Saturday, August 30, 2014

It Clicked...Consider Joy.

 (James 1:2-4) Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 


This is what the Lord has been teaching me for more than a week straight. You know that moment when suddenly everything just makes sense? When everything just clicks, the aha moment, light bulb turning on, revelation? You know what I'm talking about, right? I had my first one the day I laid by my bed and cried out for Jesus to show me that He was real and then He did...click. I was 15 then, and I've had my good share of click moments ever since. This one that happened to me a week an a-half-or-so ago is probably one of the most major though. It's changed me. God has changed my fear of the unknown, the frustration of what is out of my control, into joy. Not happiness that only lingers for a short time and comes and goes, but joy that penetrates the soul and no matter what doesn't want to go. It's one thing to talk about letting go and letting God, but when you have an encounter with the lord in this area (or any area) His grace makes what was impossible in our strength and ability possible in His strength and ability. Over these passed few days God has just seen fit to teach me this. I've prayed for answers and these days were a big part of His answer. It was simple really. He just told me to delight in Him, to enjoy His company and presence, while He took care of my future. Matthew 6:33 is complete truth: To seek His kingdom, will, and presence, will set our focus on Him while He takes care of all that has to do with us. I've known this before but being in a storm can cause you to freak out sometimes but thank God that His faithfulness is not dependent on ours. He is who He is because He simply is. We don't need to get it, we just need to love Him. That's the first step, to just love Him. When we love God...trust, joy, peace, and obedience follow. 

This is what's been going on in my life right now and if anyone needs this well here it goes: with all my love in Christ I pray that you just love God to the point where the unanswered questions fade away and the mysteries of life become a joy to you rather than a terrible burden. I pray God's joy over you today as you fall deeper and deeper in love with Him. Because the more we fall in love with God the easier it ease to be stoned or shipwrecked in life like Paul and still write something as poetic as 1 Corinthians 13. That came out of a man who had joy in the midst of the trials that every christian faces when following Jesus. I mean, hopefully you've never been stoned to death but it could happen and I've felt the hurt of words that hurt like stones like many of you have. Our lives are to bring God glory. I heard an amazing quote recently..."it's His glory that is at stake, not ours." Our lives are about Him. After all, is not Jesus' love, heart, blood, and life worth fighting for? In this pursuit of God's will for us and of Jesus we press forward and every step brings us closer to who God created us to be. The reason I love the whole aspect of the verse I shared above is because once we fall in love with Jesus to the point of knowing that turning back is not an option, we persevere and continue to run forward, and this pilgrimage refines us season by season with the intention of bringing forth maturity in Christ. Maturity in Christ looks like Christ, it looks exactly like Him: how He forgave, surrendered, endured, talked, believed, loved, and lived. Suffering is inevitable but consider God's supernatural joy. Consider joy.



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Back to School: Worship, Clothes, Life


Tuesday was my first day back at the University and even through some craziness (which I will speak of next time) I had an awesome day filled with the joy of the Lord. Truly God has just been showing me how to continually have joy in the midst of hard times or even the things I don't understand. When we trust God and delight in Him a mind-boggling peace and joy floods our souls. I had been pretty busy going school supply and clothes shopping with my younger sister Angie, taking care of my puppy Cody, and just doing life. 



Last week my boyfriend and I got to meet up with one of our old friends Edwin who we hadn't seen in two years. We met while we were helping out a local church in our area put their worship band together and we were there leading worship for a couple months. We got in contact through facebook and took a pizza over to his house and had an amazing time in fellowship and listening and talking about Bethel music and maybe even going up to their Supernatural School of Worship in Redding, California together sometime in the near future. As most of you know that has been my dream for so long and I'm still believing God for it. I really wanted to go this summer but the Lord just pressed upon me that I had His vision but He had the timing so I let go and I've just been focused on falling more in love with God and really a lot of character building. So back to our friend Edwin...the three of us had such a blast that we decided to get together the next day at my mom's salon. Because we recently moved all of our instruments from the garage to one of the rooms there, we got together and just worshiped God. On the spot we played Our Father by Bethel without any previous practice and we just flowed into God's beautiful presence and spontaneously sang new songs. It was awesome and brought back so many good memories. After that, Edwin invited us to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings and I ate a Caesar salad while the boys went all out on their chili cheese dogs with fries. We just kept talking about how God was working in each of our lives and began to minister to one another. Truly blessed to have such good friends. 


