Tag Archives: Jesus

Transformation Tuesday: Senior Year vs. Senior Year

Hey guys,

So  I came across an old article written on me my Senior year of high school back in 2012 that brought back all kinds of memories. Now that I’ve graduated from college, I felt that it was the perfect time to reflect on how I’ve changed (or not) in the past 4 years. Lots has changed and I want to take an opportunity to bring glory to God through my transformation.

Jasmine Wilhite: High School Senior

My Senior Superlative Shoot

My Senior Superlative Shoot

My senior year of high school was jam packed with so many accomplishments that I must admit I was proud of back then. Way too proud. Let me take a minute to paint a vivid picture for you guys: I was a Superior Honor Student ranked #13 out of 390 graduates, voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by my peers and awarded a Senior Superlative by faculty and staff, Field Commander in marching band, Class Representative in Student Council, active member in a number of other clubs, and I received an A in the first (and last) AP class I ever took…. and in the rest of my classes. I was about 125 pounds and my idea of “fly” (yea, I think that was the word back in 2012. Forgive me if I’m wrong lol) which was evident from the gazillion selfies I took before selfies even became a big deal. My pictures got me the attention I seldom admitted I sought after. My looks and people’s validation defined my worth. I was not a wild child because I had this desire to make my family and others proud of me. I claimed to be a Christian even though my heart and my mind were so far from God. I didn’t care to live for Him for real… to be honest I didn’t really know what that meant. I just did what I wanted and tagged God’s name to it. So that was me in a nutshell: kinda really vain and an extreme perfectionist with a need to please. The amount of praise I got and the great reputation I earned coupled with society’s constant exclamations to “get a good education so you can make something of yourself” made me think that my life couldn’t get much better.  So I pursued worldly success through school and people’s praise and it helped that I was pretty good at getting both. I had it made, or so I thought most of the time. The driving force of all the hard work and dedication I put into racking up all these titles was my pride. I thought all that stuff made me somebody, I thought it made me who I was and I didn’t want to know what life was like without it. However, something was still missing…

Jasmine Wilhite: College Senior

Fast forward 4 years and you have the “Jasmine” who is writing this blog now. The high school Jasmine had so many hopes and dreams for the future she was about to pursue. Little did she know, college would look nothing like what she imagined. Life as she knew it would soon be over. I want to make it clear that I now know that this is perfectly fine! No, I didn’t find my husband in college. I didn’t even date in college much at all. No, I’m not 125 pounds anymore. Freshman 15 met me at the door and brought about 5 extra friends with them! I didn’t find my way to a seat in the Student Government Association, or any other clubs. I lost my winning streak when it came to having all A’s. I don’t have the desire to take a billion selfies now and post pictures of myself left and right. I went through a season in college where I  became physically separated from one friend I depended on at school each semester until there were none left. Many days it felt like it was just me against the world.  I lost my first loved

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College Nursing  Pinning Ceremony

one to death. At a first glance, it may seem like my life kinda went downhill. For a while I believed this as well. But as I look back and reflect on the past four years, I can now see that these losses weren’t losses at all, but gains because the haze of all the “idols” that clouded my view of God was slowly being lifted. It was as the fog began to clear that I was able to see Him. He came out of nowhere, found me and He’s what I didn’t realize I needed. It took me going through these situations and now looking back over my life to realize God’s sovereignty. He was working all along, waiting patiently for me to turn to Him and welcome Him with open arms. He can truly use anything for His purpose if He so chooses. I see now that He was slowly but surely stripping me of everything I put my hope and identity in that wasn’t Him, and I’m learning to find joy in that.

 

What to take away from this….

