numbers

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.....

Numbers are the simplest way the devil can control us. Every single person at one point in time has put their hope in a number. The enemy tells us to chase after certain numbers, but once we get there, we feel so completely empty that we feel the need to search harder. Danielle? Yes. What the heck are you talking about? I am telling you that we have all chased after numbers that are presented in deceptive forms: followers, likes, comments, weight, size, age, height, grades, gpa, and the list goes on. Satan constantly convinces us that these numbers determine our worth and value, but they don't! Our worth is found in what the Lord says about us, not a scale or a piece of clothing or a social media account. And you know what He calls us!? Our Heavenly Father calls us beautiful, chosen and precious!  Once we start obsessing over a number, we immediately forgo what the Lord says about us and accept what the world says. We should all be encouraged that we can find value in what the Lord calls us, not in some MEANINGLESS number! YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN A NUMBER!

steadfast

"In the loneliest of places, God is with me. In the darkest places, God is with me. In my weakest of times, God is with me. In the confusion, God is with me. God constantly meets me where I am just to bring me back home to him! There is no love that can compare to this kind of love He has for me! It's a kind of love that says, 'I don't care how gross and dirty you are, I will get into that mess and wrap my arms around you and bring you home!'" God is steadfast, which is defined as, "firm in purpose or unwavering". His steadfast love is not only resolute and firm, it is faithful, constant, devoted, and committed. And it endures forever! Because He is steadfast, we should also strive to be steadfast. We can do this by clinging to the truths that the Lord has provided through the Bible, pursuing others with reckless love, and glorifying the Lord through our conversations and actions. David writes in Pslam 51: 10 saying, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me". What is preventing you from accepting God's steadfast love? And, what is preventing you from being steadfast in God himself?

 

 

doubt

Humans doubt so much. Typically there are three forms of doubt: doubting personal ability, doubting someone else's ability, or doubting a circumstance. Doubt usually forms because of comparison or fixation on a particular outcome. And here's the thing, the Lord has created you perfectly unique, and doubting your ability would also be doubting God's. On the other hand, He has created a wondrous plan for your life that 100% conflicts with your so called "perfect" plan. You might have an idea of where your headed, but once the Lord points you in a new direction, don't doubt his plan but embrace it!!!

As I was reading my bible this morning, I stumbled across a cool diagram displaying different people within the Bible who doubted & how they were ultimately transformed: Abraham doubted when told he would be a father in old age (Genesis 17:17). Sarah doubted when she heard she would be a mother in old age (Genesis 18:12). Moses doubted when told to return to Egypt to lead the Israelites (Exodus 3:10-15). The Israelites doubted whenever they faced difficulties in the desert (Exodus 16:1-3). Zechariah doubted when told he would be a father in old age (Luke 1:18). Thomas doubted when told Jesus had risen from the dead (John 20:24, 25).

Many of the people God used to accomplish great things started as real doubters. With all of them, God showed great patience. How great a part does doubt have in your willingness to trust God?

9 words

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies." Psalm 23:4-5

Such an iconic psalm. I feel like most Christians can quote this in their sleep, but do we fully understand what the Lord is trying to say? In this psalm, God says he is preparing a table for us in the midst of our enemies. What an unsettling verse! We are eating in the middle of our enemies? YES! God is not trying to extract us from this world, but he is placing us right in the middle of it. He is preparing a table for two...for you and him. Why? Because he desires a relationship with you (a reckless sinner)! And here's the thing, everything you need is at that table: Jesus. On the other hand, Satan will do everything in his power to get to your table. In a heart beat, the enemy can pull up a chair & start eating your food. When he is eating at your table, he whispers lies to you: your not good enough...your not going to make it...everyone is against you. Keep in mind that the devil is here to "steal, kill, & destroy" (James 10:10). And, to make matters worse, the devil will most likely come to your table not looking like a devil. Here are the important 9 words: DON'T GIVE THE ENEMY A SEAT AT YOUR TABLE! Remember it's not about what is on the table, but it's about WHO is at the table. So, choose to pursue a relationship with the one who gives life, not the one who speaks lies.

status: single

Recently, this word "single" seems to be following me everywhere. My closest friends have started to date and have boyfriends, but when it comes to the world of dating, I am clueless. I have always wondered why God allows certain people to have relationships and others to not. Thankfully, my pastor taught on the topic of singleness a few weeks ago, and I would like to share some of my key takeaways...

