Only One Person Can Fill That Hole Inside

Outside of Jesus, there is no perfect love, no one who can complete you. That nagging feeling and knowledge of lack can never be fulfilled by another lacking, broken, imperfect, sinful human being.

The lack is too great. It goes beyond the physical. It’s spiritual. It’s eternal.

The saying “there’s a God-shaped hole in all of us,” is true. And you can’t fill a hole that big with another finite person like you.

Thankfully–incredibly–God WANTS to fill that hole. And He proved how much so when He sent His Son to die for us. Talk about doing everything for the person you love. Has someone died for you? Has a perfect, sinless person you didn’t even know give up his life for you?

There’s no outdoing Jesus in the love department. No human is perfect. But He is fully divine and able to ABUNDANTLY fill that spiritual hole inside of you.

And best of all, He’s able to save you from yourself and from Satan. Eternity is real and these beings are real and there has to be a separate dwelling place for these two eternal persons who are at war; they can’t share the same abode, hence the reason Satan was thrown out of heaven along with a third of God’s angels who followed his rebellion.

Hell is a real location, just like heaven is. And there are–just like the angels–people who choose to follow Jesus and those who–even unwittingly–choose not to and thus default to the other side.

I pray Jesus reveals Himself to you, exposes the truth of who and all that He is for your good and for your salvation. We all need to be saved from ourselves and the spiritual enemies that are stronger than us. Only Jesus is mighty enough to accomplish both.

Grace to you.

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All the AMAZING things the Bible can do for your heart, mind, and soul

Hey, ladies (and the few following gent’s)! I’m currently digging into Psalm 119–thee longest chapter in the Bible–and it’s all about the Word of God; what it does and why we need it, and my goodness, there’s SO MUCH TREASURE HERE, PEOPLE!

So, here’s some of the better-than-pirate-treasure this ancient, supernaturally inspired text does for us:

1.) It cleanses our hearts (Psalm 119:9)

2.) Helps us not to sin (Psalm 119:11)

3.) Revives us (Psalm 119:25)

4.) Counsels us (Psalm 119:24)

5.) Strengthens us (Psalm 119:28)

6.) Gives us understanding (Psalm 119:99-100)

7.) Give us answers for our enemies (Psalm 119:42)

8.) Gives us hope (Psalm 119:49)

9.) Gives us comfort (Psalm 119:50, 52)

10.) Teaches us good judgement and knowledge (Psalm 119:66)

11.) Gives us life (Psalm 119:50)

12.) Makes us wiser than our enemies (Psalm 119:98)

13.) Gives us direction/sheds light on the steps and paths we should take (Psalm 119:105)

14.) Gives us peace (Psalm 119:165)

Want a purer heart? Want to sin less? Need revival? Need counsel? Need strength? Need understanding? Need a defense against haters? Need hope? Need comfort? Need good judgment? Need knowledge? Need life? Need more wisdom? Need direction? Need peace? Pick up your bible, and find all you need in Him.

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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!

Do You Hold the Same Views of the Bible that Jesus does?

Would Jesus say this to you?

“Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭22:29‬ ‭NLT‬‬

In this same discussion, Jesus referenced the Scriptures to the religious people He was speaking to four times. Every answer He gave them for their questions, He used the Scriptures. He also validated that they indeed are divinely inspired when, in the same conversation He declared:

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”-Matthew 22:37-40

And when He said:

“Then why does David, speaking under the inspiration of the Spirit, call the Messiah ‘my Lord’? For David said, ‘The LORD said to my Lord, Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies beneath your feet.’”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭22:43-44‬ ‭NLT‬‬

He vouched for the men who wrote the Old Testament by declaring them as prophets, and validated David’s Psalms by saying David spoke under the inspiration of the Spirit. These same Psalms also say:

“The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:160‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Jesus never quoted famous, popular, well-educated, rabbis. He never used anyone else’s words when teaching, only His own and the Scriptures. Therefore, when a teacher in a religious movement, such as Joseph Smith or Catholic leaders’ writings and teachings are upheld as on the same divinely inspired and authoritative level as Scripture, it is because of the very example of Jesus that I balk and adamantly disagree.

That a person or group of individuals’ extra biblical writings and doctrines are as or more authoritative than the Bible is probably the most dangerous false teaching that has wrecked many people’s faith in the Scriptures and because of all of these additional teachings, many “believers” and so-called Christians are utterly confused, at odds, and in disagreement. Only those who are in agreement that Scripture is the only source for divinely inspired truth are the most united and bearing the most fruit, that is, love and true conversions as evidenced by the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5) produced in their life.

I am not saying all protestants have it right–there are many sects under the umbrella of Protestant that are in error because they belittle/water-down/avoid truths in the Bible and uphold a popular man’s teachings with the same or even more authority. And there are many who claim to be non-denominational, but are actually apart of the Emerging Church heresy that discourages people from being fully confident in the Scriptures and has them disbelieving that it can be clearly understood and so again, their popular teachers’ doctrines are held in higher esteem than the Bible and many of their congregants don’t revere Scripture or care to read it much and they live their lives in opposition to what it clearly teaches, indulging in premarital sex, wild parties, drunkenness, homosexuality, immodesty, lewdness, etc.

If you’re a professing follower of Christ, I solemnly ask you to reflect on how you view the Bible. Is there another teacher(s) whose teaching you regard as just as authoritative? Do you share the same views of Scripture Jesus has? What would He say to you about your views and knowledge of the Bible?

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What Is the Emerging Church and are you unwittingly apart of one?

I had been attending a very popular multi-campus church in Georgia whose leader is Andy Stanley. When I told this to two older Christian women who I trust and love, the reaction was the same in a nutshell: “Be careful, Andy’s emergent.”

At the time, I didn’t know what that meant so I decided to do some research. I googled “Andy Stanley emergent” and got a better taste for what this whole Emerging Church thing is, but didn’t really grasp it in clear and simple terms until this morning.

Apparently, many Emerging Church leaders identify with “post-modernism,” another term I didn’t know much about until this morning:

“Modernism was a bad philosophy. Post-modernism is another bad philosophy. But in both cases, they assault the Scripture. Modernism made reason, human reason, the king. Reason was supreme in modernism. Thomas Payne, The Age of Reason, The Enlightenment…the Renaissance. Out of that came the worship of the human mind and the mind trumps God. Now, mystery trumps the Bible. The human mind trumps the Bible in modernism, mystery trumps the Bible in post-modernism. It is at the foundation an unwillingness to accept the clear teaching of Scripture…God holds us responsible for a right understanding of Scripture. We are liable before God for what we do with a true and right understanding of Scripture.

“These people, like the liberals, deny the clear teaching of Scripture. And I’m convinced that the reason they deny it is not because it can’t be understood, not because it’s unclear, but because they don’t like what it clearly says. And that takes you back to John 3, “Men love darkness rather than light.” The light is there, they hate the light, they run from the light. The issue is not that Scripture is not clear, it is crystal clear…

So I think the motive behind this whole Emerging Church thing, whether it’s a conscious or unconscious motive, is discomfort over what the Bible really says, whether it’s about the gospel or whether it’s about sin, virtue…they don’t like it and so the out is…Well, it’s not clear. This is just another way to set the Bible aside…”-John MacArthur

In a radio show, John goes even more in-depth on this topic, and I’ll just add one more snippet of the conversation because I think it’s powerful:

“What is so interesting about this movement is the Emerging Church sanctifies the culture. The Emerging church sanctifies the post-modern culture as if it is legitimate and says, ‘if we’re going to reach these people, we’ve got to become like these people.’ That’s never been the biblical way…never. The Bible does not change. It’s not a chameleon; it doesn’t shift and change and adapt to culture. It confronts culture. It confronts an aboriginal culture. It confronts an ancient culture. It confronts a modern culture. It confronts every trend with fixed unchanging truth in every situation. And the Emerging Church not only is unwilling to believe the clear statement of Scripture, but it’s unwilling to take the clear statement of Scripture and confront the culture. It wants to let the culture define what Christianity should be.”

To hear the whole talk visit Grace To You.

So the Emerging Church, often subtly, downplays the Bible and strips it of its superiority and authority. Using the excuse that it cannot possibly be understood, they make allowance for sins that the Bible clearly condemns, and makes God a more “accepting” God, which truly, the Emergents just want their churches to be more widely accepted because the bigger the building, the more seats it can fill, and the more seats it can fill, the more money they can make.

And also, simply put, they want to enjoy sinning without the guilt trip. They want to watch porn, or fornicate, or cheat on their spouses, or indulge in greed without being judged by a Holy God for it.

Sounds a lot like the folks the Apostle Paul warned about:

“And some people even slander us by claiming that we say, “The more we sin, the better it is!” Those who say such things deserve to be condemned.”-Romans 3:8 NLT

“And what value was there in fighting wild beasts—those people of Ephesus —if there will be no resurrection from the dead? And if there is no resurrection, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!” Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.”-1 Corinthians 15:32-34 NLT

So are you apart of an Emerging Church? I think one of the clearest indicators is their avoidance on agreeing with Scripture’s clear stances on topics such as sex before marriage or living together before marriage (i.e. fornication), homosexuality, transgenderism, and abortion. Since these are big hot-topics in our day, many Emerging Church leaders will cower away from stating what the Bible says about these things and make some excuse for, or evade the topics altogether. Why? Because they’re more concerned with keeping those large numbers/pew sitters than they are about teaching the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth at the cost of possibly becoming attacked, fined, imprisoned, or impoverished. They love their money and comfort more than they love Jesus and others.

Because at the end of the day, the old saying is often true, “The truth hurts,” or as the Bible puts it, “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.”-Proverbs 27:6 NLT

I’m gonna tell someone what I know and am 100% convinced of is unadulterated, divinely inspired truth. If I genuinely believe this incredibly prophetic, historically accurate, scientifically sound, ancient written record of how God revealed Himself to man and what He has to say to us, and I love Him more than I do my own reputation and relationships with others besides Him, then I’ll tell them what it says because I am genuinely concerned for the consequences they’ll face if they don’t know and believe these divine, eternal truths.

Many people have wrong desires: they’re married but they’re desiring to have sex with another person. Just because they have that desire,  albeit it can be deemed a natural one, doesn’t make that desire justifiable or good. The same is true for premarital sex and homosexuality. Just because someone has the desire to be with someone of the same sex doesn’t mean that behavior is justifiable.

A lot of people enjoy wrong desires; indulge in adulterous relationships, in drugs, in premarital sex and homosexual relationships, but it doesn’t mean that it’s right or good in the sight of God. And who on this earth has the authority or revelation to determine what God deems good and what He deems evil? God Himself! But how do we know which God is the true God and which teachings accurately reflect His opinions and commands???

I say, with 100% confidence, there is no other book in all the history of mankind, in all the millions of documents ever written, as prophetically accurate as the Bible, and as geographically, historically, and scientifically sound as the Bible. Even secular expert scribes agree: no ancient work holds more manuscript authority than the Bible, which simply means it is a completely reliable ancient record; what it says now is what it said thousands of years ago.

And again, no book or prophet comes an INKLING as close to as incredibly accurately prophetic as Jesus Christ and the Old and New Testament prophecies. If someone were to research the thousands of prophecies fulfilled in history that the Bible prophesied centuries and even millennia before the events occurred, they’d probably begin to doubt their doubts and start to hold the Bible in a much higher light than its religious peers. There’s no getting around it unless you avoid it.

So, are you apart of a church who downplays the Bible or reinterprets, or condemns its clear stances on sin? And if so, do you agree with your leaders that the Bible can’t be understood and that truth is thus subjective?

Who is right? The prophetically proven Bible, or these smart sounding, passionate men who’ve existed for fifty years or less on this earth and have never prophesied anything that came true to perfect detail?

I hope this makes you think and take stock as to the pastors you’re listening to and consider if they uphold the Bible as the ultimate truth, or downplay it as an ancient book that is only partially relevant now. Because, as the historically accurate ancient record holds, God has once said about mankind:

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.”-Hosea 4:6

 

With sincere love and concern,

Natasha

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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Why you shouldn’t be modest

I remember walking through the mall in my teen years, rocking a pair of skin-tight Brazilian jeans (they were so the thing back then)—a pair I wore specifically because I believed they accentuated my assets, i.e., made my bottom look bigger.

So here I am, in my baby-blue Brazilian, skin-squeezin’ jeans and a spaghetti strap top and I’m pretty sure I was clackin’ around in heels, and this group of dudes begin yelling lewd comments at me across the mall for everyone in the vicinity to hear.

I got so upset, cussed at ‘em, flipped ‘em off, the whole nine. But never once did I recall the fact that I wore those jeans for the sake of appearing more desirable. I wanted the attention, but I guess I expected it to come across in a more respectful manner.

Thing is, I quite plainly, was dressed in a way that shouted sex object, yet I didn’t want to be treated like a sex object. I wanted to be pleasing to the sight of some men, as long as their pleasure was displayed in a manner I approved of.

I now understand that most single or unmarried men (or even married ones!) don’t look at women who are dressed super sexy and think: I better be low-key about all the lustful thoughts she’s inciting. The way they see it is you’re asking for the attention, so they’re gonna give it to you. And more specifically, they’re thinking along the lines of; this chick is asking to be f***ed. 

Forgive the vulgarity, but I’m just being real. Have you ever heard men talk to each other when no women are around? Well, I have. A lot. I edit weddings. The videographer, who is a man, goes into the groom’s hotel room or wherever he’s getting ready and records him and his groomsmen as they get dressed. The stuff they say about the bride and about women is so disgusting and degrading that I often have to mute the audio entirely and sometimes wish I could leave in those parts so the bride sees how much her groom respects her in front of his boys. The things I hear make my blood boil and skin crawl. But the truth of the matter is that all of these brides lived with the guy beforehand. In other words, they already were sleeping with him. So frankly, men simply don’t respect a woman who sleeps with them before marriage. Period. He can act like he does, but there’s someone he boasting to about your body and sexcapades.

Have you experienced this kind of lewd attention before? Were you wearing super short-shorts, a midriff top, showing off cleavage or your belly? Lots of skin, lots of skin-tight-leave-hardly-any-room-for-the-imagination attire will incite and inflame a man’s lust. There’s no way to get around it unless he closes his eyes or avoids you or tries super-duper hard to only look at your face, even though his peripherals can see everything else. Even married men. Very few will try to look away, while others will be picturing you naked on top of them.

Now, if you’re truly fine with this, that’s your prerogative. However, if it makes you uncomfortable and you’d like a lot more respect, then take it from me, think twice about what you put on. And no, I’m not being legalistic. I’m not gonna sit here and list a bunch of non-Kosher clothes to wear because at the end of the day, most of us women aren’t stupid. We know what sexy looks like and some of us like how it feels. So the clothes you have that you deem sexy are the red flag raisers you should reconsider. And covering up doesn’t equate frumpy and dumpy. You can keep it covered and keep it classy. You can be modest and still like what you’re wearing.

And if you’re a Christian like me, then remember: you don’t just choose modesty because it’s a New Testament command (see 1 Timothy 2:9-10, 1 Peter 3:1-4), but we do so for a love for God and others. We want to please God. Sensuality, lustfulness, selfishness, all of that displeases Him. If we truly grasp all that God the Father did for us when He sent His Son to this earth to love and die for us, we won’t have a problem covering up some or reconsidering our wardrobe to ensure it’s honorable to Him. He wants us to “not only look out for our own interests, but for the interests of others as well.” That means if you choosing your clothing more wisely will help some fellow Christian brothers not to stumble, then you’ve just pleased God with that unselfish and considerate decision.

At the end of the day, I’m not modest for legalism or man’s sake, but for Christ’s sake, and for a love for Him and others. I also want to be a good example for women, because I love you, too. 🙂

Did this resonate with you? Feel free to share your thoughts in a comment.

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