God Looks at the Heart

Sometimes it seems crazy that God can even use us. We’re all flawed and full of sin, yet He still works on us. He has a perfect purpose and plan for everyone and desires to use us as a vessel for Him.

During my devotional time a couple of days ago, I came across 1st Samuel 16:7 and realized the truth in that verse.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

1st Samuel 16:7

It was not first assumed that the Lord would choose David to be king. Everyone was judging based on appearances and certain qualities when they saw his brothers, which led them to think, “Surely, he shall be anointed as king.” But the Lord’s choice was based on the heart: Who is willing to obey what I ask of them to do no matter what? David loved God and desired to please Him with his life.

Being used by God is not about being better than someone, so this is not some sort of competition. It merely comes down to this: do you yearn to do work for the Kingdom of God?

Nowadays, the term “Christian” is used so vaguely. So now you have to wonder if someone is saved based on the fruits of their labor. Are they living in deliberate sin and think that it’s okay (serving two masters basically)? Do they seek the Lord first or man?

With people using that title all the time, it’s uncertain if they are fully committed to Christ. And because of that, we should never be so quick to jump on people when they do certain things, such as committing sins that everyone knows is wrong.

On the flip side, those who are already followers of Jesus cannot please anyone. Not one person on this earth should try to honor, but our Father in Heaven. Our purpose in life is not to be a people-pleaser, but to glorify Christ and being servants of Him.

Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.

1st Samuel 15:24

We are to live for an audience of One. If people think that you are too “traditional” because of how you are living your life for Christ, ignore it. The people who do not understand your way of living are judging based on appearance, without knowing the heart behind why you’re doing it. We are commanded to “not be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2)” so strive to be set apart.

No matter what others say, keep living for Jesus! We must conduct ourselves in a pure manner because people can only see our appearance. Allow people to see that you are full of joy no matter what, have Someone who you can rely on during difficult circumstances and that you are seeking the Lord with your WHOLE heart. Your words, how you dress, actions, etc., need to reflect Christ. Of course, we are still sinners and will make mistakes, but there are some things that we all know NOT to do such as cussing, using the Lord’s name in vain, or wearing revealing clothes.

We need to use every aspect of our lives to glorify Christ and let others see how the Lord works in us. God can use anyone He wants as a vessel for His Kingdom, so let Him use YOU. Being set apart for Christ is really based on your heart’s desire. Are you willing to surrender your all to Christ?

Liebster Award: The Work of God, my Life, and a Little Randomness

As you all know, I typically do not participate in tags. However, Anna at Precious and Redeemed just tagged me for the Liebster Award and I liked the questions she asked. You’ll get to know me a little more. 😉 Thanks, Anna! And definitely check out her blog as it has been an encouragement and blessing to me!

The Rules:

  1. First, thank the person who nominated you, include a link to their blog, and add the Liebster Award badge to your blog and/or post.
  2. Next answer the eleven questions from the person who nominated you.
  3. Give eleven random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 5-11 fellow bloggers with less than 200 followers.
  5. Notify your nominees that you nominated them for the Liebster Award.
  6. Last, but certainly not least, ask your nominees eleven questions.

Her Questions:

1. What is your favorite part about blogging?

I think my favorite part about blogging is seeing how God has used my words. It’s always a blessing when I receive a comment, saying that my post was encouraging or someone sharing how they’ve dealt with something specific in regards to the post. I had no idea that God could use me in this way and I never even imagined having this platform. It truly was all orchestrated by God.

2. What is one passage in God’s Word that God has been using to speak to you this year?

One passage that God has used to speak to me this year, which I have recently begun to memorize, is Psalm 18. It is a beautiful reminder of how God is always here for us, that He hears our voice when we pray, and we can rely on Him no matter what.

“In my distress, I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.”

Psalm 18:6

3. What is a time in your life you just saw the handiwork of God and His perfect timing? (Could be an answered prayer, a time He so evidently provided, a time you just knew so clearly He was near, etc.) Curious to read answers on this one!

I will always remember when I was in 7th grade, I heavily struggled with math. My family can testify that I spent many nights crying because I was frustrated. The teacher that I had taught verbally, so I had difficulty comprehending what she taught because I am a visual learner. Eventually, I began to pray and ask God to help me in this area, and He answered it. Math Intervention, a program for struggling math students, allowed me to receive extra help and reiteration of what was taught in my class. I took the problem to God and He made a way.

