Driving leads to thinking 

  This weekend I got to visit some friends and my parents back in my home town. It was quite the adventure getting there, I was escorted by 3 state troopers across a state for the reason I have no idea why. I laughed to myself as I had one in front of me, one on the side and one in back and thought, “well God, you sure did ensure my safety this trip!” Mind you, this all happened by 9am in the morning. Later on that day, I watched UFC 196 intently, rooting for my choosen fighter. The next day I went to my home church and then started my drive home. I drove an unconventional way home that day, through small towns of Michigan some with probably no more than 400 people in them. As I was taking in the scenery I remembered that I had taken this way before.. When I was little and I seen things that brought back images to my mind. A certain stone on the side of a road brought back a childhood memory and then I remembered that a certain store should appear on the left hand side of the road maybe 20 minutes down.. I was oddly correct. I was thinking about the people in those towns and wondered what their normal routines looked like. I passed about 75 antique shops (no lie!) through my travels. I passed boarded up churches that once had life but now are deteriorating; that sight touched my heart in a way that I can’t describe. Fast forward a day and the next day I went to Chicago. Now I drove there as well but the sights I seen there were a 180 degree difference than I seen in my small town travels hours prior. This got me to thinking how much I am not meant for the city life, I am extremely greatful for where I am now but realizing even more than before my heart breaks for “the small towns.” There is nothing I enjoy more than going to the grocery store and seeing people that I know. 

So as I shared a glimpse of my weekend, travels, and heart, I return and ask you: what touches your heart and why? What is God making known to you that you may have once rejected or even embraced and is showing you His heart in? I believe God will give us ideas and thoughts out of random nostalgia that we will be able to delight in and prepare us for the unknown. 

Travel down the path of truth and light. For the cost of truth will cost you something, but if will be far less than the cost of disillusion and wanting desires. 

It’s all about the fight

FIGHT. This word normally takes on poor undertones within society, meaning: people aren’t getting along, this is a significant factor in war, people think of blood and gruesome images. Yes, the word can imply those things but was about the fight that each human has to go through? The fight to persevere through the trials they are in, the fight to become a better student, and even the fight we have to go through to maintain solid relationships. The word fight now transfers from negative into a positive. I think everyday we should be fighting for something in our life. As Christians we see the goal and that’s eternal life but there is a fight a battle we have every day and that’s denying pride that can creep up that takes us off mission. If you don’t know me, you may not know that I have a fondness for the UFC. (cage fighting) I have found that the people who are in that cage during their 5 minutes of the 5 round fight that they are giving all they have in that amount of time. However, they just don’t go in that cage without training; no, they fight for practice just for the big moment that last tops of 25 minutes. The training and learning that takes place requires vast amounts of dedication and time. There is a quote that I heard the other day by the Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and she said this:

“I train hard, so I can win easy.”

I don’t know about you, but I find that quote not only the truth but challenging and encouraging. There are going to be times in our life when we don’t feel like training and we will slack because, ‘a fight isn’t scheduled for us’ but how many of you know, that life doesn’t schedule fight for us? We have to train in and out of season to be prepared. I challenge you and myself to make it a priority to not slack on the training, fight through the battles so we can race up the mountains.

P.S: good luck to all the people who have trained for UFC 193 this weekend

If you have any encouraging comments, please feel free to comment.

It’s November!

It’s been an extremely long time since I have blogged, and honestly I really missed it! This year has been really really busy and crazy and cool! July I not only celebrated my 25th year of life on this planet but I also got MARRIED! I still can’t believe it, it’s super surreal! I feel like I’m still supposed to be planning but all of that is 3.5 months is behind me. The part I miss most about the, “planning”  wasn’t even the planning at all, it was just making crafts! I has a pinwheel theme so the amount of pinwheels that consumed my life was an overflowing amount.

