Set My Heart On Fire

 Start a fire in my soul
Fan the flame and make it grow
So there’s no doubt or denying
Let it burn so brightly
That everyone around can see
That it’s You, that it’s You that we need
Start a fire in me
Start a Fire// Unspoken
My soul yearns for a life of something more. It craves a fire, a flame so large and so impacting that it burns for all to see. Lord, let your love shine through me. Let my heart fill with compassion for the things You are drawn to compassion for. Make my heartbeat Your own. Breathe your breath of life and of love into my lungs, and let every breath that comes out of my mouth speak Your praise and glory. Use every word to lead people to You. Help me to forgive those who are hard to forgive, to love those who are hard to love, and to reach out to those who are hard to reach.

Lord, start a fire in me.

The words of Unspoken's song bring me to the feet of Jesus, reminding me of the purpose that I wish for my life to be rooted in. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are the light in a world of darkness. Sin abounds, sadness is unending, and grief is nothing less than apparent on this dark earth. But it is in the dark that people are drawn to the light, and it is through His people that the Lord places His light in their hearts. It is my prayer that my life is lived on fire for Him. It is my wish for Him to start a fire in my soul, fanning a flame that only grows larger and larger as every day passes by.

I constantly fail. Sin is inevitable. Falling away from the Lord's wants and wishes is likely to happen in our life, as we live in a battle between flesh and spirit. But His fire in our souls will never cease, if we cling onto Him daily. Let our passion for Jesus, the fire that He stirs in our souls, grow so large that everyone will notice when we walk in a room. Let the flame in our hearts be so evident that we begin to look like Him. To walk like Him, to talk like Him, to live like Him...will stir a sense of wonder in this world. A light shining in the darkness will attract, and before long, the light will grow.

Lord, let the flame in my heart grow so large that everyone will see that it is You that we need. Start a fire in me.

And use the fire in me to spark a flame in this world.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16


God With Us

"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us."  Matthew 1:23

No doubt have the past few weeks been filled with the smells, sights, and sounds of Christmas. The scent of fresh cookies in the oven penetrate the homes of many. Presents pile up underneath the tree. The sound of joyful carols fill the air. People are a little kinder, a little more generous, a little more caring. Heaven meets earth for such a short season of the year. 

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Yet God has been revealing to me more than ever before this Christmas season that this holiday holds a little more meaning than the presents and food, the music and happiness, the family and friends. It even goes deeper than just the pure celebration of His Son's birth. Yes, this holiday is truly about the birth of our King. However, I've been reminded again and again this year that Christmas is not only about His birth, but about the promise He fulfilled, and the promise that He still fulfills today:

God is with us.

Jesus, our Immanuel, our "God with us", walked this earth to be with US. He left His heavenly position as King of this world to step into this broken, sin-filled earth because He loves us. He came and humbled Himself to the most lowly position because He loves us. He was born in a manger. He was homeless. He was ridiculed and mocked. He died the most horrible death, yet He went to the cross so that sin would no longer be between us and our holy King. He came so that we could be with God. 

He walked this earth. He was with us. 

Today, His promise of the Holy Spirit has never left. He is still with us.

What a comfort it is to know that our King, the One who is higher than all kings and rulers of this earth, not only desires to be with us, but is with us! 

As we face the hurt and pain of this broken world, we can be assured that God is with us. Jesus dressed in flesh and bone so that we could be free. He came because His love for us is deeper than the comfort of Heaven and the shackles of sin and death. 

Today, He wants you to know that He is with you. That's what Christmas is really all about!

"...And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:20


Single & Not Ready To Mingle

Recently I wrote a post about guarding your heart from the impurities of the world, and keeping our hearts solely in the hands of the Lord.

I believe that our hearts have a major role in romantic relationships with others and that God has called each of us to protect and guard our hearts all throughout our lives. When our hearts are only in  His hands, we can trust that He will bring along the right spouse at the right time. Rather than searching ourselves and giving a piece of our hearts away to every guy or girl that comes along, it is so much better to let the Lord be the only Keeper of our hearts and to let Him work out the plans for our lives. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't necessarily "date" and only marry the first person we meet. Yes, maybe the first person we meet is the one that God has planned for us to marry, but there is also a good chance that the first person we meet is not the one for us. Rather, wouldn't it be better if we didn't spend all of our time as singles diving in and out of relationships, but using our time to serve and glorify Jesus Christ?

And if God brings along a person in the midst of a life devoted to Him, something beautiful will happen.

I know with certainty that the words that I'm writing will be considered foreign and strange to many of those who read this. I know that the majority of the world won't agree or follow the ways that I am writing about and that most may never see anything wrong with the modern ways of dating today. I am not writing to condemn you, to place any kind of guilt on your heart, or to necessarily say that dating is wrong. I am writing to share some ideas that the Lord has shared with me over the past few years. He began revealing many of these ideas several years ago and then confirmed and furthered along these ideas with a book by Joshua Harris, titled "I Kissed Dating Goodbye". Call me strange, but I am so, so glad that I have decided to not pursue dating during the teenage years and to wait on the one that God has for me in His right timing.

