So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 1 Timothy 1:7 (esv)

Sometimes the future can be a very scary thing. Actually all too often. When I can't see what's ahead, it's so much easier to be scared of the uncertain instead of surrender up every moment to God and trust He has a plan.

I also admit that I care about what others say and think of me far too much. Fear of doing something socially "unacceptable" can be crippling.

And then there's the fear that there's no way this season will ever end, that I'm always going to be the same person and God's never going to be able to use me.

But fear is just a lie.

I heard a commentary on Tenth Avenue North's song "Strong Enough to Save" by lead singer Mike Donehey on this very line of their song. I strongly encourage you to give the video to the right, and their song, a listen ;)

Basically Mike explains that we can believe on of two people. Satan, the father of lies, or God, who has no darkness in Him at all and speaks only the truth. And loves us.

Fear is the result of believing lies, and vice-versa. If you believe the lies that you're no good or that things can never change, you will live in continual fear that
they won't.

Belief in the truth however, sets you free. John 8:32

The steps ahead of me are hidden right now, and I'm afraid of how difficult they will be.

But that changes today. For God has not given me a spirit of fear, but I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

The only way to overcome fear is to trust that He is indeed strong enough to save us and help us overcome everything obstacle, in our heart or our path.

I know it will be hard. I know I'll fail at some point. I'm going to do my best to trust Him with my every moment.

So here's to bittersweet surrender, I'm giving it all to you God. I know it will be worth it. <3

I encourage you guys to believe God for His victory over whatever you may be facing along with me. :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

When He saw the crowds He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36

I'm sitting here on the floor of my bedroom at 11:58 at night because I have not posted on here in far too long. I've missed so many good things that God has told me that I could have written! I'm not even sure where to begin.

But, I was praying for clarity and His words on this post and I thinkknow I'm supposed to write about love.

The verse at the top there was from my quiet time tonight. It's so powerful and full of love. Christ's love. Just read it a couple of times and let the truth sink in. Jesus has been followed around by crowds for, from what I gather, like all of chapter 9. In my Bible, four of the six sections of this chapter begin with someone approaching Jesus. He had every right to just say "I need some space." And leave them.

But He stayed.

He had compassion on them.

Every single one of us is lost, misguided by the world, harassed by the troubles we face and helpless to face them on our own. But He is never too busy or too tired to help us. In fact, He never gets tired.

Praise to the God who always loves us, always rescues us, and is always there. Hosanna! He is our Shepherd. <3

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A man came and knelt before Him and said, "Lord, if You are willing, You will make me clean. Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," He said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Matthew 8:2-3

I was read this Sunday night while in possibly one of the worst moods of the century. You know, one of those moods where you don't even want to be cheered up and you'd rather just have a pity party? Yep. That was me. I shamefully admit it. I had been working all weekend and hadn't a single second to just breath in what seemed an eternity. Emotionally drained, I fell on my face before God.

And cried.

I am so thankful God is always there to hold us and listen to incessant whining, and then lift up our face to show us true life. His love is so amazing.

Feeling a little bit better, I flipped my Bible open to the next section of Matthew that I was supposed to read. (I've been reading through verse by verse, trying to fully grasp the significance of each one. And lemme just say, God is so amazing to teach when we set aside time to listen and take each verse as a jewel.) I looked down at the page. A four verse section on "Jesus heals a man with leprosy". I wasn't like sold with the title or anything, but it's God's word. Always powerful. Why do I ever doubt that?

I read the verses. And was immediately captivated. This man had the faith that Jesus could heal him, and asked. And Jesus did not judge, or push him away, but immediately proclaimed He was willing, reached out His hand and HEALED him.

I stand in awe of the fact that Jesus is always our rescuer, always willing, and ALWAYS reaches out His hand.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23

For me, this has always been one of those verses with a mysterious meaning. Of course it makes sense to take care of your heart, but it's also always seemed kind of counterproductive to living a life of openness with other people. God has been revealing its true meaning to me over the last year/couple months, and another piece of the puzzle fell into place today.

I was reading today in Matthew chapter 7 where Jesus says "By their fruit you will recognize them." (7:16&20) It got me thinking about how your heart, like Proverbs says, is the source of all of our emotions and thoughts. Your heart reflects who you truly are. A selfish heart? Words that hurt others instead of build them up. But a pure heart? Pure thoughts that can focus on God. A loving heart? Love will be woven into all that you do. The only way to truly glorify God is to love and obey His commandments; to be who He has called us to be. This verse isn't a calling for secrecy, it's a calling to guard your heart against any evil that would hinder your ability to live for Him. That way, you can love others and glorify God.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. Psalm 39:4

So this isn't from Matthew, but I stumbled upon it the other day and thought it was a really good verse. Between school work, a social life, and spending time with my family, my days have been flying by. It's so easy to get caught up in the moment and forget what truly matters. It's coming to my attention more and more that I need to be a better steward of the time God has given me. If I'm too busy or constantly running from place to place, it becomes far too easy to get caught up in the moment and miss His voice throughout the day. My pastor often says that time alone with God fuels passion and clarity, but business destroys both. Keeping each day with an eternal perspective in mind definitely helps with prioritizing. Let's keep that at the top of our to-do lists :)


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

finally back!

