An Important Reminder to All Servants of God

ReminderSomething that has been on my heart during my internship is the difference between serving people and serving God. I feel like it is all too common for people who are working in ministry to get wrapped up in the “steps” of the job and forgetting their real calling.

While working in ministry, it can be really easy to start making the right moves to serve people, to get the right reaction from people, and to get wrapped up in what people want from you. This is often out of good intentions, but it is not what a minister is called to do.

A minister of God is support to serve God. (And every Christian is a minister of God- 2 Cor 5:20). To listen to God what to do. To be guided by the Spirit on the right steps. We can not forget this. We can not do what people want us to do. We need to do what God wants us to do.

What are your thoughts on this topic? What helps you remember to serve God and not people? Comment below and we can discuss!

~Lillian ❤

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Bible Verses To Bring You Joy

bringjoy

Philippians 4:4 tells us to “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” But it can be hard to rejoice when life get’s hard. Thankfully God gave us His Word to help us through every day, good or bad. So here are some Bible verses that help lift me up when I am down, and I pray they do the same for you:

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

~James 1:12

If you are going through a hard time in life, remember that you will be blessed. Why? Because God has promised you blessing, and a crown of life, for your suffering! Have joy knowing that this suffering is not all for nothing, and will be worth it.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

~Romans 12:12

Have joy in this time, because you have hope because of Jesus! Be patient in this hard time and keep praying as often as possible, and you will be filled with the Joy of the Lord. Accept that God is up to something great and accept this Joy and your problem won’t seem so big anymore. This is not to say you will feel happy 24/7, but it is having faith that God will come through.

“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”

-John 16:22

When we have Christ, we have a source of joy and peace that no one can take away. No matter what, we can never be separated from God’s love (Romans 8:39). Jesus said this to his disciples just before he died. When he was crucified, the disciples didn’t know what to do with themselves. But when he was raised, they had a joy that continued through the hardships (Acts 5:41). This Joy of the Lord is available to us too through the Resurrection. Remember the Cross, and the future God has for you!

I pray these verses give you joy and hope and bring you to God in the good times and bad.

What Bible verse brings you joy? Leave it in the comments below!

God bless and have a great summer!

~ Lillian ❤

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Tips For a More Exciting Personal Time with Jesus

exciting personal timeI once heard it said that our personal time with God should be the most exciting thing in our lives. That can be hard to believe! How  can being cook-ed up in a room with an invisible God be anything close to thrilling?

I’ve been exploring this idea and wanting to add something special to my time with God. When you really think about it, our personal time with God is often taken for granted. We are talking to the Creator of all things, who incredibly loves us more than we could ever deserve, and He has the power to shape us into people we never thought we could be, and He can lead us to do more than we could ever imagine. Why is that not so exciting?

I won’t say my personal time is the most breathtaking part of my day. But these tips have helped me have a more exciting time with Jesus.

1. Invest more in worship.

Sometimes, we can think just reading our Bibles and saying a quick prayer is enough for a devotional. But when the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, the first thing He did was worship God! And what is usually the first thing we do in church? Worship! Add worship to your daily time with God. Play some music. Move around if that’s your nature. Shout praises to God! Thank Him for everything He is and everything He has done. Don’t just ask Him to teach you, praise him!

2. Invest more in listening.

We often get so caught up in prayer and asking for answers when we forget to stop talking and listen! It can be hard, and it feels quite strange to sit in silence waiting. But God rewards us when we wait on Him, and he answers us every time! We need to be like Elijah, and listen for that still small voice. Waiting on the Lord allows Him to speak and move, giving us answers, peace, comfort, and love. We need to be still in listen. 

3. Invest more in application.

One of Jesus’ most frequent teachings is not only listening but doing what God’s Word says. Jesus said in Luke 11:28:

“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Take some time after each devotional and write down what God is teaching you. Put it somewhere you can see it, and review it at the end of each day for a week to keep yourself accountable of doing the Word of God. And one day, you will see your old notes and praise God for helping you grow!

