Words (:

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted! I’ve made significant progress at processing through things as I go (some of you know that’s a HUGE deal) but I haven’t gotten very good at sharing it with others yet. At least not with those who aren’t immediately around me. This week as I took a break from social media I was reminded of the importance with sharing what God has been teaching me on here and with the people that matter to me most.

Life in Portugal has its ebbs and flows, some weeks are extremely busy and some days aren’t so much, but I have been learning so many important lessons through it all. One of the biggest lessons I’m learning is the importance of REST. My whole life has been lived on the go. If you looked in the backseat of my car at any point during high school or college you could find a significant portion of my closet and everything I would need to be gone for days at a time. I had a bedroom at home and a dorm room but I never knew when I was going to sleep or how many days it would be before I went home again (especially in college). I was almost always prepared for a spontaneous trip to the beach or to a football or basketball game in another town. My mentality for the most part was “Sleep is overrated I can do that when I’m dead.”

After spending the summer in Clearwater, I began to understand what it meant to rest. My senior year I longed for the days when I could go hammock by the lake and made it a priority to do it as often as possible. But I never understood how much I needed those times until I packed my bags and moved to another country.

Initially I listened to my supervisors advise to take a day off each week to rest and spend time with God but I slowly slipped back into my GO GO GO mentality. I didn’t really believe that living in another country and learning a new language could be so exhausting. I stayed up late and got up early, until one day I just couldn’t anymore. In the middle of one of our busiest times I was at home trying to mentally rest and sleep off the sickness and exhaustion. I finally realized that I actually needed the Sabbath day that God commanded so for the past few weeks I have been trying to make that a priority.

This week on my day off I listened to a podcast by Jefferson and Alyssa Bethke (check them out on iTunes, they’re pretty great!). I was reminded of the idea that God sometimes gives us a word for each season of life. Many of my friends did this at the beginning of the year, and I thought it was cool but never took the time to actually pray about it. Tuesday as I read my Bible, reflected on what I’ve been learning lately, prayed and asked God for an answer, these are the words He gave me!

Abide. Rest. Wait. Stay. 

Abide in who I say I am.

Rest in my loving arms.

Wait in my presence.

Stay 100% where you are until I tell you to go somewhere else.

If you’ve never heard of this, Alyssa does a great job of explaining this here in the post about New Year Goals and she gives a few examples from her own life. Everyone is different But I strongly encourage you to give it a try. You can ask for one for this year, for the season you’re in right now or even a new season you have coming up (for those of you changing jobs, graduating from college, etc.) It can be something God wants you to learn about His character or an area he wants to stretch you in. There’s no cut and dry answer or right way to do this, just have fun with it! Enjoy your time in the presence of God as you seek Him and wait on Him to answer. And I would love to hear what they are as you figure it out (:

Love and miss y’all dearly! How can I be praying for you?

Bejinihos,

Amber

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“home” 

Tonight as I was on the metro on the way from helping host dinner at Mike and Sarah’s house to a girls night at Mike and Suzanne’s house I plugged in my head phones to listen to Nothing I Hold On To (by Will Reagan and United Pursuit) and I realized this is my life now! For the next 4 months, this is my home. I have a “family” here that I can call anytime I need them and they will come as quickly as my mom would in the states. I have people to cook and clean and host and serve others with. There’s not some grand task that I’m here to accomplish. I’m just here to live life with my friends every day. 

All I can say is thank you. Thank you God for allowing me to come and live in this beautiful place with the amazing people that live here. Thank you for showing me that it doesn’t matter where I am because you are always right here with me! 
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭11‬:‭28-30‬ ESV)
I give it all to you God trusting that you’ll make something beautiful out of me. 











Real talk – what I’ve been learning.

For 2 hours yesterday I attempted to sum up what God had been teaching me and put a pretty little bow on it so it would be nice to read and applicable for others. Today I just decided to be real. What you are about to read are the many things God has been teaching me over the last month. Warning: If stories with no conclusion bother you, you should probably stop reading now 😉 This will be messy and contain incomplete thoughts and sentences. I have not worked through all of these things theologically. This is just the dumping ground for what has been going on in my head and my heart in the last month.  If that’s okay with you, read on. Sidenote – I do not claim any of these thoughts/revelations as my own. They have come from a variety of sources – Jesus Calling, daily email devotionals, books, blogs, and of course, the Bible.

1. Jesus was a man. He was also God. BUT he chose to live within the same limitations as a human. Which means he was basically the same as me and you, minus all of the sin.

Pastor Bill Johnson makes this observation in When Heaven Invades Earth: “He could not heal the sick. Neither could He deliver the tormented from demons or raise the dead. To believe otherwise is to ignore what he said about Himself, and more importantly, to miss the purpose of His self-imposed restriction to live as a man.”

Talk about MIND BLOWN.

Never in the past 2.5 years, or the past 13 years have I ever realized this.

And the Bible backs it up.

Jesus said – “The Son can do nothing by himself; he can only do what he sees the Father doing” (John 5:19)

Here is an excerpt from TGIF: Jesus Could Not Heal the Sick – Os Hillman sums it up much better than I can.

