Tis the Season, But what’s your Reason?

I love everything that Christmas truly stands for. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of our savior. It is about Him, all He has done for us and continues to do for us. He is not only the reason for the season, He is the reason for existing. Unfortunately in this day and age it seems that some are trying to turn this significant celebration of the birth of Christ into a commercialized, material-driven “Holiday”. Jesus was not sent to us in the form of man in order to save us from our sin just so that 2,000 years later our trees could be jam packed with presents.

 

A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

I see people left and right getting into piles of debt just so that they can keep up with materialistic expectations that our kids have. What makes it worse is that they are learning these ways from us! I am not saying that gifts are bad and we should not buy anything for our kids at all. What I am trying to say is let’s start digging deeper into the true meaning of why we celebrate and let that pour over into our kids. We need to show our kids that even if we didn’t have a cent to buy them any toys we should be filled with joy because our savior is enough. Through His example we can show them ways to be kind to others in love and everything else Jesus Christ encompasses, in various ways, and not only during Christmas.

"The Best Things In Life Are Not Things."

“The Best Things In Life Are Not Things.”

 

Meet Janessa!! I said Cheese and I am guessing she thought she was going to eat cheese because she began praying.

Meet Janessa!! I said Cheese and I am guessing she thought she was going to eat cheese because she began praying.

My daughter is a bit over 2 years old but she is already so smart and absorbs information all around her. The things she remembers and knows astonishes me on a daily basis.

I want to start a tradition with her this year. I plan on having a present for Jesus Christ for His birthday so that I can explain to her why we are celebrating. My idea is to find a manger or have one made (my cousin works wonders with wood), have it wrapped so when she opens it she can see the scene of His birth. Then I will read to her the story of how our savior came to this world and as she is listening I will show her each and every person in the nativity scene so she can visually comprehend as well.

 

Be Intentional!

Be Intentional!

I believe we must be intentional when we are showing our kids who God is and why He so mercifully and graciously sent us a savior when we were least deserving. I want this tradition to carry out threw our lives and fill our years with joy. Perhaps Janessa will want to do the same when she has a child of her own one day. (One day far, far away lol)

I encourage you all, if you haven’t already, to start traditions with your families that encompass the values and beliefs that matter the most in this world. If you have a tradition like this or any other I would love to hear all about them. I pray you all have a wonderful and Merry Christmas this year enjoying what truly matters. God bless my brothers and sisters.

Sincerely,

4rm Party Girl To Praying Woman

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” ~ Hebrews 13:5

And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” ~Luke 12:15

God: A defense against defense mechanisms.

Anger and sarcasm have been my defense mechanisms since childhood. I wasn’t the most popular kid growing up whether I was being picked on because I came from a poor family who couldn’t afford the latest trends or because I was one of the lightest skinned kids in a predominately Hispanic school. You name it, I was probably teased about it. But as the years passed by I learned that I had a wit about me and I could tango with the best of them. When these kids picked on me it was all too easy to tear them down a notch as they have been doing to me. The temporary satisfaction of getting even only led me to believe that this is what I should have been doing all along. Defend myself at all costs, that’s what the world teaches us, right? Wrong. Had I known then that it never mattered what these kids thought of me, it only matters what God thinks of me, perhaps my anger and especially my attitude would not be such a battle I face so often today in my adulthood.

Anger in itself is not a sin; Actions carried out in Anger can be.

Anger in itself is not a sin;
Actions carried out in Anger can be.

There are days where my anger wins the battle and I walk away feeling defeated by my own actions but then there are days filled with glorious victories that eclipse whatever win the devil thought he had over me. On those days I realize how truly far God has brought me. He is my great defender and will right any wrong done against me. And furthermore that in the face of a trial a lesson can always be learned.

God can transform the most stubborn of hearts out there and use them for good just like He did with Paul(Saul). God has promised to finish the work He has begun in us and there isn’t a shadow of a doubt in my mind that it will be done. Piece by piece we will be chipped away until that precious day we are called up and will be made perfect like our savior Jesus Christ. I pray that each of us can extend grace especially to those we feel do not deserve it. I lift all those who are struggling with these same anger issues as me. May we be lifted up to the Lord so that He may remove every stem of bitterness and resentment in our hearts. Help us to forgive, let go and not sin in anger. In the precious name of Jesus Christ I pray this over every person who reads this message. Amen. God bless you all my brothers and sisters.

