These are past posts from other blogs/entries I have written before this website came to life. Enjoy hearing my heart's ramblings over the years. Starting from the top are the most recent and at the end are the oldest entries:
When my Soul needs satisfying (2014)
I just want to eat but I’m not hungry. I just want to sleep but it’s not dark yet. I am so bored, but there’s nothing appealing enough to occupy my time. These feelings of restlessness, emptiness, confusion, and sometimes despair. I find myself in these moments when my inner voice says, “Something doesn’t feel right.” And I feel stuck, hurt, and broken.
From the beginning of time, we needed God. From the moment He created us, He was our Father. He roamed with Adam and Eve, provided for them, taught them, noticed them, and lived among them. But then Eve became hungry for something more, something that she felt she was missing, something she believed was outside of the bounds that the Lord could provide for her. She succumbed to deception and fell into a sin that has affected humanity since the very moment she picked the fruit from the tree.
And I realize that there are so many moments when her story becomes mine. There are so many moments in which I find myself pining for something that I believe, whether consciously or not, God cannot and/or will not give me. I search for something that I believe will offer a sufficient-enough gratification but in the end it always leaves me high and dry, disappointed, frustrated, and bitter. Sometimes I don’t notice what I’m doing. That’s when I’m confused, when my aching heart leaves me dumbfounded because I am unaware of the fact that I am seeking after empty wells.
Relationships, good grades, popularity, money, knowledge, status, perfect health. So many things that we set our sights on, so many empty wells that we continue to draw from only to be left more thirsty than before we started our search for satisfaction. So many good things that become God things, become ultimate things, things that were meant to be a delight but instead become our downfall.
In Jeremiah 2:13 the Lord says, “for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”
I envision myself, and everyone else, lining up at different wells. Each one has a sign hanging from the top. One reads, “relationships,” another reads, “college degree,” another reads, “travel,” another reads, “children,“ and there are many more. Then we line up with our cracked buckets, dipping our pales in when we approach the well, and they instantly begin to leak when we pull up our broken cistern. And we walk back to a place, alone, leaving a trail of lost water, and try to drink as much as we can before it runs out. And after it does we hop back in line, maybe the same one, maybe different, and try again.
Broken cisterns. Empty wells. Never meant to satisfy.
It’s amazing when God calls us out of these places. When he comes to us in our brokenness, in our hunger and thirst, and he speaks, “these things, these people, these places, they were never meant to satisfy. They are beautiful, wonderful, given by me, but could never assume the responsibility of making you whole. Child, I have food that you don’t know about; I have living water that was always meant to quench your thirst.”
Thank you Jesus for this reality. When I seek Him in my hunger and I realize it is His name my soul has been crying for, His satisfaction comes and propels me into a brimming ocean of His blessings. Peace, comfort, hope, joy, direction. Yes God. When I am satisfied in you my eyes are opened, my heart is content, and my fears dissolve. My insecurities that once paralyzed me into thinking I am helpless are cast out and I am welcomed into my true identity, returning to who you truly intended me to be. I become someone who lives to love you and loves to live for you, someone who delights in your light rather than one that wants to run back into the darkness you already rescued me from. And when I try and put up the veil again you gently remind me how you already tore it in two once and for all, that I can’t create separation no matter how hard I try.
Isaiah 58: 11 And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
This is who I want to be. This is who I truly am. This is who you really are. Not only will God satisfy us with His waters but he will allow us to overflow, to be springs ourselves leaking His light, peace, presence, and victory. He empowers us to live triumphantly satisfied.
And we will have to return. There will be times when we need to go back to his springs, because something will drain us, or our vision may become foggy, or we might forget what it felt like to be poured into from His flowing waters. And we can open our mouths, and cry out, and skip the empty wells and run right to the living source, the only true source. Yes, He is faithful to fill us again and again, that is His promise, that is what pleases Him, to fill His children up, to see us come alive and be who He created us to be and do the things He has called us to do out of the overflow of who He is.
Thank you Jesus for always holding my best, and for welcoming me into it, inviting me to step into your will because that is always what you intended for me. I trust that you are the only one who satisfies, that you are the only true well, providing unbreakable cisterns that draw out the only thirst quenching water creation has ever known.
Why is stuff so hard to get rid of? I feel like I clean out my room at least five times a year and still end up cramped with too much stuff and not enough space. It takes me physically going through my belongings, my clothes, my old boxes and notebooks and things I’ve collected throughout the years for me to actually see something that is worth saving, while also picking out many things that aren’t worth keeping. I look at item after item, and I mull over whether or not it is important to me, if I’ve used it in the last year, if I’ve worn it in the last several months and then I make a decision.
When I think about what’s in my heart I realize it has a lot of stuff as well. Memories, sensitive areas, dark areas, light areas. I realize how much stuff is in my heart and that things just continue to accumulate like the things in my room. And when I examine my heart I realize there are so many good things going on, but also things that I need to physically let go of and put in the garbage. Things like insecurities, doubts, old scars and experiences that still make me cringe. If we truly believe that God has made us new, we need to haul out the stuff in our heart that distracts and takes away from our newness.
There is a point in which we have to enter into our inner-rooms and sift through the junk that so easily entangles our heart and traps us in a reality that we’ve been freed from.
