10 Resolutions for 2017

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This year has been quite the year for me. So many things have changed in my life and so many new opportunities have presented themselves. I have seen God work in my life this year more than ever. I have seen Him open and close doors, and watched and waited for His timing. So many ups and downs were brought to me and it amazes me how much I have changed in this past year. I sit here and look back on what my life was like on this day last year, and I cannot believe how different life is now.

I never make New Year’s Resolutions, mostly because I can never keep them. But this year, I am making them and I intend to keep them. I hope and pray that they can influence me to do better and become my new normal.

10 Resolutions for 2017:

10) Drink more water– I am really bad about drinking water, and when I do it isn’t much. I want water to become what I drink daily and not have to rely on soda for energy. I want to eat healthier as well. Junk food can be good, but it’s called junk food for a reason.

9) Exercise daily- I want to exercise daily to get back into shape and be a healthier person. I want to push myself to where I feel good every day because of getting daily exercise.

8) Focus on the good- I want to be able to focus on the good that is happening in my life. I want to look at my life in the middle of a trial, being fully reliant on God and have peace because I know that good will come of it.

7) Failure- I know that I will fail. I want failure to push me to do better and work harder. I will not let failure or mistakes define who I am. I will not let them stop me from moving forward.

6) Find Joy- This ties very closely to focusing on the good, but I want to have joy and happiness every day. I want to find the good in everyday and be able to focus on it.

5) Stress less- If you know me at all, then you know that I am stressed about something 95% of the time. I have found it to be unhealthy and it steals my happiness. I want to worry less and put my full trust in God. I know that He is working things out and worrying about them will not change my current situation.

4) Love others- I want to be a more loving, kind, and caring person than I was last year. I want my love for God and others to pour out of me daily. I want to be quick to forgive and quick to apologize. I want to be more grateful this year.

3) Push Myself- I want to push myself to do better in school these next 16 weeks, as I am hoping to graduate in May. I want to do well in my classes and get better grades. I want to push myself to chase after the crazy dreams God has given to me and pursue them wholeheartedly.

2) Focus- I want to focus on God and depend more on Him. I want to give my fears to Him daily trusting in Him that He will provide. I want to focus on the things He has given to me and the plans He is placing in my life. I want to completely focus on God and live life for Him no matter what everyone else is doing.

1) Humble myself- It is so easy for me to think that I know what is going to happen every step of the way and feel so prideful. I want to humble myself so that the Lord can work through me. I do not want to become prideful and arrogant, but rather a humble servant of the Lord.

 

I hope that the Lord uses all of you in ways you didn’t know. God bless and Happy New Year.

 

Jessica

 

Thankful

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Last year for Thanksgiving, I posted things I was thankful for and why. This year, I decided to do something a little different. On Thursday, I took to Facebook to see what you all were thankful for and here are the responses that I got.

Friend 1– “Friends who are my family.”

Friend 2– “The love and support of family and friends. I am thankful to be alive.”

Friend 3– “Thankful for my salvation through Jesus Christ and the many blessings He has given me!”

Friend 4– “My children and grandchildren.”

Friend 5– “For our soldiers who are unable to be with their families on Thanksgiving, because they are overseas fighting for our country.”

Friend 6– “My family!”

Friend 7– “Grandkids.”

Friend 8– “I’m most thankful for the people who’ve truly take the time to get to know me and be the people who’ve mattered most in my life.”

Friend 9– “Deep fried turkey. And my family being home!”

Friend 10– “My family!”

There are so many things that I am thankful for this year. I started counting them on Thursday and was amazed at how many things I have been blessed with. I am so thankful for my family and friends. I am thankful for the life God has given me. I am thankful for all the experiences I get to have. I am thankful for all my freedoms and rights I have here in the U.S. I am thankful for the soldiers fighting overseas to protect my freedoms. I am thankful for my Salvation in Jesus. I am thankful for my love for writing. I am thankful for my animals. I am thankful for everything God has blessed me with. I love that we take a day and give thanks for all we have. I pray that we do not let ourselves get distracted by all the deals and bargains Black Friday and Cyber Monday bring to us. We get so caught up in the deals that we forget to be thankful for what we have already been blessed with. My favorite verse around Thanksgiving is Psalm 100:4 (NIV), “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.”

