt like there was no hope for a life free of the chains that were so tightly bound to me. Even if I was "clean and sober", I was restrained to a life full of meetings and 12 step programs and never really free from it. I was told that it was a disease and that theres really no way to be rid of it. I was told to identify myself as a drug addict. That alone was incentive for me to NOT want to quit, and just accept that I was going to be that way for the rest of my life. I mean really, what kind of life is that ? Its absolutely miserable, and its a big reason why I could never truly stay "clean and sober". When those things are drilled into your head then really whats the point ? I felt like no matter how hard I tried I was bound to fail because as I heard so many times before, "relapse is part of recovery". I wound up completely broken, lost and afraid. I lived each day hoping I would overdose and die so the neverending cycle of misery and failure would be broken. Finally, I decided I needed a change. I needed a true Savior. I have been told of this Savior multiple times before but was never convinced I needed saving, but this time was different. I dropped to my knees in surrender, and with tears streaming down my face I cried out to the one true Savior, Jesus Christ. I asked for forgiveness and put my life into His Hands, and I can't even tell you the amount of freedom I felt and the complete 180 my life has taken since then . Now I am free from the chains, free from the guilt, free from the shame, free from the identity of a addict, free from the demons that tormented me ; overall, free from the misery and darkness that haunted me day in and day out. In Christ I am free. In Christ I have hope and a future. In Christ I have a life of joy. I am a new creation in Him. Jesus has saved my life . Now I absolutely love my life and with Him I am equipped to fight against temptations that come my way and spiritual darkness. I live with a joy that I have never felt before and await the day that I will be in His presence in Heaven.

Because of the fall of man, we are all sinners. We all need the same kind of saving, and theres only One that has the ability to save us.

Tonight, I will pray for divine appointments and opportunities to share my testimony and the hope and Gospel of Jesus Christ, whom is my Lord and Savior, with others .

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Importance Of Building On A Strong Foundation

Psalm 18:2 (a)

"The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer .. "
The Lord is my rock. When I think of a rock, I think of a strong foundation. ; a base that can not be moved or shaken. The Lord is that foundation and no matter what the enemy throws our way , with Him as our foundation, we will not be moved. Everything in our lives is built off of a foundation. Think of a house, without a strong foundation that house will bend and sway when the storms and winds come and eventually it will crumble and fall. If we don't have a strong foundation in our lives, when the enemy attacks us and the storms of life come, we will ultimatley fall.
Before Christ, I tried to build my life off many other foundations. I had tried just about everything. There are three main foundations that I tried to build my life around and all of them ended in my fall . Those were drugs, lies and relationships. For many years I built and revolved my life around my drug addiction and around swarms of lies and deception. Any storms that came my way I combatted with drug use to try and drown them out and escape reality and it left me broken . The third foundation that lead to my downfall was relationships . I based my life around the guys that I was with, even going as far as to move across the country , while in a fragile state, away from my family. That doesnt mean its wrong to move for the one you love, but my own personal motives in the matter were wrong . I have learned that its important to have my focus on God first and foremost and establish a relationship with Him, and to also desire that in the man I end up with. Once I do that then I can have a positive Christ centered relationship with others. I do have a desire to get married and have a family, but I am using this season in my life to build my foundation in Christ and establish a strong immovable foundation with Him first and foremost. Going through everything I have been through has finally brought me to a place where I know how much I need Christ in my life . It was only until I surrendered my life to Him that I was able to overcome the destruction and strongholds Satan had in my life. In Christ I have overcome. In Christ I am a new creation . Thank you Jesus for saving my life and my soul. You alone are my rock and my foundation, in whom I put my trust. You are my fortress , my strong tower in whom I take refuge, and You are my deliverer .
Application :
In my devotions I am going through 1 Corinthians . This morning I read through chapter 3, and verse 11 of that chapter stuck out to me. It says, " For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. " I need to be reminded daily that He is my rock and the foundation that I build my life upon. Its no coincidence that as im doing this IBS, that I read that very verse this morning as well. As an application, I will write it on a sheet of paper and hang it up in my room so that I start each day with the encouragement and motivation that He is my rock and my foundation ; Whom then shall I fear ?

Pride Comes Before The Fall

Proverbs 8:33
"Listen to My instruction and be wise; do not disregard it"
Sometimes we may not like to listen to what the Lord is telling us. Our pride gets in the way. Proverbs 11:2 says, "When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom." We cannot obtain wisdom and be wise if we dont follow the Lord's instruction. Because of this pride, it is not easy for us to admit that we are wrong. In return, we quench the Holy Spirit and if we continue in that direction we will wind up on a dark and dangerous road. He doesn't correct us because He wants to control us, He does it because He loves us. Its just like our own parents and guardians did growing up. They disciplined and scolded us because they love us and didn't want to see us going down the wrong path and get hurt. There are so many instances I can think of where my parents have warned me about situations and told me not to do them, yet I was stubborn and prideful and decided I was going to them anyway. Now I have scars because of the hurt and pain I endured for not listening. Humble yourself, admit that you are wrong, ask for forgiveness and its amazing the amount of joy and peace that comes from doing so.
Another aspect to this is being able to discern between Heavenly Wisdom and Earthly Wisdom. In my favorite book of the Bible, James, it is clearly spelled out how to distinguish what is Heavenly wisdom and what is of the flesh and the enemy. James 3:14-17 says, "But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy." It all leads back to pride. So many downfalls come from being prideful and it hinders our relationship with the Lord and also our relationships with others.
Application :
I still battle with being prideful at times. I have decided to take a step back and examine my attitude towards situations and approach things differently. Starting today, I will try to have this approach to every situation I encounter, and I will also begin to pray that the Lord helps me become more humble.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Spiritual Warfare

