11.12.2016

Armored Against the Enemy [a free PDF download]

A few months back I felt God bringing up a specific topic to my attention. It was something I wanted to grow deeper in and focus more in my life. God kept bringing the armor of God up in my devotions so I decided to take a closer look. Upon delving deeper into this topic I really have found it personally encouraging and wanted to share some of my thoughts regarding it with all of you. Actually in the process of writing out all the pages and nearing the end of my study, I ended up losing almost all my work and I had to go back and rewrite everything. Hopefully God allowed me to add something I may have missed beforehand and it allowed me to apply the truths even more into my own life.

Anyways, while studying, I've realized how often this topic is applicable to our everyday lives. We often forget that we are living in a spiritual battle. Satan is out to get us and we need to be aware of his targets of discouragement. I've definitely grown accustomed to his deceptive tricks and it truly does take initiative to fight back and focus on God's perception of us.

In this world it is so easy to get caught up in negativity, complaining, doubts, discouragement, worry, fear, shame, the list could go on and on. Once Satan starts infiltrating our minds with these thoughts it just keeps flowing in deeper and deeper into our mindset and hearts. It becomes second nature to complain about a bad day, beat ourselves up over our mistakes, feel guilt for sins that have already been forgiven and worry over what could happen.

http://bit.ly/2eOGQst


I wanted to create a short study of the seven pieces of armor that God has given us to withstand the devil. I believe they are vital to use in our Christian walk, and quite honestly I didn't even understand the full purpose and importance of them all until I studied them deeper.

Our world is a difficult place to live in with society and things constantly changing. Our perspectives are easily sidetracked to all our problems and we forget who our true enemy is. It's not our struggles, people, government, or circumstances that is the problem, it's Satan trying to get our focus caught up in all those things so we lose sight that he's the source of all the evil we encounter. We need to have a battle plan to fight his deception, and God has given us the necessary tools to do so.

I'm including a link to the thirteen page PDF of my thoughts and ramblings on the armor of God. I hope it can be an encouragement to you and help you take defense as you try to withstand the devil and live for God.


Download THE PDF >>

10.31.2016

Get it Together

Get it together. Have you ever said these words to yourself? Sometimes I look around and it seems like everyone I see seems to have things "together" and life seems to be cooperating for them. I look at my life, full of mistakes, failures, mishaps, broken pieces, loose ends and insecurities and I wonder why my life can't be like the rest. Why is my torn up road filled with bumps, ditches and valleys, when it seems like everyone else's is smooth and easy.

Sometimes I feel like my life is stagnant. I feel like I'm trudging through water and I'm getting nowhere fast. I feel like I try and try, and no matter what I do, I'm left in the same ditch as when I started. I look around and see others who continually move forward, passing me by, while I'm stuck behind that slow poke in the right lane. Sometimes I question what God's trying to do in my life. Why? Why me? Why this? Why now? Why did this happen? What is Your purpose?

I've told myself to "get it together" many times recently, and quite honestly, I don't think it was a thought from God. Satan is a pretty good deceiver and loves to make us doubt. He loves when we get discouraged, angry or upset. When I tell myself to "get it together" it's usually a result of me not feeling good enough, messing up or comparing myself to others. All of which are things Satan tries to infiltrate into our minds to make us think that they are important, instead of remembering what God tells us. He tells us we are valued, treasured, enough and unique.

When Satan succeeds by discouraging us, it hinders us. Not from only living a joyful life, but a life for God. When we feel like we constantly need to "get things together" we are focusing on how we appear. How we perform. How we act. We get distracted to focus on our heart. How is my heart? How is my example? How is my testimony through this?

When we get our focus off the "appearance" of things and focus on the "meaning" of things it often gives us a different perspective. I don't have to meet up to the expectations that everyone (and myself) have for me. I can look at my intentions. My heart. My motives.

Instead of focusing on what I'm doing, I can focus on my pure intentions. Am I working as hard as I can, even though I may make mistakes? Am I trying to follow and seek after God even though I feel like sometimes I lose my focus? It's nice to know that if  I don't constantly have things together will God will never stop loving me or accepting me. God does not love us based on anything we can or cannot do. His love isn't opinion or action based. It's not conditional or dependent on what we can offer.

