Return of a New Age

It is April 22nd, the year: 2017 and I am 22 years old. I have not blogged in years though my heart has yearned to. I’ve done a lot of things my heart has yearned for and resisted more.

In the years I’ve been absent I’ve grown so much and learned even more. My faith has been tested, my walk slightly averted, but I’ve always returned to God.

There’s something about Him that makes life different. I can’t explain it.

Although I’ve done things I’m ashamed of (more details in my other blog, PinkCrosses) I always knew God was waiting.

As I am about to walk across the stage to accept my Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting this June, I’m doing something I’ve never done before: removing all negativity and distractions. I started with analyzing myself. Am I ready for what’s to come? How can I prepare myself? What steps do I need to take? What changes do I need to make?

Then, after answering these questions I developed a plan of action:

Step 1: Talk to God. We had a good ‘ole conversation… about everything.

Step 2: Talk to those who hurt you. I privately messaged those who have hurt me in any way and did something which took a lot to do. I apologized. (Even when I felt I did nothing wrong.)

Step 3: De-clutter your spaces. Clean. Clean your area and your mind. Meditate and let go of all the things from Step 2.

Step 4: Re-focus. Now that everything is cleaned up. It is time to refocus my new beginnings. I made a list of all the things I wanted to focus on:

  • God. Keeping Him first and returning to the kind of wholehearted worship I once had.
  • Relationships. Working on sustaining and improving the relationships I currently have and developing myself into the wife I want to be (no, I’m not engaged. I’m not even in a relationship but it’s good to start early) for a future relationship.
  • My physical health. This has been a long battle. My weight goes up and down.
  • My mental health. This includes studying for the CPA and battling my obsession with perfection. It also means I will be doing a summer long social media fast. (Wish me luck.)

Step 5: Repeat. (Because life gets tough and things are always changing)

Stay tuned for updates on PinkCrosses. More blogs are on the way! 🙂

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Challenge Your Spirit!!! – One Week Prayer Challenge

Aah, I love challenges. The first week is always the best.. until it gets a bit too real. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever started a challenge – be it spiritual, fitness, or other types – and you were hyped for the first few days. Then everything starts getting boring. Maybe you didn’t take it seriously enough?

Maybe you didn’t see just how important it is to challenge yourself once and a while. How important is your spirit to you? Very important. It’s all you’ve got when your body deteriorates away. Chances are, since you’re on my blog, you’ve already got interests in God and Christianity. You know that there is a life after death; there is a heaven and hell. You want to go to Heaven. So, how about a simple challenge to help you get there? Is that serious enough for you?

I found a Prayer Challenge on Pinterest. I couldn’t resist – I have to share it. I’m currently doing a Daniel Fast so this will come just in handy! Join me? Pretty pweaasseee? 🙂

 

 

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ImageJoin me in this prayer challenge and/or one week fast as I seek God, asking Him for guidance, protection, prosperity and His Will. 

But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul – Deuteronomy 4:29

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. – Lamentations 3:25

Day 6: Feeling DEFEATED – I JUST WANT TO STAY HOME AND SLEEP

Ugh! I’m not even in the mood to type! Expect this to be short. I wanna cry right now, I want to punch a wall, I want to be held…

Firstly, the challenge hasn’t been going successful as Satan done it again. My computer crashed! All of the memory is gone and it set me back majorly. I’m on a borrowed netbook which makes my hands feel so big and manly because it’s so teeny.

On top of that, I had to break up with my boyfriend all because my mother doesn’t like him – family is very important to me. I want to sob and eat bon-bons and curl up in my bed. Earlier, I didn’t want to eat at all but it’s a shame we broke up FOR THAT WOMAN.

That was my first love and I couldn’t even focus to do homework tonight. I just said screw it, screw it all, screw it all to hell.

Sorry, guys, I’m under A LOT of stress. Loads of work needs to be done, I’m gaining weight, and I haven’t been pampered in months… or years. It’s always been about helping other people, helping my family, helping my mother. Help. Help. HELP. God helps me, I know. I’m just waiting for the blessing. So, I’m going to stay home. I’ll probably sleep in an hour or two later then I’ll do some work. So much for the challenge. I will continue it on tuesday. Right now, I just want my bed and some soft music in my ears.

I’m feeling so confused and defeated. God, please stay near as I know You’re already here.

Side note: I went to my friend’s church today. It’s a non-denominational church. I think I will make it a regular thing, which means church times two on Sundays. I need it. I really do. God deserves it. He really does.

