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

The Taming of the Tongue

The Taming of the Tongue

My biggest pet peeve on social media is when someone says something hurtful and when someone gets hurt, they say, “It’s just Twitter.” People seem to believe that when they say something is their opinion and it’s said online, it doesn’t have the same weight as saying something hurtful in person. It’s so weird.

Words matter. No matter how they’re said or where they’re said. A lot of people think that the taming of the tongue is about censoring them. It’s the whole claim of freedom of speech. Yes, you are free to say what you want. But you are still responsible for the consequences that come from it.

The Taming of the Tongue

The Bible has many verses about being wise and guarding your heart. But one of the verses that stood out to me is Matthew 15:11. It says, “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” (Matthew 15:11, NIV) I feel like we often don’t put much thought into what we say. I know sometimes I don’t. I just say things and never think of the weight behind it.

We’re caught up in a world with many different opinions. But it’s gotten to the point that we yell out our opinions louder than making sure someone is okay. This verse puts me on check. The fact that what we say can be more detrimental to us should make us stop and think. There are some things that shouldn’t be said even though we think it’s right. Especially as people who represent the Gospel to others, even something that seems minuscule to us can be hard for someone to hear. Things have consequences whether we realize it or not.

This in general is something I know I have to work on. It’s not about censoring myself but being wiser about what I say. Words hurt even if someone doesn’t call you out on it.

What are your thoughts on this?

Do Not Awaken Love

Do Not Awaken Love

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires. | Song of Solomon 8:4

I remember years ago sitting at a youth service and first hearing this verse. Of course it was around Valentine’s Day and the message was all about waiting on God and lovey dovey things. It’s a good verse and a great reminder to not force something. But this is something we so easily forget. Do not awaken love seems easy but it’s tough.

Do Not Awaken Love

I’m a girl and I love love. Rom-Coms are my thing. I love Christmas movies because they’re so cheesy and so cute. As I get older and I see more friends getting married and such, it gets tough not going to lie. I went to a college where “ring by spring” was a thing and so many people I knew got married quickly. Things like this make it important to remember Song of Solomon 8:4. It seems simple to find someone and date them and if they’re good enough, just settle down. But I feel like people often force love and it ends up getting messy. 

I love that this is a real verse in the Bible. The fact that God has something to say about our love lives is great. It all comes down to not forcing things to happen that are not in God’s time. When it comes to sharing your life with someone, it can be harder when it’s not God’s plan because it will hurt deeply. It is so easy to get impatient when we see other people living out their lives and happily ever afters.

Waiting for something is never easy. But acting on our own behalf instead of leaving God to do His thing will make things more complicated. This verse is honestly great advice and just a reminder that all things come at the right time. Do not awaken love until it so desires. It’s hard but will be worth it.

What are your thoughts on this?

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?