On another note...I started school this semester with a whole new wardrobe that I'm so excited about. I've never been a big flashy designer type of girl but I do like dressing nice in a way that reflects God and my personal character. I've grown so much these couple of years and right now my closet is a holder of jean jackets, skirts of both long and medium length, maxi dresses of various colors, flats, sneakers, sandals...etc. This semester holds a lot of fun surprises that I am beyond eager to share with you all. This weekend I'll be more detailed, I promise. For now I'm just going to start getting ready to head of to school and ending this post with a big God bless you!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Nominated For The Liebster Award!


I want to give a shout out and huge thank you to Bethany Carson from Liberty or Death for nominating me for the Liebster Award. This is the first time I do this and basically these awards are a fun way for bloggers to get to know nominated bloggers better through a series of questions.



Bethany"s Questions:

1.  If you could have an expenses-paid vacation to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
This is really hard...I would love to either travel to beautiful Puerto Vallarta, Mexico because it's simply stunning or...Chiapas, Mexico to visit the beautiful land of cascades where my grandmother was born.
   

2.  What would you like to accomplish by the end of 2014?
I really don't know how to answer that...get engaged maybe lol...who knows?...well, God knows, right?

3.  If you had a million dollars, how would you use it?
This is literally the million dollar question. There's a ton of stuff I would do. I would, without a doubt, help my parents pay off our house and business, pay to build the church that my parents are praying for, I would buy all the instruments that we still have yet to buy, the equipment needed for a recording studio, pay for my masters degree in rehabilitation, help out my friends who are like family to me, and then...pray for God to show me what to do with the rest.

4.  What are your favorite foods?
I'm going to have to go with red Mexican enchiladas, caesar salad, 7-layer dip, cheesy oven-roasted tomatoes, and my Mom's tres leches cake.

5.  What are your favorite quotes and Bible verses?
I love this question! I have to many so here's a narrowed down version (it hurt to narrow down lol)
My favorite quotes are: 

“When we get a bigger boat from God we need to make sure our anchor grows too. We need to spend more time with God anchoring ourselves in the word.”
—Bill Johnson
“One encounter with God’s love, its all it takes. We are created to respond to His love.” —Kim Walker Smith

My Favorite Bible verses are:

(Isaiah 12:2) Surely the Lord is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord is my strength and my song. He has become my salvation.

(Romans 12:1) And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.

(John 4:24) For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”


6.  What is the best advice on life you can give in up to 3 sentences?
No matter what you face never doubt these two things: that God loves you and that He always walks right beside you. In every season learn to consult God first and hear His voice so that you won't be swayed by any other. Getting to know God every day is the best thing that could ever happen to you so don't be afraid to stand out because God created you to shine, to be different, by reflecting Him in everything you do.

7.  If you could live in any time period, which would you choose?
I know that I was born in a time such as this but if I could, take me back to the time when Jesus walked the earth please! 

8.  What is your dream car and your dream home?
Something along the lines of a Chevy Equinox with a sunroof would make me faint. When it comes to a house, I've dreamed about this for years: A one-story country house surrounded by large oak tress, with a rose garden, front porch, large yard, and filled with the love of the Lord.

9.  What languages can you speak?
English, Spanish, and tounges lol (my favorite church joke)

10.  Do you have a current occupation; if not, what would your dream job be?
I've only ever had one job at a Naturopathy clinic but as of now I am a full-time student in the University of Texas-Pan American, majoring in Rehabilitation with a concentration in Addictions Studies. I see myself as a counselor in the near future, helping teens and young adults with behavioral issues know the love of Jesus and the purpose that He has for their lives. God has my dream job already planned out though so that's a big relief.

11. What cause(s) are you most opinionated about?
What "worship" truly means to God 
God's supernatural manifestations today
How to truly help people who are going through addictions, abuse, or behavioral problems. Medication only numbs the problem that Jesus can cure.

12.  Is there any quality you think the Lord is growing in you right now (e.g., patience, love, trust)?
Oh yes...having joy in Him, delighting in Him, in the wating periods. He's teaching me what patience looks like to Him. Trust goes hand-in-hand with that. This season should be interesting! 


