Friday, December 6, 2013
The life of another can be very inspiring,but the life you live is only as inspired as you let it be or the people you choose to inspire you.
As predictable as this may be a woman that inspires me is. The Proverbs 31 woman. I like to think her name is Ella, I often think what would Ella do. At least when it comes to my wifey duties. This woman gives me no room for excuses! She gets up early, works all day, and to top it off everyone loves her! I find this inspiring to never give up and to be the best wifey I can be. But in reality I see Ella every day.
She comes alive in my life with the woman who I am so blessed to have in my life. Having them in my life is a daily inspiration. For example, my mother. She loves with her entire life. She gets up, takes care of her family with such passion and abandon of her own needs. (Verses 10-11 & 15-20) another example is my mother in law, who is one of inspirations of strength. She wise, kind, and loved. (Verse 23 & 26-29)
Then lastly the future me. I say this because of many talks with the Lord. I see the woman he made me to be and that inspires me daily. I strive to be her, to know her and to know her God. And with that thought am I once again reminded it is the same God . These women are inspiring for some reason alone, GOD! The God they love and follow!
He is what we see and long for when we become inspired by a woman of God. He is what makes anything that is good, beautiful and awe inspiring.
We need to remember this when we become inspired by many. The true inspiration is God. This is why iam inspired by his creation amd changed by him. His inspiration allows me to see many perspectives and grow from the lessons they teach me.
So I leave you with this verse which has inspired me ," Charm is a deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." Proverbs 31:30
Written by : Natasha Ingman
Follow her Twitter and Facebook @FaithSisters and her Vlogs on YouTube: Natasha Ingman
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” 1 Corinthians 12:7
Saying yes to God was not an easy moment for me. I knew I needed Him and I knew I destroyed my life without Him but saying yes meant I would have to forgive. Forgive the ones I blamed for my pain and forgive myself for running. Was I ready for that? Maybe? Maybe not? Either way I made that choice to receive Christ as my savior. The Blood of Jesus covered me and his love overtaken me. I would never be the same.
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefor I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ power may rest on me.” 1 Corinthians 12:8
Five years later I found myself laying on my bed weeping. Asking Jesus once more am I ready? After a long two years. Trials, Storms, and victories I had to be reminded that because of these surpassing revelations I needed that thorn. I could not become conceited but remained humble. Leaving the net behind I’m sure Peter realized his life would change. Did he realize he would fail more? Doubt more? Be angered more? Probably not but he knew he needed this Jesus that would call him out of sin and into new life. When Saul became Paul do you think this thorn was thought to leave him because of the new creation? I think we all hope so. But with great purpose comes big thorns. It keeps us humble. It keeps us right.
My grace is sufficient for you. When I first read that passage I knew Paul was being transparent about his sin. His flaw he couldn’t seem to perfect, caring on from Saul to Paul, it just wouldn’t leave him. No matter how many times he prayed he couldn’t get rid of it. We don’t know what Paul’s sin was but we do know that whatever it was God stepped in and his power overtakes his weakness. Paul knew how to trust God, do you trust God?
We are blood bought, washed cleaned and saved by the blood. Does that make me perfect? No, though I believe through Jesus we are made perfect with each day we live for him I also believe there is a measure of imperfection to continue our need for him. This war with our soul and our spirit battling with who will eat the most. So I submerge myself in his word because I know I am not good. I need Him. I am a sinner and I need His Grace. There’s not a blog I can write or word I can give that will measure up to the need I have for God. It is all nothing without His love. What caused me to run as a suicide girl still haunts me as a woman of God, a constant thorn in my side. What keeps me going? Grace.
