12.31.2013

A heart of thankfulness


‘Dear God, I want to take a minute not to ask for anything from You, but to simply say thank You for all that I have.’


How many times do we take God’s blessings for granted?  How often do we pause and actually thank Him with our whole hearts for all His goodness towards us?

I’m not pointing fingers.  And if I was, I’d point at myself first.

Living life is the norm for us.  We wake up, we eat breakfast, we check our phones (yes, we all do this), we change, we go to work.  It’s just a routine.  But when do we stop and realize that we couldn’t do any of those things if God didn’t allow us to?  He could’ve taken us home to be with Him last night.  He holds our hearts in His hands.  He knows how many breaths we take.  He can choose to not allow us to wake up in the mornings.

And how do we say thank you?  By asking for more things.  A new car.  More money.  A nicer house.  A new wardrobe.  Or even things such as frivolous as new makeup, a new air soft gun, or a new movie that just came out on DVD.  These things aren’t necessarily bad.  Sure, we want new and nice things.  But how often do we ask God for things, instead of saying ‘thank You for everything we have’?

Giving thanks isn’t a once a year deal.  Thanksgiving Day is a fabulous holiday.  But we should be thankful every single day.

Have you thanked God for the breath you just took?  Or the fact that you can feel your heartbeat?  Maybe we need to more often.

---

‘I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the peoples, and I will sing praises to You among the nations.  For Your lovingkindness is great above the heavens and Your truth reaches to the skies.’
- Psalm 108:3-4

12.30.2013

Would you still | a poem


You love it when my hair is loose
When I'm wearing a pretty dress
But would you still love me if my hair was in a bun or a mess?
What if I was in sweats and a hoodie
With no makeup and no socks
Would you still love me even when I'm sick in bed with a cold and a cough?
You may say I'm 'beautiful', 'cute', and 'pretty'
Sometimes even 'hot' or 'sexy'
But what about days when I'm neither of those
Would you still love me for what's inside my soul?

---

12.27.2013

Everyday Blessings // 17


I hope everyone's Christmas was as lovely as mine.  December 25th found me reading the account of Jesus' birth according to Luke at 8:00 in the morning with my family, listening to Handel's Messiah whilst opening gifts, and then going back to bed (yes, yes I did), only to awake an hour later and help Mama start preparing the feast of Christmas dinner.  We had friends over, enjoyed a delicious meal, sang Christmas carols, and by 11:00, I was finally in my comfy pjs, watching 'Leverage' episodes and eating some of the chocolate I got for Christmas.  My other gifts included:

>> three of my favorite movies ('Northanger Abbey', 'White House Down', and 'The Vow')
>> a journal
>> a new mug and black chai tea
>> three gift cards (to Macy's, iTunes, and Dutch Bros.)
>> a pair of handmade earrings
>> a new iPhone case
>> a Jerusalem cross 
>> a scarf

---

How did you spend your Christmas?  What was your favorite gift?

12.24.2013

'The power of the Most High will overshadow you'


With Christmas fast approaching, I decided to read the Gospel according to Luke.  And you know how you can read a passage over and over again, and every single time, you’ll glean something new from it?  Well, that’s what happened to me.  As I read the first few chapters of Luke, I picked out each of the passages that talked specifically about Mary, the mother of Jesus.

And I realized something that had never quite sunk in like it did this time.

In chapter 1, an angel appears to Mary (who is estimated to have been 13 or 14 at the time) and tells her that she has found favor in God’s sight and she will bear His Son.  God’s Son.

‘The holy Child shall be called the Son of God.’

Later on, Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, whom the angel had said was also with child, and Elizabeth blesses her and ‘the fruit of her womb’.  Mary offers her song (referred to as ‘Mary’s Magnificat’) in which she praises God for His goodness towards her.

‘My soul exalts the LORD, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior for He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave.  For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.’

In chapter 2, Joseph (Mary’s betrothed husband) must take them to Bethlehem because of Caesar Augustus’ census for ‘all the world to be counted and taxed’.  She was already heavy with child.  Riding on a donkey.  Across all kinds of terrain.

And she gives birth to her first child, in a barn.  And wraps Him in strips of cloth.  Then crowded by shepherds who had heard the birth of Jesus by a host of angels.

And verse 19 says, ‘But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.’

I think it’s safe to assume that Mary was feeling many different emotions at this point.  Or definitely had been the past few months that she was pregnant.  Feelings like...fear, confusion, doubt, anxiety, amazement, and awe.

To any girls out there reading this, try putting yourself in her position for a minute.  Picture who you were when you were just entering your teen years.  Remember back to where you lived, who your friends were, what your thoughts were most occupied with at that time.  I’m sure none of them were about being pregnant, being disowned by your family and possibly getting stoned to death, or having your baby in a stable.

Later on in Luke 2, Simeon (‘a righteous and devout man’), blessed the little family and said to Mary, ‘Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed - and a sword will pierce even your own soul - to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.’

How’s that for a prophecy?  Can you imagine holding your newborn baby in your arms and someone telling you that He was born to die?  I’m sure Mary already knew of this, since she knew the teachings of the Word of God and that He would send His only Son to save His children, but...He was going to die.  Your perfect, beautiful little baby was going to be killed for the sins of men.

The song ‘You’re Here’ by Francesca Battistelli is so beautiful and I think is such a perfect representation of what Mary must’ve felt and thought at the time of Jesus’ birth.

‘You made the world before I was born
But here I am holding You in my arms tonight...
I don’t know how long I’m gonna have You for
But I’ll be watching when You change the world
Look at Your hands, they’re still so small
Someday You’re gonna stretch them out and save us all...’

I think we can learn many lessons from Mary and her acceptance of God’s will on her life and the plan He had for her.  But I think the biggest thing we can take away from her story is trust.  Through everything that happened to her, she trusted that God the Father would provide and protect her and His Son.  She was a young girl.  She was engaged to be married.  The Jewish law said that a single woman who commits a sexual sin is to be stoned to death.  Yet God protected her.  There was no room for them in any inns in Bethlehem but God provided.  And no, a barn isn’t the ideal place for a king to be born.  The King was born surrounded by hay and straw and farm animals.  But most especially, God’s presence.  Can you imagine what that must’ve been like for Mary?  To give birth to the God-man?  Just let that sink in.