Just yesterday I went to a friend’s college group and I was overcome with the feeling of inadequacy. The sermon was on Vocation, a subject that can be both empowering and deflating all at the same time. I had to face the fact that I felt inadequate in everything I am pursuing. School, music, art, writing, my future and everything leading up to it… I was deflated by the feeling that all I’m doing isn’t good enough.
And I was upset. I was mad at myself. And I knew there was something going on in my heart that I desperately needed to deal with.
I realized that I was looking at this life from a performance perspective. I was insecure, I was measuring myself by incredibly high expectations that I was creating based off comparison.
That’s when I realized I needed to take the garbage out. Satan likes to continually feed us these lies and we need to take them captive and pine for freedom. I needed to remember the truth, remember that apart from Jesus I can do nothing and His purposes are so good and real. I have access to His power and presence and if I’m not inviting him in and asking that He would anoint me to do the things I want to do for His glory and Kingdom I will continue to be stuck. I will continue to be unhappy with the direction that I am heading in because in the end it will have nothing to do with God’s will at all.
So in surrender and trust I looked to Him and began to release these expectations I had put on myself, put on my life, the things that were frustrating me and the things that I was gripping so tightly. And I started to bag up the ugly thoughts and feelings and take out the garbage. And with the Holy Spirit speaking truth I began to realize how much they were weighing down on the good things, the gifts, and the beautiful things that God was trying to do in and through me. I realized that I would rather do things imperfectly for the glory of God than perfectly for the glory of myself.
I’m not a slave to the things I do but rather a servant to a God that deserves everything from me, and this causes me to leap with excitement because I know He is looking for a faithful servant, and only asks me to be faithful with what I have and what He has given me and He will take care of the rest.
So I cleaned out my room today. And I cleaned out my heart. And as the Spirit continues to sanctify my soul I am thankful for days in which I am refined and the Lord presses in and molds me and shows me that His ways are the best ways, and if I believe that my life will look more like a dance in front of my King rather than a war against myself.
Where is Jesus? (2014)
This is what we say. Where is Jesus? Where could he be? Did he ditch, did he hide, he couldn’t possibly leave me… This is where our mind wanders, to statements so untrue. Thinking you circumstances are greater than the God that is in you. Where is Jesus? I’ll tell you. He truly never left. He’s alive and He is willing to meet you where you’re at. Don’t pretend He doesn’t know the trials you’re going through. Don’t pretend He hasn’t gone through everything you’ve gone through. He is constantly knocking on the hearts of His believers, yet we ignore the truth that in the end will relieve us. In our turmoil, in our trials, in our doubts and lies and fears, it is Jesus who will come quickly as he catches all our tears. Let Him enter in to the deepest darkest places, to the God shaped holes and bottomless empty spaces. Cry out, surrender, get on your knees and repent, believe that He has won, His blood was shed and spent. Who are we to say our circumstances defeat, we can’t let them break us or tear us apart from the Greatest King. King Jesus, He is Lord, haven’t you said so? Then make Him Lord of every situation, every time you are brought low. Our partner, our Father, our Savior, our best friend. Lets acknowledge Him in power, because His kingdom is present.
My Weeks in the Barrio (2014)
Mis Semanas en el Barrio.
My weeks in the barrio felt like months on top of years. As I reflect back it’s amazing to me just how long 16 days can feel, and how quickly my heart to fall in love with the girls, the women, the barrio, and the DR. It was amazing to me that I felt at home in the “mansion on the hill” as they like to call the girls school. Right after I got off the plane, with a few stops in between, I was shuttled off to meet the girls by Joy and Vidal, in hopes that I would be able to bond with them first and foremost beginning my time in the Dominican Republic. My plan was to stay with the girls every night I could, with the weekends being open ended because many of the girls go on home visits during that time.
When I first stepped into the school overwhelming feelings of joy, excitement, nervousness, and exhilaration entered in and all I could think was I cannot believe I am here. The months I had preparing to meet the New Hope girls were finally over and I was being ushered into their lives, their world, their hood. When I was greeted by the two girls that were staying there for the weekend I couldn’t help but fall in love with them the first day I spent in their company. Once Joy and Vidal had helped me settle into my stay they left for their home I was in the hands of the girls and their precious Nanny. After a couple hours of playing Chutes and Ladders (I kid you not), a board game I brought from the States, the girls wanted to take me around the barrio. So they took my hand and led me.
They led me through the streets, and it seemed as if they greeted every person we walked past by name. They lead me to their sweet Tia Anna’s home, whom I later partnered with during the school days at New Hope. They lead me farther towards the trees, up the hills, and as we continued to venture my grip gradually tightened on their little strong hands. They lead my past the drug babies that tottered around on the streets, making my eyes well up with tears while I looked into their smiling eyes. They led me past their relatives, past chickens, cats, and dogs. They lead me up dry dirt hills, to houses made of tin cans. I was offered many seats; I was offered soda, crackers, and smile after smile. Doors were opened to me, hands out stretched and most greeted joyfully. On my first day in the barrio I got to see their normal, experience their daily life and get a glimpse of what they saw every day.
