The Fine Line Between a Pharisee and a God: Why I want to be like Jesus instead.

jesus-christ-and-pharisees-1138112-printThis message has been sitting in my heart for a while now.

As a Christian, I constantly ponder where my balance of Grace and Truth should be. My whole life, I grew up knowing the truth. I grew up in a Christian household. Being questioned about my faith is something that I am very much accustomed to. I grew up being questioned about everything I believe in. If you grew up with any kind of belief system, I’m sure you can relate to being questioned.

Back to growing up as a Christian. I have known so many different Christians. There is the unapologetic Christian, who is strong in faith in God, and no matter how society drifts, they still remain strong in the bible. …But sometimes… Sometimes they hurt people. Sometimes they add emotions…Sometimes they are not merciful and loving. Sometimes they let emotions get the best of them…Their hurt causes them to lash out and say something about their fellow Christians who are more enabling. Sometimes, they go based off of strong emotions so much so, that they get the scripture wrong. They become Pharisees. Then there is the un-unapologetic Christian, who is also strong in faith, and takes note of society and fellow humanitarianism. They still also remain strong in faith in God. …But sometimes…sometimes they get hurt over how harsh and heartless Christians can be. Sometimes they let emotions get the best of them…Their hurt causes them to lash out and say something about their fellow unsupportive Christians. Sometimes they side with drifting views that contradict the bible so much so.. that they start associating the sinner with the sin..  Sometimes, they go based off of strong emotions, and they get the scripture wrong. They associate the sinner with sin and compromise. They compromise the word, their faith because of hurt people. They become their own God. They make their own rules.

So where do we stand?
The older I get.. the more open minded I get. I used to be so close minded… I was the rude Christian.. Then in college, I went through an enabling stage. Today our Pastor spoke about homosexuality in the church, and although it was cringeworthy subject… he was super graceful about the subject. Homosexuality is a touchy subject, because there are so many linked emotions behind it. Our pastor did an excellent job of not adding anything else, besides word. He did not discuss his opinion, or preference. He spoke on what God says. That is how we should be. When mentioning homosexuality, we should also talk about alcoholism, gossip, sex before marriage, envy, greed, gluttony, anger, etc.  We are all guilty. We should disassociate sin and the sinner.  1 Corinthians 6 states: ” Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

I don’t want to be a Pharisee… I don’t want to make myself a God.. I want to be more like Jesus. Jesus came and was crucified by the Pharisees. I do not ever want to make devotion a God so much so that I crucify Jesus every time I make devotion a God. I also do not ever want to compromise the word of God by enabling any sin and making myself a God by disregarding his word. So how do we prevent this kind of thinking…? We prevent this by acknowledging God, his word, his mission. We acknowledge who God is by acknowledging his absolute unchangeable love and righteousness. We acknowledge God’s word by meditating in his Spirit, all while knowing God. We acknowledge God’s mission, when we realize that Jesus was among sinners, but DID NOT partake in sin. He acknowledged truth and gave grace. We have the opportunity to carry out God’s mission. We are not to partake in sin, but be among sinners, just as we are, and rally for them and care for them just as Jesus did. We have to change the way we think. We have to deny ourselves and earthly ways each day, and love on people just as Jesus did. We deny ourselves by making ourselves living sacrifices each day.

Romans 12:1-2 
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Hope your day is great, Jesus Bless You. 🙂

 

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But I Trust in Your Unfailing Love

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Psalms Chapter 13 has been on repeat this whole week. No matter what Psalm I read, I always read Chapter 13 this week. You go through days or moments when you are thinking.. “How long must I go through this, Lord? How long till you answer my prayer?? When will you change my heart and change my mind, when it comes to certain things??” Have you ever just said… “HELP ME.” or maybe “FIX ME.”..? So many times we seek answers now, and are in such desperation…where we are oh so desperate for God. Times where we feel as if we are failing, and losing. Sometimes it feels as if the enemy is winning his battle with our mind. Psalms 13 deals with all of the following feelings..

…And when it seems as if all victory is lost… Psalms 13:5 states: “But I trust in your unfailing love, my heart rejoices in your salvation”. It is okay to have feelings of uncertainty and brokenness..but it is important to remember that we have the blessedness of unfailing love. Unfailing love moves us to do anything for someone’s well being, and we have the opportunity to be loved by unfailing love. This is a call to rejoice. This is a celebration of salvation. Verse six states: “I will sing the Lords praise, for he has been good to me.”

