Friday, January 26, 2018

Thorns and Flesh

Last night I was reading 2 Corinthians chapter 12. What a beautiful passage! Especially in verse 7 through 10. I was inspired and uplifted by what Paul had to say concerning weaknesses and strengths, and how he put into words the kind of boasting we all need to learn. As Christians, it is important to be reminded of this particular idea... that Christ can not use what we think are our strengths. Through our weaknesses is where He is able to shine in us.

Verses 7-10

I really enjoyed these few verses in particular, because of how Paul is talking about this "thorn" in his flesh, a messenger of Satan. It torments him and he asks the Lord to take it from him. But the Lord didn't... Because He says: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, Paul then boasts all the MORE gladly for his weaknesses so that Christ's power may rest on him. Verse 10 says: "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecution, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." Clearly, when for Christ we boast in our weakness, that is how He can rest his power on us and use His strength through us.

What Kind of Weaknesses?

I am encouraged by this passage, because not only does it refer to weakness like that of being persecuted for your faith. But it also refers to the "thorn of Satan in our flesh." In other words, our *sinful* flesh. Yes the Lord is our strength when we are persecuted for His sake because of our beliefs. But also I am reminded that it is okay to be weak in our own humanly nature; to be tempted, to struggle with sin, and so on. This too is a trial we go through for Christ's sake every single day in our Christian walk.... Because if it weren't for Him, we probably wouldn't notice of care about the thorn in our flesh. If it weren't for the Lord in our lives, we would not even know or understand that sin was our weakness.

How Do We Boast?

No... I am not exactly saying that we should BOAST in our sins ;P BUT... I do think it's good to realize, and in a way proclaim an outward expression of the thankfulness we have that Jesus *saved* us from these sins... These thorns of fleshly desires that poke against the Holy Spirit within us. Our sin is nothing to boast of. But the weakness we have, only when given to the Lord, can be used for His glory and power to indeed give us strength. And through our fight against hardships and sin, our faith is tested and it GROWS. "For His power is made PERFECT is weakness."

THIS... my friends, is something to boast about ;) "For when I am weak, I am strong..." How amazing is that?

If you are struggling against the sin in your life, that means you are convicted of and desiring to give this weakness to the Lord. In this case, if you are genuine, our God can take these weaknesses and build a stronghold of power in you to make you strong. You will then boast is this strength... the strength of the LORD ALMIGHTY our HEAVENLY KING. 


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Judge Not

Too often I see people being judged. By their actions. By what they believe. By how they act or how they speak... Yes, we can have discernment about a given situation. But never do we have the right to treat anyone with disrespect or judgment. Even if we consider someone our "enemy", we are to treat them as enemies are to be treated, as Biblically commanded... "Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you... Heap coals upon their heads."

The main area that I am most bothered by, is the judgment "broken people" often times receive. You never know where someone might be hurting in life. You might not EVER know why people treat others or themselves in a certain way. Their lifestyle may be very different than your own, or how they think may be way out of whack in your opinion. But unless they are doing something strictly against the Law or Word of God, we cannot say that they are doing things wrong or sinful. Because to put it quite frankly, you probably have NO IDEA where they're at in life.

First of all, no one appreciates you believing that the chapter they are going through describes and is  an overall review of how their entire life has been or will be. It is NOT. God places situations of all kinds in your life in order to grow you, and to teach you many different things. We, especially as Christians, are called to stand up beside those who are hurting or struggling... And in turn, you will be blessed and encouraged when you are the one dealing with a painful complication in your long story. It is all about the attitude we give into during our present place of the journey.

Every chapter of every story is completely different in it's own very unique way, because each of us are very unique from one another. DON'T judge someone because they are handling something differently from the way you would. For an example... don't assume that someone hates you simply because they can't look you in the eyes. Look to the possibility, instead, that they could be ashamed and afraid of what you might think of them. Maybe, in fact, they hate themselves.

Do Not Judge, Lest You Be Judged

~Be a Trustworthy Friend~

A part of not being judgmental, is being trustworthy. Be that friend and brother or sister in Christ who people trust and respect and desire encouragement from. Let them know that it doesn't matter how they deal with the mountains bulging in their paths, as long as they are taking them in the direction God would have them take. You need to be the person who strengthens them with your words and helps out in any area, whether it's pushing them forward in the way they are going, or catching them in a clear mistake and then humbly but in a Christ-like attitude encourage them to turn around.