  1. See, when you choose to begin your walk with God for real, He is going to pursue the throne of your life and this may mean losing some stuff. I admit that at times this is uncomfortable. It’s hard to find joy when you lose things you’ve depended on for so long. But we can trust God. He’s not only with His children now, but He also goes ahead before us to guide the steps of His followers. He’s perfect and has never made a mistake and He’s not going to start with you!
  2. Worldly success is nothing like God’s definition of success. The world glorifies material things and pleasure and encourages people to do whatever you need to do to achieve this goal… in other words, do whatever makes you happy. My avenue was education. Yours may be different. After coming to Christ it became clear to me that the path that I was on was pointless. Why? Because this world is temporary and will not last! “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.-1 John 2:17” Mark 8:36 goes onto say, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, but forfeit their soul?” I see now that living life for worldly reasons will feel good for a while, but you will one day lose it all only to go into eternity, where there are no second chances, where God will only look at whether or not you lived your life for Him instead of yourself. God tells us in Joshua 1:8 that obeying Him is the definition of success. As for me, I continued to pursue education but my intentions were different. It’s not about the money, but using a career in nursing to bring glory to God. That’s my motivation.

3.   There’s a reason why you may feel like life is missing something, even when you think you have it all. The truth is that God would love to have a personal relationship with each and every one of us. I’ve heard since the beginning of my walk that people have God-sized voids in their lives that only He can fill. However, humans still attempt to fill them with things that just won’t fully satisfy: money, cars, marriage, dating, careers, degrees, friends, popularity, you name it. I’m a living witness that this statement is so true. On the outside looking in, high school Jasmine didn’t seem to have anything to complain about, but I was NEVER CONTENT! There was always something more I wanted despite having everything I asked for. Now, I’m learning to I now believe it was a blessing from God that allowed me to continue having that void. I’m afraid to think where I would be now if I became content in a life without God in it. The discontentment I felt helped me to keep seeking, even if I sought after things that weren’t beneficial. That seeking is what helped me keep my eyes open and my heart willing for change, the perfect recipe for God to come and spark true conversion.

To be perfectly clear, I have a lot more growing and changing to do. This process will take the rest of my natural born life but I wanted to use the changes thus far to hopefully encourage someone….anyone! I would especially like to encourage the person who might feel like they do not qualify for the Christian life because they may not have some tragic life story that pushed them closer to God. I used to think this for years but God can use us who “thought” we had it all together for His glory as well. Your testimony is important too. There’s a place for everyone in God’s kingdom if you invite Him into your heart.

God bless,

-Jasmine

 

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Transparency Time: The Birds of the Air…

Back with another one! I pray that everyone’s week is going well!

So as you can see from the title, I would like to be transparent about my stressful day yesterday and how God encouraged me. I hope it can encourage you too. So I’m in my very last semester of nursing school and during Spring Break I signed up to go on a Trip to Jamaica with some other nursing students. We will be doing service activities and also exploring the place. I’ve been so determined and excited to go for a year now so I went for it! I wanted to do this to show myself that I could. Now that I’m in the Transcultural class and the trip is getting closer and closer, anxiety and worry have started to set in and of course Satan took the open door I gave Him to plant doubt in my mind: “Are you sure you should be going on this trip? You won’t have any of your family or friends going with you. You’ll be by yourself and alone. You’re going to pay $1000 to go and be miserable. This is your last Spring Break and your sister actually has the same Spring Break with you for the first time in forever, you really want to spend it this way? “ Unfortunately, I’m not the Superwoman Christian that I desire to be one day so no, I didn’t “capture every thought” and “make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). I entertained it. Right after this class, I received an email from one of my professors. In nursing school, we have what’s called “remediation hours” that we do to help us get ready for NCLEX based on the score you received on the practice exam. I have to spend 10 hours a week on top of the rest of the work we have to do. I’ve been diligent about keeping up with my time however, my professor tells me that she can only account for 7 hours and I’m 3 hours short. She tells me I need to add the 3 hours to this week’s, making it 13 total. Great! After sitting in a funk for a while I decided to take a drive to my favorite place when I’m stressed: Sonics. I sat there and fooled myself into thinking that joy could be found at the bottom of my chocolate fudge sundae. Yea, talk about maladaptive coping mechanisms. To my surprise, this didn’t work (major sarcasm)! Then I had the idea to drive around, looking at houses and praying to God. I wanted answers on what to do. I wanted peace and assurance that I wasn’t on the wrong track or made the wrong decision about this trip. I’m not sure how long this little excursion lasted but when it was over, I was headed back to school when I remembered I needed to go get food.  So, I went to Zaxby’s and ordered a Fried Chicken Caesar Salad at the drive thru. Little did I know then that God was about to show up. I was waiting in line when I noticed this bird sitting in the bush right next to my car. Peacefully and quietly. Gradually, it hopped to the top of the bush when I pulled up closer to the bush and just stood there perched on this branch, like it was there just so I could look at it. I was looking for the bird to take flight but it just stood there. This is when the Holy Spirit acted as the “reminder”
He promised He would be (John 14: 26). My inner ear heard and I began to quote Matthew 6: 26: Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? I know this was God because anyone who knows me knows I’m not a fan of birds at all lol! But I knew God was then telling me not to worry. He’s in control and He’s with me. There