This is going to sound like the Ice-Bucket Challenge but...I Now nominate (optional):
Lizzie at For His Kingdom , Overflowing Music for Him , Lizzie Photography : Encouraging and bold-faith devotionals, the journey that is worship, and beautiful photography
Kendra Lee at Confessions of a Healed Heart: Inspiring posts about doing life with God
Mary Kate Hogan at 21st Century Girls: Inspiring godly ladies to live for God

Liebster Award rules: 1. List 11 facts about yourself (optional), 2. Answer the questions given you, 3. Nominate other bloggers with less than 200 followers (optional).  So can't wait to hear y'alls answers! My questions are:

1.) Who or what inspires you?
2.) What is your idea of a perfect day?
3.) What made you want to start blogging?
4.) What are some of your favorite books and movies?
5.) What is one of your biggest dreams?
6.) If you could make a playlist of your favorite songs what would they be?
7.) What are some of your favorite hobbies?
8.) If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
9.) If you could describe your favorite outfit, what would it be?
10.) What's your favorite Bible scripture or sriptures?
11.) If you were given the option to only do one thing every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
12.) What are some topics that you feel strongly about?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Worship Freely Tunes {24}

Hi Everyone! So...this song is one of the many songs on Moriah Peter's new album Brave that I love. It's just a strong album filled with this amazing girl's inner-warrior. Check out her music, it's truly a work of art for God's glory and her testimony is amazing. This song has been accompanying me full blast on all my car rides. Enjoy and happy day! God bless!



Thursday, August 14, 2014

Focus On The Promise Through The Journey

Sometimes, when we've been walking through our journey for so long we can end up losing the focus of our actual destination. God gives us a promise, but when more time than we were expecting passes, it becomes harder to see "it". We question, we cry out, we even lose hope for a sec., but we never give up. I've always had a saying ever since I gave my life over to Jesus and encountered Him: There's no turning back anymore no matter what, no matter how hard it gets my only option is to move forward.

"If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward."  -Martin Luther King Jr.

God never said the journey of this life would be easy, but he did say that the arrival would be worth it! -Max Lucado

I've been asking God the same question over and over and over again for quite some time (years) and today I was just stopped by Him. He reminded me of a prayer I made when I was 15 years old and how He answered the beginning of it during that time. To me the little sign I asked God for at the end of my prayer was just a quirky inside joke between me and God, but he answered it. I joke with what I ask and He jokes by responding super quick. You see, the problem is that I expected that my whole prayer list would be answered and packaged up to be delivered to me all at once, but God's ways were different. He said it would be given to me but He didn't say when or how. My journey to the promise has been a rough one, I can't deny it, but I have come out a stronger woman who God intends to make stronger.

One Winter day during the Festival of Dedication, Jesus was confronted by the Jews who were also walking along in the temple courts. They surrounded Jesus and asked him "how long" he planned on keeping them "in suspense" and to just tell them "plainly" if he was the Messiah. While I was reading this story this morning in John 10:22-30 I knew without a doubt in my mind that God was talking to me. I had been crying out asking God to please just speak to me in such an obvious way because I couldn't get it, but He said to me that He already answered my question many times but I just wasn't seeing what He wanted me to see. I just wasn't getting it. When I started my walk toward the promise I was so sure, but then things got so scary bad that I let my gaze become foggy. I felt frustrated like those Jews did (of course I wasn't going to stone my Savior but I let anger and confusion get the best of me) because though they had heard the promise of Jesus' coming written in scripture, they let their gaze become foggy by what was said to them:the scriptures said that a Messiah was coming in a humble manner but it didn't say his name or the fact that he was going to be a carpenter's son.  The promise was delivered to them in different circumstances than they had expected in their hearts so they closed up their hearts and refused to see that God was living among them. The signs and wonders made it obvious but to believe meant that they had to be closer to faith and farther from their expectations. I knew that I couldn't take my anger and frustration out on my God, so instead...I took it out on the promise. That's a big no,no. I was so busy comparing my walk to others and asking God why others were happy with their promise fulfilled while mine seemed to be getting crazier and even more unpredictable. The thing is: God is not a cookie-cutter God, so He created individual people with individual stories. It's easy to buy into a one-for-all solution but that's just not true. We have to seek God's counsel directly from Him and then wait for His confirmation (through His word, dreams, people...etc). This whole week my seeking an answer for my question really escalated, and I see now as I write this that God has been answering me. Every morning with what I've been reading in the Word He's been answering me. It all connects. How God showed me in the Book of Genesis that he had to open Hagar's eyes to see the well of water so that she wouldn't let hopelessness in the middle of the dessert kill her and her son Ishmael, how God protected and cared for Ishmael as his only Father after he was rejected and sent away as God's plan to create him into a strong nation, and also how God looked into the heart of Rebekah and predestined her to be the wife that would say yes to an unpredictable marriage to Abraham's son Isaac. God spoke to me in detail about these stories all week long and finally I understand. Jesus was obviously the Messiah and my answer has been obviously staring me in the face for years. Jesus' answer to the Jews in the temple was this:

(John 10:27-30) My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

I am so sure of my salvation in Jesus and that He abides in me and I in Him by His grace alone, therefore my ear is in tune to what He's saying. The devil sometimes wants to make us doubt that, actually, the enemy always wants to make us doubt that because His mission is to kill, steal, and destroy us. I truly believe that Jesus wasn't just answering the Jew's questions...He was making a bold statement and letting the devil know that what belonged to the king of kings could not be taken from Him even by the thieve of thieves. We belong to Jesus and the devil has no right to touch us and our God who is greater can not be over-powered. I realized that the reason that I haven't responded to the many voices around me for years telling me to go this way and that way is because I've been fleeing from the other. I was once told a great truth: the devil takes no breaks and shows no mercy. He will use whatever he wants to use in order to kill you because your purpose threatens him. That goes for all of us. The enemy has tried to make me believe that I'm crazy for not listening to who I "should" listen to, dumb for "failing" those who I shouldn't, or just plain disobedient and worthy of receiving God's punishment when that is not true. Because the people around me have also seen the dessert that I have walked through with my promise in hand, they give advice out of hopelessness when I have been called to walk by the amount of faith that God has given to me. My walk is mine, entrusted to me by God and nobody will ever confuse me enough to snatch it from me. I am to complete my mission until I see the fulfillment of what God has promised me. I encourage everybody who reads this...stand strong and firm in the faith. Keep pressing forward with your eyes focused on the promise as you walk this life-long journey. May faith arise and I pray that hope sustain us through.



Friday, August 8, 2014

Christian Wedding Song List: English & Spanish

Instead of doing my usual "Worship Freely Tunes" this Friday, I was inspired to make a list of my favorite Christian songs that someone could play at their wedding. My best friend who is like a sister to me is getting married next Saturday and just a while ago she asked me what songs I recommend. She's honestly the best-est friend God could have sent me. She's always been there to encourage me and pray with me. Congratulations Lynette! I wish you so many blessed years with your hubby. I am so honored to be that girl's bridesmaid! So these songs that I'm sharing with y'all are my favorites and I plan to play them at my wedding someday.  I decided to do English and Spanish songs because of my bi-cultural background.When it comes to the music that I listen to (because of my relationship with God, the fact that I sing, and music is my life) who I'm inspired by musically really matters to me. The problem that I tend to see the most when it comes to a christian couple wanting to celebrate their wedding is song choice. We all love praise and worship music but couples also want romantic music that talks about their relationship and this should not have to be separate from God. God is the creator of love and music so the two should go hand in hand, glorifying Christ and bringing joy to a couple's hearts. You don't have to settle for Music that's created by people who don't have a relationship with God just because of their catchy lyrics and melodies. I really hope y'all enjoy these tunes. If you know some songs that you'd love for future readers to skim through then feel free to leave them in a comment bellow. Blessings!

[If you're looking for christian instrumental music
then I recommend buying Pianissimo Brothers' 
"50 Beautiful Songs For A Christian Wedding".]

English

1). "Dancing In The Minefields"- Andrew Peterson
2). "Chasing You"- Jenn Johnson
3). "Love Is Not A Fight"- Warren Barfield
4). "The Way You Smile"- NewSong & Francesca Battistelli
5). "My Dear"- Bethel Music
6). "Life Is Beautiful"- The Afters
7). "Closer"- Bethel Live
8). "Come Awaken Love"- Hunter G K Thompson
9). "For My Love"- Bethany Dillon
10). "My Only Love"- Matt Maher
11). "Love Will Be Enough For Us"- Brandon Heath
12). "God Gave Me You"- Dave Barnes
13). "Hundred More Years"- Francesca Battistelli
14). "Thank God I Got Her"- Jonny Diaz
15). "Love Is In The Air"- The Afters
16). "The Marriage Prayer"- John Waller
17). "I'll Wait For You"- Moriah Peters
18). "Bless The Broken Road"- Selah
19). "Happily Married"- Raymond Gregory
20). "Don't Mean A Thing"- GL ft. T'Juan
21). "You Never Let Me Down"- Marvin Winans


