With all that is going on in the world it is so easy to become inflicted with fear and worry. I will be open and honest that anxiety gripped me while I was in the store one night. I viewed the empty aisles and fear seeped into my soul. As I felt my heart racing, I was reminded that God does not give the spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). He is in control!
I want to encourage us all that what’s happening in the world is not a shock to the creator. Though we may not understand completely, God will see us through. Let’s take some time out to re-center our minds on the Lord’s promises.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
1 Peter 5:7
“Cast all your anxiety on Him, because he cares for you.”
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
“The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The definition of dating can be defined various ways which is dependent upon each individual. For most, it is enjoying the company of an individual that you are interested in knowing in a deeper level. That can include dinner dates, painting, visiting a nice museum or art gallery, but that list can go on and on.
However, when you are dating as a Christian, there are different standards that one should consider. Below you will find a list of tips for dating as a Christian.
1. Boundaries- As a devote Christian, the word teaches us to flee temptation. We all know that if you play with fire you will get burned. So as you are dating, it is important to put up strict boundaries so that you two will not fall into temptation. These limitations can consist of: inviting a third party along for your dates, hanging out in public vs. home, church hugs (side hugs).
2. Purpose- Dating as a Christian is intentional therefore, most call it courtship. When you are dating/courting you should have an end goal of marriage. If either party is not ready for marriage then it’s best to remain friends.
3. God- God is at the center of your relationship. You both should be pushing one another toward Christ and not away from Him.
4. Family & friends- Family and friends involvement is vital when dating because individuals act differently in certain environments. It is good to see how your significant other behaves around others. Also, it is important to gain insight about your partner from family and friends. Sometimes they can see something, from the outside looking in, that you may have overlooked (whether positive or negative)
5. Wise counsel- Seeking wise counsel like pre-marital counseling opens a level of communication and challenges your thought process on this journey towards marriage. Thought provoking questions and discussions can give insight into one another and can help your future marriage be successful.
6. Emotion control- As you’re dating it is important to keep your emotions under control and really understand your partner. At times, we can allow our vision to get cloudy but it is important to have a clear outlook on the individual that you’re dating. This also ties into number one, boundaries. When physical lines are crossed people typically begin to excuse or justify negative behaviors. Without physical contact (aside from hugs, holding hands) you are able to view the individuals actions sharply.
You know that saying “Your true friends you can count on one hand”, has began to ring clear, the older I get. I’ve come to the realization that you have to compartmentalize the people in your life. Everyone is not qualified to know your deepest thoughts, battles, weaknesses, and strengths. Only those individuals that are truly for you deserve to know you at a profound level.
We all have varying relationship levels based on situations. For example, coworkers, church friends, family, gym friends, brunch group, networking bunch and the list goes on. The conversations that you have with your best friend, may be totally different than those with your co-workers.
Your inner circle or, “tribe”, should consist of people that help you to become better. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17). You and your closest friends help each other to grow. There’s only room for constructive criticism and no judgement. You feel safe exposing yourself because you know that this individual has your back. That’s your tribe.
Below you’ll find a quick list on ways to identify your true tribe!
1. You can discuss your battles in confidence, without the information being thrown back at you and vice versa.
2. Your friend lovingly corrects you when you are wrong. (Vice versa)
3. Your information is safe and does not get spread to outsiders. (Vice versa)
4. If you set a goal, your friend helps to hold you accountable. (Vice versa)
5. Forgives and communicates any issues with you, directly to you. (Vice versa)
6. Loves you no matter what. (Vice versa)
If you find that your close friends lack some of the traits above, I encourage you to have a conversation disclosing your feelings. Hopefully, there will be a positive progress towards strengthening of the friendship. If not, then use the tips above to find the right tribe.
The entire world was rattled, with the breaking news of the passing of Kobe Bryant, and eight other individuals on a helicopter ride. It is in these moments we are reminded that life is precious and to enjoy the moments that you have with one another. I pray for all of the families affected by this tragedy.
Losing a person you love and care about is extremely difficult. Although, grief is a part of life, there is nothing that anyone can do to stop the hurting you feel. Yet, there are steps one can take to aid in the healing process. Below you will find steps to help deal with your broken heart.