Even when we feel like things are out of control or seem difficult to understand, we can rest assured that God's "got it together." He's got our lives in His hands. And that's the best place for us to be! The next time you feel like telling yourself to "get it together" remember that you don't have to have things together. If you did you would be the one in control of your life. Having control means you make the decisions. Your opinion only matters. You are in charge. You are dominant.

As Christians, we shouldn't be the one's in charge of our lives. We should be giving that control over to God. He's our primary decision maker. He should be the one first in our lives. He's the one we should be going to for guidance, support and wisdom. He's the one who is sovereign and will lead us in the way we should go, not to hurt us, but because it is for our best. We may think the road we're on is difficult, taking forever to get us to our desired destination, or that it is headed in the wrong direction, but God's got a plan. We may think our life is a mess, but it is a mess that God can use for His glory if we are willing to be used by Him. Our lives may not turn out how we planned, but if it's according to God's plan, it far exceeds what great expectations we could ever have for our lives!

On a sidenote, I found this song encouraging that inspired my blog post. Hope you enjoy it!   

10.05.2016

People Pleasing

Do you ever feel like you have to make everyone happy? Do you ever try to please everyone? It's an awful hard job to undertake. If we tried to please everyone we couldn't possibly just be ourselves. We'd be trying to meet up to everything everyone else wanted us to be. To be honest I am one of those people.

I try to please others so much that I let what others think of me dominate the thoughts I have of myself. So many times I am kept up at night thinking over past conversations and stretching things way out of proportion. I take words said and I begin asking a ton of "maybe" questions. "Maybe they said that about me? Maybe they think I'm weird? Maybe they think I'm a failure? Maybe they won't like me anymore? Maybe I'm not good enough?" The list goes on and on.



How often I base my opinions and thoughts off overthought assumptions and speculations and I lose track of the truth. I think the worst of words said and multiply my problems, making me depressed and discouraged. This is when I have to take a step back and refocus.

I don't have to please everyone. I don't have to please myself. I don't have to get discouraged when I fail and mess up. I don't have to be defined my my mistakes. I'm not defined by what others think of me. I am not defined by the lies and rumors others spread about me. I only have to please one - God.

As long as I am doing my best and seeking after Him, that's all I can do. Others may not say it's good enough, but God sees my heart. I don't have to control my life or meet up to the expectations that everyone throws at me, because God is my boss. I live for Him and He is the only one that I will have to account to.

If you feel downgraded by your mistakes. Defined by the countless labels others put on you or discouraged about your performance, know that there's only one opinion that matters. God sees your heart. He sees the struggling you're going through. If everyone else doesn't understand, God does. If everyone else picks out all your flaws, God sees. Don't get discouraged. Don't beat yourself up. Find God's love and let that overtake your heart. Let all the stress, pressure and expectations be released when you only focus on following after God and letting Him take control!

On a sidenote, I found this song encouraging that related to this topic. Hope you enjoy it!  

9.22.2016

In Prayer | Free PDF Download


Have you ever been struggling through a difficult time and suddenly realized that you haven’t taken the time to pray and talk with God? Sometimes I fail to look at my problems from a different perspective and seek God with an open heart. I grow discouraged with my situations and fail to see them with a different perspective.

I’ve put together a 5 page collection of prayers on my heart that I have written from heart-felt experiences that I have encountered, which I hope will encourage you. I hope these prayers will deepen your relationship with God and possibly allow you to see a different perspective to your situations. They aren’t profound or ground-breaking, but simple reminders of Biblical truths that I have found to be so evident in my own personal life.



Please feel free to enter your email below to download the free PDF!

8.18.2016

Skipping Ahead

As I drive home from work, or wherever I'm headed, I often listen to my mp3 player to enjoy some of my favorite songs. Somehow I add new songs on every week, and yet, I still find myself tired of listening to the same old songs. I constantly skip through every song until I try to find one I want to listen to.

While driving home today I found myself skipping every song until I could find one in particular to listen to. I got to the point that I was determined to find this song, until I realized something. I was so determined to find that one song, I was skipping over so many others in the process. I've often found this in stages of life as well. I'm so determined to skip over parts of my life, in search for things I want or desire, that I'm missing out on big pieces and opportunities right where I am.

