One Year Bible

January 1, 2015 was the day I decided that I wanted to read the entire Bible in one year. It was a goal that I had been thinking about for a long time. The Bible is a big book and there is so much to uncover inside it. As someone who has heard endless sermons, devotions, and verses to recite in Sunday school, I had never read all the way through a book that was supposedly the foundation of my life. I based my faith, my philosophy behind the little portion I had read of this book. There came a point in my life where I realized that if I was to go around preaching the Word, I needed to know the Word.

My favorite books of the Bible were always in the New Testament. The Timothy’s have always been my points of reference when I don’t know what else to read. It’s clear and challenging to me of how I need to live my life in the Church. The letters of the New Testament were always more intriguing to me because I could understand what they were saying. Compared to the Old Testament, filled with names and rules, it was more relatable to me and I would walk away with a verse I could easily apply to my day-to-day life. But like I said before, I have never read all the way through the Bible. That being said, I had never read through the whole Old Testament.

The Old Testament often gets pushed aside if someone was asked which Testament is their favorite. I read through the Old Testament little by little in my One Year Bible. The One Year Bible broke up passages so that I read an Old Testament passage, a New Testament passage, a Psalm, and a Proverb everyday. I was always excited for the first story I would read in the Old Testament each day. It was so interesting to learn the full history of our faith through the trials and the people who came before us. There were Kings and Prophets and cities that have stories that contribute to the family tree of Jesus! The stories that are often pushed aside are so important to where we are today as Christians. If the Old Testament didn’t happen, the New Testament wouldn’t have a foundation to build upon. A passion grew inside me for learning the foundation and starting marks of the amazing moments we read about with Jesus and His disciples in the New Testament.

 

Growing up going to church every Sunday taught me a lot about the stories written down in the Bible. When I say every Sunday, I mean every Sunday. I’ve heard the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Samson, Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection, and more stories of His miracles in the Gospels. I thought that I had heard them all! That was a lie that I had told myself for years. I kept telling myself that I knew enough about the Bible and that I was set for just learning more about the stories I’ve been told since birth. If this year has shown me anything, it has shown me that I know so little and there is so much left to uncover in God’s Word even after this year.

 

I would find myself sitting in my dorm room with my lamp on, reading my passages for the day, and thinking, “This is in the Bible?” There were stories that I had never read or talked about with anyone. There were verses that I wish I had seen last year when I was struggling with the very situation a prophet would be talking about. When people say live by His Word, I actually saw how applicable it really is.

 

This book was written thousands of years ago, yes. But it always blows my mind how God inspired these words in people in a different time and culture that still shows me the best way to live out a purpose-filled life today. It is so good. It was worth the read.

 

I finished reading through the Bible on January 1, 2016 (I had one extra day because I had a few days to catch up on… oops!) As I sat on my bed, reading the last few passages for December 31, I tried to recap what I had read over the past year. That was impossible… I read SO much truth in one year that I know I will need to go back and read again. But there was one thing that always stood out to me during my reading times. Yes, there were a lot of rules and regulations. Yes, people messed up a lot in Bible stories. Yes, there are stories filled with pain and regret and death. But these stories always had the same outcome. There was always a God who was present and waiting for His people, His children, to look to Him in those times. Because right besides stories of hurt, there was a following story that showed how God gave hope to His people amidst the trials and pain. He was always there. From the beginning, He was there with His people. Sin crept in and stole His people away, and He still wanted to provide a way back to Him. I saw a plan unraveling throughout the whole Old Testament of how God was planning to send His Son to redeem what had been lost on earth in the book of Genesis. He was to bring back life and salvation for God’s people. Every person from Noah to Moses, from David to Ezekiel were ones that God used to set the stage for the day Jesus would come and change the world forever. What a beautiful story!

 

When I read through the Old Testament books that had all the rules and regulations for God’s people, I had a new perspective on the rules that we all can so easily decide to dislike. Going from the Old Testament passages to the New Testament passages each day showed me how God wanted to grow closer to His people in both times. Before Jesus came to earth, God wanted His people to know a better way to live in Old Testament times. He wanted more for them than the brokenness and darkness that they lived in. God wanted His people to live purpose-filled lives that were apart from sin. And like a good father would, He set boundaries and laws for His children to stay away from the trouble He could foresee down the road. When Jesus came, He wanted to save His people from the trouble He could foresee down the road: eternal death. He came to bring life. The Word (Jesus) was flesh. Jesus knew the laws and regulations but wanted to show His people the best way to live them out with a purpose-filled life. His life was an example for us as Christians and how we are to live out these laws that God made for our benefit thousands of years ago.