This Christmas season, rejoice in everything God has provided for you.  Everything He has protected you from.  And trust Him in the coming year that He will continue to guide and guard you.  Remember that He always has a plan.  And His power is ever present.


Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all my amazing followers.  You are all such a blessing.

Oh and you should comment and tell me what y'all are doing for the holidays:)

---

A Child Has been boRn for us, a Son is gIven to uS, authoriTy rests upon HiM; and He is nAmed JeSus.


12.18.2013

I Can't | a prayer


'I can't do this, God.'
'Do you trust me?'
'Well, yeah, but - '
'Trusting Me should never come with a condition or second guess.'
'I know but - '
'Either you trust Me completely or not at all.'
'Yes, but - '
'Do you believe I Am sovereign?'
'Yes.'
'That I Am in control?'
'Yes.'
'That I have only your best interests at heart?'
'Yes...'
'Then wait.'
'But - '
'And serve Me while you wait.  Be patient.  And praise Me, even when You don't understand My plan.'
'It's so hard though.  This is painful.  I keep running into things and tripping and falling.'
'But I'm always there to help you get back up.  You know why?'
'Why?'
'Because I'm not finished with you yet.  Nothing can touch you without going through My hands first.  Everything you experience has a lesson in it.  Look for it and learn from it.'
'Yes, Father.'
'Remember that all you need to worry about is trusting and serving Me.  I'm taking care of the rest.  You don't know what's up ahead, you can't control the future.  I do.  And I can.  And more than that, I love you.  I have amazing plans for you.  And one day, you will look back on this time in your life and see just how I used it for your good.  And My glory.'

---

12.16.2013

Looks and Lies



‘Boys fall in love with looks.  Girls fall in love with words.  That’s why girls wear makeup and boys lie.’

Yes, this is a very general statement, but sadly, in today’s culture, it is also very true.  And the reason for it, all boils down to one main factor.  Idolatry.  In what?  In the world’s definition of ‘perfect’.  We want to feel secure.  But according to its standards, we don’t match up to the ‘perfect body’, ‘perfect personality’, or ‘perfect person’.  So therefore, we try to be something we’re not.  Something God didn’t create us to be.

(Please note that this is just a general overlook of society which I have personally witnessed.  I am not addressing anyone in particular and I know that each and every one of us are different.  This isn’t pertaining to any one situation.)

We all have that empty, lonely, and insecure feeling that we long to fill.  We look for something or someone to fill that void, to satisfy us, to tell us that we’re amazing and beautiful and perfect.  I believe that both guys and girls tend to fall in love with looks, and while I think that physical attraction does play a huge part in the first steps towards romance, it shouldn’t be the main priority.  Guys tend to be more visual, yes, but girls talk about physical attractiveness in men more than guys do about women.  (And, at least to me, that is a fact.)

Guys are generally willing to overlook certain character flaws in a girl more readily than girls do with guys.  Therefore, girls aren’t as concerned with inner beauty as they are with external.  If you ask anyone, they’ll say that girls are more self-conscious about their looks than guys are.  We feel the need to focus on beautifying ourselves because the world has poisoned our minds to think that a guy won’t like us unless we’re a Victoria’s Secret model.    
But girls aren’t the only ones who feel pressure to ‘look good’.  Movies, magazines, etc. aren’t only targeting women.  And more than external, guys are filled with the shame and insecurity because of their character flaws and past mistakes (which they are too often reminded of).  And of course, it doesn’t help when girls are constantly talking about their latest celebrity crush and who was named the Sexiest Guy of 2013 (and no, it’s not horrible that I know who that is).  

When we like someone, and want them to like us back, we’ll get all fancied up and lie about who we are (and even sometimes lie to ourselves) because we’re afraid that a he/she won’t like our real self.  And that’s where honesty has become such a rare thing to find in someone.  Because, according to the world’s standards, it’s better to be loved for who we aren’t, than brushed aside for who we are.  But true love isn’t about outward appearance.  It’s about inner beauty - both in men and women.  To fall in love with someone is to fall in love with their soul, the core being of who they are, the little things that make up the great big picture of what makes that person so unique.

The reason girls and guys lie to each other about who they are may change on a case to case basis, but the main underlying reason (problem) remains: they rarely have the security in their own selves so they seek another person to put it there, not know that everyone else is lacking in the same exact security.  And we use whatever it takes to fill that void.

Both genders struggle with the same issues, but just in different ways.  

The truth of the matter is, we can’t find that fulfillment and security in someone else.  We can’t even find it in ourselves.  Scripture clearly teaches that the heart of man is ‘deceitful above all things and desperately wicked’ (Jeremiah 17:9), so how could we try to bring joy to ourselves?  It’s literally impossible to find that joy and satisfaction in anyone else, except Jesus Christ.  He is the ONLY One who possesses the power to make one person whole and complete.  Not just a ‘feeling’, but an actual, renewed self.  And the reason is because He gave us that certain feeling of emptiness to continually draw us back to Him.  He created us for fellowship with Him!  Not just ‘some guy’ or ‘some girl’.  And until you find that satisfaction in Him, I promise you won’t have complete joy and peace in life.  Because without Him, there is none.  Your man will never satisfy you the way you were meant to be satisfied.  Your girl can never show you what your worth is, like God can.  You’ll never feel secure until you know you’re held by Jesus’ own hands.  Only He can show you your value and worth because He made you...and without Him, you aren’t worth much.  The only way someone could help you is by pointing you towards Him and the prize of His upward calling.

A girl doesn’t need a guy to tell her she’s beautiful.  A guy doesn’t need a girl to make him confident in who he is.  We can only find it in God.  Our value, our worth, our strength, hope, love, joy, comfort - everything!  In the One who created it.  

And besides, a true man or woman will fall in love with your soul before falling in love with your body.  And if they don’t, then they’re not worth your time.

---

‘I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Marvelous are Your works, O LORD, and this my soul knows very well.’
- Psalm 139:14

‘You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.’
- Song of Solomon 4:7

12.14.2013

Live like you're dying



I can only imagine that being on the brink of death is one of the most humbling experiences ever.  Knowing that you won’t be a part of this life for much longer makes you suddenly realize all the things you could be doing differently.  You would be filled with regret for things past, but a determination to make things better.  Shouldn’t we always think this, though?  Maybe we should start living like we’re dying.

