10.31.2012

Dear LORD


You amaze me.

So often I stand in awe of You.  Of everything You have done in my life.  The ways You have molded and changed me...yes, even with pain...and I come out victorious.

You remind us in Your Word that we are 'more than conquerers through Him Who loved us'.  And You are the Ultimate Conquerer.  This world will give us tribulations and sorrows, but we can take courage in the knowledge that You have overcome the world.

You remind us to be still and watch You fight for us.  You are our salvation, through life's every trial.  And when we are still, we can see You more clearly and we can know more truly that You.are.God.

You remind us that when we are hated by the world, it is only proof that we are true followers of You.  We should 'not be surprised when the world hates [us]'.  For YOU were 'despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief'.  But through our persecution, You have given us peace.  True peace.

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'Peace I leave with you.  My peace I give unto you.  Not as the world gives, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled; neither let it be afraid.'
- John 14:27

...

You remind us that we are made new through You.  That You make all things new.  And no matter how many times we fail in life, You are loving and faithful and righteous to 'forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness'.  Thank You, heavenly Father, for never giving up on us.

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'Then all men will fear, and they will declare the work of God, and will consider what He has done.  The righteous man will be glad in the LORD and will take refuge in Him; and all the upright in heart will glory.'
- Psalm 64: 9-10

...

10.24.2012

Be Still


The Bible has many verses talking about peace and stillness.  And in each of them, they are, in some way, referring to the LORD.

'Be still and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.'
- Psalm 46:10

God is a God of wrath and judgement and jealousy...but He is also a God of peace and comfort.  So often we give in to the rush of our lives, the busyness of our schedules and don't make time for Him, don't make time to be still and know that He is God.

This last Sunday, my Pastor was speaking on faith (Hebrews 11) with Exodus 14 as a referral verse.  It's a very well-known story of the Bible - not only among Christians, but many non-Christians can also tell the story of how God parted the Red Sea for the Israelites to cross over on dry land.  And it was through faith in God that Moses led the people to the edge of the sea (something quite alarming to face, don't you think?).  In that present moment, try to imagine what was going through the Israelites' heads.  'Moses just led us out of Egypt and we thought we were free, but look at this! We're either gonna drown or be killed by our former masters.'  In verse 12, it says, '...'For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness'.'

For one minute, I feel like telling the Israelites just how stupid they are.  Didn't God just bring you out of the land that you'd been captive slaves for for hundreds of years??  Why are you doubting His power now?

But then another part of me says, 'Raquel, they are mere human beings - just like you.  If you were in that same situation, you may have been freaking out too.'

And that is so true.

How many times have I faced a sea of fear, and behind me is something that is overwhelmingly painful and I'm caught right in the middle?  What is my first reaction?  Is it to get down on my knees and raise my hands and say 'LORD, I'm trusting You.  You have Your purpose for this.  You have a reason and a plan.'

Or do I immediately start panicking and freaking out and saying, 'God, do something!  Get me out of here!'

And what is God's reply to situations like these?  What does He want us to do?
Well, what did He tell the Israelites?


'But Moses said to the people, 'Do not fear!  Stand still and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today...'

- Exodus 14:13


On our own we can do nothing, right?  We can't fix our life problems, we can't heal people, we can't keep ourselves comforted through times of sorrows.  Only HE can.  All we need to do is let Him.

No, not 'let' as in 'God, I give You permission to do this'.  But as in, 'God, I am standing back and letting You complete the work You started here.  I don't understand, but I'm trusting You.  I'll be still and see Your salvation.'

'The steps of a man are established by the LORD, and He delights in his way.'
- Psalm 37:23

God never leads us to something that He knows we couldn't get through.  With His help, we can - and will.  With and through Him, all things are possible.

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'And my tongue shall declare Your righetousness and Your praise all day long.'
-Psalm 35:28

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10.23.2012

A Bible Story


So far, through my Christian walk, I have been blessed with four different Bibles.

The first...
was a small, green, leather bound New King James version that my parents presented to me when I was about 6 years old.  It's worn, of course.  And in my young mind, underlining in my Bible was a super cool thing to do then.  So you will come across occasional pages with little scribbly notes next to verses that I had memorized, that I heard often, etc.  My first Bible.  And it will always be dear to my heart.

