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.

Liberty, Peace and Freedom

Galatians 5:13

"For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an oppurtunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."
Liberty; Peace and Freedom. We have been freed from the destruction of our sin. This doesnt mean that we can keep going back to sin deliberatley with the mindset that we will be free and still be able to spend eternity with God in Heaven. When God looks down at all our sin, He sees it all the same no matter what it is. No ones sin is worse than the other.
I personally have been freed and delivered from sins that had strongholds over my life. Many of you already know addiction was one of these, but I want to talk about a different one today. Another sin that I struggled with daily was lying. I lied about absolutley everything. I hated the person I was and I would lie to cover up who I had become, and used lying as a way to justify my actions. I not only lied to everyone around me, but I lied to myself as well. I told myself it was okay to live the lifestyle I was living. One lie fed into another lie, and it turned into a constant everyday thing. When I asked the Lord for forgiveness for all my sins, I made a complete turnaround in this area of my life. I went from lying everyday, to being completley open and honest about everything with everyone in my life. When i first came to IGNITE I didn't try to hide the person I used to be. I was honest with my team about the things I used to do. After all, I am not that person anymore. I made a promise to the Lord that I would be honest with everyone, and I'll admit there are times when I slip here and there, everyone does, its part of our human nature, but when I do I catch myself and feel so horrible about it that I have to make it right. I remember of one time in particular that this happened to me recently. One of my teammates here, Charis, was holding me accountable for praying for something in particular, laying it down, and giving it up to the Lord every morning. One morning, she asked me if I had done that, and I selfishly said yes. I had planned on doing it, but I didn't do it yet. I walked away and felt so horrible about lying to her about this small thing that I had to go pray and lift up the situation I was supposed to in the first place, ask for forgiveness and then went back to her and told her that I had lied to her originally. I felt so convicted over that lie. It may seem so small and even stupid to some people, but this is just an example of how much my life has turned around. If anyone knew me before, my family in particular, they would seriously be in shock over this story. I am so thankful to the Lord that He has made me an honest person, and I can live in freedom and liberty now because of it.
There are still a few things from my past that I have kept hidden. Holding on to them has torn me apart inside, and I want to be free. SoTonight, I will pull aside my teammate Charis and be open and honest with her about the things that I have been reluctant to share.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Obey Your Leaders

Hebrews 13:17
"Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you."
I read this and immedeatley my Pastor back home, Pastor Nathan, came to mind. For the past year and a half he was always there to try to guide me in the right direction. Even when I had left NY and ran to Cali and started using drugs again for awhile, he didn't give up on me. He was in constant contact with my mom about where I was and what was going on. He would also try calling me and he prayed for me daily. When I wound up back in NY he was so happy to see me again and know that I was okay. He counseled me daily, and would even check up on me during the week to make sure I didn't go off course. As soon as I stepped foot into his church I became part of his flock, and it reminds me of the Parable of The Lost Sheep that Jesus told in Luke 15. I had gone astray but I was ultimatley led back to the Lord through him, my mom and others from the church. There was and still is so much rejoicing over this. Since I have come back to the Lord he has continued to guide me in the right direction. It was him that had suggested that I come here to Potters Field. Ill be honest, I didn't want to come here at first. My flesh was holding me back because I still didn't want to give up my past life. As it drew closer I became more and more excited about it though, and Im beyond happy that I did come. He felt very strongly that being here was God's will for this season of my life and after much prayer and meditation I believed it was as well. God has placed leaders above me to help guide me and to continue to grow me in Him. Obeying them also means that I am obeying God as well. If i go against thier counsel, then I am also hurting myself and stunting my growth. If i go against them over and over again, eventually I will go astray and I don't want that to happen. I don't want anything to hinder my relationship with Him.
Today I will not only obey the leaders that God has placed in my life outwardly, but I will do it inwardly as well, with a willing heart. If I feel any resistance from my flesh I will stop and pray in the moment that God would give me His strength and soften my heart.

My mom and My bestfriend

Ephesians 6:1

"Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."
Colossians 3:20
"Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord."