~Understand the Best of Them~

It doesn't matter if you know their whole story or not. In fact, as a true friend... you don't have to know ANYTHING, because it really is none of your business. But, when you are trustworthy and seeking after the best for a person you know, they may open up and share things with you, where in turn you can be of a godly help and influence. When this happens, do your best to understand them and see where they honestly and genuinely are placing their minds. Help smooth out the rough bumps of their unnecessary troubles, and then where they are most clearly needing help, seek to truly understand them. Ask questions that you are okay with not receiving answers to. Listen even when it's hard. Be strong for them though you will cry a LOT. "Understand", even if in personal life experience you could never possibly and completely understand exactly what they are handling or hiding away in their souls. And then, honor this trust you have been blessed with having.

~Treat a Blackened Soul as if it's the Gold that it is~
I believe most people who truly struggle with pain, depression, sadness or any kind of dark strife in their lives truly hate themselves. I think it's very important as an encouraging friend to help remind them of how much they are worth, and of how much Christ paid for their souls and their hearts. Give them the love and respect they need in order to realize that their brokenness could never be too broken to still be gold. One is not blackened by life storms. Life is refined. You can be made into a diamond by all of the pressure you may be within! But one must remember... To love even yourself... as Christ has loved you. Don't underestimate the price that was paid for you!! And don't let yourself blacken the soul that can be golden.

~Don't Treat a Storm as Simply a Rainfall~
If someone is telling or showing you that they are hurting... DON'T tell them that they are not. Don't act like it's not a big deal, or treat them like nothing is wrong. If someone reaches out to you, or you take the initiative to reach out to them, USE it. Honor their feelings and respect the truths that they share with you. Some people can exaggerate or have an issue with drama, I know that ;) But even sometimes the loudest people are hurting just the same as the quietest souls. They simply handle their fears differently. And you can help BOTH types of people through prayer, and in perhaps different ways by using your own "loud" or "quiet" understandings.

~Speak as if you are Listening~
Whether it is a shy and insecure person, or a boisterous and insecure person, there are ALWAYS insecurities within someone! Know your person... listen and be considerate to those insecure feelings. While giving advice or encouragement of scriptural and personal experience, speak in such a way that shows a soul that you are listening to them and their situations. When you are truly seeking to help someone, you must do it in a way that maybe isn't how you would normally do it, or how you would personally need it done to you. But it will show true love and understanding if you speak as if you are truly there for THEM, not for yourself. Be the voice that they already have deep down somewhere... Draw that voice out and help them heal and find themselves with the help of God and his Grace and forgiveness. They don't need to find you, you're already right there in front of them. What they need is to find the part of them that can get through whatever they are going through, and with their hearts and minds set on the peace and love of Jesus Christ, our Lord God.

~Give the Gift of Your Time~
It's precious to you, I know... but your time could be exactly what someone NEEDS.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Concerns Between Liberal and Conservative Division Among Believers, and how Different Religious People can be Unified

There are so many Christians in this world. So many liberal thinkers. So many conservative believers. This often causes many concerns and conflicts within the minds of those involved. It’s sometimes difficult to get along with different “kinds” of believers, and in many cases each group tends to simply go their own way. Because of this, unification between these two groups is rare and sometimes nearly impossible. There are, however, ways in which liberal and conservative Christians can be unified. These ideas may be hard to turn into actions, or may go against what your mind is telling you to do; but quite honestly, in these situations, your actions must be derived from the desires of the Lord, and not from the ambitions and traditions of your own rules.

