Is Christianity the Most Beautiful Religion?

Christianity is soooo beautifully simple AND practical!

If one were to just read the book of Matthew or John to see what Jesus said and did, or read one of Paul’s letters to the early church, Colossians, or Philippians, you’d see how…different Christianity is from other religions which are huge on either mystical, elusive, and abstract concepts and thoughts, or food-chain, climb-the-ladder type exaltation of participants, or severe bodily rejection and repetitious, ritualistic behaviors.

But not Biblical Christianity. Not the Christianity you find when you read the New Testament. The admonition and commands on how we ought to love one another and what that looks like practically are just so easy to grasp and refreshing and totally sensical and observable.

Indeed, it’s not like, dare I say, reincarnation, a mystical, never before observed idea. Even Christianity’s claims of resurrection from the dead has been observed time and again throughout history with people praying in Jesus’ name for life to return to someone who died and then it does.

So all this to say, I love the whole of Christianity, of what its Founder, Jesus, teaches. If there is anything more beautiful, more good for mankind, please, show me. It is for such teachings as these that I am totally unashamed to say I follow Jesus and His ways as recorded in the Bible:

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” –‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:12-17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Don’t worry about what people may think if you proclaim to be a Christian. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Our God is so good and wonderful. Get to know Him better so your confidence in that fact can be assured and you can more boldly share His love unabashedly with others. At the end of the day, it isn’t about whether or not someone likes you, it’s whether or not you loved Jesus and that person despite.

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What You Hope and Dream For Doesn’t Really Matter in Light of…

Christian, what matters more than what God will do for us in this temporal life is what He’s already done for us in eternity.

We may be desiring and hoping God does some things in this earthly realm; we want a certain job or opportunity; we want a degree of success; we want a husband, a family; but if those things never happen, can we remember and trust that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God on a throne, and awaits to embrace us forevermore? That He Himself will wipe away every tear from our eyes and we will NEVER have to worry or experience pain again? Evil people won’t be able to harm us anymore, disappointments will no longer exist, unfulfilled hopes won’t matter at all because we are living and seeing things so amazing they’re indescribable with human words.

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
    nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.- 1 Corinthians 2:9-10

So instead of longing and hoping for something that’s temporary, something that won’t last forever, why not focus more on what’s already been given to us, on the incredible blessings and eternal promises we already possess?

Not familiar with what those things are? Get into your Bible. Read the book of Ephesians and check out all the “spiritual blessings in the heavenly realms” that God the Father through Christ Jesus has blessed us with. It’s awesome and really blows away any earthly hopes we can come up with.

My prayer is that we begin to want earthly hopes and dreams less and less, and rejoice in the eternal gifts and inheritance we received once we gave our hearts and minds–our lives–to Jesus. But there is no rejoicing if you’re unaware of what you have. So go on and begin discovering today. ❤

Are you acceptable to God?

“I am a special messenger from Christ Jesus to you Gentiles. I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit.”-Romans 15:16 NLT

That’s a heavy thought, isn’t it? Or maybe for you it isn’t because you’ve been told that God just accepts us exactly the way we are and we don’t need to change who we are for Him. This is partially true. When we first come to Jesus, He takes us as we are. But after we come to Him and put our faith in Him and then receive His Holy Spirit in our hearts as a result, we are supposed to be made Holy by that same Spirit so that we can be “an acceptable offering to God.”

It reminds me of another similar New Testament verse:

“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. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”-Romans 12:1-2 NLT

So as Christians, we can be in a place of being unacceptable in His sight. And here’s how:

The word “holy” means to be set apart. In Romans 12:1-2, after it speaks of being acceptable, it goes on to let you know what would make you unacceptable: copying the behavior and customs of the world. Think about a super popular message the secular world gives: be yourself, be who you are, define yourself. This custom is actually in staunch opposition to the Bible, which says God will make us a new creation and change the way we think. It also says to leave our old lives behind and to “put on Christ” to walk in this new way of life He has given us.

Here’s the amazing thing: God doesn’t expect us to change ourselves–that’s HIS job–the Holy Spirit’s job, and that’s one of the main reasons He gives Him to us and sends Him to live in our hearts after our genuine confession of faith in Christ’s sacrifice and bodily resurrection.

