9.27.2012

Jesus, I Am So In Love With You


The last couple weeks have been a huge stepping stone in my walk with the LORD.  A lot of things have happened in my life the past few months that have really altered my outlook on life.

Every Christian experiences trials and tribulations.  Every person learns lessons - sometimes the hard way.  Everyone is tempted - and some of us take the wrong path.  Everyone fails.  Everyone makes mistakes.  Including myself.

But our God is a loving God, as well as just God.  He purges us from our sins by ordaining for us to go through certain growths in our lives that test us, that draw us closer to Him.  Pain is part of the perseverance.  Reward is part of the gain.

These last couple weeks, God has used different people in my life to show me what His love really is.  (And people, you know who you are;)
I recently started a Bible study online with a friend who I met through my blog.  Through this Bible study, God has manifested Himself to me in ways that I'd never known Him before.  My belief in God isn't a religion.  It's a relationship.  And in order to cultivate and grow in this relationship, I have to keep up my end - by studying His Word, by praying, and by sharing His love with others!!  So far, my friend and I have dove into James, Ephesians, 1 John, 1 & 2 Timothy, Colossians, and we're currently reading Romans.  Passages from each book, from each chapter, have really stood out to me.  Passages that I've read, and reread, and rereread, but reading them through THIS time has been eye-opening and awe-inspiring.

I have come to a point in my Christian walk that I have never been before.  A step closer to heaven.  I am SO in love with my Jesus, readers.  It's...overwhelmingly indescribable.  Great is His faithfulness.

---

I would like to share a passage of Scripture with you in closing.  It is one that I discovered only a couple months ago.  And every time I read it, I cry (no joke).  The other day, I was flipping through my Bible, and I turned a page and it was there.  One of my little sisters was in my room with me, reading her Bible, and I asked her to pause and listen to me as I read it.  And as I did, I just started weeping.  My sister came and gave me a hug and we read it together.  It's become a passage of Scripture very dear to my heart.
Read it through slowly.  Savor every word.  And really think about what is being said.  I pray it blesses you.

...

'For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth...and length...and height...and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses all understanding, that you may be filled up with to all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.  Amen.'
- Ephesians 3:14-21

...


9.21.2012

The Imperfect Letter


A friend and I had decided to write letters to each other.  

This particular friend told me that they were unsatisfied with the way the letter kept turning out.  That they had rewritten it about 4 times.  And were thinking of rewriting it again.  

‘There are tons of spelling errors, my handwriting is terrible, and it sounds...weird in certain areas.’

‘Oh, just send it already,’ I told them, rolling my eyes.

And as I was writing my own letter (to them), their words kept coming to my mind.  Oh, I thought to myself.  My handwriting looks horrible right there...that didn’t make any sense...that ‘a’ is too fat...

So I stopped and looked at my letter...complete with its sloppy handwriting (which, by the way, was indeed not very neat...some days, it just isn’t, you know?), a couple words I had crossed out (because a better word came to mind a few seconds later)...and the list goes on.  As the thought crossed my mind to just rewrite the whole darn letter, yet another thought took precedence over the former.

Raquel - let’s just say my conscience was telling me this, okay? - you aren’t perfect.  Nothing you ever do will be perfect.  Because of the sin in this world, the sin that Adam and Eve committed, everyone in this world is imperfect.  But take heart!  You are God’s daughter.  Even if you are imperfect, even if you make mistakes...you are a beautiful mess.  

I smiled to myself, signed my name, folded the letter, stuck it in the envelope and then chatted my friend.  ‘Your letter is finished - complete with imperfections!’

Dear friends, you will never lead a perfect life.  Every day you will make mistakes.  Every day you will make a wrong choice.  But... ‘I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 1:6)

We may not be perfect, but we are forgiven.  We may fail in life, but we are shown grace.  We are a work in progress.  A painting not yet finished.  A beautiful mess.  An imperfect letter.

