Archive of ‘Relationship with Jesus’ category

When Prince Charming Isn’t Enough

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Friends, I am so excited! Today I get to share my story on a wonderful blog called Revolutionaries! I hope you check it out!

Click here to read my story of how prince charming wasn’t enough for me.

If you are a Christian, Bonnie @ Revolutionaries would love to post your story! Just contact her on her blog. Let her know that you have a story you want to share. Remember, that your story is powerful and can impact someone’s eternity!

 

 

I hope this post has been encouraging! Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!

                       

The Power of Your Story (Part 2)

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Last week, I blogged about how powerful our stories are. (Click here to see it!)

Our stories have as much power as Jesus’ death on the cross. If you are a believer in Christ and have a personal relationship with him, God can and will use your story to bring him glory. Your story is an extension of God’s power!

The second reason why your story is powerful is because our God has an eternal perspective. God knows how each event in our lives will be used to impact eternity!

Isaiah 55:8-11: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
 neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
 so are my ways higher than your ways
 and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
 and do not return there but water the earth, 
making it bring forth and sprout,
 giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
 it shall not return to me empty,
 but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
 and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

We have to understand that God is SO much bigger than our tiny little brains.

Our thoughts are smaller than his thoughts. Our plans are smaller than his plans. Think of eternity as a line. It is a line that goes on and on and on forever. We are just one dot on that line, so we only see our dot and a little before and after. But God, the Creator of the line, sees the whole line! He knows how one dot will impact the next.

Last summer, I had the pleasure of going to Miami for 10 weeks on Miami Summer Project with a ministry called Cru.

Before going on project, I prayed that God would bring one other women who had been sexually abused. I desired to use my story to help someone else heal. One day in Miami, I went on a walk with one of my friends. She was upset and said that she didn’t know why she was telling me this, but wanted to tell me her story. She had been raped her freshman year of college. I was the first person she had told.

God planned that both her and I would be in Miami that summer. She felt weird inside because the Holy Spirit was telling her to share her deepest pain with me. We cried and talked together, and I began to understand that God would use my story to glorify himself. That summer I got to help my friend begin a journey of healing, and I continued healing by viewing my life through God’s eternal perspective.

Later that week, I found out that 5 other girls on project had been sexually abused.

I prayed for 1 girl, God gave me 6. Before project, we each focused on our dot and our hurt, but God was focused on how our hurt could help others.

Here is my favorite part of the story! After project, one of the women felt called to share her story with other ladies, specifically the Greek women on her campus. She went to each chapter meeting and shared her story. She shared what she had gone through, how God redeemed her, saved her, and how now is experiencing real love in a relationship with God.

Later that semester, Cru at her college hosted an event called Girls’ Night Out by Marian Jordan. At the event, they witnessed 98 girls pray to give their life to Christ, most of them were women from sororities that my friend shared her story to.

Dear reader, my friend realized that God could take her story and use it to change women’s eternities! He can do the same with yours! Your story is powerful! I challenge you to stop focusing on your dot and focus on the line. Let God use your story to impact others eternities! Love, Joy

Check out: The Power of Your Story (Part 1) and The Power of Your Story (Part 3)

I hope this post has been encouraging! Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!

                       

In the Middle, You Find Jesus | Charlotte Gambill Book Review

I recently went to a women’s conference called Dare To Be by Natalie Grant and Charlotte Gambill. Natalie led worship and then Charlotte led the teaching. It was very inspiring and impacting! Charlotte opened my eyes to something in scripture I had never before thought about – the middle. Charlotte also wrote a book about this called The Miracle in the Middle: Finding God’s Voice in the Void. This is a fabulous book that I would recommend with you! Because I loved the conference and book so much, I want to share her message and expand on the topic.

In Mark 6:45-52, the story is shared where Jesus walks on water towards his disciples. In these verses, the men were in the middle of the trip between the land where Jesus was and the land on the other side. The boat was in the middle of the lake, far away from Jesus. I want to focus on the word- middle. This is pulled directly from verse 47, “Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land.”

How would you define the middle? For the disciples, they were literally in the middle of the water, but the middle can look different for everyone. Maybe you are in the middle of waiting for something, middle of a struggle, middle of a breakup, middle of singleness, middle of a conflict, there are lots of middles in our lives. Right now I am in the middle of trying to figure out what career to work towards. I would love to be at the end and know exactly what God wants me to do, but right now I am where God wants me, in the middle.