It was through Peter’s shortcomings he experienced the beautiful grace and it was through his failure and Doubt he found God’s anointing. Realizing that no matter how closely you’ve walked with Jesus, that moment of distance you will fall and you will need Him. He needed Jesus when he was first called but after, after he realized there is no living without him. We think because we leave our old life and take on the new we won’t fall. Reality is I fail more serving God then I did when I didn’t. As a suicide girl I had nothing to lose. Sex was a regular activity and alcohol was my life line. I couldn’t fall I was already at the bottom, I was already dead. When I chose to follow Jesus, I picked up the cross and I climbed the mountain. The higher I’ve gotten the more chances of my slipping, scraping my skin, scabbing my fingers. Climbing is the most violent experience of my life and with each step that fall only gets deeper. Any moment I turn my eyes away from Jesus I’m endangering my life. If I fall I will die. But His grace is sufficient for me. I have this thorn in my side and I need God. Do I fall? Do I slip? Every day. Every day I wrestle with my thorns but I’ve learned his power is strong when I am weak.
“That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 1 Corinthians 12:10
I’m not sure where you are in your life, or your walk. Maybe you have experienced insults or hardships. Maybe you’re in a storm or persecution. Difficulties you feel you will never overcome, thorns you just can’t get rid of. Remember you are not alone. In your weakness He is Strong. His grace is sufficient for you.
Be Blessed, Love Carissa Deann
Lord, Today I submit my thorn to you. I may never shake it but I know it does not define me. What define me is your grace and your power that covers my shortcoming and failures. I pray that I continue to move forward into the climb, the journey you have for me. Pressing through every difficulty and keeping my eye on you. Becoming who you see in me and doing what you ask of me. Changing, molding and falling deeply in love with you more each day. Delight in my weakness because I give you all the glory! Thank you Lord for your grace. Thank you for your power and your mighty hand. Thank you Jesus that you walk with me and I don’t do this alone.
Monday, November 18, 2013
I was doing a school high school assembly recently with the team I travel with. One of my teammates had just finished his sex talk, encouraging students to wait for marriage to give themselves away sexually. He handed the mic back to me and as I looked up in that crowd of over 2500 students, I had this thought: They think it’s easy for us to say because we all must be married. In fact the 3 guys on my team are married, except for me. I addressed those young men by saying:
“I want you all to look me in my eyes and hear this. I am very single. I am not a bad looking guy, and as a matter of fact I am one handsome dude. I hit the gym hard and under this uniform I’m wearing, I am yacked! I have no difficulty receiving attention from girls and that there was a time in my life when I gave in to some of that attention. But when I changed my life in 2004, I began building standards and boundaries into my life”.
I informed those students that I have not so much as kissed a girl since 2005; I stand there in that gym unashamedly proclaiming that the next time I kiss a girl will be on my wedding day. I watched as all 2500 of those young ladies AND the boys began to applaud and cheer. I told those young men if all they know how to do is use a young lady and manipulate her emotions to get what they want they know absolutely nothing about being a man. I then looked the young ladies in the eyes and told them how valuable and priceless they are and that despite what this world is telling them, there are young men out there who will honor, respect, provide for and protect them. I challenged the girls that it is time to raise the standards in their lives and if a boy is not willing to meet those standards then he isn’t deserving of their time. The girls went crazy!!
All that to say, I got to see that day what society doesn’t get to see, a generation of young people who want a return to purity in this hour. They are starving for someone to rise up and shout out loud that it is ok to wait and that the wait is worth the reward. Not someone who’s waiting because they don’t have many other options themselves, but someone who is normal. Who is cool and has the ability to take either path but makes a conscious choice to do right and live free from guilt and shame.
How do I know this? Not an assembly that I do goes by that a young lady will come to me afterward and say, “thank you for telling me it’s ok to say no to sleeping with a boy. No one has ever told me that.”
A young lady in came to me in Danville, CA, after speaking in her Christian school, told me the misery she has been through because she allowed her so-called boyfriend to talk her into having sex with him. She hugged me and when she pulled away, in tears, she said, “That’s the first time I’ve ever hugged a man and not felt him lusting after me.”