        James 4:8(a)
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you ... "
    Its so simple yet it requires a lot of discipline, and it is something I need to be reminded of daily. It is so important to constantly be drawing near to Him and the importance is stressed in the verse right before this one, verse 7, which says "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." I have been attacked from just about every angle since being here. The devil does not like the work that the Lord is doing through Potters Field here on the Reservation, and he is using any distraction he can to deter my team mates and I from keeping our focus on why we are here.  Anytime one of these attacks comes, I have to shift my focus back onto God and remember that He is in control and theres no reason to be afraid. Our pastor here preached on a message last night out of John 6 where Jesus walks on water and the story reminds me of how to handle these attacks. The disciples were afraid when they saw a figure walking on water in the midst of the storm, but Jesus said, "It is I ; do not be afraid". The disciples then recieved Him into the boat and immedeatly they were on land. Though the devil attacks us, and we feel like we are in the midst of a storm, Jesus is there, walking beside us and there is no reason for us to be afraid. If we accept that He is in control of the situation, that fear and heaviness will be lifted from our shoulders and we will 'hit land'.  As soon as I surrendered all control to Jesus over the situations that the devil has used to attack me , my joy and peace have been restored. Fear is not of God. It is one of the distractions the devil uses to distract us from keeping our focus on the Lord and hinder us from carrying out God's will and perfect plan for our lives. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you.
    There are many ways in which we draw near to God. One is staying in His Word night and day. Since being here I have been getting into the habit of reading and studying His Word every morning and every night. Its not just about reading the Bible, but opening our hearts and allowing Him to speak to us in that time. He has spoken to me in multiple ways, and I am always able to shift my focus back on Him and not allow to devil to gain a foothold in my life. Another way to draw near to Him is through prayer. Prayer is our communication with the Lord and it is so important for us to have that constant contact with Him. Its not something we should do once in a while, but a daily, everyday thing. Anytime an attack comes, I have to remember to stop and pray and shift my focus back on Him. My team and I have prayer every night, but its also important to have that personal alone time between God and I.  I will be honest, even though I know the importance of doing this I have been lacking in my personal prayer time with Him. We also draw near to Him through attending church and hearing the Word, worshipping Him, serving Him and others, witnessing to others, surounding ourselves with other believers ..etc.
Application :
    As I said I have been lacking in my personal prayer time with the Lord and don't feel like I am in communication with Him enough. Starting today, I will pray every morning and every night on my own, when I am studying and reading His Word. 

The burden on my heart

                    Proverbs 11:30
    "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise"
    After I read this verse , the first thing that came to my mind was Psalm 1:2-3 which says, "But his delight is found in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper." Without His wisdom and His guidance we can not bear fruit. The only way that I can reach out and help others is through Him and His Holy Spirit speaking through me.
    Since being here in Browning I have really been hit with just how important it is to stay in His word daily and to stay in constant communication with Him throughout the day. There is absolutley no way that I can do this in my own strength, even just for a day. I already feel such a love and compassion for the people here and feel the heavy burden on my heart to reach out to the lost souls here. There has been many times that I stress out and go through scenarios in my head of what im going to say or what im going to do and then the enemy creeps in and tries to make me feel inadequate. Every time this happens I stop and pray and then the Lord always brings me back to Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths." I just need to trust fully on Him and He will guide and direct me and give me the wisdom to say what the people need to hear.
    He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and I just need to abide in Him and through Him I will bear the fruit of the righteous and bring the hope of everlasting life with the Lord . There is no hope and no life without Him as the center. For many years I made worldly things my center and I had no hope and so many times I wanted to end to just end it all and give up. When I surrendered everything to Jesus is when I truly became alive. I have gone from living day to day in misery to a life full of a joy and peace that can not be found anywhere else. It is my prayer everyday that I will be able to win souls for Him and bear the fruit of the righteous and share the same hope, joy and love that I have found in Jesus with others.
    Starting today I will dedicate more time to the Lord and being in His Word. I will not only spend time in His Word in the morning when I wake up but also every night before I go to sleep as well.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Grabbing Hold Of Every Opportunity The Lord Gives Me

Luke 2:46
"Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions."
In this passage it is during passover, Jesus is twelve years old and Mary and Joseph couldn't find Him for three days. When they did locate Him, He was in the temple and was listening intently to those in the temple and sharing His own wisdom and understanding with them. When asked why He had done this, He answered, "Did you not know that I must be about My Father's buisness?", and because of this He ended up increasing in the favor of God and of men.
Nothing stopped Jesus from talking about His Father in Heaven and trying to reach others. He demonstrated a heart of love and compassion for the people, even at such a young age. He was truly interested in what they believed and wanted so much to show them the right way. This is the same heart in which we should have towards everyone we come into contact with. Jesus came to save everyone, not just some. No matter who you are or what you have done Jesus came, died on the cross and bore all the sins of the world so that we may have salvation through Him. I know for me personally, I have done so many things wrong and lived a life of sin and bondage. There are times when the enemy tries to tear me down and tell me things like I am not worthy and there is no way that someone like me can be used by God, but these are all lies. The Lord has plans for me and wants to use all that I have gone through and use my past for His glory.
Jesus had wisdom and knowledge concering His Father and His Kingdom and had a burden on His heart to reach out to those who were lost. Likewise, I have a knowledge of drug addiction and how the Lord has set me free from that, and now the Lord will use my knowledge and experience in that to help others who are still in bondage to that. I truly have a love and compassion for these people and I feel that burden on my heart to reach out to them and help them.
Today I will pray that I will not quench the Spirit and grab hold of every opportunity to witness and help those which the Lord puts in my path. I will also pray that it would be Him speaking through me and that His Holy Spirit would give me the wisdom and knowledge of what to say.

