When Satan Tempts Me to Despair ...

This semester was going to be the best I had ever known. I was super excited to meet up with friends I had not seen during the long intercession, I was plugged back into my amazing Bible study on campus, and I was once again reunited with my beloved sorority sisters. But most of all, God was shining back into my life after a long period of darkness and drought. I was beginning to see Him again, for who He really was. And I finally understood something: I am here to give Him glory.

Even Valentine's Day passed beautifully. Normally the day brings much sadness for me, but this year, I was completely enamored with my God and incredibly joyful for all the things He has done in my life. And day by day, I spoke unto Him this simple prayer, "Jesus, I count everything as loss if only I can know you and serve You more. All glory be unto Your Name. Increase so I can decrease."

And no sooner did I pray this prayer when the storm hit. Hard.

The devil knows how to get to me. When he wants to attack me, he goes to one place: my mind. So for two consecutive weeks, he made my mind a battleground. And it took all my strength within me just to survive. He whispered lies and thoughts in my head all the time, almost every minute of the day:

Why is this God of yours so deserving of glory? Isn't He such a glory-hog?

So why haven't you done anything for Him lately, huh? You said you loved Him. Why aren't you showing it?

How could God use someone like you. Look at you: a miserable failure. You've messed up too many times.

You know the one reason why you don't have a boyfriend? Because you don't deserve one. You're not pure enough. Nor are you good enough, or ever will be.

God's not on your side. Look at all the things He's withheld from you. Look at your friends around you, having so much fun, doing so many things. Don't you want to be like them?

God is not real. You made Him up. Nor is the Bible real. Why do you believe this stuff?

I could go on. But these thoughts have been plaguing me for a considerable amount of time now. My first reaction was, "God, I prayed to You, asking You to empty me of myself so I can bring glory to Your Name! So why is it now that I can't even worship anymore? All the gifts you recently revealed in me--why can't I use them? It takes me all the energy I have just to hold on. What's happening, Lord? Where are You?"

Then it hit me in the face. God was not inflicting this pain upon me.

I was being attacked by Satan himself.

Why? Because he is deathly afraid of any Christian opening their lives to give complete glory to God. The number one thing Satan hates is when Christians bring glory to God's Name. Because the devil wants all the glory for himself.

So whenever you find yourself in a place where you cannot lift your hands in worship, where you cannot find a reason to glorify your Savior, when you cannot understand why He must be exalted, don't let the enemy win. Even if you do not seem to have the strength, worship God anyway. Because He is still worthy. Because the enemy is a fool and a fraud. Because if we do not praise God's name, the rocks will. (Luke 19:40)

All Christians know the adage, "I'm standing on the promises of God," but to be honest, I did not really grasp the gravity of this phrase until this trial. And I have been a Christian for some time now! But it is these promises that bring us back to the Savior when we do not want to give Him the praise He deserves. Promises like,

"But those who wait on the Lord will renew their stength ..." Isaiah 40:31

"You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." Isaiah 26:3

"For I know the thoughts I think that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and hope ... And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11,13

"But those who seek the Lord will not lack any good thing." Psalm 34:10

"I will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

"All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

"See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands." Isaiah 49:15-16

I could type up so many more promises that God has given to us. There are just too many. But this is our God! This is why He is deserving of praise. He is a Father, He is love, He has saved us from a dreadful fate! He has given His very life for us! Satan knows that God is worthy of all glory - he once lived in heaven, remember? And the glory that dwells with God Almighty is so great that Satan wanted it all for himself. So he would do anything -- anything -- to keep us from praising and worshipping our God.

So when your heart's not into it, when you are struggling with trials and tribulations, just trying to make it through each and every day, remember to stand on the promises of God. Remember all that He is, how much He has brought you through, When the enemy has got you down, when he tempts you to despair, recognize that he is tempting you. "Lest Satan should take advantage of us; we are not ignorant of his devices." 2 Corinthians 2:11

And in the end, read Isaiah 14:12-21. It makes me laugh every time. You'll see why.

Hang in there all of you who may be struggling in spiritual warfare. And remember this most encouraging truth: the enemy only attacks those whom he is genuinely afraid of. He doesn't bother with the lost souls of the world - they're already his. But those who pose a legitimate threat to his reign he does his best to dispose of. So count it all joy when you go through trials! It means that God is still for you, and that you are still for God. Rest assured, He will do incredible things to those who give their heart entirely to Him. In the end, it is all about God's glory. Between God and Satan, there is no contest. Trust in the Lord's strength.

Because with God's strength and power, Satan gets his butt whooped every time.


Love: The Reason We Exist

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." -- John 3:16

Why are we here? Love. That is the reason why we were created: for companionship, to love God and to be loved by Him. Think about it. Jesus, God in human flesh, said,

"For God so loved the world--"

Okay, stop right there. He loves the world. The entire world! Yes, that does include us, His chosen children, but that also includes everyone else. Everyone! Think of all the faces you see every day in your workplace, on your college campus, even in your family. He loves us ALL.

Yes, He takes especially good care of His children, those who believe in the Name of Jesus, just like a father or mother will show preference to their own children here on earth. I mean, would you love someone else's kid more than your own son or daughter? Of course not! You can love other people's children, sure, but your attention goes primarily to your own flesh and blood. In Matthew 12:49-50, Jesus tells us who His family are:

"Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother."

