A little peace…

A picture of New Orleans from my walk today.

These are strange times we’re living in. Time is literally standing still for most of us as our cities slowly shut down around us. Yet some how it feels holy, sacred, set apart. It seems as if our heavenly Father is beckoning us to sit with Him.

He is calm in the midst of chaos. He is love. He is peace. He is compassion. When we sit at his feet, we have access to these things, because they are a part of who He is.

Several stories from the Bible come to mind, but for times’ sake I will only mention two. (I have paraphrased them, but you can click on the reference to get exact text.)

Example 1: Matthew 8:23-27 – There’s a storm going on. His disciples are freaking out but Jesus is literally sleeping in the boat. They woke him, saying, “Save us Lord; we are perishing.” To which he responded, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose, and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. The disciples marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

Example 2: Matthew 14: 22-33 – Jesus had just finished feeding the 5000. He put the disciples in a boat, sent them ahead of them and went up the mountain by himself to pray. In the middle of the night, He went to meet the disciples. He didn’t take a boat. He walked there, on top of the water. When they first saw Jesus walking on water, they thought it was ghost, and cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water. He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately peached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they go into the boat, the wind ceased.

We are in the middle of the storm. And I can’t help but hear Jesus whisper the same thing to me. Maybe He’s whispering it to you too. “O you of little faith, why are you doubting? Why are you afraid?”

In both instances, He calmed the storm, but I love the second story the most. He didn’t need to calm the storm for Peter to walk on water. When Peter’s eyes were fixed on Jesus it did not matter what his circumstances were. He rejoiced. He took the next step. He walked on water – something no other human being has ever been able to do.

My prayer for us today is that we too will fix our eyes on Jesus in the middle of the storm. That we will spend a little extra time sitting at His feet – listening, learning, reading & receive the peace, love & compassion that He is offering us.

Love always,

Amber Nicole

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Dealing with Disappointment

An excerpt from my journal on March 11, 2020

“Tomorrow I was supposed to get on a plan to go to Portugal. Rationally/logically I know it makes the most sense to wait and go later in the year. Emotionally, well I don’t really want to deal with it, because I fear going into a rabbit hole or blowing things out of proportion. God give us wisdom. We need you. I need you. This sucks. There is no telling (what’s to come) Lord, but I want to trust you. I know and believe that you are good and you have everything under control. Help me to feel things but not to drown.

Another excerpt, this time from March 15, 2020

I realize I didn’t have to go to Portugal to do the following things:

  • Fall in love with Jesus again
  • Improve my Portuguese
  • Have great stories to tell of what Jesus is doing
  • Develop deeper relationships with my ministry partners
  • Remember why why working for Agape Portugal is important
  • Let God’s love shine brightly through me
  • Reconnect with friends/family in Portugal

In fact, I think it was even more important that I stay home, so I could be reminded that these things can happen no matter where I am, because God is the same God today in New Orleans on my couch as He was when I was in Portugal. He will be the same God tomorrow and every day for the rest of eternity.

“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall hold me” Psalm 139:7-10

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8

While the next few weeks are nothing like I expected them to be, I plan to make the most out of this time. You can find me hiding out in my house, checking off things on a long awaited to do list, watching Netflix + TikTok and soaking up the sweet sounds of birds chirping and children playing from the balcony. Follow along on social media for more updates

Love always,
Amber Nicole

His timing never fails.

I originally wrote this post in August but could not decide if I wanted to publish it anywhere. I finally decided that God’s provision was too good in the middle of an extremely difficult season not to share. This was far from a “dream” summer when you look at all that has happened. Yet even still, God is good and His timing is perfect. He didn’t take the pain away from me, but proved that He was right there with me every step of the way.

At the beginning of this year I learned that my friends Claudio’s mom São had cancer. I’ve always gotten along well with the family but throughout her sickness we grew even closer. São began introducing me to the nurses as her daughter. It wasn’t long until the rest of the family got used to it and began referring to me as their sister, granddaughter, cousin, niece.

São passed away July 7, leaving behind her husband, Manuel and two sons (Claudio, 21 and Tomas, 16).

I was on the way home from my last required work function of the school year when I received the call. I was able to go directly to their house. Through extended family, coworkers, the Odisseia family and many other people I don’t know we were showered with love and support during this extremely difficult time. Sometimes it came in the form of food and other moments it was a much needed hug.

Fast forward – I arrived home on July 18. I spent most of the first ten days with my mom, Grandma and nephew – 3 of my favorite people in the whole world!