Jesus taught me many things when I was with the girls. Within the first few days of my visit I began to plead with the Lord, begging Him in the very rare times of alone and quiet,
“Jesus! I will sell all I have when I get home if you will move me here as soon as possible. How will I ever leave Lord? Please prepare me to come back this summer… or sooner, next month!”
I became desperate. After three days I was convinced this was my new home and before I could even finish out my trip I was plotting the day I could come back for a much longer stay in the very near future.
But then, through my desperate cries and deep longings for the Lord’s provision; He spoke.
“This is not about you.”
And it played in my head moment by moment as I continued to wrestle and plead with the Lord.
“This is not about you Corinne.”
On day 5 I began to understand the Lord’s voice, I began to be reassured by the Holy Spirit and make sense of this perpetual sentence that couldn’t seem to leave my mind, until it then began to seep into my heart.
I began to realize that these girls whom I adore, love, and even admire so much are being nurtured, poured into, rescued, and taught every day. This was happening before I was able to enter into their lives and when I leave this place it will continue. I started to think about each of the individuals that I had met in the last couple days who were serving these girls, who were laying their lives down for them, and I saw that the Lord had purposed them to be invested in New Hope daily. The Lord taught me that He is the one working through these women, and working through me when I was with the girls. He taught me that He is their Father and it is not up to me to take care of them it is up to Him and He will invite me into that when He sees fit.
I began to be humbled, realizing that as much as I had prepared to serve New Hope, they were serving me daily. They were fixing me meals, hauling water for me, giving me their best seat to sit on, clearing out their only drawer for me to put my clothes in for my temporary stay. They affirmed me daily; they were gentle with me on the days when my Spanish was failing me, the days when communication was such a chore because of my exhausted mind. These little girls, five through thirteen, rescued off the streets, out of the deepest darkness I had ever heard of are getting themselves up in the morning, putting their own clothes on, making sure they are clean for the day and yet I am still the last one out of bed and struggling to wash myself with a bucket and cup.
I realized that the greatest thing I had to offer them was the Father’s love that He purposed to pour out of me as He daily filled my ever-so-empty cup each morning. But you know what, during my short visits with the Reye’s away from the girls on the weekends, as wonderful and restful and full of fellowship as they were, I would long to be back in the barrio.
That’s when I knew Jesus was behind everything. That’s when I knew He was enabling me as I prayed daily that He would give me supernatural love for the girls. And that He did.
Now I am back in Oregon, back going to school full time, working, investing in my church community, building relationships and being on mission to my campus. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I was back in the Dominican Republic. Every day I long to hear the girls squeal, “Carina!!” like they did when I would crawl out of bed every morning. Every day I wish I could sit in a circle and read Jesus Story Book Bible with Tia Anna and all the little girls. Every day I wish I could sing with them “Jesus amado de mi Alma,” the song I got to teach the girls when I was there. Every day I wish they would crawl into my lap and allow me to do their hair as I did one, two, sometimes three times a day. I wish I was there to see them learning and growing in knowledge and love. I wish I could be there to see them on their best and worst days.
It is clear there are deep longings in my heart to be with the girls, and pour into my relationship with Joy and the other women serving daily alongside one another at New Hope. But I cling to the hope that Jesus has given me, to His provision, believing that there may be a place for me there in the future but whether or not that is true He is taking care of His daughters, He is tending to their every need, and I GET to be here. I GET to battle on my knees for these precious sisters of mine daily, I GET to make an eternal investment in their lives whether or not I am with them in the flesh. THAT is provision from the Lord that I was searching for, that is a privilege, a beautiful calling and a wonderful opportunity.
If I could speak to the girls now I would say to them,
“My girls. I love you. I know you may feel I have abandoned you, but I have not. I battle for you every day, and there many ties in my heart to yours. I am your warrior, your big sister, your biggest fan, but always remember who your best friend is. Jesus. He is your best friend girls, just like we sing in “Jesus Amado De Mi Alma.” He is always loving you, and He knows how to fight for you much better than I ever could. I love you very much, each of you. Remember who you are. You are a daughter of the King. And He is here with you.”
If you want information on the organization I am talking about it is New Hope Girls Academy in La Vega, Dominican Republic.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Hope-Girls-Academy/200272673337010
And you can always contact me directly for more information! :)
Who I want to be (2014)
I want to change the world for Jesus. I want faith to flow from my fingertips to my toes. I want my decisions to reflect my rest in Jesus, that I am content and not defined by the outward ways of the world but rather the inward ways of the Spirit in my heart. I want to seek to glorify Jesus and not myself. I want prophetic words to flow from me as the Lord enables my heart to speak His truth. I want to wait for His direction always, never submitting to my plans but always to His. I want to live freely, truly set free. I want to be wrecked by the reality of God’s love daily. I want to draw attention to God’s greater story. I want my words to be weighty with evidence of the Holy Spirit alive in me. I want to witness redemption, reconciliation, resurrection, miracles, and people dying deaths to themselves. I want to die a deep death to myself daily. I want to be under my Shepherd and be lead into His vast plans for me. I want my passions and dreams and desires and goals to fall in line with God’s desires for my life. I want my life to be a living sacrifice. I want to be a vessel for God’s love and light; that it may be delivered and displayed to all of humanity. I want to fight for freedom and fight for goodness and righteousness. I want to tell people who Jesus is. I want to see people get saved. I want to live in light of eternity. I want to live each day in a state of gratitude and humility. I want to do justice with Jesus. I want to teach the world about His love. I want to serve and consider others more deserving than myself. I want to be wholly detached from my possessions. I want to be able to throw them into the fire and never look back. I want to live tied to the one true treasure, tied to Jesus. I want to live without fear of death, rejection, harm, failure, loneliness, and poverty. I want to grow forth from the true vine. I want to drink living water daily. I want to be washed in God’s word, I want it to be written on my heart. I want to visit with Jesus on my knees daily. I want my heart to break for what break’s the Fathers. I want to care for people deeply, I want to intercede for them and for the Holy Spirit to give me empathy for all I come in contact with. I want to give my life away. I want to realize how short life is and live boldly because of it. I want to be compelled by God’s love. I want to worship with abandon. I want to worship with words. I want to worship with dance, I want to worship with song, I want to worship in Spirit and in Truth. I want my life to be an act of worship to the King.