4. How does knowing God affect the way you blog?

I really like this question! For sure since the purpose of this blog is to share about my walk with Christ and give encouragement, I don’t post on a consistent schedule. That is merely because I want what I write to not be my words, but the words the Lord gives me, which is most important. I want to glorify Christ with the posts that I write, even if that means not posting weekly. 

5. What is your very favorite month of the year and why?

My favorite month used to be August because not only is my birthday in that month, but school also starts back. But I think now my favorite month is June because that’s when Bible Bee starts! I think fellow Bible Bee-ers will understand my excitement level. 😀

6. What is your favorite book series?

I don’t read book series very often, and I think it’s because I tend to never read all the books. However, that actually has changed recently. I think currently, my favorite book series is “Code of Silence” by Tim Shoemaker. It’s an excellent Christian thriller trilogy!

7. What is one big thing you’d love to do someday?

One big thing that I would like to do is publish a book or devotional. I already enjoy writing, so I’d be interested in seeing if I could write something that is full length.

8. How have you seen God’s faithfulness in the past year?

2020 was one of the most interesting years that I had ever experienced. The pandemic has been crazy, full of unknowns and worry. But one way that God has been faithful is how He has provided for me and family. There are so many people who have been struggling during this pandemic; not having an income, being able to eat, etc., yet He has continued to make a way for us.

9. What is one attribute of God that just continually stands out to you & why?

No one on this Earth is perfect and cannot be because God is the only one who is. We’re flawed with a sinful nature, which automatically makes us un-reliable. We cannot independently do anything on our own without the Lord’s strength and do not know what is best. We can lean on Him because He’s dependable and reliable God is. That is why we can “trust the Lord with all our heart.”

10. Are you a morning bird or night owl?

I’m sort of in the middle, but I think I am definitely more of a morning bird. I typically wake up early, including on the weekends, which a lot of people think is very unusual. 😄

11. Why do you blog?

Encouraging others is something that I have done ever since I was little. I really don’t know what sparked my little self to create cards for people I knew, but it’s stuck with me. I don’t really make cards anymore, but there are others ways that the Lord has used me to keep it up, and blogging is one of them. Truly, I blog because I desire to encourage others, particularly young ladies, in their walk with the Lord. I share about how God is working in my life and shaping me into the person He yearns for me to be. It’s amazing what God can do and I have loved seeing how He’s worked during my 2 years of blogging. 🙂

Those were really good questions! Now, it’s time to move onto the 11 random facts. I’m generally terrible at this so let’s see how I do!

  1. I just finished memorizing Romans 12.
  2. One of my favorite hymns is “As the Deer.”
  3. Over spring break, I purchased a total of 13 books from Half Price Books and on sale from Christian Book.
  4. I competed in my county’s History Day competition for the first time in March (it took me about 6 months to complete the project, though).
  5. I always have difficulty with writing ‘about me’ pages.
  6. I have been a little obsessed with reading lately, so I can generally be found with my E-reader in hand throughout the day. My family can certainly testify!
  7. I tend to correct my family if they say something grammatically incorrect. My family can testify about this, too; especially my Dad!
  8. I always have ideas for stories, but never write them. It’s kind of annoying!
  9. A word that my classmates use to describe me is “weird.” 😄
  10. I have a difficult time smiling if someone is taking a photo of me.
  11. Watching aesthetic study and pen pal videos is very calming for me, along with Bible Bee videos.

Phew, got through that! Now, for the last part of this post, which is announcing the nominees, who are not obligated to participate. I tag the bloggers as follows:

Grace @ Vibrant for Jesus

Sierra @ Journey Promises

Josie @ Apple Blossoms

Lilly @ A Daughter Serving the King

Rae @ Rae’s Ramblings

Here are the questions.

  1. When do you typically spend time with God (morning, afternoon, or evening)?
  2. What is a passage of Scripture that you’ve clung to this past year?
  3. How has God worked in your life recently?
  4. What is your favorite hymn?
  5. What is your favorite Bible story?
  6. When did you feel led to start a blog?
  7. What is the main mission of your blog?
  8. What are your top 3 favorite blogs?
  9. Do you prefer to read or write?
  10. What do you enjoy most about the season of spring?
  11. What is one thing you’ve learned now that you wish you learned a long time ago?