On August 3rd, we learned my Grandma had cancer. She spent a week in the hospital and a week in the hospice house. She passed away the morning of August 17, exactly 35 years after her husband.

I was able to spend several nights with her, including the night before she passed away. Our memories were not tarnished by her sickness, but rather brightened because of all the stories, smiles and laughs shared over those two weeks.

God graciously met every single one of my needs this summer. Thank you to every single one of you who prayed, gave, called, texted, sent flowers, brought food, or showed up in support of me and my family over the past few months. You have been the hands and feet of Jesus in my life and the lives of so many around me. 

I would be lying if I said I have not questioned what in the world God is doing this summer and whether or not I was supposed to return to Portugal for another year. But when I look back at it all, I can see His goodness weaved into every single detail.

In August, as I was writing this in Starbucks, a couple started speaking Portuguese right in front of me. Yet another “God wink” that Portugal is exactly where I’m supposed to be for the next year. While it was sad to leave the U.S., I am so excited to be back in a place that I love so much. There is no one else I would rather have by my side than YOU – those of you who God has chosen to help share His love with the 500,000 college students and 10.5 million other people in Portugal. I learn more of who He is and who I am through my relationships with you!

Thanks always,

Amber ❤

We love because he first loved us – 1 John 4:19

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São and the fam #dabonem

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Me and Grandma

Dwelling in the Praises

Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. (Psalm 22:3-5)

enthroned: to put on a throne; to raise to a lofty position

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with him as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerer, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:1-8)

dwell: live in or at a specified place, reside

Wait, WHAT?!? The one who is on the throne has chosen to RESIDE with PEOPLE. Traditionally, by the world’s standards and what we have seen in history, people who sit on THRONES typically don’t hang out with the peasants (every day, average people like me).

But GOD, wanted his throne, the place where he sits and dwells, to be right in the midst of the people. And the CRAZY part is that IT IS DONE. We can sit and talk with God. We can reside with Him. What is even better? IT IS FREE. All we have to do is realize we are thirsty and RECEIVE the water of life without payment.

The Gospel is so simple. And in his never ending love for us, he lets us choose what we want in life. To dwell with him in a place that will one day have no more suffering and pain, or to choose be separated from him forever. These verses from Revelation talk about the consequences of this choice after we die, but in Psalms, David addressed the here and now and how of dwelling with God.

Don’t forget, this was the Old Testament (ya know, before Jesus, when they had to sacrifice animals to pay for their sins and only ONE person could enter the holy place (holy=set apart, sacred, different) ONE time per year). Yet David said: GOD IS ENTHRONED ON THE PRAISES OF HIS PEOPLE. We don’t have to wait to dwell with Him, to know Him. That privilege and inheritance starts the moment we choose to put him on the throne of our lives. The key to experiencing this on a daily basis comes through praise.

I don’t know about you, but for me, this is much easier to accept in my head, than it is to believe in my heart or live out with my actions. Example: My day did not start off anything like I planned (I mean hey, it’s day 2 of being 25, I have big things to do ;). My anxiety was rising. All I wanted to do was share my struggle with someone else. (AKA complaining). Seriously though, I typed the same message to my roommate 15 different ways before I finally deleted it all and just said “Hey, I’m on the way. See you whenever you get there.”

I was SO tempted to skip spending time with Jesus and dive into my to do list. It’s always growing and probably always will be. My brain started racing: I mean, I already know God so I don’t have to actually spend time with Him today right? I can always spend time with Him later. I can just pray and focus on some of the Bible verses that I already know and everything will be fine. I have the Holy Spirit. I got this.

But the words of my mentor popped into my head: “There are plenty of days when we don’t always feel like we desperately need Jesus, but we do.” Today was one of the days where I chose to be aware of that desperation. I pulled out my Bible and opened it to Psalm 22. A few months ago I wrote (when I was going through a season of learning not to complain) I wrote “dwelling in the praises” in the margin by verse three. I had a choice to make. Do I want to just remember what God spoke to me a few months and move on with my day or do I want to ask Him to show me something new and what to see what happened? Thanks to those wise words of my mentor I decided to press in a little deeper and here’s what I found.

Lets look at the context of those first few verses of Psalm 22:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. (Psalm 22:1-2)

But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” (Psalm 22:6-8)

David is walking through an extremely difficult time. I don’t know about you, but David definitely responded to this situation differently than I would have. My first instinct when I am going through a sucky time or I don’t like my circumstances is to suck it up, pretend like nothing is going on and keep pushing forward. The second: complain.

David knew he could be completely vulnerable with God (I mean let’s be honest, he refers to himself as a WORM). Man, I wish that was as easy for me as it was for him. I tend to stick to Adam and Eve’s response in garden (run and hide).

And then, right in the middle of this crazy story, David stops to PRAISE God. “Yet you are holy…” He stops to remember God’s faithfulness to his people: “They trusted and you delivered them…they cried and you rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.”

MIND BLOWN. WHAT?!?

Never in a million years, would I have come up with the idea that the creator of the universe, who already knows the intimacy of a perfect loving relationship within himself (and can speak crazy, beautiful things into existence – I mean have you seen nature lately?!?), would create a species of people to be in relationship with Him and know the goodness and love that He is. And then, after they choose to reject Him, He comes down to earth, is rejected over and over again, yet He STILL chooses to give up his LIFE and separate the bond of the perfect relationship they have had for all of eternity. ALL FOR YOU AND ME! It was worth it to Jesus for him to be separated from God the Father so that we could also experience the love and intimacy they shared.

So that this could be fulfilled: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with him as their God.” 

& y’all, Jesus is sooooo good. I have found nothing sweeter than just dwelling with the maker of my soul. I chose to seek Him today instead of doing what comes most naturally and I received the most amazing reward: Him. He met me right there. At the corner table of a little cafe. I didn’t just read about God dwelling with other people, but I experienced Him dwelling with me. And that is more than I could ever ask for.

 

Meet me at the well

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If you’ve known me for very long at all, you’ve probably heard me say “coffee shops are the well of today.”

One of my favorite stories in the entire Bible is the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well (John 4). I heard a sermon preached on it Mother’s Day 2013 and have preached that same sermon and told the story many times since then. God continues to use this idea of “wells” in my life to remind me that He is the one who provides living water and in Him alone will my soul be satisfied.

It’s ironic because when I first heard that quote at the top and that sermon I hated the taste of coffee, but all of my friends loved it. Through my time on summer project 2013 (shout out to #CBSP13) in an effort to get out of our normal routine, my friends and I would go to coffee shops to spend time with God. It was a tradition that carried on when we went back to school. It became a Saturday morning ritual to find a new place to hide away and spend an extended amount of time praying, reading our Bibles and catching up with each other. To this day, coffee shops are one of my favorite places to go meet with God. Disclaimer – I firmly believe I can experience God ANYwhere and EVERYwhere, coffee houses just happen to be one of my favorite places to do so. Each coffee house/cafe has its own unique story to tell, as do the people in them and I love how God reveals Himself to me over something that starts as a small little bean.

Whether you prefer coffee, tea, espresso, or none of the above, one can hardly deny that people tend to gather around them. I am obsessed with this idea and the fact that so many people are willing to stop for coffee with a friend. Shout out to Portugal where sometimes you drink 5-6 “cafes” a day if it means meeting up with different people!

Much of my summer has been lived in coffee shops. There have been so many cool connections made – some with old friends, others with complete strangers, baristas who feel like they’ve become family (shout out to Liquid State, Jubala, and AWAKE Coffee Community, miss y’all already).

Once again, God has blown me away. I’m in Charlotte today, and decided to go local (Waterbean Coffee) over Starbucks and met two incredible people – a young woman entering into her senior year of college who visited Portugal during her semester of study abroad and a pastor in Charlotte who knew someone involved with International Sports Federation. I am so in awe of how God continues to pour his love out on me through my love of coffee and meeting new people. It’s crazy how three people can have so much in common just because we all believe Jesus Christ as Savior.

We all had different reasons for coming here today (I thought I was coming to get work done) but God had a greater purpose for me – to remind me that He sees me, He knows me and He loves me so much more than I can think or imagine. So often, I go through life stressing out about all of the things on my to do list and I forget to stop and remember the creator and savior of the world is on my team, cheering me on! He is a good, good Father and I am loved by him. All I have to do is cling to the truth of who He is, ask for His help and rest in who He says I am knowing that whatever happens, He is and always will be good.

Don’t forget to take a break from the craziness of life and just enjoy time together (with God and with others). & if you ever want to grab a cup of coffee (whether in the U.S. or in Portugal), don’t hesitate to reach out. I would love to hear your story. If we happen to be in different states or countries, that doesn’t have to stop us. We can always make our own and chat over Skype/FaceTime/etc.

 

Zeal

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Zeal: great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.

God I pray that in 2016 zeal for your house will consume me! Jesus make me more like you. Help me remember to spend time with you each day. Help me hunger and thirst for time with you in the same way I crave food and water. God I want to be so full of love and patience and kindness that even people who know me have to stop and ask what’s different. I don’t want to waste any more time worrying about what people are going to think of me. I want to take risks and live/love boldly for you. On the days when I fail and fall back into this fear (because there will be days when I fail) help me get back up and rest in the truth of your love and grace. Let me not grow weary in running this race with you. I love you Lord and I am so thankful for your love for me. Thank you for sending Jesus to live a perfect life, to die on the cross for my sins and to be resurrected so I could have a relationship with you. There have been a lot of good things and people in my life over the past 23 years but none of them even comes close to my relationship with you! You never promised it would be easy, in fact you told us the opposite (John 16:33) but you did promise that you would never leave or forsake us and that nothing could separate your children from your love.

Constant in the Midst of Change.

A blog post I wrote in August 2015 but never posted –

I had no intentions of jumping on the “I can’t believe its been # years since my first day of college classes” bandwagon, but sitting here on App’s campus I can’t help but join on the fun.

Over the past few months I’ve been sharing the importance of Cru and the impact that a Christ centered community can and should have. College students are at a crossroads in their lives and during those 3-4 years will make decisions that affect the rest of their lives.

What didn’t hit me until today is that in a span of 5 years the population of a university is completely different. The reality is sinking in that when my friends graduate next Spring I will know very few people on any university campus.

For those of you who don’t know I graduated from NC State but had the privilege of going on Clearwater Beach Summer Project in 2013 and gaining wonderful life long friends all over the country. Needless to say many weekends that fall were spent in Boone reuniting with project friends.

Two years ago sitting in the same exact coffee shop I’m sitting in today I would have seen already accidentally run into multiple people I know. It was weird to realize I wouldn’t be running into some of my closest friends from here. Feeling very old, most of the people I know are already gone.

Talking with a friends’ parents last night they mentioned sometimes you can’t understand what Cru does until it affects you personally. I truly can’t say thank you enough to the Cru staff and students of NC State, the mid-south region and now the staff in Portugal that I get to work with. You have forever made an impact on my life, and I hope I get to pay it forward to others. Shout out to Hilary Schofield and Taylor Mestas and our ever evolving Bible Study for showering the love of Christ on me despite my failures. #DBSP12 #CBSP13 #isfportugal14 My life is forever changed by each of you.

When I come home from Portugal next year life will look very different. I won’t be making trips to the university to visit friends. I’ll be making trips to their new towns to visit them in their new jobs. We won’t all gather together in Greensboro for winter conference. Sleepovers will be few and far between.

But on those rare occasions where we push the pause button on life to come together it will be beautiful. It already is.

What’s even more beautiful is in the midst of all the change and transition one thing remains – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Students will come and go but the need for students to hear about the love of God will be here until the day Jesus comes back.

So friends that are in college or involved with Cru (Agape), enjoy every moment of it. Don’t waste time looking back or wishing it away. Let the love of Christ shine through you daily and always, always, always be ready to give an answer for why you live the way you do. You never know the impact you could have on a random stranger or how God is going to use these years in your life for much greater purposes. ❤

Real life, not reel life.

My friend Megan and I have been talking about how social media is the highlight reel of our lives – beautiful sights, great food and fun times with our favorite people, but today I wanted to show something a little different.

My Facebook and my life is typically saturated with fun, traveling and adventure. What I fail to show is the pain that comes with all the “see you laters” involved when your heart is spread all over the country and the world.

So while I would typically post this –

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Today I want to share what I actually looked like as the plane took off

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Yes I’m going to California with my best friend. (Thankfully she just let me cry it out and laughed with me when it was over) Yes I’m going to see another one of my best friends. Yes I’m excited!

But I’m also reminded of all the “see you laters” I’ve said over the past week and that I’m going to say over the next month.

Please know that I absolutely LOVE my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. God has given me the perfect job for the way He created me. The Bible promises if you delight yourself in the Lord he will give you the desires of your heart. This lifestyle is my desire. I am learning it isn’t for everyone but I know it is for me.

While my circumstances are ever changing, God is the one thing that remains the same. He’s a good, good Father and He never leaves me alone. No matter where I go or who I have to say “see you later” to, I’ll never have I say it to Him. For He will be with me forever.

So yeah, sometimes it sucks. There are lots of tears cried and plenty of moments where I get frustrated because I can’t just sit down with my family or my best friends and stay there forever. And that’s okay. It’s part of the broken world we live in.

But to know that one day many of the people I’ve said “see you later” to will be spending an eternity with me and Jesus makes it totally worth it!

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2

#thanksforlettingmebereal

I’m terrified, overwhelmed, excited, and nervous all at the same time.

My sin floods to the surface as I long for what I had in Portugal and fear to experience the things, people, and places that used to be normal to me.

I’m mostly terrified I’l shrink back to the person I used to be: worried about what everyone else thought about me and trembling in the calling that God has placed on my life.

Instead, I want to be confidently rejoicing in the shoes and the career God has placed me in.

It’s so much easier to shrink back but I refuse to give up. I refuse to let the devil win.

I will put one foot in front of the other crying out to God to help me the whole way.

I will not eat my feelings.

I will choose joy over sadness.

I will choose to embrace the season of life I’m in instead of longing for a season of comfort, ease or familiarity.

I will chose to soak up every moment of the next 3 months with my family and friends.

Here are some of the promises I plan to hold on to while I’m here:

Matthew 6:25 – “Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (Portuguese)

Philippians 4:6-8 – do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Portuguese)

Joshua 1:8-9 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night so that you maybe careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Portuguese)

Nehemiah 4:23- So neither I nor my brothers nor my servants nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us took off our clothes: each kept his weapon at his right hand. (Portuguese) (more on this verse later)

The Reward of His Suffering by Matt Papa always encourages me to keep going too.

Thanks for joining me in the rawness and the reality of the journey. I love y’all.

May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering,

Amber Butler

Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more

but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”  – John 8:1-11

Jesus, porém, foi para o monte das Oliveiras. Ao amanhecer ele apareceu novamente no templo, onde todo o povo se reuniu ao seu redor, e ele se assentou para ensiná-lo. Os mestres da lei e os fariseus trouxeram-lhe uma mulher surpreendida em adultério. Fizeram-na ficar em pé diante de todos e disseram a Jesus: “Mestre, esta mulher foi surpreendida em ato de adultério.Na Lei, Moisés nos ordena apedrejar tais mulheres. E o senhor, que diz?”Eles estavam usando essa pergunta como armadilha, a fim de terem uma base para acusá-lo.

Mas Jesus inclinou-se e começou a escrever no chão com o dedo. Visto que continuavam a interrogá-lo, ele se levantou e lhes disse: “Se algum de vocês estiver sem pecado, seja o primeiro a atirar pedra nela”. Inclinou-se novamente e continuou escrevendo no chão.Os que o ouviram foram saindo, um de cada vez, começando pelos mais velhos. Jesus ficou só, com a mulher em pé diante dele. 10 Então Jesus pôs-se em pé e perguntou-lhe: “Mulher, onde estão eles? Ninguém a condenou?” 11 “Ninguém, Senhor”, disse ela. Declarou Jesus: “Eu também não a condeno. Agora vá e abandone sua vida de pecado”.  – Joao 8:1-11
If I’m being honest this is one of my favorite stories in the whole Bible, probably because nine times out of ten I feel like the women in the middle, except a little differently. Most of the time I’m the one wanting to throw stones at myself because of my imperfections and my failures. But I LOVE what Jesus says in verse 11. I was listening to a sermon today and was reminded of the importance of the order in which he says things.

Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now sin no more.

J.D. Greear said –

Jesus put her acceptance before her change, because He knew she would never have the power to change, until she had the assurance that she was accepted.  

And Jesus does the same for you and for me.

The best part is that this acceptance isn’t based on anything I can do, but it’s based on what Jesus has already done for me.

I cannot change on my own. I will fail every day. But I can live in freedom because my position before God never changes.

First God accepts us, then He gives us everything we need to live with Him and for Him. Acts 1:8

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Mas receberão poder quando o Espírito Santo descer sobre vocês, e serão minhas testemunhas em Jerusalém, em toda a Judéia e Samaria, e até os confins da terra

Christians I beg you, let’s start living this way today.

Let’s stop judging ourselves and others and let’s be moved by the love of God to share that love with others.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Assim, quer vocês comam, bebam ou façam qualquer outra coisa, façam tudo para a glória de Deus. 1 Corintos 10:31

Resting in who God says I am today and that He will give me the power and the ability to do everything He asks of me

More thoughts to come, and lessons learned soon (: Thanks for being a part of this journey with me.