A Little Bit of Encouragement

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You are beautiful.
You aren't average. You are a child of the King.
He knit you together in your mother's womb. He collects your tears in a jar. He treasures you and everything He made about you. He looks at you and says, "Wow, what a masterpiece I have created!"

You are more than what you see. You are beautiful, you are loved, you are what He meant you to be.
He made you in His image, and He doesn't make mistakes! He put the spark in your eye, the passion in your heart, the beauty in your smile. He knows you better than you know yourself. He cares about you so much that He sent His Son to die for you.

You have potential. God's plans for your future are out of this world. Don't give up. Keep on running, keep on living, keep on serving Him. Your life is full of beauty, goodness, and so many amazing things in store.

So smile so the whole world can experience the amount of beauty you possess. Live the life you were called to live. Shine His light with a heart full of passion and love!

Most of all, remember that you are loved. You have great things in store. YOU. ARE. BEAUTIFUL.


To Be Established in Faith

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7

The goals of this blog, the energy and passion accompanying every post, must stem from an utmost desire to please and glorify God in everything I do. It started with a love for writing, encouraging others, and sharing my experiences online and through social  media. Recently, I've come face to face with the simple truths of purpose, faith, and most importantly, life.

The title of this blog, "Established in Faith", begins with the purpose of blogging and continues out into everyday life. What is the purpose of this blog? My intention is to share the bits and pieces of my life, such as experiences, passions, and God-given ideas through the art of writing. I want to encourage. I want to inspire. I want to lead others to Him, to envision a part of life that many never see, to look past the problems of life, which is temporary, and to fast forward to a future full of eternal glory, happiness, and life forever with Jesus.

Sounds like a fantasy, right? Rather, such an amazing vision of the future is not enjoyed in today's temporary, broken world, one covered in death and sorrow as a result of the first sins of mankind. But there is hope. Jesus is our hope. God sent Jesus, His Son, to die a terrible death on the cross for us, because our imperfections can never be present near a holy God. But He loves us and desires to be with us, so He sent His perfect Son to die for our sins, to be blamed for what we have done, all out of love. But because He truly is the Son of God, and because the purpose of His death was beyond what was humanly possible, He did not stay in the grave forever. Three days later, He came back to life, defeating death and sin, and allowing us to truly be able to experience the life God intended us to live, one of righteousness, love, and most of all, one established in faith.

 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Romans 10:9-10
When we realize the Truth, all we have to do is accept Jesus. Surrender your life to Him. Calling upon His name, believing and confessing that He is who He says He is, asking for forgiveness for the sins that have inevitably been committed, will lead to salvation. When we give everything to Jesus, and our lives become a living testimony of His death and Resurrection, we will be changed from the inside out. Renewed, saved, and transformed into a brand new creation, our hearts are changed as a result of the love of God and an act of grace and mercy through the sacrifice of His Son.

Once we have received Jesus as Lord, and our hearts, and therefore lives, have been radically changed by the placing of God's Spirit within us, we are then called to repentance and a change in lifestyle. We must live our lives on His foundation. Before life with Jesus, life lacked purpose (ultimately, it sought to please ourselves); with Jesus, our purpose must derive from the truths of God's Word and should seek to glorify and serve Him in every situation, to please Him above all else. So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it (2 Corinthians 5:9).

via Pinterest
 A life focused on chasing after God's heart, rather than the hearts of other people, or the temporary things of the world, or anything else other than God, will lead in success. We were not meant to live this life alone, but we were meant to walk side by side with the Creator. We were meant to enjoy a personal relationship with Him, sharing in the pleasures of His love. However, we can't please God, and therefore live life accordingly with His truths, without faith. To truly be "established in faith", we must start with surrender and repentance, living life with Jesus as the foundation, striving to become closer to Him, and deciding to forever become built up and rooted in Him--which requires acts of faith. It may take being an outcast, it may change our ego, it may eliminate activities of the past, but at the end, our faith will be strengthened, and we will come to know God as He has always longed for us to do. As our relationship grows with Him, our faith enlarges, our hearts grow in beauty, and a mindset of thankfulness and joy abounds. 

