Tea for Two: A 30 Day Devotional is now available for purchase! Just click the shop link or purchase your copy at Amazon today!
Tea for Two: A 30 Day Devotional is now available for purchase! Just click the shop link or purchase your copy at Amazon today!
We are 7 days away from the release of Tea for Two: A 30 Day Devotional!!!! Pre-order your copy now!
Have you pre-ordered your copy of Tea for Two? If you have, I have some exciting news for you! Tea for Two will being released earlier than expected! The new release date is April 22! That’s in 3 weeks!
If you haven’t pre-order your copy, there’s still time! Just click the shop link on my page to pre-order your copy now.
I will be having a book signing sometime after the release date (more details to come)! Be sure to pre-order your copy so that you can get it signed at my book signing!!!
Hebrews 5:8 (NKJV)
“though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.”
I don’t know about you, but lately life has been nothing more than a combination of a Debbie Downers and a Negative Nancys. It hasn’t been your typical “life happens” moments, but off the wall, crazy experiences that suck the life and energy out of you. Before you can recover from one hardship, there’s another one waiting for you around the corner. I often find myself wondering, “When does it end, when do I get a break?”
Just like our lives are a challenge, when Jesus walked this earth He suffered greatly and experienced countless hardships. Throughout His ministry He was ridiculed and mocked. The Pharisees made it their sole purpose to find fault with Him and plot ways to kill Him. One of His closest friends betrayed Him for some money. He even suffered a gruesome, painful death even though He was innocent. And we complain about how difficult our lives are!?!? Yet despite all of the suffering, all of the disappointments, all of the hurt and pain, not once did Jesus get caught up in the flesh. Not once did He react to the injustices committed against Him. Not once did He throw a pity party.
How is that so? How was Jesus able to stay true to His nature despite all of the pain He experienced? Hebrews 5:8 tells us that through Jesus’ suffering He learned obedience. It was through the pain, the heartache, the sadness that Jesus learned how to stay committed to God. He did not allow the tough times to cause Him to become bitter and resentful. He did not allow criticisms, mocking, betrayal, and physical pain to cause Him to turn His back on God and step out of God’s will for His life. Instead, He remained faithful to God and walked in obedience even to the point of death. He allowed His suffering to teach Him obedience.
That is what God wants us to develop in our suffering: a willingness to walk in complete obedience to Him. James 1:2 tells us to count it all when we fall into various trials. The reason why we can find joy in our pain and suffering is because our suffering pushes us closer to God and helps us to learn how to follow His will for our lives. So instead of letting challenges and pain cause us to get caught up in the flesh, we need to draw closer to God and allow Him to use our suffering to mold us for His purposes.
Last Saturday I returned from my very first mission trip. To say that this trip was a life changing experience would be an understatement. From everything that happened in my life leading up to this trip to the trip itself as well as after returning from the trip, it has all left me so in awe of my Abba Father.
For the longest God has pressed upon me to go on a mission trip. Every year I would sign up to attend an information session for the mission trips and even once I paid my registration fee, but I never fully committed. Last year I decided to truly commit. I knew that I had to go on a mission trip. I was honestly not up for discussion. I prayed about which trip I should go on and the Lord led me to go on the Belize mission trip. I paid my registration fee and attended the first meeting. I was so hyped after the first meeting. I made a godly connection with someone who is know one of my close friends. I was so excited for this mission trip. During the first meeting, they told us that we would be attacked by the enemy like crazy. I expected it, but I think deep down I didn’t take it seriously…
After that first meeting, the enemy began to attack me like crazy. Many of my friendships and family relationships began to fall apart. I mean people were doing a complete 360 on me out of nowhere. My finances and my health were being attacked. I was struggling to raise the money for my trip. My mind was being attacked. I was under so much stress because I was commuting to a job that was over an hour from my home without traffic, but with traffic it would take me anywhere from an hour and a half to three hours to get to and from work. On top of that, some of my co-workers were giving me a hard time at work, attacking me for no reason. Everything around me was literally falling apart. I seriously was in a Job season. There were so many times I thought about pulling out of this mission trip, but I didn’t. I knew that was what the enemy wanted me to do.
In the beginning, I was mad at God. I told Him, “Why are you letting the enemy attack me like this when I’m preparing to do something for You? I’m going out into the mission field to share the Gospel and to bring You glory, but You don’t even have my back!”
Yes, I have my moments when I get real with my Abba Father and tell Him exactly what’s on my heart. During this time He began to show me that He was using these trials to prepare me for my mission trip and for my future. Once I understood what God was doing, I embraced the trials. I made it my goal to not let these challenging situations steal my joy and peace or cause me to react. I learned to rest in God and trust Him to work things out.