What to take away from this…

I love that God is sovereign and omnipresent. Since He’s in control of everything and is everywhere at the same time, we can enter the world expecting to “see God” whether it’s through creation, His people, or even a bird. God is the master of “Connect-the-Dots” and making sure the linear paths of so many things (such as me and this bird) meet at one point, or dot, after another to display this beautiful image of His presence in our lives. I pray that this can be a blessing and remember God is in control so surrender our stress!

God is love and He is awesome,

-Jasmine

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Chosen: A Quiet Time Revelation

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Hey guys,

Have you ever felt like you don’t matter? Like your life doesn’t have meaning? Like you’re insignificant and not really all that important? LORD KNOWS I HAVE! And even as a Christian sometimes I still do. But recently the Word of God spoke something to my heart that I would like to share and I pray I never forget.

Ephesians 1:11: “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will…” 

When I read this the word “chosen” jumped out at me and I was prompted to look up this word in the dictionary like I often do. This isn’t because I don’t know what it means but sometimes doing this puts the word in a newer and brighter light than they have when I just use them in everyday life. Here’s what I found:

Chosen: having been selected as the best or most appropriate.

That’s when it hit me! God has known us all for a long time, even before our ancestors were created. Even before the World was created. During this time God created His will, His”good,pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). God is such a master planner that He set His ultimate goals and every single step needed in order to bring this will to fruition. When He did this, He also assigned tasks to people who He saw would be the best and most appropriate for His master plan. The name of every living and breathing person came to God’s mind. This includes me. This also includes you. Realizing this should give us peace in knowing that there’s no way we could be accidents. I don’t know my exact purpose in this life yet and you may not either. I’m learning that it’s ok! The Bible clearly states that we should trust in Him with all our hearts, not lean to our own understanding, and acknowledge Him in all our ways and then our paths will be directed by Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). If we are doing this then wherever we are in life is exactly where God wants us to be, no matter how dull or pointless it may seem. He will not reveal His entire plan for us from beginning to end at one time so this is where the trust has to come in for us all. Realize that God doesn’t want to hide us from the reason we were created. However, there is a time of preparation that we must endure that may outlast our patience at times. I understand very well how trusting God through the silence and uncertainty is difficult, but the best things for us usually require hard work. So let’s practice resting and trusting in the Lord together!

-Jasmine
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A Sign Is Not Always the Answer

Hey guys! Quick side note before I get into this blog.  I know that my blogs do not have a certain rhyme or reason and tend to be all over the place when it comes to topics but I gave up on trying to make this blog what I think it should be. At the beginning, I tried to bring my perfectionist persona into building this blog and started planning how, what, when, I was going to do everything. That plan failed miserably really fast. If you could take a peek behind the scenes of this blog site, you would see that there are about 3 or 4 unfinished blogs sitting idle, waiting to be brought into the Internet world. But they were birthed from ideas that I thought would be good to write about. However, I couldn’t finish them. The writer’s block was so real and I believe it is because I was trying to write about God without His help. After taking a hiatus from blogging, I came back recently and decided that I was only going to write about things I feel inspired and led to write about through faith. Lately, ideas out of left field have come into my head and it’s like I was given actual sentences and points to address. What’s even more awesome is that I know these ideas aren’t my own because I need a lot of this stuff for myself. The stuff I write about aren’t things that I’ve mastered by no means! All in all, it’s been cool seeing the verses I’ve read in the Bible being brought to life and used in real life situations. God’s word is alive and active so cheers to letting God lead!

The Blog Starts Now!