Having A Hardened Heart

Proverbs 9:9
"Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning"
When you give instruction to a wise man he will increase is his head knowledge. When you teach a just (righteous) man, he listens not only with his ears, but with his heart as well and he will apply it to his life. There are many wise and intelligent people but sometimes I feel like that is all it is. They will appear smart on the outside but where is thier heart in it ? Are they truly applying what they are being told ? If you just listen to what you are being taught, but not putting any application to it then you are not truly learning.
While here in IGNITE, I have been taught so much from all the pastors and teachers which have come here. If I had just sat there in class, and listened to what they had told me but didn't take it to heart and let it change my life, then I wouldn't have grown at all. Some things were a lot harder for me to apply and hit my life harder than others, but I know that these things are necessary in order to grow closer to Him. For me, recently I have struggled with softening my heart towards people whom have hurt me in the past and truly forgiving them. For years I have harbored unforgiveness and resentment in my heart, and it has dictacted the way my life has turned out up until this point. I have had a hardened heart, and let the devil gain that foothold on my life, and in turn he was able to use it against me and it kept growing and catapulted out of control. What I have learned is that I must let that anger and resentment go and forgive others as Jesus has forgiven me. An amazing book that im reading here called On Being A Servant says that its not about what another person does to us, but its how we respond to it. Such a simple statement yet it hit me pretty hard. Although what the other person has done was wrong towards me, its ultimatley my own choice how Im going to respond to it and let it dictate my life. I've been responding to situations and people the wrong way for years, but I refuse to let the enemy have that foothold over my life anymore.
Today I will pray for the ones which I have harbored this anger and resentment towards and I will ask the Lord to continue to soften my heart and learn to truly forgive.


2 Timothy 2:2
"And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also"
This verse along with the context surrounding it is talking about discipleship. The past three months here in IGNITE I have been discipled by my teachers and the many pastors which have freely given up thier time to come here.
In verse 1 he says, "You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus". I don't deserve to be here, but the Lord has has shed so much mercy and grace on me and has chosen me to be a part of this ministry. Also, 1 Timonthy 1:12 says, "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry". That has become one my favorite verses since being here in IGNITE. After all the things that I have done, and the way I used to live, He still in all His love and mercy, has counted me faithful to be here and to enable me by learning from all the pastors and men and woman of God that have graciously passed thier wisdom onto me. The Lord is so faithful when we are faithless.
In the verses following, verses 3-7, we are given three illustrations which we are follow. First we are to be like a soldier. We are all enlisted in God's army and the world is a spiritual battlefield. Our motivation should be to please the One which enlisted us,which is Jesus Christ. Second, we are given the illustration of being like an athlete. An athletes motivation is to train to be the best, and recieve a crown. As christians, that should also be our motivation. To train and to do our best to obtain a heavenly crown. Thrid, he talks about being like a farmer during harvest. Likewise, we should want to participate in the harvest, which is ministry, because we want to see the fruit of it, and also to bless others. So alltogether, in a nutshell he is saying that we should want to please to Jesus, obtain our heavenly crown, and see peoples lives transformed and changed.
As I go into Browning to serve, it is now my job to teach others and to raise up disciples there. God has so graciously blessed me with this time of being coached and raised up, and now He wants me to pass that on so that I may bless others as well. I can not wait to share the love of God and share the infinite ways in which the Lord has blessed me.
Today, I will get my team together and pray specifically for our time in Browning, and that the Lord will fill us with His strength and His Holy Spirit in our to carry out the tasks which the Lord has set before us.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back

Psalm 119:9-11
"How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You."

"That I might not sin against You". When we sin against each other here on earth, we are also sinning against God. I don't know about you, but for me that changes things and puts things in a different perspective . When I take a step back and think about all the things that the Lord has done for me then why would I ever want to do anything to hurt Him? God has literally saved me and brought me back to life. If you don't know my testimony, then let me briefly share some of what the Lord has done for me. I was addicted to drugs and I overdosed multiple times, but one time in particular really sticks out to me. Everything went black and the next thing I remember I woke up in the hospital not knowing what had happened. I had no energy in my body, I literally had the life sucked out of me. When I got back to my apartment I walked in and saw the disposable paddles still on the floor that they needed to use to revive me. That hit me. My heart had literally stopped and by the grace of God He brought me back. There are multiple circumstances which the Lord has saved me from. I shouldn't even be here today, yet because of His grace He has still chosen to use me as His instrument for His glory. Thats truly amazing. It doesn't matter how much I have messed up in the past because He has redeemed me and finds me worthy in His sight. I could never thank the Lord enough for all Hes done, but I can continue to grow in Him and follow the perfect plan that He has for my life. I don't know if your familiar with the song but as Im writing this the words continue to play over and over in my mind, it says "I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back". Lord Jesus, thank you for saving my life, breaking me free of the chains that held me in bondage, redeeming me and choosing to use me as an instrument for Your glory.


