Tag Archives: Signs

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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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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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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