Not only did  I get married this summer but I moved an hour and some odd minutes away from my last location. My moving history is kind of interesting, I grew up in a small town and lived there for 22 years, moved to the city and while in the city I moved locations twice and now I am back in a small town reminiscent of my hometown and I love it!! I feel like there is so much to catch up on, well you know I got married and moved but I also got credentialed with the Assemblies of God. To me that was a big achievement, not only in the work that took place to get there but also as a benchmarker in my life.

Well I will since I didn’t think of a concrete topic for this post; I will conclude this post with a final question like I normally do.

Challenge: What is a benchmarker in your life that you are proud of? What are you doing in your life that is getting you closer to the next benchmark moment?

what are people saying about you?

“What do people say about you?”

“How am I perceived?”

We have been taught that these are terrible questions to ask ourselves. “Don’t ask yourself those questions!! You are your own person! Don’t even think about comparing yourself to another person!” Right? We have all heard it, and you know what, we shouldn’t live a lifestyle comparing ourselves to one another. However, we should care about how we are perceived. You may be saying right now, “Nichole you are saying two opposite things here, not comparing yourself to other people but yet caring about what other people think….aren’t they close to the same thing?”  They are similar in nature but there are stark differences that actually matter in how we live our life, I will explain.

Comparison (in my definition is this) looking at what you have, who you are, what you are wearing, how you behave and wishing you weren’t that way because you want to be like someone else. “Wow, that person is so beautiful, why can’t I look like that?…..So and so is SOOOO outgoing, I feel like I can’t connect with people like they do…..” And the list goes on right?

I personally think asking yourself these questions will weaken your identity, because you are not any other person than yourself. God made you and you are the only mold He has for you, learn to love you how He loves you, because He knew your frame of your being before He made you. (Psalms 139) In saying all of these things we should care about how we are perceived though. As Christians it is our goal to be representatives of the Gospel, which means we have to be be aware of how we are representing the Gospel. I personally believe that being hospitable is great indicator of your love for people, your care for the people around you and the outward state of ones heart. Do you go out of the way to open the door for the lady with her arms full of things because you know she will struggle? Are you polite to your barista when they accidentally get your order wrong and put the wrong syrup in your coffee? Do you go up to the new person at your school and say, “Hi” with intention of really caring for them so they don’t feel left out? These are some of them many scenarios that we come in contact with everyday to represent hospitality. If it is our goal to be more effective in representing the Gospel we should want to be hospitable, even knowing that we may get little back in return. I was reading in Proverbs 27 today and this is what verse two said, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger and not your own lips.” 

If we truly want to be more like Jesus, representing the Gospel, followers of Christ, then we will not be concerned with comparing ourselves as much as we used to be. We will separate ourselves from comparison and want to be a greater learner of Christ. We won’t have to fend for ourselves or boast in ourselves saying, “I am hospitable!!” Our actions prior how others have perceived us will speak for themselves; our track record would be one recorded of hospitality and generous living towards others. Whenever we try to act like someone else and try being Christlike we will always be mad at ourselves because we are trying to be like two people at the same time. So I challenge you, and continually challenge myself, to let go of comparing yourselves to others, start putting on who God made you to be, learn more about Him in your head and in your heart. Be aware of your actions not by what people will say about you but because you genuinely want to be a representative of the Gospel.

24 and growing

Here it is, August of 2014 just less than 3 weeks ago I turned 24. To some, that sounds young and in my prime, to others that sounds old and outdated. But, I view 24 as one year shy of a quarter, it sounds fun and also it makes your next birthday more definite and sound expensive. I know I haven’t written in a loooong time, but I have high hopes on changing that; actually this blog is going to be leading into the train of thought that I have been some what consumed with for the last few weeks and that would be in essence the word, “Ability”

Now the word, ‘ability’ is one that when we think of it we get pumped because we are able to do something. When we are able to do something it normally means we have the power to defeat something else right? As example, “I have the ability to cut down this tree” meaning, that you have something that is going to cut through the tree and you are the one in power of the chainsaw and you are the one taking action cut down the tree. You were able to with knowledge of how to use the chainsaw to cut down that tree, you were able to read somewhere and learn from some body how to use it. The ability to do things is delightful doesn’t it? With having ability comes responsibility though. As a chainsaw owner I gave to put gas in my chainsaw, keep the blades oiled for when I have to use it next and so on. Being able always demands action and action always demands being able. 