I can’t change myself. Before I gave my heart to God, I tried. And failed. But after the Holy Spirit filled my heart, change started happening, and quickly! It was incredible. Suddenly, I had this voracious appetite for the Bible; I wanted more Christian friends; I loved going to church services and talking about God; I stopped cussing, stopped using God’s name vainly, became nicer to my mom, and here I am almost nine years later, and change still happens all the time! I’ve gone from immodest to modest, sexually impure to chaste; super impatient to less impatient lol; sympathetic to genuinely compassionate; defying my husband to respectfully listening to and applying his counsel and desires; the list goes on. And it’s a process! The Holy Spirit is STILL changing me, and the Bible promises:

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”-Philippians 1:6 NLT

So yes, you can be a Christian who is copying the ways of this world and may not even know you’re being unacceptable to God. That’s why knowing what He expects and desires is so important, why getting familiar with the Bible (I always advise starting in the New Testament) is so crucial. God forbid you be in a place where you’re practicing sins that can actually separate you from God eternally! But how would you know unless you get to know what those sins are?

God is so patient and merciful. The fact that you’re still alive means He’s not done with you yet and you still have a chance to open up your bible and get to know “His will for you which is good, pleasing, and perfect.”

Start today!

Don’t let exhaustion make you believe you’re depressed.

I’ve been in a funk. But wait, a little backstory first. I’m usually a bubbly, joyful, passion-infused Cubana (like this).

I strike up convos with perfect strangers without feeling the least bit awkward. I’m energized by going out and being around people. I’m smiley, love  making others smile and laugh, and I make friends easily.

But not so much lately. I’ve been discouraged, irritable, and extra impatient. I hadn’t even the drive to turn up my worship music in the morning and sing to the Lord which I have done daily for at least eight years. And Jesus is my greatest passion and joy. I love and enjoy Him more than anything or anyone. So not spending that time delighting myself in Him is also very out of my norm.

Well, my recently turned one-year-old still wakes up every night at least twice, once at best. In addition to the times I get up to use the restroom, I’m waking up at least three times a night every night, and stubbornly going to bed around or after midnight each night, and then typically getting awakened around 8:30am the latest. Now in retrospect, that’s pretty bad. We need supposedly at least six hours of uninterrupted rest which I never get. After a while, that bad sleep will wear you down (plus I’m hormonal).

But last night, I went to bed around 10:30am, and Braven only woke once, and I didn’t get awoken as early as usual. And I feel so refreshed and more like my usual, happier self.

Sometimes, we just need to rest.

I’m reminded of Elijah the prophet. He was in a pretty bad mood and feeling quite low and down about life at one point:

“Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.””
‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭19:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

He was afraid and just wanted to be away from everyone. He was on the run and very weary. But God told him to eat and drink. And then he was strengthened and continued on. He brought this complaint to God and God spoke the truth to him, the reality of the situation, because in Elijah’s weariness and crankiness, he wasn’t seeing clearly. He felt alone and thought all was lost, but actually:

“[Elijah] replied again, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” Then the Lord told him, “Go back the same way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. Then anoint Jehu grandson of Nimshi to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet. Anyone who escapes from Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and those who escape Jehu will be killed by Elisha! Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!””
‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭19:14-18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The reality, the truth was that Elijah wasn’t alone. He was tired and weary, and certainly downcast by all the bad things happening around and to him.

So not that physical rest is the be all, end all, but it definitely helps us to stop, rejuvenate, and most of all, get alone with God so we can hear and be refreshed by the truth.

Whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, we can often misinterpret the reality of our situation and just be totally discouraged by it. But God knows the truth of the matter and when we just rest and bring our cares to Him, He is faithful to revive us every time.

But getting to that place is a fight. It’s sometimes an uphill battle, especially when you’re sleep deprived. Elijah traveled in that wilderness all day and was drained, but when he was able to get alone with God, his attitude changed and he was able to snap out of his funk.

My prayer and hope for you today is that if you’re drained and feeling down, get some rest and take time to hear from God in His word and in prayer. He’s always near to us, but sometimes, we’re running past or all around Him rather than to Him, and we are burned out. Jesus said:

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30‬ ‭NLT‬‬

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What Really Makes Women Beautiful?

God is the Author of beauty. The word beauty or beautiful appears in the Bible over a hundred times. Some people believe beauty is subjective, others believe it’s objective. Whatever the case, people either view something as beautiful–or not. And…so does God.

“Now take Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to Me as priest …And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.”-Exodus 28:1-2

“Listen, O daughter,
Consider and incline your ear;
Forget your own people also, and your father’s house;
So the King will greatly desire your beauty;
Because He is your Lord, worship Him.”-Psalms 45:10-11

“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;
You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor…”-Ezekiel 28:17

That last one was God speaking about Lucifer aka Satan. God deemed him beautiful. So…if God judges things as beautiful, then beauty is objective–it’s fact. However, just as some choose to look upon the ultimate perfection of Beauty–God Himself–with disdain, disgust, and contempt–so humans will sometimes bypass the beauty a woman possesses and hate her in spite of it.

Sister, you possess beauty whether you believe it or not. Why? Because God made you in His image, and He is the epitome of beauty, both in character and in physical form.