I want to truly have His word hidden in my heart and to always be encouraged to stay in His will. Today I will memorize Romans 12:1-2 which says, "I beesech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God"


1 Corinthians 9:24-27
"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize ? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus : not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified."

There is one part in here that really sticks out to me. That is "I discipline my body and bring it into subjection". Here on earth if you compete in sports, run marathons or things of that nature you must train continually and discipline your body daily. This verse is not talking about doing those things though. It is talking about disciplining ourselves daily to keep our fleshly bodies in the Lord's will.

How do we discipline our body and bring it into subjection though? For me, this means staying in God's word everyday, praying without ceasing, and surrending my fleshly lusts and desires to Him daily. Ill be honest, there are days that I have failed on doing some or all of these things. Its not that I don't understand the importance of doing them, its just that there are so many things going on that I lose track of time and am exhausted by the end of the day and just pass out. There really are no excuses for not doing all of these things though. I have the desire to grow deeper in the Lord and to stay in His will for my life. If I stop doing daily devotions, or slack off on my prayer life it makes a huge difference. If im not in God's word I will not be renewing my mind daily and will dry up spiritually. If im not praying throughout the day then by the time I lay down to go to sleep I feel a huge weight on me and I need to stop and pray. If i don't lay down my fleshly desires to Him everyday, then the enemy will creep in and fill my mind with them and get me off track. These things are so important and I want to discipline my body into doing all of them every single day without any excuses.

Tomorrow, I will wake up earlier so that I have more time between the Lord and I, and spend more time in His word and in prayer.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Power of His Holy Spirit

Philippians 3:9

"and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith"
I read this verse a few times and each time I did the first thing that came to mind is the Holy Spirit. It brings me back to the whole context of this first part of the chapter. In verse 3 which says, "For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Chirst Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh". People may follow the laws of the flesh on earth and think because they lived a "good life" and that is enough, but we as Christians know that this is false. Our righteousness will be found in Him when we listen to the convictions of the Holy Spirit, because He knows the perfect way to live and He will guide our every step.
In Acts 1:8 it says, "But you shall receive the power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shal be witnesses to Me". Being filled with the Holy Spirit is not a one time occurence. We must constantly be asking the Lord to fill us afresh daily. When we are filled with the power of His Spirit the Lord tells us that we will be witnesses to Him. That says a lot to me. We may be in our ministry and are going about our duties and appearing to be witnesses to others on the outside but where are our hearts in it ? What are our motives behind our outward works ? By using the power of His Holy Spirit our hearts will always be in the right place and in doing so we will be witnesses not only to others but also to God as well.
Tonight I will pray that the Lord fills me afresh with His Holy Spirit, and make it my everyday prayer .

Surrendering All To Him

Philippians 3:8

"Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ"

Emptying ourselves of the world and being filled with Him and His Holy Spirit. For me this is a daily occurence. I must die to myself everyday and ask the Lord to fill me afresh with His Holy Spirit.

About 8 months ago is when I gave my life to the Lord. I fell down on my knees with tears rolling down my cheeks and surrendered everything to Him. In doing this there were a lot of things I had to give up and get rid of so that I may be filled with Him instead. It has been a difficult process and there are still things I struggle with daily to give up into His Hands but I do it daily and I have seen the fruit of doing so.
There was a lot that I gave up in that moment of surrender. My life was full of darkness; the lying, the deceit, the addictions. There were so many sins that I was a slave to, but the Lord broke those chains when I gave my life to Him. The old me is gone and I have become a new creation in Him. The things of the past that I have given up mean nothing, especially since it means that I am able to gain Christ in thier place. Romans 12:1 says, "I beesech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service". A living sacrifice for Him. Living each day for Him and Him only. Giving up my fleshly desires into His Hands and trusting in His will for my life, even when it gets hard. Psalm 37:4-5 says, "Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass"


Today I will memorize Psalm 37:4-5 so that I may be able to constantly remind myself that He knows what is best for me and to give Him the reigns and the control over my life.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Learning To Trust and To Forgive

Matthew 18:15
"Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you , you have gained a brother."
This verse, along with verses 16-20, really go hand in hand with maturity. Its easy for us to gossip and talk badly about someone when they may do or say something that may hurt us. But by doing that, we are also in sin and just creating more problems. Not only does it create problems between you and that other person, but it causes disunity between an entire group. Rather we need to approach that person privatley and talk it out with them and then if that doesnt work you bring others into it to help you talk it out and mend that friendship.
For me personally I can remember an instance in highschool this happened to me. I told my bestfriend something in confidence and it wound up around the whole school and I couldnt even walk up and down the hallways without people pointing and laughing at me. I didn't do the mature thing back then, rather caused problems for that person as well and it just escalated from there, until finally one day I approached them and we talked it out. That experience changed a lot for me. It was so hurtful in so many ways and caused a lot of trust issues for me, but it also grew and matured me as a person as well. Because of the effect it had on me, It caused me to not want to do that to another person. Although the damage and disunity had already been caused, just going to that person and talking it out with them changed everything between us. She was one of my bestfriends and I didn't want to lose that friendship and to this day her and I still talk every now and again, and theres no issues between us. It took me years to approach her though, and thats also where I fall short. I let people hurt me and take advantage of me without taking a stand for myself. On the other end, If I feel i have hurt someone in some way though, or someone doesnt like me for my own actions its easy for me to approach them and make it right.
There are a couple verses that come to mind when I think of how we should treat other. The first is Psalms 103:8 which says, "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy." The Lord has neverending mercy on us, and we in turn need to have mercy on eachother instead of getting angry and blowing up on that person. The other verse is Proverbs 10:12 which says, "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins." We need to love eachother. Harbouring hatred and maintaining grudges against another person will in turn harden our hearts and also hinder our relationship with God.
A couple verses that really helped me with the hatred that I had in my own heart is Matthew 6:14-15, "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." This really hit me. If i am not merciful and gracious unto others for thier sins against me, then the Lord in return will not be merciful unto me. For years I have harboured hatred in my heart towards a couple people who hurt me when I was younger. It has been hard for me to work through it but since being here in IGNITE I have been able to let go of that hatred, and in turn I pray for them.
Today I will pray and ask the Lord to give me strength and have mercy on those who hurt me.
Also to overcome the trust issues I have, tonight I will confide in my teammate Tianna about something that I haven't been able to open up about because of my fears.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Everyone is Equal in the Lord's Sight

