Thursday, January 24, 2013

fear of separation

Hey everyone!!
I'm so sorry I haven't been here in awhile. A lot of things have happened  in the past week and a half. To name a few...
  • Been doing a lot of maid of honor duties for a couple of my best friends...yay!!
  • Got a part time job as a bridal consultant! (One of my dream jobs...I'm obsessed with weddings). I started last Friday...God is good! :)
  • Started a new class - "Perspectives: World Christian Movement" (I'll be talking about this more later!)
  • Been celebrating my birthday! (It was yesterday). I'm 23! Wohoo!

So I've been busy and exhausted!! However, I absolutely love my job, but my body isn't really loving it right now. It's definitely getting used to it, but's helping me gain strength! So goal number #1 of 2013 is now scratched off the onto goal #2. Have you reached any of your 2013 goals?
As a kid, I always had this fear of being separated from my parents especially when we were in crowded areas. The idea of being lost never felt good to me. So I was always sure to stay near by and pay attention to my surroundings so I wouldn't get separated from my parents. When you're a kid, it's easy to get lost because there are so many distractions and not to mention, you're little so it's hard to find your way. Have you ever struggled with the fear of separation?
Let's face it. It's easy to get separated from things. We don't like it when we're separated from our phone. We don't like it when we're separated from our car because it's in the shop. We don't like it when we're separated from our home. We don't like it when we're separated from our family. For whatever circumstance, we've been separated from something we love, however, there is one thing we will never be separated from...the love of Christ.
Romans 8:38-39 says, "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Bad things happen to us. We get separated from things we love, but one thing is for certain...the love of God will never be separated from us. His love has been nailed into us...into our can never be separated from us. Even when we mess up, His love never leaves us. No person, no thing, no event can separate us from the love of Christ. You know what my favorite part is though?
"Neither death, nor life...will be able to separate us from the love of God." I was driving home one day and this verse was read over the radio. I've heard it many, many times, but the Holy Spirit moved and hit my like a ton of bricks (in a good way!) Even when I die, I will never be separated from God's love. Even when I live, I will never be separated from God's love. Do you know what this means? You may have already realized this, but this was huge for me...God loved me before I was born. God loves me now. God loves me even when I pass away on this earth. He loves me from the beginning to the end. His love for me never stops. It lasts an eternity.
My friend, please know this,
God's love for you will never end.
Nothing can ever separate you from His love. Nothing. Rest in that truth.
The memory verse for the past 2 weeks  has been Matthew 5:16. I hope you've been cherishing it in your heart. Now, the memory verse for the next 2 weeks will be Romans 8:38-39 because I feel that this verse carries so much hope for us. I hope that you will join me in memorizing this amazing truth!
Today's scripture is Genesis 27-29. If you would like the reading plan, please email me!
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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Am I understanding this right?

Are there times when you read the Bible and you don't understand what it's saying? Or maybe you read the Bible and soak it in like a sponge and understand everything completely?

I'm going to be honest and say I definitely can relate to the first scenario.
The Bible uses a lot of words that we  hardly ever use. Also, the culture can be hard to understand because we definitely don't really live the way people did in biblical times. We have our iPhones and microwaves and they had nothing like it. So I think it goes without saying that the Bible isn't the easiest book to understand. However, since this is the most important book on the planet, we should strive our best to understand it as much as possible.

We can't expect to sit down and read a passage in the Bible once and know exactly what it means. It's not that simple. We must take the time to really study God's word so that we can find the truth in it. A lot of times we like to take the things we read at face value, but with the Bible we must be able to read in between the lines in order to find the truth. 

I think God made it this way not by accident, but on purpose so that we would be motivated to draw closer to Him. To sacrifice our time to read His word with an open heart can make our faith and understanding of who God is grow tremendously. Are you motivated to really delve into God's word to find His truth?

If you are, there are a few tips that will really help you understand the Bible instead of just simply reading it. Lately, it's been on my heart to share these tips because I realize that so many people miss out on God's truth due to the fact that they aren't sure where to begin in studying His word.