I desire for the day that I can be successful at something. I get impatient waiting for the day I can marry the man God has chosen for me. I long for a lasting friendship. I desire opportunities that I can be a vital inspiration in someone else's life.

Just as I've been skipping songs, passing them by in search of something better, I've been doing that with God too. How many times I think my ways are better than God's. I'm in search of my wants and desires, and God's plans get skipped over. I try to rush through seasons of my life, searching for something of more value. A lasting impact. I want more than the provincial circumstances God has placed in my lap.


Lately life has been filled with work, work and more work. While I enjoy what I'm doing, it often gets tiring when I feel like I have no deep connections with anyone. I desire to have a deep relationship with someone. I would like to help encourage and influence with my life, but it feels like God keeps taking things and people from me. I feel like all that I'm left with is empty hands and a broken heart. I desired more for my life than where I'm at right now, but I know God has a plan. I may be a mess, feel like a failure and make mistakes, but I know God is using all of the pieces of my brokenness for something great.

Even though I feel like everything has fallen apart, God is using these broken pieces for something greater, that I may not understand, from my shattered life. Even though I wish I could skip through this season of wondering and waiting, I know that God is teaching me, more than ever, to rely on Him. When things are taken from me, I have to remember that God is bringing me closer to His side. He wants me to grow closer to Him and not rely on the earthly possessions I often get twisted up in. He can use this pain and hurt for something far greater than I ever could imagine.

If you're experiencing hardship in this season of your life, don't try to skip through and search for something better. God has it right in your lap. He's doing something amazing with your life. Not just in your past. Not in the future, but right now. Let Him lead the way and follow after Him. It takes great faith to trust God when things are unclear, not just when everything is sunny and bright. Let your faith remain strong even through the most painful trials you may be facing. Remember, if you are hurting, God is seeking you to draw closer to Him in ways you never could have if things were perfect and put together. Hardships are God's way of telling us He desires to deepen our relationship with Him.

Isaiah 43:2
When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you. When you're in rough waters, you will not go down. When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end. 

James 5:11
As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

7.27.2016

Letting Go of the Past

Have you ever experienced a circumstance in your life and you were struggling through the pain? You finally reached a point where you could catch a breath. You could begin to start healing. You were finally able to give God the hurt, pain and wounds of your heart. You learned to let it go and you began to move on.

Just when you thought you were through the worst, something reminds you of your past and hints of the memories come back again. The good. The bad. You thought you just overcame the pain and suffering and the memories come flooding back in, taunting you to open that door again.

Often times I experience struggling in my life that really tests my perseverance. I question what God is doing in my life. Even through the pain of the situation, God somehow always seems to pull me through. There are times though when I just can't seem to let go. Memories come flooding in and it's hard to just let it go. To let go of what might have been. To let go of once was. To let go of the anger and frustration. To let go of how my life used to be. To let go of the memories.

I've been struggling to let go of things in my life. I've given them over to God, but I feel like they often times they keep coming back again, placing an ache on my heart that I wish I could somehow overcome. I've asked God many times "Why can't I let go of this? Why is this so hard?" It's been a struggle to move on, but most of all, it's been a struggle to know that God's plan is best. I've been reminiscing in my past and finding hurt in situations that didn't go as I had planned.



This is where I get stuck. I look at things from my perspective. I focus on the things that hurt and wonder why God directed me to where I am. I grow disappointed with my life and fail to see God's direction. When I choose to go where God instructs me to go I don't have to be discouraged with my life. I have to remember that God has chosen this time of my life to use my current circumstances to teach me something. To use my life as an inspiration to the people I come in contact with.

When you begin to feel discouraged with your life and you have trouble letting go of past circumstances remember something. God has a purpose. Not just a good purpose, but a great purpose! He chose to place you where you are right now for a reason. When we choose to do what is right, try our best and seek God we can rest assured that no matter what we face, it is for our best. It is helping us to grow. It is an opportunity for us to strengthen our character. It is a blessing (yes, I said a blessing) to grow closer to God through what may seem to be like a time of discouragement in your present circumstances.