Our culture today is telling these young people that as their hormones begin to raise up they are going to have urges and desires and it’s ok to act on those passions, just use a condom or a pill. Why in the world are we encouraging our young people to put their hopes, their dreams and their future in a condom or a pill that aren’t capable of protecting them from the emotional scars of a broken heart?!
We ought to create new habits. We ought not to be out dating and forming habits of dependency on a relationship or a need for having multiple people in our lives to fill the variety of desires we have. Instead train ourselves to be committed to God and His purpose. If I can’t show myself to be faithful, disciplined and committed to God, what makes me think just because I put a ring on a girl’s finger I will suddenly be capable of being faithful to her? I build those habits now, and keep my trust in God that He will reveal to me when the right girl comes along.
Bottom line is the first sign of power in our lives is when we learn to say no. We will never say no to anything unless we have a reason to say no. For me, it’s the love and the grace of God that enables me to say no. The fact that there is a God in Heaven, Who when I wanted nothing to do with Him, He wanted everything to do with me. Walking in the purpose He created me for is far greater than anything this world has to offer and is the greatest deterrent to sin there is because that purpose will keep us so consumed that not only will we not have time for sin, we will lose the taste for it. Jesus is the Victory that has overcome the world! I’m claiming my Victory.. Are you?
Monday, November 11, 2013
Men operate far different than women. This is why I am so thankful for my fiancé. She helps me in the areas I cannot help myself. I have been asked to write about a man’s perspective on the promises of God, and basically how Women of God fit in to that equation. As men, we are very task orientated—we have a checklist mentality of what needs to get done and how we will go about accomplishing the tasks at hand. When I think in my personal life of the promises of God, I view them in a more mission mentality. God has given me a vision and a mission to go and pioneer a church in Oakland, Ca. When he gave me that vision, I was thrilled because I was just geared for that type of ministry. I have never been a guy who focuses on the financial aspects of things, moving to what others may view as a “ghetto” or the “streets”, has never frightened me because I have been broke my whole life.
One thing God knew was that in my heart, I wanted a wife and HE literally dropped the woman I am going to marry in my lap. I am so thankful for this because she truly compliments me in every aspect of life and ministry. When you see her and I together, you would never in your right mind place us as a couple. We are polar opposites in nearly every aspect except for: our love for Jesus, people, God’s Word, and His church. Luckily enough, this has been all we have needed to survive thus far.
Really the aspect I want to focus on and feel led to talk about is the purpose of the Woman of God, when it comes to godly relationships and marriage. My fiancé, for example, is truly my 24/7 whenever I need counselor. As I go through life and ministry and things are coming against me, she is there. You know they say BEHIND every good man is a great woman. This is true not necessarily in a inferiority sense, but a support sense. When I am falling back, slacking in areas, or maybe not living to my potential, my wife will be there to hold me up and propel me forward. It’s always great to know that we have Jesus in the midst of all of our trials and tribulations and during all the adversity in our life. But you know what? I don’t know how many times God has used my future wife to minister strength to me when I have been feeling down, and out for the count and that has been such a huge blessing in my life. She has pushed me to serve more, love more, give more, and in every sense of the word BE more. None of this by what she has said, but what she has done in my life—always being a support and a comforter in this tough industry known as ministry.
As a Man of God, I want to ask you Men of God a favor; to treat your Woman of God like the jewel she is. If you have a wife that’s had your back through thick and thin, and has been what you needed to be, it’s time to love her with the love of Christ. I am not talking about date nights, and things like that, although those are great and recommended! But your very countenance and actions should scream, “you know what I love my wife with all that’s in me, and I am not ashamed of that”.
As men of God, we have got to step it up and start a movement of happy marriages. I am tired of hearing about how when you’re married your life is over, I want to hear that when you married your life BEGINS and it’s a beautiful thing!
