Friday, July 7, 2017

Little is Much: Changing Your World

We often aspire to great thoughts of changing the world. Perhaps this, in our mind, looks like becoming a world renown preacher, or author, or missionary. You fill in that blank.

But really, how is this done?

action, adult, affectionIt's by taking time for that one sibling or's stopping to pray when someone asks you to lift them up before the's helping wash those dishes when your mom is wiped out. It's going forth with the Gospel to a lost and dying world, one person at a time. It's being faithful in the little things that God has called us to. Remember, even a grain of sand can make an impact on a marathon runner’s foot. Be faithful in your build the kingdom and to glorify the Lord, wherever you go. It's being the hands of God to the people He's put in our lives. You are placed with a purpose. Change your world right where you are. Glorify Him right where He has called you.

In the book of Nehemiah, we read that everyone had a job to do, even if it was small. Together – they were faithful – and built the wall in a record time. In the same manner, God has called each of us to different positions – whether large or small (according to our standards), they all are building for the kingdom. They all have an impact. They all build for Eternity.

I have learned that I will not change the world. Jesus will do that. I can, however, change the world for one person. So I keep stopping and loving one person at a time. Because this is my call as a Christian.  -Katie Davis-

One person at a deed of kindness at a prayer at a time...

"Little is much when God is in it."

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
Colossians 3:23-24

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Who you really are

For the hurting, discouraged, or lonely heart...

I write this for you.

I know how it feels to be left out of stuff.

Yes, it’s rough when everyone was invited to that event except for you. It’s terrible to know you're drifting apart from one of your closest friends. It’s hard to not feel accepted by the people or peers around you. It’s no fun to experience these things, and I will be the first to admit that. I’ve been there. We all desire to be accepted…to be loved…to be wanted.

But recently I’ve been thinking. Even if people 
are ignoring and leaving me out, even if they are having fun without asking me to join in, if they aren’t accepting me...

God accepts me.
God doesn’t ignore me.
God loves me.
God wants me.
God cares for me.

Even though it may seem the entire world is against you, you can rest assured of this fact…let me make sure you don’t miss it…

God is for you.

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
Romans 8:31, 38-39

God is behind us, supporting us, helping us! Because He sent His Son to completely change us and save us, we can claim the truth He offers in His Word. I want to share seven of these truths with you today, because maybe you’re feeling inadequate. You’re thinking, “No one really cares for me… so I guess I’m just pretty much worthless.” My dear friend, if you are a child of the Heavenly King, then this kind of thinking is nothing more than lies from the devil himself. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and what He says about you and your identity is what is true, not what the devil wants you to believe.

Without further ado, here are seven truths of the child of God that He wants you to believe…because they are true.

#1: You are forgiven.

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger forever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 
Psalm 103:8-12

Other verses that support this truth: Isaiah 1:18, Acts 10:43, Romans 8:1, Ephesians 1:7-10, Colossians 1:13-14, 1 John 1:9.

#2: You are free from the bondage of sin.

Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him. 
Romans 6:6-8

Other verses that support this truth: Psalm 118:5, John 8:36, 2 Corinthians 3:17, Galatians 5:1, Galatians 5:13, 1 Peter 2:16.

#3: You have hope because of Jesus.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. 
Hebrews 6:19-20

Other verses that support this truth: Psalm 25:3, Psalm 71:5, Proverbs 23:18, Lamentations 3:25, Romans 5:1-5, 2 Corinthians 3:12, Hebrews 10:23, 1 Peter 1:3-4.

#4: You are loved beyond comprehension.  

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
Romans 8:35, 37-39

Other verses that support this truth: Psalm 86:15, Jeremiah 31:3, Zephaniah 3:16, John 3:16, Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:4-5,  1 John 4:9-11, 19.

#5: Your life has a purpose.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 
Jeremiah 29:11

Other verses that support this truth: Proverbs 16:9, Isaiah 43:7, Jeremiah 1:5, Matthew 28:19-20, John 15:16, Romans 8:28, Ephesians 2:10.

#6: You are valuable.

But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. 
Isaiah 49:14-16

Other verses that support this truth: Genesis 1:27, Job 33:4, Psalm 17:8, Psalm 139:13-15, Luke 12:6-7, John 3:16, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 2 Corinthians 3:5, Titus 3:4-7, 1 Peter 1:18-19.

#7: You have a forever friend.