Life Right Now (2014)
Time and time again I feel as though I am doing things because I have to. I feel as though I am doing things because I see other people doing them. I just went to the movies with my family and we saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and during the movie I couldn't help but think and dream about all the things I wish I was doing, and fantasize about the person I want to be. Lately I've been wanting to plan a trip by myself to Idaho this summer and take a week to just be alone with God, so I thought about that. And then I thought about how much better I want to be at playing and writing music. And then I dreamed about traveling and how I would love to do that but before you know it I was already talking myself out of it for financial reasons. And then I started thinking about how I want to take more photos (and not just on my iPhone). Then I started feeling like I should really write more, I mean its one of my passions but I hardly take time to just write.
So that's how I ended up here. Usually when I write I have an agenda. I've sent a few articles to Relevant Magazine, hoping and praying they would be encouraging and inspiring enough for someone to say this is worth sharing. I've written countless papers for school and for assignments. I wrote a short story once. I really loved it, I was proud of it even though the ending was sad. I wrote it in my short story class and I got extensive feedback which was really wonderful and painful at the same time. I write to God everyday. I tell Him my concerns, whats going on in my head and my heart. I ask Him for things and I confess my imperfections.
But during the movie I couldn't help but realize that there has always been someone I have been trying to please. Our life is filled with daily decisions and choices, and many times we make these choices based on who is watching. When you are deciding where you are going to college, your family is watching. When you are deciding what picture you are going to post on instagram, you think of your followers that will be seeing the images you choose to display. When you decide on a topic of research for a class, your professor is watching.
What if we forgot about other people in our decision making.
What if our decisions depended on one opinion. One lone opinion.
Sometimes I really like life to be safe. Sometimes I just want to stay home and watch TV and let my mind just sort of shut off and become unresponsive and numb for a while. Sometimes I just want to make it through my classes without interacting anyone, taking notes only when there is a new powerpoint slide and then disengaging the rest of the time. Sometimes I want to put pause on certain relationships because they are too hard and too painful and I don't want to own up to my sin and they don't want to own up to theirs.
This. Is. Not. Living.
As I dream about the person I want to be and the things I want to do and the areas I want to grow in, I am discouraged. I am discouraged because I really don't believe I can be the person I am dreaming about, and I really don't believe I can accomplish the "outlandish" things that I want to explore and learn and engage in. Instead of my dreams leading me into making goals and plans, I get scared. I settle for the fearful route, which then restricts me to what I know to be familiar instead allowing myself to shape these dreams into realities.
So as I've been writing this I've realized that I need accountability. I write this because I want to do the things I am dreaming about and I want to be someone who abandons the opinion of man and runs towards the will of God. But this will be a process, and I know it will be hard. But the narrow road is worth it, especially when you have people to walk it with.
Open and Close (2013)
“LORD, either open the door that no man can close OR close the door that no man can open.”
Isn’t it amazing that Jesus hears our prayers? Isn’t it amazing that when we are praying and asking He is already working and answering?! I am in awe of my God. I am in awe that he inclines His ear to me… a lost sheep wandering in the pasture of life. I am so thankful God heard me because He led me as I had pleaded Him to.. He closed the door I could have never closed myself.
This year has been a crazy one for me… And in the midst of it I kind of gave up on tumblr but here I am writing nearly a year after the last time I posted.
I wish I could say this year was full of triumph and wonder and victory but what I should really say was that it was hard…really hard. It was stretching, and sometimes I felt like an elastic band ready to break. God truly showed me what I was made of this year and I realized it isn’t much. Through sickness, roommate troubles, a relationship beginning and then ending, and just starting college I was truly thrown into the ring and all I knew to do was just start punching. Without much counsel or guidence except from my Savior and a few precious souls along the way, many times I felt like I was just enduring instead of truly living.
BUT…I can praise Jesus because through it all I have been furthersanctified. Further refined. I have been in the potters hands and He has been pressing in hard. I can bless God because He has shown me that I truly need Him…
See.. You can’t just want God. Wanting is based on a feeling and our feelings are so fleeting. You have to realize your need for God. You have to take a look at your life and realize that if it weren’t for Jesus you would be a dead corpse operating in the flesh instead of a live saint made new and redeemed by the blood of Jesus. This is who God is. He rescues us, He gives us life, but He tells us to keep living. And living is hard. Living can feel like the worst sometimes… But in Jesus, living is worth it. I was able to realize that in Jesus there is ALWAYS victory.