If you talked to my mom she would tell you countless stories of how I was mischevious, strong willed and stubborn. I have always wanted to do things my own way literally since the day I was born. According to my mom the first day after I was born, I got kicked out of the baby nursery in the hospital because the nurse said I was a "bad kid". I guess I had riled up all the other babies in the nursery and then I also punched the nurse in the face which left a huge welt. All throughout my childhood I wasn't a very obedient child. Actually Ill be honest, I haven't been obedient up until about 7 months ago when I gave my life to the Lord. Thats when everything changed for me. Before that, there was always tension between my mom and I, and there were times when her and I wouldn't talk. I look back and I really regret all the years that I lost with her because of my disobedience and wanting to do things my own way. All the times we disagreed wasn't because she was trying to keep me from something or someone, it was only because she loved me and was trying to protect me. I see that now, but I could never see that before. I will say though, that since I have come to the Lord her and my relationship has drastically changed. My mom is my bestfriend and I love her more than anything in this world. I could never express how sorry I am for all the heartache I have caused her through the years. It means the world to hear her and my dad say to me today that they are so proud of me and the person that I have become.
It is the same with my Heavenly Father . All my running, and all my stubborness to please my flesh has caused Him so much heartache. Thoroughout everything He has been there. He has saved me from myself multiple times. Just like my relationship with my mom, my relationship with Him has drastically changed as well. He has also become my bestfriend, and whens Hes looking down on me, I want Him to be proud of me. I want to hear Him say these beautiful words to me when I enter Heaven's gates, "Well done, good and faithful servant".
Tonight I will sit down and write a letter to my mom telling her how sorry I am for everything, how amazing she is for always being there, how much I love her, and how thankful I am to have her as my mom and my bestfriend.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Slave To Addiction

Romans 6:16
"Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slave to obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?"
This brings me back to when I was at my church about 7 months ago and I was talking to the assistant pastors wife who has become such an amazing mentor in my life. She had been through all the same things I have regarding addiction and she said something to me that really stuck out in my head. She told me "you have made drugs your god". When I first heard this I laughed because I thought it was crazy to say that. I didn't bow down and worship them, I wasn't outwardly praising them .. or was I? That phrase didn't leave my mind and I thought about it alot and I realized that yes, drugs were my god. They were the absolute center of my life. Every thought that crossed my mind pertained to them. The first thing I did every single morning was go directly to them and If i didn't have any I felt like I would die and then my whole day would be about how to get more. Like the verse says, I was a slave to them and it was leading me down the path of darkness and death. I worshipped them in other ways, giving up everything I had, pushing everyone out of my life, selling all my belongings and revolving my entire life around them. It made me into a different person. I would do anything to get them. All my morals and self worth went out the window. I was a liar, a thief and I was downright miserable. Looking back I can see so clearly the hold that this sin had over my life and it literally scares me to think about it.
Now those chains have been broken. I have been set free from that and I have made God the center of my life. Verse 18 says, "And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness." Now I live a life full of joy and happiness. It is a complete 180 from how I used to be.
Verses 21 and 22 of this chapter stuck out to me as well, its says "What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life". All I did back in those days was fall deeper and deeper into darkness and misery and I made everyone around me miserable. But now with Jesus as my center I am able to radiate His light and His love and spread His joy and spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
Today I will write down everyone that was involved in that lifestyle with me that are still slaves to addiction. I will go through the list and pray for each one of them individually.