…For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. 
Hebrews 13:5a-6

Other verses that support this truth: Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:9, Psalm 27, Psalm 73:23-26, Psalm 91, Proverbs 18:24, Isaiah 41:10-13, 1 Peter 5:7.

So yes…you do matter. You are important. You are created in the very image of God, and His love for you will never, ever, end. Jesus is always with you. Cling to Him. It's when you're weak that He is shown to be strong. Rest on Him, and never give up.

In reality, all that matters is being right before the Lord. That is what life's about - Him. He's the only reason you even exist. What a joy and comfort it is to know that you are 100% loved, accepted, and cherished by your Creator!

The verses I shared are not an exhaustive list, but just a handful of ones, since I couldn't share them all here. ;) May the Lord use the ones I selected to encourage your heart today. Remember who you are in Christ, friend!

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  
Hebrews 12:1-2

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.  
1 Timothy 6:12 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Thankful for Beans?

You might call me bias, but I think I have one of the cutest little sisters ever. Lydia Katherine is two, loves to giggle, and melts my heart with her sweet baby kisses.

As her big sister, I usually keep close tabs on her to confirm she’s not getting into things like the honey jar or dishwasher with glass, which can happen verrry quickly. It keeps me (and the rest of my family!) busy chasing after our little sunshine, keeping her safe, and loving on her.

My little sunshine <3 

Our little blessing brings me so much joy, but she also teaches me some lessons. Oh, not as in she sits down with me and explains something, no, but through her sweet baby innocence.

Take the other day at lunch time, for example. Her plate was set in front of her, and she happily squealed in delight. “Beaaaans!” While it made me grin, it also challenged me.

How often am I thankful for the little things in life? The things we so often take for granted…the things that go unnoticed. The little things that are included in the “good gifts from the Father.” Maybe the things you take for granted, another person is praying for.

I heard a quote once that said “A grateful heart is a guarded heart.” How true this is. Have you ever noticed how grumpy you feel when you’re complaining or mumbling about something? When I am thankful and content in what my Lord has blessed me with, I am much more joyful and happy.

So, my friend, my challenge to you today is the following…

Be thankful for the little things. Take a moment to show the Lord gratitude for the beans on your plate. Say thank you for the cool breeze on your cheek, for the loving family you have, for the sunshine on your back, for the cozy bed you have to sleep in. 

Now, go write your own list! :)

Our God is so good to us, isn’t He?

Rejoice evermore. 
Pray without ceasing. 
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Don't Forget!

Are you looking for a life changing experience? 

Are you wanting to deepen your relationship with your best friend, Jesus?

Is "Study and Memorize the Bible" on your list of want-to-do's, but you just never seem to get around to doing it? 

If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, then I have an answer for you. Let me introduce you to the... *drumroll*

National Bible Bee! 

The Bible Bee began in 2009, inspired by the testimony of Shelby Kennedy. Shelby was a young woman who LOVED Jesus Christ and His Word. Unfortunately, Shelby passed away from cancer in her twenties, but her legacy is still changing lives today. 

The Bible Bee is a competition in which young people from the ages of 7 to 18 are encouraged to study and memorize the Scriptures. This Word is life-changing! The Bible Bee provides each contestant with a Study Guide called a Discovery Journal (in which contestants are guided through an in-depth study on a book or passage of the Bible. This year, it is Genesis 1-3!) and a list of passages to memorize (approximately 40 verses to memorize during the summer.) 

There are different levels to competing in the Bible Bee: the Local Level, the National Level, and the Game Show! I only participated in the Local and National Level, but the Game Show looks exciting, too! (Currently airing for completely free HERE, Tuesday nights 8 pm EST.)

I have participated in the National Bible Bee for five years, beginning when I was 13. I truly believe God put it in my life at just the right time. Each year, I've learned many valuable truths and the in-depth study and memorization of the Scripture has truly changed my life! Not only have I studied God's Word, but I have made friends in so many amazing and godly people. I can't imagine my life without the Bible Bee, seriously! (And I have a very vivid imagination, too, so...)

I want to challenge YOU to participate in the Bible Bee! It will change your life, I promise. 

But heads up! Registration for the Bible Bee ENDS SOON! So don't wait around, please! If you're wanting an activity to make your summer worthwhile and life changing, get involved in the Bible Bee! 

So what you waiting for?! Head over to the Bible Bee website to find out more info and register! This year, I am serving as a Local Host for my area, as well as serving as a Community Moderator. If you have ANY questions, feel free to post a comment below or message me HERE, and I will try to answer it the best I can. 