 FIRST of all, we must have an understanding between faiths. Not that we should be compromising in our own ideas, only open to the fact that there are so many different beliefs in the world other than just our own.
SECONDLY, we must be careful not to look down upon those who think differently than ourselves. And yet, we mustn't look up to their contradicting ways.
THIRDLY, we have to be sure to be good examples of the truth. And yet not to be a bad influence upon their faith. It is important to remember that as we might be confident in what we are convicted on, so might others; and we do not what them to “fall”, but to rise up in an even better faith. This can be accomplished if we are good examples and not bad influences concerning beliefs.
FOURTH, we need to be aware. As we share our thoughts to others around us, they may also get deep into sharing their own; and this could be dangerous to us if we are not careful with guarding our hearts and minds. It is polite and thoughtful to listen, but we have to also always be aware.
FIFTH, it is sometimes necessary to put our differences aside, depending on the situation. When we get together, meet up with someone on the street, etc., we can talk with friendliness and continually speak with kindness, showing with our actions and words our true love for Christ in the way that we feel it. All the while, being sure to set aside “heated” or “argumentative” conversations based upon “religion”. On the other hand, we shouldn't not be afraid to or avoid standing up for our faith. If differences are brought up in any way, we must be truthful and always ready to give an honest but polite answer.

If you truly are a Christian with a mind that wants to learn, ask questions of the opposite division in faith; find out the “whys” in their beliefs. In this way, you may or may not learn something in the way of changing your ways, but it may get the other person truly thinking. By cautiously digging into someone else’s religious life, you may end up planting strong roots of curiosity to the other’s mind; he/she might question their own ideas and “dig deeper” themselves after trying to correctly and biblically answering your questions.

So all in all, it is a difficult, worrisome, and sometimes all together confusing mess to deal with believers who have strongly different ideas than your own; but if done correctly,with the Lord’s help, and with a true desire, unification between the division of liberal and conservative believers is possible.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

River Flows in You - Yiruma

Enjoy this SONG!!! This is my new favorite piece to play all day every day on the piano :) And I just wanted to share it with you.


Happy music listening!

Monday, May 1, 2017

What It Might Have Been Like If...

...Delilah Had Been a Godly Wife to Samson

I, Delilah, live in the Valley of Sorek.
One day I met a man named Samson, and found myself falling quickly in love with him. The poor man had made a great many dreadful mistakes in his lifetime, one including the involvement of telling a riddle on his wedding day. On that special day, set aside to celebrate his marriage to a philistine woman, he had told all thirty of his companions that if they could answer the riddle correctly, he would give them thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes; and if not, they would have to give him the garments and clothes. For days and days the men could not figure it out, and in desperation, they coaxed Samson’s wife into getting her husband to tell her the riddle, that she might secretly reveal it to them. She did this, and Samson later was very angry when he found out, and did awful things to those philistines. Her Father, assuming that Sampon now hated his wife, then gave her to Samson’s friend. When Samson discovered this, he took revenge on the Philistines once again. In return, the Philistines went and burned Samson’s wife and her father to death! I am still horrified at the thought of these things as Samson had explained to me with such brokenness in his heart. Samson would not give up, though, and continued his vengefulness upon the Philistines. Again and again he killed men as they kept trying to kill him. I won’t lie, I am sickened by the realization that Samson has killed so many men, and still has a difficult time stopping. Though I myself am a philistine, I hear God telling me that I must be a comfort to this man in such a past and present mind, and to do him good. So I shall. Of course, he does not hate me for being a Philistine woman; He loves me as I love him.

One day we married and began a beautiful life together. We were faithful to one another and I began to notice that Samson grew softer each day he spent with me; I heard less talk about revenge and war, and more about how we could use such trials in life for God’s glory. I believe the Lord used my Christian character to help influence his thinking quite heavily, and that he began to close his mind from self-vengeance, and open his heart to God’s will and plan, realizing that God really did have a special story for him.

As we grew stronger as husband and wife, I tried harder than ever to bring good and not harm to Samson; but it was not always easy…

Once, when Samson had gone from our home on business somewhere or other, the rulers of the Philistines paid me a disturbing visit. They implored me to seek from my husband the answer for his unusual strength. Everyone around us knew that Samson was no ordinary man with strength like every other man in the land; and everyone desired to know why. Why these men asked me to stray to disloyalty with my husband, I could not clearly comprehend, but when they offered me eleven hundred shekels of silver, I knew it was bribery with every kind of evil intention. The story of what happened with Samson’s first wife was brought to my mind in a rush of panic, and I became painfully nervous. Surely I could do nothing of the sort.