Romans 12:16

"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"
Everyone is equal in the Lord's sight. No one is better or worse than the other. This is how we should also view each other. The rich are not better than the poor, celebrities are not better than the average person, and we are not better than others because we are Christians.
This is one subject that really aggrivates me, especially when it comes to Christians. I experienced this growing up. I went to a Christian school for a few years and a lot of people there had a chip on thier shoulder, and they didn't want to associate with the kids from the public schools. This was because those kids were beneath them because they weren't Christians and because they didn't go to our school. This was something that turned me off to Christianity at a young age. I thought thats how all Christians acted, like they were better than everyone else. They did the same things the other kids did, and in some cases they even acted worse than the public school kids but somehow that was okay. Unfortunatley, this is not something that only goes on as kids, because it was a learned behavior from the adults around them. This happens a lot today in the Christian church. They will look down on others for thier sins but somehow fail to look at themselves in the mirror. Jesus says in Luke 6:37- "Judge not, and you shall not be judged" and later starting in verse 41 He says, "And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye', when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye?" We must focus on ourselves and our own sins. If we see a brother or sister in sin, don't judge them. Instead, try to help them and show them the love of Christ. Jesus came to save everyone, not just some. As Christians, we are to go out and spread the Gospel to all the ends of the earth and save those that are lost and hurting.
There are times when I need to check myself . I have found myself judging the way one of my brothers or sisters are acting or saying, and then I neglect my own thoughts and behaviors . As an application, whenever one of these thoughts comes into my mind I will stop and pray in the moment and ask the Lord to help me with this, and for Him to reveal my own shortcomings.

My Doubts

1 John 1:5-7

"This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin."
My past is full of darkness, all the lying, stealing, gambling and using drugs. The Lord has freed me from that life but that doesnt mean that I don't still have thoughts about it, or get tempted by it. Im going to be really honest in this IBS (not that I havent been honest before), but its just that Im not going to sugarcoat anything or whats going through my mind. Im scared, I truly am. I will be going to a place that is deeply involved with the struggles from my past (drug use, gambling..etc.). I have a deep desire in my heart to help these people and show them the light but latley I have been doubting myself alot. Am I really able to do this ? Can I really help these people ? Will I be able to deny the temptations around me ? I have been going through it in my mind, all the things that Im going to say, and how to approach it but I still feel like I won't say the right thing, or that I will somehow stumble and fall. I have been having constant nightmares and fears, and thoughts of doubting myself. These fears and thoughts consume my mind and sometimes its hard to shake them. Now, I do realize that these are all just attacks from the Devil and that he is trying to discourage me from going. With the Lord by my side, through His strength, I know that I will be able to do this. With Him, I can resist the temptations of the Devil and His Holy Spirit will give me the words to say to these people. So why do I still have fear and doubt then ? Because I also realize that the Devil and demons are no joke. They are nothing to be played with. The things that I experienced while in that stage of my life were truly terrifying. The voices, the thoughts, the way they played with my mind, the way they made me feel was horrible. I know what they are capable of. I also know, of course, that the Lord has overcome them. I do not doubt the Lord in any way, I just know how strong I need to be in Him before I take this on. I know I can not do this without Him.
1 John 2:16-17 says, " For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." I know that being here is His will for my life. I also know, that He wants me to be in Montana. Since the very first moment I heard of the Reservation I had a tug in my heart and knew that was where I was meant to be. So, knowing that it is His will for my life, as long as I press on and stay in His will and rely on His strength, He will be able to use me in a mighty way for His glory.
We went through James 1 this morning and it was just the message I needed to hear. Austin taught us how to combat doubt and desires. He told us we need to pray for wisdom and understanding, and to delight in the Lord. I felt like the Lord was speaking directly to me. So, starting today, my application is to pray for His wisdom and Understanding every morning and every night. Also, starting tonight, I will start to read my Bible every night before bed as well so that I may fully delight myself in Him.

