To be In Awe of God

Psalm 111:2-3

“How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails.”

I am beginning to realize it’s more about God and less about me. We tend to view the market place as no place to spread the love of Jesus because of fear, rejection or judgment. All the fear can be taken away by the One where fear can not stand. When we delight in the Lord, we lose sight of ourselves and our focus is more on Jesus. Our opinion of ourselves is not based on what others say, but on how God sees our souls. Culture’s viewpoint of the market place is where we put our work on display, our ideas, our accomplishments and we slowly lose sight of what truly matters. Soon God is squeezed out of our work environment where he should’ve been front and center. This can become true in any industry, not just the marketplace, but we must fight back. In a world that is focused on uplifting ourselves, we must die to ourselves and take up the cross.
In Psalm 111:2-3 the whole verse is centered around the magnificent glory of God. “How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails.” This is a Psalm of praise, of glory and of admiration. When we fully begin to delight in the ways of the Lord the only logical reaction is to be in awe of His great majesty. We begin to fall in love with the one who first loved us. Our heart, mind and soul is molded into a heart that wants to spread the love of Jesus. The love we feel from our creator triumphs any initial rejection we may receive from humans, but we still press on. I personally work within the fashion industry and I see such a desperate need for Jesus. I see people who can have eternal happiness through Jesus and I desperately want that for them. The happiness Jesus brings is a joy that nothing in this world can take. As I continue to grow closer and closer to Jesus I begin to ponder all his amazing deeds and see how Jesus can be shown through my life. In an industry where the majority of religion is fashion itself, I am determined Jesus will shine his light through the darkness, but it starts with us. We are his disciples and we must be willing to spread His love.
Our actions speak louder than our words and we are to be in complete alignment with what we believe and how we live our lives. Everybody is searching for the answer that will satisfy their unending yearning that nothing of this world can fill and the solution is Jesus. A personal relationship with our creator is something worth celebrating! We begin to delight in his ways because everything he does reveals his glory and majesty. Our God is a God who hears our cries and mends our hearts. He knows us individual and has a direction for each of us. We are placed in specific industries to bring others to know the joy and peace we have found in Jesus. It is not our responsibility to change people, it’s God’s. Our part is to communicate love and approval. I challenge you today to pray and ask God for opportunities to lead others to Jesus and for the strength and peace to share your faith. When we experience the presence of the Lord we can’t help but spread God’s love, it’s not weird it’s just too magnificent to keep to ourselves!

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Experiencing Forgiveness

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A year ago today, I was eagerly anticipating the wedding season and all of its craziness, because this time it was my BEAUTIFUL sister getting married. I had thrown her an awesome dinner for all of her friends and bridesmaids and was feeling extremely sentimental. I was excited about accepting a new guy into our family, a new person to spend the holidays with….a new brother.

Let me tell you…the wedding day was as beautiful as you could ever imagine, the decorations, her dress, the food, and everything. It was perfect. All of the family and friends had come to celebrate the once in a lifetime day! I remember looking into my dad’s eyes and seeing the love he had for my sister. It was undeniable. That was the same love he has had for my mother for the past 30 years. After that perfect day on June 20, 2013, we had no idea what was in store for our family. My sisters whole world would come crashing down and there was nothing myself or my parents could do about it.

The love of my sister’s life and my new brother in-law was leaving her after just 3 months of marriage. He did not want to be married!

That heartbreak was unfathomable and I will never pretend I know how it feels. I tear up just thinking about how deeply that it hurt my sister and my family. As young girls we always picture ourselves having a fairytale wedding and one that lives Happily Ever After. One never gets married with the anticipation of being left after 3 short months. It is not fair.

The reason I am telling of this event in my life is not out of anger or revenge or even to tell a sob story. I know full well that my sister has only become a stronger more beautiful woman through this experience. I am telling this story to explain what I learned about my AWEsome God through it all.

Before this experience, I knew God to be amazing, but I didn’t necessarily give him enough credit. I would pray but I would rarely ever take time to really listen and experience the power of Jesus.

