Identity

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It’s easy to forget who we are in Jesus Christ, when we are overwhelmed by trials and people who hurt us. We are loved and special and set apart. We are justified and blameless and whole. We are alive and free and redeemed!

Jesus is the only one who your identity depends on. Your worth doesn’t come from you, nor does it come from what others think of you. Your worth comes from Christ alone- and no one can take that from you.

Write Your Story

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Lately, I’ve felt worn. Spiritually tired. Overwhelmed. Doubtful. Unsure. Confused. Those feelings were coursing through me until five minutes ago. I opened up my iTunes and listened to Francesca Battistelli’s “Write Your Story”. Such an appropriate song for this time in my life. It reminded me that He is my king and my hope. It reminded me that I am His. That my life isn’t mine to write. I am done with trying to write my life. I’m giving up and letting God write His story. I’m letting him take over, so that at the end I can show the world what He’s done in me. I’ll let him leave his mark in my life. I want my life to be all about Him.

But…

Trusting is scary. Giving up your life to someone else is not easy. You don’t know what that person is going to do with it. What if your life is completely turned around? What if you don’t know what to do? What if you’re uncomfortable with change? What if it’s hard? What if…

Good thing God knows what He’s doing, right?

Don’t be afraid. He’s with you every step of the way. Surrender. Give it all up. Let go. Let him work in you. Let Him make you his work of art. He is hope. He is safe.

Let God write his story.

But now, God ’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel: “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end— Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you. “So don’t be afraid: I’m with you.” (Isaiah 43:1-5 MSG)

Alabaster

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Do you have a favorite perfume? One that is so valuable that you’re very careful with it and you try to use as little as possible to make it last long? You wouldn’t dream of wasting it for no reason. You wouldn’t wear it to any party. You save it for the most special occasions, or when you’re looking to impress someone.

There was a woman who did that once. She saved her most precious perfume for the most important occasion. For the most important person.

Jesus.

“Jesus was at Bethany, a guest of Simon the Leper. While he was eating dinner, a woman came up carrying a bottle of very expensive perfume. Opening the bottle, she poured it on his head. Some of the guests became furious among themselves. ‘That’s criminal! A sheer waste! This perfume could have been sold for well over a year’s wages and handed out to the poor.’ They swelled up in anger, nearly bursting with indignation over her. But Jesus said, ‘Let her alone. Why are you giving her a hard time? She has just done something wonderfully significant for me. You will have the poor with you every day for the rest of your lives. Whenever you feel like it, you can do something for them. Not so with me. She did what she could when she could—she pre-anointed my body for burial. And you can be sure that wherever in the whole world the Message is preached, what she just did is going to be talked about admiringly.’ ”

(Mark 14:3-9 MSG)

That woman wasted the most precious thing she had for Jesus. That alabaster jar costed over a year’s wages. She wasted the most precious thing she had on Jesus.

Have you given your most valuable possessions to Jesus?

Your hopes.
Your dreams.
Your desires.
Your pain.
Your grief.
Your gifts and talents.
You.

Have you given your life to Him? Have you let him take your life and transform you? Have you done all you could?

Hand over your life to him. Give him your best worship. Give him all of you. Give him what you treasure. Give him your dreams. Your deepest desires. Give him your fragrant offering.

Give him your alabaster jar.

Who Could Love You?

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You are loved.

Maybe you don’t believe me because you’ve stopped believing in others.
Maybe your heart’s been broken too many times.
Maybe you live in a broken home.
Maybe your mother’s told you that you’re ugly.
Maybe you’ve lost all hope.
Maybe no one listens to you.
Maybe people have told you you’re useless and ugly and unlovable.
Maybe you feel like you’re not worth it.
Maybe you think you’re not worth loving.
Because you think you’ve sinned too much.
Because you think you’re not pretty enough.
Because you’re overweight.
Because he dumped you.
Because you’re bullied.
Because you’ve messed up.

Who could love you?

I’ll tell you.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
-John 3:16

About 2,000 years ago, a man named Jesus died on a cross for you and me. He died for you out of love. He didn’t have to do it. He chose to. Do you understand that? He chose to! He was beaten and bruised for you. He bled for you. He carried your guilt, your pain and shame and he put it on his shoulders so you could live.

He loves you with a love like no other. He loves you more than anyone ever could. He made you. The same Being that made the beautiful heavens and earth made the beautiful you. And you belong to him.

There is nothing you could do that could make him love you less. He loves you in every season of your life and He always will.

“‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the LORD, who has compassion on you.”
-Isaiah 54:10

Even when you’ve done the unthinkable. Even when you’ve made mistakes. Even when you’ve messed up.

You are precious and honored in God’s sight because He loves you.
You don’t have to try to be lovable.
You don’t have to do anything to be worthy of love.
You are lovable.

Your worth doesn’t come from you- your successes, your failures, the heads you turn and the heads you don’t turn when you walk by, your sin, your weight, your beauty- your worth comes from God. You’re worthy because of his love for you.

And no one can take that away from you.

Who could love you?

Jesus does.

over and underneath and inside and in between.

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Have you ever felt like you’ve gone too far? So far that you know you’re broken? So far that you know you need God, but don’t come back because you feel like you’ve crossed the line? Have you ever felt afraid to come close to Him because you believe he’ll turn his back on you? Ashamed of what you’ve become?

I have.

And guess what?

You’re never too far.

God’s love is bigger than your sin. God’s grace is greater than your sin. God’s forgiveness does not run out. His mercies are new every day.

He says, “My love is over, it’s underneath. It’s inside, it’s in between.”