My Desire to Be Married

Amos 3:3
" Can two walk together, unless they are agreed? "
When I read this verse the first thing that came to my mind was marriage. I have made so many mistakes when It comes to relationships and what I thought they were supposed to look like. Its interesting actually because I was in a serious relationship with a guy and him and I literally never fought. I cannot remember one legitimate fight that we had. In a sense, we were agreed, on the same page if you will, but there was a big problem between us. At that time neither of us knew God and our relationship wasn't centered around Him, rather around eachother and things of the world. I have made countless mistakes in the relationships that I was in. I was far from perfect and I regret being the person I was in those relationships. There are times when I wish I could go back because I have experienced so much hurt from relationships and doing things my own way. Especially for me, being engaged twice and so close to being married, which is one of the biggest desires of my heart, and then it being taken away from me in one way or another, is hard for me to cope with sometimes. Coming here and giving that desire to the Lord was really hard for me to do. I have learned to put my trust in Him completley and be patient and wait on Him and His timing. During this season in my life the Lord has set me apart from the world and from any relationships. I know that I need to focus on growing in Him and being molded into that Proverbs 31 woman (Woman of God).
As I was reading through Isaiah there were very distinct passages that have really spoken to me regarding this matter. The first is Isaiah 54:4-6, which says, "Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame of your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore. For your Maker is your husband, The Lord of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth. For the Lord has called you like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, Like a youthful wife when you were refused, Says your God". I read that passage and tears welled up in my eyes. My Maker is my husband, and He was there when I was refused as a youthful wife. He knows the pain I have gone through, the countless nights of crying and wondering what was wrong with me. He knows that I feel unworthy of even being in a relationship. I have beaten myself up and put myself down a lot over the failures of my relationships. He spoke to me though, and lovingly and gently told me that I am still loved deeply and that I don't need to be ashamed of my past and the mistakes that I have made. I am a precious jewel in His sight, and He loves me regardless of the mistakes I have made.
The second passage that I read in Isaiah that really spoke to me is Isaiah 64:8 which says, "But now, O Lord, You are Our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand." This passage gave me the confirmation I needed to hear. Right now, being at Potter's Field, He is the potter and I am the clay and He is molding me shaping me into that perfect woman and wife and I need to be able to rest in that and wait patiently on Him and His timing.
When it comes to this area of my life particualry, I get very closed off and don't talk to my sisters about whats going on in my head and how I feel, so I will make it a point to talk to my sisters more about my struggles in this area. Tonight, I will talk to my sister Tianna about whats been going on and pray with her about it.


Sunday, March 6, 2016

My Prayer

John 15:15
"No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things I have heard from My Father I have made known to you"
In this verse, Jesus is calling us His friends. Think about that for a second, what an honor it is to be called a friend to the Son of God. He cared about and loved us so deeply that He came to the earth to serve us and die for us to save us all from our sins.
I would like to also take a look at Verse 11 where He says, "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full." He wants us to understand just how much He loves us. Its with this same love that we are commanded to love each other. If we love in our own strength we will fail, so we must love through Him and rely on His strength. When we follow His commandments and empty ourselves completley of ourselves we can be filled with Him and His Holy Spirit. When we do this like verse 11 says, our joy may be full. This is a particular area that I need to personally work on. I let outside thoughts and influences get in my head, and then I remain stuck in those thoughts and negativity, and as a result my joy suffers. I need to remember that I have a best friend, Jesus, and I can always talk to Him and lay my worries and fears upon Him. All i need to do is call upon His name and He will always be there to help me through it. There are two verses that have been laid on my heart, and those are Jeremiah 33:3 - "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know". The other is Phillipians 4:13 - "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". These have become my life verses in this season of my life. My physical body may be weak, and the enemy knows this and tries to come in and attack my body and my mind. When this happens though, I need to just call unto Him to fill me with His strength and have joy in the fact that He has saved me, and that one day I will be spending eternity with Him in Heaven.
I need to always remember that I have a friend in Him, and that He is my shelter, the rock on which I stand. I need to fully rely on Him, and trust in Him completley. So as an application, today I will write down Psalm 61: 1-4 in my prayer journal and make it my prayer to Him every morning. It says, "Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter to me, A strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever, I will trust in the shelter of Your wings."

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Becoming a Prayer Warrior

Matthew 20:26-28
"Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave -just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
Jesus, the Son of God, came down to earth to serve us and to die on the cross for us. Thats how much He loved us. He gave his life up for all of us. What an amazing example for us on how we should be. Now im not saying that we should physically die, but we do need to spiritually die, and die to our flesh. We must rid ourselves of everything and be filled with only Him so that we may serve Him in a greater way. This isn't an easy task. It means giving up fleshly desires and maybe even giving up friendships or relationships with people that hinder our walk with Him.
When I came to the Lord I had to give up a lot in my life. Just making the decision to come to IGNITE meant I had to give up a year of my life to serve others. It was a huge decision, but it has been so rewarding in so many ways. Don't get me wrong, I miss my friends and my family back home, but I have also made a new family here in Guatemala that I get to serve alongside with. I also had to put relationships and friendships into the Lord's Hands. That was the most difficult thing for me to do, but I have come to realize and learn that the greatest service that I can do for someone else is pray. I have become a prayer warrior, every single morning, for those that I love so dearly and are in my heart that are still suffering in the world. My mom was my prayer warrior. She put me into the Lord's Hands, and prayed for me everyday. She was worried but she also had a peace about her because she knew and had faith that I would come back to the Lord, and now here I am. If you would have known me and how lost I was before, you would have thought it was impossible for me to come back to God, but yet my mom had such strong faith. She has become my inspiration and the example of the Godly woman that I wish to be. I have now became that Prayer Warrior for others that have been heavy on my heart. I have faith that the Lord is protecting them and watching over them, just as He watched over me and protected me. My favorite verses are from Lamentations 3:22 and 23, which says, "Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. That are new every morning, Great is Your faithfulness." My mom read this out loud and cried after I shared my testimony in my home church, and now these verses have so much meaning to me that It brings tears to my eyes whenever I read them. Great is Your faitfulness Lord God. Though we may stray away from Him, He never strays away from us. He has, is, and always will be there faithfully.
I want to become even more of a prayer warrior, so starting today, in addition to praying every morning for those ones that I love that are away from the Lord , I will also pray for them every night before I go to sleep, as well.

