Romans 8

Dear Siblings in Christ,

I know that this is a lot to ask, but could you please take a moment to, “sit still and Know that God is God”? He is good, and forever worthy to be praised, but before we praise Him we need to realize what He did for us. This is what He did for us. This is why Christ died for us. This is why we our counted as heirs of Christ. Listen to this video, hang onto every word, let not one sentence escape your ear, be captivated by the Lord.

In Christ Alone~EleyanaFaith

Finding Fogiveness

There is a friend as Proverbs explains as, loving at all times.” This is the person who always gives you bear hugs, and laughs at your jokes even when they’re not funny, the one who is patient when you’re moody, always pushing you to excelle, but who forgives and is understanding when you fail . . . The friend who never says no because you mean more than the moon to them. The one I call the giving friend.

And then, there is the taking friend.

Just this week my heart was broken by one of these friends, my ten year old little sister.

Mikayla is the youngest in the family. The spoiled ragamuffin. The cute little test dummie. The one who means the world to me…the world and beyond.

Little sister, I love her more than life itself. But maybe I’ve shown it too much. Yes, I do believe I have. It shows clearly now because I’ve been hurt by my spoiled pup.

I am the first friend, the giving friend.

Mikayla is the second friend, the taking friend.

I always gift and she does nothing better than receive. So, naturally when I asked Mikayla to switch the roles for a special occasion she had a hard time doing so and ended up refusing.

I was hurt. In fact, I was shattered.

My first reaction was to return the favor….I started to plan refusal. The next time she asked me for a favor I was going to point her back to this occasion and man was she going to…..

No, I sighed. This isn’t right. My job is  to forgive, not hold offenses.

“Love holds no record of wrongs”

Did I truly love my sister? That’s a no brainer. Of course I loved her! Then the first thing I needed to do was forgive her in my heart.

I couldn’t help thinking of Jesus pierced with OUR sin on the horrid torturous cross! Did He hold a grudge? No, in fact he did the opposite,

“Father, forgive them, for they no not what they do”

Jesus’ first reaction was forgiveness, not thoughts of revenge.

Mikayla stood before me, stubborn and unmoving. But no longer was my heart wounded. Instead it was full of compassion and grace.

Ah, grace. That wonderful thing that I can’t give on my own, but through Christ, I can freely give.

Yes, Christ, the ultimate giving friend. And through Him I found forgiveness.

It was hard on Mikayla. Everyone was upset at her for what she had done. But we are all humans. The sinning rebelling offspring of Adam. But even with our lingering flesh, all of us Christians have our thread of Christ in us (hence our name Christian, or as I like to say Christ-in), and Mikayla soon came to me with a repenting heart. And as she stood before me, tears of sorrow for what she had done streaming down her baby soft cheeks, I was able to be an example of Christ to her by saying,

“I’ve already forgiven you”

Because Christ said to me near eight years ago the day I asked Him to forgive my wicked, cruel, bloody sins, the same exact thing:

“I’ve already forgiven you…2000 years ago I forgave you.”

And because of Christ my darling little sister and me have found forgiveness.

 

In Christ Alone~EleyanaFaith

Blessed be Your Name

Strums from a Ukulele make for perfect car ride praise.

A couple of days past we were headed up to Auburn and my little sister had her ukulele in hand…as usual. She was playing a praise song new to her instrument, but old to our ears. In fact, we knew it by heart. It is one of my favorites, because it got me through a very hard time.

It seemed just yesterday that my life turned into hospital visits and car rides to convalescent homes, but in reality it was two years ago.

Two years since my aunt collasped and was rushed off to the ER.

Two years since my precious relative slipped into a comma.

Two years since my dear friend was nearly taken into the hands of God almighty.

Two years since I, a child of the king, lost sight of His all powerful will.

Two years since I almost slipped into a comma of doubt and anger.

When I had heard that my aunt had a complete plummet in her health I was devastated. My worry grew twice as bad when I heard that she had a slim chance of survival. For days I walked around the house in depression saying, “She’s gonna die, there is no chance of her survival. Even the doctors say it would take a miracle.” Didn’t I believe in a God of miracles?

The devil used this time to attack my greatest strength, vision.

Vision has always come easily to me. Ever since I can remember I have had a strong sense of God’s sovereignty, but through this trial and hardship I started to become near-sighted to God’s all perfect will. And worse, I began to blame Him for this misfortune and I grew angry at my creator.

My siblings grew cross with me, and rightly so. They had hope, and my doubt was firing bullets of destruction at it.

It was at this time that a song kept rotating in my memory. A song that God had foreordained to use as a rope to lift me back towards Him.

Over and over the lyrics played. Over and over I thought on them, and slowly I began to see the God of miracles once more.