On Fire For God

Acts 5:29-32

'But 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. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him."
Peter and the apostles were imprisoned the day before for performing signs and wonders in the name of Jesus bringing many people to the Lord. An angel appeared to them while they were in prison and got them out and told them to stand in the temple and preach about the Lord. The next morning when the officers went to the prison they saw that the prison was secured but the apostles werent there anymore, then they found them in the temple doing what God had asked them to do. They were brought before the high priest and these verses were what they replied to him. Reading the whole context of what went on here is so powerful. Peter and the apostles were on fire for Jesus. Nothing and no one of this world could stop them.
This makes me stop and ask myself, 'Am I on fire for the Lord?', 'Am I willing to do anything and go anywhere the Lord wants me to go?' 'Willing to obey His every command?' Ill be honest, just obeying Him and coming to IGNITE was a hard decision for me. I knew so clearly that He wanted me to be here, it was evident in everything. He spoke to me through multiple people and He has provided every step of the way when there was no money to begin with, yet I still had my resignations. Verse 29 says, "Obey God rather than men". There really wasn't anyone that was telling me not to come except for my own flesh, but I ended up obeying Him and letting go of my fleshly desires. Now that I have come here I am very happy that I did. Sometimes I think I know whats best for me, but I don't. The reality is that God knows whats best for me and wherever He leads me I want to follow. I want to be on fire for Him like Peter and the apostles were, even when they knew they could be imprisoned for doing God's will they remained steadfast and stood boldly for Him. That is such an encouragement to me. Thier story reminds me that through all my hard times He was always there to pull me out, even when I didn't believe in Him He was faithful to me. Now its my time to be faithful to Him and to follow His will for my life.
Today I will pray that I get out of the way and let Him lead me to where He wants me to go. I will pray that He will strengthen me to set my fleshly desires aside and fill me with His Holy Spirit.

Being Obedient

Hebrews 5:8
"though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered"

Learning to be obiedient to God took me a very long time. Im extremely stubborn. I tend to do things my own way and want to learn for myself. During my dark days I was told many times to turn to the Lord and that He would save me, but I refused time and time again. I was determined to use my own strength to pull myself out, but I ultimatley failed worse and worse each time I tried. I honestly was so lost that I wasn't really sure there was a God or If He could really save me at the point that I was at. Now that I look back at it I can point out multiple times that God was there and that it was Him that saved me and pulled me out of the pit, but during that time I was just too stubborn to believe. My entire testimony is the impossible becoming the possible, and I don't know how I could ever think that He wasn't there. He has always been there, watching over me and saving me from every horrible situation I got myself in.
More recently, I have yet another way that the Lord has made Himself so evident in my life. I was planning on coming here but money was big issue. I had literally nothing because of the life that I came out of and my mom was struggling to help me out. My amazing church came together and decided to sponsor me to be here, they didn't have all the money at first but God has been providing and keeping me safe each step of the way. When I was leaving Newark Airport to come here I was supposed to have a 12 hour layover in Washington DC, and then from there I would fly here to Guatemala. Everyone was a little worried about that layover. I had been with my family basically every minute of everyday so It was easy to stay on the right track. My family, pastor and church were praying that God would keep me safe, and He absolutley did. As It turns out that they overbooked my flight and they had no room left for me on the plane. They apologized and then informed me that they had a direct flight from Newark to Guatemala City in a couple of hours and they transferred me onto that flight. They also ended up giving me a $500 voucher towards a plane ticket for the next time I fly for the "inconvience". Not only was God watching over me and keeping me safe, but He also provided the money I would need for my next plane ticket. Thats only one example of His evidence in my life, but I have many more. Looking back and seeing all these different things now has changed my entire outlook and perspective on God. He is there, He has always been there, and He will always be there. I have made a commitment to put my life into His Hands and to obey Him and follow whatever course He has for my life.
Today I will write down all the times that God made the impossible possible in my life and I will thank Him for them.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