We want to rush through life so fast, but compared to eternity, our years are smaller than a dot in time.  We want to grow up fast.  Get married soon.  Have lots of children.  But why can’t we just live for the moment?  If you were dying, you would count every second as the last.  You would take every breath as if you wouldn’t breathe again.  You would spend as much time as possible with the people you love.  You would take risks, determine to accomplish goals, tell someone something that you wouldn’t otherwise have the courage to say.

There are so many stories of people who lived for the moment, and before their family knew it, they were gone - a car accident, kidnapping, or they’re suddenly diagnosed with cancer and don’t have too much time left.  Other stories are even more sad.  Of families who were torn apart, relationships that were broken and then, suddenly, one of them is not there.  The people left behind wish so much that they would’ve spent more time with that person.  They wish that they hadn’t treated them this or that way.  We need to realize that life is so fragile.  We’re here one minute, and could be gone the next. 

Don’t waste your time on earth!  Don’t forget the precious moments with your family!  Don’t rush ahead!  Life will come to you and God has it all planned out.  

---

12.11.2013

Accepting the Gift of Singleness



In the past two months, I have had six people ask me if I have a boyfriend and if I’m in a relationship.  When I said ‘no’, one person even asked me ‘why not?’.  And of course, the question of ‘How do you cope with being single while all your peers are in relationships and/or getting married?’ always pops up in there somewhere too.

I know that I’m not the only girl who has been asked these questions.  And I wanted to address this topic on here so people will (LORD-willing) be able to relate and be encouraged. 

Being joyfully single is all about acceptance.  When you accept God’s will for your life and not fight against where He has you planted in the here and now, you will begin to find joy in the little, everyday blessings.  When you surrender to God’s plan, you are telling Him ‘God, I trust You and whatever You have planned for me.  I’m laying my life at Your feet.’  He knows the desires of your heart.  But what if your desires don’t align with His will?  Simple.  He won’t let them happen because He is the one Who knows what’s best for you.  

News flash!  You can’t foresee the future, thus you have no control over it, thus wouldn’t it just be better to hand the pen of your story to the One who does?

I’ve learned that in the times we want something the most, it’s almost always when we need only Jesus.  Until we get past that point (which will have ups and downs), we just keep growing and waiting on Him.  When we finally come to the moment of surrender, that is usually when amazing things start happening.  But even if blessings don’t start raining down on us, we are joyful in whatever state we are in because we are content in Christ and content in His plan for us.  When I reached the point of realizing that Jesus is all I needed, it really didn’t matter if I got what I wanted or not.  Because I am happy enough just knowing my Savior and having a personal, intimate and romantic relationship with Him.

I’m hopeful for the future.  But I’m hopeful not in what I want, but in God’s plan.  I’m hopeful because I know that whatever He has planned for me is JUST what I need - whether that means being single or getting married, my life is His and always will be.  My relationship with God shouldn’t change once a man comes into my life.  If it does change, it should be for the better because through my relationship with a man, it should point me and push me closer to Christ.

A lot of people have the wrong idea for WHY they want a relationship.  Do they want fulfillment?  Do they want purpose?  Do they want a new direction in life?  Well, you can find all that.  In Christ.  A man or a woman isn’t going to make life easier for you.  Or a complete romantic bliss.  Right now, as a single, God has something He wants you to do.  Things you could never do if you were married.  Things He knows you need to learn before being ready for marriage.  No matter how long you are single (which may even be till you die), you are accomplishing the most when you are following His plan.  The longer we fight against His desires for us and try to do our own thing, the more we’re wasting precious time to be investing and cooperating with what He wants us to do.  We need to be trusting in God no matter what.  Taking up our crosses daily to follow Him, no matter where He leads.  There comes our word of the day again: acceptance.  Our whole purpose is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.  The only way we can do that is by accepting His will for us and letting Him work in and through us.

‘God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.’
- John Piper

For some of us, He will be most glorified while we’re single.  Singleness is a gift.  We are able to accomplish SO much for Him because we aren’t committed or tied down (I don’t mean that in any sort of negative way!) to someone, to marriage, to family.  Our time as singles should be used wisely.  It’s a gift.  And when we accept it as such, God can use our willingness to accomplish great things.

---

'But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.'
- 1 Timothy 6:6

'For everything created by God is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude, for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.'
- 1 Timothy 4:4

'But I want you to be free from concern.  One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the LORD, how he may please the LORD but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife and his interests are divided.  The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the LORD, that she may be holy both in body and spirit, but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.'
- 1 Corinthians 8:32-34

12.09.2013

Fear is a manipulative emotion...but hope is even greater



It had been a pretty good day for me.  I had gotten some new ideas for blog posts and was eager to have some quiet time before going to bed, and be able write to my heart’s content.  I read my Bible first, and spent some time in prayer, but when I got my laptop out, I had this sudden sense of overwhelming doubt...and fear.  I can’t really explain it (and I apologize in advance if this post doesn’t make any sense), but I felt alone and uninspired and totally not able to write.

And the post I wanted to work on was this one.  About fear.

Fear is all around us.  And in us.  We base decisions off of fear, or choose to do or not do something because of fear.  While fear can be healthy at times, how often do we let it dictate our lives and rule our way of thinking?

Fear has a way of gripping us so that we feel unable to achieve what our hearts desire.  Fear can make us choose to discard the right thing and do the wrong thing all because we want to be accepted.  Fear can keep us from chasing after dreams because we’re afraid that they’re too impossible.  Fear can keep us from writing a blog post because we don’t think it’ll turn out well and won’t make any sense.


But what does the Bible have to say about ‘fear’?

‘Do not fear, for I am with you.  Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you.  Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ 
- Isaiah 41:10

‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of discipline.’
- 2 Timothy 1:7

‘Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous!  Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.’
- Joshua 1:9


The opposite of dismay is hope.  The opposite of weakness is strength.  The opposite of fear is courage.  As children of the Creator of the universe, we have His power in us.  We have the hope that can only come from knowing Him.  We have His strength that He gives to us through His Holy Spirit.  And we have nothing to fear because ‘we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us’.

