I sat with a friend as she cried and poured out her heart, “How can I believe that God loves me and will meet my needs? I’ve been single for years. I want to be loved, accepted and valued by a man.”
My friend is not alone in her thoughts. Many young women struggle with singleness and trusting God during this life stage. I believe the root heart issue to my friend’s questions is trust. My friend is not trusting God to meet her needs and satisfy her longings. My friend is not trusting that God’s love is enough. My friend is not trusting that God loves her, accepts her and values her, more than any human man ever will.
How often do you feel like my friend? For me, I know those thoughts seep into my heart and mind almost every day. I’ve discovered that spending time with God, in His word, is the answer to most of our problems, especially our trust issues. I realized that the days I struggle trusting God most are the days I don’t spend time with him.
Do you trust in God’s plan for your life? Do you spend time with God on a regular basis through reading the Bible or praying? (more…)
There is no special formula to start believing in God. The Bible doesn’t say that if you pray five times and read the whole Bible, then you will believe in God. In fact, the Bible says that belief is not of your own doing. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” Ephesians 2:8 ESV. God is the only one who can open your heart to believing in him.
If you are struggling to believe in God, take heart that even the disciples, Jesus’ close friends, sometimes struggled believing in him. After the disciples witnessed Jesus perform a miracle, they still did not believe he could perform another miracle.(more…)
Earlier this summer, I wrote a post 5 Action Steps to Guard Your Heart from Impurity. Each action step looked at the story of Joseph found in Genesis 39:7-12 and explained how to pursue purity. We know that it is easier to give into temptation than to fight against our desires, but Joseph showed us that it is possible to live a life of purity. In this post, we will learn how to bring God glory as we fight for purity. Then I will share additional scripture verses that explain God’s view on purity. I encourage you to pull out your Bible and read these passages as you hold God’s word in your hand. (more…)
What is your response to temptation? Do you give in to your impure desires or do you fight to follow God’s will and guard your heart from impurity? As hard as it is, God desires for us to guard our hearts from impurity and to pursue holy lives. No matter where you currently are in your walk with God, you can live a pure life. God is constantly showing me how to actively fight for my purity, so I want to share with you 5 ways to actively fight against impurity. (more…)
You’ve probably been told to memorize scripture, but have you thought about why? Memorizing scripture is possible and can change your walk with God.
To find out why, let’s look to Jesus. Jesus is fully God and fully human, and yet he quoted scripture to attack temptation. How much more do we, who are fully human, need to memorize scripture?
Read this account of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness and notice his weapon of choice:
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:1-4).
Jesus was the most powerful human to ever walk this planet, and what did he use to fight against Satan? God’s word. This shows us the power of scripture. It’s safe to assume that Jesus knew the content and significance of scripture. Yet he quoted God’s Word to fight against Satan and temptation.
This shows us two things: the power of God’s word to remove Satan and temptations and that to use this power we need to first memorize scripture. If we don’t have key verses tucked away in our brains, we lack the weapon when we are in battle.
Most of us know that scripture is powerful, but we fail to take the time to memorize it. I know I used to rarely spend time each week memorizing scripture. I believed a lie that the task was too hard.
When the thought of memorizing scripture first entered my mind, these are the words that followed: impossible, unattainable, hopeless, and impractical. Then one day a friend showed me this method of memorizing and my way of thinking about memorizing scripture changed. I want to show you this method so that you will have the power of scripture to use in any battle.
HOW TO MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE?
There are a lot of memory systems out there and I’m sure there is merit in all of them, but this is the one that I’ve found works best for me. Follow the steps below for each verse you want to memorize.
Find a verse that has power over your weaknesses. For example, if you are struggling with purity, search your Bible or the internet for verses about purity, freedom, or the power of prayer and the Holy Spirit. (Openbible.info is a great resource for finding verses for every topic.)
Read the verse through several times out loud. You can even record yourself reading the verse on your phone. This way you can listen to the verse as your driving or working out.
*KEY STEP* Write the first letter of each word of the verse out on an index card. This step is what makes this way of memorizing different that others. This tip helps with long term memorization. If that does’t make sense to you, I’ve attached a photo of the verse I’m currently trying to memorize Pslam 18: 2 (NIV), “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (INSERT PHOTO)
Look at the first letters and practice saying the verse. If you need help, turn back to the full verse. Then continue practicing with just the first letters.