Good night.

 

 

XOXO

Philly

Father, You’re Testing My Patience!

Everyone, every Christian, will have their own personal storm(s). I’m going through my own right now! In these times, we need to lean on God more and strap ourselves tightly around him like a child holding his mother’s leg for security. Get your umbrella, it’s about to get rainy.

 

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

This is easier said than done. I’m sure you’ve had your moments when you’ve read scriptures, believed them, said a “hallelujah!” but when the time came to live it you flunked. This scripture is definitely one of them. Tell God your problems – that’s the easy part. Feeling more secure afterwards is the hard part. I know God loves me, He wants my worries, He wants my love, He wants to provide for me and take care of me. I know. But that’s easier to know than believe in times of trials. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – 2 Philippians 4: 6-7 Okay, Paul, I got you. The answer is prayer. Ceaseless thanksgiving and prayer. 

In times of trial become a supreme Prayer Warrior.

 

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13

God is here right now; He is with you. Sometimes we don’t realize it, but He’s always strengthening us. We are made in His image, and let’s be real, God is not a punk so neither are we! Those who hope in Him will renew their strength! And soar like eagles! (Isiah 40:31) God gives us the strength to wake up in the morning and head to bed at night. Even though in troubling times we may want to lay down more often (just to get away from the troubles momentarily) we are soldiers. We are fighting for the winning side!

He’s working alongside me, so I will endure with a smile!

 

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

I really love this verse from John. The great God who created Heaven and Earth lives within me, when I have peace it comes from Him. Any fruits from the Holy Spirit when exemplified from me, comes from Him. We fight against the world. But, remember, we’re on the winning side. Christ has already overcome the world – through Him we are already champions! So, a little trial here and there won’t stop us from keeping our heads held high! Whatever you’re going through, whenever you’re going through it, remember God is a conqueror! He has conquered and we conquer with Him! Go in PEACE, remember that the God in you wants to be peaceful, joyful, loving, caring, kind, faithful, good, gentle, with self-control.

In these times, let the God in you shine brighter than before and let the Holy Spirit take control of your body.

 

For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1: 3-4

I like to think that we should rejoice in times of trial not only because it will condition us, but also because God sees you as someone who can endure it. He thinks highly of you! Remember Job? Satan had to go to God to seek permission to tempt Job. It’s that way for us as well. Satan had to go to God to get the okay to tempt you temptation, after temptation because you are God’s property. God had to say yes for your trial to begin – because He believes you can handle it. This is a huge compliment from the ALMIGHTY! Rejoice! In these times you will be made complete.

This is your conditioning period. Make the most of it.

A few more words: At the age of 19, I’ve realized that we truly need to surround ourselves with Godliness during harsh times. It will strengthen us. If you need to spend less time with other people and more time with God, do so. Usually, we know what we need to we just don’t do it. This is your test, your heavenly compliment, show God that you can endure it without turning your back on Him no matter how hard it gets. When the going gets tough God gets going… and running, straight to our hearts to soothe us and strengthen us.

One more thing: Smile, Satan hates that.

🙂

Jesus, calm the storm.

Time Over God: Fitting Him Into Your Schedule, or Your Schedule Into Him

As a college student, I’ve realized one important thing:

My time management sucks!

Lately, I’ve been running around and around trying to do this and that, all at no avail. I was saying to myself, hopefully, I can get this finished before this due date, or read this before this class starts. Gah! This is the life of a (let’s put this in parentheses prospectively over-achieving) student. I can be pretty stern on myself and contradictorily set myself harsh limits while trying to be limitless. Meaning, I’d take 6 classes, a part-time job, and be overly active in campus activities and clubs while trying to maintain A-status, A-grade, and A-face that everyone must go to for assistance/motivation/academic advice/moral support… you get the idea.

At the end of the week I’m beat! I want to sleep, I want to stuff my face due to a heap of stress, I want to shut myself in my room and sleep for weeks on end. But, I’ve got two papers to write, a budget to create for the Math Club (it’s bitter-sweet being VP), I need to put in more hours at work… so, then, no sleep for me. This only leaves me with one brutal question:

What. About. God?!

Sometimes, I get so caught up in time and worldly goals that I’ve left Him for last, or I just scheduled Him in for a weekend Bible Study meeting or Church on Sunday. I’ve realized that, slowly but surely, I became another “Weekend-Christian.” It hurts. I’ve suddenly felt unworthy, more unworthy than ever. I’ve felt as if I certainly don’t deserve the mercy continuously given to me when I give Him a 30-second prayer because I’m too tired from the day’s work to really talk to my Father, or even continue to make blog posts because it subtracts time I could use to study.