Fear is just something we make up in our minds.  It’s something we LET prevent us from achieving higher goals, higher standards, new things, amazing blessings.  It’s not something we can overcome easily.  It takes time...and strength.  But not of our own.  

Our God is a consuming fire.  He is always with us.  Nothing can separate us from His love.  He is constant.  He is our Solid Rock.  In Him, there is no fear because His perfect love casts out fear.

---

‘The LORD is my light and my salvation.  Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the strength of my life.  Of whom shall I be afraid?’
- Psalm 27:1

12.06.2013

Everyday Blessings // 16


>> winning the Best Encourager 2013 blog award
>> a house full of friends for Thanksgiving
>> finally being able to listen to Christmas music
>> the first snow
>> volunteering at one of my favorite bands' merch tables at Winter Jam
>> nicknames
>> new books by favorite authors
>> recording in a studio
>> emails from readers in other countries
>> decorating for Christmas
>> friends visiting from afar
>> writing a new song
>> looking forward to a friend's wedding this weekend
>> knowing that a new year is quickly approaching

---

What are some blessings that God has showered on you lately?

11.30.2013

Not the perfect arrow




A song that I remember well from childhood is one by a band that I grew up listening to.  

‘What if I Stumble’ by dcTalk

The older I grew, this song kept holding newer and more real meanings for me, because the more mature I became, the more I realized just how much I stumble as a Christian...and the questions arose.  ‘What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?’ is one of the lines in the song.  And indeed.  What if I stumbled?  What if I fell?  What would that say to the world of who and what Christians are?

These questions may have arisen in your spiritual walk too.  You may have hit a point where you realize just how imperfect you are and how much you are in need of being helped up from the ground.

No, you’re not perfect.  But deep down at the very center of who you are are the years of time spent in the Word, family morals, bedside prayers, and tears of redemption.  You are grounded in what is good and true.  You may not be the perfect arrow, but you are aimed at the perfect target.  

Take heart.  God can use anything and anyone.  You’ve fallen, you’ve sinned, we all have.  But nothing we do can ever change His love for us.  It is a forever love that will always win, will always redeem, will always overcome whatever evil has wedged its way into our lives.

Don’t give up.  The journey isn’t easy.  But take heart.  You are a conquerer through Him whose power is perfected in our weakness.  It's not the fall that defines us, or how we sin, or how often.  It's Who picks us up with loving arms and saves us that shows who we really are.  People may see us stumble, but they really start watching when they see that we can get back up again - with our Father's help.

---

‘And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’  Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.’
- 2 Corinthians 12:9

11.27.2013

4 Definitions of a True Man




“You have to be a man before you can be a gentleman.”
- John Wayne


What makes a real man?  What characteristics about a guy make him a man and no longer a boy?

This post was written in hopes of encouraging young women to not lower their standards in a world where so few true men exist, and to challenge guys to be the men they’re called to be and that this world is in dire need of.

---

I could use many words to describe a man.  A man worthy of respect.  Chivalrous, courageous, fun to be around, wise, loyal, passionate, strong, gentle, kind, visionary, serving, humble, hard-working, defender of truth, bold, prayerful, and faithful.  These are just a few that come to mind.  (1 Thessalonians 5:16, Proverbs 2:1-10, Proverbs 19:22, 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12, Proverbs 19:11)

Being a man isn’t just about opening doors and being polite.  That should go without saying.  It’s about putting someone else’s needs above your own.  It’s about doing what’s right even if you won’t get recognition for it.  Some of you may think that being a man is about how he acts or how he handles situations, but really it’s not what they can do that defines them.  It’s about what Jesus did for them. 

1. A boy becomes a man when he lets go of his life and gives it to God.  The strength to be able to put Jesus first above everything isn’t easy because a boy wants to feel in control, but a man knows what humility is and that on his own strength, he won’t accomplish what he could if he let go and let God.  Everyday is a battle to fight for being a man, to put God first, and lay down your dreams.   

2. A boy becomes a man when he is responsible and mature enough to perform a task and to be able to be depended on to do a job - no matter how difficult.  

3. A boy becomes a man when he has direction and goals.  A guy who sits in front of video games all day or goes to college without having any vision for his life or in pursuit of a career is never attractive.  Women need men who are leaders, who are responsible, who have dreams and are willing to go after those dreams.  He must be faithful and responsible in the pursuit of his calling.  

4. A boy becomes a man when he is humble in owning up to his mistakes, knows he’s not perfect and even though he may be well-established, have many mentors, and good visions, he must be willing to be corrected.  Humility is part of accepting God’s will for his life too.  And going after it whole-heartedly.

These are not the typical guys that get noticed right away.  But when they are noticed, they are to be admired and respected.  They are the ones who go to the person looking left out of the party and introduce themselves with a handshake and smile.  They are the ones who you will find at home investing time in their family instead of hanging out with friends every weekend.   You will find them helping in the kitchen, taking out the trash, and doing the dishes without being asked.  They will be the ones having deep discussions about theology, politics, worldview philosophies and books, rather than girls, TV or the latest computer game.  These are the guys who walk on the outside of the sidewalk to protect the lady whom they might be with.  These men do not bend on their convictions, they hold firm to their standards and no matter what others may say or do, they stand for the truth.

Being a man is a process, not a one day event.

---

‘Stand true to your calling to be a man.  Real women will always be relieved and grateful when men are willing to be men.’
- Elisabeth Elliot

‘One cannot always be a hero, but one can always be a man.’
- Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe

“There is a difference between being a good man and being good at being a man.” 
- Jack Donovan

“A man must at times be hard as nails: willing to face up to the truth about himself, and about the woman he loves, refusing compromise when compromise is wrong. But he must also be tender. No weapon will breach the armor of a woman's resentment like tenderness.”
- Elisabeth Elliot

11.21.2013

Growing in your singleness | guest post

The culture of Christianity is to marry young and have three kids by your 25th birthday. Well, I’m 24 and single. I have pressures from outside sources (i.e. family, friends, etc.) to get married soon and start producing babies by next Friday. Whether it’s a harmless comment from my grandma saying that she wants grandkids or a friend making a joke about my singleness. Does it affect me? Not at all. The only voice that matters to me about my prospective romantic relationship is the one I receive through my Divine relationship. God’s voice is the only one that matters.

