Monday, May 30, 2016

Remembering What Truly is Important

The Memorial weekend has come and gone. Around here in a small town in Pennsylvania, there are tons and tons of American flags, reminding us of those who died for our country. I was told by my husband that the practice of putting flags on the grave of those who died for our country started here in Pa by a bunch of older ladies. Wherever I saw the flags, grave or in someone's front yard, it reminded me of this holiday that our country celebrates.

But my pastor this past Sunday reminded us as Christians that we too have something to remember, Christ dying for us and our sins. We read the four Gospel accounts of that night when Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples before He was going to be betrayed and put on trial and ultimately dying on the cross.

Year after year the Jews celebrated the Passover in remembrance of the night that Israel was save from the angel of death. But every time I really think about the Passover and how it really represents the bigger plan that God had, it humbles me that He had it all covered. When the Jews killed a spotless lamb in order for its blood to be put on their doorposts to save them, it represented why Christ ultimately came, to because our perfect and spotless lamb who would shed His blood to save us from our sins. That is why He told them the disciples what when He broke the bread and drank the wine.  

"When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table.[a] 15 Jesus said, 'I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins.
For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.'... He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, 'This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.'
20 After supper he took another cup of wine and said, 'This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.' "
Luke 22:14-16,19-20
As simple holiday, Memorial day, with all its flags, really challenged me to hold onto what truly is more important to remember, Christ dying on the cross and what that really means to me everyday in my life. It should be celebrated and remembered everyday because without Christ dying and shedding His blood for me, my life would be nothing.
Here is a song that my pastor also played after the sermon and before we took communion. I have took a real liking to this song.


Friday, May 27, 2016

Five Minute Friday- Cheer- God is Cheering Us On

Yay for another time of Five Minute Friday. The word is "cheer".

God is cheering me on! I have made some changes in my life and intentionally making the effort to draw near to God. I am crying out to Him asking for a heart change, asking Him to give me the ability to love those who I love the way He wants me to. And He is cheering me on!

He is saying, "Ok Kristina. You can do this through Me! Keep drawing near to Me. Allow Me to work in your life."

He isn't giving up on me. His grace and His word enables me to keep pressing on. His grace and His word helps me to step out in faith and trust in Him. His grace and His word helps me day in and day out to be the mom He wants me to be, to be the wife that He wants me to be. He has not given up on me.

And stop...

Disclaimer: I really struggled writing this post because I couldn't find a scripture that matches this exactly. Because that is the key, His word. That is what helps me and can help you to have that change in your life, to help you go through that hard time, to help you when Satan is attacking you relentlessly. Here are the scripture I was wanting to use but they just seem to trip me up:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
Hebrews 12:1
The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives.
24 Though they stumble, they will never fall,
    for the Lord holds them by the hand.
Psalm 37:23-24
“He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
18 He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
    from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
19 They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress,
    but the Lord supported me.
20 He led me to a place of safety;
    he rescued me because he delights in me
2 Samuel 22:17-20

Monday, May 23, 2016

To Those Who are Suffering

We All Suffer!

Everyone's story has many small details that are different, but the bigger aspect of our suffering are the same.

One person might be going through a hard situation right now while others are done and learned something through it. There is even others who has gone through a time of suffering but still don't know what to do or what they have had learned from it. Some of those times of suffering might be:

A struggling marriage.

An exhausted mama tired of the everyday mundane of life.

Distracted and busy from having a quiet time or better yet finding a routine that fits you.

Staying awake in bed at night overcome with fear and anxiety.

Someone you love has health problems or is sick.

We All Suffer!