So I was in my Community Health Class and we were watching a documentary on “The Lost Children of Rockdale” and one of the guys being interviewed started talking about how he gave his life to Christ after living a life full of anger, violence, and a lot of other things! The Christians he associated with on the documentary described him as a perfect example of a true convert and noted his fire for God was so noticeable. After time went on, this guy started praying for God to give him a sign that He was real and that his transformation and new spiritual walk wasn’t just all in his head. He prayed and prayed and prayed….. nothing happened. So, he interpreted this silence as confirmation that it was indeed all made up and eventually reverted back to his old ways. I was hurt to hear that. Not just because of him but also because I feel as if a sign from God is what many people are looking for, but don’t always receive. I remember on numerous occasions after coming to Christ where I was so obsessed with wanting to “hear God’s voice” audibly and was upset when I didn’t. To me, that would have made God so real! I would learn much later what hearing His voice truly meant, but that’s only because I just knew God had to be real and I couldn’t give up. Later on that day, I was wondering why God sometimes doesn’t give people the sign they believe they need, much like the guy in the video. Something I often do in my head is place myself inside of whatever situation is going on around me as if it were happening to me or as if I was talking to the person that was going through the situation. I was curious to know what I, as a believer, would have to say to someone who was ready to throw in the towel on God because they believe He ignored them and wouldn’t give them a sign. This blog I’m sharing with you is the response I was led to give on why a sign is not always the answer.

Some were given plenty of signs…

If I were to close my eyes and thumb through the Old Testament, I’m pretty confident that whatever my finger landed on would probably be a sign that God used to communicate to the people back in this time. But since there are so many, I will center on the instance that came to my mind first: the Israelites Moses led out of Egypt. The signs God gave them were ALL OVER THE PLACE: All the plagues, the cloud that led them by day, the pillar of fire that led them by night, the parting of the Red Sea, the manna He gave them to eat, the rock Moses struck that gave them water, and just in case you missed it the first time, HE PARTED THE RED SEA!! However, this still wasn’t enough. Despite all of these signs, they still whined, complained, doubted, and flat out didn’t trust God to provide for them. It’s so easy for us (the people of today) to say “man, if I was living back then and saw all that there’s NO way I wouldn’t believe in God!” What I came to realize is that the nature embedded in the people of that time is the same nature we are born with now so we have to be careful thinking this way. It’s human nature to try to make sense of as much as we can and rationalize things despite the Bible making it clear in Isaiah 55:8 that God thinks and acts in a completely different way than we do. Also, the Bible we have to depend on now was being written before their very eyes, so God had to use these means more so in order to get through to them. One of Priscilla Shirer’s sermons (If you don’t know she was the woman that played an AWESOME role in the movie War Room)  mentioned how the people of the Old Testament wanted the constant and readily available indwelling of God’s Spirit like we have just as bad as we sometimes want the signs they had! Ultimately, God wants us to operate in the foundation of  Christianity: faith!

The issue with depending on signs…

Now, I’m not saying that God has completely abandoned giving people signs altogether, but signs cannot be the basis of our loyalty to Him. The Bible makes it clear that His people are to walk by faith and NOT BY SIGHT( 2 Corinthians 5:7 ). To better understand this it is important to know the definition of faith. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is having confidence in what we hope for and assurance of the things we cannot see! Verse 6 then tells us that we cannot please God without faith! With that being said, asking for signs in a way is asking to see…God is God so He doesn’t have to prove anything to us but He did it anyway through the Bible. It’s then up to us to believe. So if He sees fit to give you a sign, then that’s because He saw it was truly needed for His purpose. If He doesn’t, then we must operate in faith and trust that God knows what we need more than we do. When you need answers, look to prayer and God’s Word first because these are the two main ways we have communication with Him. I pray this has been a blessing!

Keep the faith!

-Jasmine

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Testimony Time: Why I Cut My Hair

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Hey guys,
First and foremost let me say that if someone would have told me I was going to cut my hair a year ago, I would have laughed in their face, but I did just that on New Years Eve and I wanted to share how I came to the conclusion to cut my hair and how God used this as practice to put my faith in Him. Hope you enjoy!

