Sunday, March 26, 2017

More Than A Religion

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

Many view Christianity as just a religion and some Christians proclaim to be religious, because they are of the Christian faith. Notice I say some. I don't say 'all Christians' or 'Christians,' because not every Christian is the same. Why group up people when they're not all the same? It's like saying atheists believe in nothing, which is not true. Some believe in nothing. I don't proclaim myself to be religious, because for one, it turns people off if I mention it and two, I don't consider myself a religious person. I don't define myself as that. I'm a forgiven sinner and forgiven by a perfect Man.
Christianity is not to be treated as just a religion, because it's so much more. It's a relationship. It's easy for us to believe in the Bible and God, but not speak to Him. When you don't interact with God, live for Him, or anything beyond the point of belief, it's another religion to you.


Google's definition of religion, "the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods."

Christianity is not limited to just believing and nothing else. It's not to be treated that way, even though so many people do. Jesus wants more than belief. He wants a relationship with you. How would you be friends with someone if you never speak to them? It's the same way with a relationship with Jesus. If you never talk to Him, you won't get to know Him. There are many ways to talk to Jesus. Through singing praises, talking, and being in touch with His creation.

The whole point of this is, don't just be a person who proclaims to know Jesus when you don't know Him personally yourself. There is a difference in knowing someone and knowing about someone. Do you just know about Jesus and His work in the Bible or do you know Him personally and know what He does now?

Monday, March 20, 2017

40 in the Bible

Earlier today, I was listening to the recording I had from youth last night, so I could take notes. My wonderful youth leader, Michael was talking about lent & the meaning behind lent. When I heard '40 days,' it made me think of Noah being on the ark for 40 days & 40 nights. If 40 is mentioned more than once in the Bible, then there had to be something to it. I researched it to find the meaning behind it. In the Bible, 40 means 'a time of testing, trial, and/or probation.' It does make a lot of sense. Moses lived 40 years in Egypt, 40 more on Mount Sinai. (Ex. 24:18, 34:1-28). Jonah powerfully warns ancient Nineveh for 40 days about the destruction God was planning to send (Jonah 3:4). The prophet Ezekiel lays on his right side for 40 days to symbolize Judah's sins (Eze. 4:6). Elijah went 40 days without food or water at Mount Horeb (1 King 19:8). King David reigned for 40 years (1 King 2:11). King Solomon reigned for 40 years (1 Kings 11:42). Jesus was tempted by Satan for 40 days (Luke 4:2). Exodus has specifically 40 chapters in the Bible.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Priceless

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Many of us don't see ourselves as having value, but if you really think about it, you're so valuable that nothing can buy you. You're worth more than money, jewels, or fancy sports cars. You're more valuable than the highest costed item or place in the entire world.

Here it declares that we are God's handiwork created in His Son Jesus. God created each of us in His image. We are all undoubtedly undeniably completely priceless, because God says in His Word.

Seriously, think about it.... Do you know of anyone that looks exactly like you, acts like you, thinks like you, talks like you, has the same personality, likes and dislikes the exact same things? You don't, because we were designed that way. God created only one you.

The world would be pretty boring and bland if everyone was the same in every way. You can not be replaced, you're not a mistake, and you can't be compared, even if people try to, you're not comparable to anyone. Be yourself, because there is only one you. One thing I've always struggled with and still do at times, is comparing myself to other Christians and trying to be like someone I look up to as a role model. However, my role models are great influences, but I don't need to be exactly like them in every which way, nor do I want to be exactly like them. I still want to be myself.

I compare myself easily with musicians that I look up to, but don't mean to. I don't have high expectations for them, because they're human like I am. I have put them on a higher pedestal before, which I shouldn't. We're all equal in God's eyes, but I think it is common for humans and even Christians to think like this at times. We just need to remind ourselves that we are all equal and need to be content as ourselves, not copy someone when they are being themselves.

The opposite of priceless is being bought and no one can be bought twice. We've all already been bought once by the shedding of Jesus' blood when He died on the cross. His blood bought our sins and paid the debt of death that we owed.

God created us in His perfect image and sent His perfect Son Jesus to die on a cross to shed His blood to buy our sins and pay the debt of death. This why we're defined as priceless.



Priceless by for King & Country

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Gifts Within Us

6"We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; it it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."

Romans 12:6-8 NIV

I felt like this scripture set the tone very well for this first devotion. It can be difficult finding our gifts. We all have one. Some people figure it out when they're young and for some, it's years later. Whatever your gift is, use it.

This musician by the name of Colton Dixon discovered his gift at a young age. When he was 13, getting ready to perform I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me at a piano recital, his piano teacher told him to sing as he played. Colton didn't like the idea at all. Although, he sang like his teacher told him. In that moment, he discovered that singing was what God wanted him to do for the rest of his life. He was only 13 at the time and to see where he is now, you can tell that sharing God's Word through music is what he was designed to do. His gift was the ability to sing and play piano, but is using it to point to God.

But not everyone's discovery is like that. Your gift could be your talent. Building things, art, dance, sports, acting, rapping, childcare, lawn work, landscaping, working with technology, literally anything. Even if your good at talking to people and giving them advice and encouragement, that's a gift. Everyone is called to do ministry. I don't mean pastor, missionary, things like that. Ministry work can be anything. Often when people hear the words 'ministry work,' they think of mission trips, being a pastor, missionary, or a traveling evangelist. It's not always that for everyone. Ministry can be giving encouragement, talking to someone who's lonely, show love and compassion to people. It doesn't have to be large extravagant gestures, although they can be good too. The things that seem so small to us can be extravagant to others.

