Stuck in a Fairytale

Sometimes, when life get to us, we can feel lost. We feel lost until the next church service. Then it all comes back to us – just to lose ourselves again. Have you ever heard the metaphor of “getting lost in a book”? Where you read a book that so good you just can’t put it down? Living the life of an Apostolic Girl can be like that.

You see your friends out going to parties and it looks like they’re having so much fun. You see other teenage girls with boyfriends. You look at someone’s swim suit post and at how many likes they get. You start to get lost in this lie social media tells of how great their lives are. Until… you learn that teenage girl got pregnant. That boy from your High School overdosed. Their mom committed suicide. These things are real. Instagram is not.

It’s easy to get lost in a fantasy world. People can take one look at your life on instagram and call it perfect, but you have to see what’s behind the filter. It’s hard to not get lost in a perfect world. People get jealous and they want what they’ve been told that they can’t have. Being an Apostolic might mean you have to sacrifice some things. But it is all in God’s plan. Just imagine all the horrible things God has saved you from! You do not have to feel lost, because all you have to do is pray and give your baggage to Him. And, He can do it over and over again.

The Bible says “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1

This is something that we need to think about. God wants us to have faith in his works. He needs us to have faith in Him and understand why He leads us away from the temptations of this world. You are never too lost to be found.

chelsea blogger

T-Shirts, Tacos and Other Matters of the Heart

At thirteen years old, I remember sitting in my first youth group session. Our youth leader drilled into us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9) I said, “okay,” and successfully for the last ten years I’ve steered clear of the Target t-shirt aisle blaring declarations of, “follow your heart.” I never once bought a journal or wall decor with anything that read such condemning words. I would never say them verbatim to a friend. No matter the circumstance, I’ve always known better than to promote following the thing that was so deceitfully wicked.

But for the first time in those ten years I’m realizing that despite my bold protest, I’m not sure I wholly knew what that sentiment meant. I mean, maybe in the big ways I did; I certainly never pursued my childhood dream of becoming a rockstar (although as a teacher, I still think I fit the rockstar description), but in the small day-to-days, I have found myself making decisions based off of how I felt. With every decision comes a consequence, and it took a few hurtful consequences for me to realize that emotionally charged direction is exactly the same thing as following one’s heart.

So, in our perseverance to become women of God, let’s take a moment to understand what following your heart truly means:

First, the sentiment: follow your heart. This idea means that your own internal sense of ”knowing” is something worth following. Your own experience can guide you to the brightest of futures and that as long as you have the courage to pursue it, true happiness will follow! Very Disney-esque, amiright? While this notion is somewhat empowering, it’s fallacy is in the idea that we — our human nature — could create the best life for ourselves! This is Biblically wrong because we know that only God is omniscient and has a perfect will for our lives; I could never make a more perfect plan for my life than Him! And frankly, it takes a large portion of pride to believe that I could. Following your heart denies logic and faith in God, but instead grants approval and direction to that which, the Bible says, “proceeds evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Mt. 15:19) — that is a lot of mess for one heart! And, even if theft and blasphemy and the other such doesn’t seem to be a regular battle for you, honestly, how could this very same heart that ominously whispers “eat Taco Bell,” at 11:00pm make consciously good decisions for my life! I know very well I should not eat Taco Bell that late. I’ve seen others do it and regret it; I’ve done it and regretted it — but that doesn’t stop the neon sign and cheesy quesadillas from beckoning me! Nevertheless, because experience, logic, and testimony reminds me, I am able to keep driving and say: “No. That’s not a good choice for you. Sure, it’s nice now, but later, it won’t be.”

Now, if only we applied this same cautionary dialogue to so many of our other decisions: “Sure, he’s nice and cute, but maybe I should moderate how much of my heart I invest…” Or, “Yes, what she did was wrong, but that text message is a feeble line of defense that will only leave you both hurt…” Too often, our day-to-days include little decisions that snowball and can eventually leave us wounded! This is why Proverbs tells us to “keep thy heart with ALL diligence; for out out of it are the issues of life” (Pro. 4:23). The Bible is commanding us to guard our hearts! That means keeping our walls up in the small ways and being intentional with our emotions. By the Holy Ghost, you do have the power to gauge your reactions. And for the days where emotions win out (because we’ve all been there), know to learn from your mistakes. You will feel anger, love, sadness, joy, happiness and so much more, (And, when you direct those emotions they can be used for good! Passion about the right things is a good thing!) but, you can pray that the Lord gives you discernment to know when you’re being heart-lead and the power to be able to stop and approach with caution and care.