Awesome, right? We all have the opportunity to be a part of God's famliy! And He wants a big family--the more, the merrier! But if we, His children, do not grasp in our own hearts that God loves the classmate who cusses, the uncle with an alcohol addiction, and the coworkers who gossip about who they've slept with, we will be tempted to be bitter and judgmental. After all, they too can become a part of God's famliy.

I have to warn myself sometimes not to become like a spoiled adopted child who forgets where she came from, to the point of being cold and unwelcoming to another adopted brother or sister entering the famliy. God loves the WHOLE world. That's everybody.

Are we going to be vessels of God's love for the world? The WHOLE world?

"We love Him because He first loved us." -- 1 John 4:19

We didn't earn God's love. We didn't choose in our sinful nature to love Him. He loved us first. He gives His love freely to those who believe. And He longs to give it to the rest of the world too.

Love. It's the reason we exist.

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." -- Romans 5:8



Well, folks, it's that time of year again: Valentine's Day.
And chances are, you're doing one of two things:
1. Enjoying (or anticipating in pure bliss) a higly romantic pastime with your significant other, such as an elegant dinner, a Disneyland romp, or an intimate coffee date.
Or ...
2. You're sitting on your couch watching Pride and Prejudice while eating Haagen-Dazs ice cream and crying your eyes out. (You cry a little harder when Darcy tells Elizabeth that she has bewitched him body and soul)
To any guys who are reading this, chances are you will not be participating in the specific example provided in option two. At least, I should hope not ...
But male or female, you get the point, right? Why does Valentine's have to be either the happiest, most magical day of the year, or the most depressing? After years of "celebrating" Singles Awareness Day, I definitely fell under the latter category.
But this post is to all of my fellow single peeps who are tired of being S.A.D. As for me, I am pleased to announce that after almost seven years of whining, complaining about my singleness, and dying for a boyfriend, on this day I can say with the utmost confidence,
I am single, and I LOVE it.
Easy for you to say, you think. Some of us over here are still pretty depressed. Well, hopefully what I have to say encourages you a little bit. Bear with me.
So why am I not crying on the couch today eating chocolate ice cream, wallowing in self-pity, and watching romantic movies? Well, it's mostly because lately, God has helped me realize one thing:
My days as a single are truly gifts from above.
These are days when I can become involved in a sorority, get excited about my studies and future career, hone my talents, wake up every morning with a cup of tea and my Bible, spend time with beloved girlfriends, and put my time that I could be spending with a boyfriend into more beneficial pursuits, like ministering in the church, volunteering, etc.
Most of all, God is helping me discover who I really am. 
And through it all, He is teaching me another truth: true love is also a gift from above.
And like all gifts, it must be given.
Which means that I dare not seek it out, strive for it, or spend my entire life pining for the day when it will actually happen. That's pretty much a waste of a life, if you ask me. And it's a waste of energy. It's tiring.
Now, don't think that I arrived at this conclusion without tears and pain. Yes, I had to learn this the hard way.
I could tell a long story, but it would not fit on the page. If any would like to talk to me personally about it, I would be more than happy to, especially since it has a happy ending and proves just how wonderful our Savior really is. One thing I just have to say, though. God revealed something precious to my heart on a day when I was lots in a dark cloud of loneliness and depression. He lured me to a quiet spot, a grassy lawn on my campus under the comforting shade of a tree, and He spoke these words to me. The "him" for you ladies reading this can refer to a future husband. Or for you guys, just replace the "him" with "her" to refer to a future wife.
 Surrender him. Let him go. Give him up to my loving care. Relationships are not to be sought after or striven for. They are gifts to be given. By Me. If you are constantly striving to take him for yourself, you will continue to strive in sweat and energy to keep him. But, if you let him go and surrender him to me, you can trust Me that in My perfect timing, I will give him to you as a gift. Then he will be yours to keep. Then you will know that it is I who has given him to you. It will be a sweet and perfect gift, so much so that you cannot help but point to me and give me the glory for it. Entrust him to me. Set yourself free from striving. I will give you my perfect gift in my timing.
So today, I rejoice in my singleness, in the great love of my Savior, and in the promise that, if it is meant to be, my husband will be a joyous gift given to me by my precious King. I will wait however long it takes. For I would not trade my days of celibate freedom for anything.
But my darling, whoever you may be, I will wait until the day when I can make a full commitment to you and love you with the love of God above. And I know you will be completely worth it.
So to all my single friends, put down the ice cream, wipe away your tears, and spend today rejoicing for another day to be single, to hang out with friends, to grab a cup of coffee and curl up with your Bible, to spend a little more time with the One who loved you so much, He gave His life for you.
I'm content to be single. Are you?


Hooray! I officially have a blog!

This is a place where I can experiment with transcribing into print God's words of encouragement to me, His divine work, and my daily experiences in His grace, and it is my prayer that you are blessed by it. After all, none of this is of myself. I do not boast or take credit for anything. I am merely an empty vessel for God to pour into. Everything written here, I hope, will ultimately give glory to Him, for it is by His grace alone that I have come this far.

God is amazing, I have to say. I'm living proof!

Now, I may not be much in your eyes. I definitely do not see myself as much of anything. I just hope that I can be emptied of myself so that God can shine His own goodness and love through me. Believe me, on my own, I am not a pretty picture. Anything good in me comes from God above!

If at least one person is encouraged by at least one of my posts, praise God! He will have used me to bless them! But I sincerely hope that I can channel God's message of love so that you will know how much He loves you. I am not capable of that kind of love. Only He is.

Well, here we go! I am so excited! Gloria a Dios!

Psalm 46:10