Hey, ya’ll! Sorry for the extremely long absence of late. My friend, Amanda, and her family came to Puerto Rico for a visit. It was ABSOLUTELY amazing. (And an a justifiable reason for taking a break from blogging. Haha…)
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We sometimes get swept up by life. It just happens. If you’re like me, you’re a perfectionist and a overachiever. You pretty much set yourself up for failure in some cases. We get so busy busy busy. Our lives are so stressful and full of anxiety. And we never rest. We don’t stop to think, “Is this how I want to live my life, full of worry?” or “Am I focusing on what’s important?” Before we know it, months have passed and we’re worn out. We’re irritable. We haven’t read out Bible in who knows how long. We haven’t just really spent any any time with God. We’ve pushed Him to the side and placed other things (like schoolwork, writing, blogging, exercising, reading, etc.) as priority. We’ve put back burner.
Don’t worry about tomorrow.
Don’t worry about whether you have studied enough for a test. Or whether you are getting enough credits. Don’t worry about failing.
Don’t worry about whether you’re pretty enough. Or if you are doing the right sort of things, going to enough social events. Don’t worry about whether you have enough friends.
Don’t worry about getting a driver’s license. Or having a job.
I know it’s hard to stop worrying. I know sometimes I worry to much. Especially about the silly things like reading enough and fictional characters (I know, but it is true.).
I worry about whether I’m blogging enough. Whether I’m getting my point across or whether I’m making no sense. I worry about not fulfilling all my blogging deadlines for blog tours and such.
I worry about writing. Oh my novel. It’s needs a lot of work.
I worry about whether I’m doing enough schoolwork. Or getting high enough grades. I worry about not having a plan for college.
I’m worried about letting people down and disappointing them. About not living up to people’s expectations of me.
I worry about not doing something useful with my life. I’m scared of wasting my life.
Sometimes I feel like I’m just drowning in a never-ending list of things I need to do, places I need to go, things I need to see,…and the list goes on.
I know, there is such a thing as having a good amount of pressure. Because it can help keep us motivated. Or we might just laze around all day and waste our lives away.
But there is also such a time when that pressure, anxiety, worry, or whatever you call it becomes too much. Then it becomes overbearing. We become so stressed that we can literally lose ourselves in it. I know.
But we can’t allow these worries to control us. While we don’t have the power to overcome our worries, God can take them away and give us relief.
Matthew 6: 25, 31-34
That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
God will give you the peace you need. He cares for you. He loves you. He can give you reassurance that will cover all your worries. He can take away all your worries, you just have to trust Him.
We are afraid of trusting anyone but ourselves. But ourselves aren’t strong enough to get rid of our worries. Only God can do it. And trust is all it takes to make it happen.
So it’s another day for a blog post. What should I talk about today? Well…I recently read The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller. It was a really short and easy read, but it made some great points that I’d like to maybe expand upon.
This is a shout out to all the teenagers out there: don’t let your fear control who you are or even more important, who you become. Now by saying this I’m not saying that I don’t have any fear, that I’m not afraid. That would be an absolute lie. I’m afraid, a lot.
I’m afraid of failing in my schoolwork. I’m afraid of not getting everything I need to get done to graduate from high school. I’m afraid of meeting new people (it’s not as bad as it was a few years ago). I’m afraid for my siblings and all those people I know who aren’t saved. What if they don’t accept Christ into their hearts and lives?
Everyone is afraid of something and these are just a few of mine. And you know many of these fears boil down to? Not being good enough. A fear of being average. And you know what?
We try day after day to live up to media’s standards or social standards or our standards or whoever’s standards. We try to do this because we care about what people think of us. We want to be popular, to be liked. But we won’t ever live up to these standards or people. We can’t. Our sinful nature will always get in the way.
1 Corinthians 4:3-4
As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.
It doesn’t matter what people think. Their opinions do not matter. In the end, we will only be headed to Heaven or Hell. These standards are useless. All we do is full short of them (unless they’re so low as to make us feel bad about having such low standards).
The only standard and opinion that matters is God’s. And because of Christ, we are seen as blameless before Him.
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
It doesn’t matter what we’ve done or what we will do. We’re saved forever.
So don’t let your fears control you. Don’t worry about what other people think. Don’t even worry about what you think. God’s opinion is the only opinion that matters and He has already proclaimed you His own child!
Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
There is no need for fear. This is a time to rejoice!
