DON’T STOP LOVING

 
There are moments when it hits you how precious life is.
Like when I, time after time, go to look into one of our horse fields, only to not see the horses I expect to see. After years of seeing certain furry faces staring back at me, it still is strange to not see all of them.
I don’t think twice when I look. So often, we don’t. We get used to things being a certain way, for years.
But one day, it changes.
Life is a gift that we must never forget to be grateful for. Yeah, life is painful. Stressful. Those two words hold different weight to everyone: maybe we’re in physical, constant pain. Or maybe a dear loved one is suffering and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. Maybe we have no control over finances (which always seem to be a source of strife).
I’m sure every one of us can make a list of our pains, struggles, stresses, etc.
But are we making a list of blessings just as diligently?
Are we taking delight in the ‘small’, ‘mundane’ things? What about the neverending sky full of huge stars that the Master of Heaven created — do we take time to look up and see it? Do we take time out of our busy list of chores to go give a family member a hug?
These things we’re too busy or stressed out to notice, won’t always be there. And maybe this is something you hear all the time, it becomes dust to your ears: don’t take things for granted.
God didn’t put us on this earth to work ourselves to death. He gave us beauty so we can praise Him for it and rejoice! He gifted us with love from fellow humans because He wants us to have companionship. Are we rejoicing in all the gifts He’s given us? Or are we too worried to open our hearts? After all, everything has to end, right? If we let ourselves go freely to the Lord and strive to find reasons to rejoice, what happens when our hearts are broken? What happens when the pain knocks us down and bloodies our knees? How can we dance then? Why bother dancing at all, when pain and sorrow is sure to come?

 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. – 1st John 4:7-8

God created us to love Him. That’s a choice we have to make. But when we choose to live for Him, we choose to love. But that’s something easy to forget, isn’t it? To love deeply is dangerous. But God calls His people to be bold as lions! That doesn’t mean we have to be clawing and roaring all the time. Sometimes, being bold is opening our hearts up.
Never forget to love. It hurts to lose things, and sometimes, it hurts to love (people don’t always return love). But God didn’t create us to just exist. He created us to love.
So, don’t stop looking, just because the fields are changed. Love what’s in front of you. Maybe that will change one day — goodbyes are painful. But they’re beautiful, too.  To see such changes in life as good things is a choice we have to make. Rejoicing in Jesus despite anything isn’t something that comes natural. Humans are sinful by nature, after all. But making that choice, to rejoice, no matter how much our hearts may break? That’s boldness. That’s pleasing the Lord. Life is a precious gift from God and we can’t forget that.
God bless,
– Ang
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GOD WILL NOT FORSAKE US

You’ve probably heard the phrase “God knows what you’re going through”, or something along those lines. But maybe such phrases, which are heavy with truth, start to grow numb. We don’t stop and think about them. We just know them to be true and dig no deeper.

We go through pain, telling ourselves: “God knows what this is like. He understands.” One pain we face is betrayal. Often, it doesn’t hurt people to leave you in the dust. When I feel the bitterness and pain of being left behind, ignored, and wrongly accused, I remind myself: Jesus went through this. Judas betrayed Jesus. Peter denied Jesus. Jesus’ own hometown despised him. Jesus really does know what it is like when the people we love do not choose us.

It isn’t just “Jesus understands.” It is “Jesus lived it, too.”

We go to the Bible for comfort. Hope. Bits of encouragement to strengthen our faith. Often, we don’t want to see the bloody verses, or indulge on the deep stories. We can take a few upbeat words, apply them to our heart, and go on with our day. After all, being a Christian is supposed to be resembling ourselves after Christ, yes? Anymore, that must be nothing but frequent smiles, the ‘perfect’ words, and offering a kind hand. It seems, as Christians, we can’t ever have doubts or ever feel pain, because that wouldn’t be ‘Christian’ of us. Sound familiar?