False Accusations

Luke 3:14
"Likewise the soldiers asked him saying, "And what shall we do?" So he(John) said to them, "Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages."
John is preaching to the people in this chapter and telling them how they need to act. In this verse specifically he is addressing the soldiers. He is telling them not to think highly of themselves or falsely accuse anyone. He is also telling them to be content with the job they have and the money the recieve from it.
The part that really stuck out to me in this verse is to not falsely accuse. Before coming to Christ I lived my life based around a mulitude of lies and blamed everyone else for my actions. I refused to put the blame on myself, and doing that just created more problems and I could never pull myself out of the darkness that had encompassed my life. I wouldnt take responsibility, and therefore I wasn't able to confess. When I finally reached that point of brokeness and realization that I had been putting the blame on everyone else and not owning up to my own actions and decisions I was able to whole heartedly confess to the Lord, my family and anyone I had wronged, all my wrongdoings and how sincerly sorry I was for everything. It felt like a load had been lifted off my shoulders. I had been lying for years, and it was just a chain of covering up one lie with another lie. It was weighing me down. Through confessing, The Lord shed His love, mercy and grace on me. I don't deserve to be here today, and I could have wound up in some really severe situations, but His mercy and grace overpowered the darkness. His light shone through those that I had wronged and I had been forgiven. Through this the Lord revealed I need to do the same . I have been hurt multiple times, and I have been carrying around resentment, hate, and anger towards them because of it. Its been a constant struggle for me to forgive all the people whom have caused me a great deal of pain. As hard as it is, I have come to realize that in a way I am also falsely accusing them. Their actions and the way they had treated me was a direct result of demonic forces at work in thier life. They are under the stronghold of Satan and they need help to break those chains. So my application is that I will make a list of anyone I held anger and resentment towards and I will pray for them every single day. In doing this I will be able to fully forgive and let go of any pain that still lingers from the past.

Being content with Him

Philippians 4:11
"Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content"
God is all that I need. He is the only one that could save me from the black hole I had buried myself in. Everytime I tried to dig myself out in my own strength, I slipped and would only end up falling deeper into misery and oblivion. Because of my lifestyle I ended up stripped of absolutley everything and now I have literally nothing except what I brought with me in my suitcase, and even then I had to buy most of my clothes before coming here.
Seven months ago is when I went back home to NY to be with my family. Before that I was homeless in Southern California, living out of a car with my ex, trying to live life my own way, on my own terms. I was continuously in and out of hospitals, would go without eatting for days on end, and spent every last dollar I had on my selfish addictions. What kind of life is that ? The sad part is that for a moment in time I was fooled into thinking I was content with that lifestyle. Living in sin, destroying my body, degrading and disrespecting myself and hurting the only ones in my life that truly loved me ; God and my family. I look back now and can't believe I did the things I did. The addictions I struggled with had such a strong hold on me and it clouded my mind in such a way that I had come to terms with living that way. I would open my eyes every morning and just accept defeat. I was miserable, depressed, lost and didn't think there was a way out. I had tried numerous times to get out of it but I was sucked right back into it. My weakness, vulnerability and fleshly desires would ultimatley overpower my strength and will power after each attempt. It wasn't until I stopped doing it my way with my own strength that my life turned around. I finally leaned on God to pull me out. I gave my life to Him and His love, mercy, grace and strength saved me from myself and from the darkness that clouded my life. I can honestly say that I am content with giving my life fully to Him. After all, If it wasn't for Him and His grace I wouldnt even be alive today. I am now filled with love, joy and peace.
I want to maintain being content with Him and grow closer to Him. I want to spend more time with Him alone in His presence. Today I will go out to the tent and I will worship Him alone, so that It is only Him and I and theres no outside disturbances.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Beautiful Moment Between The Lord and I

