Are You Like a Fake Pharisee?

The beignets (pronounced ben-yay) + coffee are as real as it gets at Cafe Du Monde, and it’s hard for anyone outside of this restaurant to mimic their iconic food. The Pharisees remind me of a good lookin’ beignet or cup of coffee but a bad tasting one….
The Pharisees were classified as Jesus’ enemies even though most of the people were deceived into thinking they were “for” Jesus. The Pharisees prayed loudly in the streets and synagogues and wore exquisite and beautiful clothes. They constantly tested Jesus, and they made stupid, impossible laws for people to follow. They waited for someone to mess up to call them out on their sin. This particular group was about bringing glory to themselves and basically, wanted people to worship them. Jesus warned His people to be careful around the Pharisees and not to listen to them. He was quick to tell them when they were wrong and found them to be hypocrites!
The Pharisees were FAKE to the core. Looking at them, they seemed to have it altogether on the outside but their insides were nasty.
The Pharisees also made things public. They always wanted attention. But how much time did they spend with the Lord in private? What did they do that went unseen to the people but not to God?
Everything we do in private will be reflected in public….
praying and handing our burdens to God=peacefulness + rest
asking for forgiveness=released from guilt + shame
reading our Bibles=gained knowledge and wisdom to share
tithing=more blessings
And the list goes on.
It’s not about you. It’s not about us. It’s about God, our Father. Your heart needs that time away from the world and to share private moments with God to live authentically and in a way He wants you to live. Don’t be a Pharisee.

Backslider

Backsliding is what I call this. I’m a teacher maybe grading papers on a messy desk which only stays clean for one hour tops btw. But you can’t see my heart or where I stand with God and that’s where the backsliding is happening. I am annoyed with myself + feel guilty + am convicted.
I have my reasons for it and excuses but nothing can justify why I haven’t read my Bible in five days. Yeah, five days.
The pattern is very apparent to me. When I don’t stay in the Word like I should, I become easily exhausted and not filled. I run out of fuel, and today, I was running on empty. I am not surprised when I wear out quickly on a week like this week and don’t pick up the Bible once. I should’ve prepared myself for each day and what was to come, but I didn’t do it. I prepared lessons-not myself.
Don’t do what I did this week. It’s so much easier to not set aside time to spend with God because everything else seems to be looming over your head and you want to get it all done. If you can barely function from being exhausted, don’t expect good results. Running around like crazy trying to get everything in order in a chaotic setting was totally me all week & I don’t see how that’s a good example. The truth of the matter is that it wasn’t. It’s really hard to spot Christ in someone’s life if they aren’t spending necessary time with Him. To pour out, we must always be filled up.

Tough Stuff Series

It’s time for the tough stuff. The topics that I will be sharing have been laid on my heart over the past few weeks. These are topics that aren’t necessarily brought up in churches. Before commenting or messaging me if you find something offensive, please find the truth for yourself, and don’t run from conviction. When you are convicted, there aren’t fuzzy feelings, and it’s hard to face the truth. I am not here to offend but to be your friend in Christ! I actually pray that what I write really speaks to your heart. 💕 God disciplines us because He loves us. He is our Father. Keep this in mind.

Tough Stuff #1:

You can’t please everyone, and there will be people who dislike you. It could be because you are saved, they are jealous, they could be holding a grudge from the past, or you looked at them “weird” one time. You have to remember that you are called to lead people to Christ and help gather more disciples. You cannot worry what others think about you. Jesus told his disciples to “shake the dust off their feet” when a city wouldn’t accept Him meaning for them to move on to the next city because they did what they were called to do! (Matt. 10:14) You can’t wallow in negativity and let others’ thoughts weigh you down. When God gives us an assignment, the most we can do is complete it. God will do the rest & give you rest!
So, now…I have a question for ya: are you a people pleaser or a God pleaser? Are you doing what God wants or what people want?
Are you hiding truth from someone b/c you are scared of losing them as a friend? Are you going for the job only b/c someone encourages you but you know it isn’t what God wants for your life? Are you not starting that business or blog b/c “so and so” says you can’t make it work when God is telling you otherwise? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you are a people pleaser. Choosing a person over God is not okay. Christ is the only One Who can fill the empty places in your life and the One Who is directing you. Be a God pleaser! Those people don’t know what’s happening tomorrow, but God does!

