Refresh yourself and get a cup of coffee and read through stories, devotionals, and inspiration to strengthen your faith.

Cross Equals Love

Cross Equals Love

For some reason, whenever Easter will roll around, I would get really uneasy. I never understood why. Christmas was always the best time but Easter always seemed overwhelming. It never hit me why until this year’s Cross Equals Love campaign. Easter confronts us with our sin so clearly because the main focus is Jesus’ sacrifice. 

Easter is all about Jesus’ death and resurrection. We all know that. But understanding the magnitude of that is a whole different level. Jesus’ love was so genuine and real and nothing we deserve. Imagine giving Jesus half our heart and living outside of His ways when He died a brutal death on a cross? How can we go through the Easter season without looking at ourselves and really aligning ourselves to God?

Easter is not just another event, it’s the event. We would not have hope if it wasn’t for Jesus. The crucifixion is a tough pill to swallow. It was bloody and painful, yet Jesus did it anyway for us. It’s so easy to forget the magnitude of what happened. It was a brutal death. Yet Jesus did it for love. A radical, pure, never-ending love. A love we don’t even deserve yet He gives so willingly.

This season is always important. But it’s also important to look to ourselves and see how we can be living more for Jesus. We need to honor His sacrifice and all He has done for us.

Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity He put us in right standing with Himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where He always wanted us to be. And He did it by means of Jesus Christ.

– Romans 3:23-24

Right Now

Right Now

Seasons. You either love them or you hate them. I’m the one that hates them. Most of the seasons of my life have been long and brought challenges that I had to dig deep. There’s nothing I loved more than imagining the end of it and the joy that it would bring. But what’s happening right now? 

I’m a daydreamer. My thoughts are consumed with the things as I feel like they should be and what’s to come. I get anxious with the now and search for the new thing. The right now stresses me out, to be honest. The right now isn’t perfect and sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it. But the right now is where God has you.

This is Right Now

I’m not one to put trust in the process, which is why the now makes me anxious. The thing is that the now isn’t bad. But I’m always thinking about something else. The past, the future, but never right now. Everything lately reminds me of the fact that I just need to focus on what’s in front of me right now. Unhappiness comes from thinking about the way things used to be or how you believe they should be.

It’s hard to live in the now when your eyes aren’t focused on God and what He has called you to do at this moment. The right now may not be the ideal place you want to be. It may be painful, boring, or you might not even see anything happening. Truthfully, we feel this way on our own because we’re not trusting God. Every step in our life has a purpose, even the ones we don’t seem to care about. Right now isn’t a stumbling block, it’s a step.

Isaiah 43:18-19 stood out to me, ““Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” God is sill going to do something, we just need to learn to let Him do His thing instead of trying to see life how we want it.

The Story of Redemption

The Story of Redemption

I remember ending 2016 tired and hopeless. 2016 was rough. The mistakes, doubt, and confusion was crushing me. I was directionless but knew I has to push myself to something for 2017 so I chose redemption as the word to keep me focused. When I picked that word I wasn’t expecting something grand, I just thought I’d do a couple new things in my life. But I also just desperately needed God.

But as always, God has better plans than my own. I knew I wanted to make something out of my life instead of moping about what could’ve been. It was overwhelming because I didn’t know where to start so I kind of jumped. I tried to get myself plugged in somewhere and push past my comfort zone but I still didn’t feel like I was getting somewhere. At first I thought God will help open doors and guide me somewhere but He did something different.

What did redemption for me look like?

At the end of 2016 I genuinely asked God to search my heart and rid me of everything. Mistakes, shame, guilt, resentment, you name it, I just wanted to feel free and focus on my walk. And that’s what He did. The start of 2017 dealt with a lot of me coming to terms (p.s. read my testimony here because this is how I got to writing it) with my past and apologizing to people I may have hurt and forgiving those who have hurt me. I had to accept stuff that happened to me and actually overcome them instead of avoiding it.

Man, it was hard. My pride took a hit and God humbled me down. Which in all honestly, was the best thing He could have done. I don’t easily open up about the true tough issues in my life but I had to learn to face them because avoiding it was doing more harm than good.

To be honest, by summer I was feeling emotionally vulnerable and still confused on what God wanted me to do. It wasn’t until Zoe Conference when I actually felt God nudge me in a specific direction so I obeyed and life has changed a lot since then for the better.

So where does the story go now?

I’m happy. For the first time in a long time I can say that and genuinely mean it. Things are not completely figured out but there’s joy in my heart and God’s plans in my life so it’s all okay. I’m also still a mess who messes up at times, but I can actually work from it instead of hiding. I still don’t feel like I have it all together but I’m in a better place spiritually that I feel at ease.

God turned things around in my life and I’m grateful He did. I would have never pictured where and how I am ending 2017. Grateful doesn’t begin to cut it. God is good. Life is wild.

Did you have a word for 2017? How’d it go?