Spanish

1). "Amor Inusual"- Tercer Cielo
2). "Bella"- Veinte Veinte
3). "Celebremos Hoy"- Tercer CIelo
4). "Bendita Mujercita"- Alex Campos
5). "Tu Poeta"- Alex Campos
6). "Un Viaje Largo"- Marcela Gandara
7). "Yo Te Amo"- Eunice Rodriguez
8). "Tu Mirada"- Quest Ft. Triple Seven
9). "Enamorados"- Tercer Cielo
10). "Tu Amor Es Un Sueno"- Tercer Cielo
11). "Te Extrano"- Daniel Calveti
12). "Te Amo Mas Que A Mi Misma Vida"- Rojo
13). "Sol Pido"- Fuego Liquido
14). "Sentirte En Mi Alma"- Tercer Cielo
15). "Mi Ultimo Dia"- Tercer Cielo
16). "Si No Estas Junto A Mi"- Tercer Cielo
17). "Regalo De Dios"- Tercer Cielo
18). "Mi Historia De Amor"- Daniel Calveti
19). "Mis Mejores Dias"- Deborah Pruneda
20). "El Uno Para El Otro"- Tercer Cielo
21). "Lindo Viaje"- Tercer Cielo
22). "Guia Nuestro Camino"- Marcela Gandara
23). "Entre Tu Y Yo"- Tercer Cielo
24). "Exagerado Amor"- Tercer Cielo
25). "Estare"- Tercer Cielo
26). "Contigo Quiero Caminar"- Marcela Gandara

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The God Who Foreknew


I'm going to speak basically toward myself...if any of this helps anybody that's awesome. If it doesn't and you continue to read this anyway, well...God bless your heart. It's true what the Bible says about how pain will only last for the night because joy will surely come in the morning. Some nights may last days, others may last even more, and then some even less than that. If you want to read one of the saddest of nights right after Jesus...read about Paul. His life after being saved makes my heart literally hurt because I begin to imagine his pain and his struggle, all while remaining faithful to God. God created Saul but then sent Jesus to give birth to Paul. Saul was zealous for the religious cause that fought in God's name, but Paul was in love with Jesus who dared confront him with unstoppable love. God knew Paul because He created him and mapped out his life before it even came to be. God knew the fall Saul would face with the freedom he gave him from the beginning and planned for Jesus to meet him and transform him. Paul had no regrets for his new life because now it had true purpose. I've been really thinking about this, I mean really. Purpose. That's what makes every tear and all uncertainty worth it: the fact that Jesus gave us purpose. Knowing that every detail of our lives matters and isn't just because.

(Romans 8:28) And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 

If I know this scripture then why do I still react contrary to how I should? Usually I tent to worry. A lot actually. I plan out something and when things don't go according to plan I freak out. I feel like things are never going to get done. This whole week God's been showing me this about myself to the point where it's getting so uncomfortable. God's telling me that my worry and frustration has got to go because I'm just wasting time. If I worry then I'm saying to God that my plan was better and I don't trust His to be right for me. I have to remind myself that his timing is best. I get excited and then I get let down because my expectation is set on my way. There's only one way and that's God's way. I share this because being genuine matters to me and even though I can't share everything about myself I do wish to share what God is doing in my life. Our faults are real and they lie naked before God's eyes so we might as well let Him confront us with them in love. God allows me to be in situations where things change and I can honestly feel Him looking down on me and waiting to see how I'll react. I choose to let "it" go. 

(Romans 8:29) For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

God knows me and He knows you. The measure of how much our hearts can take before they burst is evident to Him and the one who is greater than our hearts never slumbers. This is simple but true: God will not allow us to walk through anything that we can't overcome without His help. Trust me, I've been though some heart-wrenching stuff yet my heart is still beating. It might feel like it's going to give out but my God won't let it because purpose is on the line here. There is a purpose for what we're going through today. Today's details are working for tomorrow. God planned it this way. He planned to bring us back, knowing that we couldn't live without our creator. We can't escape our true roots and those are heavenly not earthly. Addiction we can break, fears we can escape, and other bondage we can shake because Jesus paid. He paid to return to us our identity. God foreknew it...all of it. 

(Romans 8:30) And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
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