Saturday, February 13, 2016

February 14th:

To some, it is a day like any other. To others, it's a day to celebrate love with chocolate, treats, cards, and balloons. And to others, February 14th is a bittersweet day. It seems like all around us, there's people dating, getting engaged, getting married.
Our enemy is very subtle and can use this to let discontentment creep into our hearts. That's why we must careful to be guarding our hearts with all diligence. (Prov. 4:23)

Whenever I start feeling discouragement, there's a couple of things I like to do.
1. Pray. There's nothing better than having a heart-to-heart talk with Someone who understands me like no other. "Casting all your care upon him; for He careth for you." (1 Peter 5:7)
In those moments that I feel overwhelmed and discontent, I can come before the Lord's presence and cry out to Him for help. If I feel overwhelmed, it's because I might be clinging on to things that I'm not supposed to be clinging on to. Our Creator tells us to cast all our care on Him. 
Let go and unload all that worry, stress, and discouragement at the feet of the Lord.

2. Read God's Word. You are loved. You have a whole book full of love letters to prove it. GOD is enough. Only HE can fill that longing in our hearts.
Something else that helps... When the enemy starts whispering lies to me, I quickly open up God's TRUTH to attack satan and all his lies. 

3. Sing. Worship is powerful. It puts my focus on God and His sovereignty instead of me and my  problems. "Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee." (Psalms 63:3)

Be still and know.
Sometimes, just taking a moment to realize WHO God is helps. I have to be still and remember that the God who parted the Red Sea, shut the mouth of lions, fed 5,000 men & their families with just 2 fish/5 loaves of bread, and even conquered death is the SAME God I serve today. He is a mighty God that I can trust with my future and "love life". (Prov. 3:5-6)

 "Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite!" (Psalms 147:5)

Wait on God's timing.
I know waiting is hard. It requires a lot of faith and trust. But God has EVERYTHING in control.

"Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!"
(Psalm 27:14)

"When God knows you're ready for the responsibility of commitment, He'll reveal the right person under the right circumstances. Wait patiently. Don't waste your time searching and wishing. Grow and be ready. Let God write your love story. One that is far better than anything you could ever dream of."

Delight yourself in the Lord, especially in this season of singleness. He has perfect timing. You can be assured of that. Spend your time encouraging others, learning to do new things, making memories, serving others, and growing closer to God. The more we prepare now, the better prepared we'll be when God does bring that special someone into our lives.

Remember,

Ladies- "Don't settle for a boy who just goes to church. Wait for a man after God's heart. Because our God writes the best love stories & His choice is always blessed."
 & Gents- vice versa

"Allow God to be the matchmaker of your life because your feelings could fool you and your understanding is limited, but His is not. He knows what’s best for you and He’ll bring that man or woman along when the time is right."


 I hope that tomorrow is a day full of JOY and not at all bittersweet. Singles, turn your whining into praise and your perspective will change. ❤️

Well, that's a wrap! I apologize if I rambled and made this too long. ;) 
 [I know I'm not the most eloquent when it comes to words, but with expectation, I pray it will be a blessing for you to read.]

God bless!


Friday, January 1, 2016

The Taste and See Challenge

 *Article written by Gretchen Saffles from © 2016 Life Lived Beautifully
 It was of huge encouragement to me and with God's help, I'm going to be taking part in this challenge. I hope all you ladies will too.

The Taste and See Challenge:
January 1st can be the most intimidating day of the year. It’s the day of starting, and starting can be scary. New habits, new resolutions, and new goals both stir in us a passion for more and better and a fear that we will fail and won’t measure up. For years I’ve taken time in December to dream up my plans for the following year. What will I change? What will I do? How can the next year be different? January 1st feels like the start of a new chapter. It is a fresh canvas for God to paint His grace onto the story of our lives.
Resolutions are a beautiful thing when made for the right reasons. In looking back at resolutions I have made over the years, the common theme is a bettering of myself. Most of these resolutions aren’t kept for more than a few weeks. But the resolutions that are made for the Lord and rooted in His Word not only change my own life, but the lives of those around me. This year, instead of making a list of resolutions that revolve around myself and the temporary situations of my life, I am resolving to do the one thing that I know will change my life and the lives of others, and will also mold and shape my life to be more like Christ.