I am writing this post to share some of the ideas that God has given me, in the hopes of encouraging and inspiring others whom He has spoken to as well.

With that being said, I am single and not ready to mingle. Here's why:

 1. Above all else, GUARD YOUR HEART, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

Jesus has my heart. My heart is His, my life is His, and I have given the key to my heart, the wellspring of life, over to Him. Therefore, I have decided that my heart will beat for Jesus and that I won't let it beat for anyone or anything else. When impurities come and knock on the door of my heart, I must learn to stand firm in His love and keep the doors locked. When I guard my heart at all times, I am protecting all of my life, for every little thing I do stems from the condition of my heart. In order to truly love the Lord God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, I must protect my heart from all of the ways of the world, from any and every impurity that could creep in and clutter my heart. This may mean waiting to have a relationship in order to keep Jesus first. This may mean waiting on the one whom God has entrusted to help me protect my heart, a man who is willing to put Jesus first above everything. When my heart is guarded, I am protected from the impurities that are no doubt a part of many of today's relationships--lust, compromise, selfishness, sexual immorality, the heartbreak of a hard breakup--and I can live life freely for Christ alone. So run after Him. Seek Him only. Ladies, if God provides a man while living in step with Him, and he is willing to only pursue Jesus in order to pursue you, what a joy that would be!

2. TRUST IN THE LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Trusting in the Lord's timing may be difficult, but it's all so worth it. As I mentioned above, sometimes waiting for the right one at the right time is necessary in order to completely guard my heart and learn to keep Jesus first in everything. But in order to wait, I must trust that the Lord is working for good and that His timing is best. His ways won't always make sense. His will and ways surpass all understanding. But what I love about the character and ways of God is that they are rooted in His deep, never-ending love. So when He closes a door, He does it because He loves us. When He opens a door, He does it because He loves us. He can open doors that no man can shut and close doors that no man can open. He is good. So let's trust in His timing. Let's submit to Him completely. And by doing so, in the exact right time, when we are ready, we will know when we're prepared for a relationship. We will know when God has brought the right one along. It will be the best time.

3. There is a time for everything, and A SEASON FOR EVERY ACTIVITY under the heavens... Ecclesiastes 3:1

I believe that singleness is a season of life that God desires for me, and every one of us, to embrace. To be single is a wonderful gift that is so often looked down upon in today's society. Sadly, singleness is commonly viewed as a burden, rather than a gift. But for the majority who will marry, singleness will not last forever. It is a season that should not be taken lightly. It is the only time during our lives that we do not have to worry about the problems and stresses that come with marriage. We can use the time to fully focus on Jesus and grow closer to Him. It is a time to serve, to grow and mature, and to prepare to be a godly spouse. Why waste time off and on in relationships during the teenage years when I can be focusing on growing closer to Jesus? Why date for the fun of it when I can be using my time more wisely as I focus on my studies in school, or work, or anything else that God has brought into my life so far? Why not use this time wisely and prepare for the future? I need to learn how to cook a meal. I need to learn how to clean a house, how to drive a car, how to talk to people, and how to prepare to live life as I would in the future. There is no better time to attain these skills, to prepare for the future, and to focus and serve Jesus in the waiting years than now. Singleness is a gift.

4.  FLEE THE EVIL DESIRES OF YOUTH and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22

So as I prepare to be a godly wife and focus on the season that God has me in right now, I want to set aside all the sinful desires of youth. I want to set aside the idea of dating for fun and I want to prepare myself for the day, if it's His Will, for me to walk into a relationship with intention: the intention to marry. Again, that doesn't mean that the first guy I meet will necessarily be the one I marry. Marriage is a lifetime commitment that should not be taken lightly. But rather, I should prepare to go into a relationship with someone who I could see myself marrying. I should have the intention of marrying if God so allows it in the process of the relationship. Once you enter into a relationship, I don't want to be the one to state exactly what you should or should not do, but I believe that it varies from couple to couple. So keep your standards high. Focus on friendships. Don't step outside of the boundaries created. Save intimacy for the God-designed institution of marriage. Learn to mature in your relationship with Christ and love and serve others. Serve with the one God brings to your life. See how they are in their best and in their worst. But seek Jesus first, and as you both continuously focus on Him, everything will fall into place.

I am single and not ready to mingle. As I focus on Jesus and guard my heart from the deadly effects of sin, as I trust in the Lord's timing and prepare in the season of life I'm in now to be the godly woman God has designed for me to be, as I live out relationships for the purpose of commitment rather than intimacy, one day God will reveal the right person under the right time and circumstance. There's no need to take matters into my own hands when His plans contain something so much bigger and so much more lovely than the ideas of romance movie scriptwriters.

Just trust Him. 

He is planning something beautiful.


Wellspring of Life

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

Our hearts are a keepsake, reserved and special. It is the beat to our step, the life in our bones. It is at the center of all of life. When living in sin, our hearts become dirty and cluttered. The dirt of a heart cluttered with impurities prevents us from the very life we are called to live. 

