Friday, November 15, 2013

Cleanse Every Sin

“Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Amen!” 
― Billy Graham

Sunday, May 19, 2013

My Notes on Prayer Part I

Prayer. What comes to your mind when you think of prayer? Do you think of God as a distant being that isn't listening? When your prayers seem to echo off the ceiling, do you feel you are alone? It's easy to assume that just because God doesn't answer us according the way we would like him to answer, that he is not answering our prayers. Actually though, that couldn't be farther from the truth. 
The Father wants to communicate with us in a personal level. He wants us to come to Him with our deepest longings and tell Him the desires of our hearts. He already knows, but He wants us to ask according to His will. When we don't understand life and we lose someone we love, God wants us to come to Him with our questions. We can ask God, "Why?" He isn't intimidated by our questions. Another thing I am learning about prayer is that it isn't about praying nice and pretending that we have it all together. We are talking to the God of the universe. He already knows our thoughts...why do we pretend like we have it all together? He knows we don't. I am learning to be more real with God. We need to become vulnerable to God...He loves us so much more than we could ever even fathom.

To be continued....

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Person in the Mirror

Sometimes, I mirror the world rather than reflecting You, God. Broken, I come running. Running back into your arms of grace, and bowing at your nail pierced and blood stained feet.

I’m determined to live for so very much more than mediocrity. Giving up all my fears, I ask you to change my heart. Mold me into the person I am to become. What are my virtues and how will I be able to hear your voice? Hear it over all of life’s noise?

I want to be so in love with You, my Savior. This is my desperate cry. Jesus, you are the grace of my life. Without You, where would I be? I can’t go a single day without Your precious love.

I realized that I had to let go of EVERYTHING before You could turn me into the best me that I could possibly be.

I was letting other things overtake me where I no longer had a photograph of the person I wanted to be - one that reflected Your love, Your forgiveness, and Your character. 
To gain integrity and to become the person God designed me to be, I had to kneel in surrender.

The photograph is coming into focus. Now things don’t always seem clear, but I rest assured, knowing my Savior is ever so near. I no longer conform to this world, but I ask you to transform me by the renewing of my mind so that I may be able to test and approve what Your will is.

I can feel You shining through me. How can I keep from shining? How can I keep from singing? You are my life. I see Your grace ready to forgive. I am learning what is pure and noble. I saw what I didn’t want my character to become. Also, You showed me Your love. Most of all, I learned that NOTHING is impossible with You. I resolve to do hard things for Your glory. I just found myself. There is no turning around. My feet are planted on this solid ground.

Jesus, help me reflect You and capture the image of what it means to mirror You.

-Written by Stacie in June 2007, edited in 2013

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Freedom in Christ

        Holiness is the process of making our lives more like Christ and crucifying our worldly desires. It is running toward peace, where our hearts can finally rest. We can't do this alone though, girls. In our own strength, we will be as helpless a newborn baby. Oh we may be able to put on a show for a while, but our hearts may be as stagnant as ever. When we follow Christ out of duty, it is legalism.

       When we pursue righteousness through a set of legalistic rules of do's and don'ts, it is as if we are saying Christ's death and resurrection was not sufficient.
We are missing the mark if we don't first have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If we don't know him and are trying to live holy lives, what is the purpose? Is it to lead to a life spent doing legalistic things in order to win God's approval? Legalism doesn't just affect those who don't know Christ. Just as subtlety  it seeps into Christian's lives. They say, "If I do this or don't do that, Christ will love me more." 