Sometimes life gives you gifts that you do not want, but you need to use. If God gave you this gift of singleness (or anything else), then He intends for you to use it. God gives some of His children the gift of singleness to elevate His Kingdom in a way that others can't. On the other hand, single people, who love the Lord, teach us about the supremacy and sufficiency of God. They evidently display that God alone satisfies, and we do not need a relationship to complete us. As humans, we constantly are trying to figure out what relationships matter most, but our relationship with God is by far the most important!

"I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that." -1 Corinthians 7:7

 "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." -James 1:17

confidence

Know who you are, like who you are, be who you are. I often hear my church repeating this common catch phrase in sermons, but I honestly never sought out its meaning. It wasn't until this week that I fully understood and began living out this simple phrase. As I traveled over spring break with my friends, the Lord revealed to me how I can achieve confidence in myself. (1) Know who you are: I am a child of the living God. (2) Like who you are: Realize that the Lord made you perfect in his sight. He has given you spectacular gifts in order to elevate His kingdom. Once you understand that each person on this earth is different for a reason, you can begin to love yourself and others for who God made y'all to be! (3) Be who you are: Live out the Lords purpose for you by using the gifts He has given you. Our Heavenly Father created you with a unique personality and unique talents. Think about how you can use yourself to promote His glory. The Lord gives us confidence to love ourselves, others, and Him. I encourage you to seek confidence in Lord because without it our lives become an unstable, emotional roller coaster. But, with confidence in the Lord, you find hope, vision, and purpose. Confidence is when you have rooted your identity in the Lord instead of rooting your identity in the pleasing of the world.

"Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." - 2 Corinthians 3:4-6

"Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ." -Galatians 1:10

so will i

God of creation
There at the start
Before the beginning of time
With no point of reference
You spoke to the dark
And fleshed out the wonder of light...

And as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said
If it all reveals Your nature so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You say
Every painted sky
A canvas of Your grace
If creation still obeys You so will I
So will I

 

WOAH. Can you say powerful? I love this song so stinking much because it evaluates and explains the best part about this earth—nature. This world is filled with unbelievable science and creation that was all imagined by a loving God. Not only did He create every aspect of this complex universe, but He spoke this world into existence. All He used were His words (check out "words"...previous blog post). God's creation bent under His power and obeyed Him. Similarly, we are called to obey the Lord and praise Him & His wonderful creation. If this does not strike you as impossible, shocking, or amazing, then you must be insane. God did the impossible, according to human standards. In fact, God is the impossible. The Lord's power exceeds any human comprehension, and His creation screams of His magnificent glory. His creation is breathtaking. By admiring nature, we are glorifying our heavenly Father. His creation sings of His wonder, His power, and of His beauty. Take a look outside and see for yourself.

 

 

the desert

Have you ever wondered: Why does the desert play a significant role in the Bible?

God speaks to people in the desert because it is a place of intimacy, contemplation, and where we learn how to be dependent on the Lord. The desert, an isolated place lacking much life, teaches reliance. How we "survive" in the desert symbolically represent our relationship with God. There are two options...trust the Lord...OR wander on your own in a place that lacks life. This place of dependence is where the Lord spoke to His people. There is order and life where God speaks. When God brings us into the desert, there is a meaning and reason, so embrace it and listen! Trust Him!

All of the biblical godly role models were tested in the desert at some point in their life...