I was angry at this man who had hurt my sister…SO angry! I remember being in ballet class one day and it was all I could think about. I couldn’t be present in my dancing and honestly I was a MESS. I remember going home that night turning on the shower and just crying out to God to let me forgive this person whom I was so angry with. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to be a normal functioning human being until I let God take care of it, but I had never really prayed this way before. I allowed Jesus to be my friend. I let him in and I actually believed what I had for so long preached. That… prayer is powerful.

I stepped out of the shower that night and felt 1,000 pounds was lifted from my chest. In an instant, all of my anger and sadness was gone. I knew that it wasn’t my job to be angry. It was my job to forgive, and by the grace of my powerful AWEsome God I was able to do that. I know it is easier said than done, but I also know that when we truly cry out to God he listens. He wants our hearts to be joyful. He wants to heal us. When we turn to him for healing, he smiles. So often I look to family or friends or books for help in my times of need. Then I realized the only thing that can satisfy is Jesus. We all wish hard times weren’t a part of life, but then we wouldn’t be able to witness how powerful God is and always will be. He cares enough to take the burdens off our shoulders! He wants to be our peace in times of trouble.

 

 

 

A Rejuvenating Thought

“All Will Fade Away” by Meredith Andrews.  Is Amazing.

She is without a doubt my favorite Christian artist.  She sings right to the heart and leaves you feeling like you just spoke with a good friend.

I was listening to her album/singing along to, As Long as It Takes, on Spotify when the song, “All Will Fade Away” came up on my shuffle.  I was instantly captivated by the melody and lyrics.  I was taken out of my business mindset and into a spiritual awakening. The song talks about how we are strangers to this temporary world. Instead we are destined for an eternal world with our Jesus. We don’t need to be caught up in the temporary things on earth because we have a better life in store for us. Yes enjoy the temporary, but do not let temporary thinking outshine the eternal.

By the end of the song her lyrics hit me like a ton of bricks. They spoke directly to my heart.

I’ll admit…I get caught up in the world’s way of thinking at times because it’s “easier“. When it comes to the business world (the field I’m studying) I want to be viewed as “cutting edge” and up to date on current trends.  In a sense that’s necessary for what I’m looking to go into, but it doesn’t need to overtake me.  I’ve come to realize over the course of this year that I’m more “cutting edge” living a life that mirrors Jesus. To not be concerned how others view me. The only opinion that truly matters to me is how my God sees me, sees my heart—my soul.  I’m aware that it’s not just the business world that pressures us, but any and every field out there.  We are set here to be in the world, but not of it.  We are image bearers of our great and glorious God in every aspect of our lives!

The lyrics “We are strangers here” are what made me reflect.

“There’s no end of time with You

No treasure here compares to You

All of this will disappear

We are strangers here

We are strangers here

We will see You face to face

And all will fade away

Yes, all will fade away”

The word ‘strangers’ has all sorts of negative connotations attached to it, but it’s actually quite beautiful.  Now hear me out on this one…being a stranger of this world means living out a life like Jesus and that is what’s beautiful. You become a stranger to the constant feelings of being lost, searching for meaning, and unsatisfied. The world may see you as a stranger since you aren’t living in constant struggle because you know that your God is bigger than this temporary world.    And soon you become a friend to the bold confidence, self-identity, and permanent satisfaction through the grace of Jesus.

Stranger to the Temporary life and friend to the Eternal life. 1 John 14:14-16

Stranger to Suffering and friend to Hope.    Romans 5:2-7

Stranger to Insecurities and friend to Confidence.    Ephesians 3:12

Stranger to Bitterness and friend to Love.   Luke 6:35

I’m not saying that we won’t go through hardships that will try to break us, but we know we can face trials when we fully trust Jesus. A trust that is unconditional by fully surrendering. We will struggle with insecurities because we are living in an insecure world. Love will sometimes fade in the background because of the bitterness in this world. But I’m writing to remind you that when you trust God and begin to live your life like Jesus you will overcome.  You will triumph the insecurities, the bitterness, and all trials in this world. It won’t be immediate and will take time, but hope and faith will draw you to an eternal mindset that this world can never offer.