 I have decided to live my life "established in faith". This blog is about my life, the memories, the good and bad times, my experiences, my passions, my works, the ideas God reveals to me in light of Scripture, and anything else about my life. I may post about the beauty of volunteering at the animal shelter, the good and bad moments of school, my struggles, my favorite memories, or just what God has revealed to me in Quiet Time. This blog is about life, but as my life must be a reflection of my faith, so this blog must reflect the same thing. Beneath every post, and beneath whatever I face in life, is the establishment of faith, a trust in Jesus that will continue forever and ever as I desire to please and glorify Him in every little thing that I do.

A Voice for Those Who Can't Speak

Inside every shelter dog is a beautiful soul, a spirit longing for unconditional love and attention. Each dog created with an unique personality, they thrive when given the chance to shine. Look into the eyes of this shelter dog and you see a heart filled with adoration, one desperate for a chance, for a home, for a family to forever love, to be able to show who she really is.

They don't have a voice. They can't ask for help, tell us their needs, or explain their past. Striving to be a voice for those who can't speak, we must maintain our God-given dominion over the animals, working for the beautiful souls of these dogs.

Friday never planned on living life in a shelter. She's ready to show off her loving personality, to cuddle with a family that returns the love she freely gives, to be given a chance.
This cutie is so ready for a home. A total lover with a dash of playfulness, she desires to love you. I know that a happy day is coming to her soon, that a family will soon come and make her a part of their own. In the meantime, let's share her, love her, and be a voice for her. She deserves it.


The Sweet Smells of a Christ-like Life

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But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 2:14-15

I am called to share the Gospel, to spread His love and knowledge to the world.
While the world is living in the dark, I must be a light, a candle that brightens up every room and shatters any hint of darkness. I am the light of the world. 
It's not about judging others. It's about sharing His love, being an aroma of Him.

When God saved me by grace, He then saw His Son in me, who died in my place. His righteousness covers the sins of my heart and changed me from the inside out as His Spirit began to dwell in me. Now, He has called me to make a difference. He now sees "the pleasing aroma of Christ" amongst my failures and my mess-ups. I am made new.

The aroma of Christ is sweet-smelling. It's always a pleasure to be around. It doesn't put others down, lead them away, or give them a bad impression of who Christ is. It is about love. 
Jesus is love, and as I grow closer to Him and strive to become more like Him, I must learn to love. 

The aroma of Christ looks like love. It is love to those who don't know Him. It is love to those who do. It looks out for my brothers and sisters in Christ, leading them away from sin, whether it's my clothing choices, my conversations, the music I listen to. To the rest of the world, it's about kindness, forgiveness, and doing the little things, even a smile, that could change someone's day. His aroma is displayed in speech, actions, and most importantly, the heart. My life and the choices I make will follow after my 'heart condition.' 

The sweet smell of Christ is noticeable to others. Just like the smell of perfume is evident to everyone in the room, His light must shine through me in the crowds. I must appear different. I must live a life that encourages others to want to live like me. 

To make a difference, it's not about telling others they're wrong. It's about the heart, which follows into my lifestyle. Let His righteousness and love spread like wildfire. Let others feel loved and encouraged. It may not seem like it, but people notice what you're doing. They see you're different. They see when you're not conforming to their ways, the ways of the world. It must start with a total surrender to Jesus and His work through you, focusing on shining His light and living a life that brings glory to Him. It's not easy, but it's a life truly worth living for. 



Lessons from a Shelter Dog

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13
   Volunteering always begins with my heart set on helping the animals, but at the end of every experience, I am touched and changed by the dogs I meet. God has revealed this to me so much recently.
   One particular shelter dog, Lucy, had a personality that lit up the room. A petite girl with a lot of spunk, I couldn't help but adore her. Most of all, she was a dog with a heart of joy. Her smile was contagious to all who knew her.

   I never would've imagined a dog's smile could make such an impact in my life, but God can use anyone in the smallest of ways. I realized how much happiness I brought to her by taking her out, by giving her rubs, by providing love, and she provided so much happiness and love in my life in return. Her biggest smiles shined every time I rubbed her. Her smiles were enough to make me smile despite all the stress, the sadness, the problems of life. Her joy has taught me so many lessons about my own life.