  1. Remove ALL distractions...this includes TV, music (unless music helps you concentrate), etc. If you have kids, maybe spend time in the Word while they are sleeping or at a friend's.
  2. Have a special time/spot when/where you read your Bible with a notepad and pencil. Mine is in the morning right when I get up, on the couch (so I don't fall asleep AND with the TV turned off) with a cup of coffee. Yum.
  3. Before you read your Bible, begin with an open heart. Say a prayer asking God to reveal His truth to you. Ask for motivation and excitement to learn more. 
  4. Now you can start! Decide on what you are going to read whether it be just a passage, chapter or full book. Don't get carried away though- you may want to start small so you can spend more time understanding completely what you read. 
  5. Find out the audience and author of the book. For instance, the apostle Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to the church of Corinth. You can even try to find out the purpose of the book.  This gives you an idea of what these people may be facing and how they can relate to you. This is so important!!
  6. Now the fun part - read! Don't rush. Take your time. Read at least 3 times, but the more the better ;) If you are only reading a passage or chapter, make sure you take the chance to read the chapter before and after. This gives you an idea of what the author is talking about and keeps you from "cherry picking". You can pick a verse out and read it without any context clues and it will look a whole lot different that if you read it in context. The Bible isn't just verses put together randomly, each verse works together in an order that is important.
  7. When you come to a word you don't understand, look it up in a dictionary or concordance or better yet, look it up in the Hebrew or Greek language. These were the languages that the Bible was first written in. This is huge because words have different meanings than we think. For example, in a lot of places in the Bible the word "sick" refers to "sin" or "love" can be translated to a brotherly love or romantic love. Check out for the Hebrew & Greek meanings - it's awesome!!!
  8. Use cross references. Some study Bibles give you other verses that may give you more information about what you are reading. Also, don't be afraid to use different translations. I use NASB, NIV, and the Message
  9. Use the internet or other books to find commentaries and cultural facts (think - who, what, when, where, how, why), but be careful not to believe what the author believes. Keep it in mind and form your own beliefs based on your own studies. Also, always keep in mind the Bible as a whole. Figure out if something is literal or figurative. 
  10. Write down any questions you may have for your mentor or pastor. Feel free to make notes in your Bible. Highlight, underline, write...whatever you prefer! Also, write down what you feel like God is teaching you through His word. End your time with prayer, asking God for you to live out His word and continue to learn more about Him.
These are just some tips that help me. Study His word, don't just read. We can get in a lot of trouble when we read the Bible without any attention to author, purpose, culture and etc. Don't miss out on the truth! 

If you are reading along in the year-long-reading-plan, here is the schedule for the week:
Yesterday - Rev 20-22
Today - Gen 1-3
Wednesday - Gen 4-7
Thursday - Gen 8-11
Friday - Gen 12-15
Saturday - Gen 16-18

Don't forget our verse...
Matthew 5:16 - "Let your light shine before men so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven." 

Do you have any Bible study methods you like to use? 
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Sunday, January 13, 2013

End Times

So today was the first day of the 10 week series about the End Times at church.
It was mainly a foundation of what we will be learning in the following next 9 weeks. I'm excited about the series since we are studying the book of Revelation in the year long reading plan. Many people debate on whether or not, the book of Revelation is literal or figurative. Another common debate is when exactly is Jesus coming back? Not only does the book of Revelation tell us about the end times, but many other books in the Old testament like the book of Daniel and in the New Testament such as 1 John.  
I figured I'd share a few points with you...
  • Because my hope is in Christ, I can be confident in the future instead of fearful.
If we listen to the media, it can be pretty easy to become fearful of what is to come, but we need to remember that God says He will never leave us. We also need to remember that He knows what is best.
  • We don't need Mayan calendars, all we need to know is in God's Word.
  • We may be right about the facts of the end times, but we may be wrong about the timeline. It's in God's timing, not ours. So we are wasting our time worrying about the future.
1 John 2:28 says, " Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming."
Don't worry about the future, be confident about the future!
Don't forget our memory verse!
Matthew 5:16 - Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2013's memory verse #1

Some friends and I have started our memory verse accountability group with a new system. We ended up not doing as well as we had planned at the end of 2012, so we're changing it up a bit this year.
 Here's the plan:
The first 2 weeks of the month we will memorize one verse as a group starting on Sundays with reminders through the week, especially on Wednesdays.
The last 2 weeks of the month, we will memorize individual verses that we feel will help us through whatever we are going through at the time.
Our first verse of 2013 is...
Matthew 5:16 (NASB) - Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Feel free to join us or start your own group and let your light shine!
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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sometimes I just gotta shut my mouth & listen

