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.


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.