 

Let’s think about this as if you are a parent. Or maybe you’ve babysat kids before or have younger siblings. I am not a parents but have younger siblings and have grown up babysitting younger kids. Let’s imagine you’re responsible for a group of 4-year olds for one day. You are all by yourself in your home with 5 children that are hyper, loud, and messy. Say you are going to make macaroni and cheese for lunch. Now imagine if the stove was on and you turned your back for one second and one of the kids was fascinated by the blazing fire and reached out to touch it. You know the responsibility you have for these kids and don’t want to see them get hurt. And if we love someone as much as we love ourselves, an example set for us by Jesus, we would do everything we could to make sure that this child wouldn’t burn themselves on the stove. That is how I see God’s laws that He set for His people. He is the Creator, He knows the best way for us to live a purpose-filled life! Reading through these laws and then seeing the consequences of people going against these laws showed me how necessary God’s laws are to live a life of purpose without the darkness of the world to weigh us down.

 

I think it always comes back to one word: love. How is God’s love active today and how was it active back in Bible times? Reading through the Bible showed me story after story of how God was looking out for His children. He was often asking them to turn from their wicked ways because the things they were doing were full of destruction and pain. He was often asking them to take a path that they may have not wanted to take because He saw the blessings that awaited them at the end of the journey He had planned. God loves His people so much that He often stepped in the way to show them a better way. That is how loving our Father is.

 

I am not a reader. It was often difficult for me to sit down and take the time to focus on the long passages I had to read. But the thing is, each day in the One Year Bible is designed for the reader to take about 15 minutes for reading. That is not long at all! When I put in perspective about how much time I was really spending in the Word, it wasn’t even as long as an episode on Netflix. There is some perspective, people…

 

This year showed me the importance of knowing the Word. As Christians, we need to know what we are talking about. We need to know the truth that we claim to base our faith on. If someone were to ask you about your faith and he or she didn’t come from a faith background, would you have scripture to back up what you believe? We can’t simply speak from opinion about Christianity. We need to speak Truth. That is what Jesus did. He would speak scripture to people. His opinions never got in the way of the truth that God wanted to speak through Him.

 

I’ve realized how much more I need to be in the Word. Now that I’ve read through the whole Bible, I want to study it with a different perspective. Instead of focusing on the whole Bible, I want to focus on each book inside of the Bible. There is so much to learn from God’s Word. There is so much truth that gives me hope for the day because they come from God’s heart. He gave us this tool for us to know Him better and to know how to live better for Him. If we aren’t using this gift from God, how can we better know Him? These are HIS words. The best way to get to know someone is to know their heart and to know their story. You have a story written by God for His people in a tangible form. Don’t let your Bible be a decoration on your shelf. Pick it up and open it up everyday. Oh, the things that we could give up for a few minutes in our day to instead spend in the Word! Oh, how we waste so much of our time doing the same thing everyday: posting and liking and retweeting and staring at a screen. Think about it… That is our daily routine! We will always make time for that. And I believe what we give our time to shows where our heart lies.

 

I’ve realized how many lies the enemy throws at us when we are challenged to read the Word. When looking back at my year and remembering days that I skipped reading my Bible, those days started stacking up on top of each other. If I had an excuse one day to skip it, there would always be another excuse for another day. It wasn’t until I started making myself sit down to read through the daily passages that it became apart of my routine everyday. It wasn’t always the same time everyday, it was always during a time that I knew I could give up something else to read God’s story.

 

“I don’t want reading my Bible to just be a ‘check off my checklist’. I want it to be a desire for me to sit down and read it.”

 

This was the biggest lie I heard from the enemy and from other people. We don’t want reading the Bible to just be a routine for us. The reason I see this as a lie is because unless we’ve been reading the Bible everyday of our lives since we could read, I don’t think we automatically get a desire to sit down and read the Bible. There were days that the last thing I felt like doing was reading. I either wanted to lay down and watch Netflix or sleep. But making sure that I read the Bible before the end of my day was the most important thing I could do. Even I felt like I was checking it off my ‘checklist’, reading the Bible was way better than anything else I could’ve been doing during that time.