Whether or not you compete in the Bible Bee, I pray that you will find God's Word real in your life and that you will hunger and thirst for Him!

*This post is in no way sponsored by the NBB. This is my personal testimony and challenge to you.*

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A Lesson from Essential Oils

Green Purple Flower
If you know me, you might know I love using essential oils. There’s just something about how they can make such a difference, yet they are natural and non-harmful to one’s health. Oh, and they smell good! Peppermint, lemon, thieves, and whatnot – they’re all part of God’s natural medicine. :)

Recently, I put some lemon and lavender essential oils in my bedroom’s diffuser. Those are good for relaxation, maintaining a good immune system, and the lemon also attributes a nice citrusy smell which I love! I put the diffuser lid on, and pressed the “mist” button – expecting a light cloud of good smells to come drifting out the top.

But it was quiet. Nothing happened. What could be the matter? I asked myself. As I searched for the issue, I realized the diffuser was not plugged in. Well, of course it didn’t work! I smiled amused, and proceeded to solve the problem and turn it on.

       A thought, seemingly from nowhere, flashed through my head. Perhaps, are you like the diffuser? 

       What an interesting analogy. So often, we can be like the diffuser -  something that has great potential, but on our own, we have no ability to do anything. But when we abide in Christ, and let the life sap of His strength, love, and character flow through us, we can literally diffuse the fragrance of Christ!

       Two thoughts I gathered from thinking about this...

       Without the power of Christ in our life, we cannot be a channel of love. Love is a fruit of the Spirit. Christ must literally live in and through us. As you let Christ love others through you, you become a channel of encouragement, help, and blessing to others, and are able to give to them in a meaningful way. Stay plugged into the life source and let the Lord live through you!

       Essential oils all smell different and are used for different purposes. Peppermint smells like peppermint, right? In the same way, we all have different gifts, abilities and talents. Maybe God hasn't given us the gift of one thing, but has given us talents in another area. Diffuse Christ right where He has called you to. Be faithful where you are. 

       Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
                                                                                                         2 Corinthians 2:14-15       

                  Press on, brothers and sisters! For it is not I who lives, but Christ who lives in me. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Blessed Beyond Measure

We are so blessed.

It’s a phrase we hear so often, but recently I’ve been wondering…

Do we really believe it?

Think with me a moment.

When was the last time you watched one of your own family members die before your very eyes, because they proclaimed they believe in Jesus? Or can you look around your cozy living room and see the ones you love all safe?

When was the last time you didn’t know where your next meal was coming from? Or do you have a pantry and fridges stocked full of delicious things to eat, and money to buy more if you run out?

When was the last time you heard the roar of an army plane and franticly ran for the nearest bomb shelter, and fearfully listened to the barrage of explosives as their sound cut through the air? Or can you peacefully walk outside, spread your arms wide and breath in deep the fresh air, and feel the sun gently warming your cheeks?

When was the last time you wrapped your tattered coat around you in a vain attempt to stay warm, and wondered where you would sleep that night? Or do you have a soft, comfortable bed, in which you can rest without any worries?

When was the last time you went to church and heard about Jesus’s love for you, or when did you last read your Bible and think about the wondrous gift of salvation you have received? Thousands die without even hearing the name of Jesus or of the salvation He offers. And yet, you have heard, and have eternal life.

We are so blessed.

Do I really believe this?

Honestly, my problems are so minute when compared with some things. Seriously, I’m fussing because I might be gluten intolerant? Or I’m upset because I don’t have aaannnyythiiing to wear? (When in reality, I have a closet full of clothes…) Or because brother finished the coffee off and now I must make a new pot? Really, I have no reason whatsoever to complain…

…and yet, I do.


Do you realize you blessed you really are?

Because, we have so much that the majority does not.

Are you truly thankful?

Take a moment right now and just praise the Lord for the gifts He’s given you. Don’t let your problems become bigger than your God, whatever they may be. And whatever you do...

…keep being thankful.

For really, you are blessed beyond measure.  

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Glorify Thy Name

[Warning to you, the reader! :) I probably could have made this article much shorter, but when I first wrote this, I added in all the little details and things for me, an avid Bible Bee-er. So, you may or may not appriciate them all, depending on if you are part of the NBB or not. So please, bear with me, and I hope you enjoy the third and final installment my 2015 BB series. :) ]

I squeezed my hands together in anticipation. The moment had come! I watched another young lady walking down the aisle to receive her medal. I was next to go up, and how excited I was! I glanced up at the stage, where a group of Senior Bible Bee contestants were already forming on the stairs. I couldn’t wait to join them!