I don't know about you, but I like to talk. I like to listen too, don't get me wrong. In fact, a lot of people tell me that I'm a good listener.
I've always enjoyed being a shoulder to lean on and a listening ear for my friends.
Sometimes it's just best to listen, rather than speaking.
Sometimes, however, I forget that truth, more so when it comes to my conversations with God.
I talk to God a lot.  I talk to Him in the morning when I wake up. I talk to Him when I'm driving. I talk to Him when I'm getting ready for the day. I talk to Him when I'm at church. I talk to Him at night time when I'm in bed.
So it's clear that I don't have a problem with talking. That's not a bad thing, BUT there's something that I don't do as much...listen.
Instead of listening, I tell Him my concerns, requests, thankfulness, praise, apologies. You name it- I tell Him. In fact, it reminds me of the different prayers I taught the campers while I was a Day Camp Director.
Prayer of adoration - praising God for who He is
Prayer of thankfulness - thanking God for all that He has done for you
Prayer of confession - telling God sorry for all the mistakes you've made
Prayer of supplication - asking God for help
All of these prayers are great and important, but part of being in conversation with God is to listen. It's not a one way conversation, because, well, it wouldn't be a conversation. God wants to talk to me, just like I want to talk to Him.
In the year long reading plan, today we started the book of Revelation. There is definitely some repetition especially at the end of each letter to the churches... for instance, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Rev. 3:22). Although this is talking about the churches listening to what God has to say to them, it also tells us that we need to listen too. When I read this, I got this sense that God was telling me, "I'm definitely glad that you talk to me, but I want you to hear me. I have things to tell you, but you're talking too much to hear me." Needless to say, I'm going to pay attention to that.
Sometimes we just have to stop rambling on and on to God about our dreams and desires and listen to what He has to say. I think we can get ourselves in a lot of trouble when we don't wait on God to figure out what He is calling us to do. It may not be an audible voice, it may be a sense of peace or a gut feeling. Whatever it is, God wants to talk to you. You have to stop first though (which I know can be hard). Remove yourself from distractions because the devil definitely likes to do whatever it takes to distract us. Listen with an open heart and mind.
Sometimes I just gotta shut my mouth and listen.
Do you struggle with this too?
Today's scripture for the read-your-Bible-in-a-year plan is Revelation 1-3.
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Hey there everyone!
I can't believe it, but I've been nominated for the Liebster blog award again!! Shelley from Piggy In Polka Dots Cupcakes & Designs nominated sweet!! You should definitely go check out if you like cupcakes (who doesn't?!), sweets, recipes & awesome party ideas!
Thanks to her questions, you'll be able to get to know me a little bit more! (I'll try my best to make it interesting ;)

1. What is your favorite holiday?
Christmas, of course!!! It's always been my favorite...and it always will be! I just love the combination of Christmas music, lights, hot chocolate, time with family, football, Christmas eve candlelight church services and of course, celebrating Jesus' birthday. I think that exceeds the qualifications of "favorite holiday".

2. What is your favorite color?
RED! I loveeeee red. It's bold...passionate...and pretty. I especially like it with black and white. If I was a crayon, I would be doubt! What about you? What crayon would you be?
3. What is your favorite cupcake flavor?
Hmmm well considering, I'm allergic to gluten, the flavor would HAVE to be gluten free and considering I'm a only makes sense that it would be gluten free chocolate. You can never go wrong with chocolate, right? At least that's my motto. lol.
4. What was your best birthday?
Probably my 21st. It was the month of my birthday (January...23rd to be exact ;) and I was in a kinda crabby mood, because we weren't really doing anything for my I thought. A few of my friends and I were just going to go out to eat and I have no clue what was wrong with me, but I just was NOT excited. I was being silly. Anywayyy, my friends and I leave to go to the restaurant, I'm walking in and I see red & black balloons in a corner (see I told you I love red and black!). Not only do I see balloons, but I see about 12 of my closest friends there, too! It was my first surprise party & I was ecstatic! My 20th birthday was pretty awesome too- we did a Minute to Win It theme so its definitely runner up for my best birthday! A shout out to all my besties for throwing me an awesome surprise party and a shout out to my sister for hosting the Minute to Win It party- ya'll rock!
5. What is the nicest thing someone did for you in 2012?
Oooo that's tough, however, I would have to say all of the people including strangers who bought t-shirts in support of Lyme Disease awareness and my treatment! I was so blown away from all the generosity, especially from people I didn't even know. God definitely provided! Check out my post about this huge blessing.
6. What is your dream job?