...

'But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.'
- Ephesians 4:7

...

9.14.2012

Everyday Blessings // 4


>> feeling autumn in the Oregon air
>> being able to go to three friends' weddings this year...and another one in November
>> wearing shorts and an oversized hoodie
>> listening to amazing song covers {like this one}
>> big brothers who take you on dates...and little brothers who cuddle in your lap while you read your Bible
>> planning one last beach trip before summer ends
>> blaring Owl City's (ft. Carly Rae Jepsen) song 'Good Time' when you're hanging out with friends
>> falling asleep on a boat in the middle of a peaceful lake
>> twirling the idea around of possibly starting your own YouTube channel for your own covers of popular songs...
>> finding a kindred spirit who lives across the country and does a Bible study with you every evening <3 p="p">>> being utterly obsessed with KPop...and not ashamed to let everyone know about it!!
>> organizing an autumn dance (in October)
>> the blissful quiet after there has been so much pounding (do to re-roofing) over your head
>> the satisfied feeling of writing a chapter in your novel and it turning out exactly the way you wanted it to
>> finally catching up in editing your friend's novel (after being gone for a whole week)
>> planning to reorganize your room 'just a little'...but it turns into a couple-hour-long-thing
>> being asked to second-shoot/sidekick for an autumn wedding
>> buying 5 new books from one of your favorite authors for only $3
>> jumping at a big opportunity and saying, 'God, this is all in Your hands.'

---

Have a lovely Friday, my friends!

...

'You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.'
{1 John 4:4}

...

9.13.2012

Thought Life

'Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD my Rock and my Redeemer.'
- Psalm 19:14

On the camping trip I went on last week, the father of one of the families led us in a Bible study every night.  We went through the book of James.

Out of all those evenings, sitting around the campfire, listening to him reading and then all of us giving our little tidbits on what we gathered from that chapter...I came away from that trip with a new outlook on life.  Something that he read really made me think.  It was just a little verse, a small phrase.  But nonetheless, when we were talking about it and how we were digging around it, just really made me think and ponder on it...

‘...being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.’

From that one verse (chapter 1, verse 8), we went off on little rabbit trails...and one of the things that Mr. B. pointed out was our thought life.

Three things in our bodies never cease working (unless we’re dead). 
- breathing
- heart beating
- and thinking

While our breathing and heart beats are measured and held by God, our thoughts are of our own doing.  Being ‘double-minded’, as James says, means that we may think one way, but act completely different.  That others may think our thoughts and hearts are this way, but they’re actually like this and this.

This made me stop and ask myself, What consumes my thought life?  What are some things that I think about daily that really shouldn’t be in my head and heart?

I stood convicted.

My thought life wasn’t all pure and beautiful, the way it should be as God’s daughter.  I saw myself, almost as if I was another individual looking into my own thoughts and heart.  And what I saw, I was ashamed of. 

Sometimes we can get so caught up in just living, that we don’t even consider what our brains are thinking of.  You can be thinking of sports while washing dishes.  Or thinking of love while mucking out a stall.  Music, while folding laundry.  But let us remember to keep a fervent look and hold onto God’s Word and His promises.  We should be able to say exactly what we are thinking and not be afraid of what may come out of our mouths.  That anything that does proceed from our lips, would only be God-glorifying.  And manifesting His Name.

One of the ways I have been training myself to keep more focused on him is...whenever I catch myself thinking of something ungodly, impure, and just plain wrong, I immediately say a prayer and then start reciting verses - out loud.  It has helped me SO much the past few days.  I would encourage you to try this too.  And may God bless your efforts.

What fills up your thought life the most?  What do you constantly find yourself thinking about?  Is it worldly goods and treasures...or God’s redemptive power and love? 

...

‘Create in me a clean heart, O God.  And renew a right spirit within me.’
{Psalm 51:10}


...

'Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.'
{Philippians 4:8}

...