The Bible has comfort, joy, hope, peace, and all good things. But it is also heavy. It shows a lot of war. Death. Adultery, killing, jealousy, wickedness, demonic happenings — the Bible doesn’t sugar coat these things. Why? Especially when Christians today seem very determined to sugarcoat life and make it all happy and smooth? Is it because the world was way darker back then, and things have gotten better? So, why bother with the dark side of things in the Bible, when our world isn’t that awful now?

Life is no less dark than it was in Bible times. It has become darker. Don’t believe me? Turn on the news. Read some news articles. You’ll probably be faced with murders (even the evil slaughtering of innocent toddlers), sex trafficking, and demonic occurrences. In America, about 125,000 babies are aborted each day. Each. Day. That is innocent blood of children shed each day. And not just shed — glorified. Just like in Biblical times, when babies were sacrificed to gods, we are just as wicked.

With all this evident evil in the world, why do we not dig deeper into the Word? Why do we only seek comfort from the Bible, like slapping a band aid on our aching hearts? We ask God to make our lives easier, to give us peace, to help us — why? God never promised life would be easy.

But the Bible is just stories, right? Some scenes on pages that we remind ourselves of when we need a spirit boost and some inspiration to keep going through our Monday. Imagine yourself in one of those places. Imagine losing everyone dear to you — like Job. That’s not a good Bible story, is it? And it doesn’t mean much until you apply it to your own life. How would your faith look like if you lost everything?

Bible ‘stories’ are not fiction. The ‘heroes’ are not perfect. They’re like us. Their pain was no less real or terrifying or agonizing just because of the time they lived in. Jesus told us we would be mocked for His sake. And yet, we beg Him to make our lives easier. It isn’t like Jesus wants us to go through hell on earth — He wants to walk through this world with us. Not against us. He has given us His Word to equip us. Equip us to do what? Fight.

The Bible shows us what it is like to live for Jesus. Its bloody. And we’ve probably immunized ourselves to that kind of pain through TV/books/etc, but guys… It is real. Jesus being crucified? Agonizing. Slow. And He could feel it all, the whole time, yet He died so we could find heaven through His gift.

Life will never be easy. Will never be only happy days, flower fields, and fresh rain. It will be full of pain — raw, unadulterated pain. Because here’s the hard facts: Jesus is not limited to our views of what a Christian life should look like. God chose Moses to lead the Israelites — Moses had killed, had blood on his hands, and he had a rash temper. God chose David to be king — David lusted after a married woman. God chose Rahab to shelter his spies — Rahab was a prostitute. And when Jesus hung on the cross, and the criminal hanging beside him said he believed, Jesus told him he would go to heaven. Does any of this sound easy? And don’t forget what happened to Jesus’ disciples — they were beaten, jailed, and executed (even in this day and age, Christians are still being killed for their faith).

So, looking at all of the pain and horrors, is there any hope? Yes.

God loves us. He’s unlimited. God does not want to send us to hell for our sins. He doesn’t want to watch us fail and flop like clueless little fish. God wants us to strengthen our faith in HIM. God wants us to seek HIS face and pray, and promises He’ll direct our paths. He wants us to repent, and our sins will be made white as wool. God never promised that this life would be easy. But He does promise eternal life through Jesus. Eternal. Life. In. Heaven. Think about that.

But we have to be willing to fight. Bleed. Scream. We have to face the reality that chains will wear into our flesh… That we will be targeted by Satan… That people will leave, lie, betray, hate, ridicule, and harm us. The Bible shows us just how angry Satan is at us, and just how tempting he can be — but GOD WINS. We can have faith in that truth, no matter what battle we face.

We win in Christ. That is what makes the Bible beautiful. Through the deaths, pain, and battles — God is always, always there. And He is in control. Just like then, He is with us now. The world might be darker. But Satan will fall. Take courage. God has already won.

God bless.

– Ang

 

WHAT DO YOU SAY, SISTERS AND BROTHERS IN CHRIST? WILL YOU FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT?