            My sisters, it doesn't have to be this way. For those that are weary of trying to do right but don't know Christ, you must experience God's saving grace in order to have access to the Father. The Bible says in Isaiah 64:6, "But we are all as as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities like the wind have taken us away." Our righteousness won't give us a relationship with the Father. Salvation by grace alone through faith alone is the basis for justification. Works didn't save us, but we were saved to do good works. Salvation is about what Christ did for incredible and resting to know you don't have to earn your way to heaven!! That's why it's so amazing that God saves any person. It doesn't matter where you have been or what you've done, your sin is not too deep for Christ to save you. "We have all sinned and have come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
          If you've been born again, rest knowing Christ saved you out of your sin and that His grace is enough!!! When he said it was finished, it was FINISHED! He rescued you and forgave your sins when he saved You. You don't have to add works to your salvation!! Christ loves you!! Sanctification is the process of Christ making you more like Him, and that's why we should pursue holiness. Christ made us new when He saved us, so it is only natural that we would pursue those things that are precious to Him. We should ask our Father to help us put to death the old nature. With Christ's help, we can chase after holiness with utter joy. We should have joy because we've been born again!!
         Because we are not saved by works, this does not mean that we should continue in sin so that grace may abound. (Rom 6) By no means! In fact, when we allow sin and other garbage to creep into our lives, it prevents close fellowship with our Savior. On the other hand, when we choose righteousness and holiness out of love for our Savior, it brings freedom from the captivity of trying to be "good enough." Our lives exist to bring glory to God, so that should be our sole purpose for running toward holiness.

When we behold the cross and Christ's sacrifice, our only response 
should be complete obedience to our Savior.

Jesus paid the price for our freedom!!!! The most amazing gift of love was that the Savior died on the cross and paid for the punishment our sins so that we could have life. So, why wouldn't we want to live our lives falling more in love with Him each day?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Living and Loving with Intentionality

Recently, my church participated in an outreach effort to meet the needs of the community and impact them with the gospel of Christ. I eagerly signed my committment card the first Sunday of this month. I have always enjoyed serving people so I looked forward to being able to do so in a group effort.

Wow. God really taught me so much during the event. Specifically, He taught me that everyday I should wake up with intentionality looking for opportunities to share Christ with those who are lost. In a tangible way, I, along with other believers can meet practical needs of people. How often, I have overlook those who are in desperate need. I am either too busy with my own agenda or in a rush. In our fast paced society, it is common for individuals to rush from one activity to another. Nothing wrong with staying busy and active, yet we need to pause to look out for those around us.

I'll be the first to admit. Although I want to be a blessing to others, I don't always put other's needs above my own. I mean, really...who wakes up cheerfully every morning when their alarm clock buzzes in their ear? I know I always wish I had more time to sleep. I must confess that I don't wake up with a smile on my face and a song in my heart, looking to be a blessing to others as soon as my feet hit the floor. Oftentimes, I like to roll over and sleep just ten more minutes. Or if I do get up as soon as my alarm clock goes off, I walk around in a grouch stupor for thirty-minutes. So often, we think our day doesn't start until we've had our caffeine fix and a donut. How spoiled are we that we have to have a certain criteria before we can ever be tolerable to those arounds us...let alone look for ways to bless them. I know that is an area where I struggle. I want to be able to start my day asking God, "How can I be a blessing? Use me, mold me, and shape me to be more like You."

When I have six college exams in one week, I am going to stress and study very hard. Nothing wrong with that...we should be diligent in our work and glorify Christ. However, if we place temporal things above the Kingdom of God, that is when we misalign our priorities. All I am saying is that if we are going to make a difference and impact this generation for Christ, we must give more weight to the Kingdom of God than the present day-to day assignments and tasks. So, therefore, yes I must study and do my best to glorify Christ. Yet, I shouldn't place more priority of studying over top of living everyday with intentionality for Christ. For example, I should go to class prepared and glorify God in my studies, yet I should be even more concerned with reaching my classmates with the gospel of Christ.This applies to those working. Do you place more value in your dedication to your job than your dedication to Jesus? Just something I have been pondering...The Bible says that if we seek first the Kingdom of God, then all these things will be added unto us. In other words, if we place Jesus Christ as the #1 priority in our lives, He will align everything so that we can still give our best to our jobs, schoolwork, family life, etc. Yet, it is just so crucial that we keep HIM as the top priority in order for other areas of our lives to line up with His will for our lives.

Brothers and sisters, I encourage each and everyone of you to live and love this week with intentionality. Put Christ first, and He will add all the other things unto you. When the alarm clock buzzes at 6:30 am, let's put a smile on our face and look forward to impacting our communities for the gospel of Christ.
We only have one life to live.
Let's make it count for Christ.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Are You a Good Person?