Nothing too big to speak on today. Just a reminder if you are desperately waiting on God when it comes to anything, you wait on someone who has unfailing love towards you, and is working all things together for our good. Romans 8:28 states it (“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.“) So.. pray and praise through the pain. You are in the best hands you can be in. Although uncertainty deals with our emotions, we certainly serve an unfailing God. Rest in unfailing love.

Psalm 13
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
    How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
    and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
    for he has been good to me.

Beautifully Broken, At Church.

Jesus-loves-me

I do not know about you, but every time I think about how Jesus died for me…and how good he is… my heart can not take it. I tear up. I am at a loss for words. Someone who I go in and out of knowing…. Loves me. DIED for me. Gave me all of him. Intercedes for me… How..? So awesome to serve someone that gave you everything.

So there are days, that I may be crying happy tears (because I am loved), joyful tears (because I am saved), proud tears (because he rose again), sad tears (because Jesus, whom I love, gave up his beautifully lived life just for me)…. beautifully broken tears. This can occur in my home, at my church, my car, anywhere.

The other day I was having a conversation with someone and they said they get embarrassed crying in front of people….especially when no one else is crying. Especially when they does not want to be approached. As a person who struggles and usually refuses to deal with crying, I said “Why in the world not?!” Church is exactly the place for that! You are in God’s house. You are home. Unfortunately, a lot of people are weird about not crying in front of people…and to them I say.. There is POWER in vulnerability, There is BEAUTY in BREAKTHROUGH. ..and if we are too proud to be transparent and as honest as Jesus was… then what are we doing…? Who are we kidding…? I understand, some quiet, prayer closet times are meant to be private between you and God..but I am going somewhere with this.

Sometimes we go throughout our day after having our devotionals are not done fully.. We do not deal with everything. Sometimes we are just focused on telling God how great and how good he is. Although that is great.. we serve a God such a perfect and selfless God, that cares about you, intercedes for you, and constantly wants you to check in with where you are at. Sometimes it does not hit you until you are at church… that:… “God I need you.. God, I am desperate for you..God, I am lost without you…God, I do not understand your goodness.” and that is okay. You can get hit, especially when you feel God’s presence during worship and the word. Matthew 18:20 talks about supernatural things happening when there are two or more gathered. God showing a manifestation of his presence, and where he is, you cannot hide from a breakthroughColossians 1:24 states: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.” So feel safe! Feel at home, and be a walking testimony of beautiful brokenness.

 Romans 8:34 
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

 

Love is perfect, We are not.

walking_alone1 Corinthians 13:4-8

New International Version (NIV)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

Everyone who knows a thing or two has read this word and applied it to their personal life. Almost every girl whom knows of this verse, that I have known models this after their next relationship. When we finally get in a relationship..We aim to be patient and kind. We don’t try to envy. We try not to boast and be proud. We seek to honor and be selfless for the person, to not be self seeking. We aim to be patient with emotion, as we aim to not be easily angered. We try to forgive completely and not bring up wrongs. We try to not delight in what is bad, but rejoice in the truth. We aim to protect our loved one and trust, hope, and persevere through the relationship. I mean, why not? These verses are the best representation of a successful relationship that I can find in the bible. Does this not seem like a recipe for a successful relationship? Of course it is. In many occasions… people have said to remove love on the following verses and place your name. (Insert your name here) is patient, (Insert your name here) is kind. (Insert your name here) does not envy, (Insert your name here) does not boast, (Insert your name here) is not proud. 5 (Insert your name here) does not dishonor others, (Insert your name here) is not self-seeking, (Insert your name here) is not easily angered, (Insert your name here) keeps no record of wrongs. 6 (Insert your name here) does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 (Insert your name here) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

There is only one problem, we are not….. love. We are human. We fail. Sometimes we are not patient. We are not kind. We envy. We are prideful and boast. We dishonor. We can be self-seeking. Sometimes, we anger easily. We fall short, and delight in evil. Sometimes we forget to rejoice in truth. We forget to protect. We forget to trust. We forget to hope, and we grow weary and fall short of perseverance.