Now when you think about the word ‘strangers’ does the positive overtake the negative? I hope so.  Living a life as strangers to this world only brings you closer to a powerful, personable relationship with Jesus.  Like Meredith Andrews powerful end lyrics express:

“Caught up, caught up with You my Jesus

Caught up caught up with You forever

In love in love with You my Jesus

In love in love with You forever”

To live a life like Jesus we are different and set apart in the best possible way.  You will be viewed as strangers to the community of this world, but some may wonder.  Maybe even wonder in your direction, but remember it’s not because of YOU.  It’s because of Jesus IN you.  The glory should be reflected right back up to Him because He is the one who has changed you.  The only real and satisfying life is through living for a God who surpasses this world.  He has overcome the world and openly extending His arms out to you.  He wants to lead you into a life no one but He can offer.

So what’s it going to be…a stranger to this world or a friend to the eternal?

Overlooked Beauty

Overlooked Beauty

As I gaze through the windows inside this Upper East Side Starbucks I come to the conclusion that just like the snowfall outside -so beautiful and peaceful- it mirrors the life we are invited to have in Jesus. Somewhere along the way of our day-to-day lives, while following Jesus, we tend to adapt the mindset that nothing cruel can possibly happen. That of course we won’t go through trails, experience the lows and we certainly won’t get a little dirty along the way. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you will. I will. He will. She will. We all will.
When it comes down to it, how we deal with our trials determines how much we are truly trusting Jesus. But I’m here to say that the great thing about Him is even in the darkest times of this life, God will provide us the light we are desperately searching for. It would be foolish to believe we will never suffer in a world that is inevitably trying to put out our shinning light. Just like it says in 2 Samuel 22:29-30 NIV:

“You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.”

The Lord is our light. When you think about it…darkness is the absence of light, which means darkness is constantly lurking around us. But when we have Jesus on our side we constantly have light, direction, guidance and a hope. All we have to do is ask for it. Even in the midst of a tragedy we still can have peace and joy because of Jesus. Just like the snowflakes falling from the sky to grace us with a fresh blanket of snow it imposes on us a feeling of a new start…a revival of some sort. Just like when you accept Jesus to be the leader of your life, He gives you a new start. He becomes your comforter. He is the blanket that covers us in the hard times, the times we need encouragement, love, hope and even rest.

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Just like a rainbow symbolizes a promise from God that He will never destroy the earth again, I believe the snowfall is a symbol in remembrance of the peace Jesus gives us. That everything will be okay. As I walk down the streets of New York in the midst of a snowfall I hear many people complain about the hassle snow brings and how they long to be back inside. I on the other hand want to spin around in the streets, make snow angels, and bask in its glorious beauty. I don’t know if it’s because I grew up in Florida and waking up to snow is something that’s as rare as seeing New Yorkers wear any color but black or there’s just something inexplicitly beautiful about it.

But what I do know is that if more of us slowed down we could take in the beauty of this life. This world isn’t perfect, but with Jesus this life suddenly turns from ordinary to extraordinary. You seem to embrace the beauty of the pure white snowflakes that fall from a gray overcast sky, the crisp red maple leaves in the fall that form a pile practically begging you to jump in and simply the beauty of the overlooked shinning sun. Sure we will experience what we seem to think are unfair trials we’re put through, but God is bigger than you and certainly bigger than the trials. If you remember God is the light to your lamp in the darkness, you will never stay in the dark. There’s beauty all around us, but it’s up to us to acknowledge God’s perfect creation because it really is good.

Live a worthy life.

Live a worthy life.

A life of full, undeniable worth. Think about it for a moment, what would that “worthy life” be to you? Would it be that ideal relationship you have been holding out for and now you can start having a worthy life? You were finally given that well deserved promotion at work where you can now start achieving success and bring worth? Or are you in a phase where you aren’t entirely sure how to differentiate when you feel worth or when you don’t?

