will

What's God's will for you life? This question seems to frighten many. Why? Because we know that God's will is a mystery to us. By entrusting God with our futures, we walk along an unknown path. We know exactly where this path leads to, but we have no clue as to how it's made. There may be bumps, cracks, hills, or winding roads. By giving Christ control over our lives, we accept the fact that what lies ahead might be difficult (persecuted for our faith, made an outcast, etc.). Yes...that is scary. But, for me, the scariest part about the journey is not knowing what to expect. Christ, just like a lantern, only lights up and reveals what is exactly in front of us. We don't know exactly what our future holds, but we do know who holds our future. This means we must depend on God for guidance in our lives.

Why is it hard to make decisions? Whether it's choosing your friends, college, job, etc., we constantly get caught up in the decision making. We say, "there are TOO MANY CHOICES", and we try to choose what brings the "most fulfillment". We want perfect fulfillment from our choices. What we need to realize is that "God's will is in the HOW & WHY rather than who, what, when, and where" (one of my favorite quotes from a Pine Cove counselor!). How do we decide? First things first, seek guidance in God's word! The next thing we need to realize is that WE CAN'T MESS UP GOD'S WILL. We are called to abide in Christ, and as long as we do that, God will continue to work through us and use us for the glorification of his kingdom. God's will might seem like a frightening term, but the fact that we are called to just trust the Lord (not be anxious about the future) should be freeing and give us peace in our moments of worry! One thing is for certain: we can choose to worship God every single day. So why don't we? 

Surrender your life to him, so HE CAN TRANSFORM YOU! I know we can't choose the situation we are handed, but WE CAN CHOOSE HOW WE RESPOND. I want to end with this ROCKING AWESOME quote (from Watermark Student Ministries): "God's will is not a code to be cracked, but a savior to be cherished!" Thanks for reading:) Praying for you and how God will use you!

"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." -Micah 6:8

"Then Moses said to him, 'If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.'" -Exodus 33:15

"So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good." -1 Peter 4:19

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." -Romans 12:1-2

// Questions //

How can God use you?

Who are you walking with? Do they point you to Christ (daily)?

We tend to hold tight to what we think is best for ourselves, but how can you completely surrender your will to the Lord? 

light

According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary, light is "something that makes vision possible." On the other hand, darkness is the absence of light. Darkness is scary. Darkness is comfortable. Comfortable? Yes. Once our eyes adjust, we enjoy darkness. For example, when a teacher turns off the lights in class, we secretly rejoice, but the moment the teacher turns the lights back on, we complain. Similarly, we love to live in sin, and we find (temporary) enjoyment in the life that sin has to offer. Living in sin is like us living in darkness. We have no direct path ahead of us, and all we do is stumble around with no purpose (and most times we get hurt along the way). Personally, that does not sound appealing to me.

How do we get rid of the darkness? Easy! Light is the solution. Only light is powerful enough to make darkness disappear. What is this so called "light"? Jesus! (Jesus is always the answer...am I right???) Christ is the light in our lives, and God is the source of this light (check out 2 Corinthians 4:6 below). Even since the beginning, God has brought light into our lives (check out Genesis 1:2-3 below).

Analogy time! Okay, consider a light bulb. This light bulb cannot shine on its own no matter how hard it tries....it must be placed in a fixture! The key was not to try harder but to PLUG INTO THE SOURCE. Similarly, we cannot expect ourselves to "shine" for Christ on our own! We must "plug into our source"; we must take time each day to stop, reflect, and dig into God's word! One of my favorite quotes sums it all up perfectly! It says, "Trying to shine on our own can be exhausting. Instead, we're simply called to be closely connected to God and REMAIN IN HIM. When we do, His light pours forth through us in powerful, brilliant ways that change the world. The ways we shine might not make the news, but they make even more of a difference than we can see."

"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ." -2 Corinthians 4:6

"Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light." -Genesis 1:2-3

"This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: GOD IS LIGHT; in him there is NO DARKNESS at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth." -1 John 1:5-7

"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." -Matthew 5:14-16

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light IN THE LORD. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them." -Ephesians 5:8-11

// Questions //

What can you do NOW to abide with the Lord more deeply and consistently?

Why are Christians scared to bring forth "light"?

We live in fear of judgement, how can we change that?

identity

If someone where to ask you "who are you", what would you say? Think about it. Hmmmm...hard question! This question is practically asking, "where do you find your identity".

Identity...the most talked about topic in student ministries...thanks Danielle...totally haven't heard this one before. But hang with me people because God has some crazy things to say through this topic! Most of us know that as believers we are called to place our identity in God, but this world has coerced us to put our ID (do you mind if I "nickname" identity?) into everything other than Him. Here's the thing, we all try to ACHIEVE our ID through actions, looks, words, abilities, etc., but once you become a believer in Christ Jesus, you automatically RECEIVE a new ID. This new ID is found in God and what Christ did for us! Can I hear an "amen"?!? (mixed emotion about talking to a blog...that's okay. just say it in you head.) Okay, now that we all are on the same basis on the fact that our ID is found in God, we can move onto how this should encourage our daily lives! (read Galatians 1:10 below) Trying to live according to the world's standard is far from satisfying compared to living for the Lord. No matter how the world views us or what we believe in, we need to STAND STRONG in Christ because we believe in the unconditional love and grace of God. Pleasing people should not be our ultimate goal, but being a light for the Lord within this dark world is what we should strive for! I want to end with encouraging words from Kristen Clark & Bethany Baird (writers of Girl Defined): "God is looking for women [and men] like you to courageously go against the grain of modern culture. He needs women [and men] who are brave...He needs women [and men] who REFUSE to live for the applause of this world and instead live for the applause of their King." If you know someone who is living well for the Lord, send them a text and encourage them to keep up the good work! Remember: it's not about what you didn't do, it's about what you CAN DO! And if who you are is found in things that are changeable, it's NOT who you are.

"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

"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." -Ephesians 2:10

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" -2 Corinthians 5:17

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." -Colossians 3:1-2

// Questions //

Where have you recently been placing your identity?

How would someone else define you?

How can you STAND OUT for the Lord this week?

savior

If I am going to start a blog about an AMAZING savior, then I probably should start off explaining who this savior is! Hold on tight because I am about to tell you the most life changing story!

Let's start from the beginning...

Creation? Evolution? There is a lot of debate about HOW this spectacular earth came to be. Personally, I believe every stinking thing on this earth points to a God. (I could go on and on about why, but I don't think you want to read a thousand page blog...) Anyways, this God created humans to take care of and enjoy His outstanding creation, but mankind messed up this perfect world because they believed their way was better than God's (see Genesis 3). This is when sin comes into the picture...Every single human on this earth has sinned (except for one). It's a fact. We are not perfect. And, this imperfection creates a HUGE divide between us and God. Now comes the crazy part! Remember like 3 sentences earlier how I mentioned there was one individual who has never sinned? Well, that would be Jesus, who was fully man AND fully God. WOW! Now you are probably wondering why was He here on earth? Well, because of our sinful nature, we are condemned to an eternity of death and pain (in Hell). But God the perfect creator NEVER STOPPED LOVING US, and because of this love, He gave up His only son, Jesus Christ, to come and rescue us from an eternity in Hell! Jesus saved us by dying on a cross and raising back to life (!!!!) 3 days later. That is the ultimate sacrifice: being painfully tortured and hung on the cross for a bunch of sinful humans. Because of this sacrifice, we are able to accept God's free gift of eternal life! Did you notice how I said "free gift"? That's because we don't have to work for eternal life at all!!! All we need to do is understand, believe, and accept Christ's sacrifice for us.

God created the universe and us.  We messed up.  All humans sin.  We can't reach God because we are no longer perfect.  God sent us a savior.  You can choose to accept God's gift = ETERNAL LIFE !!!!!!!!