Doing these three things have helped me experience God more. I pray that these have helped you!

What are your tips for a more exciting time with Jesus? What do you do in your personal time?

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Being Busy but Wanting to Go Deeper with God- How I Do It.

going deeperI’ve been on a journey of getting more serious in my time with God. I needed to increase my personal relationship with Christ. I’ve been very successful in my journey and my life has been blessed in my growth. My life has improved in every area thanks to God’s blessing and guidance.

My journey started off with finding the little times in my busy day to stop and focus on God. It didn’t matter if it was 5 minutes or 30, the most important thing was getting some prayer and listening in. It was a great start. But eventually I wanted more. More prayer. More listening. More scripture. More connection.

Sadly, I can’t spend hours in God’s presence like I would like to. God has blessed me with responsibilities, so it’s hard to see how I can find more time for God without being a good steward of God’s gifts. So I sat down and asked myself: What do I want more of? It came down to these three things:

With this in mind, I made a simple system of my day to help me get more of these three things.

More connection: 

First, I wanted to be more personal. I didn’t want to just read devotionals, I wanted to give God time to work in me. So I decided that while I would keep doing one inspirational devotional a day, I would also do part of my own personal bible study a day. This is me working chapter by chapter through a book of the Bible. I also would do a separate topical study a day too (for example: patience, prayer, joy, etc).

This may sound like a lot, but here’s the thing: I don’t have to set a specific amount of time to do this. I like to not set up so many rules that, when I break, would discourage me. Instead, I give more attention to what I feel I need that day. As long as I get some of it in, I’ve done what is important.

More prayer: 

Every time I start a devotional, I pray before hand. But this was becoming just a step to get over. So instead, I set certain times of the day to pray. First, I pray first thing in the morning and right before I go to bed. Then, I added time after lunch to address prayer requests for my friends and I. I also try to have a “prayer and listening” time where I stop and listen for God’s voice.

More dependence:

Doing all these things at different times of my day helps me focus on God through out my day and helps me depend on him to get through the tough times. And that is what all of this is about- learning to be more like Christ and depend on him every single day.

How do you grow in your devotional life? Tell me what you do in the comments!

God bless!

Lillian ❤

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Recent Blessings, Lessons, and Opportunities.

beachHello, dear reader. I apologize for not posting on my blog in such a long time. There is no excuse, but I wanted to update you on recent things in my journey. The end of my first year at Bible college is approaching, and I can not believe how much time has passed. But most of all, I can’t believe the amount of growth in God that has occurred in my life. .

As you know from the news and my post titled Snowmaggendon 2015, the semester started off rocky. Despite this, the semester has gone very well. I had a lot more time on my hands going from taking 7 classes last semester to taking 4 this semester. The overachiever in me wanted to take more classes, but God held me back from that, telling me this would be a season of rest and growth. And I am so glad I listened to him! I have learned to forgive long held grudges, to believe in God’s plan in my despite where I have come from, I have learned to love the way God created me and see the beauty He has given me, and I have been delivered from the spirit of anxiety. (I will post on these at a later time.)

However, spiritual growth is not the only blessing I have received this semester. God has been teaching me to trust Him with providing for my needs, from small to large. It started off with quarters needed for laundry- whenever I ran out I started finding them everywhere. Whenever I ran out of a toiletry, a friend would randomly bless me with what I was needing. I have starting giving my needs to God, refusing to buy what I needed and let God provide. God hasn’t failed with it yet.

Then God provided for me greatly as well, and this is where opportunity has arrived. The US Missions of the Assemblies of God was offering internships across the country here on campus, and I felt the Holy Spirit guiding me to apply. I did and I was accepted, and I will be working my dream job this summer. I will be interning in Michigan with Youth Alive, a program which teaches teens to be missionaries in their public middle/high schools. I will teaching teens to evangelize to their friends and peer at different summer camps. All these things have been dreams of mine! Not only that, but in exchange for my work this summer, I will be receiving a grant of half my tuition for next semester. And I am blown away by what God is doing. He is so good!