Hebrews 6:12
"that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises"
The first word that captured my attention in this verse was sluggish. To be sluggish is to move at a slow pace or come to a halt. In this verse the author is saying we need to stay steadfast and perservere in being closer to God.
For me this verse spoke to me because for me "being sluggish" is my tendency to try to put off what God wants for my life. Before coming to IGNITE I was very tempted to just not come at all. There was a part of me that didn't want to completely give up my past life. I feel better and safer if im able to keep doors open, so coming here was a very hard battle for me. The enemy knew how to tempt me and manipulate me. He knows my weaknessess and would play on them. I would forget about all the bad times, the times I hit rock bottom, or the times I was alone crying uncontrollably because I was hurt and trapped. It may sound crazy but part of me was comfortable in that life. I was scared of this radical change, going to a different country, and committing a year of my life to the program. I only knew about IGNITE about 2 or 3 months before coming, but those couple months were some of the hardest months of my life. Giving up my comforts, my addictions and hardest of all giving up the people that I knew and loved that were still trapped in thier addictions or harmful to me. It was a slow and sluggish progress. I resisted a lot and chose to do things my own way and not give things or people up, and I just ended up hurting myself even more. Finally, I gave up. I decided to surrender to His will and I am so incredibly happy that I did. This is a constant reminder to me that I need to surrender everything to Him and not leave those back doors open. I'm at a point where I don't want any outside influence or toxicity in my life. The only people I want and need in my life are the people that the second part of this verse is talking about ; "Imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises". These are Godly men and woman that can encourage me and strenghthen me further in the Lord. Godly influences who are willing to please the Lord and keep pressing forward towards His Love and everlasting life with Him in Heaven.
A verse that God has placed on my heart in regards to this is Romans 12:2 which says, "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". Once I rid myself of those ungodly influences my mind is renewed and I am able to see more clearly the perfect plan that God has for my life.
Tonight I will sit down with my journal and pray. I will ask God to reveal to me If i still have any of these backdoors open and i will ask for His strength to close them. I will also memorize Proverbs 12:26 which says, "The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray".
Towards the end of writing this while I was writing my application the most beautiful thing happened. The song "I surrender all" by CeCe Winans came on and I broke down and just worshipped Him. It was such an amazing moment between the Lord and I.  I truly give "all to Him my blessed saviour". Lord Jesus, I surrender all.

Jesus Take The Wheel

Psalm 16:8
"I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved" (I will not be shaken)
I read this verse and the first question I asked myself was, 'Do I really always set the Lord before me?' I had to stop and think about this for a moment. I certainly didn't in the past, but what about now in my present walk with Him ? Is He truly number one in all that I do or am I motivated by my fleshly desires ? If im being honest with myself the answer is no, I do not always set the Lord before me. My flesh takes control. I get controlling and even prideful at times. I have done things my own way and pushed aside the convictions I felt from the Holy Spirit. This always ended in complete disaster. I came to a point where I finally realized that those convictions may have been hard and seemed unfair at the time, but God wasnt trying to punish me in any way. In fact, it was the complete opposite. He was not only trying to help me, but He was also trying to save me from being in a hurtful situation. He is my Heavenly Father, and I think of how close my father and I are here on earth. I refer to myself as a Daddy's girl, but It wasn't always that way. We went through some rough times and didn't talk to each other for years, but now I am closer to my dad then I've ever been before. If he tells me Im doing something wrong or scolds me, its only because he loves me and doesn't want to see me hurt. Its the same with my Heavenly Father. I pushed Him away and I didn't talk to Him for years, but I feel closer now to God then I have ever felt before. So when I feel those convictions I know its because He loves me and only wants what is best for me.
Now for the second part of this verse; "Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved". When I read this I thought of Phillipians 4:13 which says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". As long as I step aside and give Him complete control, then I can confidently and joyfully move forward in life. With His strength and guidance all things are possible.
Starting today, whenever I notice my flesh is taking control I will stop and pray in the moment and ask God to take control.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Rely On His Strength

Colossians One Eleven

"strenghthened with all might, according to His glorious power for all patience and longsuffering with joy"
This verse is part of Paul's prayer for the believers in Colosse. He is asking that they be filled with God's strength, and not use their own worldy strength. As believers, we will experience many trials and tribulations and If we are solely relying on our own strength to get through then we will fall into the enemys trap. On the other hand, if we are using God's strength then these trials and tribulations will have the opposite effect and grow us in Him for His glory.
I grew up in the church and knew the Lord at a young age. I had gone to a Christian school up until 8th grade and thought I was saved but now that I look back on it I was just going through the motions and didnt truly understand what Christ did for me. As I got older I fell deeper and deeper into sin and into the world. Eventually all my morals, values and self worth went out the window. At age 16 I was hit hard and sank into a deep depression. I hated myself and wanted to die. Instead of seeking God in my time of need I turned to the world. I started partying and drinking and after a few years I was addicted to drugs. I struggled for 7 years with my drug use trying to find a way out. I was in and out of rehabs, long term IOP (Intensive Outpatient Programs) and 12 step meetings. None of these worldly things worked. I couldnt take it anymore, my worldly strength couldn't break me out of my addiction. Finally, after hitting rock bottom multiple times, completley broken and tired of fighting I surrendered my life back to the Lord and with His strength I was able to pull myself out of my addiction. If I had continued to try and do it the worldy way I would of had to continue attending the 12 step meetings for the rest of my life always in bondage to my addiction , but through Jesus I have broken the chains and been set free.
Psalm 107:10-14 says, "Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, bound in affliction and irons, because they rebelled against the words of God, and despised the councel of the Most High. Therefore He brought down their heart with labor; They fell down, and there was none to help. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, And He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of the darkness and the shadow of death, And broke their chains in pieces."
I need to be reminded daily that I cannot do things in my own strength and that I desperatly need Him. Today I will write down Psalm 107:10-14 and post it in my cabinet so I can read it everyday and have the constant reminder that I need Him and His strength and to never turn back.