Being in the middle may not be comfortable, but it requires trusting that God will get you to the other side.

The disciples would have felt more comfortable if they would have been on land next to Jesus, and maybe they thought about turning around and going back to where they came from. Right now I am in the life stage of singleness. I have to choose daily to trust that God knows what he is doing. Some days I may want to run back to my old lifestyle of dating who I wanted instead of waiting for a Godly man. I want to run back to what I know is comfortable, but I don’t because I am trusting that God will use this middle to glorify himself.

The middle may not be comfortable, but it does have an end.

The enemy knows when we are in the middle. Because each step we take gets us closer to the other side and closer to a break through. Every middle is equal distance both ways, so sometime it would require the same amount of work to go back to the beginning as the end.

As humans, we don’t want the journey, we want the results. We want to get to the end. We want to know what decisions to make, be married, get past the conflicts, and get out of the boat!

In the middle is when you put to practice all that you say and believe. It may be easy on the shore to say that you believe God is good and that his plans are perfect, but how you live out your life in the middle is the proof.

In the middle you see the miracle. Jesus walks on water and comes to you. When you are thinking how will I ever make it to the other side, Jesus performs a miracle.

In the middle,  you find Jesus.

The greek word used for middle, mesos, in this passage is also found in another passage in the Bible. John 19:18,  “There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

So where was Jesus? In the middle. He was in the middle of dying a painful death for you and I. He was in the middle of saving us from the pain of our own sinful choices. He was in the middle of saving us from the hurt this world causes us. Jesus was in the middle!

When you are in the middle of your struggles, waiting for hope, or  just want to get to the other side, remember that Jesus is in the middle.

I hope this post has been encouraging! Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!

                       

Save

Without Jesus, Without Hope

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This semester I’m taking a class called Illness, Grief and Loss. Obviously, it is a sad class, but it is especially sad when most of the students have no hope.

Last week we had to write papers on how we define loss, what loss we have experienced, and how we cope with it. Then we had to present our papers to the class. Each story was sadder than the next. By the end of the class, students and even the professor, were in tears. Most of the presentations included stories of how each person experienced loss, but almost none of the students shared how they coped. This made me think, have they coped?

When you don’t know Jesus, you lack hope. Jesus provides you with hope and gives loss a purpose.

In chapter 11 of the book of John, there was a man named Lazarus who died. His two sisters, Mary and Martha, were devastated and weeped at Jesus’ feet. This created a chain of weeping. “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled… Jesus wept.” (verses 33 and 35)

This is similar to the experience I had in my class. One person’s sadness caused another to be saddened. Unlike my class experience, this story has hope.

Jesus turned the loss into a miracle. Jesus turned death to life. Jesus brought back Lazarus from death. He not only literally saved Lazarus, but he also spiritually saved many others. Immediately following the story of Lazarus, verse 45 says, “Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.”

God used loss to save people, to bring hope and a purpose.

When I refer to loss, I do not simply mean loss of lives by death. Loss can be found in many forms- divorce, friendship, moving to a new place, or change of plans. Here are some examples of the word loss found in the Bible – lose of time (Ex 21:19), loss of lives (2 Sam 18:7), uncertainty (Act 25:20), and loss of material goods (Acts 27:10).

Mary, Martha, and Jesus all felt sadness, pain, and grief, but every tear had a purpose. In our times of grief, we may only see the tears and may tend to focus on the present moment. If we look at grief through Jesus and his eternal perspective, we will see the world differently. Mary and Martha had no idea that lives would be spiritually saved that day, because they were focused on the pain, the loss of their brother. We too focus on the pain, and have no idea how God may use each of our experiences to glorify him.

Without Jesus, without hope. With Jesus, with hope.

I hope this post has been encouraging! Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!

                       

Maybe we have the wrong mindset.

What does it mean to be blessed?

The world defines blessed as having bliss, happiness, laughter, pleasure, earthly prosperity, possessions, or contentment. God defines blessed as the experience of hope and joy, independent of our outward circumstances. From this definition, a person can be blessed if they lack happiness, earthly prosperity, and pleasure. To some people – this would not be considered a blessed life.

This is what the Bible says:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”- Matthew 5:3-10

I don’t know about you, but when I am mourning or hungry I don’t feel blessed. In these moments it is so easy to focus on the problem. Maybe we have the wrong mindset.