Do you ever feel…lost? I know the feeling. The feeling of not knowing where you are heading. Or, why you are even here? I think that sometimes we get so wrapped up in life that we forget the real point of life, of living. It is a very important thing to remember, but too easily we will take it for granted and, well…forget about it. I mean, we all got like a thousand things to be doing each day, right? But in doing all the thousands of things that need to get done, are you taking time to prioritize the right things in your life? Or, have you lost sight of the goal in the ruff and tumble of life? I know that I do.
So as the new year begins, as we start this year with a new perspective and new resolutions, let’s also make sure that our priorities are straight.
First off, a reminder of why we are living: to glorify God. That’s it. To glorify Him in any way possible.
Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
You know what is so neat about this? He created us out of dirt. That is about the lowest form of matter that He could have possibly used. But then He made us in His own image. His image. No other living being is created in His image. Only us.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!
How can we glorify God? I believe that there are so many different to glorify Him. So I won’t go through them all. But there are some I want to briefly talk about.
One is by worshiping God. All that takes is to sing, maybe out loud or maybe in your heart.
Another is reading His Word. Through that we can grow closer to God. It is quite a simple thing to do, but I think that because most have the option of always available, we don’t do it. There are people around the world who don’t have Bibles but would love for the chance to read one like we can.
Prayer. That can be very powerful in glorifying God. Jesus taught us how to pray. I think that means that it is important to him, so it should be important to us.
One of the most important ways to glorify God is by following His commands, especially about spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth. That doesn’t have to mean going to a foreign country and teaching people (though that may be what some people are called to do), we can spread the Gospel right in our hometowns. By being kind and when the right opportunity presents itself, share the Gospel. It is amazing what kindness can do for a person.
As this new year starts, let’s remember why we’re here. A lot of time we do get lost and lose our way, but we just need to run back to God. He is the only one who can truly give you meaning to life.
This is a new year with fresh possibilities and hopes and dreams. Some may just come true. So through everything we do, may we do it for God’s glory.
I know, Thanksgiving has come and passed, but I’m not talking about the holiday. I’m talking about the act of giving thanks, of being thankful. That is something that we can discuss all the time.
I have recently started reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. She talks about living a fuller life in Christ. I have really liked what she has had to say about it. An important role in that is thanksgiving.
The Greek word for “giving thanks” is eucharisteo. In that word, there are the parts of two other Greek words: charis and chara. Charis means grace, while chara means joy. Isn’t that neat?
But aren’t you here to talk about thanksgiving? Yes, I am and I believe that grace and joy play a part in that. Being thankful is hard. I fail at it, a lot. We all get so lost in our own troubles and worries and temptations that sometimes we lose sight of the bigger picture.
I’m not saying that any of our struggles are unimportant, because they are important. God lets us haves struggles so that we grow stronger in our faith and closer to Him. Whatever you’re going through, He will be with you. And we know from the Bible that He will not let us be tempted more than we can bear.
1 Corinthians 10:13
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
But in all of this, we can become quite ungrateful and not thankful. I know I do it all the time.
So how do we become thankful? I think it would help if we took time to focus on Christ throughout each day, everyday. For Ann Voskamp, she started to write a list of one thousand things she was thankful for.
If we start to pay attention to the things around us that we can be thankful for, naming specific things, it would bring us to not take things for granted. I believe that we would get a small glimpse of how much we can be thankful for. There are big things like God, living another day, family, etc. Then there are the minuscule things like melted butter on hot bread, rain pattering against the roof.
When we become thankful, we become joyful.
Joy is dependent on thanksgiving. The more thankful you are, the more joyful you will be.
This is something very important that I learned from One Thousand Gifts. It is so true. How can we be joyful when we are ungrateful? We may be happy, but that isn’t joy. And it definitely doesn’t last like joy does. Happiness comes and goes and can’t be trusted. It comes from material things. But joy, on the other hand, is something that can last forever. It comes from God. Once we have it, it can’t be taken away.
As Christians, we already have that joy that comes from God. But it sometimes gets diminished in going of life. Sometimes we need more of it.
Jesus lived a life of thanksgiving. Even near death, he gave thanks. He even gave thanks for his death.
2 Corinthians 4:15
All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
Because of God’s grace, we can live a life of thanksgiving too. We can learn to see things to be thankful for in any situation. It just takes a lot of practice.
But in the end, I’m sure that it will bring us so much joy.
Peace. Is that not what we all want? Peace from war. Peace from stress and anxiety. Not a single thing to worry about. No tragedies. No struggles. No hard times. No sadness. No sickness. No death. Well, that’s starting to sound like a utopia to me, don’t you think?