“OVERWHELMING VICTORY is ours through Christ, who loved us.” Romans 8:37 (NLT)
The Lord is so faithful and when I take a look at this year I realize that while it was hard Jesus was victorious. While it was challenging, it was rewarding. While it was painful it was beautiful. And that is what the Lord does in our lives. He cleanses us, He takes our impurities and refines them, and He looks at your situation and says, “I am so much bigger than this… They will realize.”
A Friend (2012)
I feel like lately God has been re-teaching me the art of being a friend..someone who listens, who doesn’t have an agenda, who is quick to give instead of take. I’ve realized that I sometimes push my way into conversations, and even force my faith into words so that I feel like I’ve done my job in speaking the gospel… which would be great.. if it were genuine. I’ve realized I may have been doing all the “right things” but with the wrong heart. I want to know people because of what they tell me; because I took the time to be intentional. There’s a difference between being intentional and planting an agenda into each conversation. When you have a plan of what you want to speak or say, try to do away with it and ask God’s Spirit to direct the where He pleases. Just like God has an ultimate plan for our lives, He has a plan for our relationships, our conversations, our words that we speak. Its so humbling to realize that some people just need a friend not a mentor, just need a listener not a life coach, just need someone to be present not someone talking at them. God will give himself room into any/every conversation He pleases. I know that I need to continually be bold, I know I need to speak of His redemptive work, of who Jesus is and what He has given me, and I trust Him in leading me how to do so.
Truth: You are my Beloved (2012)
‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favor rests in you.’
This truth that I hold so dearly rests in my faith in God. I have learned through my relationship with Jesus that I am His beloved, and because of this I have come to know that each and every single person on this planet is in fact His beloved as well. I believe with all my heart that each and every one of us is fiercely loved by the Creator of the universe, and that there is nothing that can change this reality. God is constantly pursuing each of our hearts; he treasures us so deeply and loves all of our parts. Each of us has a rooted desire in our hearts to be known. I think each person has experienced a time when they needed affirmation about themselves, a time when they felt left out and wondered if anyone cherished or loved them. There have been times where I have felt so alone, and my only longing was to be able to receive genuine love from someone because they cared about me deeply, not out of obligation.
I think we all have this desire to be known and loved because WE ARE known and loved, we just aren’t always aware of this truth. There is someone who knows each hair on our head, someone who knows the exterior scars and the scars on our hearts. There is someone who not only loves you, but longs for that love to be reciprocated. Aside from all the religiousness there is in the world that tends to distract us from the realities of what being a Christian truly means…there is an intentional God, a God that isn’t requiring of you to “do” things for His love. I think a lie that many people get trapped in, including myself, is that we have to work to get to God, but this is neither truth or biblical. We have the opportunity to get to know for ourselves Jesus, and this doesn’t cost us what it cost Him to be able to do so.
Aside from anyone’s faith, aside from if you believe in Jesus or want nothing to do with Him, we are His beloved and there is nothing that can change this status. Whether we have given ourselves a chance to experience His love, or it is just a distant concept in our world, I believe the reality that we are His beloved is the most quintessential truth of all humanity. My hope is that all would know the gift of their belovedness, that each would consider the statement, “You Are My Beloved, on you my favor rests”. It does not take a commitment or ceremony or tradition to simply realize that you have the gift of belovedness, and that by this we would be able to love each others as the beloved as well. It doesn’t just stop at realizing how beloved we are by God, it continues with treasuring others as God treasures and loving others as God loves. No favoritism, no partiality, no preconceived notions, no prejudice. Just love in its most truthful and pure form.
Look at the Heart (2012)
God has been putting it on my heart time and time again not to show favoritism, but to always show love. This is such a challenge for me day to day, but as followers of Jesus we need to watch our tongue, we need to pour out the love of Christ. This is a command, not a suggestion. Time and time again we look the other way and miss opportunities to love, to let someone know that they matter. We all have things going on inside that are so deeply rooted inside of us. We are fed lies daily that we need to mask all of our imperfections and because of this our hearts become callused by the weight of our sins and also sins of others that have affected us. When we ignore how fragile the heart is we miss the wonderful opportunities to affirm, encourage, and love the mislead hearts of others. Yes, our hearts are mislead and Jesus is desperate to take our hearts back if we so choose to surrender.
1 Samuel 16:7
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
I think when it comes down to it, God cares most about our hearts. I love this verse because it truly spells it out simply…God is truly concerned with where our heart is. He knows that our hearts apart from Him are all about ourselves, but when we are surrendered and seeking the Kingdom… We give God a heart that is willing, ready and available. Thus, this brings us full circle. If we have a heart of readiness for what God is calling us to, you better believe loving others will be at the top of the list.
John 13:34-35: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
1 Peter 4:8: Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
Proverbs 4:23: Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of life.
