Monday, August 11, 2014

Joy Unspeakable

Yesterday I arrived back in Toronto, coming from the place I had called home for ten days - M'Chigeeng. During the ride back, I sat in the car thinking about all the happy moments, reliving all the memories that were fresh in my mind, and I smiled. I smiled because I remembered the joy, the joy that I got to share with the people that I met in the community during the week. 

I pulled out my journal, and these two words came to mind 'joy unspeakable'. I knew those words from a song: Thrive by Casting Crowns which says "Joy unspeakable, faith unsinkable, love unstoppable, anything is possible".

I knew that this song represented how I had felt up at M'Chigeeng. My joy had been unspeakable, my faith had been unsinkable, my love unstoppable, and I was reminded that anything is possible! The kind of joy experienced in the love of Jesus is unexplainable, the faith that God has taught me can never be weakened, and the love of Jesus will never end. God reminded me once again that anything is possible.

These ten days of my summer are always the best - I always say Day Star is the best part of my summer, and it really is! What made this year so great was a couple of things:
1. Jesus - he helped me to love more, and he made everything so amazing
2. Seeing the smiling faces of the children every day - I know I am making a difference by being a good role model and a good leader
3. For the chance to share with people the difference Jesus has made in my life - that he has surely given me a hope and a future
4. To be able to share with people how much Jesus loves them, and that nothing they do will stop him from loving them
5. I got to talk of my struggles, that I'm not perfect but God loves me enough to give me every chance in the world

It's hard to explain the joy that Jesus brings into my life, but I know I can share that joy with the people on M'Chigeeng, and that brings me joy. I rejoice in the the joy of others, knowing that God has given me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of kids through Day Star Day Camp. I know that God doesn't want me to stop loving the beautiful people of M'Chigeeng and there's no way I can stop loving them now. A little piece of my heart is left in M'Chigeeng, and until I can return I will pray for everyone there. I ask Jesus to teach me to love through prayer when I cannot possibly be there to love in person. The love of God is so far and so wide, and I know my prayers will be heard by God. God doesn't forget to love anyone, but sometimes people do need to be told how much he really does love them - and telling people that brings me joy!

God bless! :)

song reference: Thrive - Casting Crowns  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fasting Before the Struggle Gets Hard

Esther 4:16 "Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish."

This verse particularly spoke to me as I began to read through Esther a day or so ago. I'm working pretty hard now, getting tired, and soon I'll be away for 10 days serving God. It's pretty tiring between the stuff I've got to do for work, and the stuff I'm doing to prepare for the upcoming 10 days. I've got to admit, I have been struggling. Then recently I've had some disagreements with some people around me, people have been causing issues and its getting to me. But I've found comfort in reading Esther. 

Esther was a woman who was made Queen with a purpose, a purpose mandated by God. I know God has a plan for me, I know I'm going to be stretched more than I can bear, but with God, he'll get me through it. Reading Esther is teaching me to rely on God, that I should look to him before I make any decisions, but that before I do anything I should pray and fast, just as Esther did. So yes, I'm fasting and praying, and I've asked my parents to join me. 

Esther did what was right in God's eyes. And I am trying to do the same, I want my life to glorify him, and that includes my decisions even though things can be frustrating. Life may not be easy, and people will push your buttons, some people will even purposely try to start conflict to see how you'll react. Fasting is reminding me that I need to pray more often. I cannot serve God as a weak body, but I can serve him as a strong body. A body that has been faithful in action, and prayerful in thought. I am looking for God's guidance, and I know that if I ask him, and obey what he says, he will be faithful.

God bless! 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Body Image; the Image of God

Body image is a touchy subject for most girls, and even some guys. Its something that many of us struggle with at some point in our lives. It doesn't matter what size you are, the fact is that we see perfection in the media and we fool ourselves into thinking that beauty can be defined by our outer appearance. 

My body image used to affect me when I was in high school. Not only my weight, but my overall appearance, right down to my hair, teeth, and even the clothes I wore. Everything about myself bothered me, I wasn't comfortable in my own skin. I couldn't fake it, but I tried to change who I was. I tried to smile less, because I didn't like my teeth. I tried to exercise by playing tennis to loose weight, and I even tried to change my friend group in hopes that somehow I would feel prettier. 

Needless to say, it never worked. But, I am comfortable with who I am today. It began at the end of grade 11, during the summer. I began to serve God - I served God in a way I never had before, I served him without holding back; selflessly. In serving God and learning selflessness, God taught me my self worth. I remember looking back on that experience and telling my friends how I used to be self conscious with how I looked, but because of God I could now see how God had made me beautiful.  

It was that realization that God had created me to be beautiful, that really made me believe it. Because God created me there is no way I could be anything but beautiful! We are all created by God, who knows each of us inside and out. He loves us despite our faults and failures, and he gives us an amazing opportunity to enjoy life with him.

Genesis 1:27 says "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." The image of God is holy, beautiful, perfect and awe inspiring! We are made like God, and we can achieve amazing things when we trust in him!