Everything is in God's Hands

2nd Corinthians 1:12

"For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you"
In this verse, Paul and Timothy are stating that they have lived a holy and righteous life, not only in the eyes of man but in the eyes of God as well. It goes deeper than just doing what is right and living a righteous life outwardly, but also truly meaning it inwardly in our hearts and minds. Everybody can see our actions, but God can see our hearts. We need to be witnesses not only to each other but a witness to God as well. In Acts 1:8, Jesus said, "and you shall be witnesses to Me". To be a true living testimony to Him and to others we need to be all in and give our lives completley over to the Lord, and Glorify Him in everything that we do. We can not go through this life on our own without His love and undeserving Grace.
I believe Paul and Timothy are also warning us not be prideful in ourselves. We shouldnt take the credit or recognition for anything we do because without God we are nothing, so we need to give God all the Glory !
Also personally, this verse spoke to me because I tend to over complicate and over analyze situations. I dwell on them and in turn get stressed out and that hinders my walk with Him. Paul and Timothy stated that we need to conduct ourselves in the world in simplicity. I believe the simplicity that they speak of, is simply giving our all unto God so that we may in turn live the holy and righteous life that they have lived. If im dwelling on situations in life, then it is holding me back from what God has planned for me.
I need to learn that everything is in God's Hands and to hand over the reigns unto Him.
So, Today I will make a list of all my worries and cares that I am dwelling on and lift them up unto Him.

Life on earth is short

IBS on Psalm 90:12

"So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom"

This verse is out of a prayer that Moses had for everyone. When he says "teach us to number our days" he is saying how this life here on earth is short. He is warning us to not get caught up in the fleshly desires of this life. There is an eternal life that we need to be worried about. Thats where the "heart of wisdom" comes in. We need to understand that there is more for us, that there is a God that loves us and has saved us from our sins that we may be with Him in Heaven.
In verse 11, Moses says, "Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath." There are consequences if we do not Fear the Lord and follow Him. Just like there is a Heaven, there is also judgement for those who go against God. These are the people that will experience God's Wrath and will be sentenced to eternity in Hell.
Therefore, we need to use our time wisely here on earth. When you take a step back and look at the big picture, there is nothing on this earth that is worth losing our relationship with Him, and being able to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. We never know how long we have left. Its all in God's perfect timing, so our hearts always need to be right with God. We need to constantly be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and His convictions.
In 2nd Corinthians 5:1, Paul says this, "For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." I love how Paul refers to our bodies in this life as "tents". It further describes just how short this life is compared to eternal life.
Today I will pray to be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit and listen wholeheartedly to His convictions.

Don't Judge

IBS on Matthew 11:19

"The Son of Man came eatting and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' But wisdom is justified by her children."