 

If we aren’t making sure we check off ‘reading my Bible’ on our daily checklists, when will reading our Bibles become apart of our daily routine? We need to make the effort to do so before the desire to read God’s Word comes in our life. It’s like training for a race. If you never start running, how will you ever reach your goal of 5, 10, 15 miles? Most of us don’t have a desire to run. I know some crazy people that do but that is beside the point… We have to start somewhere. At the end of the day, we know that running is good for us, but we have to build that desire to do so by simply starting. For you to have a desire to read the Word, you need to start reading the Word. And if at first it is something you have to ‘check off the list’, it is the best thing you can be doing with that time of your day! Every time I made myself sit down to read the Word when I first started the One Year Bible, I never regretted it when I was done. You won’t regret the time you set aside to read the Word. It will forever impact your life, friendships, families, attitude, and relationship with Christ.

 

It is a new year. We may all be posting about our new year’s resolutions and what our goal is for 2016. How about we don’t just commit to our resolutions for this year, but start something this year that will continue for a lifetime? What if this was the year you said, “I am going to be in the Word everyday starting today”? I believe, as Christians, that is the most important thing for us to do if we want to change this world and spread the Gospel with our lives. We need to know the Word!

 

Favorite Verses Of The Year:

 

Psalm 85:8– I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for He speaks peace to His faithful people. But let them not return to their foolish ways.

 

Colossians 2:7– Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

 

1 Thessalonians 1:11-12– Because we know that this extraordinary day is just ahead, we pray for you all the time—pray that our God will make you fit for what he’s called you to be, pray that he’ll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something. If your life honors the name of Jesus, he will honor you. Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving himself freely.

 

Ecclesiastes 5:18-20-After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now. It’s useless to brood over how long we might live.

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Enlighten Your School 2015!

I don’t know how many of you know a lot of my story or about something I was apart of called ‘Enlightened’, but I felt led to share about it today for whoever needs to hear (or in this case read) it. Enlightened is a student led worship event that takes place in high schools. I felt God call me to start an event like this the summer before my senior year of high school. It was a big task that I saw ahead of me but I knew that God’s hand was over this dream and this calling as I saw Him work so clearly through the whole process of planning a student led event at my school.

Myself and a group of 11 other high school students decided to take on the challenge and flip our school upside down with an awesome event! We decided that the night be called Enlightened because of what Matthew 5:13-16 says. We wanted our school to know how we could be the salt and light in this generation.

For this event, I felt called to share my testimony of how God had called me to be different as a Christ follower in the past and how He is still always calling me to stand for my faith. I got to share my story at our first event and challenge my peers to listen to God’s calling and to physically respond that night by grabbing a candle in the front of the room to shine as a symbol of a commitment they made. In that room full of 600 students and adult leaders, we saw hundreds of candles break through the darkness as students made a wide variety of commitments to God at a school campus. We believed that our location was so significant because that is our mission field as students. We needed to invite God in this place because it is where so many people needed to see Him. We were and are called to bring a light to the darkness in our schools.

God started opening doors ever since our first event. He exceeded our expectations of how many would show up and the amount of response we got afterwards. While talking to a few students after our first Enlightened event, a few approached us and said that they wanted to see Enlightened happen at their school. Our small team of high school students that had planned this event had never thought about it going anywhere else. But as we heard more students say they wanted to see Enlightened happen again, we saw God bringing more opportunities to spread this message that He had laid on our hearts. We could challenge more of our peers with this message to be the salt and light in this generation!

Enlightened will always be one of my best memories. The first event we held in my high school was my favorite day because it was the start of something new in my life and in many other students’ lives. It was a night where God brought us all together to call us to a life lived for a bigger purpose. At following events, it still never got old. I loved hearing testimonies and singing some awesome worship songs and seeing the lights brighten the room where we gathered. It is always exciting because students are realizing this: God is calling us to do big things in our lives to ultimately make this world a better place. This world needs Him and God wants to use us, right now, to tell everyone about Him! And as students, we don’t believe we have to wait until we are adults to make a difference. We can start now with where God has placed us. We have heard this calling and want more students to hear it as well!

I am very excited for next year because of the doors that God continues to open for Enlightened. This summer, I traveled with NTS Camp to share with hundreds of students about what Enlightened is and how they can be apart of it. I thought since so much has happened with Enlightened even just this summer, I would fill you all in about what next year will look like!

