2k14 in All Its Glory

Can I saw wow?! Woah, so much has happened in this past year, and it has quite possibly been the best year yet of my short life. 2k14, or, more technically speaking, 2014, has been a drastic year of growth, of change, new friends, new experiences, more memories, and disappointments as well as joys.

Let me just say that now I look at myself last year and think: how was I so oblivious?

I did some stupid stuff, and I thought I was cool and knew stuff that I literally knew nothing about. At the same time, I know that next year I’ll look back at this year like that, and so on and so forth.

I was just talking with my dad the other day about how we have the tendency to always look back on times that we thought we knew a lot and had everything working out for us, but in reality we knew little or close to nothing. He assured me that it happens every year, and how college will make you look back and high school and wonder, and how when you’re 30 you’ll look back at college and wonder, and it continues on and on. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a cycle.

As far as new year resolutions for 2014 held up, I honestly have no clue. Chances are, I didn’t manage to accomplish all of my goals. I don’t even remember what I had hopes for in 2014.

I vaguely remember myself reminiscing 2013 and all that held. Let me jump back to here and reread my reflections post for 2013. Ah, yes, 2013 was a year full of realizing what friendships were most valuable to me and establishing the existence of my faith. I fully admit that last year was a struggle with doubt and wondering if Jesus was really in my heart.

This year, with my faith a better understood, I was blessed and overjoyed to have climbed over and pretty much conquered doubt. There was still anxiety and a little creeping of doubt here and there in my faith this year, but I knew in my heart that Jesus was there, and that I, indeed, am saved. This was a relief and a joy, it brought pleasure to me and helped me focus more time on further developing my faith vs. establishing it’s existence.

Like always, the sea that is faith was ever changing, the tides were high, low, and in-between. Nearer to the end of this year, I finally started really delving into Scripture again to be inspired and motivated by the word of God.

Job was a really inspirational book for me, and I am amazed by God’s servant’s faith and trust in the Lord. Admittedly, after Job was over, I have again been lacking in spending time in the Bible, but I hope and pray to continue to read more and more of God’s Scripture in this coming year. Wisdom, hope, love, and words of encouragement lie within the Bible, and they are always a blessing.

Let me recount some of my blessings in 2014:

  • I scored a summer job, corn pollinating, but a job nonetheless (also, two weekly mowing jobs) — This made me extremely happy because I had been continually searching for a job, and, at my age it was hard to find one.
  • I purchased a Retina MacBook Pro! — After researching and gazing at MacBooks for almost half a year, I finally spent some of my savings (thanks God for the summer job!) to buy this fabulous machine that I am typing on right now. As an avid lover of technology, having a high quality laptop of my own meant that I could use it as I pleased and whenever I pleased, something that is super convenient although not necessary. Also, with my interest and enjoyment in graphic design, once I have enough to purchase the Adobe Cs6 Design software, a Mac is definitely one of the best laptops to run it.
  • The start of the school year was a smooth one. With 2014 only being my third year in the public school world, and not being the most gifted in the sociable area, I was very thankful to start the school year off well with new friendships, old friendships, and additional acquaintances.
  • A trip to the beach with my cousins was successfully made. I love the beach, nature in itself is absolutely gorgeous and God mesmerizes me with all his intricate creations and creativity, but I have to say that the beach is one of my all time favorite places. Additionally, my cousins are some of my all time favorite people who I am blessed to have strong friendships with. All of us were stuffed in a tiny house, and two of the days were a little drizzly, but lots of memories and quality time was spent at the beach, and there was fun in nearly every moment. The beach is my happy place.
  • My dearest friendships have stayed intact. Although I didn’t worry too much about this, I am ever grateful to have my close friends by my side. We can support each other in Christ and just life in general, regardless of what schools we attend and where we live. This, in itself, is a major praise and I am extremely thankful for them. They are among the best blessings.
  • My faith has grown. Of all of these, I am completely and incredibly thankful that I have gotten to know myself and my Creator better than ever before this year. 2014 has been full of experiences that have shaped and continue to shape me as a person and Christian through trials and joys. With prayers and words heaven bound and worship in solitude and union, I rejoice for He is the Almighty, and through Him I am challenged and strive to make the most of this life on earth.

As I venture into the new year I know that I am not alone, for He is with me, and I have my friends and family by my side.

I am extremely excited to see what 2015 brings in life and faith. Incredibly thankful for a wonderful, wonderful 2014. 2k14 in all its glory ladies and gentlemen!