 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world
1 Peter 5:9
When we look at this verse, there are 2 ways that can help us survive our time of suffering.
1) Resist him.
We have to look back in the previous verse to find out who "him" is.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Satan is our enemy. During our times of suffering, he wants us to fail and not trust God. He will try everything to bring us down. The whole picture of being a lion scares me. I might have watched too many movies but lions are strong and powerful animals when their prey is weak, and they can destroy them.  
Lets look at some others verses to tell us more of who Satan is as our enemy.
In Job 1:9-2:7, Satan is shown to be given permission by God to attack Job's belongings, family members, servants and eventually his health. These are all sad and bad ways that happen everyday because of the sin in this world. Because he is the prince of this world, these things are connected to him. 
Zechariah 3:1 states that Satan is our accuser. I learned that his name actually means accuser which I did not know. But as Christians, we are free from the power of sin because of what Christ has done for us. But Satan still accuses us during those hard times simply by putting thoughts into our heads that we are just not being good enough or we will never get it.
The next verse in Luke 22:31 I felt was kinda interesting because Satan in this verse was being intentional in bringing down Peter. He could see that there was something in Peter that wanted to follow Christ and he didn't like that. Jesus was telling this to Peter to be aware of it and to draw near to Him for help.
Revelation 12:9 calls Satan the deceiver of the whole world. He is the prince of lies. We have the choice to recognize those lies he continuously throw at us and to resist him.
So how do we resist him as our enemy during those times of suffering? As the verse says we need to be sober and be vigilant. To be sober according to my Nelson Study Bible notes means "to be self-disciplined, to think rationally and not foolishly (1) ". To be vigilant also according to my Nelson Study Bible means to be alert to the spiritual pitfalls of life and take appropriate steps to make certain that we do not stumble" (1).  When we know who our enemy and his traits of accusing, lying, and intentionality, we can be able to resist him by think rationally and be more aware of our spiritual pitfalls during those times of suffering.
But... we need the help to do so, which then brings me to my second point of how to survive during a time of suffering, to be steadfast in the faith.
Once again we have to look at previous verses on how to be steadfast in the faith, verses 6-7
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you
When we are in a time of suffering and feeling so weak and overcome by temptations to want to give up or be angry, we need to hold onto that God is there for us. We need His help. We need to humble ourselves and acknowledge our need for Him. He is all powerful, all knowing God who knows us inside and out and how this situation is going to end. When we recognize that, we are humbling ourselves under His mighty hand. It doesn't happen overnight but through constantly humbling ourselves over and over again, we will make it through. He will exalt us in due time.  
Besides humbling ourselves, we can also cast all our cares on him. Just like humbling this will also take many many many times of constantly casting your cares. Because He really does care. He shows that He cares through His love, through His grace, through His new mercies every morning every moment.
On a personal note, when I cast my cares on Him, I have learned (still learning currently) to replace it with a promise from His word. Here are some of my favorite verses that I hold onto 
Phil 4:6-7   Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.


Psalm 62:5-8  My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.

Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.

Psalm 149:4   For the Lord takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the humble with salvation

2 Samuel 22:19-20   They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the Lord was my support.
20 He also brought me out into a broad place;
He delivered me because He delighted in me.
It is sometimes unbearable during a time of suffering because you feel like you are all alone. But you are not. There are many people who are going through similar things that you are going through. You are not alone. Hold onto that. Humble yourselves and cast your cares onto God because He does care. And during those times when the enemy overwhelms you with thoughts of discouragement, remember who he is and who you are in Christ.

Share below your thoughts and scripture that encourage you during times of suffering. Share them with someone who you might know that is struggling.

linking up with Jennifer #tellhisstory and Holley coffee for your heart and Jo Thankful Thursdays

 (1) Nelson's NKJV Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1997

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Five Minute Friday- Expect- Psalm 62:5

I really enjoyed my time at the #fmfparty this evening. I can see these group of people truly love each other and they give support to each other. I am glad I get to be apart of this community.

So...Here is for another go at Five Minute Friday. The word is "expect".

The word is expectation in this verse means hope. Yes I did look it up before I started my time : )

What does it look like to have your expectation come from God?

According to this verse, it means waiting silently for God. How do we wait silently for God? I can picture sitting on my bed all comfortable with my Bible and eagerly waiting to see what God will show me in His word. It is like letting go of all your expectations, hopes and biases and allowing God to work in your life.

When you look at this chapter as a whole, David's expectation was from God in the hardest of times when his enemies were taunting him. But he chose to wait on God. He chose to put his hope in God.

And stop.

But I really have to go. I was just getting started. : )

As with David, it is the same for us. Satan does not like us waiting silently before God. He will try to distract us by putting our expectation in the day ahead and what we need to accomplish. I know I have personally been there a lot of the time. But I think it takes constantly fighting back through God's word and praying to God asking Him for His help to put your expectation in Him.

Kinda cool, isn't?

Monday, May 16, 2016

For the Busy and Burdened Life

Lately life has been very busy.

Too busy to care about too much except what is going on in the right here and right now.

Too busy to only feel tiredness and weakness.

Too busy, sadly, to sometimes go the extra mile for the ones I love.

Too busy and feeling guilty and burdened.

My love ones are depending on me but feeling like I am getting very little back in return.


I serve a very faithful God with unbending promises who cries out to me,

"Kristina, you are not alone. You have me. You have my word. Seek it with all your heart. Quit trying to do it on your own. Seek Me!"  