Staying Humble

Luke 17:7-10
"And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ' Come at once and sit down and eat' ? But will he not rather say to him, ' Prepare something for my supper and gird yourself and serve me till i have eatten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink'? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do'."
Serving without expecting a thank you, or anything in return. How many times do I let my pride get in the way ? Ill be honest with you all, there are times that i get upset when I don't hear a thank you. Its part of my selfish, prideful human nature to want to hear how great of a job im doing. Now im not saying that its wrong to hear or say thank you once in a while, because I think we all need that bit of reassurance once in awhile, or else we will get burnt out. What Im saying is that we should be doing things for others because we genuinley truly want to deep down in our hearts, not because we want recongnition for it.
At the end of Verse 10, Jesus commands us as His servants to say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do." Humility. I know that I am unworthy, yet my Lord has chosen me to do His work anyways. If you know my background , the things I have done and where I came from you would think I would be the last person God would use to do His work, yet He has found me worthy in His eyes and He has chosen me. I have had multiple people tell me that I have a great calling on my life, and it touches my heart each time. Why would the Lord want to use someone such as myself ? He can use anyone, and if at any point He finds that I am getting too prideful and only serving for recognition He can and will pull me out at anytime. I need to be very careful to have the right heart going into this. I will be going to Montana, and I am part of the first team going there and the Lord is going to do some incredible things there. I know He will, and He has found me worthy enough to take part in this amazing oppurtunity. Wow, how incredible is that ? Ill be honest, there are times that I can get prideful about it, and think of all the things I can do there, but in reality its not me doing those things at all. God is working through me, and its only because of Him and through His strength that I will be able to do the plans He has for the Reservation.
1 Peter 4:11 says, "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever." To God be All the Glory. I have to be careful to not let my pride get in the way, and to make sure that I am truly glorifying Him in all that I do, because without Him I am nothing. After all, I wouldn't even be where I am today If it wasnt for His undeserving grace on me. Thank you Lord !
Today I will memorize 1 Peter 4:11 so that I will always remember to do everything through His strength and not my own, and also to make sure to keep myself humble and give Him all the Glory in everything that I say and do.

Surrending my Fears to The Lord

John 12:26
"If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor."
Serving God means obeying Him and following Him wherever He may take me. Its being sensitive to hearing His Holy Spirit guiding my every step. Serving the Lord means serving others as well.
In April I will be going to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana for 6 months. I am so blessed to be able to have the oppurtunity to go there and serve the people there. I will be honest though, it was a big struggle for me to give up a year of my life to lay aside what my flesh wants and to serve the Lord through serving others. Being 27 years old, I feel like I have already lost so much of my life and I had a plan laid out for how I wanted my life to go. I wanted to be married and have a family before the age of 30, and thats all I could think of when I was given the oppurtunity to come to IGNITE. I had to learn to surrender all the Him and like the verse says, If i really want to serve Him, I must follow Him wherever He leads me. Not only did I have multiple other believers who felt in thier hearts that this was the place for me but I prayed about it myself as well and felt that tug in my own heart that this is where I needed to be. I chose to give up my fleshly desires and to follow Him here, and since doing this I have been so blessed. Dying to self. Thats what I needed to do, and continue to do every single day. Its a constant struggle though, and the enemy loves to try to swoop in and tell me of all my weaknesses and tell me I am not able to do this. I recently wrote a poem about this spiritual battle, Here it is :

Lately I feel like the demonic forces of my past are surrounding me and filling my head, although the voices arent prevalent anymore I can still hear every word they said,
the darkness creeps up on me and little by little my light is becoming dim,
trying to persuade me to yet again become a slave that was controlled by sin,
Telling me You are not fit for this - your physical body is destroyed and weak,
There is no hope for this better life and future that you so desperatley seek,
Just face Shannon it youve done too much damage to yourself as a whole,
Your worthless - theres no way you could ever be used to help save anothers soul,
Theres nothing you can say or do to anyone that will ever be worth anything,
These things they say as they laugh and continue to fill me with the darkness they bring,
My heart beats faster and faster and theres a pressure weighing down on my chest,
Feeling defeated tears roll down my face as I struggle to find comfort and rest,
Backed into a corner on my knees again I cry out to the Lord to silence these voices,
Help me Lord Jesus to just shut them out and not make the same horrible choices,
Help me to know that in You I have worth and all I need to do is have faith and believe,
You are my daughter and I love you, He says to me , Everythings okay Shannon just breathe,
You are worth more than a precious jewel and you are so beautiful in My sight,
Just remember that this battle is not only yours alone for I am here to help you fight,
And then suddenly I can feel peace and joy wash over me and my mind is clear,
As I am able to realize that because I have Him there is no reason for me to fear,
Thank you Lord Jesus for saving me from the darkness that tries to bring me pain and strife,
Lord continue to guide me and help me follow and obey Your perfect plan and will for my life.
Application :