Shew! Only four days away from writing and I missed it so much! I haven't even made time to post Bible verses. :(

Speaking of which... I think I'm going to start pulling a verse from my daily Bible study for y'all. A) It will keep me accountable to my devotions (can't be posting my words on here, I want them to be God's) and B) it will just be kind of fun to share what I'm thinking/reading about on a day to day basis. :D

Life has been crazy these last couple of days. Cake baking, working like a maniac, and job interviews. God has been so good to me. I feel the need to go into detail about Thursday because it was probably one of the most divinely appointed days I have ever lived.

So I woke up late. Like always. I think one of my New Year's resolutions was going to maybe be "be more on time" but I might have put it off long enough that it's not really a resolution at all. I will be on time. One day. As I run out the door, I grab the first pair of tennis shoes that appear to be my own. (This will prove important momentarily.)

I get to class and was blessed to get out early. Suhweet more time to get stuff done! Torn between reading my Bible and going to the gym, God finally convinced me that reading my Bible then working out would be the best idea. God always amazes me with how close He will draw near when I simply and clearly devote my mind and time to Him. That was an amazing thirty minutes of scripture reading and prayer. Close to God and ready to work out, I walk across the street from school to the gym. 

Okay, workout mode. So ready. Going running... music on, headphones in, WAIT A MINUTE! These are not my shoes...

As I reach into my backpack and pull out my workout clothes, I realize that one of the shoes was mine, and one was my sister’s. She is seven years younger than me. Her feet are smaller. Her shoes do not fit my feet. Well, scratch that. Ain't working out today. I was pretty disappointed. But, I decided it would be alright, I'd just go study at a nearby coffee shop. By now it's around 11:15. I get there, open up my online biology homework that I thought for sure was due at midnight. Oh no. It's due at noon. Blessing again. I finished in time to submit it at 100% completion. Had I not forgotten my shoes, I would have gotten a zero. Praise God!

Okay so I have thirty minutes til bio… I pull out my statistics syllabus, only to realize I have a test at two o'clock. To be honest, I hadn't been to stats class in at least a week. (I have since resolved and have employed the help of a friend to MAKE me go. No more skipping.) Guess I will be skipping biology class to study for statistics... Luckily, actually by the grace of God our teacher allows us cheat sheets for our tests. I covered every square inch of that paper with notes. And once again, such a blessing, I bot a B!

With an hour to spare, I got to write last Thursday's post. Yay writing! And, looking up, I noticed a girl that looked strikingly familiar to me. Which reminded me to pray for her and prompted me to text this "long-lost" acquaintance. (I had coffee with her today. It was great! And I’m still praying for God to move in her life.)

A couple hours later, and I'm at home making a cake for a not-so-little friend of mine who was turning twelve. Cake=happiness. Need I say more? ;) To add to my "sweet" afternoon (tehe, pun) I got not one, but TWO calls from the bank for interviews as a teller. I have been praying about a new job now for quite some time, torn between the restaurant I’ve worked at for the last 2 ½ years and moving on. (I've had both the interviews now, and I think they went pretty well! Now just continuing to pray for God's guidance of my steps and His perfect will to be carried out in my life.) And to top it all off, I got to spend Thursday night at my wonderful wonderful college group, ucf! :D

I say all that to say that even in my busy day, and despite my forgetful million-mile-a-minute mind, God was able to show me His control and ability to hold everything together. How else could all that worked out so well??

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

And Wednesday. I really ought to stop staying up so late ;)

-Amber <3

Thursday, February 2, 2012

For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
Romans 7:5-6

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

an open heart

Happy two-week-a-versary to the blog! When I started this, I didn't have much of a clue what it was really going to look like. I had dreams for it of course, wanted to post a lot of cake decorating stuff and Bible verses, but beyond that, I just had a lot of ideas floating around in my head.

Two weeks later and God has given such a purpose that I can hardly contain my excitement.

A couple days ago I was chatting with my wonderful mother about a post she had read on Vicki Courtney's blog. She writes an amazing, real life, God-centered blog and I completely got sucked in looking for this particular post yesterday. Anyway, she worded, so perfectly, this quote:
“I have often stated that I’m not a fan of the “pretender game.” I played the game early on in my Christian walk and learned the art of painting a fake smile on my face even if my life was unraveling at the seams. It’s a miserable game to play and I gave it up years ago, opting instead for honesty and authenticity.” (source:
It hit me... ever so slowly. But the more I read it, the more I like it. How very often we put on that smile and think we have to act strong as Christians. I know I'm a pro at it. But that's not what we are called to! Christ's strength is perfected in our weakness, hallelujah! :D (2 Cor. 12:9)

So I'm taking a little bit of new direction, or rather, attempting answer God's call on my life to openness. I'm gonna pour my heart on here, Bible verses, stories.... and still some cakes of course. ;) but my commitment is to avoid that oh-so-ugly monster of self-centeredness, and fight the tempation to make it seem like I have it all together all the time, and just be me. Exactly how He made me.

“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” Matthew 6:1

After all, it is all for His glory. :)

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4