My Savior and Me (2012)
I could never part ways with my savior, I could never walk away from His glory and grace. He holds me in his righteous right hand and the world feels at ease. He presses into me, as he molds and sculpts my broken life. He washes me daily, again and again breathing into me His breath of life. My savior, He’s my husband, my protector and friend. His presence goes with me and He makes his home in my heart. I am captured by His beauty, His love and creation. He is what binds me together each day, and creates in me an affection for His kingdom and world. My savior draws me to himself, He wants my attention, and desires after my heart. I am His always, and each morning He longs for me to make Him mine. Pursuing me moment by moment, my Savior is constantly grabbing my attention, offering me Himself as my refuge, my rock, my foundation. His peace is sweet to my soul and his Word is warmth in my heart. I love Him.
Happiness vs. Joy (2012)
I have been wrestling with the difference between joy and happiness for a few days now and God has revealed so much to me about what polar differences they carry.
Happiness is of a temporary quality, it is conditional. Happiness is dependent upon your circumstances and the circumstances around you. Happiness is not necessarily a bad thing, and at times a very good thing. But when happiness passes away we are left craving more. This discontentment with happiness stems from the reality that we are really after joy.
J O Y .
We hear this word again and again in the scriptures, in sermons, from our mentors…but what we don’t always realize it its weight…its promise…its truth. First, Joy is a fruit of the spirit:
“But the fruit of the Spirit it love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control; against such things there is no law.”
Because of this, if we are in Christ, we are also partakers of the Holy Spirit, and thus joy is manifested in Him and in us. Joy is with or without reason, it is not based on circumstances. It is a condition of the heart, a true gift that always remains.
These are four nuggets I took from John 16:16-24 on Joy:
1. To have joy, we need Jesus- Without Jesus, joy is absent. Joy is rooted in Christ, rooted in the Holy spirit.
2. Happiness and joy can go hand in hand, but when Happiness fades joy is the seed we go back to- Like the world in this passage, Happiness only causes temporary rejoicing. And when happiness becomes absent we want to be filled and only joy can fill this need
3. This joy is manifested in you, so live like it!- We have this incredible fruit of the spirit, and so we must live with this joy each day, setting it before us. If we set joy before us each beginning of our day we will be able to endure far better because so much of enduring suffering is perspective.
Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of God.
4. Pour your joy out- If we live with joy set before us, our life is going to look different. Just like we pray for our light to shine at the high school, joy has a lot to do with this light. Paul says rejoice in all circumstances while he is in prison, this doesn't mean I’ll be joyful about this and then grumble about that. Look to Jesus for perspective!! He is the one who was lead by joy to the cross.
He is who He says He is (2012)
He is who He says He is, this in His resurrection, this in His love. There is none like Him and none or nothing will ever amount to who Jesus is. Put Him on the throne today and all your days to come. He is victorious, He rose from the dead, and our faith is rooted in His ascension. Oh death, you have no sting because of what the Christ has done. The prophets words were rooted in His promise, that He would indeed suffer this staggering, horrific, disgraceful death.
Isaiah 53:4-6 (NASB)
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all
To all on Him.
We afflicted this on Him, yet He rose above even death itself. Jesus knew, He knew this was the only way, even as He was wishing for another.
saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
And as He told His disciples that He was going to suffer, they were in disbelief. When He was in His final hours, they merely slept. Only Jesus knew the enormity of His own death. Only He knew what it would bring, what it would cause, and what it would give.
Life. The Spirit. Temple split in two. Freedom. Redemption.
He was beaten, and yet we are left without a scratch. He was tempted; we are never tempted beyond what we can handle. He was crucified, and we were saved. He was covered with darkness, and over us He laid the light of life. Surely death approached Him, even hid Him from the world for three days… But His promise held fast the third day, and His presence was among His people.
Luke 24:38-40 (ESV)
And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see me. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet…
They witnessed this, His disciples and others (there were many accounts) saw our King after death, in His body. And He put His final message to us in the Bible, making sure we too would take this command to heart just as His disciples did. In this command, Jesus’ sole purpose for being on earth is revealed to us. In this, we are able to realize that Jesus’ time, His short time compared to eternity lives on and will continue on until this world is put right. Jesus leaves, but He asks us to partner with Him in bringing the Kingdom of God forward in this world marked with brokenness.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Let this truth stir in your very heart, let it lead your life in its abundant promises that are being fulfilled each and every day. Jesus is who He says He is, He was and will continue to be our King. His hope is not from here because it is from the Kingdom, but as we partner with Him our delight is also in His glory and honor and power. Jesus’ death gives life, and His resurrection is central to the gospel and to the history of the world.
God is Near (2012)
If there as anything Jesus has taught me in these last couple of weeks is that He Is Near.
Jesus is always pursing my heart, He is always pursing me, drawing me to Himself. And He is doing just that in your life. Be humbled by His love, be humbled by the sacrifice He made for you…. Realize what God’s son did for you, and not only you but every other person with breath and a soul. Cling to His peace, cling to His presence, He is ALIVE, HE IS ACTIVE! and He is after you, your whole being, your whole heart, your whole life. Ah we are so imperfect, and this world is passing away, but Jesus is drawing you to Himself. Allow Him to, realize that your flesh is passing away but Jesus wants to make you new with each coming day.