   Stuck in a kennel, injured by her roommate, lacking the love and comfort she deserves, it seemed that she had little reason to be happy. But despite her situation, she had so much joy. Even as she was limping, she ran out of her kennel like she was running a race and was about to win the prize. Maybe she knew there was hope for her future, or maybe she was eager to enjoy the little things in life, like the short amount of time I would spend with her. Nevertheless, her joy taught me so much about my own life.
    I've learned that even through the trials and difficulties I will face, God has called me as a believer to trust in Him. Placing my trust in Him and relying on Him, instead of the temporal things of this world, will lead His Spirit to grow fruit in me. One of the fruits of the Spirit, joy, will establish a place in my life when I learn to look past the hard times and set my eyes on the future God has for me, a future full of goodness and a place in eternity encompassed by His presence. Happiness relies only on the good times, but joy comes when my faith is completely placed in Jesus, knowing that no matter what happens, God is with me, He is for me, and the victory is in His hands! Joy isn't dependent on circumstance but on the never-changing character of God, whose goodness and love will never fail. Like Lucy, the trials of life may seem to increase more and more, but when I look past the present and into the hope of the future, and the little things God blesses me with in the midst of pain and trial, there is still reason to smile. There's hope in Jesus Christ, and that hope will continue to stay until its fulfillment in the Lord's second coming, when death will be defeated once and for all and the victory will be won forever.
    No matter what, I've learned to keep running the race of life, with an eternal perspective and a heart focused on God's love, and He will use my present circumstances to change me, to produce perseverance and a joy that will allow me to get through whatever I'm facing. Like Lucy, I must run after the prize, the prize of eternity with Jesus as I focus on the work of the Kingdom, rather than the world's.
    Recently, I have found out that Lucy has been adopted. Her hopes have turned into reality, as I picture her in a soft dog bed with a smile that could light up the world. Her adoption is a reminder of my adoption into God's family, and the hope I now have as I set my eyes on Jesus and remain in pure joy no matter what I face.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24



Recently, God has laid upon my heart the blessings He has provided through friends and the people He has placed in my life. Some people have come along unexpectedly, although part of God's plan, and others have been an answer to prayer. His purposes may show up later or may never be clear, but through every single person, I have realized the goodness of God, the love He has for His children.

I wanted to dedicate this post to a reflection of God's goodness through some of the people He has placed in my life and to thank Him for His provisions.

I've been blessed with two close friends from elementary school, who know me almost as well as I know myself. They've stuck with me through thick and thin and accept my flaws despite any obstacle in our friendship. The impact they have made in my life is unbelievable.

God has used the Bible Reading Club (BRC) from CEF Ministries' Wonderzone.com  to place AMAZING people in my life. I've been able to keep in touch with many of the members of the group and have been so inspired by their faith and consistent encouragement to me and others. I've been able to share similar experiences with a few of them, especially recently, and have developed prayer partners! Not only that, but I've gained one of my closest friends from this group, and although we're miles apart, God allowed us to meet up twice...and it's been one of the biggest blessings!

God has placed other close Christian friends in my life over the past few years. I am forever grateful for them. Some are homeschooled and inspired me in my walk with Christ from the day it began. Another was an answer to prayer for a Christian friend in school. She has been another prayer partner and encourager to me, as well as become one of my closest friends. God is so good.

Not only that, but He has provided people, including friends, in my classes as an answer to prayer, especially in the yearbook staff as well as my veterinary assisting course. He has used certain people (and particular places at just the right time) to bring to light His plan for me, such as the idea of college classes. He has used places, such as the animal shelter, to place people, animals, and events in my life that have changed me. He has placed particular people in my life right now, in my classes and outside of school, that I may not even realize His reasoning for, but that He has called me to love, to shine His light to.

There are so many others that He has placed in my life that He has used for my good. I am so thankful for each and every one of them, and I am so excited to see how God continues to use people I don't even know yet, experiences I'd never imagine being a part of, to enhance His design and plans for my life, as I live out His purposes and seek to serve Him in everything I do.

                                                                    Found via Pinterest


Words of Wisdom

I love words that inspire, words that call me to take action, words of wisdom. In fact, it's currently my largest Pinterest board! Here are some I love (via Pinterest):