Right now, we are inviting students to join this movement of worship and prayer in high schools and are challenging them to bring Enlightened to their schools. If a student feels called to lead this student led worship event at their school, they can now go to our website, enlightenyourschool.com, and click the ‘Sign Up’ tab to receive information about making ‘Enlightened’ happen at their school. For the past 5 months, me and a few people that were apart of Enlightened in the past, have been dedicating time and resources to making a booklet for students that want to lead an event at their school. These students that take on this challenge are called Student Event Organizers. After a Student Event Organizer signs up online, they receive this booklet that acts as a guide on how to plan a successful event at their school!

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This Enlightened booklet explains how to get together a team, provides layouts and timelines, and helps guide these student leaders as they take on this challenge during a busy school year. I am very excited for students to have this booklet in their hands this year because it has a lot of good information that we have used for our past events. This booklet serves as a guide but was also written to be encouraging to the students that decide to lead an event. I believe in this generation and in my peers and want them to know the impact and legacy they can leave with what they decide to do with their lives now. That is what I hope students get from reading these packets.

We hope for many schools next year, that have and haven’t been apart of Enlightened before, can see students rising up to the challenge to be the “salt and light in this generation” by inviting God into their schools. At an Enlightened event, the focus is to challenge and encourage our peers to be real with their faith at school but to also cry out to God on their school campus. This is a place where we need God most.

So as we venture into this new season of life and ministry, I invite you to pray. We are looking forward to the Enlightened events already lined up for next fall and want to see even more schools be apart of this movement. And if you are a high school student that wants to plan an Enlightened event at your school, I encourage you to go to enlightenyourschool.com and sign up! You will immediately be connected with one of our team members who has been apart of Enlightened before. They would love to walk you through the planning process and make sure that you can get one of our packets of information for a life-changing experience at your school.

I also want to throw something else out there at you. If you are someone that wants to invest into something like this, we would appreciate anyone that can help us print out more booklets for future Student Event Organizers to have! It takes a good amount of money to be able to make them and distribute them to students. If you are interested, go to our website and go to the ‘Contact’ tab and send us a message! This is something to pray about as we head into this next year, that God will continue to provide for those booklets. We know that He will!

Thank you to all you have encouraged me and supported Enlightened as a ministry. I am anticipating a great year and have been praying that God continues to do great things in high school students. As I now head off to college, I will hold dear the memories I made praying, planning, and worshipping with fellow believers in my school for these events. I know that God is going to continue to do great things in my old high school and many others. God is so good!!!

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See you next year at Enlightened 2015 events!!

When It’s Hard To Hear His Voice.

Have you ever prayed for something for a long time and didn’t hear a clear answer on what you should do? Have you ever felt like God was distant? Or that your prayers are just words disappearing into thin air? Has it been hard lately to hear His voice?

In my life, God has spoken to me in different ways. I have felt His voice in my dreams, in visions, through people, in His word, and many times during musical worship. He always shows up in different ways. And I have found that the moments that I heard Him were the moments that I was focusing my life on seeking Him. That is when we can hear His voice. When we are pursuing His presence and His power. If we aren’t, we get distracted by all the other voices talking into our ears. How can we tell those voices apart when we are paying more attention to the voices of this world?

I have this devotional that was published in 1962 by an author named Eugenia Price. For May 23, she writes about the darkness that we may be engulfed in that keeps us away from God.

We can either be chasing darkness or God’s light. God’s light is always there, darkness cannot overpower the light. Light breaks through the darkness. But sometimes, we can turn our backs to the light and pretend it’s not there. We may be intrigued and interested in the mystery of the darkness. It may not hold good things, but we walk further and further away from the light to explore the darkness.

Maybe the reason that we can’t hear God’s voice is because something in your life is casting a shadow. What is standing in the way of His light in your life? We have to get rid of that something. There can’t be any distractions. We can hear voices all around us everyday telling us to do this and do that. Focus on Jesus and you will find His voice.

John 1:5- The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Words To Live By.

These words matter much more than mine:

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:14-17.

To (EVERY) day.

Snow days are my favorite things about winter. I love that feeling of joy that I get when I hear the phone ring way before my alarm is supposed to ring or when my mom comes in and tells me to turn my alarm off. I guess I just don’t like my alarm clock. Maybe, just maybe, it doesn’t like me either.

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Do you ever hope and wish and pray for a day off? For a 3-day weekend? I’ve found myself hoping for a snow day so often because I don’t want to face the next day and get out of bed. Now let me say that snow days are a blessing and I am in NO WAY saying that they are bad… but I’ve been wishing and longing for too many days off. I started thinking about that. How much I want to just sit home and do nothing and sleep and watch Netflix… How many of us have been there? (All of our hands go up)!

