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

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

 

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!

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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.

L.I.L.I.C. – Being Spirit-filled (With Diagrams for explanation!)

LILIC (Lessons I Learned In Church – The “c” is silent, so it sounds like the lily flower.) are recaps of what I learned from church the prior Sunday.

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Last Sunday the sermon was conducted by Pastor Peter Tan-chi; He spoke about something I have wondered and pondered over: being Spirit-filled. He began the sermon by asking, “are you filled with the Holy Spirit right now?” Honestly, I couldn’t raise my hand – I was unsure.

“Unless you are controlled by the Holy Spirit something will control you.”

Being Spirit-filled simply means to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. He holds to reigns to your life and you follow His guidance. “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). Usually, we take the first part and say, “ok, I won’t get drunk” and be done with that verse. However, in that way we are neglecting the second command – “be filled with the Spirit.” This is a differentiation between morality and Christianity. Morality says ‘don’t get drunk, don’t go to wild parties, don’t curse, etc. because these are wrong,’ Christianity says ‘instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, let the Spirit control you, guide you, and turn to Him for everything all the time.’

Pastor Tan-chi spoke of three types of people, I am so pleased that I found variations of the diagrams he used on Google.com! To further explain, he used verses in 1 Corinthians.

Three types of Men (We are to be the Spirit-filled Man):

THE NATURAL MAN:

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This is how we are naturally, self-centered and with God outside of our lives. We are in charge of our lives (the ‘S’ in the chair) and make our own decisions, ultimately everything is directed to what we want, how we want it. 1 Corinthians 2:14 summarizes this perfectly:

But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.

THE CARNAL MAN:

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The Carnal person is many of us Christians; it’s a good thing God is faithful and just when we confess of our sins. We should have Him leading our lives, sitting on our thrones! We are compared to infants in Christ, worldly and, therefore, we seem no different from those who choose Christ and those who do not. Where is the difference? This should be shown in our lifestyles and who or what we let lead our lives. 1 Corinthians 3: 1-3 explains:

Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?

THE SPIRIT-FILLED MAN:

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The Spirit-filled man has God controlling his life, his own desires come last, and his desires are aligned with God’s. On the left are his characteristics, and he has fruits of the Holy Spirit (characteristics on the right). 1 Corinthians 2: 15-16 says:

15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,

“Who has known the mind of the Lord
    so as to instruct him?”

But we have the mind of Christ.

Being Spirit-filled requires us to rely more on God’s instructions. This is step-by-step and after you’ve done this consciously a few times, it will become effortless. Join in on the three-minute challenge to better achieve this by clicking here.

3-Minute Challenge: You IN?!

3-Minute Challenge: You IN?!

How many times have you caved? How many times have you lost grip? If I were to ask you if you’re filled with the Holy Spirit RIGHT NOW, could you wholeheartedly and honestly say yes? Being filled with the Holy … Continue reading

Daily Devotion: Blessed are the MEEK

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. – Matthew 5:5

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This week seems to dive into an introspection of our speech and personality and how it pertains to our Christianity. You should not aim to change yourself for the sake of “appearing righteous” because this will only lead to disappointment, discouragement, and possibly feeling like you are a “Failed Christian.” Such a deep change will occur overtime and purely on it’s own; in the meantime, it’s important to aim to show certain qualities to the world. We are Christ’s ambassadors and our lives show if living for God and not this world is actually worth it. Make a change…

Starting with being meek. 

It is one of the Beatitudes, it’s a prime quality of Our Savior and it is easier said than done. Meekness. What is being meek? When I hear the word ‘meek’ I immediately envision a prophet or Christ Himself; a soft voice, a still tongue, and a modest attire. Those are prime qualities linked with being meek. According to Wikipedia, words/phrases like “God-fearing, righteous, humble, teachable, patient under suffering, willing to follow Gospel teachings; an attribute of a true disciple” better describes the attributes of a meek person. This surpasses my personal definition by a long shot.

Look back at those attributes and ask yourself if you think you’re up to par yet.

God-fearing: the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. (Psalm 110:10) A complete understanding of who God is and what He can do will put things into perspective, thus roots wisdom.

Righteous: there are no righteous, sinless people on Earth. We must aim for righteousness by aiming to be sinless. By relying more on God and not on our own understanding we will yield less and less on our sinful desires.

Humble: Have you ever been boastful, prideful or show-offy? It happens to us all at times but we must aim for humility. Be modest in speech and dress, if you do then chances are you won’t have to apologize or swallow your words in the future.

Teachable: This means you must be able to take advice and criticism: a hard pill to swallow. Learn to simply nod and smile when someone advises you before speaking. If you continue to do this you’ll form a habit of accepting criticism without throwing over a table or arguing.

Patience under suffering: Patience is a virtue. I’ve had a lot of practice becoming more patient while waiting for government offices to handle any important documents I may need. Sure, you can take patience into your own hands by acknowledging that God is always in control… and you can always visit a government office as a cherry on top.

Willing to follow the Gospel teachings: Being willing and simply doing are completely different. If I am willing then I will not feel hampered by following God’s Word, I won’t feel self-deprived because I don’t mind being abstemious. Maybe this comes from growth in your Walk with God or simply your love for Him.

Remember that being meek does not mean you must be dull, lack-luster in personality, and lose all your characteristics. It is an addition and modification to your personality and is a blatant illustration that God is working within you by humbling you! In becoming meek, remember: to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. (Titus 3:2)

Prayer: Father, I thank You for all that You continuously do for me. I want to be more like Your Son, Jesus Christ. Please, help me and guide me to become more meek in a world that is boastful, prideful, and boisterous. May Your Holy Spirit fill me and humble my heart to Your likeness so that I may inherit the earth. This I ask in Your Holy Name. Amen.