But verse 8 says “Love never Fails.” Verse 8 talks about God’s works. It took a while to realize…the only one who never fails is God. God never fails. So…GOD is patient, GOD is kind. GOD does not envy, GOD does not boast, GOD is not proud. 5 GOD does not dishonor others, GOD is not self-seeking,GOD is not easily angered, GOD keeps no record of wrongs. 6 GOD does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 GOD always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God is perfect. We are not. As much as we would love and aim to be as selfless and as great as he, we are not. We can only strive to be. When relationships strain and suffer, we must remember that we are not perfect, and we fail, but love never fails.

Oh, but do not get me wrong…Modeling a relationship after 1 Corinthians 13;4-8 is wise. Although we are not perfect. We strive to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be. We strive to be more like God. I used to disregard verse 8, now verse 8 to 13 is my favorite part.

1 Corinthians 13:8-13New International Version (NIV)

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Car Values, and such

  
Yesterday I realized something, as I was scraping off ice off of my dad’s car, that if I were to scratch it, my dad would freak out. The value of the car would decrease. I realized that’s how we see the world. Every time we mess up and every time a relationship is flawed, the value of it decreases. That’s how we see it. Every time we hear about someone messing up, in our mind, they have devalued themselves, therefore they are less valuable. But God.. God doesn’t see us like that. 

I grew up purchasing used cars with my dad, because I could not afford a new car. When we would buy, by private owner, my dad would turn into a whole different person. He would be extra assertive and and alert. He would deny any cars that have been in accidents, and would even comment on any scratch the car would have, knowing the owner would lower the price. Owners would lower prices whether they wanted or not, negotiating an even lowered value of the car. But even when you were as assertive and alert as possible, you can still get the wrong end of deal. My first car was bought fast, because I had been pressuring my dad, and it turned out the car had been in an accident and needed a new transmission. I never drove it out of town. The owner rebuilt the exterior, but what really needed to be fixed was the interior. 

Many of us can Identify with my car situation. We focus so much on putting on an aesthetically pleasing front that does not match our unhealthy, used and abused, messed up interior. So why do we beat ourselves up?? Why don’t we change? Why do we continue the cycle of wallowing in guilt, in shame, and in self pity?? Why? Because we grow up knowing that when something is flawed, it loses it’s value forever. A Car can be made new with new parts, but the owner will always know, and that’s an indicator…the car needed different parts, thus changing it’s value to being renewed to a beautiful aesthetically pleasing, yet, still damaged car. 
You might have gotten in a few accidents, maybe a few small ones, maybe a huge one that kept you from functioning properly.. But I am here to tell you that God is bigger than what we know and what we were raised knowing. His value is instilled in you, not by what you have done, but who you are. You are his, and you are loved. That’s how it is, and how it always will be. God can make you completely new. There is no need to keep beating yourself up and returning to mess. Isaiah 1:18 says: “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” God TRANSFORMS you he transforms you from being red as crimson to being white as snow. He TRANSFORMS you to flawless wool. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. Ezequiel 1:19 says: And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,

God can change you like he changed me. He can make you new. Free from guilt and shame and fear. He conquered hell. He can conquer limitations our minds place on him. Today I encourage you to place trust in Gods definition of our value and not the worlds, and walk in faith, victory, and renewal. 

More verses on renewal :http://www.openbible.info/topics/new_creation_in_christ 


 

Finding Solace in Solitude through Him

Are-you-lonely

Most people find this contradictory, but it can be so important. Is it extremely essential for someone to be able to really find solace in solitude..? Maybe it is the introvert within me that finds it almost essential to draw back every few days and just take a few minutes to myself, but there is something powerful in finding comfort while you are alone.

In my college church leadership program’s summer reading list and homework, the question of “Are you Lonely?” popped up a few times. What is loneliness? Google it and the first response is “sadness because one has no friends or company.” The second is “(of a place) the quality of being unfrequented and remote; isolation.” And so we automatically think that being lonely is being with no friends or company and isolated from a particular group. In our JCD leadership program, we learned about isolation and feeling alone. We learned that being lonely is the state of feeling alone, and the state can be felt and is not limited to any situation. Robin Williams said it very eloquently when he said “I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.” He passed away from suicide caused by depression, and I believe with all of me that he felt extremely alone. Digging deep into what loneliness is, I learned that it is feeling like you are alone, even if it is in the most crowded room. The introvert in me can identify one hundred percent, because I can feel just as companioned, if not more whole, by myself, as opposed to a room full of people with nothing happening.