Remember, don't grow disheartened in your present circumstances. When we are too focused on our past or future we are hindering ourselves in the present. We are missing opportunities. If you are struggling letting go of a circumstance, take it to God. Even if you've taken it to Him many times. God loves a persistent heart that is willing to submit and surrender. The pain and weight of the burden you are carrying isn't only yours to carry. God is there to take it away and relieve you from what is piercing your heart. Ask God to take all the pain. All the stress and worries. Remember, He is with you even when it seems like you are all alone. He is working.

Isaiah 43:18-19
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
 
Galatians 6:9
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and He will straighten your path.  

7.15.2016

Trusting {poem}


When will it be time? When will he come along?
When will I meet the one I've been waiting for, for so long?
Watching everyone else find their special someone
Leaves me wondering if I will ever meet "the one"
Lord, I'm waiting.
Waiting to find the right one and not rush into dating

Things worthwhile should never be rushed
Because patience helps deepen our faith and strengthen our trust
Help me to grow through this time
Work in my heart and strengthen my relationship with You in the meantime

And when that moment comes and the time is right
I will have true joy knowing that I obeyed and waited for Your "green light"
I don't want to follow a road where You're not by my side
I need You as my leader. I need You as my guide.
Help me to be fervent in prayer for my husband and me both
And even though we're apart, that we would seek after You and continue to grow
Help me to gain confidence and get me ready
So I will be a strong, godly mother and wife for my family

So help me not to wait, but trust in You Lord
Help me to trust that You have great plans in store
Help me to trust that You'll bring along a man who will pursue me
And until then, I will continue to pursue You, until we're both ready
Ready for the right moment that we'll meet each other
And we're ready to grow in our relationship with God together

7.13.2016

Enduring Mistreatment

Do you ever feel something nagging on your heart and you just can't let it go? You try to forget the pain but you quickly are reminded of it once again and the irritation and urge to feed on the anger grows in your heart. Have you ever felt like your life never met up to what everyone expected of you? Like your opinion never matters? Your voice always goes unheard. You're viewed as an "ignorant nobody." You're the person who's effort often gets overlooked and the person whom others often forget about. The one who constantly faces rejection and never feels good enough.

It's hard when you feel like others get better treatment and your thoughts, circumstances and ideas go unnoticed. Everyone else seems to lead a more important life with great wisdom to share, while you are left feeling like you are too young or ignorant to be heard. You want to voice your opinion, but it's never given the chance. It's like your life and entire existence is entirely invisible.

It's nice to know that someone understands. Jesus knows how it felt to be viewed as a nobody and He was treated like an outsider for being the Son of God, the Creator of the universe. It sure does make me look at my circumstances a bit differently. If the Son of God could humble Himself and come to this earth for me, why do I have such a hard time when I feel unfairly treated with others? Even with all that Jesus had gone through: rejection, ridicule, physical abuse, etc. He still remained humble and lived the life of a servant. He didn't expect to be treated like royalty, even though He had every right. How dare I complain when I feel like I am unfairly treated for things so inferior to what He had faced.

Seeing Jesus's example reminds me that even though life may seem unfair, and it's hard to let things go that hurt us so badly, God has forgiven me and given me grace when I don't deserve it. When others seem to take advantage of me and it's hard to forgive them for their treatment, I am reminded of God's forgiveness to me. God has extended His grace to me, and yet why I can't give that to others?

It puts a different light on my situations when I look at things from God's perspective. It's not about holding onto the pain and reveling in it. It's about giving that hurt, pain and anger and giving it over to God to take the burden away. This past week I had encountered an issue where I felt frustrated and I didn't want to let go of the anger I was feeling. It was then I realized that by holding onto the pain was only doing me harm. It's such a simple truth, that I learned before, but how easily I forget. When I gave it to God I felt relief and peace knowing that it was in His hands and up to Him to take care of the circumstance. It's not my place to judge, change or seek revenge, but it is God's job. He knows what is just and what is right and He will make sure nothing is overlooked. He sees the hurt, pain and knows the treatment we face. He sees the unjust situations we encounter and knows when others undervalue our worth.