Sincerely,

4rm Partygirl to Praying Woman

 

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. ~Proverbs 29:11

My “V8 moment” (Hold the juice)

Have you ever had a “should’ve had a V8 moment” and no it has nothing to do with the juice? What I mean is that I just had a moment where I wanted to smack myself in the forehead because of something I said. I am a mother of a very rambunctious toddler. She gets into everything, has tons of energy and rarely understands that no means no the first time. I love my daughter and therefore I discipline her when her actions call for it. She is a loving and sweet child but just like adults she has her days where she is snappy, shutting herself away from the world. On days like this I find myself telling her “Janessa, don’t be mean!”

Flash forward to just a moment ago, I am in my office having another work through lunch when a couple of coworkers walk past my desk. As I am eating I hear one of them ask what it is that I am eating. “Chicken Alfredo”, I said. With a snarky smirk on his face he says, “That doesn’t look anything like chicken alfredo!” He then proceeds to laugh with another coworker walking out the door. His reply should have been just that, HIS reply. Before I knew it my witty comeback urged its way out saying, “I don’t recall asking for your opinion!” Not sure if he heard me because as he was walking out he also muttered, “Smells good though.” Conviction radiated through me almost instantaneously.

I should've had a V8 moment

                                           The Holy Spirit’s conviction is beautiful like that.

So I reflected on the situation.Why is it that I felt the need to retaliate? I know I am not the best cook but I also know that this does not diminish my value as a woman, person and most importantly a child of God. So again, why did I let one small comment get to me so immensely that I felt the need to duplicate snarkyness and pay it forward?! In this moment I told myself out loud “Don’t be mean Janessa!” I have been so accustomed to telling my daughter this every time she behaved in a malicious way towards anyone that when I was correcting myself her name was automatically inserted. I could not help but laugh at first and then I thought. How many of us actually practice what we preach? There have been other times like this where I post on a certain subject and then fail a battle and I sit shaking my head at myself. We all make mistakes but it is God who uses these mistakes to teach us and others through us.

The world will tell you that vengeance is ours. Your flesh will call for you to give an eye for an eye but what does that do other than make the whole world blind? There are evil forces that want you to believe and act in this way so that in the future we will rely on ourselves for justice. This is a false concept. The one and only true justifier is God himself. There is a healthy fear we are to have for the Lord, a fear that He is almighty and if we give into evil we will perish. The cross has already won the war but there are still very real spiritual battles we must face each day. Great news is we do not have to face this battle alone. God is always by our side when we call on Him.

 

Sincerely,
4rm Partygirl to Praying Woman

“Though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.”

Psalm 37:24

Can we earn Grace?

Grace is a gift from God that we can never earn.

This past weekend I had a girlfriend meet me at my house so we could go out for the day and enjoy some much needed girl time. As women we know our everyday busy lives can definitely make one grow weary. It’s so refreshing to step away from the day to day needs by hanging out with friends with similar demands and let go for a few hours to just enjoy each other’s company. So my friend came over and I met her and our other friend at the door with my then almost 2 year old Janessa.

It Ain't Easy Being Cheesy...(Yup, I Totally Went There!)

It Ain’t Easy Being Cheesy…(Yup, I Totally Went There!)

Janessa had just stuffed her face with cheetos right before I heard the doorbell. So here I am at the door with a cheese covered two-year old standing right next to me. The ladies come in and the first thing my daughter does is raise her hands as high as possible to one of my friends with a huge smile on her face. She motions her hands to be picked up. My friend being the loving, motherly woman she is could not resist such an invitation and I am sure you can guess what happened next. By the time my daughter left her arms there were cheese trails all over the front of my friends white shirt. As my friend was trying to rub away the orange cheese I apologized over and over but she smiled my sorry’s away which left me relieved. What she said next however, really gave me an “oh wow” moment.

jesus loves you

She realized that she was willing to pick up a really dirty toddler no matter the mess because she really loved her. She told me if anyone in public asked her where the mess came from she would answer, “Janessa loved on me!” Then she told me it reminded her of God’s love towards herself. When she came to God she was dirty, filthy and full of sin and here was God with His pure white garments. God saw her looking up as dirty as can be with a big smile and raised hands out reaching for HIM to grab her. She motioned out for him to pick her up and HE couldn’t resist but to reach back.