My faithful God then sends me this scripture of hope to rest in that I want to share with you.
 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17,3:3,5
13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, 14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.
16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work...
  But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.
Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.
How can you and I find hope in these verses?
1) We have been chosen from the beginning for salvation, sanctification by the Spirit, and to have a belief in the truth.
We are God's own since the beginning of time. We were thought about before anyone was created on this earth. That makes us special and one of a kind.
Besides salvation, we are also set apart to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit that was given to us. God just does save us and let us go on in our own strength. He is molding us into His image through life circumstances and relationships. He is patiently making us like Him. It happens in His timing and in His way for His purpose, to be glorified.
How does that all happen? Through knowing His truth. His truth is what our salvation is based off of and allows us to be sanctified.
2) Because we are chosen, sanctified, and taught God's truth, we need to stand fast and hold onto the traditions and beliefs that we were taught.
God's word isn't just there for us to read and go on with life. It is there to change us. It is there to help us to press on during the hard and good times. God's word is there to hold onto and to hold us up. Instead of trying to do things in your own strength, go to His word. If nothing comes to mind, just pray because God will help you remember what you have learned. I have seen people dying of cancer or who has a struggling marriage and how they held onto God's word to help them through.
3) Through God's love and grace, He gives us everlasting consolation and good hope.
God's love and grace is resourceful. Consolation or the act of consoling means to comfort. These gifts of God gives us a comfort to our hearts or our whole being that will never go away, that lasts forever and ever. When we trust in that, it gives us hope to be able to do anything through Him. No matter what our circumstances look like, good or bad, burdening or freeing, God gives us what we need. His love and grace is that powerful.
4) Our faithful God establishes and guards us from the evil one.
Satan does not have a chance! We are Chosen, Sanctified, Taught, and Loved by God. When God sent His Son to die for us, He conquered death, sin, and anything that has to do with Satan and he knows it! It freaks him out! Our faithful God will strengthen us and protect us. This connects with verse 15 of chapter 2 when we have our traditions and God's word to help us stand fast. We have the capabilities to allow God to do all the fighting for us and He does. Instead of trying to do things in our own strength, we need to let go and allow our faithful God fight.
5) In conclusion, lets allow God to direct our hearts to His love and Christ's example of patience.
My Nelson NKJV Study Bible study notes on the bottom of verse 5 of chapter 3 states it better than  I can,
"With the prayer may 'the Lord direct your hearts', Paul was indicating that the heart, the seat of a person's will, is the place where spiritual renewal begins. There God plants His love and patience, traits that will produce a harvest of good works. Paul uses the word direct to indicate that God will clear the away the obstacles that may stand in the way of their progress toward love and patience. Paul prays that the Thessalonians, when faced with persecution, will be able to show the same type of patience Jesus expressed when people rejected Him."(1)
No matter how busy and burdened I feel, God is there for me. He will hold onto me as He sanctifies and molds me during this time because I am His. He will establish me and protect me from the evil one. All the meanwhile I need to let go and allow Him to direct my heart towards His love, which will strengthen me to be able to think beyond what's going on now and love my love ones who need me so much.
linking up with Jennifer #tellhisstory and Holley coffee for your soul
(1) Nelson's NKJV Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1997

Friday, May 13, 2016

Five Minute Friday- Grow- Growing Hurts

Now for another Five Minute Friday. The word is "grow".

Remember when you were a kid and you felt achy and your mom told you that it was growing pains.

Or those times when you broke a bone and you had to wear that itchy cast and felt claustrophobic  because you couldn't bend it the way you wanted to. That cast was to help your bone grow back into place.

Growing is hard.

Growing is painful.

I know for me right now in my life, I am growing in my walk with God. And there is alot of pain, emotional pain. There is pain because I cant let go of the things of this world and there is a tug a war going on, a spiritual battle for my life.

To grow means to let go.

To grow means to not fight.

To grow is to take what is broken and make it all new again.

God is calling out to me through His love and I still want to do things in my own strength.

God is calling me to let go of things and I can't let go.

But I have to if I want to grow.

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Empowered Life of a Christian Part 2 - Ephesians 3:14-20 Devotion

What does it look like to be empowered by what Christ did for us?

What can Christ's love do in our lives?

Because of God's great plan, we are apart of a family ordained by God. Being apart of this family brings empowering traits that only come from God. I did the first four verses of Ephesians 3:14-20 and now I am going to give you the last three verses. I love how these verses give us the picture of being apart of God's family and what we get being apart of it. I am going to show you this using the New Living Translation.

"14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,[e] 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.[f] 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think."
As stated before these verse show a progression of what happens being apart of God's family.

1) When you allow your roots to grow into God's love, you will gain the power to understand it deeply.

I love the picture of roots taking hold of God's love. His love has so many different facets to it. It is unchanging. It never ends. It's like superglue; it never leaves us. It is all encompassing as Paul says "how wide, how long, how high and how deep...". But it only comes when we grow deep roots in it by allowing Christ to take hold of our whole hearts. It like emptying our yourselves completely to Him. Christ dying on the cross gave us the ability to understand God's love for us.

What do you think "to understand how wide, how long, how high and how deep His love is" means to you? What does that look in your life?

2) When we gain the power to understand God's love for us deeply, it is still hard to understand even though it makes us complete in the fullness of life and power.