His love is there in the times when you’re broken and think you’re beyond repair. He’s there when you think He’s not there. His love is there when you’re heartbroken. He is there when there’s chaos around you. He’s there when temptation wins. His love is there when you think grace has run out. He is there all the time.

He says, “My love is over, it’s underneath. It’s inside, it’s in between.”

Stop thinking that you’ve gone too far. You have not. Don’t be afraid to run back into God’s arms. He is not done forgiving. He knows your heart. He loves you.

His love is over and underneath and inside and in between.

His love is everywhere. Everywhere. Over and underneath your shame. Inside your sorrow. In between the pain. Over your guilt. Underneath your brokenness. Inside your doubt. In between your fear.

Over and underneath and inside and in between.

“Well, my love is over, it’s underneath. It’s inside, it’s in between.
The times that you’re healing and when your heart breaks, the times that you feel like you’ve fallen from grace. The times you’re hurting, the times that you heal, the times you go hungry and are tempted to steal.
In times of confusion, in chaos and pain, I’m there in your sorrow under the weight of your shame. I’m there through your heartache, I’m there in the storm. My love, I will keep you by my power alone. I don’t care where you’ve fallen or where you have been, I’ll never forsake you. My love never ends.
It never ends.”

[Tenth Avenue North, Times]

Sing In The Rain

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It’s raining right now where I am, and I was thinking about you. Yes, you. Maybe it’s not physically raining where you are, but maybe it’s raining in your life. Maybe you feel like there are many troubles aggravating you. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one recently. Maybe you’re going through a breakup. Maybe you’re not doing so well in college. Maybe a family member has been diagnosed with a disease. Maybe today just really sucks.

But…you’re alive. You are loved. God is taking care of you. He knows what’s best. Rest in the truth that you’re in your Savior’s hands. He makes ALL things work for good. Beauty comes after the pain. Don’t let the rain defeat you. Face your worries with a brave face. The sun comes out tomorrow, but until tomorrow gets here…sing in the rain! ☔️💕

A Fabulous Wardrobe

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I loooooooove clothes. Like, seriously. When I had a life [I’m a high school senior], I would watch Project Runway all day everyday. I mean, have you seen my Pinterest boards? I’m obsessed. I’ve been looking at Prom dresses since last year and I already know what dress I’m wearing at my wedding. And my best friend’s wedding. And my brother’s wedding. Thank you, Pinterest.

Dressing is important to us ladies. It’s important because the way we dress often gives people a glimpse of who we are. We dress modestly to show the people that we respect ourselves and take care of our image. We dress up in elegant clothes to show that we’re elegant. Appearance is important. I’m pretty sure your grandma or mom tells you that all the time. My brother, Diego, can tell you that. He loves to hang out in shorts all day. He hates wearing long pants and button-up shirts. Every Sunday -every Sunday- my mom gets mad at Diego because he insists on wearing shorts to church. And every Sunday, Diego has to change his outfit at least twice because my mom disapproves of it. Suppose you have a job interview. You wouldn’t meet your potential boss in jeans and a tank top, would you? Of course not! You’d try to look your best because you want to give a good impression. You want to demonstrate that you’d be a good employee.

I imagine [and I know] you are a gorgeous girl. I know you look gorgeous when you’re wearing the latest trends from Forever 21 [lucky you! There are no Forever 21s in Santo Domingo] or your favorite store [Mine’s ModCloth, which is not in Santo Domingo, either]. I’m sure you look stunning when you wear the perfect dress to the prom or homecoming.

God likes fashion, too. Just not the kind you’re thinking of.

Our good friend Paul [remember him from Act Like It?] wrote to the Colossians about acting like Christians. In Colossians 3:5-8, Paul tells the Colossians [and us!] how to do that. In Colossians 3:12, he tells us how to dress like Christians. Let’s see:

“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.” (Colossians 3:12-14 MSG)

Now that God has granted you a new life, a life that glorifies Him, you need to dress accordingly! Let’s check out the fabulous wardrobe God picked for us:

Compassion. Compassion is showing concern for others. Understanding their problems. Helping them in any way you can. Jesus was known for being compassionate. He never ignored anyone who sought him. And you shouldn’t, either! Help people in any way you can. Dress in compassion.

Kindness. Kindness and compassion go hand in hand. Be a friend to that girl that sits alone at the cafeteria. Help your younger siblings with their homework. Offer to make dinner one night. Help your dad wash the car. Tell someone they look beautiful. That little act of kindness can brighten up people’s day!

Humility. Being humble is something many of us [me included] struggle with. It’s okay to be proud of your accomplishments and of who you are. God doesn’t want us to think lowly of ourselves, but he doesn’t want us to let the compliments we get to go tour heads, either. Don’t seek glory for yourself. In all that you do, glorify God. He will reward your humility [Matthew 23:12].

Quiet strength. Gentleness. God wants you to be gentle. He wants you to have a mild temper and quiet behavior.

Discipline. God wants you to be disciplined. Patient. Obedient. He wants you to be respectful to everyone. Your teachers, your pastor, your parents, your sister, your friends, your worst enemy- all of them deserve your respect.

Love. God is love, right? He wants us to dress in that quality that will set us apart from everyone else. It’s our all-purpose garment. You know how they say every girl should have an LBD [little black dress]? Think of love as your LBD [a modest one 😉 ]. It’s essential. Without love we are nothing [1 Corinthians 13].

Your clothes are visible to everyone. This outfit God has given you should be too. The fact that Jesus is alive in you should be visible to everyone! The best part is that these clothes, unlike the ones you buy at stores, will never go out of style.

Now that you’re dressed in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, discipline, and love…honey, you’ve never looked better.

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