If someone has a different gift than you, that doesn't mean they're better than you, even if their gift seems better to you than what God gave you. Not everyone was meant to do the same thing. He made us all different. We all play a different role in the body of Christ. It's like a human body. Each part functions differently and does different things. They all don't do the same things. It requires body parts working together to do things. Same thing with the body of Christ. Christians need to work together and not apart. Each person has a different talent, story, and personality.

For example, say you have an outgoing evangelist, who isn't the greatest with technology, but yet, can keep a person's attention in a sermon and come up with visual aids for sermons. The evangelist is in need of a power point for an upcoming sermon. The power point will make it easier for people to take notes and remember key points to the sermon. Now, you have this other person, very shy, not talkative, but excellent with computers, slideshows, and anything in that field. Without a power point, it can be somewhat difficult for others to remember what the evangelist is talking about. The technology person and evangelist work together. Therefore, the evangelist will have a power point for a service and people are able to take notes better.

If you're talent is sports, use that platform to point it to God. It's always harder to point everything to God, because it's so easy to take the credit for everything when in reality God is using us. It's so easy for us to become arrogant and act like we can do everything. He gave you that gift and you're using it, but are you gonna be someone who points to God or yourself?

Don't worry about what others think when you give God the glory. God is in control and made everything, the world isn't. I'd rather stand with God and be judged by the world versus stand with the world and be judged by God.

                               Blessings, EO


Sunday, March 5, 2017

CALABASH, NC 2015

When I was 16, I went on my first mission trip to Calabash, NC. It was just a few hours from where I lived, but I had always wanted to go on a mission trip. It was construction work. I went with my church & everyone was in their 50's & older, minus my new youth leader. He had just been hired by our church right before the trip. When I was deciding if I should go, I thought, "Now what is a 16 year old girl gonna do on a construction site that knows nothing about construction or tools?" I listened to a song by my favorite singer, Colton Dixon called 'Limitless.' It made me realize that my age doesn't limit me to what I can do. I thought I was too young to work on a construction site or to go on a mission trip. These thoughts can easily suade us away from what God really wants us to do.

It was the middle of September & always hot outside. Everyday, we went to the construction site & worked Monday through Friday. This is when homeschooling has it advantages. Each day on the construction site, it was several guys, me, & one other lady. We were building a church building.

On the first day, me & the lady did fire stopping, which means we would climb up a ladder & put caulk around thick chords that ran through the ceiling up to the attic. The church was built to the studs so far. The AC unit was being installed that week we worked there. After that, we moved lumber back & forth into the building. I definitely learned a lot of new skills while there. I had never worked on a construction site. The next day, my youth leader, Michael & I put in power boxes. I was also taught how to use a drill, clamp down cables, & wire a light switch.

During the week, I taught a devotion, which I had never done. At the time, I was reading a new book I had bought. It was called Stronger by Clayton King. I had never taught a devotion, so I based the devotion off that with scripture. It lasted for about 20 minutes with open discussion. I was pretty happy that I didn't stutter or fumble with my words. There was only about 10 in the room & we were just sitting together in the living room. It was a great devotion.

The week flew by pretty quickly. God showed me what I thought would be impossible. He's God of the impossible. Little did I know that the mission trip would be a start for me & a start on a new path for me. God taught me to trust Him in His plans even when I'm apprehensive about it. If God's calling you to do something that you think you can't do, trust God & not the human mind.


New Blogger

G'day everyone. I'm new to blogging. I figured I would share a little bit about myself, before I blogged & what I'll be blogging, also the reason behind the name of the blog.

I'm currently a homeschooled student. Yes, I'm used to all the stereotypes people label us. The way I see it - it's a blessing! I have a broader way of learning & not stuck in a building 5 days a week for 8 hours. Many say I'm sheltered, but that is not true. However, some homeschooled students are sheltered. Don't assume a homeschooled student is sheltered. Throw away the stereotypes. If you're curious as to what being homeschooled is like, ask & not assume first. I've had people automatically assume I was dumb.

I'm an unashamed devoted Christian. Attending church, ministry, & being connected to God are top priorities for me. This doesn't mean I'm better than anyone. It's just means I'm trying to live out God's plans for me & striving to know what He wants for me.

I have two younger special needs brothers, so I often do obtain questions from many people about them, but that's part of being a sibling of someone with special needs, is being able to educate others & advocate.

I don't have many hobbies. I enjoy creating lyric videos, being very involved with church, watching YouTube, writing, & hanging out with friends.

I happen to be from the Carolinas, home of Krispy Kreme, Cheerwine, part of the Bible Belt, good home southern cooking, & southern hospitality. Our vocabulary is different. We say 'y'all' to everyone. Oh, I love Christian music. I do listen to hours of music a day & enjoy going to concerts.

Limitless with Identity..... I bet the name caught some of y'all's attention. I'll be blogging about mission trips I've been on in the past, devotions, encouragement, what I'm experiencing in my walk with Christ, & if you have questions, I would be more than happy to answer them. I would not give out people's names for privacy purposes. I respect people's privacy & do enjoy being able to encourage someone. Also, I'm open to topic suggestions & I can do devotions based off of song suggestions as well.

Behind the name of 'Limitless with Identity' - we're limitless through the power of Christ. The world gives us limits based on age, size, & looks, but to Christ, none of that matters. We can do more than what our human minds think we're capable of. Each of us has an Identity. The world constantly gives us labels & tells us what our Identity is. Not only that, it's easy to place our Identity in earthly things when they all perish. Our true Identity is found in Christ.

                    Hope you enjoy my blog posts in the future.
                                                                                   Blessings, EO