Speak Like A Christian – Part ONE (with Tips!)

Lately, I’ve been thinking about doing this specific blog because this is a specific problem I have – my mouth. Our mouths are the most dangerous, lethal weapons in the world. We have the power to uplift, encourage, strengthen, enlighten but we also have the power to sadden, discourage, and evoke fear, hate and other negative emotions in others.

Usually, it’s responding to comments, criticism and concerns that tests our tongues. We are told such negative things at times and don’t know how to respond, even with constructive criticism. The Bible says “death and life are in the power of the tongue,” (Prov. 18:21) both physical and spiritual death and life.

What does the Bible say about speech?

 

1. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

 

 Our words should be acceptable to God; He should not be saddened or grieved by the words we speak. TIP: It helps many to count to 10 before speaking, and imagining how the other person would feel before responding. Remember to imagine the outcome and do this especially when altercations arise.

How do we know our words are acceptable to God?

  1. Bible-speech. As you grow try learning certain scriptures each day, and use them in your daily speech, adding them to your tongue as your life progresses. This is something I just started doing and it’s actually pretty fun! Using cue cards or a small notebook to hold these scriptures will be helpful throughout the day.
  2. Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Paul tells us we must think about things which are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report (admirable), and praise-worthy. I’m telling you to say such things.

  1. Complimentary. Giving someone a compliment makes quite a huge difference in the way they see you. Get into the habit of complimenting people, aim for giving out free compliments at least 5 times a day. Be careful not to appear as fawning, they’ll think you want something from them and possibly run away with their wallets tucked underneath their armpits. No, I’m not speaking from experience…

 

2. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. – Ephesians 4:29

 

Do you just have those days when you’re in such a bad mood that even if a kitten crossed your path you’d feel the need to turn away and grunt? We all have bad mood days it’s when it affects others where these days become infectious.

Sometimes, I may be in a bad mood and one of my friends are walking around extra-jolly and peppy. It makes me want to strangle myself because I’m an envious Mr. Grinch. Because Mr. Grinch was so grumpy he tried to make others grumpy and he focused more on the negative than on the positive. We can all get like Mr. Grinch from time to time, we’re HUMAN but we can’t stay in that negative attitude, we’ll only bring others down with us.

TIP: Start thinking about all the things that make you happy. Reminisce on the good ‘ole days, you know, before you turned into a green frowny face. Lastly, learn to react based on facts instead of emotions. (This one is especially for me!)

 

3. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. – Colossians 3:8

 

There are four things to focus on here – anger, hatred, gossip, and cursing. Of course, even if you’re a Christian you will still have remnants of these. It’s important not to materialize and vocalize these. You’re expected to be angry at people, but hatred should be highly avoided. Remember that God rules over everything and everyone; if someone has done you wrong, leave it to God.

Gossiping is addictive. Women and men are guilty of this (yes, men are great gossipers). Remember to build up your brothers and sisters, speak to them directly instead of speaking about them to other people.

I was never too big on cursing, although at some point I had started to adopt some curse words. Fortunately, I don’t curse anymore. It’s a habit that may be hard to break, but it is breakable. TIP: use substitutions for curse words, it helps a lot to break the habit.

 

Try following these tips this week. Next week I will post Part Two which focuses on specific responses to questions/insults common these days.

Daily Devotion: The Lazy Generation

“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”

-Proverbs 13:4

This generation is getting lazier and lazier as time progresses. Due to modernization you don’t “have” to do certain things; there are convenience tools which do the hard work for us. Vacuums, dishwashers, dryers and washers handle our cleaning so we “don’t have to” do the harder, tedious choices. Spellcheck, google, dictionaries (I can’t imagine Jesus using a dictionary) make us look and sound smarter than we actually are. Motor vehicles, bicycles, delivery services, and technological communication (webcams, telephones, etc) give us the choice to stay home if we don’t want to. (It’s a fact that you can live a “normal” life completely at home.) There are many more innovative ideas and inventions that help us to be lazy. These are labelled as “convenience inventions,” however, there is a thin line between convenience and laziness.

The inventions of this world promotes laziness; it is our task to aim to work harder in other fields.

As a college student, it puzzles me how the internet can be the greatest (and sometimes most inaccurate) and most helpful source used for research papers and essays. There are many sites that can give me an abundant amount of information all at my fingertips. One of my college professors said that when she was in college there was no internet. She had to literally find all her sources without the help of a search engine. (Yes, college students are supposed to do the same; however, search engines and websites help direct them, give general knowledge in a matter of seconds, and help in overall analytical decisions – let’s not forget how useful the internet is for studying.)

Imagine: a world without technology. How would your days be like? What would you do? When there is a power-outage, what occurs in your household? This was how Jesus lived!

I’m not saying you should live without technology. It is quite a blessing that we are able to create such inventions through the knowledge God gives us! Because we have these convenience tools we have more time to work harder, however, are we?

Introspect: In what areas of your life are you not giving your all? How are you going to change that?

Prayer: Father, I thank You for the knowledge You give us to create great inventions. May these inventions help us to work harder in less frivolous, daily activities. May you denounce any laziness for Your word says “a slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” (Proverbs 10:4) May we also be rich in Your love and give You the attention You desire. May You help us to do everything as if we are doing it for You, in that case we will aim to work diligently and prosper! Father, we claim this in Your Holy Name. Amen