The Decision Making Process

August or September of last year I started searching on the Internet to  upgrade my hairstyle. I remember being so sold on jumping on the “Brazilian” bandwagon so I spent HOURS reading and watching…watching and reading reviews over and over trying to make a final decision. Such a tedious process! One thing I remembered was that the whole process gave me NO peace! This was shocking to me since I was so convinced that was what I wanted. I was letting something like hair stress me out, give me a headache, and make me really frustrated. After a few days of this I just quit and said “you know what…I JUST WANT TO CUT MY HAIR!!” What was even more shocking is how quickly all that frustration left me and was replaced with this calmness I couldn’t explain. Now, I must admit that I’ve said this before but wasn’t really serious about it, but the peace I felt this time was different and I believe that the Holy Spirit speaks through our peace. So, my topic of research switched to short styles instead. It was actually fun and I spent time looking up the best cuts for my face shape, maintenance, products etc. Now one important point I want to make is that I prayed through this process from start to finish. I prayed to be led to the right cut, to help me find the right stylist, to open and close doors as He saw fit, to confirm whether this decision was a knee jerk reaction to frustration or a real desire, I even prayed that I would like it and not be unhappy with it…all that. I wanted to be led by Him even in something as small as my hair, something I’d never done before. I also talked to my family and best friend about it which was helpful. Eventually, I settled on a style and made a hair appointment for the weekend after my birthday. However, this appointment didn’t work out. Uh oh. I started freaking out saying things like, “what if this is a sign I shouldn’t cut my hair?! What if I hate it and I just dodged a bullet?” Fear took over for a while and I almost backed out of the whole thing. But thanks to my big sister she talked some sense into me and reminded me that fear doesn’t come from God and said I should go through with it. So after my first appointment was a bust, I was just scrolling aimlessly through Instagram and saw a gorgeous cut that led me to a page full of short styles! This definitely wasn’t a coincidence and I ended up finding a better style and that’s that! I made an appointment New Years Eve and now I LOVE my new cut!

So what does this have to do with my faith?

I was driving in my car today and some revelations came to mind that I didn’t realize until now. I believe God used this whole ordeal to bring to life some things about His character that I’ve read in the Bible and I wanted to share them with you!

1. God cares about even the little things!  I believe God loves to see us depend on Him in every aspect of our lives. I admit that I have a long way to go in this area but I’ve been practicing. My hair for example. Now, some people would probably think it’s crazy to pray to God about some hair. I get it. I used to be one of those people, but God wants us to acknowledge Him in all our ways Proverbs 3:5-6 this means we are to turn over every area of our lives to Him. Every! What I like about this verse is that it doesn’t say to acknowledge Him in the big things, or acknowledge Him when we can’t handle things or after we tried and failed and want God to take over…acknowledge Him in all our ways. We have to learn to stop sorting our lives between the things we want to handle and the things we want God to handle. He wants it all because He is Our Father and He wants to take care of us. Remember that God took time to create the huge sun and sky as well as the grass, the birds of the air, the ants and even those little gnats down in South GA that seem to serve NO purpose in life. He cares. He saw that I sought His help in this and He directed my path and answered my prayers like He promised. I must say that this experience added to my faith in the all powerful God in a way I wasn’t expecting and I’m grateful.

2. God wants us to trust in His timing and not ours.
Like I said, I prayed for God’s help in this thing, but then I proceeded to make an appointment based on what made sense to me and my perfect timing. The weekend after my birthday, which was my original date, was right after finals and at the beginning of a month long Christmas break. I figured this would give me time to get used to my hair and learn how to take care of it. This was also time for me to do something about it if I didn’t like it…well things didn’t go my way. I ended up having two less weeks to get used to my hair and things worked out fine, although I was scared at first. See, once I prayed for God to take care of this, I should have had faith that He would. That way, it wouldn’t have mattered whether I made the cut a month or a day before school started back. This is where trusting in the Lord with all my heart comes into play, but the best thing about making mistakes is that we learn from them!