Moses lived & traveled in the desert. The children of God (Israelites) wandered in the desert. David was chased in the desert. Jesus was tested in the desert. And, Paul went through the desert.

// Questions //

Have you gone through a "desert"?

Did you rely on the Lord while going through it? If so, did you ultimately find life and hope in Him?

or...Did you choose to go through it alone? If so, did you struggle to find life and hope in whatever else you relied on?

 

I APOLOGIZE FOR USING THE WORD "DESERT" SO MUCH ;)

 

 

sophomore blues

This year has been rough...let's be honest. I have been trying to balance the stress of school, friendships, cheer, and church all on my own. Honestly, I have only gone to God for temporary verse encouragement. Yes, His word fills, but not when you are using them for personal gain. I have been going through the motions for the past few months, feeling like a zombie. Ever since my concussion, my mindset is to survive...wake up early...go to cheer...get through school...do homework...go to bed...START OVER. This routine of "surviving" got old very quickly. I recently have  reflected on THRIVING in the Lord each day, instead of trying to survive.

Because of God's continual love & grace, I should not try to survive but thrive each and every day. How can I "thrive" in school? That's my big question. Many mentors have poured into me during my life, and thanks to them, I have an answer: First, see yourself the way God see you! You are beautiful, loved, and a light! There is no reason for comparison, especially the comparing of outward appearances because ultimately beauty radiates from within! Joy comes from the Lord. Dive in with Him, and you will find joy, love, & peace! Second, see others the way God sees them! He sees everyone as His beautiful children. Look around you...these are your siblings in Christ! Love like Christ. Be gracious, selfless, and grateful. Talk to someone you don't normally talk to! There is so much unused time in the day...use it to elevate God's kingdom!

I would like to end with this last point...Everything in this world is temporary & unfulfilling. Nothing truly satisfies and fills our emptiness except for Jesus. Putting hope in the things of this world will leave you broken – empty & craving more. This world is temporary, but heaven is eternal! Why put hope in something that does not last? I choose Christ & an eternity with Him!

 

i am

Your identity is your destiny:

What you put your identity in ultimately defines you. Your relationships, talents, & things you listen to shape and mold you. Recently, I've realized that I've been concentrating my focus on what others are saying or might be saying about me, instead of listening to what God says about me. Truth be told I was telling myself that I am unloved, weak, & not beautiful. I was drowning in these lies this past week, but thankfully God reminded me of His love. If we look at what God first said about himself in Exodus to Moses, He calls himself "I am". This simple claim holds so much truth. When we say to ourselves "I am weak", we are calling God weak. That is impossible. Let's be real, God can never be anything negative. Therefore, everything about US can not be negative because anything after the phrase "I am" describes an outstanding quality of the Lord! All of our characteristics should be rooted in Christ. God showed me that I am loved, strong, & beautiful! All that matters is how God defines you. And, He defines us as His children & ambassadors. So, as a child of Christ, I am dedicated to being a light for Him wherever I am. Remember, we are defined by what we place our hope in, and it ultimately impacts our future.

This was just my take away from my struggles this week. God totally turned those struggles into a sweet learning moment!

rocks

Let's start off with a little story...

There once were two nations, the Israelites & the Philistines, that were constantly at war with one another. Our story begins when they both were preparing for battle. (Setting: two hills/mountains with a valley separating them) Everyday, a huge Philistine named Goliath would threaten the Israelites. The Israelites and their king, Saul, were terrified. This huge Goliath dude decided to cut them a deal: send one of your men to fight me...if y'all win, we become yall's slaves...BUT, if we win, y'all become our slaves. All seemed hopeless. Who could possibly defeat this giant!?! No Israelite soldier seemed prepared for the job. Saul was scared. And, the Israelites were scared. But, a little shepherd boy named David was ready. Strong in the Lord, David stepped up to the task. David knew that THE LORD WOULD ALWAYS BE BY HIS SIDE, so there was NO REASON TO FEAR. However, King Saul feared for David and tried to protect him with heavy armor. David wasn't very keen on the idea. Finally, David went out to a little stream in the valley and collected 5 smooth rocks. With God, a rock, and his sling, David defeated Goliath. The Israelites were free! (see 1 Samuel 17 for biblical version)

