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Trust In The Lord

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My verse for the day…

Proverbs 3:3-6: “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”

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Don’t Apologize

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Today as I sat in Bible study, listening to Beth Moore (A female Evangelist) teaching on the television screen, in a small room at my church, I  listened as she discussed the Israelite’s expedition into the promised land.  You know the story?  The Israelite’e were living in Slavery in Egypt, at the hand of Pharaoh.  They were sent a deliver, his name was Moses.  As they began their journey they were caught between the Egyptian soldiers and the red sea.  God, like only God can do, parted that sea right down the middle. (You can find this awesome story in Exodus)  Powerful story, huh?  Here I sat in Bible study as Beth told the story, she said, “You know many of us are stuck half-way, we’re stuck in the middle of the sea, and God is desiring to pull us into our promised land.  Yet, we remain standing in the sea, afraid to step out in faith, and follow God.”  Beth Moore, was discussing the very thing that has been breaking my heart lately.  Christian’s remaining stagnate, comfortable being of the world (stuck in the middle of their very own sea), rather than “completely” surrendering to Him…. His will, His desires for our lives, content to be of the world, and in the process missing their promised land.  It breaks God’s heart, it breaks my heart, and is hindering long-term joy, peace, and contentment.  

Where am I going with this?  To be honest, I’m not sure…  All I know is that God spoke into my heart, this afternoon, as I listened to Beth’s teaching.  You see, here’s the thing…  Some of us have fully surrendered… all our imperfections, our lives, our media intake, and are finding the true peace that comes from fully surrendering to God.  Yet, some are still wading in the middle of that sea…  They say they trust God, yet they refuse to move… to grow… to obey His commands… to surrender to His ways.  

How does this effect us, those of us who have “fully” surrendered to following Him?  Unfortunately, at times it means our lives will naturally offend those who are living in mediocrity, to those who still find comfort in keeping one foot in the world.  

Biblical Proof—

2 Timothy 3:12 “In fact, everyone who wants to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

Mathew 10:16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.  Therefore, Be on your guard against men…  All men will hate you because of me.”

There you have it…  At times the Christ who lives in us, will in fact offend.  Many times in my Christian walk, I have felt terrible when I have observed this play out in my relationships with others.  I too, have been convicted of my own personal sin, as a result of observing other Christians in my midst.  It’s all part of God’s great big plan!

Today in Bible study, God directly spoke into my heart, “Here’s what He said to me…,

 “Don’t apologize!”  I was like… what?  He said to my spirit again, “Don’t apologize!  Don’t apologize for obeying and walking with me.  Don’t apologize for the person I am making you to be.  When others feel offended due to your obedience to me, don’t feel bad about yourself, feel proud, as I am proud of you!”  

Friends, the tears began to fall from my eyes…  Those around me thought it was Beth Moore’s prayer that caused my tears, but inside I knew it was God, speaking directly into my heart!

What is the overall them of this blog?

“I won’t apologize for offending others, as a result of fervently walking with God!”

This is who I am… The girl you see in the picture above…  That’s me…  I choose to walk with God!  Life outside of His will is utterly painful!  

I challenge you friends…

Don’t EVER apologize for following GOD!!!

Blessings,

Crystal

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Holy Spirit, Speak on My Behalf

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My heart is aching.  Holy spirit, speak on my behalf!  Speak to the Father, the words my heart can’t deliver.  I know you never promised us a life without pain!  Lord, you know I have felt pain so infinitely intense at times, I felt my heart would stop beating.  Yet, my heart continues to beat, in the midst of the pain I feel the quickening beats within my chest.  In my gut, I feel utterly sick!  Lord, you know the feeling, right?  Your son faced this pain, in it’s utmost form.  Lord, why must we face pain at this intense of a level?  Why does the truth have to hurt so immensely?  Why does it take this type of pain to birth growth?  I love the experience of growth, but the destination is utterly heart wrenching.  Holy spirit, breathe your life into me!  Breathe into my heart your peace!