We can never make our way into heaven by being good....

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Motivational Factors

What motivates you? Is it so that you can recognized and applauded? Oftentimes, I find myself hoping someone will notice my accomplishments. When someone compliments you, do you gloat? This does not mean we should walk around in defeat and in-confident. Absolutely not! We must be confident and courageous to fight this battle that we are living in. However, Jesus wants us to glorify Him in every decision, thought, and ambition by allowing Him to be the striving motivation for everything we do.

Unfortunately, I oftentimes am motivated by the world. It's so easy to allow others approval to take precedence over the approval of Jesus Christ. God is teaching me that everything should be about bringing His name glory. Every single little decision of every moment should be weighed in the light of eternity.
 Our sole motivation for everything we do should be to give God glory. We have to realize that it is only His approval we need.

As a college student, it is natural to desire good grades. In fact, I should do my best. However, I should not do my best simply to gain appraisal or recognition. My main motivation should be to give glory and honor to our Lord Jesus Christ. Doing my best gives glory to my Heavenly Father. However, I shouldn't give my best only out of selfish ambitions.

Similarly, our motivation for fashion should be fueld by a desire to glorify God. Furthermore, we should show respect to ourselves, God, and others in the way we dress.Girls, if every-time we got dressed, we asked ourselves what would glorify God, I am sure a lot of our wardrobes would change. Our motivation must match our actions. For instance, I am motivated to honor God in my dress; therefore, I strive to dress modestly. It wouldn't make sense for me to say my motivation is to glorify God in everything I do, and then dress immodestly seeking approval from the actions should reflect my motivations.

In the same light, our everyday decisions about who reach out to all reflect our motivation. If our sole motivation is Jesus Christ, then we will find ourselves befriending the friendless, reaching out to the hurting, and releasing the oppressed from their bondage. Only Christ can fuel these motivations. People will not pat us on the back for reaching out to the outcasts or even smiling at a rude person in Walmart. However, Jesus does. After all, didn't He go to the cross for us? Brothers and sisters, let's strive to give God glory in every single decision we make- whether it be the mundane tasks of life, homework, or work, we can give God glory. Blessings my friends! Solo de gloria!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

hahahahaha Oh my goodness!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My dream is to someday be able to play like that.....She is absolutely oustanding!!!!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

No turning back....No turning back.

"And Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James, the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him."
~Matthew 4: 18-22

This Scripture really convicted me when reading it today. I got to thinking about my allegiance to my Lord. I feel I am very devoted to Christ, but would I obey regardless of what he called me to do? If I had to step out of my comfort zone, would I risk it all for the Kingdom of Christ? I must immediately follow him and not delay in my obedience. I must witness to others and make disciples, not when I have the time, but because that is God's plan for me. His still voice whispered in my ear, "Be so close to me that you don't doubt what I told you to do. Abide in me so that my thoughts become yours and my plan for your life becomes yours. Fall in love with me so that you will desire what I desire. You need to just surrender everything daily so that you can follow me with passion."

I remember a wise preacher saying, "Delayed obedience is disobedience." It stuck in my head forever, but sometimes I try to ignore the advice when I feel God prodding me to do something uncomfortable. It's not easy showing love to those that mistreat you. God says, "Love them." If I don't, then I am not obeying God. If God tells me to encourage a stranger that is having a hard day, I should be light to that individual. If I have to risk my life to take the gospel to someone that has not heard of Jesus Christ, then I must be willing to obey. Following God should be my sole desire in life. All else will fall in place when I seek God with all my heart.

Oh, how God's whisper made me realize that I don't have to obey Him in my own strength. Since Christ lives within me, His strength is mine. I hold a renewed passion for my King of Kings. I desire to share with others about His grace, His mercy, and His holiness. I desperately need to show His love to everyone, not just the people that are easy to love. His voice should become mine and his feet should be where I go. "Here I am, Lord. Send me!!!"

Friday, December 16, 2011

May we remember what Christmas is really all about.