Let's Build Each Other Up

A few days ago, I had a lot of mixed feelings about this whole coronavirus issue. I was annoyed, disappointed, and frustrated. Graduation got postponed. Plans got cancelled. The future looked completely uncertain.

Here’s the thing though. The future has always been uncertain, even when we felt like we were in control. Yes, we had plans in motion, but there are a thousand and one ways to where those plans could have not happened. Maybe you went on a trip recently. But think about it, the plane could have gotten delayed, the weather could have been super bad, the electricity could have gone out, your car could have died, etc. There are tons of ways to where your trip could not have even happened or not have gone the way you thought.

That’s the thing about control. As humans, we think we are in control of almost everything. But I think God likes to remind us that we are not in control as much as we think. God wants to show us that He is in control. He wants to teach us that the only thing we can truly control is OUR ACTIONS.

So what now? Now that our plans got cancelled. Now that we have to do this “social distancing” and stay home. What do we do?

I’ve been live streaming church services since this whole pandemic started. And every time I watch a live stream, there’s always this saying that is said:

“The church is not a building. It is a body of believers.”

You might have heard that before or something similar to it. But think about it. We aren’t going to a physical church building until this is over. We aren’t gathering together with a large number of believers as much as we use to. Things look a little bit different now. But we are still called by God to do the same things.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. – Acts 2:42

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

We are still called to carry each other’s burdens. We are still called to fellowship. We are still called to glorify our Father. We are still called to love. The only thing that has changed is the Earthly environment around us.

So what can we do during this time?

1. Pray. Pray for the country. Pray for the world. Pray for the leaders. Pray for the workers, who are serving in different places. Pray for your family. Pray for your friends. Pray for your classmates. Pray for your co-workers. Pray for yourself.

Prayer is so important to our lives. It is so significant for us to continue to rely on each other and support one another. In the book of Galatians, God calls us to carry each other’s burdens and pray for one another. I know sometimes asking for prayer can be nerve-racking or scary. You might be thinking “people are gonna judge me” or “they aren’t even gonna care”. However, prayer is powerful. God can do some amazing things with our prayers.

I’ve created a prayer request form. It’s anonymous and will remain confidential. If you know that you need prayer for something and do not feel like you can carry something on your own, use this. Doesn’t matter what the prayer request is. What matters is that you aren’t on your own. You are being prayed for and God hears your prayers.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdDB0P_6kAC4Dg9o7-z9EFN74bTmbVbgNFSFzyvxUj6Pt_7wA/viewform?usp=sf_link

2. Fellowship. Social distancing is still important, but God has blessed us with many forms of technology now. We can call, message, and FaceTime with each other through technology. Use that. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Check-in on them. Message someone and send an encouraging message to them. Let’s continue to fellowship and build each other up.

3. Lastly, remain in Christ. During this time of isolating, we might have a lot of extra time on our hands. We aren’t constantly on the go, having to do fifty different errands. Instead of spending all of your time watching tv or playing games, open your Bible. Start a new bible study. There are a bunch of apps that can help you with this.

Play some worship music. Make a gratitude journal. Remember who God is and what He is doing in your life. Make a note of the good things going on in your life. Make a prayer journal. Make good use of your free time and listen to what He has to say.

During this time, glorify God in all that you do.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

Let’s use our time wisely. We do not know what could come next, but whatever that is, let’s be prepared to face it together with Christ.

To whoever is reading this, you are loved, you are seen, and you are heard by our incredible God. During this time of uncertainty, remember that our God is good, and He is in control of the future! Stay safe!

With love,

Claire

He Understands Your Loneliness.

Loneliness. I think we all go through those phases of loneliness. Feeling stuck. Feeling different. Feeling alone.

The thing about loneliness is that it can be haunting even when you’re not physically alone. Maybe you feel it at work, in class, in your city, in your friend group, or your family. Even when it might not look lonely on the outside, you can still feel it.

To be honest, I haven’t figured out the key to curing the feeling  of loneliness. I think it can creep up at any point if we let it. There are definitely times where things are going great for us, or where other uneasy feelings might be found. However, loneliness is just like fear or stress. It can still sneak in if we leave the door open.

But I can tell you a few things about loneliness:

1. Jesus experienced loneliness. Jesus was a perfect human being without sin. He was different from everyone else around Him. He lived in a sinful world surrounded by sinful people, including His family and close friends. Growing up, He was very different from the other kids. He probably wasn’t the cool kid everyone wanted to hang out with either. Not to mention, His siblings probably weren’t too fond of His good deeds all the time either.

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces, he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. – Isaiah 53:3

2. Jesus understands our loneliness. When Jesus was on Earth, no one else around was like Him. For Jesus, the only person He knew that He could always turn to was His Father. However, when He was paying for our sin on the cross, He felt forsaken by the last person He turned to for help. He felt all alone.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. – Hebrews 4:15

3. You are not alone. Even Jesus, who was/is the most perfect human being to ever live, felt what you feel. You are not the only one who is struggling with this. I can bet you thousands of other people on this Earth are feeling that same uneasy weight on their shoulders too. We don’t like to show our loneliness. It’s something we hide, so we don’t seem bothered or hurt. But just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. – 2 Timothy 4:16-18

You don’t have to hide that loneliness. Talk to a friend or a family member about it. Talk to God about it. Hand it over to Him and let Him help you.