Even though we come to trust in Christ with our lives and allow His love to guide us and change us, it is something that we cannot fully grasp. As a human, we understand only conditional human love. It is hard for us to understand fully what Christ's love means for us. But that's why we have the relationship we have with Christ because day by day when we live completely for Him, He shows us. How does He show us? By making us complete in the fullness of life and power. Even as I write that, it gives me peace because it means that I am still being worked out and I will experience the fullness of life and power as I continue to trust and surrender to Him. What does fullness of life and power look like? Here are some verses

As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;
I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.
Psalm 17:15
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    For they shall be filled
Matthew 5:6
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He also will hear their cry and save them.
Psalm 145:19
Blessed is the man You choose,
And cause to approach You,
That he may dwell in Your courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house,
Of Your holy temple
Psalm 65:4
but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.
But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life
John 4:14
The fullness of life and power comes from seeking God and being satisfied in Him.

What verse that I shared encouraged you? Or is there a verse that these verses remind you of what it means to live in the fullness of life and power? Hold onto it and pray it as a prayer to God right now.

3) Because we can live in the fullness of life and power only through God, we can be able to see God work in us to do more than we might ask or even think is possible.

Isn't that awesome?! When we completely trust in Christ and allow His love to change us and we can experience the fullness of life and power, God will use us to do things that we can never ever thought we ever could do. That's huge. That is the empowered life. We no longer worry about the things of this world but we become entirely motivated by God and His love for us and do great things and that make an impact in this world. I don't know about you but that is where I want to be. That is what I want to do with my life.

How about you? What are things that might be stopping you from truly experiencing the fullness of life and power to allow God to do anything through you?

linking up with #tellhisstory and Coffee for your Heart

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Five Minute Friday- Miss- Missing the Point

Here is to another week of Five Minute Friday. The word is miss

I have really been thinking a lot about what I said last week about having a "passing away mindset".

I will admit it. I don't.

And I realized this when my favorite candidate suspended his campaign. I am on the bandwagon to save our country because the other candidates will not do it.

I have discovered that I am a passionate person and honestly, I have always been that way.

When "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" came out, I was on it. Swearing by the book I would never date even if I was only in the 7th grade.

When the Baptist church was boycotting Disney because of the gay rights issues. I took it one step further and found a book which told me more dirt about them. I boycotted them for 10 years of my life.

As a teenager, I had my shirts buttoned up to the very tip top because I had to be conservative and not show skin to make the opposite sex stumble.

But am I missing the point? What should I be fighting for?

um...the Gospel.

People's souls.

Where my love ones are going to spend eternity.

All these things are temporary and honestly empty.  I don't want to miss the point of being a Christian any more.

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Empowered Life of a Christian- Ephesians 3:14-20 Devotion

What does it look like to be empowered by what Christ did for us?

What can Christ's love do in our lives?

Because of God's great plan, we are apart of a family ordained by God. Being apart of this family brings empowering traits that only come from God. Ephesians 3:14-20 gives us that picture. I am going to show you this using the New Living Translation.

"14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,[e] 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.[f] 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think."
The first thing we notice when we read this scripture that Paul is giving thanks to God in prayer for being our Creator. We are united as a family because we are His creation. Everything here on earth and in heaven is His. We are His. So we are able to do alot as His creation.

Paul goes on in the following verses stating a progression of who we are being apart of His family.

1) We are empowered with inner strength through His Spirit.

This strength is only found in Him and His resources. What are those resources? They are from the same power that rose Christ from the dead and seated Him in heaven on the right side of God (Ephesians 1:19-20). These resources are far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else (Ephesians 1:21). And they are given to us.

What are some God given resources you have experienced in your life? Think about those times when you felt so strengthen by those resources and remember them the next time, you feel weak.

2) Because we are given this inner strength, Christ will make Himself home in your heart as we trust Him.

When we draw near depending on God for His strength, we let go of things and allow Christ to have full control of our hearts and lives. This only comes from trusting in Him by remembering those times when you felt that power. There will be less fighting God and more of Christ in our lives. Imagine Christ coming in your life on a more intimate level, you enjoying Him and depending on Him more than just survival but because He is your life.

What are some things that you are preventing you from truly allowing Christ to rest completely in your heart? Maybe its fear or anger or doing things in your own strength. Pray this verse to Him.

3) Because we trusted and allowed Christ to make Himself completely at home in our hearts, roots within us will grow in God's love and keep us strong.

Before in verse 16, we are empowered with God's unlimited resources and are strengthen by the Spirit. But now because we recognized those resources and allowed Christ to stay ultimately in control of our lives where we are now trusting Him, roots in His love for us are being established. There is a stable foundation, a strong fixed faith that we have. But it is only through us trusting in His love that these roots grow and hold onto firmly.

Do you have strong unwavering roots in His love for you? Does His love change your life? Or is it all just knowledge? Ask God to show you His love to transform your life.   

Come back next Tuesday to get the other half.
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