The dramatic is so appealing in Hollywood films; it’s romantic, it’s passionate, it’s heartbreaking, it’s the spice of the movie! But remember, our lives are not movies; but rather, they are so much better. After the screen fades to black, we have lives to live and God-given futures to fulfill and furthermore — lives to change. How can we change lives if we’re so caught up in the inward-thinking of our own?! God has amazing things in store for you! There are great things he wants to do in you and through you! So let’s start by leading our hearts instead of following them.

about alexys

Alexys Rea Griffin is a 22-year-old coffee connoisseur, bibliophile, Disney aficionado, and fresh-flower-lover. Seeking her English Literature degree from Florida State University, Alexys devotes her time to the Campus Apostolic Ministry at FSU as well as Kids Ministry at her local church. Do you do Instagram? ‘Cause so does she: @alexysasalways

Record Keeping

Todays society is built upon record keeping. We keep record of everything: birth certificates, medical charts, school reports, immunizations, and even work-related documents. We begin our record keeping at birth and continue this system for the rest of our lives. Some of us are more organized than others when it comes to record keeping, but either way, it is a huge part of all of us.

We think of record keeping as more information based; however, God keeps records out of love. God knows the number of hairs on your head, the day you were born, the plans He has for your life, and so much more! God keeps tons of records about you, but there is one record God refuses to keep.

1 Corinthians 13 explains to use what love truly looks like. In this chapter, we learn that “love is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, and is not proud.” We learn about what love is and what love isn’t; however, in verse 5 we learn one thing that love can do.

1 Corinthians 13:5 says that love “…keeps no record of wrongs.” Love does not keep any records of when we mess up.

In 1 John 4:8, we learn that God is love. God is love and love does not keep records of our wrongs. When we mess up, when we sin, when we do something we know is not right, God does not keep a running list of everything that we have done wrong. Through repentance and asking for forgiveness, God’s blood that He shed for us on the cross washes away everything wrong in our lives. By His mercy we are forgiven and are not given the punishment we deserve. By His beautiful grace we can move forward and live a Godly life full of joy and peace.

If God does not keep a record of our wrongdoings, neither should we. When we have received God’s forgiveness, we must let go of the past so we can move forward. Forward into the path God has chosen. Forward into the calling God has placed on our lives. Forward into our relationship with Him. Of all the records that are kept about us, I am so thankful for a God that removes the record of our sins as far as the east is from the west.

about sarah

Sarah Barnhill, 21, is from Texas and is the middle sibling out of three girls in the Barnhill family. She recently graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with her Bachelor’s degree. Her favorite snack happens to be Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos!

Just a Piece of Paper

Forever the statement will be etched in my memory…

We were hurriedly checking into a hotel in Jacksonville, FL trying to get into the room so that we could change from our travel clothes and get to a church service on time. In conversation my husband and I happened to mention to the hotel receptionist just how long we had been married. To which she replied, “It’s just a piece of paper.” I was in shock and regrettably did not get to respond, but the comment still haunts me and the answer still burns in me. So now, to this young lady and others that have this mindset, I have to challenge that statement.

Tell the graduate from High School or the student who just got their doctorate that it’s “just a piece of paper”. Tell the 16 year old that just got their drivers license, that proudly shows it off to friends and family, that its “just a piece of paper”. Tell that to the physician that has his license on the wall. Tell the new home owner that signed a mortgage and keeps it safely in a fire vault that it’s “just a piece of paper”. Tell the elderly man that holds the hand of his dying wife after over 50 years together that it’s “just a piece of paper”.

The day I walked down that aisle, I knew that I was wholeheartedly committing my future to the man waiting for me and it forever redirected my life. That piece of paper has represented years of commitment and memories and has affected the lives of so many around us. There is a universe of difference between a private promise and a public vow. That public vow shows you are willing to put your name on the line and to commit unselfishly to the cause of another.

