If there is a God, why is there struggle and pain in this world?

If there is a God, why is there struggle and pain in this world?

This is a question that is asked frequently. People have a hard time wrapping their minds around the fact that if there is a so called “God” who is loving and caring why would he allow people to go through such horror and pain?

Consider this…

God gave us free will. He is not demanding us and calling out orders from heaven. Of course, yes, He does have a plan for us and wants us to live a life of love, but he does not force us to do so.

It started in the Garden of Eden. God said to Adam and Eve they could eat from any tree in the garden, except for the Tree of Knowledge. They were given choices. They were given the free will to decide which tree to eat from. When they decided to eat from the tree of knowledge, God was there but he did not force them away. He allowed them to make that decision.

In Genesis 2:16-17 it tells us, “And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’”

The opportunity was given to them to make a decision but he also told them what would happen if they chose a certain tree.

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

“The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (The devil’s temptation to make the wrong decision)

“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it (her decision). She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it (his decision).”

Genesis 3:1-6

There is evil in this world, and the evil was in the garden. The devil came as a serpent and tempted Adam and Eve. They gave into that temptation and in their own free will chose to eat from the tree of knowledge. They were given a chose. God wasn’t forcing them to choose what he wanted them to do. He stood back and allowed them to decide.

There is evil that we face now. Things happen to people that are not deserving of it. People are robbed, raped, murdered and they didn’t do anything wrong. How can God sit back and watch that happen?

It breaks God’s heart to see his children struggle, in pain, hurt. During those times of pain, what do you do? Do you search for anything to help you? Are you desperate for an answer, comfort, someone to take away the pain?

God is waiting with open arms for you to run to him. To cling to him. To cry out to him. To ask him for help. I don’t believe it’s a matter of God allowing bad things to happen because there is evil in this world, but he does wait for us to make a decision to draw near to him during those times. Following God does not mean life will be easy and nothing bad will ever happen to you, but it does bring you comfort and peace knowing the ALL POWERFUL GOD is on your side and fighting for you. He will bring the enemy down. He already has, but we as humans are tempted and create a way for the devil to get in and torment us. God never wanted that to happen, but he gives us a chose——to follow him, or to follow the ways of the evil one, the ways of the world.

What do you choose?

807a28c94045772dc0c9119335067ee6 Psalm 23:4

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What is your purpose?

These are not my own words. They were given to me to share with you…

“I created this world for you to enjoy and explore and not many people take advantage of it. They get stuck in their ways and get stuck in their job but that’s not what I created life for. You were created for much more. You were created to enjoy the life you are in, not to suffer from it. You are not living out your true calling and purpose if you feel like you are drowning. That’s when you need to turn to me and give me your burdens and your worries. They are not for you to carry. I will take them from you because I want you to enjoy life and not be miserable. Something must change if you are miserable, and hurting. I have the answer for you. I am the everlasting Father who loves you with an unconditional love. DO you know what that means? There is nothing you can do to win or lose my love. I love and will love you forever. You are my child. I created you and knit you together in your mother’s womb. You were made with a purpose. Now you need to live out that purpose and don’t waste it away. I made you for a reason. Do you know what that is?

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And then I opened up my Jesus Calling…

“In order to hear My voice, you must release all your worries into My care. Entrust to Me everything that concerns you. This clears the way for you to seek My Face unhindered. Let Me free you from fear that is hiding deep inside you. Sit quietly in My presence, allowing My light to soak into you and drive out any darkness lodged within you.

“Accept each day just as it comes to you, remembering that I am sovereign over your life. Rejoice in this day that I have made, trusting that I am abundantly present in it. Instead of regretting or resenting the ways things are, thank Me in all circumstances. Trust Me and don’t be fearful; thank Me and rest in My sovereignty.”

God is good and He knows exactly what you need when you need it. He wants to give us the desires of our hearts and make us happy. He takes delight in us. He created you with purpose. Are you living out your purpose? Are you trying to find your purpose? Seek God and he will tell you and show you. You must be willing to take action.

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LET GO!

What are some of the things you are holding onto? What is one thing you are holding on so tightly that it has to be pried out of your fingers? What is something you do not want to give up control over?

There are many areas in our life that we want to hold onto whether it’s children, a job, house, any material possessions or loved ones. We want to be able to control it. But I have news for you…

YOU CAN’T.