I know that for some people, body image will always be a struggle, but just know that God created you to be a wonderful, smart, amazing, and beautiful human being! Its amazing to know that God created us in his image - a perfect, awe inspiring God would create beings that resemble his likeness. It think its pretty amazing!

What I'm really trying to say is this, body image isn't important. What is important, is what you do with that body. How you use it as an instrument, how you use it to work hard, how you use your body to love the people around you. That's what makes a difference. And as you love God, you'll learn to love the person he's created you to be.

God bless! :)

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Sometimes I can be too critical of myself and the things I do. I can look back at a moment and remember stumbling through something important and I feel the embarrassment all over again. Maybe it's just me, maybe its you too. I guess we all can be overcritical of the things we say, and the things we do, possibly the things we didn't do, didn't say. 

But one thing I do know, that God doesn't want us to be discouraged, he wants us to be encouraged! I don't think I encourage people as much as I should, but I know that when I am encouraged it builds me up, makes me stronger, it makes me believe in the things that I do and why I do them. Today someone made the comment to me "I wish I was doing as much as you do, when I was 20". I was a little surprised by the comment because in my mind I'm not doing enough. Sometimes I can't fulfil my expectations of myself. I want to do more with my life, be more adventurous, love Jesus and love people just a little bit more. 

So, I want to encourage you, whoever is reading this. You may never feel like you're doing enough good in this world, you may be discouraged, and people won't always encourage you. But I do know one thing, that when you follow God's will for your life, you are doing enough.

You are doing enough. You are enough. 

Sometimes I sit down and pray, or even think about the great things I'd like to do one day. They seem near but not near enough, my thoughts can be impatient. But God knows the perfect timing for each event to occur in our lives. Maybe its not today, maybe its not tomorrow, but God will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4). Sometimes following God's will for your life is waiting. In waiting he's preparing you - preparing you for what he will have you do in the future. 

This is something I've been struggling with. I want to do more than I am already doing because I don't see the results of my hard work. I've been discouraged. But now I have been encouraged! Your hard work will pay off, God promises his reward to those who are faithful to him (Colossians 3:23-24). 

God has also taught me something else. That in order for him to use my abilities, my skills, and even my passions, I must be reading his word - the Bible. Spending time with him. It's the Christian's instruction manual to living a God-praising life, a fulfilling life. This relates to the topic of encouragement so well. See, I was discouraged because I was not seeing the results of my hard work, and because I was not feeling strong and confident in what I was doing. And because I wasn't reading my Bible regularly (due to busyness), I wasn't being strengthened like I should have, which led me to believe my hard work for God was going nowhere. 

But now, I do read my Bible. Not always on a regular basis, but I'm working on it with God. And as a result of it, I am far more encouraged in all that I do. I believe that when I do things for God's glory, people can see that, they can tell, but I believe that they can also tell when I'm running on empty. I can't run on empty when it comes to serving God and spending time reading my Bible. Like I car can't go far with little gas, I can't go far with little time spent with God.

I think my point comes down to this quote I heard recently "spending time with God puts everything else into perspective". I have seen this to be true in my life. So, if your life isn't working out for you, if it isn't fulfilling - open up God's word, it will offer you so much more encouragement than the words of anyone else you hear. 

And thank you to the person who encouraged me today - it was much needed and much appreciated! :) 

God bless! 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Recently I've been discouraged. I would say it's gone on for approximately the past few months. Sure, we all get discouraged, but I've been discouraged about a few things combined together that just led to more discouragement. Some of these things were parts of my life I couldn't control, yet others were things I could. One thing I do know is that Jesus is always there for me and I should never ignore him. But I did. I set aside Jesus, and I hardly read my Bible, and seldom prayed for more than my food. I somehow convinced myself that reading my Bible wouldn't help my discouragement even though I knew deep down that wasn't true.

To be honest, I'm not really sure why all these factors were bothering me the way they were. In my heart I knew that God wanted me to read the Bible through this rough patch, but I chose to ignore that. All I know is that God is the one who I need for any situation. He is the one who can give me strength when I feel weak, build me up when I am knocked down, and encourage me when I am feeling discouraged. Sometimes when we feel that the factors around us are too strong for us to handle, we cave, we give in. We give in to feelings of doubt, denial and we believe these lies. Lies that we allow ourselves to believe because we have no answers, so we give ourselves to pity - I did that. 

I know that Jesus Christ has been my answer to every problem I've come across before. But I'm stubborn sometimes, I know that. I often look to myself for the answers that I know only God can give me. I admit that. And here is when the change begins. When we fail ourselves and we truly have no one left to go to then God is still waiting. He always has been and he always will be waiting for your call.

So, a couple weeks ago I began calling to God for help. I knew that my discouragement had gone too far. I knew that I hadn't read my Bible in what seemed like forever. So I asked God for strength, that he would begin to encourage me once again as I began to read the Bible, his word. God knows how to ease burdens like no one else can. Once you lean on him, you won't find anyone better.