His truth is real and it is crashing into earth, stirring in hearts, stirring in your heart. allow yourself to surrender because without surrendering our worldliness, our imperfection, it traps us in sin, in brokenness, in disarray. Don’t be trapped in darkness, don’t let the enemy chip away at your inner being. Ask Jesus to open your eyes to the wonderful things He is doing in this world, in your life, in the lives you love. Let His promises be sweet to your very soul, promises of true life, life everlasting, His promises of communion with Him, that His very presence is with you and will continue with you for eternity.
Oh taste and see that the Lord is good.
Sometimes it is so hard not to make yourself the victim. Its so easy to take offense, to feel wronged. We believe that the actions of others should be in line with the way we feel we are to be treated. We feel it is our right to feel hurt by the sin of people in our life and in this world.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but rather, in humility value others above yourselves.
Above yourselves can also be translated as better than yourselves, or more deserving than yourselves.
a very hard verse to swallow….
We almost always want to start with the buts.. “But He used me….. But she embarrassed me…. But he was insensitive to my feelings…..”
In these moments…these very tough moments when people may be coming down on you or may be treating you unfairly…We need to view them and their sin with the lens of the cross. We need to realize that not only has Jesus forgiven you for your sins; past, present, and future…He has forgiven those who have wronged you with their sin, who have offended you with their sin or abandoned you because of their sin. When we are able to view people as recipients of the sacrifice Jesus has made for them, we are much more likely to chose to love in these situations. We are much more likely to realize that you have the same sin condition as them and they have the same sin condition as you.
All and all, be conduits of Jesus’ love, not people who condemn. God is your judge, He is your neighbors judge, He is my judge. I am not the judge, I am the receiver and giver of the love of Jesus.
Creation Sings His Name (2012)
I watched snow fall this morning, and now I am watching it melt away, and I feel like I have seen a cycle of the Lord’s beauty.
Creation sings His name, it has no problem proclaiming the glory of the Lord. I find myself captivated by the movement of snow, covering my front steps, my car, the grass, the roads. My eyes are fixed, and I don’t want to look away. Nothing can distract me from taking in this beauty, nothing will prevent me from smiling at how wonderfully the Lord has covered the earth with this snow. I wonder if I could experience how I feel now continually, that I could look out the window and feel as though God was showing me himself with every new day. And then the Lord knocks at my heart and reveals to me that He wants to create this very truth in my heart each and every single waking hour.
Just as the glory of the creation draws us to Jesus Himself, we must also do the same. We were created as images of the Father, who better then to tell of His glory than those who have been designed in His likeness. We cannot go on neglecting the truth of His beauty, and we need to partner in this same truth, experiencing it day after day so that people would be able to experience it in our presence. Yes, we are unworthy but the only thing stopping the Lord from shining light through our lives is closed hearts. Undivided hearts are what He is after, those that are ready to abandon themselves and choose Jesus always.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Opportunities in Sacrifice (2012)
As Jesus was an ultimate sacrifice to us, so we must be ready to sacrifice unto Him. What is sacrifice? Such a loaded word, yet we tend to dismiss its opportunity in our lives.
Yes, sacrifice makes for opportunity.
When we are able to lay down our selfish ambition, reach out of our comfort zone, and become bold, growth occurs and fruit is produced. This sacrifice is demanded if we want to develop in our love for Jesus, as we continue to seek an affection for Him. There are necessary things the Lord is asking of us as we partner with Him in bringing light into the darkness. One of the most necessary things is found in Luke 9:23:
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.“
D A I L Y. This sacrifice of time, of focus, of devotion. This must be unto the Lord, and it must be daily. We are to put our armor on for the day, choosing Christ first, seeking His face, seeking what He is laying in front of us for our days as He examines our heart. Take the necessary time to delight in the Lord, view it as precious, as sacred, holy, glorious. Find joy in His word, His presence, His creation. Expect Jesus to move in your life as you give Him an undivided heart of devotion. And love the scriptures, ask the Lord to write them on your heart and to create clarity in your heart through His written Word. It is a gift, just as His presence is. Find your contentment in the Lord daily, Jesus is always giving you Himself and this has to be enough. God is SO much greater than technology, science, society, culture, worldliness, etc. etc. etc. Put your hope in Jesus, because His truth in your life is what is being made eternal, and the sacrifice involved will never even be a sliver of the sacrifice Jesus made for humanity.
W O R K ! (2012)
God wants our passion, He wants to use our desires to be targeted towards His kingdom. He wants us to work UNTO Him. Give of yourself, realize that God is calling us into work in our lives not for our own selfish gain, but that we may gain the kingdom of God. He is calling us to partner with Him in His “Kingdom Work”, whether that be in an office, a classroom, a home, outside, inside, etc. etc. etc. Realize the sphere of influence you have. People are watching you. And they aren’t just people…they are people God loves so much, they are His creation, and God is desperately trying to use you to reach them THROUGH the work that you are doing for His kingdom. How miraculous is that?
1 Corinthians 9:24
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
This prize that we are chasing after isn’t of material value, it isn’t passing away like the things of this world are, this prize is of eternal value. Selflessness, diligence, going the extra mile, serving, submission, focus, effort. God is calling us to each of these traits. Those who love Jesus need to wake up and delight in the responsibility God is calling His followers to. And this work is to be done with an undivided heart, a heart ready to sacrifice for the kingdom of God.
What are you doing that is being made eternal?