You cannot control life. You can control, however, how you respond to the circumstances that happen in your life.

There is one person who can control life and it’s not you….it’s GOD.

He wants you to give over control. He wants you to let go of the things you are holding on so tightly. And I have good news for you, He is the BEST person to take control because he will make whatever situation, whatever circumstance better than you could have ever made it.

God wants to bless you. He wants to bless you abundantly. But he won’t do that if you do not trust him. Trust him with the small things and he will trust you with the big things. Whatever size your problem or plan is, give it to God. He will blow you out of the water with what he does with it!

You have to TRUST HIM.

Right now I am trying to start my own business. I am starting to notice a pattern. When I try to do things my way, nothing happens, no one is reached, I haven’t been able to make any connections in the field I am working in. But when I pray over what God wants to share to others through me, or ask him what he wants to do in my business, I am blown away with the amount of people who watch and listen to my content, the connections and meetings I make. And it’s all because I come to God first. I come to God with my plans and ask him for his. I give him each situation and allow him to use me in it.

Let go of your plan. You will not regret it, I promise. God has a much better plan for you than you have for yourself!

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”

Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

When you let go and let God take control it will feel something like this…  : )

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Your Tribe

Back in February I joined the John Maxwell Team (JMT) to learn and grow in leadership and to become a certified coach and speaker. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I signed up let alone have to funds to do it. However I knew I was taking a leap of faith and I deep down I knew God would catch me and provide.

 

Fast-forward 6 months and here I am a certified life coach and have met some incredible people along the way. I just got home from the JMT live event and I am blown away by the ways God showed up.

 

We were “randomly” placed at a table for the entire 3 days. I was placed at a table with 6 complete strangers from every walk of life and from all over the country and world! We represented California, New Jersey, Colorado, Oklahoma, Maryland, and the United Kingdom.

 

The first day with these strangers we had to give a 5 minute presentation. It could be on whatever topic we wanted but each of us told a piece of our stories, which gave us a better understanding of each other from the start. The main component for each of our stories was God. We connected on a spiritual level, which I know is now why we are like FAMILY!

 

By the end of the event we were praying together and created accountability for one another. Four of us took a leap of faith to bring ourselves and our businesses to the next level. We were in complete fear and very unsure about what to do, but we brought our concerns to the Lord together and had an encounter with God that brought us to tears and I believe closer as a group. We walked up to the counter together as a tribe and signed up for a mentorship program.

 

We are a tribe. We are committed to each other’s success.

 

This is not the only tribe I am apart of. I established another tribe when I went to a marketing conference in July. Each one of them loves the Lord and we hold each other accountable and support one another. The neat thing about each of these groups is that I could combine the two and everyone would get along and be on the same page. We are all after success, living a life for God, living out our calling, and helping others live out theirs. I love each of these groups dearly and they are not the only people I consider being my tribe.

 

Do you have a group of people who support you, drive you towards your potential and not your pain? Who will keep you accountable to do what you say you are going to do? Who will pray with you and for you?

 

Find your TRIBE. It takes setting out in faith, stepping out of your comfort zone and meeting people in places you would have never expected. It takes talking to strangers and being vulnerable. Step out in faith. God will catch you and bless you in ways you would have never imagined!

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I love you and I am so thankful for you Tribe 306!

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One Year Older

I just recently celebrated my birthday. Some dread this day because it means they are another year older. Others get excited and look forward to being another year older. I look at it as another year of opportunities and adventures!

 

With each new year there are new expectations. For me it seems those are to be married, have children, be in a career working full time, but what if that’s not what the plan is for my life? What if God has other plans?

 

I am newly 28 years old and I have many friends who are married, have children and I have none of those. I have been in 2 weddings this year and will have attended and been invited to about 8 just in this year alone! I am at “that age” people tell me. And you know what??? I am very happy with where I am in life. I do desire to be married and have children one day and I know it will happen for me, but not yet.

 

I can tell you that with each year it gets better and better. This year I have discovered who I am and what God wants me to do and I am launching my own business! I don’t have my own family, but I do have parents who love and support me, family and friends who stand beside me, and a God who will never leave my side or let me down. I would have to say I am pretty blessed and happy where my life is now and where it is going.

 

I know from the outside looking in I am not where society says I should be and that is more than ok. I am NOT OF THIS WORLD and I am following the one who made me the way I am. I am trusting in his plans for my life and I know with each year, because I am trusting in Jesus, my life gets better and better.