I am resolving to be in the Word of God every single day in 2016 and to hide truth in my heart. I am resolving to daily taste and see that the Lord is good.

Pick Up Your Fork
The Word of God is unlike any other book that has ever been written. Each word is divinely inspired and breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 4:12). It has stood against every test and its promises hold true in every storm and trial of life. The Psalmist challenges us in Psalm 34:8 to pick up our spiritual fork and knife and to eat of the Word of God. When we fill our spiritual bellies with truth, the result is that our eyes will be opened and we will see that the Lord is good, in all things and at all times.
“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.” Luke 6:21
Jesus explained to the disciples in Luke 6:21 that it is good to be spiritually hungry, because spiritual hunger results in satisfaction. The meaning of the word “blessed” is happy. Happiness doesn’t come from achieving worldly success, it comes from being hungry for more of Jesus. When we daily fill up on God’s Word, bringing Him our empty cup to fill up, and eating truth with our spiritual forks and knives, Jesus promises that we will be satisfied and well-fed. The ache in your heart for more will only be satisfied by knowing Jesus through the Word. What if in 2016 we resolved to be spiritually hungry? What if we picked up our Bibles, journals, and pens, and ate the truth of the Word that never fails and answers our deepest needs? What if we taste for ourselves and open our eyes to see that God is good?

Let’s make these “what if’s” into a reality. 

"What If" To What Now?

The taste and see challenge is a call to experience God’s Word for yourself. It is a call to leave the comfort of your faith and embark on a journey with God up the hills of calvary, ascending into the valleys of daily discipleship, and walking the narrow path of a life lived for eternity to come. It is a call to be a “well-watered woman” who daily comes to the Well of God’s Word and drinks deeply of His goodness and faithfulness.
What now? How do we practically do this?

First, let's make a plan.

Below I am going to share with you my plan for 2016. You can either join me in this plan or create your own! Either way, the challenge is simply to come hungry and come daily to God's Word and taste and see for yourself that He is good. 

Bring Your Empty Cup

In 2013 I read through the Bible chronologically for the first time. Before embarking on this journey, I never could have expected how life-changing it would be! Reading though the entire Word of God opened my eyes to the entire story of redemption and it also made me comfortable to open books of the Bible I had never read before. This year I am going to read through the Bible chronologically again and would love for you to join me! I will be following this free reading plan that reads through the Bible chronologically. Another option is to do the F-260 plan that is chronological but shortened. You can find it for free here. There are other plans that you can read through the entire Bible in a year while daily reading in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Here is a reading plan that follows this set-up!
And here is the one I, Jasmine, am doing. (in 6 months)
In this commitment to reading through the Bible, I know that there will be times I will get behind. My goal is to read the Bible in 6 months, BUT if I get behind I will embrace the grace of God and slow down. The aim is not check off daily reading on our to-do list, but to read to know God more intimately. If it takes me more than 6 months to read through the Bible, I will rejoice in that! Don't be afraid to start because you are afraid you will fail. Give the Lord your best time. Seek Him with your whole heart. Embrace His grace.

eat truth for breakfast

The next part of the "taste and see" challenge is to memorize God's Word. Pick a chapter or book of the Bible to memorize this year. I will be memorizing the book of James and would love for you to join me! (find out more tips on memorizing the Bible here and purchase a memory journal to use as a tool here!) I will post a plan for this soon!

Second, let's be accountable. 

I will periodically send out encouragement emails to those of you who choose to take the taste and see challenge with me! You can sign up for these emails here! This email list is separate from the weekly encouragement emails.
Sign up using this link.
(Just scroll down to the mint blue box.)
For everyone who is joining in the "taste and see" challenge, my encouragement to you would be to find a friend or a group to hold you accountable to getting into the Word each day. Accountability sets you up to go deeper in your walk with Jesus. 

third, let's give our plan to the Lord Jesus. 

A note to the women who is reading through the Bible for the first time:

If this is the first time you are committing to open the Word of God each day, I want to encourage you not to be fearful or nervous. In Isaiah 55, the Lord calls us to “come, everyone who thirsts, come to the water, and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” He calls us to come just as we are with our nothingness to receive the abundance that can only be found in Him. In very 10-13, He promises us that as we read the Word, that it will accomplish the purpose of which He sent it and that we will go forth in joy and peace. Why would we ever forfeit these incredible promises for any lesser thing? There are so many resolutions you could make in this life, but the one that will last forever is to know Christ and to make Him known. Trust the Lord to show you His incredible ways and to teach you truth in your secret heart (Psalm 51:6). 