Talk to someone- Talking to your loved ones can aid in the healing process. Yet, I also recommend that you to speak with a therapist and/or join support groups. Similar to you going to the doctor when you have a physical ailment, you can speak with a therapist for your emotional health.
Grieve- Deal with the grief. There are seven stages of grief: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing, and acceptance. The length of time spent at each stage varies from person which is okay. Everyone processes events on their own time. Go through the emotions at your pace.
Pray- The bible says that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18 NIV. Vent to God about your issues he will give you comfort that you are needing during this difficult time.
Be patient with yourself- You may not be over this in a month or year. Be patient with yourself, this may take some time.
Acceptance- Once you’ve gone through the first six stages of grief mentioned above (#2), you will reach acceptance. Acceptance is when you have come to the conclusion that the situation occurred and now you are willing to create necessary adjustments and embrace the change. Your life may look different than you have planned but it can still be a joyful and good life!
Reminders for yourself during this difficult season:
Remember when you were child and were carefree? You enjoyed playing with dolls/toy trucks, riding your bike, skating in the street, and had to be in before a certain time lol. You had joyful attitude and were friendly to many. How you looked to an outsider was not important and you stayed in your own little world.
Then puberty hit and that is when views of the world typically start impacting your personal outlook and character. You gain concern about the clothes you wear, hairstyle, body shape etc. and suddenly the judgement from individuals, distort your self image. Your personality shaped to being nice in hopes to gain many friends or mean because of the hate and slander. Throughout middle and high school, you care about having the designer brands, body imperfections, character traits for popularity purposes.
College age through twenties, the years of “finding yourself” arise, and realize that you are trying to, undo the negative thought patterns that you gained. (If you are younger I challenge you to reject the judgement now) Have you ever thought about the reason behind your alleged flaws? Who planted in your spirit that you were too skinny or curvy? Who said you were overly dramatic? Who pointed out that very part on your body or character trait, that you now dislike?
This is what I call the, “Side Effects of Judgment”. Gaining weight because people think you’re too skinny or losing weight due to people feeling like you are too fat (unless doctor recommended) Plastic surgery because others feel your butt, boobs, nose are too small. Calming your personality down because people think you are too goofy/nice. Being mean and having a cold heart towards people because others hurt you. The list can go on but my question to you is, who were you before judgement and experiences of life, came upon you?
Life can change you, however, we have to recognize the cause of the change and understand that some alterations are not good for us. Many adjustments we make or the way we act towards people are caused by the trauma we have received from others. So I challenge everyone to analyze your life and heal. Try to understand the, WHY, in what you do. Are you changing this facet of your life based on the, side effects of judgement?
How to heal and recognize the, WHY:
Get a journal.
Write down what you dislike about yourself.
Recall the earliest memory of someone pointing out that flaw/being rude. Write it down
Write down how it made you feel and why
Now you recognize the, WHY, it is time to undo the thought pattern
Write down affirmations on how you are beautiful/handsome, the way you were made. Repeat this every time that negative thought comes into your mind, and until you truly believe it!
Remember, the world does not define you and we were all made in our own uniqueness. One of a kind! “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” -Psalm 139:13-14
It has been while since I posted a blog! Life has been busy but I will try to do better with posting consistently. Most importantly my site has a new name! Formally, Sit by the Sea, has changed to, Conversations by the C. Yes, I am super excited about the change, but do not fret, the purpose of my blog remains the same. The mission is to bring inspiration, motivation, and encouragement into your soul. You can read more about the name change here.
If you have not already done so, subscribe to the blog so you can be notified when a new gem (post) drops on the site. Also, feel free to check out my past posts for some INSPO, MOTO, and ENCO ( inspiration, motivation, and encouragement ). Remember, we are all in this journey together.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). When you extend your faith you are believing that certain events will transpire, despite, what you see. For example, job promotion, healing, or new car etc. At times, faith, begins to subside during the, “between stage”. The between stage, is when you are waiting to get from point A to B. You want that job promotion and you killed the interview, but, the company decided to go with someone else. Therefore, you remain at point A and discouragement sets in because you know it is time for you to move to higher levels. During this middle phase, is when your faith gets truly tested but do not lose hope!