In this verse the author is describing the way that the outside world (non believers) viewed Jesus. They could not understand why Jesus would want to be around these sinners . These types of people were looked down upon. In our day I associate the gluttons and winebibbers with the drug addicts, alcoholics, the homeless and all lower class people in general that are lost that our society looks down upon. Jesus was fellowshipping with these types of people. He was eatting and drinking with them, and back then in Biblical times that was a really big deal. This is a big reason why they were so astonished and taken aback by this. Jesus is showing us that although these types of people are cast out and shunned by everyone else, He still loves them This is the example of how we should treat one another without prior judgements. We need to love these kinds of people that are looked down upon and cast out by society. They are worthy of Jesus's love and affection and they are worthy of our love and affection as well.
The Wisdom in this verse is shown through the love of Jesus Christ shining through us onto others. Her children are the ways in which we treat each other and show that love. We are not truly wise until we are able to understand the love that Jesus Chirst has and are able to let his love flow through us.
This verse really spoke to me because I was one of those people that society looked down upon. I was judged and shut out by a lot of people in the world, and also by the fake Christians. And even though I turned my life around and today Im a different person, I still can feel the judgements of other people. But, even in my struggle God stlll loved me and He has always been there for me and was watching over me. He put strong loving Christians in my life that showed me the love of Jesus which ultimatley brought me back to Him. Our actions as Christians can have a huge impact on someone else that may be struggling and depressed. They may feel like they have nowhere to turn, and want to just end it all. They may feel like no one cares and the world has given up on them. So as Christians, we need to show how much we love and care about them. We need to draw them closer to us and love on them, so in turn they will draw closer to God.
Today I will pray for those that are lost and struggling. I will also pray and ask God to show me who around me is hurting and may need someone to be there for them.

Be a Centurion

IBS on Matthew 8:5-13
"Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented" And Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him." The centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, 'Go' and he goes' and to another, 'Come' and he comes : and to my servant, 'Do this' and he does it. " When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed , Assuredly , I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel ! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth" Then Jesus said to the centurion, " Go on your way and as you have believed, so let it be done for you" And his servant was healed that same hour."

In these verses, a centurion, whom was a Roman and wouldnt normally speak to or follow Jesus, had called Him over and asked Him to heal his servant. Jesus answered him and told him He would go to his home and heal him. The centurion knew how worthy and how holy the Lord Jesus Christ is and believed that he is the true God and didnt think he was worthy enough to have Jesus step foot into his house. He humbled himself and his known stature, still acknowledging that Jesus is greater that everyone. He had so much faith in Him that he just told Jesus to speak the word and his servant would be healed. Jesus was amazed at this, and told everyone in the crowd how great this mans faith is, even though he was a Roman. He demonstrated greater faith than the Jews. And Jesus also said that there will be people of all types, no matter who they are, that will be saved and in heaven with Him. He also said those who do not believe will be cast out of the kingdom of heaven into hell. Then Jesus told the centurion to go back home and because of the great faith he had in Jesus, that His servant will be healed. The servant went home, and found that the servant had been healed in full.

We need to have faith like the centurion had. The centurion, although being a Roman, humbled himself and his stature and put Jesus above himself. He believed whole heartedly that Jesus had the power to heal his servant and because of his faith the servant was healed. It is important for us to have faith like the centurion had and trust and have faith in Him completley. It is also important for us to put God before us and truly die to self and let Him take complete control of our lives. This also spoke to me because Jesus is saying that no matter who you are, or what kind of past you have, if we repent we will all be with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven.

I will apply this to my life daily by trusting in the Lord completley and having faith in His plan and His will for my life.
Today I will humble myself and serve without any reservations in my heart.

My mom was the centurion in my life. I was the servant. I was spiritually paralyzed and tormented by the enemy and the evils of this world. My mother had complete faith and knew I was in God's Hands and prayed for me everyday, and now here I am, a new creation in Him.

Practical Application : Be a centurion. Pray for someone whom is lost and unsaved everyday. Have faith that they will come to know Him.


IBS On Luke 21:19
"By your patience, possess your souls."