God loves each one of us and asks that we come to him sins and all. HE tells us to come as we are because no matter what we may have done in the past God is the God of love, forgiveness and mercy. HE sent His ONE AND ONLY son to die so that we can live. This means that when we accept Jesus, who paid the ultimate price for our debt, we too can be cloth in pure white garments as our Father in heaven. He will wipe the slate clean on the dirtiest stains of your past. Paul said I am the worst sinner there is yet God saved him so that we may know that no sin in comparison could ever be beyond the reach of God’s grace. We do not deserve grace but that is what’s so beautiful about God’s love and mercy. Grace is a gift that we can never earn but is given to us through faith in Jesus. What a beautiful “Oh wow” moment this was.

Sincerely,
4rm Partygirl to Praying Woman

 

Ephesians 2:4-5
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in sin, it is by grace you have been saved.

 

Forgiveness through Faith can Save Marriages!

Forgiveness

I’ve dealt with a lot of forgiveness issues from my past and present as I’m sure many you have. Whether I am having trouble forgiving myself, a stranger or someone close to me one thing remains the same. I am a prisoner of my own lack of forgiveness. As some of you following my blog may know I’ve had a few marital problems and they mostly stem from lack of forgiveness. I can also safely say I haven’t taken a lot of responsibility for my part in what I like to refer to as what seemed to be a smorgasbord of problems between the two of us.

Through my ongoing study of God’s word, other blogs involving Christian wives and their roles, for example “Unveiled Wife” which I definitely recommend, and related articles I have realized something. What looked to be the downfall of my marriage actually is turning out to be what is saving not only my marriage itself but restoring a very broken relationship my husband and I had with our Savior!

Let me explain. When my husband and I entered our marriage we were completely oblivious to the roles our Father had set forth for us thousands of years ago. Needless to say we were trying to build our foundation on sand and it was not long before we began to crumble. We were sliding down that very slippery path of destruction that leads to the dead end of marriage called divorce. I lost almost all hope and in my mind there was no going back. I had held on to so much hurt and score keeping that I didn’t know which way was up. Yet there on my path lied such a battle of conflict.

On my path there were all these voices telling me that I didn’t deserve this pain, I was an independent woman, and that I was still young so I could move on easily. Voices telling me that if I forgave for whatever wrongdoing that I felt had been done against me then I was somehow admitting defeat. My anger was consuming me. I was letting this anger control me so that I wouldn’t forgive. I didn’t want to forgive. I had a choice to make. I finally started asking for God to softened my heart because I knew my heart had grew so cold.

All these confusing voices in my head were not coming from the Lord. God is not the author of confusion and we need to let that sink in our brains and let God take over. As my Pastor said best, “Our newness in Christ should begin and take place in our homes first!”

So I prayed and prayed and God gave me an entirely new path. This path is paved with beautiful, unconditional, forgiving love that only God himself can show us. I had been holding on to grudges yet rejoicing in all the forgiveness my Lord could give me the instant I accepted HIM as my Lord and Savior.

To Forgive The Undeserving Is To Show Grace…

I had been told by many to pray for the ones who hurt me as well as myself. So I prayed. I prayed for his heart and I prayed for my heart and I strived for sincerity. It did not happen in my timing but in HIS timing I finally saw hope entering back into my mind and heart.

Slowly my anger melted away like snow melting off the sun kissed pedals of a flower on the first day of Spring. God loves marriage. He does not want to see his children divorcing. Where there is a will, there is a way and if you don’t have that will pray for the Lord to restore that will in you. I am here telling you that I’ve seen the brink of divorce but it doesn’t have to end there!

Do you remember when you were on fire for the Lord? You went shouting on every mountain top that you love Jesus and you’re not ashamed to tell it to anyone willing to hear you. Then maybe after a few months or years your fire starts to dwindle down. You may still go to Church but you just don’t witness like you use to or feel the Holy Spirit every time you pray. Same things happen to people who are married. The love is new and exciting in the beginning but may become comfortable or casual after a while.

If that sounds like you then I encourage you to re-evaluate your relationship with your savior and see what you can do to improve your servant’s heart for the Lord every day. We should strive to implement this intentional behavior in our marriages as well. If we cannot stay committed to someone we can touch, feel, see and love physically as well as benefit from physically than how is the Lord to trust that we can stay committed to our relationship with him? This is why I believe the Lord holds marriage so close to HIS heart.