Lately, I have been challenged in not putting things before God, whether it is hobbies, items, or even the people that mean the most to me. Being whole to me, is having him be first. This is where I find peace, serenity, and wholesome solace. Knowing that I am not fully alone gives me peace, and so much joy.

Finding Solace in Solitude, Huh? This is about drawing back and spending time with God to really re-charge and feel whole once more, through whatever situation and in whatever stage of life I may be in. My encouragement today is to not focus as much on relationships that involve leaning in to feel whole and full. Whether you feel lonely because you are without a significant other, or feel lonely even in your relationship, know that you are never alone, and do not have to feel like this.  In John 14:15-31, Jesus leaves, but he does not leave us completely. He gives us his Holy Spirit to always be with us. We are never alone. We can only be made whole through Jesus. Colossians 2:9-10 promises genuine fullness: “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily”

John 14:15-31 New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me,31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

“Come now; let us leave.

I’M GOING TO ECUADOR!

Ecuador 2015 Fundraising Letter-English.001

I’M SO EXCITED!!!!

This week will be very busy. It’s finals week. I also have to prepare to head to Ecuador this Saturday. I am so excited. This is my first missions trip and I have to much anticipation for what is in store. Finances are an issue, since I m supposed to raise about $2,200, and am about 1/10 there, but I am trusting in Gods timing and know that because I waited on God’s timing for a missions trip, he will prepare and provide. We will be in Ecuador, doing some workshops for some pastors and will later travel up to the mountains and help build a greenhouse for a small village that is in great need of help. I am so ready to serve and learn. I will be translating, since I am fluent in Spanish and English. We will be going to an indigenous village where the children are fluent in Spanish and their native language, when their parents do not speak much Spanish and only their native language.  My prayer is for God to do something great in our team.

Please join me in prayer. I am asking for your support of my trip, whether it be financial contribution or through prayer. No contribution is too small. This mission’s trip is hosted by Living Faith Fellowship church in Pullman WA, you can send your donations on line.

I also have a GOFUND ME!

http://www.gofundme.com/YaniraforEcuador

Church Mission Info:

Ecuador

GOD IS NOT DONE WITH YOU, SO RUN!

1564405 I have not been here in a while, but I just wanted to share a short post. I just want to encourage anyone who is reading this. I have just been contemplating on life and on how so difficult so many moments can be. Life can bombard you with work, stress, and exhaustion. I have reached an understanding where I am able to fully comprehend that it does not matter who you are, how you grew up, and where you are…you still go through LIFE. Life can exhaust you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Contemplating on that..I rested in my favorite verse, Isaiah 40:28-31((NIV)28 Do you not know?    Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.30 Even youth grow tired and weary,and young men stumble and fall;31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles they will run and not grow weary they will walk and not be faint.”Don’t give up! You have a God that is on your side. Whatever life is throwing at you, know that you have a God that knows you can make it through and is on your side, ready to fight with you and run with you. So in this journey that you have, don’t just walk it, RUN IT! You are more than a conqueror in Jesus. Romans 8:37 States it! Here is some encouragement for your Saturday afternoon. Cast all the worries and burdens that life brings unto God. Become weightless from your issues so you can run through this race we call life. Our goal here on Earth is to make the most of the life we are given, but we must not become distracted by life and remember that we are running towards something greater, and that is everlasting life.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27-The Need for Self-Discipline

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 

Stress and Anxiety

stressed-student

It’s about that time in a student’s life, where everything just seems to be falling apart. I feel so overwhelmed with life (juggling school, friendships, extra curriculars, and work.) I have two tests this Thursday. . .One group presentation due tomorrow.. One huge presentation due soon.. so much to do. Lately I have been feeling like I have been failing in every area. All that I can do is just give those problems to God. He’s my peace. So here is my prayer. “Lord, I give you my life. I ask that you give me a peace that surpasses all understanding. I surrender my will, and I say yes to everything you throw my way.”