It wasn’t until a month before my mission trip that God began to turn my situation around. Little by little people began to donate. I had a few unexpected donor’s who paid not only for the remainder of my mission trip, but also gave me money to buy what I needed for my trip and spending money. However, right after that victory, the enemy attacked me physically. I ended up missing about two weeks of work due to having a fever of 100.4 that spiked to 105 and a stiff neck. I went to Urgent Care, ER, and my doctor and none of them could tell me what was wrong with me or what was causing the fever and the pain. I prayed and asked God to keep me despite all that was happening and to show me what to do. I sang worship songs and prayed like crazy during this time. He showed me what to do and healed me. During this time off, He led me to apply for a preschool director position. I honestly didn’t think I would get an interview, but I went for it anyway. The next day I got a call for an interview. I was so scared and nervous because I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I also was concerned that if I miraculously got the job, would they be willing to give me the time off for my mission trip. I prayed and told my Abba that if this was the job that He had for me, He would work it all out. I went on the interview and it was the most laid back interview. I mean it was like I was just talking to one of my peers about child development. On top of that, the woman who interviewed me had researched me and she knew all about my mission trip and she saw my YouTube videos. She really liked me, but had more interviews to conduct. Well two days later she called me and offered me the position and was willing to allow me to start after I returned from my mission trip! You know that was God!
Not only did God bless me with a job that is 15 minutes from my house, He gave me my dream job where I will be able to do some incredible things for His glory. I’m still in awe of what He did. He truly came through for me. After all the stressing and crying because of the long commute I was making, He turned my situation around instantly!
To read about all that God did during my mission trip to Belize, go to Part 2 of Mission Trip to Belize.
“…So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” -2 Peter 3:17b-18
This morning during my quiet time with God, these verses stood out to me. Everyday this world seems to get worse and worse. Yesterday, my city, San Bernardino, CA, experienced what appears to be a terrorist attack. It seems like everyday there’s some kind of mass shooting or bombing or some other horrific tragedy. When these tragedies occur, we often hear people say, “Where was God in all of this or why did God allow this to happen?” The thing is that God is there with us in the midst of all of this; however, we live in a fallen world. We live in a world that is ruled by wickedness and evil. I believe that is why we are told to “be on guard”. It’s discouraging and heartbreaking to see or hear about another mass shooting, and, if we’re not careful, we can allow what we see to shake our faith to the core and cause us to doubt God or question whether He truly cares about us.
Since we are living in the last days, we are going to see more and more tragedies because the enemy knows his time is almost up. This is why we as Christians have to be alert and stay woke. We can’t afford to be lackadaisical in our relationship with God. We need to pray and intercede for this world more, we need to share the Gospel more, we need to show this world Christ and truly be the light and salt of the earth. The enemy is counting on us getting tired and growing weary, but we can’t give him that satisfaction. We also need to ask God to give us a strong spirit of discernment and wisdom. The enemy is looking for any opportunity to take out as many Christians as he can because he doesn’t want us to reach the lost. We’re a threat to him. We must be alert 24/7. If we’re off our “spiritual game”, then the enemy will have a field day causing much chaos, confusion, and devastation. When we feel an uneasiness in our spirit, we can’t afford to ignore the Holy Spirit. I’m not saying to live in fear, but I am saying to use wisdom and if something doesn’t seem right, speak up and say something. A friend of mine made an excellent point about Christians using their discernment. He brought up how the neighbors of the suspects involved in yesterday’s tragedy thought something wasn’t right and had suspicions, but they didn’t say anything. As Christians, if the Holy Spirit is revealing something to us, we need to say something because God may use us to prevent certain things from happening. However, if we’re not in tune with God like we need to be, we will not have a strong spirit of discernment and God won’t be able to use us.
I know living in these last days is not easy. I know seeing tragedy after tragedy is discouraging. I know you’re tired. I know you’re ready for Christ to return. We must continue to press forward and keep with the mission that Christ gave us. We are His ambassadors on this earth (2 Corinthians 5:20). We have work to do. One day we will get to spend eternity with Him with no worries, no pain, no cares, no tragedies, but that day has not come yet. So until then we must do our part. We can’t become spiritually lazy. We need to seek God more, pray more, spend time with Him in His word more, and witness more.
I love you all and am praying for you all. If you have any prayer requests or questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey guys! God put it on my heart to share my testimony. Some things have happened in my life within the last 1-2 years that most aren’t aware of. God delivered me from some things and has been doing some great things in my life. I broke the video down into two parts or else it would’ve been way too long. I was hesitant about posting the second part because I share some personal things that I went through in 2013-2014 and made some mistakes that I’ve just now been able to forgive myself of. I was worried that those who know me and know what I stand for were going to judge me, but God asked me, “Are you doing this for man’s approval or for my glory?” Since I’m doing it for God’s glory, it honestly doesn’t matter what man thinks of me. With all that said, please keep any negative or judgmental comments to yourself. I pray that this blesses you and ministers to you. God bless!