I hope that you all enjoyed this post! And for those who I tagged, I look forward to reading your posts if you decide to do it. 🙂

A Time to Celebrate: Resurrection Sunday

Today is a very special day to celebrate. Emotions are full because of joy and sadness. How can it be? So much happened which makes it almost difficult to believe, yet it’s all true.

Jesus did not have to die for the sins that we would commit because we deserve punishment for the wrong doing we do. We are imperfect humans with a sinful nature that we were born with. But because of His love for us and obedience to His Father, He was brutally beaten to death. He wanted us to be free from our sins and led to accept Him as Our Lord and Savior.

Some people think, “Why did He die for me?”

John 3:16 concisely answers this question:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus’ death was a part of God’s perfect plan, and you know, His ways are never wrong. It seems far above our comprehension that He would even desire for His Son to be killed. But guess what happened next?

On the third day after He was killed, He rose from the dead. This was the bigger picture that the Lord had in mind when He planned for Jesus to die on the cross.

Sometimes, we are so doubtful of what God has in-store when something that we didn’t want to occur happened. But we have to trust that He will work it all out in a way that brings Him honor. That is why we must walk by faith and not sight.

Our Savior is alive, so we can worship and give Him all the praise, glory, and honor. We truly have so much to celebrate and what a way to show love to our Savior.

Let’s celebrate today and forever because He lives.

Happy Resurrection Sunday, friend!

National Bible Bee – It’s that Time Again!

I would love to participate in the National Bible Bee. I thought to myself as I was looking on the website, back in mid-2019. Lord, please make a way for me to do so.

I’m grateful that I prayed the short prayer because I was given the opportunity to participate in the Summer Study last year. Although I did not qualify for the National competition, the Summer Study was a wonderful experience of learning how to efficiently get into God’s word through studying and memorizing it. I am glad that this program exists!

As I studied the story of Joseph, I learned so much about how to study my Bible and understand what He wanted me to learn. I heard Joseph’s story and watched Dreamworks, Joseph’s King of Dreams countless times, yet I never realized how vivid the theme of trust was. No matter the situation that he faced, he did not doubt God nor his faith and knew that God would work everything together for good.

It was a reminder of how much I need to trust God more. I always want to handle things by myself because I want things to go my way, but it never works out. I am not perfect and instead have a sin nature, but I can rely on Him for strength. He’s always near.

And do you want to know something? Well, I had been out of the habit of memorizing Scripture ever since I aged out of Vacation Bible School. I did not really have any motivation to keep doing it and never really realized how important it was to hide God’s word in my heart. But that certainly changed last year.

Whenever I did anything, whether that was washing the dishes, taking a shower, or even waking up, the passages that I was memorizing would always pop into my head. It was as if they became apart of me, which helped me to meditate on and think about how I could apply them to my life.

Like it says in Psalm 119:9, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.”

Hiding God’s word in our hearts helps us to keep our focus on Him and things that are above. I noticed that my mind was filled with thoughts about those passages and the main study passage the whole summer. And truly, there is no better to spend your time than with God. Doing that helps to grow your relationship with Him and you learn to trust Him more. Immerse yourself in His word and get it into you.

Although the Bible Bee has the National competition, that is not most important. Sure, it’s exciting if you are able to move on, but do not be discouraged if you don’t make it. Coming from experience, if you focus too much on trying to qualify, you’ll lose perspective on why you are spending your entire summer dedicated to be in God’s word. Instead, think about how you can glorify Christ through this experience and what will bring Him honor.

Before you go, check out these blog posts about the Bible Bee from some of my favorite blogs!

Why YOU Should Do This! by Lauren @ Living With Joy Unspeakable

The National Bible Bee Summer Study by Lilly @ A Daughter Serving the King

And for a good laugh, watch this video: What’s it Like to Compete in the National Bible Bee

Lastly, registration is still open! The prices increased a little today, but if you’re interested, you can find out more information at https://biblebee.org/. And if you’d like to ask me any questions, please put them in the comments below.