I know we can’t really stop wars, though we can be a good influence in the world and maybe it would happen less. Tragedies, slavery, starvation, natural disasters, and the like are always going to be here. We can make a difference in the world. But are any of these things ever truly going to stop? No, and that includes death. “So, are you telling us to just give up?” You might be asking. No, I am not. But I am saying some things just will never come true, at least, until Jesus returns.
Peace, inner peace, all of us can have. God, the creator of all the Heavens and the Earth, offers us peace. How do we get this peace?
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
God’s peace is beyond anything that we can even begin to comprehend. It can never be taken away from us. All we have to do is trust God with our lives, our struggles, our hopes, our dreams, and everything!
This is part of a song praising God.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
I think this is one of the main reasons we have trouble being and staying at peace. We can’t keep our thoughts fixed on God. I know, it is hard. We get so caught up in our lives at times. Our worries and everything else get in the way what we should be spending time on.
Another reason could be fear. We want control over our own lives. If you pay attention to what the world is doing today, it seems we want control of everything. The desire for control, power is one of our greatest downfalls.
Now we need to let go. We have to have faith. Jesus has given us that chance for peace.
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
Because of what Jesus did on earth, when we have faith and trust in him our sins are wiped clean. We become righteous to God! That, is why we owe him everything, especially our lives. So we should be full of joy to be able to glorify Him through everything we do.
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
This peace is such precious gift (See what I did there?). Money and other material stuff can not bring you peace, only God can. God is the only one who can give you everlasting peace. No thing, no one, can do that.
We may not know where we are going or what is going to happen to us, but God does. We can rely on Him to lead us down the right path. He is good, and can’t do anything wrong or He wouldn’t be God.
So lets trust Him and receive that peace. Alright? It is such a relief to know that your life is not in your hands and in the much more capable hands of God.
In closing, here is one more verse. I wish it for all of you.
2 Thessalonians 3:16
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.
By the way, if anyone hasn’t noticed, I changed my blog and updated it a bit about a week ago. The “About Me” has more about me on it and I have a “Book Reviews” page so you can go directly to any of my reviews. Check it out!
On Monday and Tuesday I read Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards for the first (I hope it is not the last). Anyways, it kind of hit me how much we need God. I mean physically, mentally, spiritually, and in every aspect of our lives. So that is what I want to talk about today: why we need God and why we should not worry and just trust Him.
“So…why do we need God?” Well, if you haven’t noticed, we are already relying on Him every millisecond of our lives from the start to the finish. He brought us into this world and He can take of out of it whenever He desires.
Every time I wake up to a new day, every breath I breathe, every single heartbeat has been given to me, to you, by God. He causes the food we need to survive to grow. He gives us water to drink. He is the one who gives us jobs to get money to buy things (like clothes). The most important thing He has given us though, is eternal life.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
All we ever have to do is believe that Jesus is who he says he is. Once Jesus has come into our hearts, we are free from the bondage of sin. We will know where we are going after death: to Heaven for all eternity. But those who do not accept Christ as their Savior will spend an infinite amount of time in torture in Hell. That just about gives me chills to say that, but it’s true (by the way, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God talks mostly just about that). Still, has not God given us the most perfect gift anyone could ever ask for?
Another reason we need God is that there would be no purpose to life without Him. If there was no God, what would be the point of life? We live, we die, and that’s that. There would be no point or purpose to live for.
God gives us purpose and meaning. We were made to glorify Him. We (Christians) are His children. We have been given a mission to teach and lead others to accepting God’s free gift. We’re valuable to Him.
Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?
This leads us to another point: we need to rely on Him, to trust Him. He has our very lives in His hands already. So why don’t we just stop clinging to our worries and let God take care of it and lead us through it.
Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
What’s the point of worrying anyways? It only gets you stressed out and gives you gray hairs (Hahaha…). You can’t really enjoy life by worrying.
Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.
God is perfect, holy, sovereign, omnipotent, omnipresent, and many other things. We can totally trust Him. He has been with us always, in every moment. He can do no wrong. Lets trust Him!
Some of you might be saying “But it is so hard to hand over our worries to Him!” I know, I still am working on it (we’re not perfect). But I think the reason why it is hard is because usually we are scared or maybe we want to have control of our own lives (as our sinful nature is prone to want). Either way, we need to let go of our worries. God has a plan for us (as I said in an earlier post), so lets let Him lead us through it. Because whatever plan He has, it will be for God’s glory and that, my friend, is what we’re supposed to do.