Today I will surrender my worries and fears to the Lord. I will stop and pray in the moment throughout the day any time the enemy tries to put those fears into my mind, and give them up to the Lord.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Being a Servant

1 Corinthians 9:19

"For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more."
Part of being a Godly man or woman is to be a servant to all. We don't do this because we have to, but because we want to. God works inside our hearts, and wants us to spread His love to others, and one way of doing this is serving others. Serving is a big part of ministry and comes in many different forms. You don't have to be a missionary to serve, you can serve anywhere you are. You can help out in your church, or even just reaching out to those who are lost .
For me right now, serving means helping my classmates out. Being a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and a prayer warrior. It means going out of my way to help someone else when they need it. Also, being in Guatemala, to me serving means improving on and learning more Spanish. I knew some Spanish before coming here, but I have been trying to learn more. We have Spanish class but a lot of it is what I already knew. I am so thankful to have my sister and roommate Natalia here to help me out with this. I want to strive further to learn more and be fluent by the time I leave here.
I want to learn how to share my testimony in Spanish, so starting tonight I will try to tell my roommate Natalia what I know how to say so far, and have her help me improve on it until I can tell it fluently

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Ecclesiates 4:12
"Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken."
Friendship. Helping eachother up when your down. I have a few very close friends in my life that have been there for me throughout thick and thin. They didn't judge, but they were there to lift me up when I was down. I was overpowered by my lifestyle and addiction and shut everyone in my life out. After years of wreckless living and destruction there were people that loved and cared about me so much that they were still there, and it was a huge encouragement to me to get clean. When I was stuck in that lifestyle, it was a neverending cycle of trying to block out my thoughts and even hoping that I would overdose and not wake up. I saw no light at the end of the tunnel and hated myself and the way I was living. Yet, there were those that loved me and cared about me, and after much persistance from these friends and family I realized they really do love me and that I was not only hurting myself but I was hurting them too.
Verse 10 says, "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." This is so beyond true. I secluded myself and was so lost in my lifestyle, and shutting everyone out, and turning off my phone and internet, that for awhile I had noone there to lift me up. The only ones I surrounded myself with were other drug users. I didn't want anyone around that was going to tell me to stop the way I was living. Its a horrible, selfish, lonely life. It was based around drugs, and drugs alone; like when I could get my next fix and sink back into oblivion ; when I could escape reality and be consumed with my alternate life ; when I could escape memories and nightmares of the past that I couldn't face. Finally when I hit rock bottom for the last time , alone and terrified in a hospital, heartbroken, with constant demonic voices and thoughts filling my mind, I finally had enough. I reached out to my mom, and prayed the Salvation prayer with her on the phone. I remember it clearly because of the terror that filled me. The voices didn't stop right then, but after I went back home to NY with my family and surrounded myself with strong believers who filled me the love of the Lord and prayed for me constantly, the voices faded away. I prayed to the Lord again for forgiveness and salvation and this time I was able to cry out freely to Him without those demonic voices trying to overpower it.
Its so important to have those friendships with other believers that can help lift you up when the devil is trying to bring you down. I am so blessed to be here at IGNITE where I am surrounded by these believers who have not only become friends to me, but are my family. Any time the devil tries to attack me with thoughts and memories, I always have a friend I can go to that is there to pray with me and help lift me out of that attack.
Tonight, I will share things with my roommates, Tianna and Natalia, that I have been reluctant to share about that the devil has used to attack me during my time here. I will invest more time with these girls and build a deeper friendship with them.


1 Corinthians 9:22

"to the weak, I became as weak that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some."
Adaptability. "I have become all things to all men". I read that and I can't help but to think of how Jesus, whom is the Son of God, came to earth in our human forms. He wanted to understand us, feel how we feel, be tempted, have emotions. He wanted to experience what it meant to be human. By coming to this earth and dying on the cross for our sins, He has saved all who believe.
We need to follow this example of becoming all things to all men. As we get sent out to our different field locations around the country we will all be in different cultures and we all need to adapt to that culture. Live as they live, dress and they dress, eat what they eat..etc. When we do this, we are showing them that we aren't trying to change who they are or bring in our culture, but that we love them and care about the things they love and care about. We want to spread God's love, and He loves everyone.
I feel that this verse also ties into not being judgemental. We are all the same to the Lord. When He looks down on us He sees all our sin as the same. Therefore, we shouldn't look down on anyone. Jesus died for everyone. When you see someone on the side of the road who is homeless, or maybe addicted to substances, do not look down on them. God loves them and so should we. We shouldn't engage in thier lifestyle, thats not what Hes saying. He is saying that we need to be a light in the darkness to them, and reach down and help them up. Don't just walk by and turn away in disgust. Let my life be an encouragement to you to be like this. I was that lost sheep that was wandering around and didn't know my way. Do you think it was the ones that turned thier backs on me that helped me be who I am today ? No, of course not. It was those that showed me the love of God and took an interest in me and my life. They showed me they truly cared. Thats what helped me turn from my ways. I had hated myself, but I saw that others loved me, and not just that but they told me that God loves me too. I could feel His love through them, and also through all the ways He saved me.
Starting this Wedensday, the next time I get internet, I will look up the Blackfeet Indians and learn more about thier culture. I will continue to do this everytime I get internet to learn more and more about them so that I may be able to adapt to thier culture.