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

To The Future Bride And Groom

Here’s the thing. I can’t tell you a lot about marriage, considering I am not married, nor am I anywhere close to that stage lol. But I can tell you a little bit of what God has taught me about marriage.

I wrote this letter for a friend when she was getting married and I just found it on my phone again. I was reading through it and I thought “maybe I should share this to other couples out there who might be overwhelmed with all the nerves and excitement of their wedding”. So here ya go 🙂

“Planning for the big wedding day can bring a lot of excitement and joy, but it can also bring some anxiety and nerves too. However, there is such a beautiful reminder about a wedding. It shows that God has been preparing you and your groom/bride for this wonderful journey.

You have already picked up some puzzle pieces along the way, many before you met your future spouse and many after you did. And now, you’re about to get the wedding puzzle piece to add to your life’s big picture.

However, the puzzle doesn’t stop there. You will keep on growing and collecting more pieces until you finally have a full picture at the end of your life. And the best way to enjoy the pieces and memories is to remember that God’s plan for you is just like a puzzle: a unique and beautiful masterpiece.

He has a wonderful plan and a purpose for you and your future spouse. Ask Him to help you find the joy in the little things even when life seems a little prickly. Remember to enjoy your beautiful day and congrats to you both!!”

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

The Comparison Game

Remember when you were 5 years old and you just did things like make a sandcastle or ride a bike, not because you had an audience looking at you, but just because you wanted to enjoy it? It was only 15 years since I was five. However, the world seems very different then it was back then. Today, I think people forget to just do things because they want to.

We tend to post a picture in order to get a bunch of likes or comments, instead of because we actually love that picture, or we loved the memory. People try to be friends with others only to increase their popularity ratings or following count, instead of because they really do like those people. Some people just want to be in the cool crowd and fit in because they want to make themselves look better, instead of them actually just being in it because they want to or because they love the people they are with. Some just date in order to make someone jealous or because they feel rushed into settling down instead of them actually just being like “wow I really love this person with my whole heart”.

I think today we are so caught up in entertaining our audience around us. We do things because we feel that those people around us need to know that we are “cool” or “popular” or “a good person” or “pretty”. But what if no one was watching? Would you send that text to that girl in tears? Would you share that picture of you helping at a food pantry?

See, we get so caught up in being OF the world, instead of just IN the world. I mean look at Jesus Christ. He had 12 disciples. He was the Messiah. God could have given Him a million friends, yet Jesus only had a few. He picked quality over quantity. When Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead. He didn’t tell the people to go tell everyone that Jesus Christ did this and He’s this amazing guy. Yet, the people did anyway, not because they had to, but because they wanted to praise this amazing person that saved them.

A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” – Mark 1:40-44

The only person we need to try to get approval of each day is God. He created this world for you and He wants you to enjoy it, not because you have to, but because you want to. He wants you to enjoy the little things and the big things that are all around you. He wants you to spend your days filling yourself up with Him instead of filling it up with the world and it’s approval. He doesn’t want you to play the comparison game.

He wants you to be still and grow with Him first before anyone else. So grow, explore. and strive to be your best self everyday with Jesus by your side.

Love always,

Claire

 

Don’t Worry, Instead Worship

Something that I have learned about music, is that everyone in the entire world loves some genre of it. Whether it’s latin, country, pop, rock and roll, christian, or any other type, music has this ability to open up our soul and make us want to dance around the room.

Recently, I went to a Christian concert, and it’s SO incredible to see the sight around the room. People are clapping, dancing, raising their hands, and just all around worshiping. It’s a sight that I’m sure will be found in Heaven.

“Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” – Psalm 100:1-5

The speaker, at the concert, said something, and I freakin’ love it now. He said, “Don’t worry, worship”. He said that we are all going through our own lives, some of us may be carrying some battle with us, but for us to be truly thankful, we need to praise God for the things we have received, and also, the things that have not yet been received.
Oooh that just stuck with me. I have always thought about thanksgiving meaning to being thankful for what you have. But, it is ALSO for the things we do not yet have, the things to come.
It’s so easy for us, as human beings, to be so caught up and worried about the things to come. It’s easy for us to have those freak out moments. But we have to walk by faith and praise God for everything that has and is to come (aka, don’t worry, but instead worship).
For we walk by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7
Sheep do not have very good eyesight. They basically have to rely on their shepherd to move by listening to his voice. The shepherd protects the sheep and watches the sheep to make sure no harm comes to them. The shepherd guides the sheep throughout their life and he cares so much for his sheep.
You see, God is our shepherd, and we are His sheep. He cares for us. He provides for us. He watches us and protects us. He leads us and He guides us.
He wants to reach us and for us, to reach Him. We may not know what the future holds, but God wants to walk by our side and lead us the whole way through. If we seek Him, praise Him, worship Him, pray to Him, we can follow His voice through it all.
So next time, you’re worried or stressed, remember this. Don’t worry, instead worship. The Lord is going to lead you and have your back through it all.
Love always,
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