This summer I will be keeping you up to date on the work I will be doing and all the things God will be showing me. I hope you enjoy these posts and I am looking forward to showing you my adventure even further! And please pray for my travel and what I will be doing this summer!

God bless!

Lillian ❤

Renew My Strength (Isaiah 40:31)

but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

~Isaiah 40:31

As I was looking through verses for this blog, I came across this common passage and it hit me like a bag of bricks. As many teenagers, I have been struggling with strength my entire Senior year. I had to search the strength to keep going, and to continue with my best effort.
Before this year, I saw Seniorites as a joke, but I have found it is a real problem. After 13 years of the public school system, students slowly begin to break down, like an old car. Despite this, I also know it is not an excuse. My Senior year was an internal battle between wanting to go out with a bang and not wanting to care anymore. This is why I struggled to find strength to keep going and finish high school strong. 
As my high school years come to an end, I now look back and remember the struggle of high school without God. My busy life got in the way of my relationship God on more occasions than I like to admit. Six AM Monday mornings to practices and rehearsals to late nights of homework is hard (however, I know life will never get easier). But the struggle I have gone through has taught me this for sure: No amount of coffee can compare to God’s gift of strength. 
It sounds silly, but it’s true! There is no earthly thing; coffee, drugs, motivational quotes, naps, or friends; that can compare to God renewing of my strength. Nothing can keep me happier and more productive than an active walk with Him. When I wonder from God, I can feel myself getting slower, less motivated, and miserable. God’s presence is like a drug, I crave it desperately like David did:

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

(Psalm 63:1)

We all need God every day and every minute. He is the Vine, and we are His branches and without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). We must keep our hope in Him, and He will renew our strength. With God, we will not grow weary. He will give us strength and motivate us, and keep us going. All we have to do is have hope in Him, and that hope will motivate us to keep going. 

Don’t Play With Fire~A Blog on Teen Dating (Song of Songs 3:5)

I wrote this blog post with young teen girls in mind, but anyone no matter age or gender is welcome to read it. Bringing teen girls to Christ is my calling into ministry which is what has made this blog post so personal to me, along with my story and my experiences. 

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the doves of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

Song of Songs is one of my favorite books in the Bible. It is a symbolic story of love and companionship filled with sweet words and wise advice. In this verse, King Solomon’s new wife tells the women of Jerusalem to wait for love until the time is right. But what does that mean?

First of all, I want to say that I write this blog not recommending a specific age or time but I write about the effort put into finding love. In almost every magazine for the ages of 10 and up, you will find articles such as How To Get Him To Like You and How to Get a Boyfriend. Girls are told that they can flirt their way into the boy’s heart. I remember trying to do this in middle school and my early years of high school. However, the verse above advises us not to do this.

Why not try to find a boyfriend? Often, it becomes a waste. You try to hard to get this boy to like you and if he says no, you get hurt. If he says yes, the relationship will not be a good one. A forced relationship often means the two are not right for each other, and the relationship can be for selfish reasons. Wanting a boyfriend because he’s cute, or you are lonely, or you want to have fun is not a good reason to start a relationship. Also, when you enter a relationship you give your heart to them, then when you give your heart to so many boys until “the one” comes, you will not be able to give a full and healthy heart to him. I know not having a boyfriend when you are surrounded by today’s media and your own friends who have relationships is very hard, but the pain of waiting is worth it. Imagine how happy your future husband will be when he learns that he’s the only one to have the privilege of loving you. Imagine that handsome prince you grew up hearing about- he’s that special to you and deserves your whole heart.

Girls try to hard to get a boy to like them, when really the best way to find love is to not look for it at all. A good example of this is the story of Ruth, who focused on God until He sent the man of her dreams to her.  If you want a wonderful relationship full of love and happiness that leads to a marriage one day, stop looking for one. Focus on your relationship with Jesus, be happy as a single woman, and when the time is right, God will send you your man and everything will fall into place. No relationship is perfect, but the relationship that was patiently waited for will be blessed.