3. God will change our desires to line up with His will when He sees that we are seeking Him.
For many years, I put so much of my confidence in hair! I needed it! It had to be a certain length or I didn’t feel pretty,  but the more I walk with the Lord, I see more clearly how vital it is to put our hopes in something that’s eternal and not temporary. Psalms 37:4 says “take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  I believe that as we grow in taking delight in the Lord, we begin to desire the things He desires, things we probably never wanted before that align more with His will. My “something” was hair and some of other things and yours may be something different. But I can guarantee that we will come up short if we continue to do this. Hair can fall out. Someone may not have the kids they put so much of their hope in and if they do the kids will grow up and eventually leave the nest. That boyfriend or girlfriend may not be as faithful as we hoped. That job may lay us off or money could be spent or stolen, but God is forever and always.

To wrap things up, God can use anything to bring Him glory and I want to encourage us to take God out of that box and let Him roam freely throughout our lives. I’ve got some work to do on this too but I want to invite you to join me on this quest to stop putting God in compartments while we handle the parts of our lives we are afraid to let go of. Hey, what can you lose?! Know that God has our best interest at heart and loves us so deeply (Jeremiah 29:11 ). If it is difficult for us to trust in the Lord like this, then this could be because we don’t know Him well enough. How many of us trust people we don’t know? So a cure to this is getting into God’s Word so He can reveal His character to us. God knows us very well. The question is this: do we know Him?

God is so much greater than the box we put Him in,

-Jasmine

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Warning Signs of A False Christian

This topic can be a hard pill to swallow. I know because I’ve had to swallow it myself.I now know that if I would have died before August 7, 2014 I would be in Hell for eternity. It was put on my heart to write this blog because I was a fake Christian for 20 years of my life and it’s scary how becoming truly saved showed me how blind I was to the truth that was right in front of my very eyes. I thank God that He showed me the light before it was too late, so I want to pay it forward by putting this out there for at least one person to see. I remember many times when I’d go to church and hear the preacher ask if there’s anyone in the congregation who isn’t saved and I would always look around at whose hand would go up or who would walk down the aisle not considering that this person could have been me. I’ve been in church all my life, I’m a “good” person there’s NO way that could be me right? So wrong. Romans 3:20-22 shows us the one and only way to be deemed as “good” in God’s eyes. With this being said, here are a few signs that can be used to help evaluate whether or not this could be you as well.

1. Not reading/studying  your Bible for yourself on a regular basis

To be saved is to have an opportunity to have a relationship with The Creator! Like any relationship, communication is key. If there’s no communication then you can pretty much guarantee that the relationship will shrivel up and die. Same goes for the Lord. The Bible is called God’s Word for a reason. It’s how He speaks to us and if you’re not reading it, that means your communication with each other isn’t there. Not reading your Bible is also a sign because God’s Word gives us instructions on how Christians should live. If you don’t read it, then how can you know what it says and furthermore know what to do? And because of our sinful natures we are all born with, no one just lives life as a Christian naturally so we must read it. IT’S NOT THE PREACHERS JOB TO DO THIS FOR US!!! Genuine preachers of the Word of God are great and they are much needed, but just like you wouldn’t depend on another person to build a relationship between you and someone else, you can’t depend on a preacher to build your relationship with God.

2. Repeatedly and deliberately committing sin without any convictions.

Galatians 5:19-21 says “When you follow desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” Please note that this doesn’t just cover those outward sins like sex before marriage, drunkenness, wild parties etc but also those sins that occur inside that can be hidden from people’s eyes like jealousy and anger. Don’t let the world fool you into thinking that some sins are a bigger deal than others. Participating in sin outwardly is hated by God, but gossiping/lying about people who participate in outward sins are also hated by God. Now, am I saying that true Christians are perfect? NO! Not even close. The more I read the Bible, the more I realize what a mess I am and how much I need God’s grace and the Holy Spirit daily. So please do not think that living a sinless life is required to be a follower of Christ. In our imperfection, God’s grace is readily available. However, the difference between the two is that true Christians are diligent about obeying God’s commands to show our love for Him( John14:23 ), are convicted by the Holy Spirit when we go against God’s instructions, and repent by turning away from things we are convicted about.