In this passage, we clearly are exposed to the main difference between King Saul & David. Saul was a worrier, but David was a warrior. These two characteristics are essential to how we live our own lives: you can be a worrier or a warrior. A worrier ultimately doesn't trust God's perfect plan & always looks to the future with fear of failure. On the other hand, A WARRIOR TRUSTS GOD'S PLANS & LOOKS TO THE FUTURE WITH BOLDNESS & HOPE. God uses Goliath to expose Saul & Davids character. Similarly, GOD USES "GOLIATH'S" (hardships) TO EXPOSE OUR HEARTS.

When I was in Israel recently, I had the opportunity of visiting the stream that David picked up his 5 stones from. This moment was very special because I too picked up 5 stones. I have 4 in my bedroom and 1 in my backpack. Each day, I see these rocks, and they always remind me to be a warrior for Christ. They are so little, but they speak so loud to me. I also encourage you to find something that reminds you to be a warrior for Christ! 

Comment below how you remind yourself of how to be a warrior for Christ !!!

// Questions //

Are you a worrier or a warrior?

Do you live by fear or by faith?

words

Words build worlds.

In Genesis 1, we see that God spoke things into existence & created this world. Similarly, when we speak, we either create beautiful worlds or we destroy them. Translation: The tongue has the power to build people up or tear people down. Also remember, the tongue is difficult to control, and I personally, as a talker, struggle with this. However, the more time I spend with the Lord definitely influences how I respond and talk to others (for the better). Know that the way you talk to others won't just change over night...it's a process, and it isn't that easy. I constantly have to rely on the Lord to filter how I want to respond from how I should respond, which should be in love. Responding in love to others is hard, especially when they have offended you, but be the bigger person & turn the other cheek. Remember, you are either reflecting Christ through your words, or you aren't. Choose to build worlds, not to destroy them.

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger...The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit." -Proverbs 15:1;4

"Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell." -James 3:5-6

"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?" -James 3:9-11

" Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." -Ephesians 4:29

// Questions //

If your tongue were to be judged today, would you stand the test of faith? 

Before speaking ask yourself...

How would God want me to respond? Am I responding in love?

 

control

Coolest thing just happened! I was looking through old notes, and I found some that I had taken over a book called "Once Upon a Tandem". Anyways, I was reading them, and I realized God was definitely trying to point out that our relationship has not been going in the right direction lately. The past 3 weeks have been a complete blur, filled with late nights, tons of homework, and grumpy attitudes. God is definitely trying to steer me back on a course that is focused on Him, and I have finally caught sight of that. It's crazy how God uses little moments like these to send you messages! I would love to share the notes I found with y'all! Hopefully these might encourage you as much as they did for me :)

Where is God in your life? A) He is not present. B) He's there, but just riding in the backseat. C) He is still in backseat, but He is whispering direction (sometimes you go where He wants to go). D) He has taken complete control.

Isaiah 42:16 "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”

What would life D look like?

• You would be taken down paths you never would have imagined for yourself. God has a unique special plan for you! It's most likely something different than what you had in store for yourself.

• the places He takes you are SO unimaginably beautiful! God's plan (when He is in control) is 100% far more better than your own. You will be used for his glory, and amazing things will come out of it.

• Sometimes He will take you through quick sand, mud, or dark tunnels...but when you trust him He gets you out safe and sound. God sometimes takes us through some rough times/situations, but if you rely on Him, He will comfort your distress. You must go through ugly "tunnels" in order to get to the beautiful places. Similarly, we must preserver through hardships and persecution of our faith. These obstacles are in place to grow our faith and grow our trust in God. God will ultimately use our suffering for His glory! (as weird as that might sound...)