 

God Bless,

 

Jessica Cross

 

Featured Image: quotes by lil uzi

2016 Election

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This was the first presidential election I voted in. I am so thankful that I have the freedom to vote. I am grateful to all those who have served our country given their lives. Because of them, we have so many freedoms that many other countries do not have. I am so blessed to live in a country where I have freedoms for so many things.

I have held off on posting anything about the 2016 Presidential Election. Back in June I posted about praying for America. I do not like how much division this election has brought to our nation. During the Olympics, we had a break from the election and stood together. But know we aren’t. Why have we let politic divide us? I chose to not tell people who I was voting for and I still chose to not say.

I could sit here and tell you how worried I am for who will win this election. I know that we shouldn’t be worried. God has a plan for all of us. He has a plan for this nation. We might not understand what is happening now but one day we will.  No matter what happens, we can always trust in our Lord. God is always in control. We must seek His glory and do everything for it.

Matthew 10:7(NIV), “As you go, proclaim this message: “The kingdom of Heaven has come near.’”

2 Chronicles 7:14(NIV), “If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV), “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

I hope and pray that you join me in praying for America. Pray that God revives this land and heals it. Pray that He guides our leaders and gives them wisdom. Pray that God uses you to reach others and share the Gospel.

In Christ,

Jessica

All I have is Christ

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Lately I have been struggling with some serious health problems. Between class and doctor appointments, I have found myself becoming overwhelmed and discouraged. I have an amazing group of friends who have been supporting me through this difficult time, but that doesn’t mean it has gotten any easier. I had to do a lot of tests to see if they could figure out what was wrong. My problems were all internal. I seemed to be fine, but in reality I was hurting. I had hit what felt like a really low point in my life. All I had left was Christ. There was nothing I could do on my own to change my situation. I am reminded of a certain song. There is a part in it that say, “Hallelujah, All I have is Christ. Hallelujah, Jesus is my life.” I continued to sing this to myself as I would go about my day. I kept trying to remind myself that all I had was Christ and He is enough.

I have this plaque sitting on my shelf in my dorm room. It says, “He is faithful” and underneath is the reference to a verse, Hebrews 10:23. It says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” I read the plaque every morning before heading to class and I am reminded of God’s love and faithfulness. But it is so easy to forget that throughout the day. When I try to cling to my own strength to get myself through the day I am always let down. I cannot do anything to fulfill the space and void in my life. Only Christ can do that.

I began to spend more and more time in the Bible, seeking out more truths to cling to. I was desperate for Jesus to heal me and fulfill me. I want to share a few verses that helped me when I was feeling so low.

Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” God tells us specifically not to fear. He gives us strength and holds us. How amazing is that? God holds us in His hand. I am so comforted by those words.

1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” He cares for me. I have no need to worry. Often times I try to take things into my own hands and it never works the way I plan. I worry about how things will turn out. I still worry that the doctor’s will never figure what was wrong. But I can rest in God, knowing He is my Healer.

John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” He has overcome the world, and yet I worry. I have peace in Christ, He is the only place I can find peace.

Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  In this passage, we are told not to fear or be discouraged. Why? Because God is with us always, everywhere we go. We have no need to fear, God is in control. We are told to be strong and courageous. Knowing God is with us and is faithful, we can achieve this.

Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” I find so much peace in this verse. God has a plan for me. His plans are always for good. He is my hope. I can rest in Him with confidence that He will work everything out.

Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” I think that this verse ties in very well with the verse in Jeremiah. God has a plan for us. Even though we cannot see it and may not understand it at this time in our lives, He will work everything out. We must trust in that.