Tough Stuff #2:

I’m sure you have said at one point in your life, “Where are you, Lord? Are you listening to me? I don’t feel you here with me.” You aren’t the only one who has felt this way….I’m right there with ya. As David was running from Saul, he experienced this same feeling and wrote it down in song form. We read his songs today in the Book of Psalms. We see him praising God and yet, in others, crying out to God wanting Him to listen or longing for His presence. Why is it that we “feel” closer to God or more distant from God? Faith & trust in Him, y’all.
I’m clicking the rewind button in my brain for a second to make a point. When I experienced the deaths of two important people in my life, I prayed more, read my Bible more, and trusted for God to get me through the rough patches. After healing, burdens and pains were relieved and I was comforted. A traumatic experience seems to push me closer to Christ, and I’ve seen this happen with many people. It is definitely not a bad thing! But then, the praying becomes less, reading the Bible turns to one verse in two minutes a day from a phone screen, and all is well in life because the deep hurt has scabbed over. We then wonder, “Why can’t I feel God like I did before?” I’ve also seen the opposite when people become angry at God for allowing a tragedy to happen, and they ask, “Where is God at a time such as this?” These are both examples of a wavering faith and not completely trusting God.
God doesn’t move away from you. You move away from Him. We are so sinful and being the imperfect humans we are, our fleshly nature keeps us swaying back and forth in our relationship with God. We choose the lies & the sin over the truth. Satan fuels the lie that the tragedy was “God’s fault” or on the opposite side of the spectrum, that “You’re good and don’t need God again until the next major life-changing event.” Be aware that Satan is going to strike you the hardest at your lowest. Consider your relationship with Jesus right now. Is there a difference b/w when you got saved and now? WHY is there a difference?
I bet you moved forward, stayed lukewarm, or fell backwards!

Tough Stuff #3:

The fire alarm went off at a hotel I was staying in at Indy this summer, and we had to evacuate the building. A mall was right next door, so I chose this time to meander to Sephora and “test” their dry shampoos in the store. (Tbh, I just didn’t want to buy a whole bottle of dry shampoo only to throw it away before a flight.😂) The very next day, a chemical spill occurred in the washroom by the lobby of the hotel, and we were evacuated yet again. I was with a group of young women who I quickly became acquainted to, and we decided to go to Starbucks and Old Navy together as fire trucks and police cars barricaded the entrance to the hotel. We decided to embrace the moment and use our time wisely (maybe not our money though, lol).
There are always going to be situations out of our control. We can, however, choose how we react to these situations. We can see it as an inconvenience or an opportunity for growth, change, and/or exploration. People are watching you, and sometimes, they wait for you to mess up. Have you ever noticed that?! Christians are ridiculed and persecuted for everything. People are curious at the joy in our lives, so they keep us on their radar. They want to see if what we have is authentic and something they can hold onto. No, don’t care about what others think of you because we do all make mistakes, but be mindful of the way you are displaying Christ’s love to them, your behavior, your actions, your reactions, and your decisions. Your life could be what leads someone to Christ. I could’ve sat on the curb of the entrance of the hotel, gotten impatient with the hotel management and been rude to them, or ran around to everyone staying in the hotel talking negatively about the experience. I saw it as an opportunity to make friends and use the time for developing relationships with people. Imagine looking at yourself through a lost person’s eyes. What needs to change? How could you have reacted differently and in a more Christ-like manner in some situations?

Why Sunday Will Be Your New Fave Day

When was the last time you RELAXED? Like completely, totally RESTED? If you answered that question and said “I’m not sure the last time I rested” it’s time that you do just that!
When I first married Brad, it took me a long time to understand how to honor the Sabbath Day. I still slip up and do laundry sometimes, but I had to put resting on Sunday into action. He was taught not work on Sunday, and because of that, I chose to start enjoying Sundays with him too. I had to wean myself away from doing lesson plans, vacuuming, and cleaning the house on Sundays. After I started observing the Sabbath Day the right way, it has become my favorite day of the week. I look forward to doing most of my chores on Saturday and cleaning floors on Monday instead. I highly recommend that you begin resting and relaxing on Sundays as well. It has changed my life for the better by allowing me to fill up my cup spiritually, physically, and mentally. Just that one day during the week makes a lot of difference in my work week especially being a school teacher. If God rested during the Creation, shouldn’t we follow His example and rest? Most of us use the excuse of being too busy! It does take some time to shift into honoring the Sabbath Day by resting, but the sooner you start this habit, the more blessed you will be by it because God commands us to honor the Sabbath Day! Before tomorrow gets here, you should plan to spend it resting, going to church to fill up your spiritual cup, and reflecting!