For me, I personally looked over my desires of my life and how I take on each day. On those days when I am so tired that I contemplate calling a “sick day”, I think about what I’m asking for… And the effect it has on the day at hand.

For me, that is like asking God if we can have a day off of opportunities and responsibilities to be a light and show love to others. Every day we have a mission and a ministry in whatever season of life we are in and wherever God has placed us. And if we don’t know when Jesus is coming back, we can’t afford too many days off.

Rest is important, but don’t confuse that for laziness. I’ve been so tired lately that I keep hoping and praying for snow days… But why would I ask God, who I love and live for, to give me a day off of living out His plan and purpose? I just took a step back and saw how lazy and disrespectful that sounded to me. I didn’t want my relationship with God to be like that. I didn’t want to serve only when I felt like it or only when I got a good night’s sleep. It’s my job everyday to wake up and live for Jesus, to go where He calls me. That is what I signed up for and that is why I gave my heart to Him. I know that my life, everyday, has a purpose to point to Jesus. How can I do that if I’m at home on the couch or in bed watching Netflix or sleeping all day?

I’ve been blessed with good health and a body that works and can get up and walk to my car that drives me to school. I have food in the morning and coffee to help my eyes stay open on that drive to school. I have the opportunity to go to school and learn. But most importantly, I have a mission field everyday to share the love of Jesus Christ to my peers.

What if I stay home one day and I miss a really cool opportunity to share about Jesus with someone?

In order to do avoid these early morning blues, I’ve been trying to sleep more. Getting to bed and resting is so important to taking care of yourself. And as silly as it sounds, it really is your part in contributing to God’s Kingdom… Because in a way, how you take care of yourself can affect how you go about in the world.

Get sleep, get the nutrition you need and get filled up with Jesus when you take on each day. It’s important to get filled up with what you need so you can help fill others up with the love and hope you have in Jesus Christ. He wants to do so much through your life. What a privilege that is.

All in all, don’t take advantage of your days. They’re numbered.

Ephesians 5:16- …making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

A Snowy Sunday…

“I’ve been so busy” said everyone.

Life is crazy. Life is good. Life goes by fast. So we try to fit every possible thing we can in the time that we have been given here on earth. I think a lot of us are like this. I know I am. There is so much good in that but there is also a part of me that feels like I am missing out on something even though I am doing everything.

We live in a society that needs to keep moving. We all talk about it and we all recognize it. Yet we keep moving like an old toy you wind up to get going. So we go, go, go. And after all of that, I know that we all die down just like that toy that doesn’t have the energy to continue any further. I can’t tell you how many times I yawn during school every day.

I am involved in a lot of things. Church, school, friends, clubs, our school’s musical… You name it. When all of the responsibilities and plans in my life hit me, it always seems to happen in one moment. All of those things come crashing down and I realize how much is on my plate. I panic and I suddenly feel more tired than I do whilst walking through my school’s hallways at 7 in the morning (and let me just say, I am practically a zombie in the morning). But during this moment of panic and stress, I am gently reminded of who I am and who I am living for.

I know that my purpose is to be a light. To serve and to follow God’s calling in my life. He reveals to me everyday my purpose for each step I take wherever that may be. And there are many places that God is calling me to be. I feel like a lot of us can relate. We are working, going to school school, having families, throwing parties, joining clubs, playing sports, going to/serving in youth group… God may have us in many different mission fields and give us many different opportunities to find out who we are. But something that I’ve been asking myself is how many is too much?

I’ve always heard the saying “Don’t run yourself too thin” but I’ve never thought that it pertained to me. I was “fine” and had the energy to go and do all of these things I had signed up for. But now, I’m faced with my senior year and decisions… I am starting to think of questions like, “What is best for me and God’s calling in my life?”, “Where can I best contribute my talents?”, and “What can I do to make sure I can rest on top of everything?”

Rest is so important. And I haven’t been making rest a priority in my life. The silly thing is, I don’t sleep enough yet sleep is all I think about when I am at school trying to stay awake. If sleep is all I’m thinking about, how can I think about others in my school that I should be showing love to? It disturbs me that sleep takes over my mind because I’m not setting enough time aside for it.

Taking care of yourself is so important for taking care of others. We need to be in good condition to expand God’s Kingdom.

1 Corinthians 6:19

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;

Involving yourself in a lot of things can be good for you and for others to hear about Jesus through you. But make sure you can give your best in whatever you do. This may seem pretty obvious or cliche to you, but I felt this was something somebody needed to hear. I definitely needed to hear it and it was loud and clear. It was like my “wake-up call” to rest more….

Something that has been on my heart as well is you can grow closer to God while serving and doing what you feel He is asking you to do, but we need to make sure we are growing closer to Him in those intimate, quiet moments we set aside for Him. I think those are the most important moments of our days. Those quiet moments can help you prepare for the moments when you feel stressed and overwhelmed with everything life throws at you.

Make rest a priority. Make your time with just you and God the biggest priority. Make your days count. But just because you’re not getting something done or running around doesn’t mean your day didn’t count. The best days can be the ones spent in silence or even snoring. 🙂

Matthew 11:28

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Genesis 2:3

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Its Not Me, Its Not Us.

Psalm 127:1 says,

Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted.

Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.

This verse stood out to me today. It was a reminder to not put my faith in flesh (Philippians 3:3) or what I can do. We can all do something. God has given us all gifts and abilities. Its what we do with them that matters. He can use us for great things with the things that He has given us.

But there is also something so important in realizing that if we were not here and if we weren’t doing these things, God would continue to do great things. While its important to use your gifts and abilities to glorify Him and tell others about Jesus in many different ways, don’t ever get into the habit of thinking that you’re the reason people are coming to know Jesus or are turning their lives around because of your gifts.

If they’re turning their lives around for you, thats not a good thing. It kind of defeats the purpose. They’re aiming to please you.

It should all be about Jesus and what He is doing here with us.

Someone once told me, “If you’re going to build someone a house, great! But make sure you also build one for them in Heaven!”

Make sure the “houses” that you are building have God in the center. What you do with your life can be awesome and you can do great things. But like this verse says, without God being the focus of what you’re doing, its worthless. Give it all back to Him and know that He is what holds it all together!

This is just a simple little reminder I had today and its something that I need to be reminded of everyday. Its not about me! Its all about God and what He is doing here in people’s hearts. I am only a tool to help build the Kingdom. God is doing the real work!

We Need This Revelation.

I am 17 years old, a senior in high school, and have never read through the book of Revelation. It was always too scary for me. I didn’t want to think about it. So I never read through it. Not until this week.

Two weeks ago, I picked up my Bible and a verse in Matthew was staring at me. It was loud and clear that this verse was pertaining to me. My Bible was open to Matthew 26, where Jesus was praying in Gethsemane, and he found his disciples asleep outside of the garden. They were waiting for Him but became tired and dozed off.

Matthew 26 says this: 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

This verse really challenged me that day to give more time to Jesus, even when I’m tired. I often brush aside the thought of digging into the Word when I get home from school because I can barely keep my eyes open. But His Word says, ‘The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak’. It was right in front of me. And I needed to respond. I needed to give God an hour everyday. That is what I committed to do this weekend.

On Monday, I failed. My body’s weakness overcame that boldness to devote this hour to God. I went to bed early that night and had the mindset of, “I’ll do it tomorrow”. That is an awful thing to say. Especially about time with God.

I was being hypocritical that day because I’ve been flustered with how many of my peers say that in youth group every week. They say they need to get in the Word more, every week. And all I’ve wanted to say to them is if you need to, why don’t you?

And then there I was. Face to face with my warm, consuming, comfortable bed that begged for me to lay my head down and forget about the world for awhile. Yes, I failed. I am not proud to say that I made a commitment to God and didn’t keep it. The next day, I knew that this couldn’t wait any longer. This challenge, to pray and spend time with God for an hour everyday, is something I did two summers ago and it turned my life around. I felt like I got brand new eyes and ears after that experience.

That challenge was only 21 days and God showed me so much in those 21 hours. Honestly, though, the hour goes by so fast that I usually spend an hour and a half to two hours in the Word and in prayer. I wish more people my age would devote more time to God. We give our time to plenty of other things.

I wish people my age would read through Revelation. It is something that really scares a lot of my friends but it is so real. It is more real than the television shows we watch. It is more real than Instagram. It is more real than school and money and things… Because all of this stuff here will fade away. We forget that sometimes. Revelation is a book that has totally changed my perspective on life and how I view things. Do I have an eternal mindset? Do I worry too much about being comfortable? Because we are never promised that. Not now. And definitely not in the future.

In those detailed chapters, there is talk of fire and pain and regret for those who don’t know Jesus. I instantly thought a friend of mine that doesn’t know Jesus. We’ve been friends for a very long time and I know that she doesn’t want to have anything to do with God. These verses brought sorrow. I kept thinking, She doesn’t know what is going to happen someday. How do we tell people about Jesus in such an urgent way but with gentle love? The message that sits, waiting in the Bible needs to be spoken of. People need to hear about what Jesus did for them. We can’t say, “I’ll do it tomorrow.”

I want to see an awakening in my generation. Some people are in a deep sleep and they need someone else to tell them the day has begun, its time to get up. It is so important. I hope you feel that way as a Christian. I sincerely hope that you have hope in Jesus and that you want to share that with your friends who are lost in darkness. I don’t believe Revelation is a book that we need to scream from the streets to people that don’t believe. I believe that book is motivation for us believers. It gives us a picture of what we’re up against and a hope that as followers of Jesus, we have victory in the end. He won. But there is still a battle that rages on.

Revelation is our reminder to keep going and to trust in Jesus. And I really think it serves as a reminder that our friends are dying. Do you remember when you received new life? Do you remember where you were yesterday? Last month? Last year? Years ago? Jesus gave you new life. He wants to do the same for the people placed around you in your life.

Read Revelation. For people my age, I really encourage you to do so if you haven’t. Or read it again if you already have. This stuff is scary, but its so real. We can’t be scared anymore. Jesus won. He has defeated the grave. Read this book with that hope in mind. This scary stuff is real, but so is Jesus. And so is the blood that He shed to save us. Take a journey with Jesus today and go spend some time with your real Savior.

Revelation 3:20

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with them, and they with me.

Revelation 21:8

“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Revelation 1:5

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood

Revelation 21:4

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Revelation 22:12

“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what they have done.”

Why You Could Be A Bad Friend

For some Christians, sharing their faith with the people closest to them makes them freeze and then retaliate. When I see that I don’t understand. Then I freeze and retaliate. When I learn that someone is a Christian, I kind of expect them to love talking about their Savior, Jesus, to others. And when I don’t see that, a part of me hurts inside.

I hurt inside because being a Christ follower is dong exactly that: following. Jesus didn’t stand still. He didn’t sit around His whole life waiting for lost people to find Him. They were lost! Sure, people did find Jesus, as we read in the Bible. But He knew the importance of choosing the path God had before Him and taking that path because there were lost people who needed help along the way.

If you are a Christian, you are not called to stand still. No, not literally. You are not called to stand still in your faith. You are called to go and tell others the truth that you possess. The truth that you hold in your hands. Proclaim the Word that you claim to believe yourself.

Talk is trash. People can throw it away. Not everyone has a perfect memory and can recite the Gettysburg Address. The words you may say to someone may mean something then but may not stick with them.

I’m not saying words of wisdom, sermons, or kind words are not worth it. What I’m saying is to only tell someone you love them but never show it to them will get thrown away into nothingness (just like trash). What is the point when actions show so much more to people? We like to see that you mean what you say.

As you hear so many pastors and preachers and leaders say, God is calling you to action.

Go and tell your friends about Jesus with words and by who you are. If your faith in God is the most important thing to you, it will shape who you are. It will change the way you think, feel, act, and respond to certain things. Isn’t that what we asked Jesus to do when we asked Him into our hearts?

I say all of this because I care. I say all of this because as a Christian, you have a responsibility. I say all of this because there are people out there that need to know Jesus.

If this is all scary, seems demanding, or is too much for you, you have the choice of turning back. You really do. You have that freedom. But if you follow Christ, these things shouldn’t seem abnormal to you. Being called to action should not be crazy. Being a Christ follower is not normal! So why do we expect so much to be like everyone else and retaliate when we are called to be different? That is not what we signed up for!

I don’t know what you are thinking right now. If you think I sound angry or mean or like I’m pointing my finger at you right now, I just want you to think about why you feel that way. I want you to know that my intensions for writing this is not to say that I’m perfect in this area of my life, but to say that as followers of Christ, we have an opportunity to proclaim truth and spread love.

Love isn’t always easy and fruity and bubbly and fun. Love is caring enough to help someone when they’re stumbling. Love is caring enough about a friend to tell them about Jesus because you know the other option is hell.

This is a serious thing we have to think about as Christians. Do we believe in God? And do we believe in hell? Do we fear both?

Proverbs 9:10- To fear God is the beginning of Wisdom.