“3You have said, ‘I am overwhelmed with trouble! Haven’t I had enough pain already? And now the Lord has added more! I am worn out from sighing and can find no rest.’
5 ‘Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it!..but I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go. I, the Lord, have spoken!'”
Jeremiah 45:3, 5
I’ve been reading the book of Jeremiah and during my quiet time this morning, these two verses wrecked my heart. Jeremiah 45 is a message for Baruch. Baruch was the one who wrote Jeremiah’s book as Jeremiah dictated it. During this time, Jeremiah was a very unpopular prophet (the people of Israel wanted to kill him because they did not like God’s messages that he delivered to them), which meant that Baruch was not too popular either. Baruch’s words resonated with me so much! This is how I currently feel. Things have been going wrong left and right in my life, and it seems like as soon as I start to recover from the last blow I’m struck with another blow. It’s to the point where I’m like, “Lord, when do I get a break?” It’s so discouraging at times! Today during my quiet time, I cried out to God. I asked Him to give me a break, to let me recover, to give me rest because I’m not sure how much more I can take. God began to minister to me through this scripture. He told me, “Just like Baruch began to take his eyes off of me, you are doing the same thing. Fix your eyes on me. It’s not about you. It’s not about what you can get or what you think you deserve. It’s about serving Me and glorifying Me. I know that you are tired, I know that you want a break, but this is for My glory. Keep your eyes on Me, keep serving Me, and remember that you have others watching you. Your life is a testimony, how you live your life allows others to see Me. Remember that and I will strengthen you. I will give you rest, but you have to keep your eyes on Me and keep your eyes off of yourself.”
God’s words to me seriously convicted me. I forgot that this life is not meant to be comfortable. This life isn’t meant to be easy, but I must remember “for our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:17). There is purpose in suffering. God has great purpose in it and that’s what we must remember. Even though it hurts, even though it’s discouraging, even though it feels like it’s not fair, we have to remember Who we are living this life for. Are we living this life for our own enjoyment and comfort? Or are we living this life for Christ? Just as Christ suffered while He was on this earth, we are going to suffer as well.
“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world.”
1 Peter 4:12-13
Be encouraged and remember that you are enduring these trials to glorify Christ. It’s not about you, it’s about Him. But also know that He is with you every step of the way, that He will strengthen and encourage you. Just call on Him.
Have you ever been in a season where you are being bombarded by attacks from the enemy? I mean as soon as you try to recover from one attack, another one occurs. There’s no rest from these attacks…you’re getting hit from the left and the right. You’re crying out to God, but there’s still no relief. You feel as if He’s forgotten about you…as if this season of storms will never end. You can’t help but wonder why…what did you do to deserve this??? It’s to the point that you’ve cried so much that you wonder if you even have any tears left. You’re not sure how much more you can take before you break. What do you do in the midst of a season like this? Has God forgotten about you? Do you have to bear this storm on your own?
It’s in these seasons that we have to stand on God’s Word. There will be times when it feels like we are on our own, but we must remember God’s promise to us “…He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deut. 31:6).” Even when we feel as if He’s not there, He’s there. We just have to trust Him to keep His promise to us and by faith believe that He is with us in the midst of the storm.
We also need to ask God, “What are you trying to develop in me in the midst of this season?” I know for me personally, God has used various seasons to develop the fruits of the spirit in me. I struggle with patience like crazy so usually He uses various seasons or storms to develop patience in me. Ask God what it is He’s trying to teach you and He will show you. This will honestly help change your perspective. Instead of wallowing in your sorrows, you will focus on the lesson God is trying to teach you. Trust me these lessons are valuable and will prepare you for the next season of your life. Let the stormy season develop character in you not defeat you.
“For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.”
I love this scripture because it’s basically saying there will be good and bad seasons in our life. Yes, the bad seasons hurt and they beat us to a pulp, but they develop the character that God wants us to have…they make us more and more into His image. Like it says in Isaiah 48:10, “I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering”, God uses stormy seasons to help us mature as Christians and to make us more and more like Christ. These stormy seasons also strengthen our faith. Think about it: If your faith was never tested, how would it get stronger? Think about it this way, how do children learn to walk? Do they just get up and start walking one day? No! They have to strengthen their muscles. They start off lifting their head and chest, then they start crawling, then they start standing and holding onto the side of the coffee table until finally they can stand and walk on their own. Is it an easy process? No! Do they get frustrated? Yes! But unless they “strengthen their muscles” and “use their muscles”, they will never learn how to walk. Faith works the same way. You have to use it in order to strengthen it. With all that said, stop dreading stormy seasons. Yes, they hurt like heck. Yes, you will cry. Focus on what God is trying to develop in you. Whether it’s the fruit of the spirit, preparation for the next season of your life, or strengthening your faith, take James’ advice in James 1: 2-4, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” So when the storms start raging and the enemy is attacking you left and right, find joy in the fact that God is molding you and strengthening you!