I left the leaders with no sure answer, and when Samson returned, I explained the visit to him. I did not plead for him to reveal his secret, but rather enhanced his knowledge of the slyness of those around us. Seeing that I would never ruin or harm him, Samson told me his secret. Neither of us had any doubt of the other; I knew he trusted me, and he knew I could be trusted. His secret then, though I cannot tell you exactly what it was, is truly a gift from God, and will forever be safe with me.

No one, then, will be able to discover the secret, unless Samson or I reveal it; and that we mustn’t do. If anyone did find out, Samson could easily be destroyed and deprived of his gift. I have listened to God, and will forever be faithful to my husband. No amount of money or anything else of any worth could bring me to forsake the trust that Samson has in me. I am always to do good, rewarding, godly things that will make my husband proud of me; and one thing I must do, is forever honor and respect his desire to keep his special gift a hidden treasure. I know God does not want him destroyed yet; He has so much more in mind for him.
I hope you were amused by this random story! I wrote it a year or two ago... and I remember finding it really interesting to note how different things could have been, had Delilah been a godly and loyal wife to Samson. It was a joy to write! Very fun and interesting to look at things from a completely different perspective.
Cheers!! And Happy May to you!!!!
Your friend, Hannah :)

Monday, April 3, 2017

A Real and Personal Relationship

I love the Lord with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, and with all my strength; because He first loved me...
My Savior, Jesus Christ, has captured my heart, has made a home in my soul, has become first in my mind, and is my ONLY source of strength. Without Him, I am nothing, and everything in me is empty. The intimate relationship we have can not fade away, because he holds me tightly. My Salvation is now secure in the hold of the Holy Spirit.
My relationship with God is Real because He has Saved me.
My relationship with God is Personal because He Loves me.
My relationship with God is Practical because He Created me.
I know these things because without Christ I'd be lost and dead. Without the love of my Heavenly Father I'd be in total darkness. Without knowing God made me and with a purpose, I'd feel worthless and empty. No man is without excuse that there is a God who loves us. My relationship with Him is this real because I accepted His Son, loved Him back, and am striving to live a life that glorifies His name.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment." Matthew 22:37-38

My Letter of Praise to God (December 4th, 2016):
"My Almighty God and Loving Father,
I life my hands up to you now! Thank you for being who you are, and doing what you've done. Thank you for Loving me. You've saved me from myself, and have forgiven me for every wrong-doing. You are my Master and yet my Father; I am your servant but you call me your princess. You are my refuge when I am afraid, or when I must hide. You are jealous for me and you desire my heart.
Lord... I have weathered many storms; you have always been my shelter. Thank you for protecting me from everything that could have damaged me. You are my only source of strength and my one true stronghold. You are our eternal King, and You are sovereign. You are my Rock and my Salvation. You are of peace, grace, hope, glory, and love; You are an amazing God!
You are the Father of Truth, and God over all the Kingdoms of the earth. Your Will be done. Amen
My Lord, you are the only one who can keep me from falling. I stumble so many times :( Let me keep my eyes on you, let me want you, and help me to hold onto you first and foremost. So that I might stay standing in Your Name.
You are my ultimate comforter in sorrow. When my heart breaks... when I cry out in painful heartache... when I want to give up... YOU are always there, comforting me through the hurt, and pulling me safely past the destruction.
Heavenly God, you are my confidence. Without you I am nothing. If it weren't for You in me, I'd despise and hate myself. Thank you, Almighty Lord, for lifting me upon your shoulders!
You are my song. You give me peace and joy and Love. I sing praises to you from the bottom of my heart.
You are my deliverer. From my sins you have brought me up. From the enemies of this world you will keep me safe.
You are my judge. I'd rather be judged by the world than by you. Give me wisdom to follow your will above all else, and to stand against the temptations of this world. That I may do well in Your eyes.
Above all, you are the God who loves me. There is no one like you, Jesus. I love you more than anything in this world. Thank you for being the author of my story! Give me more peace and patience to see what you have in store for me in the next chapter of my life.
I praise Your Holy Name; I Magnify your awesome Splendor; I worship You Lord, with ALL of my heart. Amen. And again, I say:
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So how is your relationship with God? I know I've struggled with many ups and downs in mine!! But just remember... He LOVES you. With real love. Let that truth wash over you, and you'll soon want to love Him back. When you've reached the point of loving Him more than ANYTHING else, then you know you're on your way to a relationship with Christ that will last forever. You may believe God exists... and you may call yourself a Christian; but what our Heavenly Father really wants from us, is a relationship that is real and personal. One that is so intimate that we can call Him Father, Friend, and our greatest Love.
Love God, and build a relationship with Him!! Setting everything else aside for a while... including religion, doctrine, and tradition... and really think about and concentrate on falling in love with the man who died for you. It's the most precious and beautiful experience that could ever happen to anyone. I know from experience, and I'm still in the middle of working on that as well!!! I believe it will always and only get better. Not necessarily to make us happy... simply to make us His. And that alone is all we will need, or want.
Thank you for reading. Have lovely day in the Lord!! And let God pursue your heart; open up and be taken by the love of our Holy, Almighty King.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