There will come a day when loneliness won’t even be on your mind anymore. It will be something that you’ll look back on and say “I remember when I felt that and now it doesn’t bother me anymore”.

With Love,

Claire

Be a Blessing

Hey friend. Man, Jesus is so good. I can’t even begin to describe how I have been feeling over the past year. There have been some ups and some downs, but it has been such a year of spiritual growth for me. I know it has been a while since I have written on this blog, but I really missed these personal posts.

Something God has taught me over the year, to live by and to understand fully, is the phrase “through faith”. He has really taught me how to live through faith and faith alone.

In the Bible, there are some verses that say “through faith” such as:

So in Christ Jesus, you are all children of God through faith. – Galatians 3:26

In Him and through faith in Him, we may approach God with freedom and confidence. – Ephesians 3:12

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. – Romans 5:1-2

These verses really hit home for me. They basically say that without faith, we would not be able to have a relationship with God that we do today. See, the Lord wants our relationship with Him to grow stronger over time.

However, life can get a little messy here and there.

We have things that come and go, ups and downs, hills and valleys, etc. But, through all of it, we have to have faith that God is who He says He is and loves us unconditionally. By having this faith and assurance, He gives us hope, peace, love, joy, and so many blessings.

However, it doesn’t just stop with the blessings He gives to us. Not only does He want to bless you in life, but He wants you to be a blessing to all of those around you. He wants you to show the love of Christ to your friends, family, strangers, classmates, co-workers, etc.

We are called to love one another and I think we forget how impacting we can be on someone with our actions and our words. Just saying a nice comment to someone can make their day better. Being a blessing to another person is a remarkable habit to get into.

Think about Jesus and the life He lived. He was such a blessing to all of those around Him. Not only did He heal the sick and feed the hungry, but He was also encouraging, kind, and loving to those around Him. And get this, He was a human just like you. No, we aren’t perfect people like Jesus was, but we do have the power to encourage others and love those next to us.

So my hope for you this week is to get into the habit of being a blessing to someone. Send an encouraging text to someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Pray for your friend that you haven’t seen in a while. Tell your parents you love them. Inspire someone new. Ask the person in the coffee shop next to you, if they have any prayer requests. Be a blessing to those around you, my friend. It makes life so much better.

With love,

Claire

Freedom Can Be Found

There is a woman that we don’t know her name, or how old she is, or if she has any family, but we do know about her lifestyle. This woman had been bleeding for 12 years straight. She could never get better and only got worse. She probably didn’t smell that great and couldn’t go out in public that much, not to mention that she was probably an outcast in her society. Men probably didn’t want to marry “a girl like that”. And women probably were mean to her or just felt bad for her. Can you image how much shame she felt?

Some of us may can relate to the feelings that she had. Maybe, you’re seen as an outcast too or just don’t measure up to other’s expectations. Maybe, your life is filled with shame, guilt, depression, doubt, anxiety, etc. But God tells us that we are made in the image of Him.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27

He doesn’t want us to be covered in any of these things. He wants you to find freedom. And this woman, who was suffering, found her freedom in Jesus Christ.

When this woman hears about Jesus and that he is in her village, she has to go see Him. She’s thinking “if I just go see Him, He will heal me”. And this is what happens:

So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’” But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” – Mark 5:24-34

I love how it says that she fell AT HIS FEET. In order for us to find our freedom, we have to move towards Jesus. We have to dive into His word and pray to Him.

This woman probably felt so terrified to go see Jesus, because of the social exposure, but she had so much faith that she left to go find Jesus. She knew that God wanted better things for her life. She didn’t want to go throughout the rest of her life living in this kind of condition. She wanted to be free of her suffering.

Maybe, right now, you are in a season of suffering or struggle. Things just aren’t looking up at all and you’re caught right in the middle of a storm. Jesus can give you freedom. You can find it. It won’t be an overnight thing, but freedom can be found in Him. However, it requires work and you have to move TOWARDS Him, not away. Anything is possible with Christ.

Love always,

Claire

Search for Significance

“I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem, I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. What is crooked cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted. I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom, and also knowledge.” Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” – Ecclesiastes 1:12-18

Solomon was the richest and highest person in all of Jerusalem during the time period that he lived in. Other people envied him for all the fame and wealth that he had. The man had everything he wanted, but it was all still so meaningless to him. Maybe, on the outside, he looked like he was living the best life, but Solomon wasn’t satisfied.

Sometimes, I feel like I fit in with the “other people” category in this story. I want things that other people have such as grades or fame. Maybe, you can relate. But we have to remember that even when we have those things, we still won’t be satisfied. Solomon had all he wanted and still wasn’t satisfied because the only thing that can satisfy us is Christ.