 

How are you viewing each of your years? Are you going into your next year of life with goals? Are you excited for all you can accomplish? Are looking forward to your next adventure? Are you happy where you are? Whether you just had a birthday or it is months away, it is never too late to make this your best year yet!

 

I am 28 and feeling great! : )

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(Today is my brother’s birthday! Shout out to Chris! May this be your best year ever!)

 

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

Proverbs 16:3

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 19:21

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

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GOD OF OUR FATHERS

“In You our ancestors put their trust; they trusted You and You delivered them.”  Psalm 22:4

We are in the week before our 4th of July celebrations…..more correctly known as Independence Day. Our forefathers fought against Great Britain who owned the colonies here. We wanted to be independent of another country and make our own laws and Constitution for every citizen to follow. (Interesting that now Great Britain is our closest ally).

Our forefathers were God-fearing men who read the Bible and prayed to the only One True God. Since 1776, as a Nation we have strayed away from God’s laws and have been swayed by foreign philosophies.

Let us remember to pray for our Country and leaders, and that God will give each one of us wisdom as we vote in our local and National elections.

In the hymn book there is a song entitled “God of Our Fathers” written by Daniel C. Roberts in 1876. (Evidently at our 100th birthday Mr. Roberts was already concerned about the turning away from the original hope of the Founding Fathers!)

God of our fathers, whose almighty hand leads forth in beauty all the starry band. Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies, our grateful songs before Thy Throne arise.

Thy love divine hath led us in the past; in this free land by Thee our lot is cast;  Be Thou our Ruler, Guardian, Guide and Stay, Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.

From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence, be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense; Thy true religion in our hearts increase, Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.

Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way; lead us from night to never ending day;  Fill all our hearts with love and grace divine; and glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.”

To that I say, AMEN !

America…..don’t let go of God’s hand.

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Stuck Inside a Maze

Six months ago I had a dream that I was stuck inside a maze and I was running for my life. The maze was dark and I didn’t know where I was going. Running into dead ends and feeling as though something was going to jump out and get me. I told this dream to a friend of mine and he directed me to pray and ask God to shine light onto the maze and guide me through it.

Looking back, I see that is where I was at that point in time of my life. I was trying to figure out what I was doing with my life and felt like I was hitting dead ends and not knowing what God had for me next.

I had this dream in December and in February was introduced to the program that would lead me to where I am today! I feel like I am out of the maze! Once I got myself out of the way and let God lead me, he really did lead me out of the maze and onto a path that is lit, open with fresh air and a flower field all around me.FullSizeRender (5)

This is how I feel now. I feel like I am walking on this path with Jesus. I cannot see far in front of me, but I have a peace and a comfort knowing I am exactly where God wants me to be.

I am breathing in the fresh air and feel at peace as to where I am going.

God has a path for you too. Are you getting yourself out of the way and allowing God to take you on the beautiful path he has uniquely made for you?

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The Dream Life

Have you ever stopped to think of that one thing you would want to do most in this world? Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you loved what you do and were passionate about it?

 

Many of us have never stopped to think about what gives us life and purpose and what brings us the most joy in this life. Whether it’s being a stay at home mom, barista, doctor, entrepreneur, we should love what we do!

 

There are many people who go through life viewing their occupation as more of an obligation. They go to work because they have to, not because they want to.

 

What happened to doing what you love?

 

Society has put so much pressure on people to go to school, get a job, but because there is so much pressure on getting any kind of job to make money, people are working and are stuck in jobs they are not happy with. They go to school, declare a major, and most don’t end up getting a job in the field they declared when they graduate and are back at square one.

 

I’m not saying college isn’t important, but for some it’s not a necessity. For some going out into the world, getting experiences, pursuing what they love is more beneficial than sitting in a classroom.

 

This happened to me after college. I am very thankful I went to college, but I was on the path to do more schooling when God shut a door and I ended up going on an 11 month Christian mission trip instead. At times during my travels I imagined myself sitting in a classroom, and became really excited when I realized my reality for that time was exploring the world. The world was my “classroom. ”

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(Table Mtn South Africa)

I played with kids in Nicaragua, rode an elephant in Thailand, taught and played with street kids in Cambodia, lived and worked at a blind home in Malaysia, ran a medical clinic and lived at an orphanage in Swaziland, ran sports camps and Bible studies in South Africa, walked through challenges and celebrations with my peers, and so much more! I received experience in many areas and I discovered my passion to coach others, and I have been pursuing this passion ever since.