 

Throughout the many things the doctors and I still have to do, I will not fear. I know that in all my confusion and anxiousness that God has a plan. What I am dealing with now plays a part for the bigger picture. He will work everything out. I pray that He gives the doctors wisdom as to what is wrong and that He give me strength to get through each day. I know that everything will work out for good and God will be glorified through it all. There is a song that holds a dear place in my heart, it goes, “When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace; in every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.” He suffered many things for me, and I can trust in Him. Christ is all I have and He is all I need,

Walking, Waiting, and Worrying

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Walking, waiting, and worrying. Three w words that all play a role in our daily lives. At times, each one can have a bigger influence than the next. Walking with God is not always easy. We have mountains to climb and valleys to walk through. Sometimes we have a straight road for a while. When He opens a door, we go through trusting in Him. He closes that door behind us, and we are standing in a hallway. Sometimes we have to wait a while before the next door opens. When we are waiting for the next step in our lives, we tend to worry. I know this to be true for me. When I am waiting for the next door to open, I tend to worry and doubt. Even though I know I can trust God, I try to rely on myself in these moments. I will never be able to fulfill my needs with the things of this world.  I want to share some verses with you that help me in these times.

Walking:

  • Micah 6:8
  • Colossians 1:10-11
  • Ephesians 2:10
  • 1 John 2:6
  • Hebrews 12:1

Waiting:

  • Proverbs 3:5-6
  • Psalms 37:34
  • Micah 7:7
  • Isaiah 40:31
  • Lamentations :25

Worrying:

  • Matthew 6:25-27
  • Matthew 6:34
  • Matthew 11:28-30
  • Luke 12:25
  • John 14:27

 

I have found myself turning to these verses often in the past little while. I am at a point in my life right now where I am just waiting on God for the next door to open. It has been hard at times. Knowing that there is something great behind that door and just sitting in the hallway waiting makes it difficult. I remind myself to praise God in the hallway.

When I get down and feel like I’ll be here for a while I remind myself of these truths. God loves me and you. He has great things in store for us. He is mapping a plan for us. God tells us this in Jeremiah 29:11.

Let me leave you with this thought: “Waiting is much more difficult than walking. Waiting requires patience, and patience is a rare virtue.” –Streams in the Desert devotional book.

Stop buying the lies. Live for God.

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The way we see ourselves is very different than how God sees us. We critique every little thing about us. We are scared that people will not like us for how we look. We try to blend in with everyone around us. This has become a huge problem and I see it every day. We tend to only look at our outward appearance and do not take into consideration our hearts. We change how we look on the outside just so we will be accepted. We tend to focus so much on what others think of us and we forget to ask God His opinion.

Outward appearance is something that consumes so many people. We love other’s attention and we want to be liked. We want to fit in. Many people go to extremes to fit in or be liked.

I have always cared about what other’s think of me and how they see me. It has made life hard at times. I always wanted to fit in and have always wanted people to like me. I was homeschooled up until 7th grade when my parent’s decided to put me into public school. It was a big shift and I was not prepared for it at all. It changed my perspective on the world. Many times people would make fun of how I dressed and how I looked. They would say that I looked weird with glasses and that I should be wearing makeup. I really did not like that my peers didn’t approve. I did what most middle schoolers would do. I got name brand clothing, cut my long hair, started to wear makeup, and I even got contacts. I changed how I looked and who I was just to fit their image. I had chosen to live my life how the world wanted me too and stopped living for God. It wasn’t until 3 years later that I had realized what had happened. Before my sophomore year of high school I attended a Leadership Development Camp at a local Bible camp that my perspective changed. I realized that I hadn’t been living my life to honor God. I was too focused on what others had to think, I ignored God. I had believed the same lies that so many people fall for. I had been living off of the lies the world had been feeding me. I realized that I was beautiful and that is how God made me.

God looks at the heart. He loves when our hearts are living to serve Him. There are so many verses where God had defined beauty. All of these verses show us that our beauty is to honor God. He created us to glorify Him. Here are a few:

1 Peter 3:3-4, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

Proverbs 31:30a, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting.”

Psalm 45:11, “Let the king be enthralled by your beauty;
honor him, for he is your lord.”

Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Is my life a reflection of Jesus? Am I living my life in a way that glorifies God? Can people see Jesus in what I say and how I act? Do I love like Christ does?

We should be continually asking ourselves questions like these. The answer to all of these should be a resounding YES! If we are not living our life for God and His glory, we are doing life wrong. We need to be pointing others toward Christ. When we stop believing in the lies we are being fed and focus on Jesus the beauty of the Lord shines through us. He makes us beautiful. I think that we all go back at one point or another and criticize ourselves. I think that we will worry what others think and go back to listening to them. But through all of it we need to remember what we know to be true. We need to rely on God and His word.

We must be living a life that honors God. Our life should reflect Him and people should know us by how we love. God’s opinion is the only opinion that we should focus on. God made us all beautiful. You can see His glory and majesty in all of creation. He cares and loves us. Honor Him with your life. Be who God made you to be, not what others want you to be.

As Kahlil Gibran once said, “Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”

 

 

 

God Bless,

 

Jessica

 

 

Picture credit:

30+ Adorable Beauty Quotes For Her

 

 

Pray for America

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Lately it seems as though America has taken a turn for the worst. Every day something new is happening in our country. Such as the gorilla getting shot, or the child in Florida getting dragged into a lake by an alligator. Or even trans-gender bathrooms and the gay bar shooting. But the one thing that I am going to talk about is our presidential candidates.

From the beginning of the presidential campaign, I think that on some level we all knew that it was going to be Trump and Clinton. I know that both of these people have done some very bad things for our country. Let’s face it, they aren’t perfect and neither are we. Many things that they have done are inexcusable and yet we dismiss it. I am constantly hearing negative things about both candidates and I’m sick of it. Look, you probably won’t move out of the country when one of them wins. It’s not the end of the world. I’m guilty of these things as well, but we really need to consider what is truly at stake.

We live in a crazy messed up world. So what are we going to do about it?

We need to be praying for our leaders. We need to be praying for the people in authority above us. Not only when things go bad, but we need to constantly be in prayer for those leading this country.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 says: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

No matter how much we dislike people, or presidential candidates, we should not talk bad about them. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. We need to pray for others. We need to be sharing the Gospel so others know about Jesus. America need Jesus. We need to stand up for our faith. We need not to worry about what others will think of us.

Al Whittinghill once said, “Without the heartbeat of prayer, the body of Christ will resemble a corpse. The church is dying on her feet because she is not living on her knees.”

Philippians 4:6-7 says, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

No matter what happens, we can always trust our Lord. God is in control. We must do everything for His glory. He will heal and save. I will be praying for America and its leaders. I will be looking for new ways to tell others about Jesus. I pray that you join me in doing so.

“Prayer wonderfully clears the vision; steadies the nerves; defines duty; stiffens the purpose; sweetens and strengthens the spirit.” – S.D. Gordon

Pray for America. Our country needs saving.

 

God Bless,

Jessica

 

 

 

 

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I’m sick of Romance Movies and here’s WHY…

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Many of us, if not all, have someone that they love. We say, “I love you,” to people we love all the time. We say, “I love that movie!” or “I love that skirt!” We toss around the phrase, love, way too loosely. We have lost sight of what love really means. There are a lot of romance movies and songs about love. But many of these songs and movies do not depict what true love really is. People think that they do, but I’m here to tell you what true love really looks like. Now I’m a sucker for a cute love story, but honestly I’m getting sick of romance movies. They give us a false hope, especially us girls. A romance movie has two main characters who fall in love and then get into some fight, but ultimately end up together at the end of the movie. It’s a perfect love story. There are very few romance movies that are not like what I described. We (as girls) expect all guys to be like the ones in the movies. We expect that in our relationships and friendships. We are only fooling ourselves. The guy’s part in a movie is scripted and you cannot script real life. There is only one perfect love story. That relationship is between us and God. It is not a physically, human relationship. Because who are we kidding? No one is perfect, no one but God is.

We are shown how to love in the Bible. God has set an example for us. We are called to love others and follow His example. God sent His Son, Jesus to show us what love looks like. He shows us not only what kind of life we are to live, but also how to love.