I am praying for a lovely end of 2014 and a spectacular start to 2015 during this wonderful holiday break off of school. It is my hope to take advantage of opportunities of sharing Jesus’ good news this coming year!

To living and loving for Him, and a new year holding lots of joy–

Cheers my friends!

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Death

…a topic that is often referred to as morbid but then again sometimes thought of as a blessing.

Everybody’s views of death differ. Drastically so, when faith is incorporated into the subject matter.

There is the question of where do people go after death: do they just fade into oblivion, does their existence simply end, do they end up burning in hell, or do their souls live on in heaven?

As Christians, although grief accompanies death, rightfully so, we know that our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are in a better place after death.

Heaven is so much better than on earth, and we rejoice, often bittersweetly, that our loved ones have finally met their Father, and King. Angels rejoice and embrace those who leave their earthly bodies behind, and the souls released from their bodies can start to truly live.

We never know exactly why God chooses the times he does for every person to die, but we do know that God takes people off the earth when He sees fit. Everybody has a day when their time in the material world is up, and then God will take them however He has planned.

Rarely does death ever occur without a portion of sadness, pain, heartbreak, and grief. Mothers lose their children, children their parents, and everyone, their friends.

Still, God’s word leaves us this reminder:

The righteous perish,
    and no one takes it to heart;
the devout are taken away,
    and no one understands
that the righteous are taken away
    to be spared from evil.
Those who walk uprightly
    enter into peace;
    they find rest as they lie in death.

–Isaiah 57:1-2

Death brings suffering, but death also brings joy. If we are impacted by someone’s death, then they have left a legacy behind. All in all, Christians who enter the void of death find peace and walk heaven’s roads of gold.

Jesus is the Creator, the Almighty, our Father, and our Lover. When Christians leave this world, they go to be with the Savior.

I pray that I, as well as others, will be inspired and motivated to go  out there and spread the good news of Jesus, so that when death comes, people will go to a far far better place.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

–Romans 8:18

I pray for those who are currently grieving for their loved ones. Father, be with them. Do not be discouraged by death, but rather share God’s love with others so that rejoicing will take place when death is near.

Oh death, where is your sting?

‘Tis the Festive Time of Year

December 2014 is almost over.

What did I just type?! This year has been off the charts, and God has blessed me with so much. Merely an hour ago, I was let out of school with arms open wide to embrace the eagerly awaited Christmas break. No school for 12 days, minimal homework, family, presents, friends, and Christ are all with or going to be with me in spirit and actuality.

The next time I’m back in school to learn will be in another year! 2015, the year of the future in the 80s Back to the Future movies (fabulous for a laugh).

With the festive season in full swing, I plan to do some last minute Christmas shopping this evening and then fully enjoy the rest of my week. I am again reminded and amazed at how fast a year can zip by, it seems like only yesterday we had received the news of Nelson Mandela’s death.

As gifts have already started to be exchanged, I have found that this year especially so, I find more joy in giving than receiving. Of course, everyone loves a good present, myself included. However, the joy that comes in picking things out to give to people that mean the most to you, and seeing their excitement at the gifts you have given, trumps all.

And without further ado, be joyful in this season as we remember Jesus and his gift of salvation to us.

Merry Christmas Eve, Eve! And if I don’t get back here until after Christmas, Merry Christmas as well!

–Fayth

Friends

Honestly, I am so unspeakably blessed by amazing friends who don’t care to judge me. I don’t see them too often, but whenever we get together we gel. We have this awesome dynamic that gets offset whenever one from our camaraderie is missing.

We share a mutual connection to Christ, and all of us are linked by similar yet totally different interests. We’re all a blend of colors on a palette, one might not think we’d go together, but we mix and make something surprisingly beautiful.

As one gentlemen told us as he took our picture at the movie theater last night, “you’re a motley crew”, and I realized how true it is. God chose to bring us together and continue our friendships, despite our differences. I’m privileged to be able to be in the company of such lovely people.

Today, as always, I’m grateful for such friends, who I can be utterly myself with.

Jesus brings amazing people into your life, He certainly did for me, and I bless them as they each walk their own journeys.

I am blessed beyond measure.

Quote of the Week

He says we need not worry, because He has great things in store. His plans for us go above and beyond our imagination.