In the verse Jesus is telling us to be patient in waiting on Him so that we may keep our souls clean and pure and focused on Him only. The scripture before this verse, starting in verse 7, Jesus is speaking of the End Times and the signs we need to be aware of. He is talking about the ways the enemy can decieve us and lead us away from Him. There will also be much persecution for those who stand up firmly for Jesus. Close friends and family will betray us, and in some cases Christians are even put to death.
For me personally, I have already lost people who were very close to me because of my faith in Jesus Christ. They have turned thier backs on me and betrayed me because they no longer like the person I am in Him. I got called things like "Bible Thumper" and was laughed at when I got baptized. This didn't shake my faith though. I stood firm and boldly in my faith for Jesus Christ and had to let those people in my life go. All I can do for them now is pray for them and be a living testimony and let them see that I am a new creation in Him. I couldnt let them bring me back into the world. The second part of this verse Jesus is telling us "possess your souls", therefore If I let them get to me and bring me back into the world it effects my soul and ultimatley all of eternity.
Also, this verse also spoke to me in another powerful way. I have really struggled in the area of being patient and waiting on His timing and plan for my life. Recently I was engaged, and very close to being married, and it was a very big struggle for me to let him go. Ive reached a point in my life where all I want more than anything is to have a family and I was so close to having that, but It wasnt God's will for my life. I loved and cared about him very much but I had given my life to the Lord and he refused to. I know that I need to focus on myself and become the Godly woman and wife that I was intended to be before I can have this but still I feel like time is running out for me. It was hard for me to give up everything and dedicate this year to the Lord but I felt in my heart that not only did i need to do this for myself, but it was also God's will for me to be here.
Today I will make a list of those people that mocked me for my faith and pray for them daily.
I will also pray for my continued struggle in being patient. I will ask God to continue to break me in this area, and pray for His strength and guidance as He molds me to be that Godly woman.



IBS on James 1:5

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him."
To me this verse is speaking directly about our relationship with God and how we are able to come freely to Him. The wisdom that he speaks of is the our complete surrender to Him which gives us a deeper understanding of God's Word. We need this wisdom given to us by God in order to live a free and fulfilled life. It gives us the ability to decipher right from wrong and it also shows us how we should love as Christ has loved. If we stumble, or we are slipping or moving away from Him, then we are able to freely come to Him and not only confess, but we can also ask God to give us wisdom and show us the right way. This wisdom and Grace is given to everyone who asks of it. It is not limited. God wants us to know and understand how much He loves us. We may feel ashamed of something we have done, yet God still pours out His Grace on us. All we have to do is come to Him and ask. We need to humble ourselves before God and expose ourselves completley.
In the surrounding verses to this text James is talking about how as Christians we will go through many trials, but we should think of them as a blessing because it will give us patience and help us grow closer to Him. He is there for us when we cry out to Him. All we need to have is faith.
There are other references in scripture where we are told to ask of God. In Matthew 7:7-8 Jesus says, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks recieves, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." In these verses, Jesus is reiterating the closeness of our relationship with Him. He should be our best friend, someone we can talk to about anything.
Today I will make a list of things that hinder me , and i will surrender those things unto Him every morning and pray for His widom and His guidance.

Wisdom and Spiritual Understanding

IBS On Colossians 1:9
"For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding"

In this verse Paul is writing to the believers in Collosse and telling them that since he heard of thier faith in Jesus Christ he has been continually praying for them, and encouraging them to stay faithful and pure in thier walk with the Lord. His prayer is that they submit completley to God's will and do not resist the guidance and conviction of the Holy Spirit. This is the only way that they will grow in thier walk with the Lord and live a life that is fully pleasing to God.
In Job 28:28 he says, "Behold, the fear of the Lord that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding". Surrendering to the Lord is the only way which we will gain the wisdom in Him to be able to follow the ways of the Lord. We need to let go of everything and give it up to God. There can be nothing hindering us from seeking Him further and following His will for our lives. Once we are able to do this we will gain an understanding of wanting to turn ourselves away from the evils of this world and put our lives into His hands. He has so much more for us that we could ever imagine. This life is only temporary, we have an eternal home with Him in Heaven and while we are here on earth we need to live each day honoring, praising and glorifying His name.
Also, we should follow Paul's example, and not only make this a prayer for ourselves, but also for our brothers and sisters in the Lord. We need to be constantly praying and encouraging eachother in the Lord and loving one another with His love, so that we may all go out as one body in Christ and shine His light in the darkness of this world.
Today I will pull aside one of my sisters in the Lord and pray with her and encourage her.