One of my closest friends is the exact opposite as me. He hates when he hears someone close to him take a jab at him for being single. He’s in a rush to get into a relationship, while I’m in a rush to get to Taco Bell. My friend isn’t alone in his thinking. Through serving in youth ministry for years, I’ve seen many young people think more about their future spouse than their forever Savior. This is an epidemic within young Christianity. We want to get married and have kids because, for some of us, that’s the Christian American dream. 

A relationship isn’t completely undesirable to me. I want to get into a relationship. The past few months have been filled with me trying to give up on my ways of dating just about any girl and moving towards only dating girls who I thought was good for me. I’ve been smarter with whom I date, but I still end up with the same result: single. Is this frustrating? Heck yeah. However, I believe there is a purpose within my singleness. Jesus wants to teach me something.

Jesus wants to teach me that true joy is bound up in Him, not her. Sometimes, I think that getting a girlfriend will solve a lot of my problems. This is a lie. My problems are solved with the aid of my God, not my prospective girlfriend. I need to find my worth in my pursuit of the One True God, not in my pursuit of my one true love. When I think I’m alone, I need to remind myself that Jesus said that He is always with me (Matthew 28:20). There is never a moment when I am alone. Jesus is by my side at all times.

As I wait on Jesus to return to redeem this fallen world, I will also wait for Jesus to present me with the girl I will fall in love with. Presenting is the key word here. God presented Eve to Adam (Genesis 2:22). Adam didn’t go search out the other local gardens to find a girl. Instead, God saw his need and presented Eve to him. I will do the same.

I will not go out looking for love. I will not go to my local gardens looking for love. Instead, I will wait for Jesus to present me my own Eve. To be clear, I’m not advocating for guys to be passive in their pursuit of girls. Not at all. When she is presented to me (i.e. either at church, school, or wherever), I will actively pursue her. Until then, I will use my singleness to listen to what Jesus is trying to teach me.
Jesus uses our singleness to prepare us for marriage. In our singleness, we learn who we truly are and it’s a great time to see our faith in God grow. 

Allow Jesus to use your singleness to grow your faith.

---

Hi. My name is Jordan Kranda. I’m currently pursing a Masters of Divinity at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, CA. I also have a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies from Biola University. I serve in the youth ministry at Cypress Church in Cypress, CA. I work at Disneyland as the guy who sells over-priced churros. In my free time, I read, write posts for JordanKranda.com, tweet (@JordanKranda), and joke around. 


11.15.2013

When your heart is too full for words



You know when your heart is too full for words
And what you’re feeling can’t be explained?
Or when your throat feels tight with emotion
But you don’t know whether to laugh or cry?
Sometimes it’s something good
Sometimes it’s bad
But no matter what situation it is
Whether you even know how you’re feeling or not
God hears what is not spoken
And understands what is not explained
He made your heart
He designed your emotions
He knit your self together.
Don’t ever feel that you can’t talk to Him
About anything and everything
And when your heart is too full for words
Just be still
And know that He can hear you, even in the silence.

---

'Search me, O God, and know my heart.  Try me and know my anxious thoughts.'
- Psalm 139:23