Lets look at biblical stories where faith is tested:
-Sarah could not bear children, but was told that she would conceive a child, during old age. It took faith to believe that she would have a baby in her nineties. (Genesis)
Abraham- He had to offer up his son, as a sacrifice, as a test of his faith. (Genesis)
Noah- The world had become so evil so the Lord told Noah to build an Ark with two of every animal and only his wife, sons, and daughter in laws, would be saved. Noah had faith and did everything that the Lord commanded. (Genesis)
Joseph and Mary- Mary a virgin, pregnant with child. The lord told Joseph that Mary bore Christ and gave instructions on what to do after Jesus was born. Joseph and Mary followed what the Lord said. (Mathew)
Moses- He delivered thousands from Egypt and traveled to the promise land. Moses took heed to the steps that the Lord spoke. (Exodus)
Woman with the issue of blood- She had been bleeding for 12 years but her faith made her whole, by touching the hem of Jesus’s garment. (Mathew)
Job- The Lord allowed Satan, access to Job. Job lost everything but he still had reverence and served God.
Regardless of the time frame or emotional turbulence that possibly ensued, the word of the Lord came to fruition. I am sure there was doubt that arose, during the waiting period. Yet, If HE said it, it will come to pass!
You may be in a season where your faith is being tested. You are waiting for that promise to come, but you are getting tired. I just want to encourage and remind you that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forevermore-Hebrew 13:8. Just like the promises manifested in the stories above, YOURS, is on the way.
I challenge you to read Hebrews 11 and analyze, how faith, orchestrated the lives of many.
Apply the verses from the bible over your life:
-By faith I can trust God
-By faith I understand that the world was framed by God
-By faith I can be confident with gods promises despite circumstances or consequences
-By faith I will run with endurance the race that is set before me by looking unto Jesus
-By faith I am healed
If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there and it will move”- Mathew 17:20
We walk by faith and not by sight.- 2 Corinthian 5:7
One of the most anticipated times of the year is, Christmas. The season of giving, joy and spending time with your family. It just makes individuals feel so loving and warm inside. However, that is not the case for everyone.
There are some people who dread this occasion for various reasons:
-Some individuals may be away from their family and are experiencing loneliness.
-This time of year allows one to reflect over the year and be reminded of the negative events that transpired. For example, a called off engagement, break up, loss of job, or something else.
-Buying gifts, can cause the serious “buh humbug” feeling. People feel like they let others down because they cannot purchase presents, due to their finances.
Whatever the case may be, we have to be sensitive to the fact that everyone does not have the same feelings regarding holidays.
If you happen to be the individual that is having a rough time during this Christmas, I want to encourage you to find the joy within it.
If you are away from your family, try surrounding yourself with friends. Hang out with their family for the holidays. Of course there is nothing like being around your own loved ones, but it can sure lighten your mood.
Indulge in something you enjoy. Finish that book, take that class you wanted, or volunteer at a local shelter…etc.
In continuation from number two, give to others. Contributing to another persons life can definitely transfer you energy from gloom to joy. There is something about pouring into others that just will heighten your day.
Most importantly, focus on Christ. He is the only one that can fill your voids.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
“Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” Mathew 5:4
“Come to me, all you who labor and are heaven laden, and I will give you rest.” Mathew 11:28
“The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4
I hope the tips above bring you immediate comfort during this time. Remember, we are all in this journey together!
I just want you to know, HANG ON. I understand that times can be difficult, and you feel like giving up. However, hold on tight! Life is similar to a rollercoaster and there will be highs, lows, turns and twists. Yet, when the hard situations arise, do not lose hope and faith.
You may never understand why certain trials are tossed your way, but you can persevere. James 1:2-4 states, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Through it all, you will overcome and be better than you were before.
So, I encourage you to push beyond your circumstance. Continue to depend on God and know that he truly cares for you. You will come out of this season stronger than ever and will not be defeated. GOD’S GOT YOU!
I stated in my previous blog, Israel Trip (part 1), that this gem will show adventures that transpired over my 10 day trip. It was difficult to choose highlights out of the hundreds of pictures and memories that I have. Please note, that this is not nearly, all of the places I visited. I literally only touch the surface with how impactful Israel is and the many destinations and history that is within the country. However, to keep this blog at a decent length, I was able to narrow it down to the top features, I know you wanted to see. You will be going on a journey viewing Israel, through my lens. I hope you enjoy!