• Life is straight out prettier, more peaceful, and more meaningful with Him driving my life. Giving up control to God is the most rewarding decision.

fear

Living in fear is one of God's biggest no-no's. The Lord does not want us to fear this world because when your heart is full of fear, there is no room for love! God calls us to take courage & spread His love to EVERYONE....that is a daunting task! When I hear God's call, I agree willingly because I know this call. I have heard it every Sunday, every Wednesday, and every day of my life. I am surrounded by amazing lovers of the Lord who remind me of God's mission constantly. Don't get me wrong...it's such a blessing!! Without the reminder, I would not know my true purpose on earth. But, because I have grown up constantly learning about God's call for my life, I don't really take the time to pause and reflect its full meaning. Today I realized that many Christians choose to love and be a light to all. But, do they really mean "to all"? That's a hard one. Let's look at a few words from Tom Doyle, writer of Standing in the Fire...

"Terror-ism. The very word is rooted in fear - mind numbing, blood chilling, heart stopping fear. What could be worse than facing a person dedicated to indiscriminately destroying human life of any kind - men, women, and children? The target of terror can be anybody. The influences around us - whether news reporters, politicians, or commentators - seem to want nothing more than to deepen our fear of the violent forces in a world that appears to be coming apart at the seams just a bit more each day. In today's world, if we're not careful, we can easily succumb to fear, and when we do, we can become a slave to it. The problem with living in fear is that - besides flying in the face of more than two hundred biblical admonitions to not fear - it can cause us to do the very thing we should not do." As Tom puts it, we should "refuse to run away, and run to the" problem that is causing fear. "We have let fear set us running in the wrong direction." (see John 16:33 & 1 Peter 5:8-9 below)

"But, as followers of Christ, the message of love He has given us to take to the world should never be daunted by fear. If it is, we're running instead of standing. I believe it's time for Christ followers to stand firm and no longer run away, because our enemy is the one who wants us to run." (see Daniel 3:17 below)

Jesus is with us. He gives us reason and courage to stand. Go and love everyone.

"In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" -John 16:33

"Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world" -1 Peter 5:8-9

"the God we serve is able to deliver us" -Daniel 3:17

// Questions //

Are there certain people in your life that you fear to love and share Christ with? (they might even be close to you)

What are you afraid of?

Think...what is the best possible outcome of sharing Christ with them!?!

unfathomable

What is your favorite verse? People ask me this question all the time, and normally, I answer with my "go to" favorite verse, Galatians 1:10. But, recently, I have reflected on what verse really means the most to me. A verse that captures all of God's power, glory, and love. A verse that inspires me every time I hear it.

My absolute favorite verse is ECCLESIASTES 3:11, "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." WOW !!! This verse gives me the chills every time I hear it !!

The thing about me is that I have this insane love for traveling, and this verse correlates hand and hand with everything God has revealed to me through the spectacular places I have visited. Every time I get to take a moment in God's creation, I am in complete awe. I just can't wrap my head around the fact that God alone thought of each minuscule detail about this world & then created all of it in just 6 days !!! It is literally insane. Think about it...

He created different individual species with drastically different working bodies. He created plants & all of their intricate details. He created thousands upon thousands of beautiful fish in the sea. He created the ability for creatures to become camouflage, so they can survive in the wild. He created the sun, planets, universe, etc. etc. etc. And, he created us. Just take a moment and realize how miraculous we are. The intricacy of everything God created BLOWS MY MIND & makes me realize how amazing God truly is !!