“Your eyes will see the King in His beauty…”-Isaiah 33:17

“The nations will see your righteousness,
And all kings your glory;
And you will be called by a new name
Which the mouth of the Lord will designate.
You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
And a royal diadem in the hand of your God.”-Isaiah 62:2-3

“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”-1 Peter 3:3-4

If God promises that you will be a “crown of beauty” in His hand, then you are, period. God does not lie, and He does not change, and He does not break His promises. No matter how many people have made you feel like you aren’t beautiful, who will you believe more: Sinful, broken, selfish, hateful man, or holy, perfect, selfless, unconditionally loving God?

Right now, who in your life are you allowing to define your beauty? Your mom, dad, friends, boyfriend, Hollywood, that popular makeup artist you’re subscribed to on YouTube?

I encourage you to repent; to change your mind about what you think beauty is, and begin to agree with God on what He KNOWS it truly is. Again, part of beauty was defined through Christ’s apostle, Peter: a gentle and quiet [or meek] spirit. This isn’t so much about personality traits, it’s actually about character traits, especially in regards toward God:

“Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the Old Testament, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend them against injustice. Thus, meekness toward evil people means knowing God is permitting the injuries they inflict, that He is using them to purify His elect, and that He will deliver His elect in His time.”-Bible Study Tools

I believe there is always something physically beautiful about us women, whether it be our eyes, our hair, eyelashes, curves, or other parts of our unique, feminine appearance, but even greater than that, we women have the potential to be truly pleasing and beautiful in the sight of God. And really, what man’s opinion is greater?

Pray: Heavenly Father, help me understand what beauty is in Your perfect eyes, and help me see myself and other’s in that light. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Stay tuned for a YouTube video on this topic and a more in-depth podcast

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He wasn’t made for you. You were made for him.

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I started a podcast for you ladies! You can download the episodes for free, or listen directly from your iPhone’s Podcast app, or if you don’t have the Podcast app, you can listen via SoundCloud.

Each podcast is focused on a topic for women, with biblical advice, and is around thirty-minutes long. Podcasts are great because you can listen while driving, working out, walking your dog, etc. and can always pause and listen to the rest at another time and they have a cool rewind and fast-forward feature that rewinds fifteen seconds back or fifteen seconds forward. Since they’re longer, I get more in depth than on my YouTube channel.

You can listen to my first podcast, Being Useful While Waiting For God to Fulfill His Promises in Your Life or check out today’s, He Wasn’t Made For You, You Were Made For Him.

My prayer is that these lessons strengthen you in your walk with Jesus, giving you greater understanding about your purpose, calling, and role as a daughter of God, encouragement to keep on keeping on, and practical to-do’s all from a place of realness and love.

 

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When you’re in a perpetual funk…

Almost everyone annoys you. Your patience is like 0.2%. Regular happiness is a distant memory. I’ve battled this and I still have my bouts with this, but when I remember the truths I’m about to share with you, sisters, I’m able to break through this bulwark before it becomes a vicious cycle.

As Christians, if we think we’re entitled to a bad attitude because we have bad health, we’re gravely mistaken.

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”-Philippians 11-14

Whether it be sleep deprivation (which is me every day), physical ailment (I’ve got chronic neck pain; haven’t been to the chiropractor in over three months) or weakness, we cannot allow our emotional state to remain in a place of anger and a funky attitude because, in essence, that’s bitterness, beloved. And the Bible warns:

Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. “-Hebrews 14:14-15

An unchecked bad attitude and bitterness is what begins the erosion of our closest relationships; this is especially true in marriages. If we believe the lie that because we are sick, or weak, or tired continually that we then have the license and permission to be mean, joyless, and emotionally unstable, damaging and hurting those around us because we’re suffering, we are not practicing love, but selfishness. Too many are hurting others because they’re hurting and as Christians, this is point blank unacceptable.

I’m not talking about having a bad day. I’m talking about when your bad day turns into bad weeks and months and years. You’re allowed to be human and experience discouragement and anger. It’s when you let anger give the devil a foothold over your life and remain in that state of being for lengthy periods of time that you’re now being destructive to yourself and others.

Let’s pray for one another and bear one another’s burdens, and not allow our physical weaknesses to cause us to be in a perpetual state of bitterness that abuses those around us. Let us choose to love no matter what state we’re in physically, and when it’s hard to do that, instead of justifying our bad attitudes, let’s confess to one another and humbly ask for prayer. A bad attitude ignored or justified is like radioactive gas to those around us; it’s toxic and destructive. Christians can live in victory, so let’s not accept continually defeated mindsets for if we allow ourselves to be beat down, then we’re useless to help lift others up.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.-1 Corinthians 13:4-7

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