Friday, November 8, 2013
Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. (John 4:9 KJV)
Tired, hurt, broken, angry, bitter, resentful, judged, used, forgotten, rejected, searching. These are all words I would have described myself a little over a year ago. I'd imagine they were words thought of this woman also. A lifetime of mistakes and failure. Shame and guilt. I'm sure there wasn't a day that went by that she didn't think of the mess she made of her life. Until this day, the day she met Jesus.
The beginning. One, two, five men could not wrap their arms around her and erase that shame, that anger, that brokenness..not one man was who she was searching for. I know that search. That miserable longing for someone to hold me and I begin to know it's enough. It wasn't found in a club or a party. It wasn't even found in a marriage or a church congregation. Why? Because if I won't except it from Jesus I won't accept it from anyone else.
How is thou a Jew ask ME a sinner, for a drink? What do you want from me?? I have nothing to give you! Can't you see I'm broken? I am empty and I can't find anything to fill me! I have nothing to give you. He, who knows me, everything about me.
(The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” (John 4:18 NIV)
What he asked was not from me but from him. He offered me what I was searching for. This thirst for him overflows my heart. Restored, forgiven, cherished, dear. Accepted, spotless, joyful and satisfied. He called me his beloved and he is my King. No other love has loved me like Jesus so I can shout with joy! I will stir up these deep waters and go after him! I tell you this was my story but whatever your story is, whatever your searching for... You'll find it in him. And today I pray you do.
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13, 14 NIV)
Be Blessed, love Carissa Deann
Lord, today I find you. Today I accept your love and overflowing joy. Lord you have washed my past away with your blood and in you I am whole. In you I am satisfied and in you I move forward. Today I pray that I seek you diligently and drink from that living water. Stir up deep waters in me and walk deep into the water after you. You know me Lord and yet you love me. I am humbled by your love. Today I fall madly in love with you. Jesus, amen.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Been avoiding this whole "marriage" blog because I don't want to be THAT lady who writes about relationships. I feel that I can write about something more powerful then the typical girl blogs of fantasy weddings and waiting on the one... I start studying a different subject and Dora is on an adventure to a wedding and the map helps her get there.... Such a silly way to get my attention but it's come to my attention the MARRIAGE is VERY important to God and probably the most powerful piece The Lord would anoint to write. Usually the things we don't want to do we have to do.
Marriage is sacred and pure. The most powerful unionship one can experience. Jesus is the groom and we are his bride. That alone shares with us how important and valuable marriage is to God. It also shows us how to respond to marriage, why we get married and how revival starts in a couple that diligently seeks God.
Imagine the impact a man and his wife could make when they make the word of God a lamp for their path (psalm119:105) and let the Holy Spirit come over them (acts 1:8) men must first have God in them loving him with all his heart, soul and strength (deut 6) . Woman should be woman fully dedicated and submitted to God and with everything in prayer (prov 31, eph 5:24). What makes the P31 come alive and easy is she is doing everything she loves. She doesn't see it as a chore or burden. She genuinely loves doing all she can to serve her family because she LOVES serving God. Men will love and sacrifice for his wife because he is intimately in love with Jesus, his Lord who loved and died for him.
Woman, don't love a man who isn't first madly in love with Christ. Who doesn't have Him in him. And Men don't love a woman who isn't unabashedly secure in who she is in The Lord. Fully submitted to his authority and a woman of powerful prayer, and bold faith.
Together the two of you will acknowledge God in all you due. Passionately pursuing what God himself has called you too! Together you pray about everything and together you will live out HIS plan. Marriage is beautiful and powerful but first you must seek God. Young adults stop prematurely seeking marriage. It's more then being best friends or whatever else those relationship memes say. You need to know how to love God first, make him Lord of your life and learn how to trust him and pursue his plan. Once you do that, walking in Gods purpose one day God will lead you to each other standing right in front of your destiny. Or at least the person you will walk this destiny out. It won't happen any way you can imagine and his story will be far more special than how you can think. His ways are not ours. So walk this out. Pursue God and trust him...