The second...
was a thick, large-print, maroon, leather bound New King James version that my aunt gave me as my baptism gift.  She signed it in the front, along with a blessing.  I was at that stage where I liked highlighting verses, as well as underlining them.  Oh and I put stickers at each book of the Bible, every first chapter. Don't ask me why.  I think it was a way of 'when I see a sticker, it's the start of a new book'...I really don't know.  Oh and the fact that it was large-print...I think my aunt bought it because she was the one who could actually read it;)

The third...
was my first introduction to the New American Standard version.  Well, Mama has always been using the NASB, but it was my first personal experience with it.  And I love it.  I think each of us have to find that certain version that just sort of 'clicks' with us, you know?  Some prefer New King James...some like the Geneva...some read the regular, old-English King James version.  For me, New American Standard was my favorite - and still is.  This Bible was large, maroon leather bound.  It was also the Bible I had when I rededicated my life to Christ, so it's very special to me.  And it was the first Bible that I actually cared to read and study.

The fourth...
Well...you all ready for a story?:)
I had been going through a lot of new growth in my Spiritual walk...and I just felt that in order to completely start fresh, to start new, I needed a new Bible for my next step in my Christian walk.  I wanted one that was a little smaller than my current, large, NASB...but I didn't want it as small as my first green, pocket Bible.  I wanted a sort of in-between-medium-sized one.  I was gonna start saving up the money for it, and one day I was talking to Mama about buying it and she said, 'Well, our church is going to be presenting new Bibles to all the graduates this year, so maybe you should just wait till after that'.  I thought that was a good idea:)  So I did.
The Sunday that they were going to be presented, I watched as my pastor held three wrapped Bibles in his hands.  Two of them were the pocket-sized that my little green one was.  The third was a sort of in-between-medium-sized one.
Oh that bigger one is gonna probably be Noah's, since he's the only guy graduating, I thought to myself.
When Pastor called us up to the front to pray over us, he handed each of us one of the wrapped Bibles...and which one does he lay in my hands?  The perfect sized one.  The one I'd been eyeing.  And later, when I unwrapped it...it was an NASB.  Complete with the day of my name, date of graduation, and my Pastor's signature written in the front cover.  I almost started crying.  And later when I was telling a dear lady friend/mentor of mine, she said, 'Isn't God such a romancer?  There you are praying for this perfect Bible and He just decides to give it to you on your graduation day.'
So this new, beautiful, perfect sized Bible has been a constant companion of mine since early July.  I decided on a color-code for it and that has been super fun to do while studying and reading through books.  God is so good to me...and I never deserved this perfect-for-me Bible.  But He decided to bless me with it, and indeed, it has been a blessing.

So there's a little Bible story for y'all;)

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What is your favorite version to read in?

Tell me about your first Bible...or your current one...


10.17.2012

Everyday Blessings // 5


>> Oregon's first rain
>> getting texts from one of my besties right at the moment I needed them
>> starting my very own portrait drawing class.  I'm the teacher.
>> making progress in learning Japanese
>> possibly being able to attend a concert where one of your favorite Christian artists is performing
>> the October dance being a hit and everyone having fun at it
>> friends who console you when technology doesn't work
>> having the opportunity to speak about your ministry at a documentary showing
>> joining Twitter
>> when one of your favorite bandmembers from one of your favorite bands tags you in a comment (on  Twitter) 
>> getting a stain out of one of your favorite shirts
>> reconnecting with old friends
>> watching Anne of Green Gables with your sisters
>> having a movie day with friends - complete with chocolate and junk food
>> visiting art school for the first time in months...and people saying 'we miss you!'
>> a friend finishing a painting for you and being able to finally hang it in your room
>> drinking sparkling water
>> singing in the rain

PS: It's my sister, Eunice's, birthday today:)  She's turning 11!

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How has your autumn been so far, friends??

...

'But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them. Because they take refuge in Him.'
~ Psalm 37:39-40

...