Slowly, I began to see that everything belonged to him and if He wanted to take my aunt, it was perfectly in His right…as if something isn’t in His right.

Slowly, I began to realize that even if the worst did happen I still needed to praise him for it.

I was reminded of all this the other day. Sitting in the car singing the lyrics, pronouncing every word true. My mother, brother, sister, and I all presenting these truths to Christ, the sovereign king of all.

In Christ Alone~EleyanaFaith

Here is the song…if you were wondering =] I found this really cool version on YouTube. Enjoy.

Praying for a Jew

Exactly a week ago I was at a worldview camp.

Exactly a week ago I stood with my small group waiting for my name to be called.

All of the students and some of the staff members were going downtown to evangelize at the Capital. We were dividing ourselves up into small teams of three and four. Two boys one girl, two girls one boy, or two  boys two girls.

Maria, the girl standing next to was called first. Then, my name was called.

I smiled. I liked Maria, she was one of the seven girls I shared a dorm with and I was glad to be able to spend the day with her.

After my name, two boys were called out of the other small group to join our team. Their names were Tyler and Jeff.

The first thing Tyler said after introducing himself was, “Jeff won’t be talking much while we evangelize.”

“I’m a Jew” Jeff explained.

Exactly a week ago I met a Jew named Jeff at a Christian camp, and I’ve been praying for him ever since.

Maria and I had lunch with the two young men, and while we ate our tacos Jeff shared his life story…

His father was a Jew by birth, but he began to question his faith and soon became an atheist. Eventually, though, for whatever reason he returned to his former belief. When Jeff came along his father gave him the freedom to choose whatever religion seemed to fit him best, because that is what he had done.

And so…Jeff has been an atheist, a Mormon, a Jehovah’s Witness, a Christian, and who knows what else. After a while, just like his father, he returned to Judaism.

We asked him why he left Christianity. He answered that it was because of the corruption in the Church.

Why then, if he had left Christianity, was he attending a Christian worldview camp?

“To add to my knowledge,” was his answer.

Lunch was over far too soon. I could have talked for at least a couple more hours.

Unfortunately, we lost even more time to talk with the boys because they were put on a different bus than me and Maria. But it turned out for the best, because my partner and I were able to talk with our small group leader.

We told her the situation and she came along side us and helped carry our burden by encouraging us and promising to pray for us.

I was excited and nervous as the bus came to a stop in front of Capital park. I stood up and walked towards the school bus door, and exactly a week ago, as I placed my feet upon the pavement, I was completely unprepared for what lay ahead.

The whole camp met under a tree to pray for what would happen in the next 45min. Then we broke up into our teams and, “went unto all the world” to share the gospel of Christ.

The first lady we approached dogged the question on our tract by fishing around for the right answers. She quickly ended the conversation and rushed off towards work.

I wish I remembered the name of the second lady we met, because I am constantly praying for her.

She was a middle aged woman walking through the park with her son. I was the one to approach her with the question, “what do you think is wrong with the world?” Before she answered she asked us if we were Christians.

We all said yes, except Jeff who cried, “I’m a Jew.”

She then answered my question by saying that people didn’t care enough about one another.

We asked whether this was cause by society or by the individual.

She answered with the latter.

“Do you believe the verse that says, ‘all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’?”

She flinched. “I don’t believe that verse.” She went on to explain that she didn’t believe all scripture.

“What if your wrong,” I asked. “What if you die and God says that you were wrong to believe that and sends you to hell?”

“I’m not wrong,” she said.

“How do you know?”

“Because my heart tells me that I am right….Aren’t there some scriptures that you disagree with?”

“No,” Tyler, Maria, and I replied.

She looked at the three of us as if we were stupid, “Really?”

“Yes,” I said. “All scripture is God breathed.”

From no where she then says, “So you hate homosexuals?”

Jeffs jumps in and says, “I’m for gay rights” and from that moment on he created a battle between our team.

I glance at Jeff, then turn back to the lady. “We don’t hate homosexuals. We love the person, but we hate their sin.”

“So you hate what their heart tells them to do?”

“The Bible says that the heart is sinful from birth.”

She shakes her head. We bring up Hitler and ask if she thinks that he was right to kill all the people he murdered, because after all, that is what his heart told him to do. She says no, but then says the truth comes from the heart all the while Jeff backs her up. And for the rest of the conversation it is me, Maria, and Tyler against the lady and Jeff. She finally stops the “debate,” ending it by saying how proud she is that we are sharing our beliefs, but that she hopes that we wouldn’t be so stubborn. Then she left.

We stood there, unable to move forward. We had two choices, (1)continue to let Jeff fight against us, or (2)confront him.

“Does anyone have anything to say,” Tyler asks, and I realize that I have to be the one to speak up.