God's Will

"What is it that God is purposing where I am?"

"Once I know what God is doing, then I will know what I need to do."

"The focus need to be on GOD, not MY LIFE."

I had never thought about this difference. But it really is an interesting and important point! I've always been so intent on my life and the choices I have to choose, and being careful to live a Christian life to represent me... when really, I need to examine CHRIST'S life, and follow Him and his example, so that I am better able to represent Jesus in the way I live as His child. To GOD be the glory forever!!! Amen.

"To know and do the will of God, you must deny self and return to a God-centered life." Focusing on one's own self-worth and what we have, is a self-centered view on life. But focusing on the Lord's power and what He has given us is a God-centered view on life. It's not about us or what makes us look good; it's about God's Will and what glorifies HIS name. As a servant of the Lord, I have been realizing that I need to remember this key understanding.

It's so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you need to make yourself good enough in order to be called and looked upon as a good Christian. Yes, we need to follow God's rules and keep His commandments. We have to strive to live a Godly and Christian life-style. BUT... we can never be "good enough". EVER. That's why we will fail if we compare ourselves to other Christians or to what we imagine to be the "perfect Christian". Even our most righteous deeds or thoughts are like filthy rags to the Lord. We can never be clean enough, let alone "good enough". Instead, we have to compare ourselves to Jesus. And we must live our lives for Him; to live for anything else would be worthless. When we try our best to live like Christ lived, then our focus can better be centered upon The Lord's Will. And our strivings to a better obedience for our God will be more pleasing to Him, because when we look to Christ, we look to God. Therefore, with our lives, we can serve our Heavenly King. Not because we are accomplishing any great thing... but because we are allowing the Lord to accomplish great things in and through us. Our Father in Heaven has beautiful stories for each and every one of us; but our stories are only stories within His own. The whole purpose of this life, is to see the Will of God in everything. This is His World and His masterpiece. We are His beloved children. HIS WILL is perfect, and it is the whole centerpiece for our entire futures.

Give your heart, your life, and your desires to God. In His timing and in His way, His work will be done. We are His servants.

"Lord, whatever I know to be Your Will, I will do it. Regardless of the cost and regardless of the adjustment, as best I know my heart, I commit myself to follow Your Will ahead of time. Lord, no matter what Your Will looks like, I will do it!"

God has been working in your life since your birth. He was working out His purposes for your life prior to your birth. When God gets ready for you to take a new step or direction in His activity, it will be in sequence with what He already has been doing in your life. He builds your character in an orderly fashion with a divine purpose in mind. Give Him your life, and through it He will be glorified. Because when we make "God's Will" our focus, the Will He has for our lives with shine through and be beautiful. We must desire His Will, for us, for HIM. For us :) What a treasure His plan is!!

Now I'm not saying it's easy... living for God's Will can often mean dying to your own desires. It can hurt to draw closer to the Lord, when many times He will ask you to pull away from things you love the most. It will be difficult at times to understand why God asks you to make certain adjustments in your life, and you may not always be so willing. But when you obey, even when it's the hardest... God rewards you and in the end it is always best. His gifts are perfect. Our desires are sinful and selfish. His will is eternal and forever beautiful. Our own will is temporary and fades away with the world.

"What is God's Will for my life?"
"What is God's Will?"

It's not about ME and what I want, It's about GOD and what HE wants.

Lord, give me understanding on interpreting Your Will as the main key in living my life for YOU, instead of concentrating so hard on what your will is for MY life and ME. Amen

Thoughts and words inspired by "Experiencing God" by Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King