He chose to live with the same limitations that man would face once He was redeemed. He made that point over and over again. Jesus became the model for all who would embrace the invitation to invade the impossible in His name. He performed miracles, wonders, and signs, as a man in right relationship to God – not as God. If He performed miracles because He was God, then they would be unattainable for us. But if he did them as a man, I am responsible to pursue His lifestyle. Recapturing this simple truth changes everything – and makes possible a full restoration of the ministry of Jesus in His Church.

What were the distinctions of His humanity?

1. He had no sin to separate Him from the Father.
2. He was completely dependent on the power of the Holy Spirit working through Him.

What are the distinctions of our humanity?

We are sinners cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Through his sacrifice he has successfully dealt with the power and effect of sin for all who believe. Now nothing separates us from the Father. There remains only one unsettled issue – how dependent on the Holy Spirit are we willing to live?

Yeah, so I think I need to revisit that last question and learn to depend on Him a little more, because last time I checked my life is not very reflective of this next verse.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. – Jesus’ words in John 14:12

2. God wants me to learn something, or maybe a lot of things, about Moses. Or about him, through Moses. 

Since Jan 1, 2015, Moses has been mentioned 7 times, in my email devotion. In a period of about 4 days, the preacher at a church here preached on Moses, I came home to find my roommate listening to her home church about MOSES, and I discovered my best friend’s church at home is doing a series titled – Moses: God Still Parts Red Seas 

So far I’ve learned:

– Moses had an epic failure and gave God a million excuses, but God still used Him anyways!

– Hebrews 11:23-29 describes Moses’ faith in action words. BY FAITH (Pela Fe) Moses refused, chose, considered, left, kept, sprinkled and crossed. Click here to read the passage in English or Portuguese to see what I mean.

– You can also see in Hebrews 11:23-29 that Moses’ life contained at least 3 generations of FAITH. It started with Moses’s parents (v. 23), continued with his personal faith (v. 24-28), and was carried on by the people he was leading (v. 29).

– God doesn’t expect me to give what I don’t have, He just wants me to use what He’s already given me. (Exodus 4:2, Matthew 14:17-18)

– God is faithful and He will make a way. In Exodus 4, he did exactly what he promised Moses would happen. Read the story of how God delivered the people of Israel from the King of Egypt. (EnglishPortuguese)

– God is in charge of hardening and softening people’s hearts towards Himself and His people, NOT me, or you, or anyone else. (Exodus 4:21).

3. Sometimes there are lessons that God wants me to learn. This means I don’t always have to share. And I don’t always have to teach someone else.

4. Sometimes life will be hard, but I don’t have to be afraid. I can walk in freedom because I know that I won’t have to walk through anything Jesus didn’t already go through. I can have hope because I know one day I know that I will be with my heavenly Father FOREVER. 

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our Spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.- Romans 8:15-17

5. IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT ME.

I think this is a lesson I will be learning until the day that I die. 22 years and I still haven’t gotten it yet.

6. God Knows. 

Just like God knew what was going on with the Israelites, his chosen people, He knows what’s going on in my life today.

During those days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his convenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel – and God knew. – Exodus 2:23-25

7. JESUS IS SO GOOD. 

Imagine me saying that in my “I just discovered this for the first time” voice, because I feel like I rediscover it most days. No matter what I face each day, I know that Jesus is still good and He is making all things work together for my good, even when it makes no sense to me.

Thanks for listening. I hope if nothing else, you feel a little more aware of what God has been teaching me. Love y’all ❤ Beijinhos.

***PS. All of the blue links go to the Portuguese Bible, but if you want to read them in English you can still go to the website and select which version you want to read it in (:

Hidden Treasures

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I spent 5 days in this beautiful house in Amsterdam, each morning walking to the third floor only to find the curtains pictured above. On my last evening in the house I went upstairs to blow dry my hair. As I flipped my head over and turned on the hair dryer, I saw the floor of a balcony peeking out from the bottom of the curtain. I pulled back the curtains, pushed through the door, stepped out on the balcony and found this beautiful view.

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We had our very own slice of hidden treasure, and if I hadn’t looked just right I would have missed it completely. Often I think it’s like that with God. We open our Bibles, show up for church, sing along with the worship band, take notes, then we leave and go back to our busy lives as normal. We go through the motions but never really encounter God.

Matthew 13:44 says “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

We see the field but we never really know what’s in it if we don’t look hard enough. I want to be like this man. I don’t want to drive by and see the field. I want to sell all that I have to buy the field, play in the dirt and find all the hidden treasure that is to be found.

My prayer is that no matter where I’m at or what I am doing that I will take time to dig into the word of God and other forms of worship to encounter the true, living God. I pray that no matter how old or how young we are that we will never stop searching for the hidden treasures of who God is.

for Your Glory…

On the plane yesterday I discovered an old journal entry and today I want to share it with you.