10.10.2012

Introduction to Young Living Essential Oils



For those of you who didn’t know...A few months ago, I signed up with Young Living Essential Oils as a distributor.  YL has been a very big, and extremely useful product in our family’s life for the past several of years.  A friend from church introduced us to it and we were buying oils through him, until Dad and Mama talked about it and decided to join in spreading the word of Young Living and getting others to know of its benefits in day to day life.  And I thought, ‘what better place to talk about it - and let people know about it - than through my blog??’  And really, peeps, even if you can’t sign up with it/use it at the moment, let your parents know or extended family or friends.  I guarantee that someone - including yourself - will be greatly benefited by this product!

I’m going to answer some frequently asked questions below.  Consider this an ‘item review’ like I’ve done in the past.  And of course, contact me (miss.raquel316@gmail.com) with any questions:)


// What are essential oils?
Essential oils are the natural, aromatic liquids found in shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes and seeds.  They help protect plants against insects, environmental conditions and diseases.  They are also significant for a plant to grow, live and adapt to its surroundings.  Essential oils are extracted from the plant sources via steam distillation and are highly concentrated and far more potent than dry herbs.  While their chemical makeup is complex and their benefits vast, essential oils also have a very pleasant aroma.
Essential oils have played a very prominent role in life throughout history- and are even referenced to in the Bible (46 books out of 66) as aromatics, incense, and ointments over 200 times.
Today, the different grades of oils are used for aromatherapy, massage therapy, emotional health, personal care, nutritional supplements, household solutions and much more. (therapeutic grade oils = read more below)
Many oils (deemed as ‘essential oils’) are derived with harsh chemicals, diluted and/or copied and reproduced in a lab.  Cheap copies bring cheap results and have the potential to be toxic.  Therefore, it is very important in choosing high-quality essential oils.
Young Living Essential Oils is the leading provider of essential oils and offers more than 300 single oils and blends.
They are:
- 100% pure (which make them powerful and effective)
- sourced only from known botanical species
- sustainably grown and harvested on their own farms
- grown on chemical-free lands in carefully nourished soil
- unmatched throughout the essential oils industry
- so pure and natural, they’re used and recommended by health professionals around the world

// How do you use essential oils?
There are three ways to use essential oils.
1) Inhalation
2) Topical Application
3) Internal Consumption

Categorization of each oil is based upon well-documented, scientific information, as well as literature from experts on essential oils.  The information is intended as a guide; and each bottle has labels with specific directions for use.

// What are Therapeutic Grade Oils?
Basically, there are 4 grades of essential oils.

Grade A: pure, therapeutic and superior quality.  They are made from organically grown plants and distilled at proper temperatures.  ‘Virgin’ soil is usually where they were raised.

Grade B: the most common essential oil and is sometimes labeled as ‘pure’.  While Grade B oils are considered ‘food grade’, they aren’t always recommended by professionals for ingestion because they may contain pesticides, fertilizers, and/or carrier oils.

Grade C: perfume grade and usually containing the same type of chemicals as Grade B oils.  They also often contain higher yields of oil per harvest. 

Floral Water (‘Grade D’): a byproduct of the distillation process.  Often used for more expensive oils, such as Rose Oil, since it takes 5,000 pounds of rose petals to make just one pound of essential oil.

// How do I know if essential oils would work for/on me?
It’s never not worked on anyone.  Each bottle has a topical, aromatic or dietary use label on them.  Some oils may be used more than one way, while others can only be used for one.  Some oils must be diluted because of their extreme potentness (which can sometimes cause irritation to skin).  Very rarely people have encountered skin discomfort from using Young Living essential oils, but most of the time, it’s a manifestation of their need FOR the oil, because the oil is extracting toxins from their body through their skin.  Young Living therapeutic grade essential oils have an intelligence about them that deciphers the need to remove these toxins from a person’s body.   

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So there ya have it!  I kept this first post kinda short - just to introduce you to what Young Living essential oils are and how they’re used.  My next post will be about the 9 oils that are known as the ‘Everyday Oils’ and I will be posting about how they have benefited the health of our family.  They are the ones that are/can be used most frequently and come in your Starter Kit when you sign up!

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To learn more about signing up, click HERE.  The link will direct you to my Mama's website where you can explore more about Young Living.  
To sign up, click the 'Enroll Now' button at the top of the page under her email address.
Oh, and when you sign up as a distributor, you automatically get a wholesale discount on every purchase you make with them.

My sponsor/enroller # is: 1333654