3. Your thoughts and actions are centered on yourself and what’s best for you.

You want to sum up the God-given goal of a Christian in a nutshell? Matthew 22:37-39 says it all. “37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”  This means that God should be our first priority and that we do not put ourselves above others. To be honest, I’m hesitant when it comes to putting myself out there. This blog is an example. Satan tries to fill my mind with the thoughts and cares of people’s opinions but I have to remind myself one important thing: THIS IS NOT ABOUT ME! Avoiding things out of fear when I know it’s something that would bring glory to God would be selfishness on my part. Everything God has His children do is not for ourselves, but for someone else. Christians should strive not toward their own success and desires but to bring God glory during their time here on Earth. It takes trust, courage, and patience…lots of patience… to allow the Holy Spirit to develop us into this kind of person.

4. Being a Christian hasn’t “cost” you anything and  hasn’t brought you to that critical crossroad of whether or not to live for God.

The Christian journey is fulfilling and rewarding but it’s no cake walk. This life is going to cost you something. God has promised to make His followers into “new creatures.” New creatures! With a promise like that there’s no way He expects us to stay the same. He has called us to depend on Him so that we can adopt a Christ -like nature that goes against everything that comes natural to our flesh. We are even called to lose our lives so that we can find life in Him( Matthew 10:39 )I remember that point of crisis for me. I came to a portion of the Bible that revealed how real the Christian life truly was. The Bible asked something of me over a year ago that I didn’t feel I could do at the time, and that was to seemingly hate my family in comparison to how much I love God (Luke 14:25-27 ). I didn’t pick up my Bible for about 3 days. The truth was I was scared to let go of my life for the one God has for me. The truth was I spent my whole life getting to know and love my family but getting to know God on a personal level was new to me. What brought me back to God?  The alternative: 1) missing out on a relationship with God, the Creator of the Universe, and His purpose for me and 2) dying and going to Hell because of it. So, there will be bumps in the road but I promise you that it’s so worth it.

5. Finally, wanting God’s hand instead of His heart

There are so many preachers out there feeding people “prosperity gospels” that promote the idea that God=blessings, specifically,  money and material things. Well folks I’m here to tell you that God is SOOO much greater than what He can give you! Just because you “feel blessed” at the moment because things  seem to be going ok doesn’t mean you are in a good place with God. This can be a trick from the enemy to keep potential people of God trapped by disguising himself as something people see as godly. It is made very clear throughout the Bible that being one of His followers brings about hard times and suffering that He can all use for His glory. You can count on it. If you forgot then please go back and read number four. What makes the “feel good” messages that only shed light on the parts of the Bible people want to hear and omitting huge chunks of the truth so dangerous is that it can create fake saints who only follow God for handouts. Another name would be the fair weather Christians who praise God when everything is great but when trouble comes they’re all mad at God, stressed out, or worried because they don’t know Him as a Comforter. They don’t know Him as a Way Maker. They don’t trust in the strength He can give them in times of trouble. To make matters worse, there are people in the world who are watching Christians because just maybe they want to give this whole “God thing” a try but because there is no heart change made, those people see no difference between God’s people and people of the world. So potential souls could be lost because of this issue. Yes, there are blessings in this world that God has for us but they do not all come in material form. Please don’t hurt God by showing Him that you only care about Him because of what you can get out of Him.

So after reading this, 1 of about 3 things could have happened. One, you are jumping for joy because none of these apply to you. Two, you feel upset or possibly even angry because some or all of these apply to you. Three, You feel indifferent and don’t really care one way or another. If you fall into number 1, awesome! If you fall in number 2, COUNT IT AS A BLESSING! If you’re reading this that means you’re still alive and well and can do something about it! This also means that your heart is not hardened to God and He can work wonders with an unhardened heart…trust me. Realize that as humans we all need forgiveness and have an opportunity at eternal life in heaven by accepting Jesus into our lives. Pray for forgiveness and with your mouth and a genuine heart, say that you believe in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior and that you want him to lead your life. (Romans 10:9) That’s it! By faith you are saved. Sorry if you didn’t get the fireworks and singing angels you might have been looking for. Next, get a bible in a translation that you can understand and hook up with a church that teaches God’s Word and that you can grow in. Unfortunately, not all churches fit this description so don’t get discouraged if you have to try out a number of different churches before you find what you’re looking for. Now, if you fall into number 3, please know that this could be a sign you’re in a dangerous place. This could possibly show that your heart is hardened toward God and since He is a loving God who grants us free will to live as we please, He’s not going to break in and enter your life. You must invite him. If this is you please know prayers are being said for you. I hope you all enjoyed this blog as much as I enjoyed writing it.