Don’t Swallow

I used to hate Dr. Pepper. Either you just thought I was crazy for never liking it in the first place or you don’t know why I like it now. Over the course of these last 5 years, either I was forced to drink it because there was nothing else or I would try it randomly because one of my roommates absolutely loved it. Even though it wasn’t my favorite drink back in the day, it has slowly turned into my first grab because I was exposed to it & tried it for awhile! The reason I am bringing this up is because I’ve noticed a trend with people in my generation in particular…
Things that we shouldn’t agree with are being thrown at us at all different directions….things that we don’t want to swallow but feel forced to swallow. After so much exposure from being on social media, watching the news, and what have you, I have seen people throwing in the towel on fighting for what’s righteous and Godly. It is disheartening to me, so I wanted to offer a bit of encouragement to y’all who are standing for what’s right and what follows the Bible.
Y’all, we cannot give up on standing up for Jesus and His truth. He lives in us. We need to stop falling into the sinful junk and start making our first grab the Bible instead of our phone. There’s pressure to agree with all the things of this world, but you see, that’s the problem: THEY ARE THINGS OF THIS WORLD. We are supposed to be different from the world. We are supposed to shine Jesus’ light in the darkness and sinfulness of this world NOT FALL CAPTIVE INTO AGREEING WITH WHAT IT HAS TO SAY.
Ground yourself in the truth. Continue to love people. Be kind to others. Express joy. IT’S TIME TO SHINE. And don’t let people or the Devil try to dim it because that’s the goal. ‘nuff said.

The Acne Struggle

I had bad acne in the beginning of college from the food I was eating in our cafeteria, the bad water quality on-campus at the time, & probably hormones. I never left to go anywhere without nothing on my face. In high school, I had great skin and not a single blemish. I would wear makeup every day just because I enjoyed putting it on and liked to play with it. It wasn’t bc I felt like I needed it, but all that changed in college. I found myself looking back to my high school years when my skin would never break out & wondered why I had to struggle with acne NOW. I was so annoyed! I became obsessed over covering up my blemishes and acne to the point that my obsession with it almost controlled my life.
-summer time…no, I can’t go underwater in the pool because my makeup will come off
-mornings…I have to wake up at least fifteen mins earlier to put on my makeup
-while eating…*dabbing carefully with a napkin so I don’t mess up my makeup so no one sees*
Y’all, it was BAD! My skin took a couple years to “clear up,” and even though I still break out from time to time, it was nothing like those first couple of years in college!
I found that I was placing my confidence and identity in makeup instead of Jesus. I was scared of how boys would look at me and that I would get the wrong kind of attention bc of the acne on my face. None of us like acne but if you feel that you HAVE to put on makeup to be beautiful, it means that you are choosing to believe you aren’t beautiful without it. I was placing my looks on such a high pedestal and believing & feeding the lies that I HAD to wear makeup!
No, girl! You don’t HAVE to wear makeup to be beautiful.
Now, I apply makeup still for the fun of it and not bc I feel like it’s a necessity. I catch myself wanting to cover up one stupid little pimple and put on a full face just for that one spot! Ugh! God has been working on changing my perspective about makeup for the longest time now. God looks at the heart & what goes in the heart is reflected on your countenance. If you fill your heart with scripture and truth, then it will show because you are placing your identity in Jesus and God’s Word instead of in makeup!

Be a God-Pleaser

With sweaty palms, I gripped my guitar for dear life as I approached the front of my church. I go to a missionary baptist church where ladies are “supposed to wear skirts,” traditional instruments are typically only used (the piano and organ), and there’s little technology. I had never been so nervous to play and sing with my guitar before. To give y’all some background, I heard from church members (not from my church but others in the same denomination) that playing the guitar in church is wrong because “honky tonk” music can come from the guitar. I had no idea if I was about to walk right into a bee hive. Thankfully, I wasn’t singing by myself and three other girls were singing with me which calmed me down. I started to play, and before I knew it, the song was over. I placed the guitar down and searched the faces of everyone to see their reaction, and when I saw smiles across the building, I knew that this was right. I didn’t do it to please the people in my church, no. I did it to sing praise and worship God. I had no clue how they were going to take it, and I honestly didn’t want to hear criticism, but it was worth trying! My nervousness had melted away as soon as we started singing because I knew that no matter what would be said to me or anyone else afterwards, that it simply DID NOT MATTER!
I let my insecurity keep me from playing for a little while, and when the girls told me they wanted to sing a song to guitar, I got fired up and excited. I love to worship the Lord playing and singing with my guitar & I want to use it all for Him! I’m so glad that I stepped out so others can worship too.
Your church denomination shouldn’t be the reason you hold back. Don’t be afraid to do what people may not expect or may not even WANT. We are supposed to please God only-not people! Playing instruments, doing sign language, singing, dancing…if none of it is done to praise and worship the Lord, then it is done for men and in vain. Share your gifts and talents! God gave them to you to bring glory to Him. ❤️