Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ask what you desire


But if you abide in me and my words abide in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! John 15:7

[That verse is an uncanny declaration. 

Absolutely unbelievable. 
Except, Christ said it—“ask what you desire.” 

And after all, He didn’t sacrifice one iota of His own integrity by making that promise, because it is predicated on a significant premise: abiding in Him. That isn’t some mystical position or some hard-to-arrive-at pattern of conduct. It isn’t a religious accomplishment or a pious performance. It’s just honest-to-God saying, “I want Your will.” 

His answer: “Pray, and I’ll work it.”]
—Jack Hayford 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ruth Bell Graham Collected Poems, page 154

















Manicured, styled,
expensively suited,
they stood
and they smiled
as if programmed, computed
by specialist fed;
yet I knew within each
beat a heart living-dead.
The smiles were a mask;
the lifestyles they led
at beast a brave showing,
pretending, not being,
while You Who created
are God, the Allknowing,
are God, the Allseeing.

Lord, we cannot see
as You see above,
behind and within.
We can only love.
—Ruth Bell Graham

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Incorruptible Beauty

Happy Wednesday Lovelies! 



I'm writing to you from my couch, with my cup of coffee of course! If you could see me, you might gasp. I have a homemade mask on... which my brother likes to call it caca-face, I call it chocolate. But that's not what today's post is about. The mask has a little to do; but not the chocolate, though now I have chocolate on the brain! 

I recently watched a news clip about the ever changing standard of beauty. It immediately caught my attention. As a Latin/Hispanic woman I cringed watching this clip. Take a look:


“I say that inner beauty does not exist. That’s something that unpretty women invented to justify themselves.” –Osmel Sosa

I think of all the young girls, who like myself at their age, believe the lie that our worth is found in a “standard” of beauty. To say that inner beauty does not exist, is to say that your personality, character, talents, and achievements are of no value. These are all God created and given, and God is beauty. 

If 14 year old Me would have pursued the standard of beauty that I longed for, I would most likely be dead because of the Anorexia. But most importantly, I would have missed out on discovering the many wonderful truths, lessons, and people that have added worth and value to my life:
Intimately knowing the love of God
Growing in knowledge of God’s purpose(s) for my life
Learning what my God given gifts and talents are
Developing those gifts and talents for the good of others
Using my not-so-standard-of-beauty body to serve others
Using my story to help girls and women
Traveling the world for pleasure and for missions
Loving and being loved by family and friends

My less than perfect life is also a complete life. And by complete I must include those moments of fear, loss, and trials. These have each taught me a lesson that add worth and value to my life.

I can’t help but think of Peter’s words:
Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 1 Peter 3:3-4 NLT

The New King James Version uses the words: Incorruptible Beauty

In other words, this standard of beauty is unfading, incorruptible, honorable, admirable, worthy, good, praiseworthy, estimable, wonderful, and exemplary.

I would do you a disservice if I didn’t quote Allie MarieSmith  on the definition of a woman who possesses an incorruptible beauty:
“Such a woman is at peace with her God. She trusts him completely a her number one relationship in her life. She understands where true value and worth lies- that it’s not in the clothes she wears, the guy she dates, or her socioeconomic background. She’s fully aware of her identity as a beloved daughter of God. Her spirit is at rest- gentle and quiet because she knows that no matter what trouble comes her way; her future in Christ is secure. No amount of striving, accomplishments, or external beauty can maker her more valuable or loved in the eyes of her Lord. That, my girl is a beautiful woman.” -HEAL, page 113

So here I am, with a facial mask on in an attempt to rid my face of acne. I’m also contemplating what nail polish to wear and what lipstick to buy. I’ve learned that being girly is ok, as long as my heart is in check. And though I love all things fashion, makeup, and dressing up, I love The Lord more. His standard of beauty is the one I seek and long for. 

And so I leave you Lauren Scruggs. She has a story that completely shatters Osmel Sosa and our society’s twisted ideals.





Friday, July 18, 2014

pray more

photo credit 

"I'm going to pray more."
It's been said before, and often. How did that go?

I can understand the prayer-less life of a person who has never experienced the power of prayer. But to those of us who have experienced the miraculous, the spectacular, the awe-inspiring power of prayer, we have no excuse. What possible excuse could we give to the God who gives all to us?

It has been in my personal time of prayer that I have grown in faith. For it takes faith to believe that God is who He says He is. It takes faith to believe that God hears my prayers. It takes faith to believe that God cares for the words I say. It takes faith to believe that He will answer, guide, and provide. It takes faith to believe that He has a plan, a purpose, and a will for all my petitions, concerns, and thoughts. And so with every prayer lifted to Heaven faith is increased, and my fears, doubts, and unbelief are shattered. 

Yet, if I only pray my benefit, than I have lost the greatest reward of all... I've lost Christ. It has been those moments that in prayer God speaks to me that have transformed my faith. Prayer is more than simply speaking, it's also about listening. I think this is why so many (myself included) claim to have prayer lives but are found spiritually malnourished. After all, Jesus did say that He is the bread of life. He longs to feed us as we pray.

Hunger for a transforming prayer life. 

Purpose with me to expect the miraculous. 
Purpose with me to seek spectacular conversations with God. 
Purpose with me to be inspired by His silence as much as His words. 
Purpose with me to pray more. 