The Joy Of Christmas

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For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

-John 3:16

 

It is Christmas Eve. For a lot of people, today means different things. For me, it means having a house full of family, the Christmas tree shining brightly with lights and more wrapped presents appearing under the stiff branches (all the way to the couch!), the smell of food wafting through the house, and lots of laughter. Toss in some barking dogs, horses outside deciding they want to be mud pies, and some pizza – things are looking pretty wonderful.

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I look around and see my family. My friends. My animals. My home. I feel joy and wonder and gratefulness and excitement in my heart. Why? Because Jesus has blessed me so, so much. Jesus has given me a family who is always there for me, and when I see them happy and make them laugh… I see a glimpse of what Jesus must feel when He looks at His children. And His children are us. All of us.

Christmas is a big hastle. Let’s be honest, everyone knows it. You have to buy presents – which means earning money – and then you have to wrap said presents. If you have a big family, this can turn into a fiasco rapidly (and does). For me, gift buying is rather insane because I feel like my family deserves a 5,000 acre ranch somewhere with everything money can buy – and all I have money for is some socks and candy. Obviously, I feel like my gifts don’t do justice.

Here’s the truth – none of our gifts do justice. None of our gifts will bring true happiness, nothing we do or give will fulfill anyone’s need for Jesus. Only Jesus can bring true joy and life! Our material gifts will pass away. Giving gifts is cool because you see the person’s face light up, hugs are given, and you feel truly excited because they’re happy, right? So, if we can feel such happiness over gifts we give each other… how much joy must we feel knowing Jesus Christ our Savior came to earth as a human baby to give us all the Greatest gift? Unimaginable, unreachable, insane joy we can’t even fathom!

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Christmas is the time of year where we celebrate Yeshua’s Gift. Now, Jesus wasn’t born during December and there are little things people argue about history wise – but honestly, those things shouldn’t always be what we focus on. We need to open our hearts to the Gospel – Jesus’ Love, not whether or not he was born in a barn. The truth is: Jesus was born as heaven’s perfect lamb. Jesus died for our sins – he was ridiculed, beaten, hurt and humiliated. Why? Why did Jesus, the perfect prince,  suffer all those things? Why did Jesus let Himself be harmed, while his mother and all the people he loved watched? Jesus did it for us. Me. you. Every stranger you ever see. Jesus died so that I could be here today: enjoying my family and being safe and warm.

 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

-Isaiah 1:18

 

That is where the joy comes from. Joy is from Jesus. Christmas, full of family and gifts and joy – it is all about Jesus! And His Gift to us. None of us deserve it, we can’t earn it, we can’t match it… and yet, Yeshua Messiah loves us. How amazing is that?! And that’s what Christmas is about. It truly is. Christmas doesn’t have to be big and spectacular in gift giving or decorations – what matters is how we share the Gift and make Jesus have a home in our heart, so He may decorate our spirits.

God bless you all, and merry Christmas!

-Angela

How is your Christmas Eve? What are your favorite Christmas movies? One Christmas song you have on repeat?

 

Glory Be To God

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What do you do when you want something so, so bad, and it seems everyone else has it and is so happy- but you just tumble off the road and don’t reach that dream?

  One thing that was weighing heavy on me was Realm Writers. You’ve probably heard of it. It’s basically a writer’s conference for Christians, and this year, it takes place in Nevada. The best part, besides meeting awesome fellow writers (and teen writers)? Ted Dekker was a key speaker. I love Dekker. I was ecstatic to hear the news that he was speaking. Ecstatic. I was wishing and praying for about a year, just hoping, somehow, we’d get the chance to go. So I could be surrounded with epic fellow teens who love writing and are so hungry to learn.

   But, July rolled around, and taking a trip to Nevada is not happening. We just can’t do it. I was super duper bummed. Really bummed. Why? Because I thought I’d actually have a place where I sort of belonged.