You Can’t Stop Seeking

You Can’t Stop Seeking

Have you ever felt blessed? I’m sure you have at one point. It’s great to feel when God comes through and you feel everything fall into place. However, sometimes when we get blessed, we thank God but then we feel like we don’t need to reach out to Him as much.

I know I’ve been there. When the trouble comes, I’m constantly praying and crying out to God. But once He’s done my miracle or blessed me, the amount of time I spend seeking Him dwindles. We are fault humans and sometimes we seek God’s blessing more over just seeking Him for who He is. But the thing is that we can’t stop seeking God no matter what. Our relationship with God is more valuable than just the things He can give us.

God is Always There

The end. There’s no ifs or buts about this. He’s there in the good times. He’s there in the bad times. God shows up in our lives, we need to show up for Him too. I remember going through a tough dry season and not knowing if God even heard me. There was so many times that I thought what was the point if I didn’t see anything happening. But deep down I knew I had to keep praying. God is there working even if you don’t feel Him speaking loudly. God never leaves you. Even His silence means something.

On the flip side, I know there have been moments where I felt so blessed by God. I remember thinking how great life was. I would post a quick shout out to God on Twitter and then I jumped in to my blessings. But that’s it. I was too caught up in my happiness that talking to God was put in the back burner. Sometimes we feel that since blessings come from God, us rejoicing in them is the same as tending to our relationship with Him. Don’t stop seeking Him because you feel things are good. This time is the best opportunity to genuinely get to know Him.

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Keep Praising

If you haven’t heard “Do It Again” by Elevation Worship, go do that now. The song talks about God coming through for us every time like He’s done before. It’s a constant reminder to see how God is always there and will always make sure we’re taken care of. Our relationship with God is not just for whenever we feel like it, it’s a constant thing.

The end of 1 Chronicles 16:11 (NIV) says, “ Seek His face always.” It’s the always that we need to remember. Don’t stop once you feel you got something out of it. Seek God and don’t stop.

Why You Should Consider Sponsoring a Child

Why You Should Consider Sponsoring a Child

It’s kind of crazy to think that regardless of all the advances in technology, inventions, etc. there are still people around the world who don’t have access to this. While we’re lining up to get the newest iPhone, some don’t have access to clean water. It’s a crazy disconnect. But there are ways to change this. Sponsoring a child is an easy way to make a change in the world. Imagine simply having to donate a small amount and changing someone’s life completely? We can so easily make a difference.

Also, this isn’t sponsored. I just want to share some amazing organizations and show you some cool opportunities to give back! Here are some reasons you should consider sponsoring a child.

You Say, But I Don’t Have Money

Look, I feel you. I have bills and student loans to pay. The thing is some of these organizations don’t ask for too much. I sponsor through Compassion International where it’s only $38 a month. I know myself and I would spend that amount eating out and clothes so why not put it towards something better? Take a month and budget and see how it can fit in. I’m not going to lie, it was still an adjustment and I worried about the months where money is tight. But I can learn to live without a few luxuries and sacrifice a few things because these kids have to live with that reality every day. I won’t deny that it is a monthly commitment that is not easy to make so make sure you research thoroughly,

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Generosity Changes People

I admit, it took me a long time to actually sponsor a child. Even while I was looking over Compassion International’s I would close the page and reopen it over and over because I didn’t know it sponsoring was for me. There’s also so many kids that need help and I felt so overwhelmed because there’s only so many kids I could sponsor. I decided to sponsor two kids, a girl my niece’s age and a boy my nephew’s age and I choose the ones who had been waiting the longest for help. I honestly had second thoughts and I remember just staring down at my phone, pushing submit, and tucking it away in my pocket. Soon enough they sent me all my information and more information about the kids I sponsor and I felt such joy and I knew I made the right decision. 

It’s honestly so simple and easy to sponsor someone and I think we’re the ones who over complicate things. Personally, it made me realize that I have such a cushy life and I could do without my trips to the coffee shop if it means providing a better future for someone. But it made me so aware that there is so much work to be done and we need to give more to others. Even the smallest thing can make such a difference.

Where You Can Sponsor

There are a lot of organizations you can sponsor from here’s a few. Like I mentioned, I sponsor through Compassion International and I’ve had a great experience. They make everything so easy and you can easy contact the kids you’re sponsoring and build a connection with them. There are kids from South America to Africa. Watoto is another great organization. They actually have options to help sponsor the mom’s of the kids and babies. You can also do one time donations. Similar to that is Love Does. They have kids from Iraq, Nepal, Uganda and you can sponsor them or also give a one time donation. Another great organization is Save the Children. You can sponsor kids from all over the world. They also have the option to sponsor a child here in the United States. There are so many kids that need help and you can help even in the smallest way.

I hope you consider sponsoring a child in need. It will be worth it.

Also, if you’re curious how these organizations (or any other charity) use their finances and other details about them, check out Charity Navigator. They break down how expenses are spread out and you can also find other organizations to support.

What are some ways you give back? You can also check out some shops that give back with your purchase here!