God loves you no matter which category you fall in,

-Jasmine

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The Patient Man: The World’s Long Lost Love

Waiting-and-suffering-man

Hey guys,

I pray that all is well. I just wanted to take the time to share something with you. Lately, I’ve been working on practicing self control over my thoughts. If you’ve ever tried to “turn off” a thought that kept popping into your head, you can understand how difficult it can be. I needed help, so I started praying to God in this area. Well, today I felt led (by faith) to share a very welcomed thought that is helping me become more aware of how constructive I am with my time and thinking as well as how I can be more intentional about spending time with God. Maybe it will help you too. I will be speaking from my point of view so feel free to make this personal to you as well. So if you are interested, I would really love it if you took a moment to really picture this in your mind.

Here we go…

While I’m sitting at my desk studying hard for the long academic week to come, I imagine that there is a man sitting on the edge of my bed behind me doing nothing, but I can tell he’s waiting for something. It takes hours for me to come to a stopping point. But still he waits. Although I see him there, I only put in some weak attempts to show him any attention. Yet, he sits there with his eyes focused on the ground as if he’s daydreaming. Those eyes look tired. Not necessarily a physical “tired”, but as if he’s someone who is tired of going through the motions. So when I finally decide to take a break from studying, I notice his eyes quickly connecting with me. Those eyes shed their drained appearance and was replaced with, dare I say, hope… as if they were saying “maybe this is it?” I get up, stretch, reach for my phone, and start scrolling aimlessly through Instagram. In response, a grimace became visible on his face from hurt. Meanwhile he sinks down, resorting back to his staring contest with the floor. He is very jealous over my time. After pointless moments of soaking in meme after meme with the occasional selfie and sprinkles of inspirational quotes, I leave my room and grab a bite to eat, start texting my best friend, hop on the phone with mom, then dad, then my sister. When I’m back in my room, the trivial tasks build and build until I look up and realize that the day is gone and night has settled in. Yet, he’s still waiting. So I hop in bed with my Bible because I wanted to have another quiet time like I had that morning. Finally, I see this man grinning from ear to ear. This was a familiar grin, I’m pretty sure I had seen it that morning as well. I give my quiet time a good 30 minutes where I spent half the time trying to keep my eyes open after the long day. Eventually, I give up and call it a night. Following my lead, the man lays down, but stares at the ceiling upset. Another night of seeing me desire time with everything…besides him.

So Jasmine, what are you trying to say?

So maybe your time isn’t spent studying like mine is. Whatever the case may be in your life, the point I’m trying to make is that “the patient man” is our Lord and Savior. God is always with us and always desires to spend time with us and He loves to see that His followers desire time with him too. The Bible compares Christ’s followers and Jesus Christ Himself to being like husband and wife in marriage: 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.- Ephesians 5:25-27.” Therefore, if we ourselves are Christians, we are also saying that we are “married” to Christ! So many people, men, women, boys, and girls alike spend time imagining who their spouses will be and what a great fairy tale life they want to live with them. It’s hard to imagine that fairy tale not coming true. With that in mind, how would you feel if you were in a committed marriage with someone who constantly put things and people before you, did not desire to spend time with you, and made you feel like a last resort? Well, the truth of the matter is that our God feels the same way when we neglect Him! While we are so busy fantasizing about being married and finding “the one”, we can forget due to the hustle and bustle of our busy schedules that essentially…we’ve already found Him. Human beings deeply desire and long to love  and be loved. I’m no different. I believe since we were made in God’s image( Genesis 1:27 ), the same God who IS LOVE, 1 John 4:8 embedded in us the desire to find love in hopes that we would seek to find that love….in Him . Unfortunately, our sinful natures can draw our attention away from God and into this World where we are tempted, persuaded, and distracted from God’s pure and perfect intentions. So we find ourselves running through this life looking for worldly ways to fulfill a desire that only God can satisfy successfully. With all of this being said, I want to encourage you the next time you wake up in the morning and starting planning your long to-do list for the day to seek after the Man who loves you more than anyone else can.

Love you but God loves you SO much more,

-Jasmine

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