  The truth is, I belong here. Here is right now, in the very place I am. And you belong exactly where you are, too.

As a writer, would I love to go to a writer’s conference? Yes. But if it is not in God’s timing, then it’s not gonna happen, and I don’t want it to. It’s OK to be upset when things don’t work out how we want them. But giving up and staying upset isn’t OK. So, what do we do?

   We realize that we are still writers. Isn’t that amazing? I mean, that’s who God made us to be. He never said; “You gotta go meet all these writer kids, and meet the authors, and go to every conference, in order to be a writer.” Our worth does not come from fame, success, or the spotlight.

  Our worth comes from Yeshua. And God gave us the gift of words, folks! We can create. Destroy. Build. Encourage. Inspire. Make others laugh. Make others cry. Touch people. How can we, as people, do that? With just 26 letters?

  We do that through the LORD. It’s God who guides our hands, our words, our voices, and it is the Lord who touches others through our writings. And we don’t have to go to the writing conventions to make an impact in this world. God will bring people into our lives He wants us to meet, and we don’t always have to go out and find them. God has a Plan. That’s pretty awesome.

    We, as writers, as artists, as musicians, as PEOPLE– have the power to help others, and hurt others. Being a writer is more than wishing to be published, to have writer friends or fans and all- being a writer is giving God the glory at all times. Being a writer is pushing on when you’re tired, and sad, and hurt, and angry; you don’t give up. You take the pain and you use it for good. This is for all people, for everyone. That’s life. It isn’t about fame and success. God doesn’t care about that. God cares about your heart. God cares about if you have total faith and trust in Him, and whether you give it your all.

    God has a plan. For you. For me. For each of us. There will be bumps in the roads, and twists and turns that we didn’t expect, and we’re gonna fall right off our scooter into a ditch. That’s cool. Get up. Get back on that scratched up scooter and keep on going. Ride for that sunset that’s waiting for you. Keep going until you see the morning sun.

  God is with us. God has given us gifts. We have the choice to use them, for the Lord’s glory and praise. Nothing can stand in our way, because Jesus is King.

  God bless.

-Ang

 

The Truth Shall Make You Free

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This is going to be a ramble of a post, but this is all from my heart. Hopefully it makes sense, of course. But there’s so much for me to think about and well, when I sat down to write this… I couldn’t stop. The Lord has shown me a lot… This post is me pouring my heart out and listening to what God is telling me. So here goes…

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

– John 8:32

  What is the Truth?

  The past few months, my life has sort of gone topsy-turvy. We’ve been trying to get by, praying everyday for a miracle. God has provided, everyday, miracle by miracle. We can’t see the road ahead. We don’t know what the future holds.

    I am blind.

 I can’t see ahead. I am afraid to see ahead. Because, what will I see? Will I see happiness? Will anything change? Will I lose what I love? Will everything be OK?

   I don’t know what the future holds. It rests completely in God’s hands.

I am scared. And I feel ashamed for being afraid. Afraid that the change will just be too big, too empty, too heavy. It feels like things being OK… is just a far away, fairy tale idea. I can’t see it.

 What is the Truth?

  There is this engulfing darkness, this abyss of lies and fear and doubt. These are not of  of God’s spirit. These are the lies of the Dark. Of Satan.

 When I feel like nothing I do will be good enough, or amount up, that’s a lie. When I feel like I’m the only one who’s falling behind, that’s a lie. When I feel like I’m on some ultra-desolate island, all by myself, in a huge sea, that’s a lie. When I feel like the whole world will never see me, and never hear me, that’s a lie. When I feel that my voice means nothing, that is a lie.

 Satan lies; those thoughts that make weigh our steps down and make us double think ourselves. Make us double think God. Those lies are not true.

  So, what’s the Truth?