Blessings to you this week as Christmas approaches–

Verse of the Week

So I’ve recently made time for daily Scripture readings again. After sorting through my priorities, I finally found that a regular intake of God’s Word is so inspiring and helpful for me in my daily Christian life.

I’m not exactly sure why, but I decided to start with Job. What a man Job was! I can barely even imagine having so much taken away from me for seemingly no valid reason and managing not to curse or blame God. One day I hope to be like Job, wholeheartedly unwavering and loyal in my faith.

This verse especially stood out to me in Job the other day:

We all face trials, and I currently am a little bit lost and confused, but who are we to accept good and not trouble from our Lord?

Although we know God has already won the battle, earth is still full of evil that we will encounter.

Place your trust in God and prevail through the hard times, because love does win out in the end.

Blessings,

Fayth

Give Thanks

“Give thanks to The Lord for He is good, His love endures forever.” Psalm 107:2

Grateful for so much. Without God, I would have nothing.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Quote of the Week

I stumbled across this gem the other day.

Take some time to go about your day and live with intent. Show your true gratitude, kindness, and love to others. For God loves us and asks us to love others before ourselves–

I encourage you to live with purpose; consider more then simply existing.

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Blessings and prayers,

Fayth

The True Source of Satisfaction

Today I bring to you something that is on my heart. This is not a post solely because I’ve been neglecting Scripture Sunday, but lately I’ve been feeling increasingly dissatisfied with, to put it simply, life and all the events that have been occurring.

Yes, there are moments that I am filled with God’s joy, especially when I am in the company of loved ones. However, my devotion tonight brought to light several convictions of mine.

I will say it straightforward and bluntly:

I have been seeking satisfaction in worldly things. A more temporal viewpoint has replaced what should be striving to grow and gain from Jesus.

Material possessions, and more recently, positions, have been clouding my mind and hogging my focus. That new MacBook that I want to buy so badly, and the question of if I have a job or not have plagued me with anxiety and such dissatisfaction these past days.

I’ve been finding myself not spending time doing devotions, but instead wasting my time on things that are meaningless in comparison.

I am 100% guilty of spending more time on mobile devices than in God’s word by far.

The one blessing I’ve especially felt in this past week is Christian music. I am still immersed in Tenth Avenue North’s new album, and listening and worshipping to Christian music has been a positive and uplifting experience.

Still, I find myself painfully regretful of how I’ve lost my focus. In retrospect, this has been a trial and learning experience. This is said completely and honestly from experience: pursuing anything other than Jesus is unsatisfied.

Becoming obsessed with myself and worldy materials and events concerning me for the longest time has resulted in thorough unsatisfaction.

Looking back in particular, this past week, my eyes have been opened to so much I have mistakenly done.

Seeking satisfaction anywhere other than Jesus leads me to unhappiness and a permanent state of misery/dreariness.

Although mistakes have been made, God will work in me to help me to correct them.

Through my weakness, He is strong.

Today in church we broke into small groups and discussed different topics. My group’s topic was living beyond our emotions.

I feel as if this topic was given specifically to me for this current realization:

His grace is sufficient for me, and through my weakness He will help me to do better things.

The verse I just read in my devotions tonight goes like this:

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:1-2 (NIV)

I am blessed to have had this eye-opening reflection of this past week, and helpful realizations and scripture today to realize it.

It is with a cleaner conscience, a sense of peace, and a little more swing on my step that I press forward into the new week with God in me.

The Lord is the true source of satisfaction.

It is in Him that we will find hope, love, grace, mercy, and peace. I am praying that I will go about living and learning with a more heavenly perspective constantly in heart. Confessing my convictions is the first step to correctly prioritizing my life, and I hope to be held accountable to fully rearranging how I live.

I will stumble, and it won’t be easy. However, His grace and strength will give me strength.

Hallelujah, He works wonders.

Quote of the Week

This week the quote of the week is actually a rhetorical sort of question:

Why wish upon a star when you can pray to the one who created it?

I realize that many have not yet had the blessing of hearing the gospel and learning about Jesus, but to my fellow Christians and those who have heard the truth – think on that concept.

Here’s a very inspirational and insightful video journal by Mike Donehey, lead singer of Tenth Avenue North, on their new song Stars in the Night. I wrote a post on my amazing concert experience with them just last week! Click here to read it.

They’re one of my favorite music groups of all time, and Christian too.

It’s an awesome song, and I encourage you to go and listen to it!

Be encouraged, and know that God’s promises are kept and stars are beautiful reminders of His glory and grace.