11.13.2013

In the reflection



I pulled my camera strap over my head and adjusted my coat collar.  It was a perfect autumn day, cool and crisp.  I had woken up that morning feeling the need to go for a walk.  There was a new book shop in town that had just opened and I had been wanting to stop by and see their selection.  School had kept me busy but today was Saturday and I was free from my college homework for a few hours.  So, armed with my camera, my large purse that people always made fun of, and a heart needing a de-stressful day, I closed the front door behind me and started down the sidewalk.  
I passed a biker or two on my way downtown but for the most part, the sidewalks were vacant.  The trees along the streets were changing their leafy colors and making a beautiful cascade as they fell to the ground.  I stopped once or twice to take a quick snapshot of the red and orange and yellow natural autumn decor.  
As I neared downtown, the sight of the old, rustic brick buildings was lovely.  I stopped short as something flashed next to me.  I retracted two steps and saw, to my left, that I had passed a large front window of an abandoned building and my reflection was what had halted me.  I stared at myself for a minute, then raised my camera to take a picture.  As I peered through it, I gasped and quickly pulled the camera from my face.
‘Oh sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.’  He had a British accent.
I stepped away from him.  ‘Who are you?’
He gave a small grin and said, ‘I saw you were going to take a picture and thought I could,’ he shrugged.  ‘Well, it’s not like I would be adding anything good to it.  I just thought you might want an extra person so you won’t be standing alone.’
I felt my eyebrows frown for a minute, then slowly relax.  ‘Sure,’ I said, offering a small smile.  ‘And you’re forgiven - for scaring me.’ I added.
‘Ah, there’s a difference between scaring and startling.  I prefer to assume that I did the latter.  Which,’ he offered a slight bow.  ‘I do apologize for.’
I bit back a laugh.  Here was a British boy, dressed like a hipster, complete with combat boots, a cardigan and beanie wanting to take a picture with a random girl.  My morning was certainly starting off interesting.
‘You can apologize a couple more times because your voice is kind of amazing.’
Wow.  Way to go.
He laughed.  ‘Why thank you.  Your accent is quite lovely too.’
‘My accent?’ I exclaimed.
He nodded.  ‘Your American accent.’
‘Oh,’ I said.  ‘Right.’  I always thought how funny it was that people hear each other’s accents when they’re from different countries.
‘So where do you want me to stand?’ he asked.
I faced the window and motioned to my left.  ‘Just right here.’
‘Gladly,’ he said, taking a step forward.  I didn’t realize how tall he was until he was standing next to me.  My head came up to about his jawline.
I raised my camera once more and snapped the picture.
‘Thank you,’ I said with a smile.
‘No trouble at all.  Thank you!’
A slight pause.
‘Have a nice day!’ I said with a small wave and started walking again.
‘You too,’ I heard him call behind me.
My mind played over the whole scene as I walked the rest of the way and up the steps into the book shop.  I was greeted with the ring of a bell above the door, the soft glow of candles and the smell of pumpkin spice.  
What a charming, cozy little place! I thought to myself.
A worker welcomed me and upon being asked if I was looking for a particular book, I said the first one that came to my head.  She pointed towards an aisle and I told her not to bother showing me right where it was.  I would be happy browsing until I found it.
I made my way down the row, passing soft and hard covered books.  The smell of them all was delightful and I felt like I was in reader’s heaven.  I found the shelf I was looking for and smiled to see that ‘North and South’ by Elizabeth Gaskell was there.  I carefully pulled it down and opened to a random page.
‘Wow.  This is strange.’
I looked up from my book only to be met with the face I had seen just several minutes before.
‘Oh!  Hello!’
The British boy held up both of his hands, as if in surrender.  ‘Please do not think I’m following you.  I know this may seem rather creepy, but in all honesty - ’
I interrupted him with a laugh.  ‘No worries!  I’m sure many people are making their way to this new bookstore today.’
‘I’m glad you’re taking this so lightly.  I was actually hoping I would bump into you again, though.  I didn’t properly introduce myself.’  He extended his hand and I shook it.
He shook hands with Margaret. He knew it was the first time their hands had met, though she was perfectly unconscious of the fact.’
I stared at him.  ‘What?’ I whispered.
He released my hand and motioned to the book I still held.  ‘North and South.  That’s a line from it.’
My eyebrows raised quickly.  ‘Oh!  You’ve read this before?’
‘Several times.  I’m a bit of a...what do you Americans call it?  A book nerd?’
‘Then that makes two of us.’
He looked at me for a moment and his brown eyes seemed to see right to my soul.  ‘I must seem like such a random person to you,’ he began.  ‘Asking to be in a picture with you, coming to the same bookstore, and now quoting from a book.’  He chuckled.  ‘I’m sorry.  I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day.’  He gave that small bow again and turned to leave.  
‘What other books would you recommend for me?’ I asked suddenly.
He stopped and looked back at me with a smile.  ‘I can show you a few, if you’d like.’
‘Please,’ I said, following his lead.
The next hour or so seemed to pass in a blur.  We talked about our favorite authors, places we’d like to visit, how school was going for both of us and how autumn was our favorite season.  He told me that he was an exchange student who recently moved to town and today was his first day to explore.  What were the chances that I could spend my leisure Saturday with a British boy?  
‘Do you need to be heading home?’ he asked, as I checked my phone for the time.
I didn’t want to, but I knew I had a stack of homework waiting for me on my desk.  I gave a sad nod.  ‘Yeah, I should get going soon.’
‘Well before you leave, pick out a book that you’d like.’
‘You-you mean, to buy?’
‘No, silly, for me to buy for you!’
‘Are you serious?’
‘Why would I tease about something like this?’  He rolled his eyes.
I smiled.  ‘Gosh, I don’t know which one I want...’
‘How about ‘North And South’?  Or do you own a copy of it already?’
‘I don’t, actually.  I need one.’
‘Then it’s settled.  I’ll purchase it for you.’
I left the book shop with a paper bag containing the Elizabeth Gaskell novel in one hand and a white chocolate mocha in the other.  
‘Thank you so much,’ I smiled at him.
‘No, thank you.  I had a wonderful day.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I had such a good one.  And thank you for not thinking I’m a creep.’
I grinned.  ‘Not at all.  Well...goodbye.’  I starting walking towards home, making sure I didn’t look over my shoulder.  Part of me almost wanted to give him my number, but knew that'd be way too forward of me.  He didn’t ask me so, I wouldn’t.
I tossed my purse and camera onto my bed when I got home and fell into my bright red chair to start on homework.  But instead, I sipped my mocha, staring out the window in front of me.  It was starting to rain.  I sighed and turned to my desk, but I saw something move out of the corner of my eye.  I turned to look out the side window next to my bed and gasped.  There he was.  Sitting at his desk.  A chin resting in his hand while he stared out his front window.  The British boy was my neighbor.
A million questions raced through my head but I didn’t have time to do anything before he glanced over and a shocked look came over his face.  Then, we both had the same idea.
I jumped onto my bed and quickly lifted the window open, and he did the same.
‘What are you doing there?’
‘I live here!’
Of course.  He’s an exchange student.  And he just moved to this new house.  Right next door to mine.
I laughed.  ‘This is so crazy.’
‘I agree.  But a good crazy.’
‘That’s the only kind of crazy I like.’
A pause.
‘Want to come over and do homework with me?’ he winked.
‘I thought you’d never ask,’ I smiled.

---

I set up a page so it's easier for my readers to access past novellas that I've written.  Just click on 'The Romance Corner' button in the sidebar and it'll take you to the page that they're listed on.

11.11.2013

Peru, aqui voy | an announcement



Some of you may know this already, but to others, this will be big news.

The LORD has opened doors for me to go on my first mission's trip...and it's to one of the countries that I have always wanted to visit: Peru.  

My Dad was born there, my parents visited there back in '93, and I have so much family there who I haven't even met.  I've always wanted to travel, but not just to tour.  I want to travel and spread the Gospel as I go.  Through a series of incredible circumstances, God has given me confirmation that Scripture Union is the ministry I should go with and I have been accepted as part of an incredible team of 11 believers who are going.  

The mission trip will be from July 7th-July 18th, 2014.  While there we will be up in the mountains of Yungay at a home for abandoned boys (ages 5-mid 20's).  We will work almost all day, every day.  The time that we're not working, will be spent with the boys - playing games, ministering through music and stories, etc.  But overall, most of the trip will be spent just showing God's love and ministering to these boys who were abandoned on the harsh streets of Peru.

The cost of the entire trip will be around $2,000.  I am needing to raise half of that by March 15th, and the other half by May 1st.  If you would like more details on how you can help me raise these funds, please email me.  I am asking (instead of gifts for Christmas or my birthday) that you please consider helping sponsor this trip for me.  And if not, please be in prayer for me and the whole team - that we can raise all the funds and that God continues to bless our efforts to put this team together.  

Thank you so much!:)

11.06.2013

It can come in many forms



What is idolatry?

The dictionary defines it as ‘the religious worship of idols’ and ‘excessive or blind adoration, reverence, devotion’.

As believers, we are called to flee from idols and from worshipping anything/anyone other than God.  

‘You shall have no other gods before Me.’
- Exodus 20:3

‘Little children, guard yourselves from idols.’
- 1 John 5:21

‘Those who regard vain idols forsake their faithfulness.’
- Jonah 2:8

But what defines idol?  What can become an idol to us?  Pastor John MacArthur stated it well:

‘Idolatry does not begin with a sculptor’s hammer.  It begins with the mind.’