Some are just waiting for God to reveal His purpose for their life…. I say begin looking/searching/asking/seeking what God is calling you to! God asks us to take action, to be proactive, to pinpoint what we are passionate about and use that passion to further His kingdom. Don’t sit waiting…start by loving, serving, trying new things, learning, exploring, creating…GO! The great commission takes action, it takes boldness and fearlessness. Not only is God going to open your eyes up to what He has for you, you will also take part in the redemption of the world. Do what is in front of you, determine what God is blessing in your life and take part in that. It may not be clear to you now, but start by loving Jesus and the people around you and just wait to the Lord to take you on a journey involved with benefiting His kingdom and glorifying His name through the gifts He has given you!
CHOOSE TO LOVE (2012)
“I have chosen to love.”
What a powerful statement I once heard, and it has not left my heart since. This love is an action, a choice, a decision made. Think of the people in your life that are hard to love. I mean really hard to love. Maybe its a sibling, a friend, a teacher, etc. When is the last time you chose to love them, even when you didn’t want to? God is calling us to love our neighbors, and who is our neighbor? I believe anyone we come into contact with. We show love in various ways, we love in many different forms. Sometimes we tell people we love them, sometimes we show people we love them. I’ve learned that different people feel loved in different ways. Some feel loved when they are treated affectionately, some when they are listened to, others when they are served.
Now think back to that person who is hard to love, think of how they feel loved.
and love them.
and demonstrate this love to all that you come in contact with. We all have a longing to be known, to be loved. Let us partner with Jesus in His love, His never ceasing, never ending, always giving love.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:13
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. -1 Peter 4:8
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. - 1 John 4:18-19
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. - Colossians 3:14
A friend loves at all times. - Proverbs 17:17
Away with me, Jesus is my Identity (2012)
Upon entering high school, I knew that I was going to need to make a choice about who I was going to be and what choices I was going to make. I chose Jesus, and though I knew that my imperfections would get the best of me at times, I was always going to fall humbly back into the Lord’s arms. Jesus holds my affection, He is my maker, and I am so in love with who He is in the Word, my life, and in this World. Jesus drew me to himself, he drew me to himself when so many things could have overtaken my heart, could have pushed me and pulled me and broken me down, yet Jesus called me into His kingdom.
I often am in awe of this reality that Jesus came to save the sinners, that he gives the unworthy a purpose. He often breaks me down when I am puffed up, when I think I have “everything figured out” and I am so grateful for these moments when the only thing I can truly do is fall onto my knees and ask that God would refine my heart, and break my heart for what breaks His. He has shown me again and again that if you give your whole heart to Him, there is no imagining what He is going to do in and through you. I have experienced being a vessel in God’s kingdom, and I believe this is the truest fulfillment to receive, and that everyone in life is searching for a way to feel the way I do when I am able to fix my eyes on Jesus and be a servant.
When you are able to put Jesus as the centerpiece in your life, there is no greater security, no greater purpose. Being used by the creator of the universe is the truest desire of my heart. I am so hungry to chase after God’s will for my life, forget what I want for myself and my plans, they are weak, they are self-centered, self-fulfilling, and I want nothing to do with my worldly desires. I want Jesus to be the author and perfecter of my life. I know that looking to the future is great and can be fun to think of what it possesses, but I have learned that Jesus is so much more concerned about where my heart is in the here and now and what I am doing to bring forth the gospel. I know that Jesus holds my future, and I daily take heart in that so that I can focus on what I am doing to win as many as possible.
Senior in High School. Chasing after God’s will, chasing after His love.
YOUR FUTURE LIES IN ME (2012)
As I sit in the silence before the Lord, surrendered, this phrase plays in my head again and again;
“Your Future Lies In ME”
What more of a security could I ever want then for Jesus to be reassuring me that my future is being held in his hands..
an unclear clarity.
In this, Jesus was drawing me to himself. He is telling me the only thing that truly matters of my future is that it lies in him.
“HE GUARDS, AND HE GUIDES”
this comes next, as I listen to the spirit of God. Jesus is on this journey with me, He is my protector, my road map. His way is the only one I am interested in, the only one I am captured and compelled by. And I come to realize that it isn’t my journey Jesus is leading me on, it is His. His plan, His world, His journey. And I am being chosen as a vessel. How unworthy I feel, but how loud the call is that rings in my heart. Set apart. He is setting me apart.
His will is so desperately what I want to follow.
Hold me in your hands, Lord Jesus, guard me, guide me, I am Yours.
What is certain in your life? (2011)
your relationships, your grades, your stuff? It’s easy to see our future as uncertain, but what about those places and things and people we hold so tightly to until we realize that the only true certainty we could ever hold is in Jesus Christ, who was, and is, and is to come. Jesus is the only certainty we hold in the here and now, he not only sustains life, he Gives Life, and this life he gives is abundant.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
-JESUS (John 15:5)
What are you doing that is being made eternal?
What is certain in your life?
My heavenly father
is writing my story
is writing on my heart
His evidence is written on paper
His evidence of love, of peace, of goodness
My heavenly father
His kingdom is my home, His word,
He calls upon me
and gives me the choice to answer
I am undeserving
But His grace is sufficient
and His love, enduring
I am challenged in my faith
but day after day my God puts my soul to rest
and lies my down for sleep