I(Jesus, groom) IN THEM(us, the church, body of believers, the bride) and YOU (God) IN Me (Jesus). May be BROUGHT to complete UNITY to let the world know (union, wedding, crowed of witnesses, before a people) that YOU have SENT me (to find, get the bride at appointed place) and have LOVED me.
Then the Lord God FORMED the man from the dust of the ground. HE BREATHED (I in them and YOU in me) the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a LIVING person.
Then the Lord GOD made a woman FROM the RIB (I, in them, groom in bride) , and he BROUGHT her TO the MAN (brought to complete unity). “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from MY bone, and flesh from MY flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was TAKEN from ‘man.’”
Genesis 2:22, 23
I hope that you are encouraged by this singles, and enlighten young adults. To the married keep having faith this journey isn't east but you're a team, you have each other!
Be blessed! Love, Carissa Deann
Monday, October 28, 2013
“Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. (Habakkuk 1:5 NIV)
The prophet Habakkuk questions God's justice in ALLOWING evil to go unchecked, through seeking The Lord the answer is received. Writing this 3 chapters of hope. God knows what he is doing, leading to a concluding celebration of God's glory and power.
Have you ever held onto a word so tightly that these written promises become your only light in a dark dark place? I have. I find myself many times holding on to God's word so tightly that it becomes my very breath. How can this be happening? Why do I have to go through this? Why do I feel so alone? Questions I seem to ask so often lately. More recently in fact. Nothing I've dreamed about seems to be working out and I never imagined my life would play out this way.
Today was no better then the last and I was feeling the most doubt than I have ever. In fact I should really be posting my journal and you all would say you hypocrite why are you even writing this! Truly I've never been so angry in my life. It takes a whole lot for me to be angered or get a rise from me but I have felt in the last 2 years I've been put through enough to scream so loud it hurts.
Today I came to a place of total abandonment. Not just angry at my circumstance but also angry at my Lord. "Why bother dream" I said. "It's time to live in reality and put those dreams aside. They will not come and I will not be what I've hope. These things will not come and when I feel just a little close I get smacked back to reality". This wasn't a pretty sight, not my strongest woman of faith moment. But I'll be real and if you are too you'll admit you've come to those hopeless moments too.
Sitting in my self pity I look up to see a scene from that Joseph movie. He is angry stuck in this cell yelling at God. "Why must I dream again. What good is a dream if sharing it with others landed me here".....
Joseph was given a dream. Shared it with people he thought loved him only to be mocked then sold to slavery. Joseph maybe couldn't see the reason but regardless his persecutors, his brothers, did him a favor it lead him to the road directly to where God had always planned to fulfill his dream.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:30, 31 NIV)
We will soar like wings of eagles. Did you know that during a storm eagles actually use the storm to elevate them so they can soar above it! They press INTO the storm and their strength lifts them above the circumstance. Joseph may not have known the reason why but it did lead him to what he had dreamed. If we press into our storms the Lord, our strength, will elevate us above the circumstance right into his presence where our hope is.
Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. (Genesis 45:9 NIV)
I've learned there has to be destruction before the celebration. Destroy what's past to really elevate you to what's new. Abraham left, Joseph became a slave, Moses lived in the wilderness, Joshua had to kill, David hid in caves, Ruth followed her widowed mother in law, Job suffers everything, and Jesus goes to the cross. There's always a death before there's a resurrection. Leaving behind the Old to obtain the new.
God has not forgotten you and your time here is short and he will not delay. Your promise is coming.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10 NIV)
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
(Habakkuk 3:17, 18 NIV)
I hope you are as encouraged as I am. Today wasn't an easy day. And I'm sure there will be many more uneasy days BUT when we learn to put our trust in God and not in man or our circumstance we will see the fullness God has for us. Let go of the old and grab ahold of the new God has for you!
Be blessed, Carissa Deann