May 29, 2014

Today marks the beginning of a new journey. A season of self discovery.Opening my bookbag to find what I thought was there (my laptop),not there anymore, leaves for a whole day of quality time with you, Lord. Today the search for who you are begins, or maybe, better yet, this is a search for who you say I am and how I fit into the miraculously divine plan you have for the world.

I don’t have to look very far to know who you are. I can see you all around me in creation – the sun setting and rising, birds chirping, a cool sea breeze. 

I see you in people. After all, you did make us in your image. Together, we make up most of who you are, but even together we will still never be you.

And of course there is your Word. The sacred words you gave us 2000 years ago that are still applicable today. Your living, breathing Word teaches us something new every time we open it up. Sometimes it teaches us something old, but either way it brings us a little closer to where you are.

Father, my main purpose in life is to exist and live within your presence, allowing your Holy Spirit to fill me up, so much so that it overflows into the lives of those around me. You have called me to live a life of sacrifice but it really is no sacrifice at all compared to what Jesus gave for me. You have commanded me to surrender all to you, pick up my cross and to go make disciples in all nations. Your hope and desire for me is to live a life of unprecedented worship. 

You command me to do everything for your glory and I long to live in response to the reconciliation that has come through the cross; where there is FREEDOM; not in bondage trying to please you. Let me walk in the balance of fearing you, and walking in the freedom that Christ has already paid for my sins with his death and resurrection. 

Jesus I want to be at the center of your will at all times. As I discover more of who you are, I pray that you will reveal who I am in you. 

It was incredible to be reminded of these truths as I transition into this new season of life in Europe. My prayer today is that no matter what we’re going through we will always come back to the basic truth of the Cross.

High and Lifted Up

I can hardly believe its been a year since I sat around the tree with my family unwrapping presents, knowing that in a month I would be moving to Atlanta to spend the remainder of my time in college. Today I sat around the tree with friends and family, knowing that in 3 short weeks, I will be making the move to Lisbon, Portugal, for much longer than I originally anticipated being in Atlanta. I must say it was a little different. I hugged people a little longer and a few more times than normal, knowing it might be the last time I see some of them for six months.

There are so many emotions that come along with picking up my life to move to another culture by myself. I almost said I would be leaving everything I’d ever known behind, but that would be a lie. I’ve moved 13 times in the last 4 years. I’ve hardly ever met a stranger that I didn’t strike up a conversation with. More often than not, God somehow comes up in the conversation. I cannot even begin to take credit for that.

Those are things people say about me but it’s very hard for me to say them about myself. Why? Because I feel inadequate. Completely inadequate. And I am. As long as I rely on me, Amber Nicole Butler, I am inadequate. I am selfish. I do what’s best for me, which usually isn’t very kind or considerate of others. But when I take a step back, and realize that Jesus is the only hope for this life then my attitude shifts. My perspective changes and once again, I’m able to live as who Christ created me to be. Alluring. Kind. Captivating.

Honestly, I didn’t really remember it was Christmas until about 4 pm on December 23. I had been so busy rushing around doing everything else that I had completely forgotten about Christmas. I had this sudden realization at work the other day that Jesus’ birthday was in 2 days and I got really excited. I was literally overwhelmed at the reminder that EVERYTHING is about Jesus.

Yes, Jesus is the reason for the season, but his unending love for us should also be the source of our actions every day. We take this time out each year to celebrate His birth, but without His death and resurrection His life is insignificant. He chose to be born of a virgin, to live on earth, fully man and fully God, to walk through all of this life remaining perfectly pure, to suffer an excruciating death on the cross, knowing that temporary separation from God was worse than any physical pain he would have to endure, faithfully conquering death anyways, and rising again. All of that, just so that we could be restored to right standing before God and have a personal relationship with Him. There are only two responses to this – complete and total surrender to Christ, or rejection of this free gift He has so graciously offered us.

I am thankful that there are days set aside each year in remembrance of Christ’s birth, death and resurrection, but we should be celebrating and living in response to that every day. Jesus is the reason for our existence – to worship Him in Spirit and in truth.  We should speak of the good news daily and our lives should be an ever shining light of His glory and praise.

Isaiah 6:1-8 is one of the scriptures God has continuously woven into this journey to Portugal. Verse 1 says “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple…” I want God to be high and lifted up in my life, and I want my life to be a reflection of Him high and lifted up on the throne!

Verse 8 says “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am, Send me.'” God needed someone to go and tell the rest of the world the Good News, that a savior has come. Isaiah stepped up to the plate and now we all get to too! The Lord is sending each of right where we are. As we spend this day with our friends and families let His name be high and lifted up in our lives and in our conversations.

Welcome to the Journey!

Welcome to my new blog! Here you can follow the story of what God has been doing in my life and what He’s going to do in 2015! More news will unfold soon. Until then you can keep up with me on Facebook and check out my old blog posts. (: Thank you for partnering with me in this journey. I’ll still be sending out monthly newslettters/prayer updates but here you will find stories from day to day events and what God has been teaching me. Subscribe to my blog to have posts automatically sent to your email. I look forward to walking down this road with y’all!

God Bless,

Amber (: