Call to Me (Jeremiah 33:3)

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you did not know.” ~Jeremiah 33:3

I find it so comforting that we serve a God we can call on and He will answer us. God wants to help us and is ready to answer our prayers. God answers prayers because it is us acknowledging that only He is capable of handling our troubles perfectly. When we go to God in prayer, we give it all to Him instead of trying to do things ourselves. God is faithful to help us when we pray for His help.

Life is confusing and hard at times, but if we pray to God for help and wisdom, He will give it to us. He will give us guidance and help us in times of trouble. He will show us things we never thought possible. He will help us handle our problems and we will one day look back and say with amazement, “Wow God, how did you do that?” God will teach us so many great things through our circumstances, things we couldn’t have discovered on our own. We can be confident asking God for these things because Jesus said in Matthew 7:7:

“7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Of course, God isn’t going to tell us everything. I believe God doesn’t reveal everything to us because without knowledge, we can have faith in Him and be humble to follow Him. Remember that we must walk by faith and not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7) After all, knowledge is not a right. It’s a gift. We should be thankful when God gives it to us, but be faithful and patient when He doesn’t.

So pray to God for everything in your life, and He will show you great and mesmerizing things you would not have discovered on your own. He might show you these things before, during or after your trials, but have faith that God will teach you these great things.

The Final Bell Has Rung!

On May 23rd, I had my final day of academic classes at my high school. It was finally real- the curtain was closing on this scene and opening up to a new one. Graduation is now not so far off and neither is college or adulthood. A few tears were shed in AP Literature and AP US History, but still I was glad to be leaving, and I still am. I’m excited for my future, and no longer scared. I can’t wait for Bible college especially.

It’s crazy looking back at the 13 years I spent in public high school, because it truly never felt like it would end. The idea of not having to go to school is odd until it’s actually happening.

So I finished all my finals and now it is senior week and come Friday, I’ll have my diploma!

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.

 

5 Things I Learned From Being Dolly

unnamed (2)As some of you may know, I was recently in my school’s musical production of Annie Get Your Gun. In the show, I played the lead role of Dolly Tate, a middle-aged show woman who was a Frank Butler’s, a shooting champion in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, assistant.

As the musical was originally written in the 1940s and rewritten in the 1960s, there were a few racists themes (and not to mention atrocious harmonies!!!) throughout the show, pertaining only to Native Americans. These theme’s were carried out by none other than me, oddly enough.

So overall, my character was an old, racist hag who was hated by everybody. Hopefully needless to say, the character was very much not like me at all. However, from day one Dolly and I got along pretty well and apparently my acting job as a rotten and snotty woman was 100% believable. I had fun being Dolly, and it was amazing how quickly I could go from little, smiling lily to racist and crazy Dolly. Nonetheless, I loved Dolly and being this racist old hag taught me a lot about me and about life.

5. If You Feel Ridiculous, Don’t Stop. 

These are the leads of AGYG on our last dress rehearsal night.

These are the leads of AGYG on our last dress rehearsal night.

Both the stage and life are about having fun and giving it your all. When I first stepped on stage as a freshman, I was scared and timid and I hid in the ensemble. But I didn’t have as nearly as much fun as I should have. Dolly was a very over-the-hill and she flailed her arms a lot to get the attention, so as I was acting, giving it my all and not being scared of looking silly was important. And that proved to bring the audience a great performance and I had a lot of fun. So it is with life, giving everything I got is essential and not being scared to look a little silly let’s me do that.

4. Hard Work Pays Off

Some ensemble members during one of our late night dress rehearsals.

Some ensemble members during one of our late night dress rehearsals.

The musical took 3 months to put together, and although it sounds like a lot of time, it didn’t feel like enough. In the last month of rehearsals, we had to pack in extra hours and extra work. Two weeks before the show I was at the school till 8 PM rehearing, and during school I was painting the set during my study hall hours. This left me tired and worn out, however show weekend was well enough a reward! I was so happy that my friends and family came to the show and the feeling you get after you pull off an amazing scene is unlike any other. The chaos of tech week taught me that hard work really does pay off it you allow it.

3. The Show is a Team Effort 

Many people who are leads often forget how important each person on stage is. From the smallest middle schooler to the most annoying techie (my brother), each and every person is important to the show! When I was an ensemble member, I did not realize my importance because no one every made me feel like I was important to the show. This year, as a lead, I made sure not to exclude myself from the ensemble. The director also made sure to emphasize the

The cast during our bows

The cast during our bows

importance of the ensemble’s acting. The cast was amazing with this, I’ve never been part of such a fun and active cast, and the audience noticed. The group, in any environment is important, and it’s important to realize that.

2. Time Flies

My friend and fellow color guard member Sam and I, who I will be very sad to leave this year!

My friend and fellow color guard member Sam and I, who I will be very sad to leave this year!

So my school has the tradition of a senior speech the last night of the show to the rest of the cast as we get ready for the curtain to open. Needless to say, I was in tears. I couldn’t believe that it was my last year. The past four years were only possible to live through because of things like the musical. And this year with the cast was the best of all time. My last show was just another reminder of how high school is ending, and I’m excited for what’s to come, but I’m also sad that it’s all going to be over.

1. Dreams to Come True (As corny as it sounds) 

I remember being little and wishing I was a lead in a musical at my school. As a freshman, I thought it nearly impossible, but it actually happened! I feel that God has blessed me my senior year because all my little high school dreams are coming true: I am color guard captain, I

Me as Dolly in my favorite costume, my Act II gown.

Me as Dolly in my favorite costume, my Act II gown.

got a lead role in my musical, and I was just asked to sing the star-spangled banner this weekend! These little dreams from when I was a young girl are actually happening, and it’s crazy! Praise God for all these blessings 🙂

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.

Why Them? (Psalm 37:1-4, 7-9 NIV)

Last week was busy for me, with Friday being opening night of the musical I was in, but with God’s help I was able to find time with Him. I often read Psalms to de-stress and help me calm down after a long day. One of these Psalms was Psalm 37 of David, which I am going to share my thoughts on a portion of the chapter with you.

One of the things I like about Psalms is the fact that it’s poetry or lyrics that are organized into stanzas. Breaking the passage up helps me process it better, so I am going to share one stanza at a time.

Do not fret because of those who are evil

or be envious of those who do wrong;

for like the grass they will soon wither,

like green plants they will soon die away.

This stanza reminds me that sometimes life is unfair. There are plenty of people out there that are attaining success by the wrong means and are getting away with it. I know for me in high school it seems like a lot of my peers are having fun going wrong things, yet it doesn’t seem like they feel guilty at all. As Christians, we may be trying to be righteous for God but it looks like the “wicked” are reaping all the blessings. But this passage tells us to not focus on those people and remember that God will take care of them. It is not our job to judge but instead we need to stop being envious and stop worrying about it.

Trust in the LORD and do good;

dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Take delight in the LORD,

and he will give you the desires of your heart.

We need to trust God, even when it feels like we are not being blessed for our hard work. God promises us blessings for the good we do, so we need to trust Him and keep going. Remember, that God is keeping us away from hurt and danger with His law, like a parent who forbids their child to run in the road. It may feel like we are only suffering, but go to the Lord for joy! Be comforted knowing that God will have His way with both us and those who do wrong. When we keep trusting Him, no matter the situation around us, He will give us the desires of our hearts.

Be still before the LORD

and wait patiently for him;

do not fret when people succeed in their ways,

when they carry out their wicked schemes.

When our suffering continues and others still succeed, we need to remain calm and keeping trusting in Him. Hang on to His promises, and remember God will bring your blessing and their punishment when the time is right.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;

do not fret—it leads only to evil.

For those who are evil will be destroyed,

but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

This passage is not saying that it is okay to wish bad on our enemies. In fact, Proverbs 24:17 says the opposite. We are not to be angry with them, instead, just forget about it! Trusting God also means letting it go. God has it all under control, don’t waste time by letting it get to you. Remember the last verse above, which is God’s promise to us, and keep doing good having faith that God will being his blessings.