No job will hire you if you forego the interview process that includes a contract and agreement. How much more important is an agreement that says for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part?

In fact, we invited several hundred friends and family to our wedding and just two years ago to our eldest daughter’s wedding to witness the signing of this piece of paper. This piece of paper’s value can not be declared like that of a $100 bill, because how do you put monetary value on unselfish, undying commitment. The risk it takes for two people willing to lay it all on the line.

I have a family that has directly been effected by that piece of paper. In fact we had a big 25th celebration over “just a piece of paper”. Friends and family far and near came because of that marriage license.

Just because some may make light of that paper and not keep their commitment, does not make it less valuable for those who do. In fact, this piece of paper becomes more valuable with age because behind it stands years of commitment, stickability, and happy and sad tears in a world where this kind of loyalty is becoming rare.

Moms, let us combat the flippant attitude of this world. I encourage you to find your marriage license and share with your children it’s value. Let us show the next generation that it is so much more than a “piece of paper”.

Mark 10:9 – What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

about-mom

Tammy Huba and her husband, Daniel, pastor in Tallahassee, FL. She is a graduate of Jackson College of Ministries with a Bachelor’s of Music. She is a motivational speaker, accomplished musician and vocalist, but most of all… the mom to three incredible girls.

*Featured Image: Intimate Weddings

The Confessions of a Soul-Winner

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” – Matthew 28:19.

Key word: Go. One simple two-letter verb that weighs so heavily on our hearts. Go means to move from one place to another. No matter what physical move you are taking, you will always make a spiritual move first. A move to trust and not be afraid, a move out of your comfort zone and into the Lord’s will, a move that will not only change your life, but will impact the lives around you. Just one move can make a difference in the world around you.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it is hard to go. It’s hard to move out of your comfort zone and do what the Lord has laid on your heart. It’s hard to be the only one in your school attending your P7 meeting. It’s hard to ask someone to church in fear of being rejected. It’s hard to start a campus ministry while you already have a full course load on top of a job. Going is hard, but we have to remember that the alternative is much harder.

Watching people in this world commit suicide because they have no hope left is hard. Watching people be so far into depression that they see no light is hard. Watching people fill their lives with drugs and alcohol to numb the pain or just make themselves feel a little bit better is hard. Seeing people everyday make themselves into something they are not just to fit in because they can’t find their own identity is hard. Watching people give themselves in any part of their lives just to feel accepted is hard. Watching people hurting and not being able to find peace should be harder for you than stepping out of your comfort zone.

We have the answer. We have the key. We have this beautiful truth that can save these people, these souls. It has to be harder for us to keep this truth to ourselves than to go and teach people about the one true living Savior. This world needs a Savior. This world needs a light. This world needs YOU. There is a responsibility attached to this truth you hold. Don’t keep this truth to yourself, but go and teach all people, all nations, baptizing them in the name of Jesus Christ. Go be a light in this world of darkness. God has called you and souls are waiting for you. Go.

about sarah

Sarah Barnhill, 21, is from Texas and is the middle sibling out of three girls in the Barnhill family. She recently graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with her Bachelor’s degree. Her favorite snack happens to be Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos!

Respect The President

The millennial generation (which I am apart of) was raised by helicopter parents. This means that our parents were very hands on and protective. In many ways, that was a good thing! It helped us to develop a sense of security. It gave us confidence and a belief that we could do anything we set our minds to. But the one lesson it did not teach us, was how to lose and better yet- how to lose with grace.

We were awarded trophies just for trying. We were told that we would get an ice cream cone whether or not we won the game; We would be delighted in irregardless of our success or failure. (There was that safety we desperately needed.) However, somewhere in the midst of being sheltered from a cruel world, we forgot how to live in it. We forgot that sometimes we do not win. Sometimes we do not get the job we applied for. Sometimes the project we spent hours and days and months on, does not succeed. And sometimes the candidate we voted for, does not win the election.