I can't really say anything dream job is God's calling for me (which I'm still not sure of). I'm still trying to figure out what He wants me to do with my life. Once I figure it out, I will be so excited to know that I'm doing what God has called me to do because He know's what is best for me!

7. What was your first job?
My first job was a sales associate at the clothing store, EXPRESS. I loved it! I got a really good discount and it was a lot of fun helping people shop!
8. What is your favorite college football team?
University of Houston - it's a family thing! Go Coogs!
9. What is your favorite season?
Usually I would say spring, but as I've gotten older, autumn has become my favorite. I love the smell (ya I know...kinda weird) and of course the weather!
10. What is your favorite childhood memory?
This is super hard because my memory is really bad lol. The only thing that I can think of right now is when I was little I would spend the night at my grandma's and we would sing "The 12 Days of Christmas" really loud over and over. Not only at Christmas time either! I think we drove my grandad nuts haha. My favorite part was when my grandma would sing "5 golden ringggggssss"....I would always laugh my head off because she would sing it so funny.
11. What is your favorite thing to do with your kiddos (if you have kiddos)? If you don't, what do you want to name your kiddos?
I don't have any kiddos right now and that's okay with me...especially since I'm not married and I'm still pretty young. I've known what I wanted to name kids since I was kid (don't judge ;) 2 girls- Emma Ann & Anna Elizabeth. 2 boys- Micah & Noah (don't know middle names...I figured I'd let my future hubby have some say in that  ;)
So now that you know a little bit more about me, it's time for me to nominate people for the Liebster blog! You have to check these blogs out...they're awesome!

Dalayna @ Pointing Up

Here are my questions for you lovely ladies:

1. If you could be an animal, what would you be and why?
2. What was your first job?
3. What is your favorite childhood memory?
4. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
5. What is your dream car?
6. What is the best stress reliever for you?
7. What is the bravest thing you've done?
8. What is your best quality?
9. Are you a spontaneous person or a schedule person?
10. If you could be on a TV show, what TV show would it be?

Thanks ladies for sharing your gift of writing! Keep it up!
Stay tuned for my following's going to be about something you may struggle with, because I know I do!
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Friday, January 4, 2013

at your service

Today I was reading my devotional book for the year (My Utmost for His Highest) and I had to share it with you.
When you think of a king what do you think of?
Well, I picture a throne, a man with a crown and many people waiting on him hand and foot. I picture a man that people bow down to. I picture a man who rules the land.  
As Christians, we serve a King...Jesus Christ. He is the one and only true King. He's not like the earthly kings, that's for sure. He performed miracles. He was crucified. He was resurrected. He lives forever. No king can compare. Another thing that separates Christ the King from all the rest is His character.
Earthly kings expect people to serve them. They expect to have their feet rubbed. They expect to have the finest of jewels. They expect all of their desires to be given to them without moving a finger. Jesus didn't work that way. Let me tell you why...
Matthew 20:28 says, "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve." Sit with that for a bit.
Jesus Christ didn't come expecting to be served, but came expecting to serve others.
That's huge, if you ask me. No king has ever lowered himself to serve others, but our King...the one, true King has.
Jesus wants to serve us. He is the King of kindness, humility, and love (along with many other things...check out my In Him We Find series). Because He shows us what a servant's heart looks like, we should in turn serve others. It is when we serve others that God's heart of service is shared.
We should never think we are too good to serve others. We should never place ourselves higher than others, with our nose in the air, because the only person who has a right to do that, never did. He lowered himself in order to serve, instead of expecting to be served.
Oswald Chambers writes, "Once we realize that Jesus has served us even to the depths of our meagerness, our selfishness, and our sin, nothing we encounter from others will be able to exhaust our determination to serve others for His sake."
Because He has served us, we should serve others for the sake of serving Him.
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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year challenge