Now I think of my life, I think of my walk with God and people. I think of the calling He has placed on His disciples and the calling is rather simple really and that is to ‘Go and make more disciples!’ my first thought to this whenever I read the Gospels is always “yeeaaaah Jesus!! I will make disciples for you!” but then, it sinks in….”wait, how can ‘I’ really make a disciple if I am one?! I can’t do that! I can’t change other people!…….wait, Nichole you are so silly of course you can’t change other people you took actions with changing yourself and you could do that with out God!” [yes, this is how I think to myself, you can judge me later if you want but you talk to yourself too, admit it ;) ] Our abilities and what we are able to do has nothing to do with being able to change people for the better or change people to accept Jesus as their Savior. God did not give people the task to change other people, He gave us the ability to reflect Him in all we do and its our job to depend on His Word, His Spirit to change us in the process. Our ability to exhibit the working of the Lord in our life in such a way that it makes people question their abilities and how to improve who they are. Since our ability is to reflect the work of the Lord in our lives with living in surrender to Him, our responsibility is to share what He is doing in us, and let Him work in the hearts of others. I am realizing more and more that God can do far more than I ever can, I just have to let Him keep working in me.  

The young life

Today I am just going to be sharing some thoughts with you as I have been reading out of 1 Timothy. 

Paul is writing to a young lad named Timmy, who is a student of the Scriptures and a leader in the church. I know as a Bible college student when I read this I am encouraged, because a person as young or younger as myself, way back when, was called by God to be a leader for people to be a gateway for truth to pour forth from to lead people to the cross. That task sounds daunting, challenging, and you know what, it is!! HOWEVER, this is a repeated theme in the Bible, “God does not call you to what you can do without Him, He calls you to what you can only do with Him.” Young Timmys task, his life while he was young wasn’t meant to be a walk in the park, but to be a trek of dependence on the truth of Scripture, his faith in Christ, and guidance by his elders who knew the ropes. As Paul is writing this letter he says to Timmy: Command and teach the truths you have been taught…you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus…don’t let anyone look down on you since you are young, but set an example for believers in speech, life, love, faith and purity…. be diligent in these matters, give yourself to them so everyone may see your progress, watch your life and your doctrine closely, and persevere in them. You will save not only your life but your hearer as well. (1 Timothy 4)

I read that and am encouraged by Paul’s words to Timothy, I believe that these words transcend into the lives of students in leadership today, not just of students or young people but it definitely encourages us young ones! I can say that at 23.5 years of age, I have not obtained perfection in these areas but I want to try my best with the help of the Lord to stay, determined, and diligent in truth, love and purity. Persevere in challenges and to be humble enough to learn.  

Thought of the day: My age is not contingent on what Gods plans are for me. 

Hope you are encouraged today!

Why Must I Suffer?

Great Blog, this is a must read no matter where anyone is at in there life.

nateelarton.com

 Here is my view on the often-asked questions, Why do Christians suffer? Since the beginning of time, God’s people have suffered and that will continue, despite the misled teachings that believers should not suffer. Some would contest that all suffering is from Satan. That is absurd, since most of the New Testament was written to the new church that was suffering. I do not believe the Bible teaches that followers of Jesus should not suffer and God does not use suffering. I believe that is not biblical, and not a reality. Whether we like it or not, suffering draws us to Christ. Suffering reminds us of our immortality and our absolute lack of control over our life, health, and circumstances, which we desire to control so deeply. I have had some deep suffering in life, I know most have had it worse. During those dark and painful times, I turned…

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