So we lose and it is a shock to our system. Instead of being able to accept that something did not go our way, we begin to convince ourselves that we do not have to accept the outcome. Hence rioting in the streets, setting limos on fire and throwing stones through Starbucks windows. These are literally grown-up temper tantrums that we see being displayed by individuals which have drank the kool-aid. What does the Bible say about accepting outcomes or people that we do not approve of? Let us have a look.

Matthew 5:44 basically tells us that even if the individual in question is our worst enemy, we are to pray for them and even love them! And when it comes to leadership on a national level, the Bible tells us in Romans 13 that we are to submit to governing authorities. God is in control of who resides as President of the United States. If a man is in office, no matter how much we agree or disagree with him, he is in the will of God for this season. So we must learn to tastefully disagree while also being respectful of his position.

What do we gain by teaching our future children that when we disapprove of something, the answer is to destruct property, shout profanities and make a spectacle in the streets? Once again, the Bible directs us in how to handle disagreements and conflict. We would be wise to have a refresher…

  • Ephesians 4:31-32 – Put away bitterness and slander. Be kind and forgiving!
  • Proverbs 15:1 – Have a soft answer to conflict and do not use harsh words.
  • Ephesians 4:26 – Be angry but DO NOT sin in your actions or thoughts!
  • James 1:19-21 – Be slow to speak and slow to anger. Instead, exercise meekness.
  • Hebrews 12:14-15 – Strive to have peace with EVERYONE.

So if you are upset, be upset the right way. If you want change, be the change. There is a right and a wrong way to express oneself. Here is to hoping that over the next four years we can spend less time fighting and more time praying a blessing over our country and those that are working for its future prosperity.

For a full list of scriptures addressing how to deal with conflict, click here. What are some ways God has dealt with you when you have had to resolve conflict amongst your relations? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so share them with us today by clicking the email icon below.

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shenae-blogger

Shenae Andrus, 28, is the wife of Pastor Joel Andrus and the dog-mom of Mr. Behr Andrus. They all three live in Milford, DE and act as Co-Pastors of Lighthouse Christian Center, as well as Youth President of the NJ/DE Youth Department of UPCI General Youth Ministries. She is obsessed with calligraphy, music, Starbucks Chai-Tea Lattes, shopping and global travel.

Undeservingly Beautiful

“I don’t deserve it.”

Have you ever said these words before? Have you ever felt like you didn’t deserve the good things in your life, the people that love you, the calling placed on your life, or God’s mercy and grace? Have you ever felt like you didn’t deserve the life you live? If you answered yes to any of these questions: You are not alone.

We as humans see our weaknesses above everything else. We see our faults, our fears, our shame, and our brokenness. Sometimes we focus on the wrong in us so much that we forget Who made us right. Romans 4:25 says, “He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.” Jesus Christ did not die so we could live in fear and shame because of who we are. He was crucified on the cross to give us hope of a new life and joy in every season. The Bible plainly tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of our Lord, yet as humans we still see that we are not enough. We feel like because of our past, our faults, our fears, we cannot be loved or cherished the way we are meant to be. We feel like our brokenness hinders us from living a life full of joy, hope, and love. A life of enjoying the amazing things that God has blessed us with: a great family, a spouse that loves us, an anointed and growing ministry. We feel like because of our brokenness, we do not deserve the beautiful things in life.

Yet, we forget what makes the amazing things in life so beautiful: We don’t deserve them.

We don’t deserve God’s mercy and grace. We don’t deserve to live a life full of peace and joy. We don’t deserve to be used by God. Humans don’t deserve all of the blessings the Lord has given them. If we deserved what Jesus has blessed us with, we would not live a life full of thankfulness and faith. We would not be grateful or give all of the glory to God. That is why we must live life as Romans 5:2 explains: “Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.”

Live life not thinking about what you don’t deserve, but focus on what Jesus wants you to have. He wants you to have a life full of love, days full of joy, and a mind full of peace. He wants to anoint you, use you, and show His strength through your weakness. He wants you to focus on Him and His plan, not what you actually deserve. Enjoy the blessings God has given you, let go of the past, forget perfection, and live an undeservingly beautiful life.

about sarah

Sarah Barnhill, 21, is from Texas and is the middle sibling out of three girls in the Barnhill family. She recently graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with her Bachelor’s degree. Her favorite snack happens to be Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos!