9.29.2014

Sovereign God


“I am filled with comfort; I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction.”
- 2 Corinthians 7:4

“...but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within.  But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us...”
- 2 Corinthians 7:5-6

Believing in a sovereign God is not easy.  Many times it’s so testing on my finite mind that I must remind myself: Raquel, you believe He is sovereign because He is God.  Because if He is God, but wasn’t sovereign...we’re gonna have big problems.

Trusting God’s sovereignty is applicable in every aspect of life.  But when difficulties hit us, when rough times slap us across the face, when storms of life lay us flat on the ground, believe His sovereignty is easy to question.

Why would God allow something like this to happen?
Does He want to hurt us?
Does He want us to get knocked down?

“But He is a loving God!” some will say.  “He would never intentionally afflict us.”

Oh but wait.  Look at this passage of Scripture in Hosea 6:1-2.

“Come, let us return to the LORD.  For He has torn us, but He will heal us.  He has wounded us, but He will bandage us up.  He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, that we may live before Him.”

We may never know why He ordained certain things to happen in our lives.  But a trusty, and often-quoted verse is one that I am sure you’re familiar with.

“And we know that God causes ALL things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” 
- Romans 8:28

With the comfort of that promise, we can REST in the assurance and peace that no matter what great trials cross our paths, He is bigger than it.  He has a purpose for it.  And He is never far from our grasp.  He is a God of comfort.

How could Paul be so joyful in his afflictions?  Because he is comforted by this sovereign God.

“He comforts the depressed...”

The LORD will never abandon us.  He won’t see us going through the storm He designed, without holding our hand and walking with us against the wind and sleet.  He is ever-present, ever-sovereign, never-changing.

Trust the sovereign God who tears, so He will heal.  Who wounds, so He will bandage.  Look for and pray about the lesson He is teaching you amidst these.  And remember the comfort He offers amidst it all.

“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.”
- 2 Corinthians 4:17


9.27.2014

Everyday Blessings // 25



>> attending the 13th wedding I was invited to this year
>> books
>> having time to read
>> a new movie poster (Guardians of the Galaxy)
>> receiving donations for my return trip to Peru
>> friends coming over for a movie day (Anne of Green Gables - their pick!)
>> seeing my Marine friend who's on leave
>> hearing from my boys at the home in Peru
>> two friends calling and informing me that they were coming to kidnap me (at 10pm)
>> going to Shari's for pie shakes at midnight
>> starting a bonfire on the beach at 1am
>> finishing a book series
>> Autumn is finally here

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How has your autumn been so far?

9.23.2014

In His Own Image

I recently overheard a girl say that she felt naked without makeup.  That she never sets foot outside of her house if her makeup isn't done.  Later, I saw her (after she had been 'dared' to not wear makeup for the day), and was surprised at how different she looked.  It was only because I had gotten so used to seeing her with a full face hidden behind makeup and had never seen her for who she really is.  She has beautiful features, but is so different behind all that stuff and fuss so it was a bit shocking to see her face so pure and clean. 

I don't have anything against makeup.  I use it myself.  But we must be careful with how MUCH and how OFTEN we do wear it.  Do you want people to get used to always seeing you with it on so that one day, when you don't wear it, they feel like they're looking at a ghost?  Makeup shouldn't be used to hide behind, or to try to make yourself more beautiful.  It should be used to enhance the beauty that is already there.

The above girl's story inspired me to write the following poem.  And to take the pictures below.  It's a side-by-side (unedited) comparison to how much makeup can change a person's looks.


If you would like to join in on the #InHisOwnImage campaign, copy and paste this poem (by me) into a post of your own and take two pictures of yourself.  One without makeup, and one with.  Include them in your post, then comment with a link to it.

We are beautiful, not because the world says so.  Not because of the makeup we use.  Not because of our body shape.  We are beautiful because God created us in HIS OWN IMAGE.  And in His eyes, we are spotless and without blemish.

I will be posting this on Facebook and Instagram (@itsjustraquel), so feel free to join on there too.

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Dear girl,
With face against the mirror
Your tears fall fast 
Down your face
The face that isn't like the other girls
The face with blemishes
That cause insecurity and pain
You feel naked
Without the mask
A mask of powder and pencil
Of mascara and blush
These tools can make you feel beautiful
But are they truly what you want?
Do you want to hide behind them
Or be confident in who you are?
You're not defined by the extra skin on your body
Or the imperfections on your face.
They're nothing to be ashamed of
You're not the Potter, you're the clay
Everyone is made differently
Everyone has their own insecurities
What you must do is embrace your own
Live your life not hiding in shame
Remind yourself of the beauty within
Of who you are in His eyes
Not theirs
Your person is much more than your body
It's your heart and soul and might and strength
And the greatest beauty you can have
Is if you love Him with all of that.

9.20.2014

5 Confessions of a Blogaholic


Below are a few of my favorite things about blogging...


1.  I love to meet new people.
Thanks to my social media accounts (this blog, Instagram and Twitter), I have been blessed to meet some amazing people.  A few of whom I can call ‘best friends’.  

2.  I love to encourage.
When I first started this blog, it was with the intention of encouraging fellow believers, to remind them that God has great plans for them, and ultimately, that they aren’t alone.  I have gotten so many emails and comments from people thanking me for my posts, or telling me how God used this or that to really speak to them.  That’s the only reason I continue to blog.

3.  I love to write.
Writing is a passion of mine - right next to my love for God and second only to music.  If I couldn’t write, I think I’d probably go insane.  I believe that God has gifted me with this talent and I choose only to glorify Him in and through it.

4.  I love to hear from readers.
Feedback is always good.  Constructive criticism is always good.  But only when done with ‘grace and seasoned with salt’.  Whenever I get an email or comment from someone graciously telling me about a mistake I made or something that they aren’t sure they agree with me on, I will gladly hear them out.  
And comments just plain make my day.  (Do I hear an amen from any fellow bloggers out there?)

5.   I love my Jesus.
Like I said in reason #2, I began this blog to encourage fellow Christians.  I blog for them, but ultimately for Jesus.  I dedicated this blog to Him and I pray that everyone who reads it may be blessed and encouraged.  It’s not about me, it’s about Him.  

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What are some of your favorite reasons for blogging?  Leave a comment and let me know.  Oh and include your blog link.  I’ll try to check it out!