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Crisis

Doug Sauder: 
Crisis is a gift that nobody registers for, for obvious reasons.  But here's something that can't be denied: Crisis reveals true character. You never know the true nature of something until it is under duress or put to some sort of test. You'll never know if your roof is solid without a thunderstorm. And you'll never know the true character of someone apart from the context of crisis, and I would encourage all church leaders to embrace that reality. Here's why:
Crisis will reveal the true character in those around you, and you really need to know where people are in regard to you. Who is for you and who is against you? Nothing clarifies that like a crisis.
Also, crisis reveals the true character in you. Let's be honest, none of us are perfect and we all need to surrender and submit areas of our heart to the Lord's transformational touch. But we need to recognize what those areas are before we can yield to Him changing them in us. Nothing reveals those blind-spots like a crisis, because it's then and there that the "true you" is seen. 
Lastly, crisis reveals the true character of the Lord. God's character is constant and never changes. But there are times when we're more dialed-in than others to His voice and His actions on our behalf. Crisis is the time when our hearts tend to be most attuned to His, and He has a perfect track record of faithfulness towards those who trust in Him."


Excerpt from an interview with Phil Cooke: HERE

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

hello from Montana


Hey Lovelies.
This past Friday morning I jumped into a car and headed on a cross country trip to the beautiful state of Montana. I joined great friends to surprise their daughter, who is like a younger sister to me. I was her youth leader and throughout the years developed a beautiful relationship. We arrived last night around 8pm and the surprise was hilarious and sweet.

I am not a road trip kind of gal. On the contrary, 45 minutes is sufficient to make me go wild and grow anxious in a car. But I have to say, it wasn't as bad as I thought. It wasn't bad at all. We drove through Florida (obviously!), Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, and finally made it to Montana. It was beautiful, though Missouri should be renamed Misery, because that's what it was, a miserable boring state to drive through. And inspire of a 4 day drive, it was pretty spectacular to see God's workmanship... anything better that the Florida flat lands!

Arriving to Montana was surreal and powerful. It truly is God's country. To see how perfectly detailed each scenery is, solidified my faith in God as Creator. He has vividly stamped His fingerprints and signature over nature. Each pine tree perfectly placed.  Mountains proudly standing higher than the clouds. Rocks upon rocks being sustained by the very breath of God. Crisp air. Calm and serene towns. Quietness that overwhelms you, and causes you to stop and listen for God. I wish I could bring you here.

This morning I have been meditating and thinking.
I don't need to ride cross country to be in quietness. I can purpose to have quiet moments throughout my day. It would have to take a sacrifice, a death of other pleasures, in order for me to be attentive to God. But cultivating a life in Christ is cultivating quietness, stillness, and purposeful discipline. I've just arrived at "God's Country" and it is proving to be God's teacher.


Psalm 46
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way 
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 
though its waters roar and foam    
and the mountains quake with their surging. 
There is a river whose streams 
make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells. 
God is within her, she will not fall; 
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; 
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;  
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see what the Lord has done, 
the desolations he has brought on the earth. 
He makes wars cease 
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; 
he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; 
I will be exalted among the nations, 
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us
 the God of Jacob is our fortress.


Enjoy the pictures from my phone (mostly taken at 80mph)

















Monday, May 19, 2014

Rest for the weary and burdened


Then Jesus said, 
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,
 and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28

Jesus understands weariness. As a small ship crosses Galilee, and a storm’s fury terrifies His companions, Jesus sleeps. 

His physical frame is worn and His stamina spent from ministering to multitudes. So worn and weary is He that even the crashing of the waves, the whipping of the boat, and the shrieking of the winds do not awaken Him. 

If you've ever felt so tired you couldn't take another step, and if you've wondered whether God knew that feeling, here’s your answer: There is One who not only knows your weariness but who says, “I’ll walk the next step with you because I've been where you are ... and further." 

—Jack Hayford



Sunday, May 4, 2014

Our Royal Nature


Our Royal Nature
You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable. 1 Peter 1:23
Peter earnestly exhorted the scattered saints to love each other "earnestly from a pure heart" (verse 22), and he did so not on the basis of the law or human nature or philosophy, but from that high and divine nature that God has implanted in His people. In the same way that a sensible tutor of princes might seek to foster in them a kingly spirit and dignified behavior, finding arguments in their position and pedigree, so, looking upon God's people as heirs of glory, princes of royal blood, descendants of the King of kings, earth's truest and oldest aristocracy, Peter said to them in essence, "See that you love one another because of your noble birth, being born of imperishable seed, because of your pedigree, being descended from God, the Creator of all things, and because of your immortal destiny, for you shall never pass away, though the glory of the flesh shall fade and even its existence shall cease."
We would do well if, in the spirit of humility, we recognized the true dignity of our regenerated nature and lived up to it. What is a Christian? If you compare him with a king, he adds priestly sanctity to royal dignity. The king's royalty often lies only in his crown, but with a Christian it is infused into his inmost nature. He is as much above his fellows through his new birth as a man is above the beast that perishes. Surely he shall conduct himself in all his dealings as one who is different from the crowd, chosen out of the world, distinguished by sovereign grace, part of God's "peculiar people."
Such trophies of God's grace cannot grovel in the dust like some, nor live in the fashion of the world's citizens. Let the dignity of your nature and the brightness of your prospects, O believers in Christ, constrain you to hold fast to holiness and to avoid the very appearance of evil.
Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. Copyright © 2003, Good News Publishers and used by Truth For Life with written permission.





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