Goodbye 2012 ~ Hello 2013!
I can't believe it's already been a year. It really has flown by. The first 8 or so months of 2012 were really hard because of my treatment, but it's been looking up the past few months. God definitely used 2012 to teach me a lot. He is still working on me for sure, but it has been really cool to see how He has used everything including Lyme Disease to teach me a few things. Although it has been an interesting, challenging year, I'm excited for 2013.
2012 ended with an awesome Murder Mystery New Year's Eve party with a high school homecoming dance theme, in which I was the Student Council Secretary also known as Clerical Katie. I got to dress up in a formal dress with a corsage and release my inner actress. Then shortly after the clock struck Midnight, I told one of my best friend's, "This is gonna by MY year...I can already feel it" and then I choked on my drink. Hmmm...I hope that's not an omen haha.
I almost said yesterday that 2013 is going to be a year to remember, but then I realized that 2012 is a year to remember too. In fact, every year is a year to remember, right? We may look back on our year and wish it had never happened, but God doesn't let a year go wasted. Yes, this year has not been the easiest. I've felt anger, denial, pain, confusion, exhaustion, doubt, but I know God didn't leave me during that time. He was there and had a plan the whole time. Maybe you've had a similar year. You're relieved that the year is over and hope that your suffering doesn't continue in 2013.
Today, I just finished a book called, "Tortured for Christ." It is an autobiography of Richard Wurmbrand explaining his life as an evangelical minister in communistic Romania during 1945-1964. He faced many years of suffering, as well as many Christians. He was tortured in prison for 14 years because of sharing the love of God with others. After brutal beatings and multiple imprisonments, Wurmbrand was granted amnesty. It is an absolute miracle that he survived and it made my suffering look nonexistent. The book introduced me to the many lives that were affected by the Underground Church and showed me the true joy that suffering can produce. Crazy to think that suffering can produce joy, huh? That just proves how amazing God is.
The book included letters from a nineteen year old girl who was brainwashed by the atheistic Communistic goverment but later converted because of the boldness of a Christ follower who shared the gospel with her. However, three months after this young girl's conversion, she was imprisoned because of her proclamation of her love for Christ.
She writes explaining her time in prison and the beatings and starvation in which she endured, but followed with this...
"My heart praises and thanks God that, through you, He showed me the way to salvation. Now, being on this way , my life has a purpose and I know where to go and for whom I suffer. I feel the desire to tell and witness to everybody about the great joy of salvation that I have in my heart. Who can separate us from the love of God in Christ? Nobody and nothing. Neither in prison nor suffering. The sufferings that God sends us only strengthen us more and more in the faith in Him. My heart is so full that the grace of God overflows. At work, they curse and punish me, giving me extra work because I cannot be silent. I must tell everyone what the Lord has done for me. He has made me a new being, a new creation, of me who has on the way of perdition. Can I be silent after this? No, never! As long as my lips can speak, I will witness to every one about His great love."
Her next and last letter of her life (while still in prison) ended with this...
"Since the Lord revealed to me the deep mystery of His holy love, I consider myself to be the happiest in the world. The persecutions that I have to endure I consider to as a special grace. I am glad that the Lord gave me from the first days of my faith the great happiness to suffer for Him. Pray for me that I may remain faithful to the Lord to the end."
Just like apostle Paul suffered for Christ, there are still people suffering just like he did. They aren't suffering with anger towards God, but with joy.
James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trails, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
 Amazing and convicting.
Yesterday I saw something Ben Stein wrote in regards to how America has taken God out of the equation. He wrote, "Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell.
Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.

Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.

Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us."

I think he's right. It just doesn't make sense to me that here in America we are free to share our faith with others, but often we don't in fear of not being accepted. However, on the other side of the world, people are sharing their faith openly with others despite it being illegal. They are thrown into prison, beaten and persecuted, yet they still share the gospel with joy, while we don't speak up even though we have the luxury and freedom to do so without the fear of imprisonment.
Pretty sad, if you ask me.
I'm not sure if you're into making New Year's resolutions, but one of the many  goals I have for 2013 is to proudly speak of my faith with others.
Will you share that goal with me? Will you embrace the fact that suffering and difficulties can produce joy if you trust in God's plan for you? Will you realize that this world needs you to share God's love?
How are you going to share God's love with others this year? What are ways to overcome fear and replace it with boldness?
Happy New Year, friends!
Today's scripture reading for read-your-Bible-in-a-year plan is the book of James.
Thursday-book of 1 Peter
Friday-book of 2 Peter
Saturday-book of 1 John
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