Often times the pain comes back again, throbbing like a severed wound, and we begin to feel the anger begin to grow within us again. God understands the hurt it causes us, but when this occurs we should continually give it back to God. Sometimes we have to keep doing it over and over until we can fully let it go. It's not an easy thing to do by offering the situations to God when we feel undervalued and unfairly treated. It's easy to get angry, lash out and take things into our own hands. When this occurs I try to remember that God has called me to be different. I am a Christian, I am an example of Christ, maybe the only example someone will see of Him. I should offer others the love I have received from God even when I feel hurt and mistreated.

If you feel like your circumstances have led you to feel unfairly treated and you wonder what God is doing through this time, take a deeper look. When others reject and undervalue you, it doesn't define your worth, but their character. When others don't show love or take the time to listen, remember your purpose. You aren't here to be loved, but to love. To show God's love. You aren't here to live a happy life, but to use your circumstances as a launchpad for who God has called you to be. To use those hard and difficult times to strengthen your character, not as a time to complain and seek revenge.

God isn't trying to hurt you or punish you. He's testing you to show your character. He wants to see how you react. Will you become jealous, angry or seek revenge? Or will you show love, seek forgiveness and show grace? We have Jesus as our example to look to when we feel like everyone is against us. He was humble, a servant, He cared for the misfits and lived with the peasants. He loves those who have willing hearts and show grace and love even when they feel undervalued and invisible.

Mark 10:45
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Matthew 20:16
So the last will be first, and the first will be last.

I Peter 2:19
For God is pleased with you when you do what you know is right and patiently endure unfair treatment.

2 Timothy 4:12
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

7.06.2016

How are You Defined?

Have you ever felt caught in the pressure of life and so many things keep pulling at you? One minute things seem like they are moving along just fine, but once you get comfortable, it's like everything got turned upside down. Just when things felt secure, the foundation started crumbling.

My life has felt like a constant flow of ups and downs, roller coaster rides and sharp turns. Once I begin to feel content, God changes my circumstances. Once I feel like there is a clear direction, I feel like there's a sharp turn in the road. Just when I feel like I can begin to accept myself, the next minute I wonder how anyone could love a mess like me. Just when I seem to get over comparing myself to everyone else, I lose my confidence and feel unattractive. Once I begin to find someone who seems to care, I feel replaced, ignored and unwanted.


Life feels pretty uncertain right now. Every direction I look is a road with no clear direction. Every door is half open, but not completely opened or closed. Nothing seems certain anymore. Once one thing goes wrong, doubts start flooding in. I  begin to question my existence, my career choice,  my worth and if I truly matter to anyone.

After a hard day, like today, where everything in the world seemed to go wrong, it's hard to find good in situations that seem so daunting. One thing that I have found to help me through is remembering where to focus my attention. Is it how others perceive me? Is it what they think of me? Is it based on the thoughts I'm thinking? The doubts Satan tries to throw at me to discourage me? Am I focused only on the negatives? Do I place my joy in things that will not satisfy?

Sometimes I have to refocus my attention off of the problems and things that feel important. I have to remember why I'm here. I have to remember my mission. Am I here to be loved, feel important, be successful, be perfect or have it all-together all the time? No, I'm here to show God's love to the world, even if I don't get any in return. While I'm far from being anything from perfect, I know that God still loves me with all my mistakes. He accepts me when I fail and make a mess of things. Often I feel like I don't have any love to give to others, when I feel like I'm empty. It is then that I need to ask for God's help to give me the love to show others and the strength to overcome the hard days. True love is giving it when we may not get any back.

God has really shown me that I can still have joy even after I have a horrible day. I don't have to dwell on my mistakes or shortcomings, because God sees my heart, knows the effort and He sees.

If you are facing a difficult time and it is draining you of your joy. God is right there with you. Seek after Him. Remember that your day and what others think of you doesn't have to define your joy. You can find true happiness when you focus only on what really matters and what God sees. When we focus our attention on God and we blur everything else out, we can find joy in seeing ourselves how God sees us! We are precious and loved in His eyes. He created us on purpose with a purpose.

Romans 15:3
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I Peter 5:7
Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.

Romans 8:28
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.