A prominent leader in my life, Michelle, shared with our small group this last week a vision she had about her unbelieving friends. She said that she imagined people from every nation standing in line on Judgement Day to meet with God. A friend, who didn’t know Jesus, turned to her with fear in her eyes and asked,

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

That was a powerful message for me to really observe how important sharing my faith is to me. Am I telling everyone I can about Jesus and the love He has to offer? Or am I too worried about crossing boundaries and making them feel suffocated?

That is a word I hear a lot; “suffocated”. It is usually followed by “my parents” or “this weird person at school that talks about Jesus ALL THE TIME”. But we can’t fear this word. We can’t fear how people will react to hearing God’s word. They need to hear it. Right now I’m remembered a great quote from a great movie I used to watch as a child (and still do):

“Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game” -Cinderella Story.

(I know that what we’re talking about isn’t a game, but we can relate it to a game because this quote is so true!)

For me, this article was very difficult for me to publish because I know of people in my life, who are Christians, who would be offended by what I have to say. And if I told them this to their faces, I don’t think they would like me anymore. That is exactly why I needed to write this. Because there is something really messed up about that.

If you have this truth, don’t go and shove it in people’s faces. But don’t sit back and wait for people to come to you magically one day and ask about Jesus. There is a fine line between the two and we need to be there.

Sharing your faith is too important to worry about what others are thinking. If Jesus would’ve kept quiet during His life here on earth, we wouldn’t be able to look forward to an eternity of life with God. He saved us. And He wants to save your friends too. And maybe, just maybe, you were put in a friend’s life to be the one who tells them about this Savior.

John 3:16- For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever may believe in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

Jeremiah 1:7-8- But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.”

Matthew 28:19-20- And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

1 Peter 4:18- And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

Matthew 25:31-46.

Walking on Water.

On Thursday mornings I get the privilege to pray with amazing Christian friends before school starts outside of our cafeteria. We gather in a circle and thank God for the day and what He is doing in our school, but we also ask God to do more of His will in our school.

Today, my friend Jesse was having a conversation with God and He was remembering how this morning he was reading about Jesus and Peter walking on the water. He prayed that we could all do the same in our schools, that we could let go of doubt and fear to walk on the water, because we all have them.

Many of us have our own story of “walking out on water”. Whether you were one who stepped out and walked with faith, stepped out and let fear pull you under the waves, or you even were a disciple that stayed in the boat. We often forget about those people but are often exactly like them when we are faced with the decision to step out of a boat.

Could you imagine what the story would have looked like if Peter had walked out to Jesus and stood there with Him without falling? What could have happened? Would the other disciples have walked out with him as well?

We might find ourselves asking that same question. What could have happened? What if I had stepped out of the boat? What if I had trusted in God and kept my eyes on Him? Would others have seen it and followed?

Maybe I wouldn’t have sunk.

Whatever it is, we are all called out upon the waters. The water is vast and deep. It can be dark or clear (depending on where you are in the world). There may be life boats nearby or you may have to swim. But no matter what anyone tells you, you can walk on water. Whatever that thing is that God calls you to, you can do it. Jesus is calling you. He wouldn’t call you if He didn’t have a plan and a purpose.

Matthew 14:28-31

‘Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.

He said, “Come ahead.”

Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”

Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?”’

Oceans became a fear of mine when I had a nightmare as a child. I was in a big pool of water and a shark was swimming underneath a floating device I was seated on and had its mouth open wide ready to chomp down on my little head. I cried out, “Mom! Help! Dad! Help!” But they sat outside the water talking to some friends. They couldn’t hear me, or didn’t want to hear me. And all I could think was I was destined to be engulfed by the water I had wandered out into.

As I grow up, and I wander out onto the water, I don’t always know what is in the water. And my parents aren’t always going to be able to save me. Though I know I’m probably not going to get eaten by a shark, the unknowns are scary.

While the oceans that we are called to may be scary and unknown, there is a God waiting for you with His hand stretched out wide. But you need to step out. Remember in the story how the disciples were caught in a storm when they were in that boat? Sometimes God calls us during storms. When Jesus told Peter to walk out to Him, they were probably all thinking, ‘Now? The waves will knock him over! He could never do it in this kind of storm.’

His timing is perfect. Maybe He wants someone else to see you walk on water.

Whether you choose to be the person in the boat or the one who steps out, there will be people that see your decision. That decision could inspire them. If you walked out on the water and stayed afloat, how could that effect the rest that stand in the boat? Would they step out too?

Don’t grip the sides of the boat and wait for the storm to pass. Walk out to Jesus during the storm. He is calling. Let go of fear. Let go of doubt.

You can walk on water.