We all must understand that, yes, God wants our love; but He also wants some of our time.

How do you show your spouse or parent that you love them? Sometimes, you may buy them a gift, or lend them a sweet word, or spend quality T.I.M.E. with them. It’s the same way with God – only thing is He is Our GOD and therefore, is much more important than a spouse or even a parent. He is Our Creator. Yet, why do we schedule Him in when our days are too hectic?

Pencil Your Schedule Around God, Not Vice Versa

I’ve started to re-evaluate my life and schedule. Some things need to go. I told my boyfriend we can talk more after 5 weeks, but for now I need to focus on some things. As a Christian, and one of my main supporters, he’s very understanding. I may be forced with my own bills, therefore, I HAVE to work but if I didn’t that would have been the next thing to shrink. As a Christian and a college student I have two main daily priorities: God, and school (in that order). Let’s not forget the other titles I hold: daughter, sister, friend, girlfriend, etc that are seriously taken into consideration as well.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time” Ephesians 5:15

I freed-up some responsibilities (and mentalities!) so that I could give God my whole day, and not simply pencil Him in. My time must be handled seriously, efficiently, and must be prioritized accordingly. Realize that your day begins with God and ends with Him. Live like that. If God is your day, and your day is God then all other things must be penciled in. So, you wake up to God and praise Him.. then you must pencil in your 9am class… however, during and after class you’re still accompanied by a loving, omnipresent God.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

 

Venting: Personal Blog – Pink Crosses

Tonight was one of those nights.

The house was quiet, the rain had stopped pouring, everyone was asleep… and here I was. Alone. Bored. Moody. Depressed. Frustrated. Impatient. It goes on, trust me, it does.

I started thinking, “what’s wrong with me?” The things which absorb my thoughts, my deepest desires, started to consume me and I wasn’t sure if it was a Godly perspective on my situation. A lady in waiting. She waits for her Prince, her partner in crime, her confidant. There I was thinking on such things, about someone.

In the mere 18, soon to be 19, years of my life I realized that out of all our personal pursuits (occupational, educational, entertainment, pleasure, etc) love is the most crucial, most affecting thirst we all have. It comes in stages; I’m currently at the stage that yearns for God and a mate. I crave Jesus, I love Him so much. I crave God’s Will in my life and I want MORE of Him. I also crave a soul mate.. I’m actually contemplating on having a marriage-worthy relationship. A serious relationship. But, when I start yearning for what I don’t have my emotions reflect on that missing blessing.

So, the only possible way is to feed my spirit and out-pour my emotions. If I can in-take good, I will eject goodness. I’ve started writing letters to my Future Husband, taking my purity more seriously (as purity is not just about refraining from sex), reading a book called I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris, and now I’m introducing a new blog – a personal blog. It’s called Pink Crosses.

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I won’t say what to expect from this new blog. So, don’t set expectations. It’ll be about my innermost desires and struggles. Truly personal. Sometimes, all I need is a release – this blog will be my release. Amen.

We are Barabbas

A few weeks ago, friend of mine shared a video on her Facebook and tagged me in it. I had watched that video at least three times since, because it was absolutely lovely and made me think!

[Here is the video in case you missed my earlier blog]

I’d like to add to this video, with my own thoughts and discoveries – a short reflection and commentary. Here are the main points Judah Smith presented:

  • We are Barabbas; we are the prisoner being freed.
  • We did not deserve that freedom. Like Barabbas, we were “thugs” and “rebels” (according to Judah Smith).
  • Like Barabbas, we are not thankful to Jesus for this transaction (not realizing Jesus set him – or us – free). In fact, Barabbas did not even know who Jesus was.
  • Our salvation and help comes from God, not within ourselves.
  • Jesus died so Barabbas (we) can live.
  • God loves us more than we could comprehend.
  • Your greatest challenge is simply BELIEVING.

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Barabbas was the leader of an insurrection, or a violent rebellion, against the government and a murderer. 1 Samuel 15:23 says rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft. Many books in the Old Testament speak against witchcraft. Exodus 22:18 says “you shall not permit a sorceress to live.” Since the two are synonymous sins, then rebels DESERVE their deaths. Revelations 21:8 and Galatians 5:20-21 confirms this. Yet, here comes Jesus, the Son of Man and God in the Second Trinity, to take the place of such shameful sin and place it on Himself. This is love.