 

I believe there is a time to not do what you truly enjoy for a season in order to get to where you truly want to be. Dreams don’t happen over night (well the ones in your sleep do), but I’m talking a dream job, or dream lifestyle. They do happen but you must be willing to do the work for it. And it mostly likely will not be all butterflies and rainbows when you are doing what you love, but you will be more willing to work hard and want to put in the work because it is doing what you love!

 

Dreams do come true, but you must be willing to do the hard work to get there whatever that may be. You must be willing to say yes to something that may seem so crazy at the time. BUT you don’t have to stay in that obligation forever. Look at it as a temporary place preparing you until you are where you have always wanted to be.

 

One of the most challenging pieces to this puzzle is figuring out what you are passionate about, what gives you joy and adds to your life in a positive way. You may need to take a retreat, get away from your current situation and allow yourself to dream. Don’t put a lid on your dreaming. Let your mind wonder and allow yourself to come alive!

 

And now I ask you…. What are you passionate about?

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37:4

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GOD Said……

When God created the heavens and the earth, He SPOKE everything into existence. (Genesis 1)

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God spoke audibly to Abraham and Moses, and many other patriarchs of old. He also spoke audibly so everyone present heard Him say, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan river.

I have never heard God speak audibly, but I know in my innermost being when He is speaking to me through His Holy Spirit. But, wow…..how awesome it would be to actually hear the voice of God! I think I would crumble into a heap of weakness on the ground.

I know of a family who all came to Christ because their severely handicapped son who could not walk or talk spoke to his father one day. He shouted clearly, “GOD SAID!!!” That so impacted the entire family that they became strong followers of Jesus Christ.

Remember the saying that was so popular a few years ago, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.” Actually, if God said it, that settles it whether you believe it or not!

When God speaks to you, do you respond with a yes? How does He speak to you? In a still small voice, or a booming loud voice? It doesn’t matter how God speaks to you. What matters is that you have a relationship with Him so that you hear Him and answer yes!!!

My family and I started this blog so that we could impart WORDS of encouragement to you TODAY. When we hear or read words of life from God’s written Word, or from a pastor who is teaching from the Word of God, or we are singing or listening to songs that are building us up in The Faith, then we are receiving Life Words!

Today, I encourage you to know that God is still speaking. His voice keeps everything in nature and our lives in order every second of every minute of every day.

A well-known theologian, A.W. Tozer, in his book The Pursuit of God said, “God is speaking. Not God spoke, but God is speaking. He is, by his nature, continuously articulate. He fills the world with His speaking voice.”

Psalm 19:1-2 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech.”

God is Sovereign, so I trust Him with my life. My prayer for you is that you trust that His Word is Truth, and that His desire is to have a relationship with you through His Son Jesus Christ, so that you recognize His Voice speaking to you.

Thank you,God, for speaking continually!!!

(Repost from April 2014)

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Facetime with Jesus

When you are friends with someone, do you make an effort to see them and spend time with them? Do you make plans to go to the beach, get coffee, go shopping, fishing, bike riding, crafting, you name it? Do you sit and have conversations with them about the good, and the bad, the celebrations, and the challenges?

This is how it should be with Jesus. He is our friend. He wants to do the things we enjoy doing WITH US. He wants to sit down with us and talk about the celebrations and challenges in life. He is a great listener. He also has excellent advice.

Do you spend the time with Jesus like you would a friend?

I was having some Jesus time this morning, and I must be honest, I have not made it a priority these past couple weeks. I have become distracted by the things in this world and made Jesus second.

I really want to hear Jesus more clearly. I really want to be like Jesus. And you know what He said to me this morning??

When you spend time with me the sunshine that is inside of you increases and becomes stronger. When you spend time with me other people will be affected because the atmosphere around you changes. When you spend time with me you will become more like me. When you let go of the distractions around you and focus on me you will know the plans I have for you. You will see the bigger picture. You will walk in my ways and not your own.”

It’s simpler than I make it out to be. In order to be like Jesus, I must spend face to face time with Jesus.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

John 15:13-15

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(Facetime with 2 of my best friends! This is what it’s like to have facetime with Jesus but he’s even closer and not on a screen!)

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