"He has also set eternity in the human heart". My interpretation of this part of Ecclesiastes 3:11 is that all humans have an understanding & longing for eternity. God has placed a strong desire of forever in every single one of us, and it cannot be filled by things of this world. This desire is what compels humans to place their hope in unfulfilling human made gods. But, the almighty creator, God, is the ONLY one who truly satisfies. God cares and loves for each and every person & desires a relationship with His children...what or who else can give you a never ending, fulfilling love like this? That's right! No one. Humans will always make mistakes, and they will never learn to love perfectly. We let people down, and our love sometimes fails. On the other hand, the things of this world always leave us empty and unfulfilled. And, lastly, man made gods do not love like our God. Our God is the one true God. Because He wants us to be with Him forever, He offers us eternity with Him. WOAHHHHH !!! Who wouldn't want to accept that crazy amazing love!?

"No one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end". For me, this claims that man cannot completely understand all of what God has done. God's power is baffling to the human mind & is SO AMAZING !! He is outside your window, and he is also in you !! Take a walk outside and notice God's glory and power. His creation speaks...all you have to do is listen.

blessed

Blessed. A simple word that means so much. For me, I am blessed by a heavenly Father through things that might seem so small but yet are so incredibly life changing. For example, I don't have to worry if my water isn't filtered or if I will have food for my next meal. It's insane to think that other people in this world, whether they are from your home town or a third world country, have to worry about the bare necessities of survival. While, on the other hand, I am in one of the most prosperous countries in the world, worrying about whether I am getting a fancy camera for Christmas. We all have a hard time of being content right where we are, but taking the time to reflect on how stinking blessed we are makes us appreciate everything we already have - a home, a family, friends, etc.

A few years ago one of my camp counselors told my cabin to "count EVERYTHING as a blessing". Huh? Count EVERYTHING as a blessing? I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Any bad thing life could throw you started rushing through my mind - poverty, divorce, disability, etc. Then I took a step back and thought...How can I count everything as a blessing? How can I find the positive in every situation? And most importantly...How can I find God & his perfect plan in everything? This "saying" has stuck with me, and it is a great reminder that everything (even the hardest trials) I go through on earth is part of God's perfect plan for me. God uses each situation to personally mature us in strange ways...remember everything you go through on earth is happening for a reason! In these hard moments, we each have the choice to either abide in the Lord and grow in Him OR to reject Him. Which will you choose? I choose to count everything as a blessing! Even the trials.

I want to give yall a few examples: As many of yall know, I am a cheerleader. One of the leadership position you can have on our team is Chaplain. For these past two years, I really tried pursuing the role of Chaplain, but each year I was not chosen. This was a door shut in my face, and each year I was very disappointed. I used to wonder why I wasn't qualified enough for this position, but through some reflection time with the Lord, I came to realize that it wasn't that I wasn't qualified. God ultimately had another use/plan for me on the team...to be a follower. Ewwwww! I hated that word because I always wanted to lead (and sometimes I still do...still working on it). But, God is constantly teaching me how to submit to authority, and His lessons are the blessings I counted in this situation. Also! Thanks to God's AWESOME plan...I probably would not have created a blog in the first place. God knows exactly where He wants to use me, and this blog is definitely a great platform! Another example came from this past week. My close friend and I were discussing her struggles in school from her dyslexia. She explained how she studies so unbelievably hard but does not get her desired grades. When she said this, I remembered she was one of the hardest workers I've ever met. I then told her my favorite saying (count everything as a blessing) and explained that by God placing this huge obstacle in her life, she has become an extremely hard worker that inspires SO many girls around her! 

Be thankful for EVERYTHING in your life because they are all blessings from the Lord. He cares greatly for you & for everyone else on earth. Use your blessings well & bring glory the God's kingdom. Have a great Thanksgiving!

stress

Exam week. Need I say more? Here are a few verses and quotes to encourage you in times of stress & complete weakness! 

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you." - Isaiah 43:2

"You might not be able to see where you're headed, but I assure you, The Lord can. And He's holding your hand. He's breathing life into every aspect of your present and future. He's shining His light even in the darkest corners of your mind. So hold tight to Him. Hold tight to His love, knowing that He will never leave you or forsake you, and because of Jesus, you are in His grip forever. No uncertainty, no broken dreams, and no fear of the future can keep you from Him. He is with You always, in all of this. Trust Him. Believe. And let Him gracefully lead you where you need to be." - Morgan Harper Nichols

"Practice the pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray." - Unknown

Don't let the stress be the cause of your negativity. Realize in the midst of stressful situations you can be the sunshine in the chaos!