Lord, you’ve shown your faithfulness to me time and time again! Lord, I desperately need you here. I need yet another God-sized miracle! Lord, I’ve experienced your love in doses so overwhelming, my heart felt it would burst. Right now, I feel the same, as a result of pain and heartbreak. Lord, your word says “2 Corinthians 4:8, We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;.” Right now my heart is crushed, I am perplexed; Lord, answer the cry of my heart for healing and wholeness. Lord, in the midst of this pain show me how to live in the midst of life’s unpleasant trials, without un-Godly despair! As the tears escape, I will sing your praises! In this trial, I will seek God-sized healing! Waiting in sorrow is never easy, but I will wait this one out, and trust that you are already there! I will wait, knowing you will arise three days later, in your usual way, with hope everlasting! Lord, I can’t face any of life’s trials without you! Despite the pain and fear of today, I have faith, that you will reveal another miracle! I have peace knowing that… Joy will come in the morning!

Your Daughter,

Crystal

Encouragement for a Weary Heart, Praise God, Trusting God

Written From A Heavy heart

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This blog post is not an easy post for me to write, but my heart is heavy!  My spirit is sad!  My heart is breaking for this world!  My heart breaks for people who lack faith in God.  Those who face each day, with a void so vast, and an emptiness so debilitating.  The problem is, these people are blind to their own emptiness.  They look around, they’re disparately yearning, reaching, and striving for anything to complete them.  Yet, everything they find, only temporarily eases their emptiness.  

My heart is breaking….  When I sit back and observe people wandering aimlessly and living a personal life of self-destruction, it breaks my heart.  I “stop” and ponder, how does it make God feel?  I pray daily for lost souls. To pray… it’s all I can do!  

Right now, the thing that is “most” heavy on my heart, are the people who say they’re Christians, yet live defeated lives. They claim to walk with the Lord, they put on the outer, “look at me, I’m going to church routine”, yet, they still seem to be wandering aimlessly.  

People often put words in God’s mouth, “God told I am supposed to….”, only to turn around and abruptly move to yet another, “God told me I’m supposed to…moment”, yet, they never complete any of the “tasks” God told them to do.  They’re fickle…  Continually swaying.  Like the autumn trees.. Swaying… tossed about… yet to end up back on the ground.  

Correct me if I am wrong but, I have been reading my Bible for twenty years…  If God called someone to do something… They “eventually” completed the task.  Usually, the individual fought the calling, and thought, “God… me?  I can’t, I’m simply not strong enough…  I think you’ve got the wrong guy!”  Let’s name a few… shall we?  Jonah… He outright disobeyed God and was thrown into the mighty waters and swallowed by a fish, only to be spit out on the ground in Ninavah, right where he refused to go.  Mary the mother of Jesus… she didn’t eagerly take on the challenge.  She was scared, confused, humble…. Yet, she obeyed God in humility and gave birth to the “Son of God”.  Noah… Built an ark like an idiot, facing the risk of being placed in the local mental home. Yet, Noah completed that life-saving ark, and showed everyone… “God is who He says He is!” God can do what He says he can do! I can do what god says I can do!” Get the picture?

Why do people say, God told me to….,  Only to add another “incomplete” to their list of “God told me too’s”?

Maybe… Just maybe, it’s because… GOD NEVER TOLD THEM TO DO IT, IN THE FIRST PLACE!  

Maybe they are just aimlessly wandering…. trying to meet their worldly needs, rather than completely surrendering to the Father.  Just a thought!

My heart is breaking, because all around me I see “so-called” believers living in mediocrity. Comforting their desire for “hope” in the luxuries of the world, rather than truly desiring God and seeking wholeness from the  maker of the “whole” world. I see it and it breaks my heart.

Friends, I have been a Christian for twenty years and I have learned throughout this life, that there is no hope, outside of God’s hope.  I see “so-called” Christian church girls dressing immodestly to attract attention, from who?  Aren’t we as Christ followers, supposed to desire the attention from God?  God is not attracted to your cleavage, or your six pack. What about those of us who are chasing after material possessions… more money… bigger house… expensive clothes and jewelry?

Why… Is God not enough?  As believers, He’s supposed to be all we need, but do we live that way? What about the music we listen to?  The movies we watch?  The people we hang with?  Do they direct us to the Father, or do they become mountains to climb, and hindrances in our path to reaching the foot of the cross?