Lights were flashing and the entire crowd was clapping. I took a deep breath and glanced over at the person in charge, waiting for the signal. Next thing I knew, she smiled at me and pointed down the aisle. “Go ahead, Congratulations!”
National Bible Bee 2015 - Senior Qualifiers!

A big smile formed on my face. Amidst the exciting cheering of the crowd, I took one step forward, then another, and another, continuing to walk towards the brightly lit stage. I treasured each step in my heart, because I knew this was my final time walking this aisle to receive my final Bible Bee medal. So many thoughts were going through my head. All those months studying were completely worth it for this moment! I’m so excited! Thank You, Jesus! Oh, the camera is on me, I’m on the big screen! I wonder if I will make the top 15 and go to semis? Thank you so much, Father, for allowing me to be here! I’m so happy!

I neared the end of the long aisle, and paused until Mr. Zwyane motioned for me to come forward. My stomach fluttered in excitement as the red and gold medal was placed around my neck and I shook his hand. The weight of my new Bible Bee medal rested against my chest and I happily smiled for the camera.

I joined the other Senior contestants on the stage, and began to clap and cheer for the others. Everyone had done such a wonderful job studying and memorizing God’s Word that summer and fall, and I was so proud for all the wonderful young people who stood on the stage with me. My happiness increased as I realize I was standing beside one of my dear friends. We smiled at each other and looked at each other’s medals. Tears welled up in my eyes as I cherished the moment. The bright lights shone on my wet eyelids and I could hardly make out the crowd we were in front of.

I watched as other contestants, including many of my friends, walk up to also receive their medal and join us on stage. I had memorized over a thousand verses to get to this moment, and I was hoping and praying I would be one of the top fifteen contestants who would qualify for the semi-final round.

Before I knew it, each one of the one hundred and twenty Senior Bible Bee contestants had joined us on the stage, each with a brand new, shiny medal around their neck. Waves of energized cheering met my ears and everyone clapped, even though our hands were getting numb. I had been smiling for so long my cheeks were beginning to hurt, but I couldn’t stop smiling. I looked over at my friend and we laughed for joy. Everyone smiled again as group pictures of the contestants were snapped, and then, a voice broke through the electrifying cheers.

“At this moment, we are going to announce our 2015 Senior Semi-finalists.”

My heart skipped a beat and then began to beat rapidly, faster and louder. This was the moment. The moment I had dreamed about, prayed about, and hoped for. Would my name be called, making my dreams a reality? A hush spread across the room. Everyone was literally on the edge of their seats. Or, in my case, on the edge of the step I was standing on.

The first name pounded in my ears. It wasn’t mine. A shout of excitement went up from the contestants and crowd, and a young man made his way to the front. It died down again to silence and everyone held their breath for the next name.
The joy and exciting for each other is so thrilling! ^_^

My eyes grew moist as I heard the next name. The pressure was too great! Again, it wasn’t mine. With baited breath, we all listened as each name was called. Many of the names were those belonging to very dear friends of mine, and I was so very excited for them! Happy tears sprang to my eyes when I heard the name of my friend who was standing next to me. Her face was priceless, and although unable to, I wanted to wrap my arms around her in a congratulatory hug. She had made semi-finals! Hooray!

As the final name of those who qualified for semi-finals was called, the cheers again continued and grew louder. I wiped my eyes and glanced up at the flashing lights. The full reality that my name was not called began to sink in as I watched the fifteen below hug each other for joy, and then line up again for more pictures. I’m not a semi-finalist. My Bible Bee journey is over for…ever. I am now…an alumni. My heart both pounded excitedly for my dear friends who had qualified for semis, but also felt heavy with disappointment. I smiled with the other contestants for a few more pictures.

“Congratulations to all of you!” Mr. Zwyane’s voice cut through the clapping. “May the semi-finalists please remain standing, and the rest of you re-join your families. God bless you all.” He nodded happily and began to clap again.

The remaining one hundred and five contestants, including myself, descended the stairs, and I found myself locked in a tight embrace from one of my dear friends. She had known my desire for semis, and was sad I had not advanced with her. We reluctantly released each other and I walked back to my seat, where my dad and sister were. They congratulated and comforted me. I knew they were also disappointed I had not made it, but were supportive of me nonetheless.