"Ships don't sink because of the water round them; ships sink because of the water that gets in them. Don't let what's happening around you get inside you and weigh you down." - Unknown

"A negative mind will never give you a positive life." - Unknown

WHEN YOU CAN'T FIND THE LIGHT, BE THE LIGHT !!! 

 

 

encouragement

Recently, I have been reminded of how much we broken humans need to be encouraged. I have personally have not received or given much encouragement in the past week, and that needs to change. It seems silly, but encouragement is an essential part of a humans daily life. Without positive words, our days can go spiraling down the toilet, and we are left feeling bad about ourselves.

How can we change this? Simple! Get into God's word. This is the most life changing source of encouragement available to human kind. Reading a little bit of his word in the morning can totally change your perspective on the oncoming day....you are ready to take it on. Let His word fill you and encourage you. "Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in." C.S. Lewis simply puts things into perspective: Without Christ & being filled by Him, we are lost, broken people. But when we open our hearts to His word, we will become transformed & uplifted.

How can we encourage others? Easy! Just through the simplest acts of kindness. Here are a few examples...(1) Send someone a verse in the morning and let them know you are praying for them. (2) Actually pray for the person. Sometimes we emptily say, "I'm praying for you!"...well what good is saying it if we actually don't pray for them? (3) Compliment them. You automatically make someone feel special when you compliment them (on literally anything). (4) If someone is anxious about something, pray over them. For me, I also tell them to breathe, so they can calm themselves. Ask my friends...I do it a lot haha. (5) Talk to them about their day. 

These are just a few ideas on how you can encourage someone around you today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your life. Make these simple things become a habit for you. Be the person who changes someones day just by simply loving and encouraging them. 

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." -1 Thessalonians 5:11

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." -2 Corinthians 1:3-4

// Questions //

How can you make someones day tomorrow just by encouraging them?

Who is someone you rarely hang out with? How can you go out of your way to talk to them?

How are you going to be filled with encouragement from the Holy Spirit? Do you have a time, place, and plan?

dating

Dating. A touchy subject. I want to share with yall what I believe a Christ centered relationship should really look like. **HEADS UP I want you to know I personally have never been in a relationship, but I want to share what I have learned and taken to heart in preparation if I ever do decide to pursue one. (pretty sure that was a run on sentence)**  We might not see eye to eye on the subject, but try to be open minded to what I have to say:) You never know! You could potentially be inspired! Here we go...

How we date NOW ultimately becomes how we treat our marriages in the future, so we need to begin learning how to date in a God glorifying manner. There are four key steps to take before a relationship takes off:

(1) Talk to your parents. If you don't feel comfortable discussing dating with your parents, you are not ready to date. This is harsh, but it's the truth. You need to be able to openly talk about your relationships with your parents because they will be able to help and GUIDE YOU. Hey! Guess what! They have done this whole dating thing before, and I guarantee they know way more than you do! If you want some advice on the do's and don'ts of dating, your parents are the key, not your friends.

(2) Have godly mentors. I can not stress this enough!!! It is muyyyy importante! Yes yes yes your parents are some of the best people to go to for dating advice, but I definitely recommend having other godly mentors to help point you in Christ's direction with their advice. Make sure this is an older mentor! Not some friend around your age, but someone who is older than you and knows how to properly respond to the world of dating. (i.e. small group leaders, camp counselors, church leaders).