FYI: Explanations are under the pictures 🙂
Capharnaum, the hometown of Jesus. We visited his home that he lived in during his central Galilean Ministry.
We were able to view the tombs where Jesus was “possibly” buried in. Many scholars believe this particular image is where he was buried because the bible says, “As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side and they were alarmed” -Mark 16. The way tombs were made during that era, you would walk in and the body would be laying right in front of you. However, in this situation, you had to turn to the right just as it stated in the bible. HE IS NOT DEAD, FOR HE IS RISEN!
This is another “possible” tomb that Jesus’s body was laid in. This particular burial site was cut out of the mountain side and placed inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, for viewing. The line to examine the inside, would have been a 2 hour wait.
Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, this particular site is the traditional place where the cross was placed as Jesus was crucified.
Baptism sites on the Jordan River. This was not the actual place where Jesus was baptized because it is no longer conducive for individuals to be in. However, we all got the opportunity to be baptized in the Jordan River just as he was.
The Mount of Beatitudes, is a hill in Israel where Jesus is believed to have delivered the sermon ( Mathew 5-7 and Luke 6). It is accepted that Jesus was standing at the bottom of the hill and the spectators sitting where I am in the picture. Now the question is, how did the thousands of individuals hear his voice? At a certain point in the day, the winds would blow which would carry Jesus’s voice to the top of the hill. Pretty amazing, right?
Cruised the Sea of Galilea, which was a beautiful site. We had a moment of quiet time with various worship songs playing in the background. This was actually day 3 of our journey and was extremely endearing. During this reflections time, I felt like I was finally able to take everything in. With our day starting at 6am and ending around 9/10pm, it was nice to just silence your mind and evaluate this once in a lifetime experience. I was reminded of Peter having to trust God, and walk on the water to him. Once he began doubting, he started to sink. As I was reminiscing on that verse, I could sense God saying, “Just as Peter had faith, I want you to continue to trust that I have your life in control.” WOW! Amen God!
We explored the port where Jonah fled from God.
This is the place where Peter restored the life of Tabitha and stayed with Simon the Tanner
Mt. Precipice the site where Jesus was rejected which was described in Luke 4:29-30. The people of Nazareth did not accept Jesus as the Messiah. Therefore they tried to push him off the mountain side. However, “he passed through the midst of them and went away”.
Garden of Gethsemane, the place where Jesus wept as his disciples slept. Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” ….”My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” “My father if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me, Yet as I will, but as you will” Then he returned to see the disciples and found them sleeping. ” Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” Mathew 26:36-46.
Tabgha, the site of Peter’s Primacy (John Chapter 21) Multiplication of Loaves and Fish and the calling of the disciples.
Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, is the most holy place accessible to the Jewish people because of the Muslim control of the Temple Mount. The plaza is was created as an area for prayer in which thousands of people gather. Many write their prayers on a piece of paper and leave it in the cracks of the wall.
Just floating around in the Dead Sea
Valley of Communities, living memorial to the Holocaust. We were all deeply moved as our tour guide shared personal stories of what his family members suffered through during this traumatic time. We also toured the Historical museum, The Children’s Memorial, and The Hall of remembrance. Our history books only grasp the surface of this horrific event. Let us always shine light and remember the Holocaust.
Golan Heights, rocky plateau that straddles the border of Syria and Israel.
We went to the Gaza Border and the neighborhoods surrounding. The houses are required to be built with bomb shelters. The dragon that you see in the picture is actually a bomb shelter, on a local playground. Teachers educate children, as little as 3, with a song that describes what to do before and after they hear a siren. The lyrics, “Shake, shake, shake”, stood out to me most. The song tells the kids to shake because they have to check if they are missing any limbs. If so, the blood will scatter all over. Therefore, they can quickly get help from bystanders. It is definitely disturbing to hear about the beautiful individuals that have to endure these terrible events. Let’s continue to pray for Israel.
Standing on Mt. Olives viewing the Temple Mount.
Peace to the Middle East.
You made it through the brief voyage. Thanks for coming along! Have you ever been to Israel? Leave comments below and tell me what you think! Remember, we are in this journey together!