Idolatry doesn’t necessarily have to be something physical.  It can be something mental.  It can be a feeling or a want.  It can be the desire to get married.  Or the need for a job.  You could even idolize something as simple and common as work, friends or even family.  The internet and/or TV are things commonly viewed as idols to many people.  If you idolize something to the point of it taking up most of your thought life and investment of your time, you may want to rethink your priorities.

As Christians, there is only One who deserves all of our attention and praise.  Only One who deserves the excessive adoration, reverence and devotion that we so freely give to other things, things of this world, things that are not eternal.  It’s a daily struggle to turn our eyes away from the lusts and prides of life.  But as soldiers in the battle against evil, it is our duty to stay focused on the prize, the goal ahead of us.  Push aside the idols.  Cut them to pieces if you must.  Whatever gets in the way of you and God needs to go.  Even if it takes painful measures.

It all boils down to: What is more important?  The earthly idol you are serving or the eternal Three-in-One Godhead who created this world...and you?

---

'Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and greed, which amounts to idolatry.'
- Colossians 3:5
  

11.05.2013

Random things which you may not know about me



  • I am...a forgiven sinner.
  • I am not...perfect.
  • I believe...in the Creator of the universe.
  • I keep...my phone near me all the time.
  • I need...love and music everyday.
  • I want...to be more like Christ.
  • I should...learn a language fluently.
  • I rarely...have music NOT playing.
  • I never...sleep past 9am.
  • I wish I could...give everyone a big hug and tell that that everything is in God’s control.
  • I don’t think...
  • I’m confused about...
  • I love...frozen yogurt, blueberries, big hugs, skinny jeans, boots, sweaters/hoodies, my life.
  • I hate...gossip, jealousy, and when people don’t think they’re beautiful and special and unique.
  • I fear...failure and losing a loved one.
  • I regret...nothing.  Because through every mistake I’ve made, God taught me a lesson.
  • I dance...like a crazy person.
  • I cry...when I’m really happy or really sad.  Or just plain emotional.
  • I hear...my sisters talking in the other room, someone stoking the woodstove fire, a car driving by, my music on shuffle, and the sound my laptop keys make as I type this out.
  • I see...my Macbook screen.

10.30.2013

Yes, this is about sex {part 2}


**Be advised that this is not appropriate for all ages.  If you are under eighteen, please ask your parents before proceeding past this sentence.**



Sex is all around us.  In movies, in books, in music, in conversations, and in our minds.  Everyone wants to have sex.  (If you didn’t have any to desire to have sex, I would question whether you’re a human or not.)  But not everyone is willing to wait to have the right kind of sex.  What do I mean by ‘the right kind’?  Well, sex was intended to only be enjoyed between a man and woman who are married.  But society seems to think differently.

I’m 18 years old, I’ve never had sex, and I don’t plan to till my wedding night.  Does this make me old-fashioned?  Maybe.  Does it make me crazy?  To some people, yes.  Is something wrong with me?  Well, no.  This is just the standard that I’ve gathered from verses like:

‘Marriage is to be held in honor above all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.’ 
- Hebrews 13:4

‘Flee immorality.  Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.  Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from god, and that you are not your own?’
- 1 Corinthians 6:18-19

‘Beloved, I urge you as strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.’
- 1 Peter 2:11

But more than basing my view on Bible verses, I’m going to borrow a statement from my friend Jordan Kranda in which he says:

‘My main reason [for waiting till marriage to have sex] actually isn’t rooted in a Bible verse, but instead it’s rooted in a Biblical concept: faithfulness.’

Faithfulness is the foundation for why I have chosen to abstain from having sex.  Refusing to give my body away is an act of faithfulness towards my future husband.

‘What if you never get married, though?’ you may be asking.  
Well then I will have lived a pure life, obeying God’s commands.

Another principle I would add to faithfulness is commitment.  These are two main points in a marriage.  Mark 10:6-9 talks about how a man and woman who enter the union of marriage are no longer two, but one flesh.  And how a man must forsake all others and ‘cleave’ (or ‘hold fast’) only to his wife.  This joining of a husband to his wife is a permanent covenant, orchestrated by God.  

I love what Mary Kassian has to say about this:

‘The physical act of union between [a husband and wife’s] bodies’ consummates their emotional and spiritual intimacy.  The Old Testament expression for sexual intercourse is that a man ‘knows’ his wife.  Sexual intercourse equals knowing.  Covenant love is all about ‘knowing someone’.  It’s communion of the most intimate kind.  It’s the deepest love that is humanly possible.’    

Sexual purity takes self-control.  It requires that we don’t mindlessly follow our sexual passions, like people who don’t know God.  The LORD wants us to control our sexual impulses.  He created sex.  He created our desire for it.  But to abstain from giving in to these passions before the time is right, is hard, yes.  And He knew it would be.  He gave us His Holy Spirit - the Spirit of power, love and self-control - to help us discipline ourselves in keeping control over our bodies and sexual desires in a holy and honorable way (2 Timothy 1:7).

I’ve had a lot of people tell me that confining physical intimacy to marriage will decrease the pleasure of sex.  But I believe that quite the contrary is true.  (And I know quite a few married couples who have confirmed this.) Narrowing the boundary to the God-given design increases the power, passion and pleasure of sex.  It ‘allows’ sex to be everything God created it to be.  In the long run, boundary creates beauty.  

And God delights in sex so much that He devoted an entire book of the Bible to it (Song of Solomon).  God wants Christians to experience fabulous sex.  He is supportive of good sex because He created that intimacy between a man and woman.  

--- 

'The LORD God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.'
- Genesis 2:18

10.25.2013

Everyday Blessings // 15


>> dreams coming true
>> filling a journal
>> getting my own Young Living Everyday Oils kit
>> country music
>> finding the perfect gift for a friend
>> buying new books
>> crisp autumn weather
>> the possibility of going on a mission's trip
>> long sweaters that reach all the way down to your hands
>> planning surprises
>> bonfires
>> baking, baking, baking
>> Papaya (clothing store)
>> Boba tea
>> catch-up chats with friends


QUESTION: 
Would my readers like me to start including more personal pictures in my Everyday Blessings posts?