  • John 3:16-17 (NIV) “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”

God sent His Son, Jesus, to this world for us. Jesus lived a perfect and holy life. He lived a life without sin. Jesus went to the cross and died on it so that we could have life. He died for our sins. Jesus loved us so much that He was willing to give His life up in order for us to live with God in Heaven. He made a way for us to be with God.

  • Psalm 31:7 (NIV) “I will be glad and rejoice in Your love, for You saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.”

We are to rejoice in God’s love for us. Because, even though we were separated from Him, He saw our pain and suffering and sent someone so we could have life and live with Him.

  • Ephesians 4:2 (NIV) “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
  • 1 John 4:19 (NIV) “We love because he first loved us.”
  • 1 Corinthians 13

Since Jesus loves us and died for us, He has called us to love others the same way that He has loved us. We only know how to love, because God loved us first. He has set an example for us to follow. We must love like Christ. We should mimic the love Christ has for us in our relationships with others. This is the greatest love story that has ever been told. It is far too often the most underrated love story.  I say this because people don’t want to change the way that they live. They want others to change instead. We need to change. We need to show love. We need to stop trying to create a perfect love story. Instead we should be loving others like Christ did. We need to remember the love story between us and God. God has given us the perfect love story.

Love like Christ did. God will write your love story. You’ve just got to trust Him. He’s got this.

 

In Christ,

Jessica

 

 

 

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15 Inspirational Bible Verses About Love

 

 

Okay…

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I saw this movie one time called, “The Fault in Our Stars.” It was the usual romantic movie where the main guy and girl characters fall in love. It showed their story of how they fell in love. One thing that stuck out to me was how often the word “Okay” was used. They used it when they talked about their good days and bad days. But they also used it when they were ending their conversations. Needless to say the word “Okay” seemed useless, except to say goodnight. It’s kind of confusing.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary the word “Ok” means, “fairly good, acceptable, not hurt, and all right.” So my question is, why do we say that we are “okay” even if we are not? Most of the time other people can tell when you are hurting and are genuinely concerned about you, so they ask if you are okay. Why do we tell them that we are indeed okay, when truly we are not? If we are truly okay then we should act like it. If we are not okay, we need to admit that we aren’t. Truthfully, I am guilty of doing this and I honestly do not know why I do it. I’m lying to myself and others by saying that I’m okay when truly I am not. We need to be understand that we cannot always be okay, and accept that. I think that we need to be aware of the real meaning of “ok” and not use it to mean other things. If it means, “not hurt”, and we are hurt then we should not use “ok” to describe how we feel.

Okay is used in many different forms, such as the example I just provided. We say “okay” when we understand something. We say “okay” when we want others to know that we heard/understand them (or if we want them to stop talking). We use “okay” when we ask questions or want others to agree with us. We use “okay” when we want to make sure that others understand what we are trying to say. We also write okay multiple ways, i.e. ok, okay, o.k., okayyyyyy, and various other ways with more or less y’s.

With the technology that we have today, most people communicate through texting or private messaging. This often leads to miscommunication. When we type “okay”, no matter how we type it or the way we intend for it to be, people can and most likely will interpret it in a different way than it is meant. People might think that you are upset with them just on the way that you spell the word even though that might not be the case. They might think nothing of the word. Spelling the word “okay” has somewhat become a chore, because you have to be aware of how you spell it and how the person might interpret it. If we all just use it the way it is defined, we would all be on the same page and wouldn’t have to worry about all these other things. The way we use the word “okay” so often makes the word seem almost useless. Honestly, there are more words out there to describe details.

My challenge to you is this:

Expand your vocabulary. Use words the way that they are meant to be used. Use words as they are defined. Do not jump to conclusions on how words are spelt. Do not jump to conclusions on how you think the person was using a word. Ask if you are not sure.

I hope that you take this into consideration. I hope this helps you change the way you use your words. Your words mean something, words can do so much. Be careful and choose your words wisely.

In Christ,

Jessica

 

 

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