Bloom & Boom

When you plant a seed, whatever plant it may be, it grows with the right natural elements such as sunlight and water. You can also buy things to help like Miracle-Gro. Put a seed in the right soil and it will just grow and keep growing till it is fully grown. But, if you try and plant something in a drought without watering it because you are waiting on rain, it won’t grow. It will just die with the potential of what it could have grown up to be.

“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

Psalms 1:3 KJV

If you feel like you can’t grow where you’re at, it’s because you are trying to grow something without nurturing it and eventually you are robbing yourself of that blessing or calling. God plants you in places on purpose. You are where you are at for a certain reason. You cannot sit in a drought and expect God to grow you. You have to nurture your calling in that season of doubt or fear or whatever you’re going through. If you feel like you’re not good enough, pray about it because you can grow from that feeling if you pray through it. Like the old saying goes, “You grow through what you go through”. And it’s the truth. If you feel stuck in where you’re at, just keep praying for growth. Keep practicing if you’re a musician. Keep praying for wisdom if you want to be a speaker or a writer in His kingdom. Keep serving humbly no matter what you want to do. Because that is what you have to do in your season of drought or else you will be left with a seed that had so much potential, but unfortunately died. Nurture your faith. Nurture what God gave you or you’re left with less than what you started with. If you can’t appreciate what you have to nurture, how will you appreciate more?

“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,”

1 Peter 2:1-4 KJV

Instead of letting sin and evil things grow in your dry season, let love and the fact that God chose you to serve Him grow. If we forget the feel of His presence, sin can come in and grow just as quick as blessings. We often let this feeling of being lost from His presence keep us from feeling Him in the midst of our chaos. When all along He is right there. Just reach out and say His name. You are precious in His sight and you only need Him to grow.

Daily prayer and reading your bible repeatedly isn’t just good for your spiritual growth. It is also good to keep you planted in what good works He has brought you to. If He has called you to do something for His kingdom, you need to know more about Him before He can use you. It’s kind of like turning in a resume to a company you have never heard of and don’t know anything about the position you are applying for. If you don’t know where to grow, let God plant you. And just bloom where you are. That’s all it takes.

Chelsea Hockensmith Bio

Unconditional Love

When I thought about Easter, and what I could write and how to approach it, the first thing that came to my mind was love. The Love of Jesus. When we think about Easter and all of the events that transpired during this time, the only thing I can think is- Woah! Jesus loved me that much? So much that He endured the pain of the cross and died for us, so that we could live, so that we could have hope, so that we could have joy. He endured this pain for me, for you, for the person sitting next to you in class, for your family members, for your teacher or boss.

I think the majority of us are familiar with the Easter ‘story’, how Judas betrayed Jesus which led to the Roman soldiers capturing and torturing him, ultimately nailing him to a cross and killing him (Matthew 27). Jesus was then taken to a borrowed tomb (Matthew 27:60), and was dead for three days. On the third day though, they found the stone rolled away, and the tomb empty- Jesus had risen from the dead (Matthew 28). How miraculous!

This love, the love that Jesus has for us is unconditional and sacrificial. Unconditional love is known as affection without any limitations, or love without conditions. He loves us without conditions, we don’t need to pass a test or make perfect decisions for Him to give us His love, it is a gift that has no conditions, no hidden motive, no ‘fine print’.

Throughout my life I have experienced being loved and giving love. I have been blessed to have grown up in a loving family with parents who worked hard to provide my brother and I with an environment that was completely different than theirs, an environment that was full of unconditional love. I know not everyone has that, and a lot of people are growing up in or have grown up in a home where love is not the environment, where they don’t feel unconditionally loved. Unconditional love is something that is rare, that is beautiful, and when you are given it, hold on to it.

Jesus sacrificed His life for ours, so that we could live. He gave His life for ours. I think that the least I can do is return the favor. He isn’t asking us to be tortured and hung on a cross, He is asking us to show selfless love like He did. He is asking that we follow His Word, and model our lives after His. He is asking for a relationship with us.

Jesus died on that cross, to show us His unconditional love. He died so we don’t have to. Because of the cross we can have eternal life. And now, knowing this- it is our job to give love, like Jesus did.

 

Sabrina Hope

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!

New Year, New You

New Year resolutions usually look the same for most people: lose weight, start exercising and eating right. This is a list for the physical – we ladies want to be healthy and maintain our youthful figures, right? But what if we applied these resolutions to our spiritual bodies as well?

Lose WeightHebrews 12:1 says to lay aside every weight that easily hinders our Christian walk and entangles us in sin. Maybe it is something as simple as a lack of self control over shopping or social media. Maybe it is a little heavier, like a relationship that keeps tripping you up. These weights are pounds that you need to shed! Feel lighter this year and start to lose those burdens that are keeping you from feeling light and free to run the Christian race.

Exercise – Start building up those spiritual muscles and exercising your faith. (Jude 1:20) The only way you get stronger is to start working out. If you want more faith, if you want to be used in the gifts of the spirit and if you want to have powerful moments with God, it starts small. Start lifting 5 pound weights at first (pray for 5 minutes a day) and eventually you’ll start taking getting stronger. Build up your courage to invite a co-worker to church and eventually you’ll be handing out church cards to everyone you come in contact with! During your prayer time, as God to give you opportunities to exercise your most holy faith on a daily basis.

Eat Right – Time to cut out the junk food and start feeding your spiritual body right. Quite watching, listening to and eating junk food. (Psalm 101:3) No more cheat days filled with sugar, processed foods and preservatives. It’s time to cut out the secular music that fills your mind with inappropriate imagery. It’s time to stop watching the movies that takes your thoughts to places they should avoid. Start eating the WORD. King David said in Psalm 119:11 that he hid God’s Word in his heart to avoid sinning. You are what you eat!

May your bodies AND souls be healthy this New Year! What are some areas you’ve decided to “whip into shape” this year for your heart, mind and soul? Share with us at mail@apostolicgirl.com – we’d love to hear from you!

shenae blogger.jpg

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.

When All You Have Left… is Trust

It was one of those weeks! A week where: my professor announced a surprise quiz, I got stuck in a traffic jam twice which caused me to be late to class, I did my project wrong, I spent an hour trying to fix a machine at school and ended up leaving frustrated, my screen protector on my phone messed up, my hair hadn’t been washed in eight days, and my computer started slowing down. It was just one of those weeks where nothing seemed to go right, nothing seemed to work out. One of those weeks that leaves you frustrated, questioning whether you are even in God’s will, or questioning if you even have what it takes. One of those weeks where you are juggling so much that dropping things is just inevitable.

Most of the time on one of those weeks I just brush it off, pray, read my Bible, get a good night’s rest and have peace in knowing that tomorrow will be better. However, on this particular week, I couldn’t move on. I got on my knees and prayed a simple prayer: “God, I feel like everything is falling apart and all I have left is trust.” As soon as these words left my mouth, Proverbs 3:5 came to my mind. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

In that moment, Jesus opened my eyes to see that when all I have left is trust, I have all that I need. Jesus didn’t call us to juggle or balance everything in life. Jesus didn’t call us to keep it all together and find strength within ourselves. Jesus didn’t call us to be self sufficient and independent. Jesus called us to trust in His ways, trust in His plans, and lean on Him, not our own understanding. Jesus called us to let His power be made perfect in our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9).

When I depend on myself or focus on my plans, I never have enough. I am constantly unsuccessfully balancing or feeling like a failure during everyday tasks. But when all I have to depend on is my trust in the Lord, when I acknowledge Him in all that I do, “…He will direct my paths (Proverbs 3:6).”

So if you feel like you are not measuring up to be the perfect mom, student, employee, or woman of God, I encourage you to throw away that unrealistic yardstick. Let go of the view of how perfect your life should be. Realize that if all you have is trust, you have all that you need and you have a God that is able to do far more than what you ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).

about sarah

Sarah, 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!

Get to Where He Is

Growing up in the ministry, I have seen many cases of struggle. Different individuals, with different situations, with different issues.

It’s a part of life. You don’t make it through without a few bumps (or catastrophic jagged mountains) in the road. Some things are easy to overcome and conquer along the journey. Other things are a continuous climb, finding it hard to breath, encountering injuries along the way, and wondering if you’ll ever feel peace again.

I have seen people who overcome their struggles, while others continue fighting until this day. What’s the difference? How does one defeat depression, low self-esteem, negativity, bad attitudes, and tormenting thoughts?

I love to research random events in history. Inspiring events that I don’t know much about. One in particular that has fallen into my radar is the story of the “Miracle in the Andes”.

In 1972, a charter plane carrying 45 passengers of a rugby team with their friends and family crashed onto the Andes Mountains. 18 died instantly and due to sickness, injuries, the unbearable cold, and an avalanche, the 27 left slowly dwindled down to 16. As I studied, I was stricken with sadness learning of all they had to encounter. They melted snow for water, essentially ate their luggage and the cushion of plane seats, eventually turned to cannibalism of the dead passengers, and had to bare the news received from the radio announcing that the search party for them had been cancelled.

plane-crash

Nando Parrado and Roberto Canessa, two men that survived, knew that they all were going to die if they stayed where they were at. Several planes had already passed over, but they were well hid by the snow and they didn’t have enough resources to create something to catch attention from the sky’s view. After about 60 days since the plane crash, Parrado and Canessa headed out into the wilderness alone. Long story short, they walked and battled the harsh conditions for 10 days to find any kind of civilization. Well, they did. A small village where the residents came to the rescue. After caring for Parrado and Canessa, helicopters were sent out on the next clear day to save the other passengers.

Pretty inspiring story, huh? I hope you can see the connection I’m making here. These individuals were caught in the most unimaginable dire circumstances. They knew to be saved, they couldn’t stay another day in the same predicament. They were desperate and knew change was the only way not to die.

God has liberty, victory, and freedom just waiting for you! He’s on the other side of the mountain, just across the river after a 10 day journey. It wasn’t easy for Parrado and Canessa to get there, but they sure didn’t complain once they did. Whatever you’re struggling with and no matter how long you’ve been struggling with it-even if it’s been more than 60 days!; you can achieve that liberation you so desperately want. IF you’re desperate enough. Get to where God is. MOVE. Refuse to stay another day in your misery and despair. Tell your mind to get up and go to where joy and peace can be found. It’s not in a physical building, but a state of mind.

about blogger

Charity Huba is a 23 year old Floridian who can’t get enough sunshine and days at the beach. She leads in music and the youth group she grew up in. She works for the government in the Division of Elections. She’s in love with quality time with her loved ones, musicals, and moon-lit nights.

Keep on Waiting: Charity Huba

From to the beginning of time, man has never ceased in wanting to be in control. It’s been in our DNA from the first human; to be curious and try to take matters into our own hands-thanks a lot, Eve! We can all personally testify to being pushy and obsessive when it comes to our future, our well-being, and most commonly our romantic relationships. It’s natural!

But, poor God. You think after creating all the universe and every living creature in it, he’d have a little credibility for knowing what he’s doing! We live in a society that does not rely or pay respect to God. Our culture is very self-sufficient. Everyone is expected to make their own way, determine their destiny, and create their own future. Jesus has definitely given us the freedom to make our own decisions, but if we truly want the best and blessed life, we must leave him in control! He has plans for you that are transcendent than what you want for yourself. I don’t know about you, but I have wild plans and expectations for what I am to do with myself. But, it doesn’t scratch the surface of what God could create for me if I let him.

There is numerous scripture on waiting on the Lord: (Isiah 64:4, Hebrews 6:12, Psalms 33:20-21). But, there’s one in particular that will make you look at being patient with God a little differently.

Isaiah 30:18 “And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.”

This scripture is a bit of a “toe stepper”. God waits on us all the time: every time we sin, are unfaithful, and deserving of His judgment. So, we have no right to be impatient with the one who is perfect and without flaw! He is forbearing with us…why should He deserve any less? He doesn’t need our mercy or forgiveness, but He does expect trust in return for His daily tolerance with our fickleness. Wait on God, because he often waits on you.

But, beyond the fact that God deserves our belief and confidence, waiting on the Lord is the only way to live! This is why suicide rates are high, stress levels are through the roof, and psychiatrists have people lined up outside their doors. People try to depend on themselves for a happy and bright future…and it never works without God. Do yourself a favor and keep yourself from a tiring life of frustration, worry, and stress. You’ll never regret to make the decision to keep on waiting.

about blogger

Charity is a 23 year old Floridian. She is the financial secretary for her church and works at Division of Elections for the State. She drives an old beat-up 2000 Honda Accord that has one wind shield wiper and her favorite Disney princess is Pocahontas!