Are You Making A Significant Impact?

So twice this past week I got insomnia. The second was the worst because I literally didn’t sleep at all. I pulled an all-nighter, just awake in bed, and finally I just gave up and went to the living room.

I think I’ve been looking too much at likes on Instagram; checking my goodreads page for my book to see if I got any new reviews and if people are liking it; checking my blog, seeing if people are liking any of my posts; checking my Wattpad to see how many reads my stories are getting and if anyone has voted for it, etc., etc., etc. That sleepless morning, the thought hit me in prayer that I’m believing I’m not significant or being useful for God if I am not doing this online thing or my books etc.

My mind and heart need renewal because what would I do without the internet? What did the godly women of old do? Submitted to their husbands, loved them and their children, and took care of their household. Period. Seriously. Wow.

I’ve bought the lie that if I’m not doing all the other things then I’m not making an impact for the kingdom; that being a faithful wife and mother is not enough.

After praying about it, God reminded me of the passage we named Arrow after, a passage I had forgotten…

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.”

Psalms 127:3-5 NKJV

Maybe that’s you: you believe that you must be this or that and do this or that to be significant and make an impact for the kingdom. But all you have to do is choose to love Jesus and others. It doesn’t matter what you did in the past, God removes your sins from you as far as the east is from the west. What matters now is what you choose to do today. That is why, “God’s tender mercies are new each morning.”

Every morning is another chance to walk in God’s will. And the beautiful thing is that it’s simple: Love. Choose to love.

And love takes sacrifice. Choose to deny yourself and love those around you. That is all God asks you to do. Love Him. And love others. He doesn’t ask or expect anything more than that; He doesn’t care about riches or how well you can speak or quote scripture. He only cares about if you are loving Him and others.

I don’t care how much you serve or what ministry you lead in. At the end of the day, if you just choose to love God by obeying His command to love others, firstly being your spouse and children if you have those, then God is pleased.

Loving Him and others is extremely significant to Him. In fact, it is the fulfillment of the whole law. Even if you didn’t know every rule God has ever given, if you love Him and others, the Scriptures say you’ve fulfilled the entire law.

I pray in Jesus’ name we come back to that simple truth. Yes, it can sound childlike and not super deep and mystical, but that’s just how God wanted it: He made His will so simple that yes, even a child can grasp it.

Love you.

-Natasha

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.

blog_love_natasha

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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How to become best friends with Jesus

When you’re knocked down…

I lie in the dust; revive me by your word.-Psalm 119:25

When you’re crying from heartache…

I weep with sorrow; encourage me by your word.-Psalm 119:28

When you need advice…

Your laws please me; they give me wise advice.-Psalm 119:24

Sometimes–often times–when we aren’t regularly, daily in the Bible, we lie to ourselves…

Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.-Psalm 119:29

We think our sins are better or more pleasurable than obeying God. We don’t realize that it’s a privilege to know His instructions. God isn’t a corrupt, selfish boss. He’s perfect in every way; perfectly good, perfect in truth, perfect in love, perfect in wisdom; so when He gives us an instruction or command, it comes from perfect knowledge and unfathomably good intentions. Literally, God is so good, we cannot even comprehend every aspect of just how good His purposes and plans for us are. I can always come up with a number of reasons as to why God commands us the things He does, but knowing how much higher He is than me and how much holier, and perfect, and wise, I know I’m missing tons more.

How many times have you gone to your mom or best friend for advice? Why do you go to them? When seeking advice, you usually go to the people you trust the most and believe love you the most. These people typically have only lived as long as we have, or a few decades more, but still sin, make mistakes, fail, forget, disappoint. But Jesus is perfect. He never fails, forgets, sins, makes mistakes. He loves us in such a more full and perfect and complete way than anyone on this earth possibly can. He died for us when we were still sinners and cleanses those who trust in Him alone for their salvation and brings them to heaven. So if He is SUCH a better advice-giver, why do we so often side-step or walk past Him and run to a faulty sinner instead?

The best reason would have to be a lack of knowledge. We don’t really KNOW Him like we THINK we do. Just because you believe you have a neighbor living down the street, doesn’t mean you KNOW that neighbor. You may even know her name, but how much time do you spend with her? How often do you talk to her?

Now what about your best friend? How often do you hang out with her? How often do you speak with her? Who do you trust more? Your neighbor down the street or your best friend? Who do you love more?

See, the same outcome is true for our relationship with God. Just because we believe or know He’s there, doesn’t mean we know Him closely, like a best friend. We may know Him more like a distant neighbor, and so it’s no wonder we don’t go to Him first or often for advice. Trust is built more and more over time, isn’t it? Did you instantly entrust all of your deepest and darkest secrets with the person who is now called your best friend? Even if you trusted her after your first conversation, you grew to trust her more the better you got to know her, right?

If you don’t regularly spend time getting to know God through reading the Bible, He will always be that last resort, distant neighbor you call on when no one else is available. Since the majority of your advice is coming from imperfect, sinful humans with knowledge limited to a few decades of life and loaded with bias, your life and decisions will often be fueled by lies rather than the truth. But the more truth you know, the more Jesus you know, the more your choices will be guided by truth and the clearer and more certain your path will be.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.

 Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Then you will have healing for your body
    and strength for your bones.-Provers 3:6-8

I pray you begin to regularly open your bible and make an effort to become best friends with Jesus for your own good, and for His glory! Here’s how to begin:

How can a young person stay pure?
    By obeying your word.
 I have tried hard to find you—
    don’t let me wander from your commands.
 I have hidden your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.
I praise you, O Lord;
    teach me your decrees.
I have recited aloud
    all the regulations you have given us.
I have rejoiced in your laws
    as much as in riches.
I will study your commandments
    and reflect on your ways.
 I will delight in your decrees
    and not forget your word.-Psalm 119:9-16

1.) Try hard.

2.) Hide His Word in your heart by reading it regularly.

3.) Recite His Word, read it aloud, and quote it to others and yourself.

4.) Rejoice in His Word; be thankful for His precious promises and instructions to you.

5.) Study His Word; ask Him to teach you about something you want wisdom for and search for the answers in the Bible.

6.) Delight in His Word. Remember, reading the Bible is an absolute privilege; it’s the wisdom and knowledge of God! And not everyone has it so easily accessible, and many get imprisoned or killed for reading the Bible!

Keep me from lying to myself;
    give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.
 I have chosen to be faithful;
    I have determined to live by your regulations.
I cling to your laws.
    Lord, don’t let me be put to shame!
I will pursue your commands,
    for you expand my understanding.-Psalm 119:29-32

In essence:

Choose, determine, cling, and pursue. What guy, dream, school or career is better than Jesus? So choose and determine to pursue Him, and then keep clinging to Him all of your days. Trust me, the only thing you’ll regret is not having done so sooner.

Here’s what to do if your boyfriend is hurting you.

Sister, you’re sad, you’re hurting, you’re upset, you are more angry than you are happy.

“Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for your sins have brought you down.-Hosea 14:1

You blame your boyfriend, but who is deciding to be in a relationship with him? Who is choosing to stay with him? Your free will and choice to remain where you’re at–your sins–have brought you down. (I love you, that’s why I’m so real! So hang tight, sisters and know this is tough-love speaking, not angry judgement.)

So what should I do, Natasha? I’m glad you asked, princess:

Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord. Say to him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises.-Hosea 14:2

This is a simple two-step process to SERIOUS restoration, deliverance, and supernatural empowerment!

1.) Bring your confessions to God.

Sister, God already KNOWS all about your sinful relationship, but there are several reasons why He wants you to confess it to Him. For one, it places you in a position to receive closeness and intimacy with God. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. He draws near to those who draw near to Him. And even in all your sin, with all the dirt covering you, He tells you to come close to Him so He can wash you clean. Think about that. God isn’t trying to expose your nakedness to anyone (but if you keep hiding from Him, after a while, He will expose you. Why would He do that? Because tough love is better than no love, and if it takes big consequences or firm punishment to get you to stop sinning i.e. destroying yourself, He will do what is necessary. But that’s why me–AND GOD–plead with you NOT to push Him to that point. He’d MUCH rather clean you up behind closed doors rather than have you stripped naked for all to see and come to Him completely broken in shame).

God is VERY patient, but like I said, there comes a time where that patience turns to punishment. Do you wanna be like those protestors who start pushing against the authorities, who at first just try and push them back with those clear shields, but after a while, the authority has the right to start swinging his knight stick. Don’t force God to knock you out, to lay you flat, to push you so hard you break because you won’t listen to Him otherwise. Bring your confession to Him instead and don’t wait another day.

2.) Return to the Lord.

Turn back to Him. That means you need to turn from your boyfriend who is standing in front of you, who is all you see right now, and walk away. And you’re not just walking away to nowhere, you’re leaving his selfish arms and walking back into the arms of TRUE Love Himself, Jesus Christ!

3.) Praise Him.

Once Jesus takes you back into His loving arms i.e. “graciously receives you” your natural response should be praise. You’ll finally have this joy that wells up inside of you and causes you to thank God. You will experience forgiveness, cleansing, and healing and this will be the full result of doing all three of these commands:

The Lord says, “Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever. I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. Israel will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon. Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon. My people will again live under my shade. They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon. “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”-Hosea 14:4-9

Natasha nugget: You’re in the arms of a man who hurts you more than he helps you because you have yet to run to and remain in the arms of the Perfect Man who holds you and heals you and never lets you go.