This is salvation. A free gift.

We were friends of this world and kin to sin; rebels to God and murderers of all things Holy. Daily we sin, grieve the Holy Spirit, doubt, turn our backs to God, leave un-repented sin, refuse to believe in God and accept His gift of salvation. These are enslaved free slaves. John 8:34 says, “Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.” However, as Jesus traded places with us. “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free” (John 8:36). “For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness.” (Romans 6:20) Hence, we can not serve two masters – as we are free from one, we must serve one.

Yet, there are those who profess one and return to their old ways. As Judah Smith puts it, “You can not shake yourself free. There’s no answer within yourself. There’s only ONE – The One who TOOK YOUR PLACE.” God wants your sin. He wants you to live; He has plans for you on Earth (“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11) and a life after this. His blood is sufficient; It IS finished.

Jesus is ENOUGH!

My love

If you feel bound to sin, if you haven’t given your life to the One who gave it to you. I want you to give me 60 more seconds – Just 1 minute. Turn off your television, surround yourself in quietness, clear your mind. Just for 1 minute. You don’t have to know God to pray to Him; you don’t have to be a Saint to seek Him as we all are sinners. If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) With all your heart and soul say this prayer. Allow God to make Himself known to you; allow Him to break those chains on your feet and walk with Him; allow Him to love you.

 

God in Heaven, I acknowledge that I am Barabbas – a sinner who has rebelled against you. I no longer what that title, I want to be Your Child and a Brethren of Your Son, Jesus Christ. I am returning to You, Father, as a prodigal son, as a lost sheep and I know You are waiting with open arms and a celebration. I confess in my heart and with my tongue that Jesus is Lord. Jesus, please come into my heart and life, make a home in my soul. I accept You as my personal Savior and Lord. I want to be Your servant, and only Yours! Create a thirst in me to seek You, to do Your Will, to read Your Word, and share You with those I come into contact with. Though I may stumble, I believe and know You will be there to pick me up as You have already carried my burden on the Cross. These things I ask in Your Holy and Gracious Name. Amen.

Jesus is LOVING Barabbas – SERMON JAM

Here is an 8-minute sermon jam on who Barabbas really is. This will turn gears in your mind. Who do you think Barabbas was. Just another sinner? A horrible murderer? Or was he… US?

I will post a reflection on this tonight, in the meantime enjoy this sermon jam!

“You’re not CHRISTIAN enough,” says the liar.

I’ve had these thoughts in my head so many times I’ve lost count, and heard variations of these more than I’d want to.

It’s an insecurity problem. I asked God, “what should I write about today?” He said, “why not the main thing you struggle with.” You see, as confident as many people think I am – “Oh, Philly, you’re so head-strong with such a high self-esteem, people don’t get to you…” etc. This is only half-true. Sure, I don’t care what people think about me but I do care about how I’m representing God. It hurts to think I may mess up and bring shame to Our Community.

Now you know my biggest fear.

I understand that everyone is not perfect; we all sin, we all make mistakes, and we all fall short of God’s Glory. Is it wrong that I WANT to be perfect for Him, no pretending? (“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48) There’s a difference between pretending to be something you’re not and actually striving for an unattainable goal. But it’s a fine line to those who can only go by what they see, as they do not know your heart. It’s a risk you have to take when you profess your faith. All eyes will be on you – no pressure.

The Devil is a liar. He says that you must concentrate on these eyes, instead of keeping yours on Jesus. He wants you to think about the thoughts of others, instead of having thoughts about Jesus. He tells you that you must satisfy man and God, however, your goal is to satisfy only God. Such blatant lies He slithers into our heads!

The only way to illustrate my Christianity is not merely by my words, but by my actions. I want to be fruitful, possessing fruits of the Holy Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23) but I understand this will not happen overnight. It is a gradual process. Therefore, we also can not expect others to change so quickly and steadily. Sometimes we get distracted on our Walk and step off the path for a bit; the important thing is not how fast we walk, but remaining on that narrow road, returning if we do take a wrong turn. So, do not misunderstand a fellow Christian’s expectations and realities. Expectations lead to judgement, realities lead to the truth. 

Remember: we are not perfect, though we serve a perfect God. We strive for perfection for HIS GLORY, and to make Him proud. But we’re already making Him proud every day when we choose Him or this world, when we thank Him, look to Him, speak with Him, and accept Him. Nothing else matters but Him, no one else matters except Him. Just keep your eyes on Him, love Him as He loves you.

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AMEN.