When God Is Silent (Job 6:24 NIV)

Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong. ~Job 6:24

Many people know the story of Job very well. Job was a great man of God who was living a blessed life when it all fell away from him in one day. After loosing his family, his livestock, most of his servants, then getting painfully sick, Job was broken and miserable. His friends all told him he must done something against God. But Job had done nothing wrong!

Job turned to God and spoke the verse above. He never cursed God through all of his suffering, but he didn’t understand why he was being “punished” as his friends said. Job was loyal to God even in his suffering;  he was asking Him to speak to him, and submitting to Him humbly. Yet his suffering continued and God was silent.

When people go through suffering and it brings them to God. But what happens when we turn to God and He doesn’t do anything? Job suffered for a long time after he submitted to God. Like Job, sometimes we may pray but it doesn’t feel like He’s coming through.

Whenever I’ve reached a time in my life where God is quiet, I discover He’s trying to teach me something. In Job’s case, I believe it’s possible that God let Job go through this to teach him humility. I think this because Job was a man of great wealth, which means he could have been a business man who needs to control his property and finances. He was a great man of God and God definitely blessed him before, but I think it’s still possible he enjoyed control. Maybe God let the devil mess around with Job’s life to show him that he’s not really in control at all.

God may let bad things happen to us to teach us important things we need to know. Whether its humility like Job, or grace like Peter, or anything else in our lives, God teaches us so we are prepared for what He has in store for us. God never lets bad things happen because he doesn’t care, but instead he cares enough to prepare us for what’s ahead and make us stronger.

Thankfully, Job did not suffer forever. God healed Job and blessed him twice as much as He did before. Likewise, we can have hope that God will come through because the Word says, “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Psalms 30:5). Remember, you don’t plan when the sunrise is. It may feel like the night goes on forever, but you can’t rush the sunrise. In fact, God controls the sunrise! God has perfect timing because He knows everything that is going on around us. We can’t judge when it’s time because we don’t know everything, only He can. And in time He will heal your brokenness and He will restore you like He did for Job. 

Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord

~Psalm 27:14

Be On Guard (Nehemiah 4:21)

So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out. ~Nehemiah 4:1

Nehemiah was a man with a vision: to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. He gathered a large group of men to come down with him from Persia to Israel to rebuild the lost city of God’s chosen people. However, Nehemiah soon found opposition and the men working for him had to defend the wall as they worked on it. Groups were sent to attack the city and try to kill Nehemiah. However, Nehemiah’s men soon adapted, half of them guarded the wall while the other half built it, and everyone had to guard the city at night.

This is a great image of how we need to live our lives: by doing our work for the Lord but being prepared for the attacks of the enemy. As Christians we are often are unprepared when obstacles come our way. One day we are growing in God and are doing great works for the Kingdom; the next we find ourselves fallen and off the path. But if we act like Nehemiah’s workers, working with one hand and fighting with the other, we can continue to do good works for God while defending ourselves.

The Bible tells us that each person has a specific purpose in God’s plan: “In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,” (Eph 1:11). No matter where you are in life, God has placed you there for a reason. Maybe he wants you to reach out to your friends who are struggling. Or maybe he wants you to share the gospel with your co-workers. Pray to God and ask Him to lead you towards this purpose he has for you. You’ll be amazed with the work God has in store for you!

Yet as we work we have to be prepared for the challenges we will face. 1 Cor 10:12 says that we need to be careful if we think we are standing right because we could fall if we don’t defend ourselves! As we work, two things can get in the way: our own human nature and the attacks from the enemy. Sometimes, we stop working or the work becomes hard when we get greedy or lazy. These are things that we as humans have in our sinful nature that we need Jesus to help us overcome. Other times, Satan comes to stop us from working for God and tries to hit us in our weak spots or where we don’t protect ourselves.

To protect ourselves as we work and grow in God, we need to develop the Armor of God (Eph 6:10-18). With the Armor on, we can fight against Satan with the different pieces of armor. When Satan sees us standing for God and fighting back, he will flee from us (James 4:7).

So pray to God to help you be on guard as you grow in Him and work for the Kingdom. Study the Armor of God and put it on, and remember to fight the enemy away when he comes!