“Jeff” I start then go on to explain what we are all feeling. He is understanding and willingly leaves our team and finds a staff member to stay with.

Once he is gone Tyler can’t stop apologizing to me and Maria. We say it’s fine, it isn’t his fault. Then I ask if he is roommates with Jeff. He says yes.

“I’ve been debating him all week.” He paused. “Can we pray?”

Exactly a week ago, we stopped and prayed for a friend. A friend who is digging himself a grave in Hell, and unless God scoops him out of the pit he’ll be there for all of eternity.

Yes, it sounds intense, but it ain’t fiction. It’s reality. People like Jeff, people you know, die everyday and their place is in eternal damnation. Sometimes we don’t think about it, but we need to. Every second of every day. And when we think about it, we need to pray about it.

The strongest weapon we have is prayer, or as Casting Crowns says it, “The only way we’ll ever stand is on our knees with lifted hands.” We need to fight, through prayer. Always, always, fight.

With that being said, please pray for both Jeff and Tyler.

Tyler had a hard week at camp. He had to defend his faith more than he ever had to do before. Pray that he will be strengthened and not weakened by Jeff’s questions, and pray that he will be able to be a righteous and Godly example for Jeff as I am sure they are still in contact with each other and will be for a long while.

I hope that these words effect you. Take them to heart and let them change your life. And remember….pray!

In Christ Alone~EleyanaFaith

Jesus and Servant Leadership

Leadership is simply influence, and everyone has influence. Therefore anyone and everyone is a leader.

So, the question isn’t how to become a leader. The question is how do you become a great leader

Think of someone you know, or have heard about that is a fantastic leader. What makes them so great?

Are they…

Smart?

Compassionate?

kind?

Caring?

Brave?

Courageous?

Strong?

Noble?

How did they become like this? Were they born with these gifts or did they have to work towards them? Usually a great leader is both. They are born with these special gifts, but they have to work towards perfecting them.

(1) A great leader can’t be given their gift by someone else. It cannot be bestowed upon them. Rather, leadership must be manifested.

(2) Servant leadership DOES NOT COME NATURALLY. It must be practiced.

In order to get a clearer understanding about what I mean, do this exercise.

What you need: A piece of paper, a pen or pencil (crayon, marker, or paint brush works too), your right hand, and your left hand.

First, take your writing utensil in your prominent hand and write your name on the piece of paper.

Now, take your pencil into your other hand and write your name again.

The second time you wrote your name should look sloppy and uncontrolled, weak. This represents a poor leader…unpracticed.

However, as the old saying goes, “practice makes perfect.” Or nearly perfect.

If you practiced writing with your bad hand, spelling your name over and over, relentless in your pursuit after perfection, you will come close to the same penmanship as your prominent hand, but you won’t quiet get there.

Guess what your first signature represents? The greatest leader, Jesus. Although we can’t even come close to Jesus, we can try. But first we need direction. We need to see what real leadership looks like.

Servant Leadership is exemplified in five very essential aspects of a God fearing Christian character:

Meekness-Power under control.

Integrity-Quality of being whole or undivided.

Vision-Seeing God’s presence, power, and plan despite the obstacles.

Attitude-Responding like Christ.

and, Empowerment-Building others up.

I am planning to go much more in depth with these five pillars of leadership as the weeks go on. And as I learn more about them, I am going to challenge myself to manifest these virtues into my life. I want other to look at me, talk to me, know me, and realize that I have Christ evidently in my life.

I challenge you in the same way. Please take my words to heart and let them take root in your life.

My prayers are with you.

In Christ Alone~EleyanaFaith

Leadership Camp!

It…Was…Amazing!

I just got home from my week at worldview academy, and I have to say it was the best week of my life!

I have never been so inspired in my life, never so convicted.

The teachers were amazing. I learned so very much from them, and I can’t wait to share my new knowledge with you.

Through-out this new week I will be sharing what I’ve learned, hopefully daily. I have so much to say about the lectures, the people, and the witnessing that we had a chance to do.

This week impacted me so very much and I hope that it will also impact you!

In Christ Alone~EleyanaFaith

Becoming a Leader

Hello Dear Readers,

My writing will take rest for one week while I’m at a camp.

I have had the most amazing opportunity to be a part of the WORLDVIEW ACADEMY-LEADERSHIP CAMP at William Jessup University. I will have the chance to listen to some very amazing speakers. I will learn about what it means to call myself a Christian. And, I will be able to spend a whole week with hundreds of other God-Fearing young adults.

I am so very excited, and while I am gone please pray for me. I want to get as much as I can out of this week, so please pray that I will be focused on what God is trying to show me.

Thank you and God bless. I’ll be eager to come home and share what I learned with you.

In Christ Alone~EleyanaFaith

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