When you think you’ve mastered the verse, try writing it down without looking at your card or Bible.
Feel free to create multiple verse cards with just the letters. You can hole punch each card and tie them together with string or a circle clip. This keeps them together and allows for easy flipping from verse to verse. Now you can master a verse, move on to a new verse, and then go back to the old a few days later.
Friends, this way of memorizing scripture has drastically changed my walk with God. I am now learning how to use the power of God’s word in day to day life and fight off Satan and temptation. I pray and hope that this method will help you as well.
I’m impatient. I don’t like waiting. I see what I want and I want it. I’m a planner and I have a beautiful plan for how I want my life to go. In my mind, this plan is perfect. Does this sound like you? We have to remember, our plans may not be God’s plans.
When our lives aren’t going according to our plans – we ask God, “Why won’t you do things our way for a change?”
We expect God to love our plan even when we reject his. Have you rejected God’s plan and decided that your plan is better? God tells us to obey him. In the book of Job, Job questions God. God responds by stating, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2).
Just like Job, we take God’s plans and confuse them with our own words that have no knowledge. Where you there when God laid the earth’s foundation? No, yet why do we doubt God’s plan?
If we don’t like God’s rules or his plan we ask for an exception. Here are some examples: (more…)
Do you ever wonder if God cares about the people who don’t love him? While being a college student, I wondered this daily. I questioned, “Jesus, will my classmates ever know you?” I recently read through Psalm 62 and found encouragement, hope, and some answers.
The main point of the passage – we can never give up on others because God never gave up on us. (Tweet this!)
We are now 18 days into the new year! How are you doing with your goals? Maybe you feel like I do – stressed with deadlines, busy with to-do lists, and countless e-mails that need replies. Are you as overwhelmed as I am? Some days it is hard to believe my 2015 goals are even possible.
If you are already feeling defeated – you are not alone. Just because you are struggling does not mean you should give up. For some reason you decided to create these goals for yourself. Together, we need to turn to scripture to see what God says about setting goals and sticking to them. Together we can achieve our goals.
Here are 15 Bible verses about goals. (All passages are from the ESV Bible.)
“But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.” – 2 Chronicles 15:7. Don’t give up on your goals!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 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 the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2. We must always keep our eyes on Jesus. When we are struggling reaching our goals – focus on Jesus. When we are succeeding in reaching our goals – focus on Jesus.
“May he grant youyourheart’s desireand fulfill all your plans!” – Psalm 20:4.
“He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Mathew 17:20.
“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” – Luke 14:28. Make sure your goals are challenging, yet realistic. God can move mountains (See Mathew 17:20 above), but we still have a part to play.
“The counsel of the Lord stands forever,the plans of his heart to all generations.” – Psalm 33:11. Make God the center of your plans.
“Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” – John 6:27. When setting and sticking to goals, keep your eyes focused on your eternal rewards.
“Delight yourself in the Lord,and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord;trust in him, and he will act.” – Psalm 37:4-5.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – Philippians 4:8. Make your goals have each of these character traits.
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13.
“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” – Hebrews 10:35-36.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2. For each of your goals – ask yourself, “Is this goal good, pleasing and God’s will for my life?”
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,whose trust is the Lord.” – Jeremiah 17:7. Pray that you would begin to trust that God can reach your goals.
“The heart of man plans his way,but the Lord establishes his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9. You may have one plan, but God may have another. Don’t be afraid to change your goals if God leads you in a new direction.
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” – James 4:13-15. Friends, our lives are fleeting mist. Make sure your goals matter, because we have a limited time on this earth.
My hope and prayer is that these verses will provide encouragement to you this year as you keep pursuing your goals. Comment below with tips or encouragement that has helped you succeed in reaching goals. Feel free to share the photo below on Pinterest or social media. =]
Since starting college, I have lost a few really good friends because of my faith. Both of them told me we could not be friends because my beliefs did not match up with their beliefs. This is something that is incredibly hard to hear. Even though the Bible warns us that we will lose friends and people won’t like us, it is hard to have someone you love turn their back on you.