Jesus is the only one who can fulfill us. It’s pointless to try and find that fulfillment in other things. Jesus knows that we are hungry and He tells us that HE is the solution.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” – John 6:35

Jesus sees that we are hungry. He knows that our desires are real and wants the absolute best for you. He wants you to spend your life well, but sometimes, this causes us to settle for less. Sometimes, we are searching for all the wrong things, like Solomon. We want the fame and the wealth, but Solomon knew it was all meaningless.

The Bible tells us that the only thing that will satisfy you is Christ. If we fulfill our lives with things or activities that don’t put Jesus first, then we will never be satisfied. You won’t be pleased and you will have lost more than you actually gained in those things.

Jesus came to give you life and He won’t stop looking for you until you are for Him. He is the bread of life that was broken for you. You don’t need to have this constant search for significance because it is found in the one that has saved you.

Love always,

Claire

 

Be Bold Like a Lion

Is fear stopping you from becoming the person God wants you to be? Is fear keeping you from experiencing the power of God?

Going to these questions, fear stops me sometimes. I have a fear of rejection that the people I talk to won’t like me or think I’m strange. I have let this fear stopped me from telling people about Jesus before. However, God tells us that we don’t have to fear because if you believe in Him, His spirit is always with you.

In Acts, chapter 4, there are two men that show the boldness of Christ. But before we get there, let’s talk about what’s going on before this story begins. Jesus has already been crucified and resurrected. Jesus has been taken up to heaven and has told the disciples to go and tell the all the people to the ends of the earth about what Jesus has done. In Chapter 3 of Acts, this is where the first part of the story starts.

Now, Peter and John have been going around, teaching the Israelites about the story of Jesus. During their journey, Peter and John are stopped by a beggar asking for money that cannot walk. They do not give him money, but instead this is what happens:

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. – Acts 4:6-10

The man jumps to his feet and begins to walk. He goes into the temple and everyone recognizes him and wonders how can this man walk now?? Peter then begins to explain that he did not heal the man, but by faith in the name of Jesus Christ, this man can now walk.

Now this is where things get interesting……

The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. But many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand. The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. – Acts 4:1-10

Now keep in mind that this Peter that stands here and shows much boldness, is the same Peter that denied knowing Jesus, three times. He is also the same Peter that doubted Jesus when he tried to walk on the water. Peter has made some mistakes in the past, but he still shows his boldness even though he isn’t perfect.

As Christians, we need to have a desire to make a difference for the kingdom, and most of the time, that requires us to be bold. But when we let fear get in the way, we tend to want to hide. If you go to Genesis 3:6-10, God is looking for Adam and Eve. He says “Where are you?”, and Adam says “I was afraid, so I hid.”

It is so easy for us to let fear overcome us and say no to boldness. The enemy wants you to do that. He tricks us in to doing that all the time. But we need to have boldness when sharing the truth about Jesus Christ. Like I said, we need to have a desire to make a difference for the kingdom. Whether that’s inviting people that don’t know Christ to your church, or just telling people around campus about Jesus, we need to have boldness in that.

Maybe, it’s not fear that’s getting in the way for you. Maybe its doubt or shame or guilt or etc. But whatever, it is, Jesus what’s you to overcome it and find boldness.

Going back to one of the first questions I asked y’all, God wants the absolute best for you. God isn’t the same as “everybody else”. He’s not just some other person. He doesn’t want fear or doubt or shame or anything to stop you from experiencing all He has planned for you. He’s your Father and God sent His son to this Earth to die for YOUR sins because of the love He has for YOU. So, find courage through Him and let His Spirit allow you to be bold.

Love always,

Claire

Submerge

Life is CRAZY. Am I right? We continually have so many things we have to do. We have all these things we are drowning in, school, jobs, internships, relationships, social life, and the list goes on and on. Over time, all these things get stacked on top of each other, one by one, and this causes us to be super stressed and overwhelmed.

And as much as I wish there was cure for stress, something that made it go away and never come back, there is no cure. We are all human beings. We are going to get stressed and overwhelmed.

There is nothing that WE can do to fix this. But there is something that HE can do. 

It’s hard for us to submerge into Jesus when we get stressed out. We want all the stresses to go away immediately and if they don’t, then we start doubting our God.

Think about Job. Job suffered so much throughout his life. He lost his family. He was attacked so many times by Satan. Yet, he still always had faith and trust in the Lord. Job realized that he came into the world with nothing and would take nothing with him, except the Lord. That was all he needed.

It hard for us and our human mind to believe that all we need is Jesus, but it’s true. ALL WE NEED IS JESUS. We don’t need all the fame on social media. We don’t need to have everything in our life planned out perfectly.

If we were perfect people, then we wouldn’t need a perfect God.

Instead of drowning ourselves in all these Earthly things and distractions, let’s submerge ourselves in Jesus. Let’s read His word and believe all the truths He tells us. Soak it up.

Love always,

Claire