God’s way of living contradicts the world’s way of living. The world might tell us one thing, but God tells us another. If we want to live for God we must be ready to do and say what the world views as strange. Think about how different your life would be if you realized that being blessed does not depend on your circumstances.

Look back at the verses in Matthew. When we give up our own rights and comforts, then we can receive everything that God has in store for us. God desires for us to receive the kingdom of heaven, to be comforted, to inherit the earth, to be satisfied, to receive mercy, to see God, to be called God’s sons and daughters.

“Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall! Blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!” -Psalm 144:15

Is Jesus Christ the LORD of your life? Have you made the decision to give your life to him? Blessed are the people who have given their lives to Jesus. You can make that decision today and receive all that God has for you!

I hope this post has been encouraging! Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!

                       

Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

ImageJillian Michaels and yoga: two words I never thought would be paired together. Jillian, known for her role on the Biggest Loser, is one of America’s toughest trainers who always pushes people to reach their potential. While yoga is known for breathing, meditation, and relaxation. Last night I was doing a yoga video with Jillian called Yoga Meltdown, designed to sculpt muscle, burn fat, and tone the entire body.

During the workout, we were planking and Jillian said, “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” At that moment sweat was dripping down my forehead, my arms were shaking, and my abs were in pain. I wanted to say to Jillian, “NO, I do not want to be uncomfortable. I hate feeling this pain!” I would rather stop, curl up in my blankets, and watch Gilmore Girls. That sounds like a great night to me! But would I grow? Would I reach my fitness goals? I’m not saying to never enjoy a night of relaxing and enjoying the best TV show around, because we all know that Gilmore Girls is the best. What I am saying is that if we want to grow, we need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

For yoga or any other exercise, one has to push their limits in order to improve. If a person stayed comfortable and never felt pain, they would never be able to grow or reach higher possibilities. God does not want us to stay comfortable. He wants us to push our limits, go out of our comfort zone, and experience spiritual growth. One common misconception people have is that when they become a Christian, their lives will be easier and more comfortable. Paul the apostle said the exact opposite:

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” -1 Peter 4:12-13

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” -2 Timothy 3:12

As a Christian, we will experience sufferings, but we need to rejoice over them and get comfortable being uncomfortable. I know this does not sound fun. No one wants to suffer or be uncomfortable, but if you want to experience spiritual growth, you will be uncomfortable. The good news is, God cares so much about us that he does not leave us to suffer. He comforts us. Always.

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” -Psalm 34:18

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” -Isaiah 43:2

We will suffer, but God will comfort. Let’s rejoice in our sufferings. Know that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character. (Rom 5:3-4)

Let’s get comfortable being uncomfortable!

What are practical ways you can live a more uncomfortable life today?

I hope this post has been encouraging! Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!

                       

Seeking Jesus

Seeking Jesus, Wholeheartedly-1 Seeking Jesus, yet he still feels far away? How can this be when Jeremiah 29:13 says if you seek Jesus you will find him? Last week I repeated this verse over and over and wondered why Jesus still felt so far away. I realized that seeking Jesus is only part of the verse. I missed a whole phrase- with all your heart.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (NIV)

“If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” (NLT)

I may have been seeking Jesus, but I definitely was not seeking him with my whole heart. In order to seek Jesus with our full heart, we have to figure out what else our heart is seeking. We have to discover the distractions and rid them from our lives.

Three things will help us discover the distractions and wholeheartedly seek God:

1) Turn from false Gods.

2) Plead with God for mercy.

3) Pursue purity.

What false gods are you believing? Why do you think these things will satisfy the desires of your heart? What do you need to ask forgiveness for? How can you pursue purity?

In the Old Testament, God promised the Israelites that if they searched for him with their whole hearts and souls they would find him. He warns them to not turn to idols and false Gods, but then says that even if people reach that point they can still seek and find God.

“There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell. But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him. For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you…”  Deuteronomy 4:29-31

We will never reach a point in life that is too far to turn back. Even while the Isralites worshiped idols, God welcomed them back. They realized the idols could not satisfy them, so they turned back to the one they knew could satisfy them.

Are you seeking Jesus today with all your heart and with all your soul? Turn from your false gods, beg for mercy, and pursue purity and you will find Jesus.

Seek Jesus, Wholeheartedly

I hope this post has been encouraging! Be sure to add me on social media and share my blog with your friends! Thanks!

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