(3) Don't always listen to your friends. I have already mentioned this a few times, but lemme re-emphasize this point:) Friends are great. Trust me I know...I have some pretty terrific friends myself. They love the Lord and always seem to know how to encourage and point me back to Christ. Yes, I admit that I go to them for some answers, but I try not to rely completely on them. Because we have barely experienced this world, sometimes our answers to a situation can be slightly narrow-minded. It's hard for us because we rely on our friends for mostly everything. In the moment, their advice seems 100% the best, but sometimes it can lead us down some sketchy paths. We can be blinded by the consequences of following foolish "words of wisdom" from our friends. They might have some answers, but they definitely don't have all. Our parents & godly mentors (and of course God) are more reliable sources when it comes to advice. 

(4) Pray. You guessed it! God wants to hear from you...especially about your dating relationships! He wants you to talk to him and seek guidance from him! Write it down or say it out loud. Whatever you want! I just know that talking to the Lord will give you peace and comfort if you are stressing a situation. God will help you, so lean on him!!!! He loves you and will guide you down the right path, so if you are ever in doubt, talk to the Lord!

Now for the three P's of dating:

Pull = the attraction phase. This is the first step to a relationship...getting to know the person. The best tip I can give you about the "pull" phase is to just be yourself!! You definitely don't want someone liking a person you are not. Remember your faith develops your character which in turn develops your personality. (See 1 Peter 3: 3-4 & Proverbs 31:30 below) Lastly, before starting to date a someone, make sure to do a "background check". What I mean by this is to check if this person has good healthy relationships with friends because how they treat their friendships is how they are going to treat their relationship with you.

Pursuit (this is for the guys) = pursuing a healthy relationship with someone you have gotten to know and enjoy. My first words of advise are to NOT lead a girl on, especially by giving her empty compliments. (GIRLS...our value is in Christ not in temporary compliments we receive!) Next, talk to the girls dad. I might seem old school, and a ton of my friends make fun of me for encouraging this...but who cares! I think asking the dad is a key component of showing not only the father but the girl that you care and respect her. This action takes a lot of courage (in my opinion) because a conversation with a girls dad can be somewhat "scary"...what if he says no??? Well that's okay. He is trying to protect and do what's best for his daughter. Now comes the hard part. Asking the girl out. I have two simple tips...ask face to face & have a plan (don't be spontaneously asking a girl out just cuz). These our four things I encourage a guy to do while pursuing a girl.

Purity. Seriously Danielle do we have to go there....**rolls eyes**. This will be short and sweet. I promise! (Not exactly my cup of tea either, but it needs to be said.) Satan wants to do everything possible in order to bring you "together" before marriage and everything possible to tear you apart during marriage. So with that in mind...dating is NOT for personal pleasure. Remember we are trying to honor God every step of the way! Even the slightest temptations should be avoided...for example, movies might seem super innocent and okay, but they can be a real temptation. Dark room + all alone = NO THANK YOU! Btw side note: A guy should take a girl out to do something that involves CONVERSATION and getting to know each other better. The harsh truth is that he probably does not care that much to get to know the girl if he only takes her to movies. Every once and a while movies are okay, but don't let it be the only thing yall do together. GIRLS I want you to remember to be modest with the clothes you wear! "What type of bait you use, determines what type of fish you catch". And BOYS makes sure you set the boundaries for the relationship, and if the girl has stronger boundaries than you, RESPECT THEM.

I want to end with this: "You will always want love to fill the emptiness of your soul, when love is all that you seek; But, you will never fill that hole, because love is not something that we fill, it is SOMETHING THAT WE POUR OUT. Only JESUS can fill that empty void in your life, only Christ can fill that cup so that it may be spilled into the lives of those who thirst for something eternal. Drink deeply, beloved, drink deeply from the well that Jesus offers us, so that you may never thirst again." (T.B. LaBerge). This quote hits home! Because of what Christ did, we can share his love with others. Makes sure you stay on mission for Christ while you are pursuing a relationship. Christ centered relationships are always the strongest! Find someone who loves you for you and points you back to Christ daily!

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight." -1 Peter 3:3-4

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." -Proverbs 31:30