---

'Rich In Blessings' Giveaway winner: Cassie
{please contact me with your mailing info}

10.18.2013

What love is this?



I know that we can never fully understand God’s love for us.  But we can try.  Or at least try to understand .1% of it.

One thing I know for sure is that God’s love isn’t something small and fuzzy.  It’s not casually calm.  It’s violent.  It’s ferocious.  It’s God-was-murdered-on-your-behalf kind of love.  He knew He would have to die for His chosen ones before the world began.  And He was willing to do that.  He was willing to die and be ridiculed because He loves His children.
  
This love isn’t something that any other kind of love can be compared to.  It’s a Heavenly Father love.  I-will-love-you-forever kind of love.  It’s a powerful love.  And it’s lavished upon us daily.  It’s the most beautiful example of love.  And no, I don’t think someone can truly love without knowing the love of God.  Jesus’ death and resurrection is the pure and perfect example of a holy and complete love that a Man has for His bride (the church).  It’s a true, I’ll never leave you or forsake you kind of love.  No matter what comes their way.

True love, even in the midst of hardship, can only be seen in the eyes of those who define love by pointing to the cross of Jesus Christ.  That is the ultimate form of the definition of love.  Beyond such, there is none.

---

'Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.'
- 1 John 4:7-11
  

10.16.2013

Waiting IS Worshipping | guest post

I know I don't usually host guest posters, but I asked my good friend, Cody, if he'd be willing to share some of his wisdom with y'all.  He is one of the most godly men I know and always has great advice and incredible encouragement.  I hope you're as blessed by this article as I am.

---



Waiting on God is a really tough thing to do.  In fact, it's impossible to do without God. He's the one Who helps us and gives us the strength to do it.
Waiting is painful, and sometimes the only thing you can do is just cry, and know that God is in control, even though you can't see. You feel blind, like there is a thick fog all around you, and you can't see past it. All you want is an answer, which way to go.
I know because I've been there.
God will answer you.  He always does. That's one of His promises.
He might not answer in the way you want, be He will always answer.



"This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him." (1 John 5:14-15)

At certain times, God doesn't give us the answer right away because if we got it, we would just put our hope and faith in the answer, instead of in Him. When He tells us to wait, all we have to hope in is HIM. And that's what He wants. That's want we need.
Sometimes I think we tend to think of our requests to God, as mail.  Though of course not literally, but meaning, we ask, it may take a day or two to get there, then He should answer yes or no within 5-7 business days.
But really, whether we admit it or not, that IS some of the time (if not a lot of the time) how we think. God doesn't work like that, His timing is perfect.  Not almost perfect, but exactly and down to the minutes and seconds perfect. We are so used to getting things in the mail, or at the store when we want, or in a very short time frame. And maybe if you pray harder and more you will get it faster, kinda like paying extra shipping costs. While you will most definitely grow closer to God if you pray more, that doesn't change God's timing for you.
Sometimes I notice that I try to make things happen (that I want to happen) without realizing it. And then when I'm in the middle of trying to make my own plan work, God reminds me to wait on Him and stop trying to go so fast and make it work right now. He already knows when and how it's going to work.  And there isn't anything I can do to make it go faster, God is the only one who has that power, and if He's not using it, it doesn't need to go faster.

Maybe God wants to say yes to you, but first He's opening your eyes to see Him, trust Him, and fall more in love with Him.  THEN He will overwhelm you with answering your request with a yes. Maybe you wouldn't have been overwhelmed with gratitude, and humbled the way you should be, if God just gave it to you now.
Maybe God wants to say no to you, but you just aren't ready to hear it, or receive it.  First He has to bring you closer to Himself so you can really see that NOT giving you what you want, is a blessing. Because you would've missed out on what He has for you. Whatever it is, it is so much better - a million times better than what you could've even dreamed of. Right now, nothing seems better than what YOU want. Just trust and believe, because soon you will see, and realize that God's plan and timing is amazingly perfect.
It's not wrong to hope for what you want, bring your requests to God, and maybe, just maybe, when everything looks like a no, He'll surprise you with a yes. You just need to let go, and have it taken away, so you could hold tighter to Jesus.
Until God has the relationship with you that He wants, you won't have the relationship YOU want with someone. You may think your relationship with God is the way it needs to be.  But truth is, you can never stop growing. Wait on God and let Him take you where you need to be. Just because your relationship with God may not be where it needs to be doesn't mean God is saying no.  It means God is saying wait. Always trust HIS timing and let Him bring you closer to Himself. God remains faithful, no matter what the circumstance. His plan is in the works. Trust and wait on Him to see what amazing things He's gonna do in your life.

I'd like to share a reminder that a good friend of mine told me:



'Focus on furthering your relationship with the LORD and everything else will fall into place.'



Remember, worshiping God isn't just singing.  It's a way of living life, and waiting.  Well, that's one of the biggest ways of worshiping Him. Remind yourself that Jesus is all you need, and He is everything good, and the reason for every good thing.

---

Songs for encouragement:

I don't know about you, but music is a HUGE part of my life, and God uses it to speak to me. I'd like to share some songs that have helped me a lot in the times of waiting.

      John Waller - "Worship while I'm Waiting"
      Addison Road - "Hope Now"
      The Afters - "Lift Me Up", "Broken Hallelujah", "Believe", "With You Always"
      Ashes Remain - "Everything Good"
      Britt Nicole - "Hanging on", "The Sun is Rising"
      Capital Kings - "You'll Never Be Alone"
      Cory Lamb - "Safe in You Arms"
      Josh Wilson - "Faith is Not a Feeling"
      Kutless - "I'm With You", "Believer"
     Sidewalk Prophets - "Help Me Find it"
     Tenth Avenue North(one of my personal Favs) "By Your Side", "Hold my Heart",
     "You Are", "Worn", "Satisfy"
     7eventh Time Down - "Just Say Jesus"
     Group1 Crew - "He Said"

 That should make a good playlist for you.



Verses of encouragement:


Psalm 27:14, Psalm 37:7-9, Isaiah 40:31,  Psalm 100:5, Romans 12:12, Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 55:22, Psalm 97:12, Psalm 46:1, Psalm 18:30, Psalm 37:5, Psalm 9:10, Psalm 28:7.


---