The secret: There isn’t any…all you have to do is ask and you will receive. But once you receive you have to keep receiving. The mistake most people make is, they ask and receive the first part of a worthy life: the mindset. But then they don’t continue growth because now it’s on their shoulders. They seem to lose the direction because they are relying on themselves to direct them when they should be surrendering guidance to the Prince of Peace. So tear down the walls you have spend years building up to let Jesus come in to freely give you the gift of a worthy life.

I know the feeling of constantly saying, “I’ll be happy when I get in a relationship…when I get to travel the world…when I get my dream job.” Stop. Do you realize the common factor in that mindset we’ve been thinking? The word WHEN is a word that promises content but you’re left with the dissatisfaction that was always there. When you believe something has to happen for you to be happy, you’ll never be happy. Be happy NOW not when an outside force makes you content. At the root of this mindset, it exposes your lack of contentment. You are psyching yourself out to believe happiness is something you can achieve when in reality happiness is through Jesus and contentment follows in your every day life.

What if I told you that a mindset of constantly seeking happiness could be washed away? Instead everyday you will adapt contentment, that mindset will never fade. Sure, you will have trials and go through problems, but contentment in Jesus allows you to go through hardships with a smile on your face. 😀 Jesus never allows someone to go through a situation that will not help him or her or another in return. You no longer have to struggle through that internal argument and justifications you have with yourself to achieve happiness. The answer: A worthy life through Jesus. A life through Jesus gives you the mindset that no one can take away.

Maybe how I react to hardships will point others to you, Jesus. Maybe…just maybe it’s not always about me. Let’s be honest that’s hard for us to admit. The world revolves the sun not us. But having a worthy life is a gift Jesus wants to give everyone who earnestly seeks. Once you ask for a worthy life, His understanding, love, joy, peace, and character follow. You’ll never be the same in your eyes or in the eyes of others.

…So I ask you come on this eye-opening journey to leave the life of dissatisfaction behind and take up a worthy life. Trust me all the cool kids are doing it.

Consequences of Pride

“You have to accept the fact that you’ll have to be vulnerable in order to allow God to work in your life.”

Daily Reading: Proverbs 29 

“Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor” – Proverbs 29:23 

In 2012, I moved to New York City to start my first year of college. I felt as if I had the world at my fingertips – that I could accomplish anything I wanted. My thoughts were, “Well I’ve gotten myself this far in life! I can carry myself through the next four years of college on my own.” I decided to rely on my strength rather than God’s.

Unfortunately, my first semester was anything but satisfying. I was so prideful in my skills and abilities, and my strength was rooted in myself. In fact, I went into my first year thinking I was going to land that “perfect job” because I was capable of handling it. I mean, I had all the right qualities…so why wouldn’t I? I had the business mindset and brought all my confidence to the table, but somehow it was never enough – I could never land that perfect job I was so earnestly searching for. 

Do you feel in control when you rely solely on your abilities to carry you throughout life? Do you feel like – without that “look-at-me” demeanor – people won’t even give you a second glance?

When you let those thoughts seep in and start to take root in your mind, you have zero room to let God in. It’s only through God that you develop humility. You have to accept the fact that you’ll have to be vulnerable in order to allow God to work in your life. You won’t have to put on the “look-at-me” act because you’ll no longer be relying on yourself (and the opinions of other people) to make it through life – God will provide for you. 

Pride corrupts God’s perfect plan for you. Pride tells you that YOU alone are in charge of your life – that everything up to this moment YOU have done for yourself. Reality check: God has brought you to this moment and He is waiting for you to make that change. You can’t carry the weight of the world on your shoulders- we weren’t made for that.

When I let go of my tightly grasped idea of control, things started to turn around. Things are happening that I would’ve never imagined. But through it all, I pray for a humble mindset every day. God can take away anything He gives you if you take advantage of it, but He blesses those who seek and have a humble heart.

So what’s that area in your life that you hold on to so tightly because you’re too prideful to let go? Is it your career? Your academics? Your future plans? Your relationships?

I challenge you today to pray and ask God to allow you to let go of the pride and give that specific area to Him. Don’t learn the hard way, and suffer through the humiliation and disappointment that pride inevitably brings. Choose the Godly path that will bring you a humble mind and an honorable life.