When will we start living like we “really” believe?

Friends… Everyday… I surrender to Him!  I have learned…. that life outside of His will… Is PAINFUL… MISERABLE…  and UNBEARABLE!!!  

I have attempted to live life, to please me, and each time it’s left me empty!

I have experienced the blessings, the healing, the wholeness, the peace, the joy, the overwhelming love… the result of true surrender to God.  

Friends…. Listen…. God’s love is real! His love is pure… Satisfying… And “everything” your desperately longing for… Will you surrender? Will you hand the wheel over to the Father? Will you allow God to reveal the bountiful blessings He longs to bestow upon those who believe… To those who surrender to His will?

Trust me… YOU WONT BE SORRY!

Romans 8:28, “All things work for good to those who love Him, to those who called according to His purposes.”

Blessings,

Crystal

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The Art of Tiptoeing

My friend Vickie wrote this blog post and I identified with it totally tonight! This is a good message about tough relationships! Blessings, Crystal

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I’m not a fan of tiptoeing–not the physical form of the word–but in the very emotional and relational sense of the word.

Sometimes in life we find ourselves in relationships that cause us to “tiptoe around” sensitive topics.

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I know why we do it–usually to avoid confrontation or offense, but deep down I feel like it’s an art we’ve fine-tuned a little too well: to the point that we avoid being genuine at all.

Maybe it’s being kind, but maybe it’s really just avoiding.  Avoiding deep, personal relationships that can often be messy and difficult, but ones that provide a lifetime of friendship.

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Similar On The Outside… Vastly Different Within “Peroxide or Hairspray?”

This morning I grabbed my hairspray spritz bottle from underneath the bathroom sink to spray on my hair.  As I sprayed, sprayed, and sprayed some more, I soon began to realize something wasn’t right.  I noticed, the usual hairspray scent was missing.  It then hit me, this isn’t hair spray, this is peroxide.  That’s right… Unbeknownst to myself, I had been spraying peroxide all over my hair.  

Let me explain, I keep peroxide in the laundry room, in an empty hairspray bottle, the peroxide is used to treat any type of protein stain on my children’s clothing.  Someone, took the hair spray bottle filled with peroxide from the laundry room and placed it under the bathroom sink with my other hairspray bottles.  (I’m pretty sure the culprit was my husband, even though I informed him why the hairspray bottle was in the laundry room and that is was filled with peroxide.  Isn’t that what husbands are for, to keep life interesting?)  Unfortunately this  event turned my morning upside down.  I was late to Bible Study… Because I had to rewash my hair.

Needless to say peroxide and hairspray have vastly different chemicals and uses!!!

As I sat in Bible study, a spiritual analogy came to me.  I believe God allowed me to endure the little incident with the peroxide, to help me understand an important spiritual analogy.  God used this unfortunate circumstance to help me to make sense of a life circumstance, I have been struggling with for quite some time.  

Here’s the analogy…

Although the bottles were the exact same on the outside, they were vastly different on the inside.  

 

For several years, I have been in a friendship with another individual.  On the outside, we’re very much alike!  We look alike, we’re both friendly and outgoing people, we’re both extroverts, many things in our lives are quite similar, yet, our insides are vastly different.  In a way, due to the outer similarities, I have been attempting to force a friendship.  God revealed this to me through peroxide in a hairspray bottle.  Despite our wide array of similarities, our hearts maintain very different world views, priorities, and goals.    