Here are 5 lessons I took away from both experiences and from the story of Joseph:
1) God’s plans are still perfect even though we might not understand them.
Early in the story of Joseph, his brothers desert him. Essentially, Joseph loses the only friends he knows. In that moment, Joseph had no idea how God would use the pain of being deserted for his glory. We may not understand why losing a friend is part of God’s plan, but we can put our trust in God and believe that good things will come out of the pain.
In Genesis 43, there was a severe famine in Canaan. Imagine how confused all the people were. How long will this last? Are we going to die? Why is God doing this? No one could see God’s big picture – this famine would reunite Jacob and his sons with Joseph. The brothers were going to be given food in plenty and taken care of for life, but in the moment they felt only pain and hunger. In the end, Joseph and his brothers understood why God had the famine – to reunite father and son and to give an opportunity for Joseph to show his brothers forgiveness.
2) No one can change God’s plan.
Here is Joseph’s response to his brothers: “…I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.” – Genesis 45:4-8
Joseph’s brothers tried to control the situation by selling Joseph to Egypt, but Joseph realized that God had sent him to Egypt for a reason. God used Joseph’s brothers desertion to save lives in Egypt.
3) God’s plan is hidden to unbelievers.
“We declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.” 1 Corinthians 2:7.
We don’t know if Joseph’s brothers were Christians or not, but their actions of selling their brother and lying to their father are not very Christ-like. Thus, God’s plan for Joseph remained hidden.
4) We have to continue to love them.
How easy would it have been for Joseph to hate his brothers? Instead, he choose to love them. Joseph blessed his brothers with gifts, food, and spared their lives. Think about the friends who have turned their back on you. We have to continue loving them.
When we are confronted with conflict, we usually respond by defending ourselves and our actions. What if we responded with the gospel? We should respond with grace, love, peace, and mercy. When my friend said goodbye, I wanted to defend myself. I practically listed all the ways I had been a good friend to her in the past. I wonder, would the situation have ended differently if I responded with the gospel? In a loving way, I should have apologized for hurting her. In a graceful way, I should have asked how I could be a better friend. In a peaceful way, I should have said I will not change my beliefs, but I don’t love you any less for your beliefs.
5) Always return to scripture.
As humans, we tend to get self-righteous. An amazing thing happened because of the situations with my friends – my faith grew stronger. Before I was confronted about my beliefs, I knew what I believed, but I did not know why. Confrontation forced me to turn to scripture to find the answers. Any time we are questioned, return back to scripture so you will understand why you believe what you believe.
God warns us that people will hate us. “And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” – Matthew 10:22. It hurts when people, especially people you love, hate you. God warns us that this will happen, and he commands us to endure.
Friend, I know how hard it is to lose a friend because of your beliefs. Remember that God has a perfect plan for you. He will use this situation for his glory. Surround yourself with a community of believers who will help you through this challenging time.
Christmas is quickly approaching. Think back on the year and all that Jesus has given us – life, friends, family, education, safety, protection, The Holy Spirit, freedom, forgiveness, mercy, grace, healing… I could go on and on forever. This year I am especially grateful that I have been blessed with the gift of learning and growing. As my undergrad experience comes to an end, I pondered on everything God taught me while I was in college. I entered into college as one Joy, and graduated a whole new Joy. All the glory to God!
Since God has given us countless gifts, what can we give him this Christmas?
How will we give him a gift that compares with his blessings that he freely gives us? It is soon Jesus’ birthday, but what can we give him that he hasn’t already given us?
Our lives? He created us. “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” – Job 33:4
Water? He gave us living water. “Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – John 4:10.
Love? He loved us first. “We love because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19.
Money? Everything is already God’s. “Peter answered, “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!” – Acts 8:20.
The only gift we can give Jesus is the unconditional sacrifice of praise.
No matter if you are in a valley of life today, stop what you are doing and tell God how much you love and adore him. No strings attached. God has given us everything. God sent his son Jesus for us, and this is the biggest gift we will ever receive.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” – Ephesisns 2:8.
This Christmas season, I want to praise God for being the BEST gift giver in the world.