We watched as the top fifteen lined the stairs for more pictures. Watching their happiness was a thrill and joy to me, but my heart also felt like lead. I couldn’t hold back the torrents that tempted to flow any longer, so I quickly grabbed a tissue from my bag and wiped my eyes. All the momentum and adrenaline from the past several hours was wearing on me, and now the climax which had crumbled down was too much.

These fifteen amazing young people inspire me so much! 
The fifteen contestants descended the stairs and returned to their own seats. Mr Upton, the Bible Bee chairman, walked out onto the stage and began to speak to us. I don’t remember everything he shared, because I was fighting a battle…an inward battle.

Why? Why did it have to end this way? God, please help me. You know what my heart’s desire was and You know how I asked You to make this dream a reality in my life. But why did You say no? I twisted the tissue in my hands as if I was squeezing the life out of it. I asked You to give me strength and You did, but why did You not allow me to make semis? Oh Jesus, help me! Why?
And even as I asked these questions, a quiet voice spoke to my heart.

Didn’t you want to glorify me?   

My mind flew back to that morning, when I was reading my Bible and praying before I went downstairs to take my tests. One of the verses I had read was John 12:28, which had this phrase in it.

“Father, glorify Thy name.”

I prayed those words to Jesus, asking that whatever would happen that day; during the testing, the Opening Ceremony, and the outcome of it, that I would glorify Him and His name would be lifted up.

Now was my chance to do just that.

I wiped my eyes again. Again, the question was whispered in my heart. Are you going to glorify Me?

God, You want me to glorify you with this competition. So I’m going to thank You. I thank You for the amazing Bible Bee year I’ve had, and for allowing me to qualify for Nationals and memorize all these verses perfectly. I praise You for working out all the details so we could travel to San Antonio and be here for the amazing event. Thank you for being with me during the testing today and letting me get almost 94% on the test. And in oral rounds, I don’t know of any mistakes I made. Thank you. You are the one who gave me strength for this race.

I could feel the weight in my chest lifting and even more joy than had been there before was taking its place.

You are good, Father. You know best. Help me to rest in Your love and not feel depressed about not making the semi-finals as I had dreamed. Instead, let me rejoice with the others that made it and be a source of encouragement to them. Thank you, dear Jesus, for everything. Just help me to glorify You.

My tissue made its way to my eyes once more. I continued to ask the Lord to help me to not be selfish or jealous, but to be completely excited for the semi-finalists.

I looked up toward the stage, where Mr Upton was making his closing remarks; a smile spreading across my face, I fingered the tissue which was now quite worn out.

It was worth it. No, I didn’t make semis, but I’m okay. It was so, so worth it. And I’m happy…look at all my dear friends and their joy! I can’t wait to congratulate them.”

I glanced back over my shoulder and looked at a friend who was sitting with her family.  Happiness was written all over her face. I was so proud of her for making semis. I turned my attention back to the stage, where Mr. E.Z. was asking the audience to bow their heads for closing prayer. 

After the Amen and dismissal, I stood up and immediately found myself in another huge hug from my friend. We found another group of our good friends and I remember congratulating them all. But I didn’t get far in doing so, for they all begin to console me, because they knew my dream had been shattered. My eyes grew wet again as each of them wrapped their arms around me in turn. These were some of my dearest friends…we shared our hopes and goals with each other. The unity of spirit between us was something I have not found in many other friends. We had a beautiful time visiting after the Opening Ceremony, sharing what God had done that evening, and playing games.

It had to have been past 11 pm when I finally made my way back up to our hotel room. I pulled my journal out and scribbled down what had happened that day. So many things had taken place it was hard to summarize it. Near the end of the entry, I penned these words.

“I believe God was glorified!”

And looking back, all I can say is this. To God be the Glory, great things He has done! Yes, He did marvelous things and His power was shown that week. He had higher plans and thoughts for me, and it was still so beautiful. That week was one of the best weeks of my life…the unity of Jesus among the contestants was encouraging, and the Lord was magnified through the competition. Friendships were deepened and goodbyes were hard. And even though I didn't make semis, that wasn't what mattered. What truly mattered was that my relationship with Jesus deepened and because I studied His Word, I was a winner, even though I did not rank in the top 15 or top 5. I can still say with all my heart, that yes...
                                                                  …It was completely worth it.