Pray daily my friends and seek Christian counseling from older married members of your church, your pastor, and most importantly your bible! React in love, patience and forgiveness. If you or your spouse are full of anger look to your Word. Do what the word asks and pray every day for God to guide you through. Remember faith as small as a mustard can move mountains! My husband and I are moving our mountain together by the grace of God. You can too!

Sincerely,
4rm Partygirl to Praying Woman

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. ~Ephesians 4:32

 

HIS Sheep

-His-sheep-hear-His-voice

When the image of ourselves comes to mind what does that image look like? Some of us may be more confident than others and the image that comes to their mind may be the image of someone who is strong, beautiful, courageous, smart or whatever the case may be. Others might have more insecurities and see themselves as weak, plain, small and so forth. We can be all these things yet none of them at the same time. Romans chapter 8:36 “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” Who do you think made you the way you are? We were made to be overcomers and the Lord made us that way. He put the desire in us to be more. We are sheep for the slaughter but we have a Good Shepherd and that Shepherd is Jesus Christ our Lord. Just as a shepherd protects his defenseless sheep against the wolves Jesus protects us against the evils that the Devil plots against us on a daily basis. We are smack dab in the middle of SPIRITUAL WARFARE and most people do not even realize this. The wolf(Devil) is a very tricky creature. I’m sure you are familiar with the expression “Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.” This statement has the devil’s handy work written all over it. How many stories do we hear or read about the devil coming to people and telling them straight forward “I am the Devil and I want your soul so please commit this sin so that you may burn in Hell and be mine for all eternity?” Even an atheist would think twice before making that deal. Of course the devil will use lies and tricks to win our souls because he knows he would lose otherwise. He will disguise himself as seemingly harmless things that may start out innocent but the Devil knows better. He knows great evil can begin from good intentions. As the sheep for slaughter we must know what is at stake here. God has placed us with weapons to fight evil and it is up to us to accept Jesus Christ and rise to the challenge. We must challenge our pride, our way of thinking, our self-centeredness and realize this war is much bigger than you and I. This is a war we must fight to Glorify God! We must bare our own crosses in this life because Jesus is the only way.

“The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law nor can it do so.” Romans 8:7. This verse rings home for me, not only now that I have begun my spiritual journey and seem to run into a lot of retaliation but because before I was saved I myself acted out in the same manner. I remember the perpetual cliché “Don’t judge me!” shouting from my lips to those who would testify to me. Now having begun my studies of the Word I realize how ignorant that statement truly is. Don’t judge me?! Jesus did say “do not judge, or you too will be judged” and on the other hand we are also told to beware of evildoers and false prophets and to avoid those who practice all kinds of evil. How are we to distinguish who these people are if we do not make some kind of judgment about what they are doing? Believers of Christ are always being depicted as judgmental people when we speak out against sinful activity yet how can we separate ourselves from the sinful ways of the flesh if we do not exercise a sort of righteous judgment with careful discernment? We must judge the sin and know it is a matter of right from wrong. Sin has been judged by our Almighty God himself and left here on Earth in our Bibles as plain as day for us to implement. Jesus told us not to judge hypocritically. Meaning I can’t sit here and tell all my friends and loved ones that the Lord wants us to keep a sober mind and then go home and drink a bottle of liquor in secrecy. It is our Christian duty to LOVINGLY and RESPECTFULLY confront another believer who is sinning. This is not judging but rather pointing out the truth with love. A sinner is never without hope. We give hope with the ultimate goal of bringing repentance in the other person and restoration to the fellowship. Here’s a little nugget passed on to me by a beautiful Christian soul. She defined the word hypocrite to me not as someone who has done in the past what they are telling you NOT to do now. A hypocrite is someone who will tell you not to behave one way when they themselves are doing that very thing they are instructing you not to do and see no fault in themselves for doing so. As stated before we all fall but a true Christian will feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit, repent and truly strive to never make that same mistake again. Hypocrites will only make excuses as to why they did it and continue their destructive behavior without a second thought. I have in more or less words been called this because of my spotted past. I’ve learned from my mistakes and continue to learn from them and only wish to spare others from having to learn the hard way as I did. In this day in age hypocrite is viewed as more unacceptable than some of the worst curse words out there. Even murderers and such characters hate to be called hypocrites. They’ll say things like “Oh I may be a murderer but at least I’m not a hypocrite!” Imagine that. Nevertheless sin is sin. We must all strive to be more understanding and loving of each other instead of fighting over our differences.