Since I began seeking God's guidance once again, I feel more peace and fulfilment in place of my helpless discouragement. I know that things don't always go my way, but no matter what I've got a God that will stand by me through rain or storm, even in the good times, God stands by me. He stands by us all. I began praying again too. It felt refreshing - prayer and God's word go beautifully together. I cannot pray unless I've read God's word, and I cannot read God's word without prayer. 

So, no matter what life throws my way or yours, I want to encourage you. If you already believe in Jesus Christ, lean on him no matter what, he will be your strength! If you are doubting God right now, open the Bible and take a read. God's word speaks truth to those who read it. Recently I've been reading James and 1 & 2 Thessalonians. And I highly recommend taking a look at James chapter 1 and 2 as well as all of 1 & 2 Thessalonians. 

Romans 12:12 says "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." This verse sums up what I'm trying to say through this post. God is my comforter and he will be yours too, if you trust in him. 

God bless! 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Faith > Sight

I read 2 Corinthians 5:7 today, "for we walk by faith, not by sight" and it occurred to me that I had never really understood what it meant until now. I had never given this verse much thought but I'd always brushed it off as something that I figured I already understood. Walking by faith and not by sight' is so much more than just looking to God when things are going wrong, or asking God for some guidance here and there. Faith is often defined in the Bible as something that means obedient trust, or it can mean belief. In Hebrew the word used for faith is translated to meaning 'trust' - as in trusting God's promises.

It occurred to me tonight that walking by faith is has so much more to do with trust than I had realized. Walking by sight is trusting what you see to be true, but walking by faith is trusting God to determine if what you see is really true. So many of us don't practice walking by faith often enough, including myself. 

When you think about it faith it often comes with close relationships - relationships with friends, relationships with family, and relationships with other people that you are close with. We trust the people that we spend time with generally, and its the same with God. He wants us to have faith in Him and the only way that we can have faith in Him is through a relationship with him. The kind of relationship where you talk to Him and spend time with Him on a daily basis. If you never spent time with your close friend, would you trust them? Probably not. 

Trusting in faith is so much better than trusting in what you can see. How many times have you read something wrong? I know I have many times. Our eyes can often see things wrong, but God can help us see clearly. Faith in God clears our thoughts, He will help us understand things which we cannot comprehend. He can teach us so much more than we could ever know without Him. Faith in God is what will sustain you - it will be your anchor when life gets tough, literally holding your down in rough storms. Faith is knowing that God has a perfect plan, that he has worked everything out for your good in the end. 

I know for sure that God wants your heart - a heart that is devoted to his love. If you have a little faith and trust in Him, He will multiply that faith. I know from personal experience that God has never failed me when I put a little faith in Him - he has always used my faith to show me amazing things that give me even more reason to put my faith in Him. You can but your faith in knowledge, in beauty, even in friends, but no one will ever show you how to see - really see - why things happen in the ways that they do. But God can. 

Hebrews 12:2 says "We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Then he received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God." This verse is an example of the type of faith that God wants to give us - a faith that sees the joy beyond the pain. Our eyes may see pain, but our faith will show us that there's something better beyond that. 

God bless! 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

It's about Him

Tonight I opened my Bible (this particular time I was reading the Message) to Matthew 6 and I read verses 19-34. The section is titled "A Life of God-Worship".

Sometimes I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere, and I can get discouraged; when I think like this I'm missing the point - it's not about me, its about Him! I've been discouraged lately, it's been a lot of things really, but we all have our times when we feel like this. Sometimes I just sit there, feeling pity for myself, my situation, moping in my discouragement. But that's not what God wants us to do when we feel discouraged! He wants us to rely on Him, to look to Him for our satisfaction, our meaning, our encouragement. 

Matthew 6:19-34 talks about looking to God at all times, because he cares for us, if we look around to the things that take us away from spending time with God, we get distracted. We can easily forget how much God cares for us. When you focus on God, it allows you to truly forget the things that are bothering you. It's like getting a lollipop in exchange for $1, before you bought the lollipop you were burning with the desire to spend it on anything, but now that you have it, you are completely satisfied and you are enjoying that treat without a care in the world. God is like that, he wants us to enjoy him and to focus on him. Matthew 6:34 says "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." I really like the way this verse is worded in the Message, it really speaks to how I'm feeling right now. This verse reminds me that God's got everything in control, my life may feel in limbo, but I know that God's got some good stuff planned for me real soon. 

I've also learned that doing what God asks you isn't always easy, or fun. But its about serving God with to the best of your ability. Serving God is about giving up your time, making a sacrifice to do what God is asking you. But when you follow God, and look toward him you will be blessed - and maybe you'll need some extra encouragement, but God's got that waiting for you in the Bible. 

Sometimes life leaves me feeling down, but I know that as long as I am following God, I know that I am, where God wants me. I may not enjoy the confusion or discouragement, but in this time I can only look to God who will give me the guidance I am looking for. I look to Him through his word, I open my Bible and read; and God never fails to speak to me. 

It's not about what I'm doing, its about what God's doing. God bless!