But when Jesus comes along...something beautiful happens. The beauty of a special meeting with Jesus is that He takes all of our sins, all of the clutter, impurities, and dirt covering our hearts, and He cleanses it. His blood washes it new. His righteousness covers our own unrighteous-filled heart. He took the blame for our sins so that we could have a relationship with a holy God. Our hearts would always be dirty, if a Savior didn't come along and cleanse with blood. His sacrifice makes us new.

Image via Pinterest

That doesn't mean that we no longer sin. It just means that we no longer have to suffer the consequences of our sins, because He suffered the consequence for us on the cross. Yet we no longer live in consistent sin, for the purpose of our sinful tendencies and selfish ambitions. Once we give our lives to Him, He now has the source of life: our hearts. Our hearts are no longer our own. He has our hearts. He has our lives. When our hearts become His, we begin living for a higher purpose, and that calling is to bring glory and honor to Jesus in all of our lives. Our hearts become dead to sin, and alive in Him.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

The world says "follow your heart". Yet our very own hearts can be deceiving, as we battle between our sinful desires and the will of our Lord. Place your heart in the hands of the One who knows you better than you know yourself. Trust in the will and ways of Him, for He will not deceive. His plans for us are good. His ways are rooted in love. 

There are no safer hands for the Keeper of our hearts than the One who created it in the first place. He knows every hair on our heads, every word ever spoken, and every desire and dream. He truly cares. 

There is no one or nothing else worth living for. He is the Only One worth living for.

So guard your heart! Lock its doors, and give the key to God and God alone. When distractions, sin, or any impurity come creeping into our lives and advance upon the doors of our hearts, don't hand the keys over! Keep the keys in the safe hands of our Creator. He is the only One who knows our future, who knows our hearts. He is the Only One whom we can trust. He wants what is best for us. 

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Psalm 139:23

When sin knocks on the door of your heart, keep it shut! Deceit may come. Fear may fill us. Pride may try to knock down our hearts' doors. Even distractions from a heart fully focused on God, such as giving our hearts to a guy or girl at the wrong time, may come. Don't open the doors. Don't take away the key from God. Focus on Him fully. Allow God to search your heart. Let Him test daily for impurities, and let His grace wash over your sin-filled heart on an everyday basis.

Our hearts are the wellspring of life. Our actions, our words, our thoughts, everything we do comes from the condition of our heart. Jesus wants our hearts. He wants our lives. When you put your heart in the hands of our loving Lord, we can live in the grace and love that He willingly gives to us daily. We will begin to resemble Him.

And to look like Jesus is a beautiful thing. 


His Plan During The Tough Weeks

I just survived the toughest week of this semester.

Monday consisted of my first college final of the week along with a quiz in a separate college class. Lengthy homework assignments popped up, consuming my nights along with studying for finals. A final on Wednesday, another final on Thursday, a test on Friday. I was up until 2 am on a daily basis. In the midst of all of this, I endured some not-so-fun pain on Monday, hours before I would take my first final. Then, I faced the ACT Saturday morning.

Enough venting though! God is faithful. This week might have been long and oh-so-very stressful, but the Lord's love shined in all the dark places. God gave me a strength and a peace that is like no other. Finals came back with 100%s. Pain (from Monday's health issues) died down during the final and completely left by that night.  Everything was accomplished on time and with success.

I can say without any doubt in my mind that none of these victories would have occurred if it weren't for the Lord's hand in my life. He is good. And He never stops revealing His goodness to me. Never.

Yet this week wasn't entirely covered with victories. As I faced the ACT this morning, I was exhausted. I gave it my all though. I've studied when I could over the past few weeks. I tried hard to focus and accomplish a lot. But while I don't struggle as much with the questions, I struggle so much with timing. If you know anything about these college entrance exams, you know how much time they give you compared to the number of questions provided. I am not a good test taker when it comes to time. While I put most of my studying efforts on the two tests that I struggle the most with timing, I came back to the exact same problem this morning and still did not achieve much more than half of that subject's test.

However, I put the ACT in the Lord's hands. Maybe, just maybe, He'll need it for His plan. And if that's the case, I know with all certainty that He will provide a miracle, despite that I don't see a way. There is no limit to what He can do. But I know that He has good plans for me and that this test will not affect the doors He will open. If He needs it, He will provide. If He doesn't, the doors will still open.

I want to encourage every high school and college student that every test, whether it's the ACT/SAT or your college or high school finals, does not define who you are. Your score does not lower your intelligence or have any say in how bright you are. It does not determine the rest of your future, despite what anyone says. Most of all, it does not affect who you are: a child of God, a son or daughter of the One True King!

So prepare hard. Do your best. But give it over to the Lord. He will use your preparation and your skills to do great things. I've learned throughout this entire semester that when you give everything over to Him, He really does move. The good grades will come. I know that I could not have received all of these 100%s without His help. But even when the good grades don't come, He is still good. As for me, if He needs an extremely high ACT score to open a particular door, or particularly provide a certain scholarship, He will perform a miracle. But if not, the doors will still open. If I just follow His will and plan, that ACT score will not matter. It does not define who I am. It does not determine where I am going.

The same goes for you.