God hates sin and to love God would be to hate sin as well. This brings me to my next and final point for the day, I promise.
The second perpetual cliché I hear spoken against Christians today, “I thought you were supposed to be a Christian?” or “I thought you were a Christian now; perfect?) along with being called a hypocrite. It is true that as Christians we are held to higher spiritual standards because we are fully aware of the spiritual warfare going on around us and yes the bible is considered my “How To” survival kit, my dearest possession. The bible holds all I need to know about life and how to develop my relationship with my Savior but let me be clear. I will stumble. I will fall. I will make mistakes and most importantly I will get back up, repent and ask God for forgiveness and strength to not fall as easily next time. Being Christian does not mean that I all of a sudden have all the answers or that one day if I pray enough or read enough that I will be perfect. Being a Christian means I know I am weak but my GOD is oh SO STRONG! I urge those of you who hold on to your fleshly desires as I myself fight the temptations of this world every day, to STOP playing church! If you do not fully commit to the Lord’s commands then how do you expect to fight the wolves at bay? We will surely be devoured and leave our children defenseless if we do not use our God given weapons to fight the flesh and the devil all in one. If God be for us then who dare be against us? God deserves your whole heart, will you give it to him?

Sincerely,
4rm Partygirl to Praying Woman

“I have a message in my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Psalm 36:1

“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” Romans 8:5.

Don’t let anyone diminish the light within yourself…

 

God made us in his image. We are favored because we are his children. It was said that even the angels in heaven became jealous of the love our Lord has for us. Can you imagine that? Angels, jealous of us?! How could we not feel loved? Sad to say that we go through this life clinging to the hope that we will find that “one true love” that “never ending, all consuming, can’t sleep at night love.” All the while this love has been promised to us thousands of years ago. God’s love is perfect. It is never faltering and HE will never let you down. People on earth are only human and no matter how good a person is in one way or another disappointment will occur.

Let your Light Shine3
I must admit this is all fairly new to me but I kid you not when I say in the midst of starting back from zero I have never felt more alive and full of the strength that I once prayed for every day and night. I may have had my doubts in the past. As cynical as I was I can honestly sit here today and tell you I have 0 doubts that Jesus Christ is my savior. I fell in love with Jesus and I accepted him as my one true love. At this point I am so enwrapped in Awe of our Lord and savior that a man would need to be close to God in order to be close to me.
I know someone near and dear to my heart who is going through something very similar to my situation. And I would like to dedicate this post to her! Stay strong my friend. The road is long but with God by our side there isn’t a single hardship we can’t face and overcome. She too was in an abusive relationship and tried clinging on for the sake of their child. Now when a woman falls in love she falls hard. Not saying this does not apply to men but in this case we’re talking about women who are after God’s heart. So any who, this friend of mine, is a beautiful soul lost in what she thought would be her fairytale. Her happy ending. Too many times I hear women say that they stayed longer than they would have had they not had a child together. I was one of those women. I am an advocate for marriage and of course I would never want to see any family split up but when abuse is involved then it is a whole other story.
God did not create woman from Adam’s head to be controlled by him nor did he create us from his feet to be stepped on, instead the almighty lord created Eve from Adam’s rib, close to his heart so that we may stand side by side as equals. It is when a man treats you with such love as Christ loved the church that you know you have a man of God. I myself had not been saved when I met my husband therefore I chose my partner based on things of this Earth. A mistake I will not make again. I don’t know what the future holds for me or my friend but ladies I implore you, if a man is making you feel less than what you are, a beautiful child of God, then that is a abuse and you should either seek counseling and or/remove yourself from the situation. Abuse can be verbal, mental and or physical. I’ve encountered all three in one man. I pray that God can change me and in return allow me to lead by example and pray for change in my husband. Only God knows what is in store for us but if he is showing you signs that you need to let go of something then we as women after God’s heart need to listen. He will take things away from us because he has something better than we could have ever imagined waiting for us. All it takes is a little faith. But PLEASE do not let anyone diminish the light you have within yourself. God loves you for who you are. Remember the Devil knows your name but calls you by your sin, God knows your sin but calls you by your name.
I can do all things through Christ which strengthneth me. ~Phillippians 4:13
Sincerely,
4rm Partygirl to Praying Woman