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Yeshua is the Truth. His Living Word tells us the TRUTH.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 

-2 Timothy 1:7

THAT IS THE TRUTH. That is Yahweh’s Word to us. No matter what Satan tries to tell us, to make us believe, no matter how much the Darkness tries to deceive us and break us…. Yahweh is more Powerful. He is Alpha and Omega. He created the heavens and the earth, to the biggest star and the smallest of flowers. Yahweh Elohim created each of us. We are His masterpieces. By Yahweh’s breath in our lungs do we have life. True life.

     Yahweh did not give us the spirit of fear, or of doubt, or of anxiety, or anything that makes us scared and doubt His Path. When we feel those things creeping in and exploding inside of us- we have to ask the Lord to remove them, before they grow roots in our souls.

 These past few months, my family and I have been struggling under a very big attack from Satan. Obviously, we must be on the right track with God, because the Dark is very, very angry. And very big. But not big enough. Because Yeshua wins. Yahweh gives us power to cast out the spirits that try to destroy us and others. You can read Him telling His disciples this in the Bible.

 One chapter of Scripture that hit me while studying recently was Ephesians, 6:10-18:

Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints….

The war is not against flesh and blood. Yahweh tells us that. It is so much bigger than we can imagine, and still, Yahweh tells us the power He gives us to do our part. To fight, to live. To glorify Him. How amazing is that?

  That chapter of Scripture is so amazing. When it feels like life is just crumbling, going dark and dead, and we’re scared and just blind…. We cannot forget. We cannot forget what Yeshua has done for us. We cannot forget what Yahweh has told us. When we feel like we’re the only ones speaking out, or the only ones in the vast sea- remember.

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. -Matthew 7:13-14

Alongside this, another chapter of Scripture came to my mind from the Lord… And really got my attention.

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all….

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. -1 Corinthians 12:4-14

Yahweh has given each of us a Voice. He gives us power and free-will. You can say whatever you want, it doesn’t have to be the truth. As followers and believers of Yeshua Almighty; our words have power. Everyone’s words have power, whether they believe in God or not. Yahweh gives us power in His name. Power to share the Truth. Power to share the Gospel, Yeshua’s Love, and the One True Way to the Father.

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. -John 17:16-18

I’ve been struggling, praying and searching; and Yahweh finally just had to whack me upside the head and remind me of the big, amazing truth I had just forgotten:  That Yeshua Messiah gave me a voice. He gave me the ability to stand up. Yahweh showed me that the Dark was trying so hard to suffocate my Voice, make me doubt myself, make me fear the path ahead. Yahweh showed me the Truth. And He will show each of us, through our lives, the Truth. We just have to seek His face and ask Him.

The Truth is Yahweh made each of us so incredibly individual, and the gifts He gave us each are different. Yeshua doesn’t want us to be the same. He doesn’t expect us to. Oh, no. Yeshua’s plan is way more awesome! The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 16, that we each have gifts, a soul, and a VOICE…. and that each of God’s followers has a path,a  purpose, and a role. No one is the same.  Yahweh made each of us unique- and so, our Voices are each unique. How cool is that?! It is truly amazing. This is the Truth that set me free.

When I use my Voice…  I shouldn’t be worried about what others will say, or what others won’t say. I shouldn’t be worried about how people will see me. I shouldn’t be worried about making it all perfect. When I use the Voice Yahweh gave me, I will be using it to spread His Love. His Truth. I will use my voice to praise the Lord! To give Him glory! I will use my Voice to obey Him, to speak out for what is right. When I speak, I will be speaking for the Lord. I will be speaking for the Truth. I don’t care who’s on my left, my right, behind, or ahead.

I do not know for sure what lies ahead. I don’t know what God will call me and my family to do. I do know who’s Hands I rest in. So, I shall not fear, because if God is with me, who can be against me? I know who is my Savior, my fortress, my King. And I trust Him to take care of us, and guide us. Yahweh has shown me and given me a new confidence in His Truth- and the Dark cannot remove or hide His Truth. The Light pierces and prevails!

 

God has given us each a Voice. What will you say?

 

YHVH bless.

-Angela Watts