Making It Beautiful (Ecclesiastes 3:10-11 NIV)

10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes is another book by the wise king Solomon in which he examines what he has learned over his life. Solomon is known as the wisest man ever and towards the end of his life he tries to analyze big questions like why bad things happen to good people. The scripture above is one of many wise conclusions he comes to.

The first thing Solomon states in the passage is that life is hard. The people of earth deal with a lot in their lives, and he addresses God as the origin for many burdens of life. This is often true. However, a lot of trouble in this world and problems in our lives come from the enemy or even our own mistakes. Still, it is undeniable that some struggles in our lives happen because God lets them happen, but why?

Next, king Solomon instantly shifts to explaining that God makes everything “beautiful” in His own timing. Life is hard and it may seem like people are drowning in trouble, however we may not be able to see it, but our situation will turn out for our good because of God. The Bible says in Romans 8:28 that “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

God often uses bad situations or seasons of our lives to teach us something, make us stronger, and for many other reasons, even ones we can’t understand and won’t know until we stand before Him. One example from my own life is the suffering I went through in middle school when I was bullied. I was harassed and abused by my peers through out middle school and it created me into an angry, depressed monster. However, this event brought me to Jesus and I found myself in Him. This awful season of my life made me who I am and brought me to Christ. This shows that even the darkest days can bring light into my life later on, but only by the power of God.

We can have faith in this because God “set eternity” in our hearts. This means that everyone, no matter who they are, have a feeling or belief in eternity in their hearts. So, with this internal belief in us, we can use that to believe that God has a plan and He will succeed because we can feel it. We can know that God will come through and bring good out of the bad in our lives.

As Solomon finishes, I finish saying that no one can understand the full grasp of God’s plan. Why is this? It’s simple: we are not God. We can not see everything that was and is and is to come. We can understand the story of every person we meet. We often can’t even understand ourselves fully, but God can. God sees and knows anything and everything, and He’s also in control of all. So have faith in God’s plan for you, even when you don’t understand it, and be comforted that the perfect God that can do no wrong has in all under control.

 

Get Wisdom (Proverbs 4:5-7)

5 Get wisdom, get understanding;
    do not forget my words or turn away from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
    love her, and she will watch over you.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
    Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

~Prov 4:5-7 NIV

The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about wisdom, and rightfully so seeing it was written by the wisest man in history, King Solomon. The first eye-opening thing I notice about the passage above is that Solomon writes to “get wisdom” instead of “be wise”. To me, this shows that wisdom is something you attain and earn, not something you are born with. Being unwise is not part of who someone is, no matter how often they choose to make unwise decisions. It is up to each of us to develop wisdom.

Another distinction Solomon shares with us is that wisdom is not knowledge or how smart you are; wisdom is “understanding” or “good judgement” (as the NLT translation puts it) and is making good decisions.

So besides understanding, what is wisdom? Well James 3:17 describes it like this:

But the wisdom that comes from Heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Wisdom is something from Heaven, not from anything worldly or made by man. Wisdom is pure and peaceful with others; it is also considerate of other people but also willing to be humble and submit to correction. Being wise means being full of mercy and carrying out good for the Lord. Wisdom is unbiased and sincere in its view.

Where can we get this amazing wisdom? First, we can go to the Word of God. David says in Psalms that God’s Word “is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” This means that the Bible will guide us and light the path ahead for us. Also, the Bible is the Word of God so it will always give us holy wisdom that will not fail us. 

We can also seek wisdom by praying to God for it. James 1:5 says:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

If we ask God for wisdom, just like Solomon did, God will gift us with wisdom through the Holy Spirit that is inside you (1 Corinthians 12:8). Solomon was given one wish from God and he wished for wisdom, and God made him the wisest man on earth. God can give us wisdom as well, as long as we pray for it and seek it.

I close with this thought: why is wisdom so important? Well, Verse 6 above states that wisdom will protect us. I take that to mean that being wise will keep us from making decisions we will later on regret. But also Proverbs 3:13-18 says that wisdom is much more valuable than anything on this earth. So go and ask God for wisdom, and see how you and your life will change.