A note to the perfectionist and to-do list lover:

This challenge is not meant to be another item to check off. It is meant to encourage us to be disciplined, to love God's Word, and to give Him our best. If you get behind, do not give up. Set your gaze on Christ and hand Him this plan. Let's be like Mary and sit at the feet of Jesus each day, listening to His teaching, learning from His ways, and loving Him with our whole hearts.


Will you take the “taste and see” challenge with me? Let’s make a resolution that will last for all of eternity. Share your name below and what you plan on studying/memorizing! I am praying for you. January 1st is here. Lord, take the first, the last, and everyday in-between, and make us more like You! Amen.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

WOG Feature: Esther Garcia: Modesty Inside & Out

(article written by Esther Garcia; used w/ permission)

“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man; neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are an abomination unto the LORD thy God.” Deuteronomy 22:5

I remember being a bit shocked when I first heard of this verse. Not because I didn’t know that us women should not wear men’s clothing, but I was surprised that there was a verse clear as day that commands us not to. To our God, it is an “abomination”, something “God can NOT stand.”

As I write what God puts in my heart to share with you ladies, I pray that you will not only read this but also understand and APPLY it to your own personal life. Also please know that this is not only for you; I also need to apply this to my own life every day. I too have once been through the stage where I didn’t want to be seen modest or different from all the rest of the girls out in the world. Then I came to think...was it a stage or was it because I didn’t have the mind of Christ? By God’s grace and mercy, He has set me free and made me realize how special we are to be called His daughters! We were called to be His LIGHT! “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” Matthew 5:14. We were called to SHINE for Him and to be a help for this world, and I think it is such an awesome privilege! Praise Be To God!


Modesty is not what most girls think it is. Yes, it does have to do with what you wear, but there is so much more to it! Modesty is part of our lives. 
“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30. 
It also has to do with how we live for God, and the life style we have every single day. What’s the point of dressing modest if we don’t read God’s word or talk to Him in our daily lives? Who are we really trying to please? Lord help us not be like those that the Lord talked about in Matthew 15:8 “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me….” The main thing I want to point out to you ladies is that in our HEARTS is where modesty begins. “The fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Knowledge….” Proverbs 1:7, if we fear God, in other words, have a reverence to His presence, then everything else will
fall in its place, including modesty. Having that fear in our hearts is like planting a seed of modesty. Little by little, the Lord will start showing you what He wants for your life and He will also show you what He doesn’t want for your life.


Now you might be wondering, “Well how do I start?” We just have to read Proverbs 1:7, we start when we realize our lives haven’t been truly faithful to God, and when we begin to have a fear, a respect, then that’s when you come before His presence and ask Him to help you. Believe me, if you truly want to change, He WILL help you. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand…” Isaiah 41:10


Now with clothing, I’ve  heard so many negative responses when it has to do with how we dress, like: ” I don’t want to look like an old lady, there’s no modest clothing in stores nowadays, dressing modest is like dressing like a nun, my body doesn’t look good in certain types of modest clothing…” and so forth. 
Now, understand that if we had a relationship with God we wouldn’t be making excuses or any negative comment like the ones I just mentioned.

As for "looking like an old lady", I’ve seen so many girls that dress modest and they look so beautiful, especially when they have a relationship with God. You can just sense it and that stands out more than how they dress. Of course you’re not going to be dressing like a homeless person or just not care how your outer appearance looks like. We don’t want to scare people away either. The Lord tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:19,”….know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own.” He is telling us that our bodies are a temple and we represent Him. This an amazing privilege that we must take seriously! 
 
I pray this article was of help to your life. May it also inspire you to dress and live like the daughter of God you are! God bless you young ladies!





WOG: {Women of God}

hello all! I am going to begin a series of blog posts featuring several women of God. I am so excited for this and I pray you may all be blessed through this.
Let me know what you think below!
your sister in Christ,
Jasmine

Monday, May 25, 2015

WOG Feature: Gretchen Saffles: Quiet Times

Article written by Gretchen S. from LLB:
Early in my high school years when I was learning what "Give Me Jesus" really meant, I made a decision to start having time with Jesus each day. I grew up in a Christian home and attended a Christian school for most of my life. Even with that kind of upbringing, I struggled to see how losing sleep in the mornings to read God’s Word would truly benefit me. I would have had to wake up around 5:45 AM to have time in God’s Word before heading to school at 7:00 (which is crazy early for a high school student!). I remember getting home late one evening from school and realizing that I would only get a few hours of sleep if I woke up at 5:45 to have my quiet time. I prayed and asked God to wake me up and left it at that.
The next morning, at 5:40, I sprang up out of bed. I remember looking at the clock and smiling as the Lord whispered to me that He longs to spend time with me and would give me the extra strength I needed to make it through the day. I don’t remember the exact date of that morning, but it changed me. The Lord used it to show me three things:
  1. He will replace the sleep I miss with His own strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
  2. He desires we meet with Him secretly before we meet with the world.
  3. The way I spend the first moments of the morning affects the rest of my day.
These three truths have proved true in my desire to spend time alone with the Lord daily. He will give me the strength I need (even when it means less sleep), He desires to meet with me and tell me “great and unsearchable things I did not know” (Jeremiah 33:3), and these moments affect there rest of my day. The same is true for you! You must learn this personally and privately as your seek to know God through His Word! The enemy will do everything to distract you from the necessity of being in God’s Word each day, but once we have tasted and seen God’s goodness in His Word, there is no turning back. No other will satisfy the hunger in our hearts.
Each day, my quiet time routine changes, mainly because my schedule changes with each season of life. I say this because there is no secret or exact layout for having a quiet time in Scripture. There is no hour that is better than another. Generally, I rise before dawn when the sun is still hiding and about to wake up the world (my favorite moment of the day!). This is usually between 6:30-7:30. The night before, either my husband or I will set up our coffee pot to turn on about 6:00 so it is ready when we come downstairs. I have loved this in the mornings! Having prepared the night before sets me up for waking up early. I will make a cup of coffee and go sit in my usual spot on our green couch. One rule I have made and God has been gracious to help me implement is not to have my phone with me when I open up His Word. This is a daily choice I have to make and I don’t always succeed. Just the presence of my phone sitting near me is distracting and I want to make sure our time is holy and set apart from the distractions of the world. So I will either leave it in our room or in the kitchen.
I keep my Bible and any devotionals I am reading next to the couch, ready for me to open each morning. I have made it a habit to read from the Bible first before any devotionals so I don’t substitute the Word’s of God for the words of man. Usually, I go through books of the Bible at a time. Later in the series we will go through a breakdown of how ways to study Scripture. This is the main portion of my quiet time - studying, gleaning, praying, asking, seeking, knocking and finding. Some days I feel like I’ve found a pot of gold, others I find a small gem. Nonetheless, all mornings I spend with the Lord are the most valuable times of my day.

TEN MINUTE CHALLENGE

How I spend my mornings affects how I spend the rest of my day. With this, I have learned that I cannot spend time on Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, or Facebook before spending time in Scripture. This used to be a habit that took a lot of my time and stole a lot of joy. Satan used it to distract my heart and redirect it toward myself and the world rather than Christ. For a while, I had to delete social media from my phone to get rid of the temptation. How I spend the first ten minutes of my day affects the rest of the day. If I hit snooze 5 times, I have already lost precious moments alone in the Word. If I immediately check emails or Instagram, I am usually struck with an urgency to work or even worldly insecurities. If I scroll through Facebook, I waste time and feel distracted. But if I turn the alarm off and walk downstairs, my heart is focused and ready to spend time with Jesus.
Scripture Challenge _LLB
One challenge I have for you is to evaluate the first ten minutes of your day. How we spend our morning moments affects the following hours. There is something precious and important about focusing first on Jesus so our schedules revolve around Him. 
You will never leave hungry after spending time in Scripture with Jesus. You will never be disappointed by His Word. That is a guarantee. A quiet time is more than an Instagram opportunity, it is a holy moment of communing with God. Spend time in the secret with the Lord each day and commit your first ten minutes to Him. He is worthy of the first, worthy of the last, and worthy of every moment in between.
I would love to hear from you! When do you have your quiet times?