Several weeks ago, God introduced me to another friend.  This friend on the outside, couldn’t be more different than myself.  She is black… I am white!  She is a size 2… I am not!  She once was a model… not me!  She is very quiet…  I am loud.  She talks very little…  I never stop talking.  She’s an introvert… I’m an extrovert. Our past life experiences, couldn’t be any more different.  Our outside selves, never attracted us to one another.  To be completely honest, I never thought the two of us would connect on such a “deep” spiritual level.  God placed her in my van, along with several other “amazing” women, as the five us completed a week long, on-campus counseling course at Liberty University.  God was working in my heart throughout the week in ways I couldn’t have “EVER” fathomed.  (This is something I’ll blog about in the near future!)  One night, this girl, very different from myself, my new friend Shamekka, obeyed the Holy Spirit and took time to speak God’s love into my spirit, when I absolutely NEEDED it most.  In the hallway of our hotel, she became God to my weary heart.  (Thank you Shamekka for stepping out of your comfort zone and allowing yourself to be used as a vessel for God, to encourage my soul!  I’ll never forget the healing, God worked in my heart through the words, you were willing to speak, on His behalf!)  You know what…  God allowed me to become God to her as well!  Our spirits connected!  Right there in that hallway, with folks walking by, we held hands, we fervently lifted one another up to the Lord.  “Picture the two of us standing in a green carpeted hallway, folks walking around us, holding hands, and endless tears of God’s “OVERWHELMING” love falling from our eyes.” Our hearts… connected!  She said to me, “You know what?  I was immediately attracted to you.  Your love for God, is so obvious to the world around you.  You see, what we see in one another, is a direct reflection of what is in our very own hearts.  The good, the genuine love for those around you, our love for the Father.  We are attracted to the very real beauty of the Loving Heavenly Father in our own hearts.”  

It was a Divine Intervention…

The love we have for the Heavenly Father, our devout devotion to love, please, and obey God as we prepare for the Christian counseling field, and our love for God’s people are similar and our spirits are very much identical!  

Why do I tell you this?

You see… I almost missed out on an amazing friendship.  A friendship, God is using to help me grow in my spiritual life, a relationship where God is pouring out His love to me through her and vise-versa.  God has blessed me with a friendship, so spiritually sensitive, genuine, who understands the depths of God’s love, and a dear sister in Christ!

The sad thing is…

I could have missed out on this beautiful, God-fearing, and encouraging relationship….

Why?

Simply because… On the outside, we’re very much different.

It is my prayer… that I will be able to begin to truly look beyond the outside of man… to the spirit within.  

I pray that I will begin to discern the hairspray from the peroxide!!!

1 Samuel 16:7, “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.  The Lord does not look at the things people look at.  People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Mathew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.”

Hebrews 13:2, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angles without know it.”

Friends, this is my prayer for you, as well!

Blessings,

Crystal

 

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Forever Changed

 

Lord, you stirred up the perfect storm in the bellows of my soul…

Your created within me, a divine intervention.

A spiritual connection… so deep… so strong… so complete…

 

The moment…

My life-long protective wall collapsed.

The dam broke…

The tears surged.

Despite my attempt to hold back the tears…

The years of pent up emotions…

Gushed out of my heart.

 

In my healing…

I felt broken.

Pain…

Emotions…

Wholeness.. 

 

Unprepared to handle this spontaneous surge of emotions.

Leaving me vulnerable…

My vulnerability displayed for the world to see…

The world that originally wounded my heart.

 

In a moment’s notice my wall shattered to the ground.

Leaving me feeling…

Naked…

Healed…

Scared…

Unprepared…

And FOREVER changed.

 

What does all this mean for my future?

Will I allow another personal fortress around my soul?

Will I know God’s love deep enough… to remain vulnerable to the world?

 

Lord, In all honesty.

I liked my protective wall.

I felt secure behind it.

Where do I go from here?

As much as I miss the wall,

I love this new… whole… and beautiful connection that has taken it’s place.

The unconditional love… of Christ.

 

Lord, you have proven your love to me.

You have shown me that my trust is safe with you.

I will trust!  

I will have faith!

I will not be afraid to feel!

 

How, Lord, can I describe the change you’ve completed in the darkest places of my heart.

How can I possibly, state in words, the depths of this pain… love… healing…

How can I share this overwhelming sense of love…  

A familiar love in unbearable doses.

 

Perhaps… There is no need to say a word.

Perhaps…

The world will see the change.

My family will feel the change.

 

Gratitude…

From the depths of my heart…

Renewed!

Changed!

In love… With the creator of my soul.

The ultimate counselor of my broken heart.

The healer of my pain!

 

Me….

Forever changed.