Finding Abundant Life in Christ

So, it’s currently Sunday as I am starting to write this, and this blog post will, Lord willing, be going up this upcoming Tuesday (edit, it’s up Thursday XD). Normally I don’t write posts this last minute, but life has been pretty crazy lately. XP 😉

Anywho, with that said, today’s post is going to be a bit more raw than most of my posts. I want to share some things that God’s been teaching me lately. So, let’s go!

Lately, I’ve realized how much I tend to stray from God. My phone continually distracts me and steals my attention – and when I’m on it, it doesn’t even fill me up with real joy, in fact, it tends to steal my joy. The distractions that the enemy tries to trap us in are all like that – they seem relaxing, they seem nice, they gratify our current wishes, but in the end, they never satisfy.

Unlike distractions, I love how God exceeds our expectations and overflows our cups!! I went to a dance last week, and I was so excited for it. I had a fun time, yet it wasn’t quite what I expected, unfortunately. That reminded me that, unlike people/events/etc, God is ALWAYS going to bring us joy and life, and meet and even exceed our expectations. Even when life isn’t stable, or things go wrong, He can be trusted. He always brings us joy and abundance! When we choose to put our hope and joy in HIM, and not our circumstances/events/people we know, we WILL find true life that we cannot find anywhere else.

Yahweh (God) loves you so much and wants a deep relationship with you. He wants you to put all your hope in Him, and wholly surrender your life to Him to hold in His oh-so-capable hands. God wants to pour His love into our hearts until we overflow. He has abundant life for US that He wants us to experience.

Jesus said in John 10:10: The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.

Life is spent outside of your phone, outside of chasing boys, outside of chasing after the wind. There is so much MORE for you, and it’s all found in knowing the Lord. He wants to have a relationship with me and with you and give us what our hearts desire – to be known and loved. ❤

Hebrews 12:1-2 says: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (emphasis mine)

What are you eyes set on? If they’re not on the Lord, you will be feeling empty. We must keep our eyes always set on Jesus, the Author & Perfecter of our faith, running this race with endurance. It’s all about Him, not all about us.

We find abundant life in Christ when we lay our lives down in surrender, repent of our sins, and accept Jesus into our lives. Once we are saved by His glorious grace, we then get to have a relationship with Him on a daily basis. By getting in His Word and praying and worshiping daily, we learn from Him and grow in Him. We are strengthened to do what we were made to know – know God and make Him known with our lives.

I want to encourage you girls to be intentional to get in the Word & prayer daily, and to repent and fight against sin and the enemy. Build your life around Christ, and find your joy, hope, and LIFE in HIM. Life is too short and too valuable to live in any other way. We live in a dark world. How will YOU seek Christ and make a difference? Will you surrender your all to Him? Will you spend your time glorifying Him, or gratifying your lusts and desires? Will you place all your joy and hope in Him? I pray, my friend, that you will. 🙂

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Q & A – My Thoughts on Dating, Productivity, & More!

Hey dear sisters!

Last week on Instagram I asked my followers to send in questions for a Youtube Q&A! You all sent in some amazing & deep questions, and I answered them ALL in today’s Youtube video! I talked favorite worship songs, my thoughts on dating/kissing before your wedding, productivity, & MORE! Click the link below to check out the video.

Blessings!

-Caitlyn 🙂

3 Tips for Overcoming Anxiety & Fear

So many of us (myself included) struggle with anxiety and fear. In today’s post, I want to dig into where these things come from, and how we can overcome them.

We all face thoughts every day – some good, and some bad. The question is, where do BAD thoughts come from? I believe that bad thoughts of fear & anxiety come from the enemy. John 10:10 says: “The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.” The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy us, and how can he begin to do that? Through our minds. Think about it – actions come from thoughts.

2 Timothy 1:7 gives us some insight on fear. It says: “For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.”

This verse clearly states that God did not give us a spirit of fear – He gave us a spirit of power (that can stand firm in God’s Truth and against lies), love (that casts out all fear), and self-control (other versions say a sound mind; this shows that we can control what we think about and do). 1 John 4:16-19 is another amazing passage on fear:

We know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and he who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. In this love has been made perfect among us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as he is, even so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has punishment. He who fears is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.

When we know and believe in God and His love, that casts out all fear. Why? Because we will be so secure in who God is, that fear has no place in our minds and lives. We see that God doesn’t give us fear; and we know that the enemy wants to steal and destroy our lives, so fear must be from him. 1 Peter 5:8 says: “Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

Fear is not of God. Because we live in a fallen world where sin is prevelant, and where we are merely flesh, we will face anxiety – but what will we do with it? Even though God’s Word tells us to be anxious for nothing, and Jesus tells us that being anxious won’t add any more time to our lives, we still worry. How can we overcome it?

If you, like me, struggle with feeling anxious or worried or stressed, please know you’re not alone. Know that there is a battle going on – Satan and his demons are real things, and he tries to attack us and get us down. However, that’s not the end of the story, praise God! Here are a few ways to daily work towards overcoming fear and anxiety.

Spiritual Warfare

We have power through God’s Word and Jesus’ Name to overcome all fear! We can resist the devil, in Jesus’ Name, and stand firm on the Truth of God. This is often called “spiritual warfare.” As previously mentioned, Satan and demons are real things – we see them in the New Testament in Jesus’ day, and we see people being tormented by them today, often through anxiety, depression, etc. Stand firm in the faith, quote Scripture, and take every thought captive. It’s a daily battle, but God is on your side; who can stand against?

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 // For though we walk in the flesh, we don’t wage war according to the flesh; for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the throwing down of strongholds, throwing down imaginations and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience will be made full. (emphasis mine)

Memorize Scripture & the Armor of God

We can daily arm ourselves with the armor of God, memorize His Word, and focus our minds on Him. His Word is sharper than a double-edged sword, and when we know the Truth, it sets us free. Make time each week to memorize Scripture and also memorize the armor of God found in Ephesians 6. Memorizing might not be your strong point, but we can all do it. I like to write down a verse on a card and practice reading it aloud 5 times, then reciting it 5 times. Find ways to memorize that work for you.

When Jesus was tempted by the devil in Matthew 4, the devil tried to twist Scripture so Jesus would believe lies. However, because Jesus knew God’s Word, He could quote it to Satan, which silenced all the lies and made them look dumb and tiny. This is JUST what happens when we cling to God’s Word when Satan fills our head with lies. Don’t doubt the power of knowing God’s Word!

John 8:31-32 // Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Hebrews 4:12 // For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Psalm 119:11 // Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.

Praise God & Set Your Mind on Him Throughout the Day

One thing God has taught me as I’ve struggled with anxiety is how important it is that I set my mind on things above, like it says in Colossians 3:2. Philippians 4:4 tells us:
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

When we set our minds on God, praising Him and praying and rejoicing, anxiety has to leave. Darkness cannot be in our minds when the light floods in. Focus on God throughout the day – thank Him for all the little blessings, sing praise songs to Him, and fix your mind on how GOOD He is. This will help renew and refresh your mind to focus on the Truth.

I hope & pray that this post has encouraged you as you battle fear and anxiety! Know that you are not alone – God is going with you every step of the way, and He is your Good Shepherd. Lean on Him, friend!

Photo credit

13 Book Recommendations for Teen Girls

Hey awesome people! In this weeks’ Youtube video, I shared 13 awesome books that I recommend to teen girls. I hope you enjoy it and get some new books to read! I listed the books and their Amazon links below, as well as in the bio of the video. 🙂 God bless!

Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis: http://bit.ly/kissesfromkatie

A Place of Quiet Rest by Nancy Leigh DeMoss: http://bit.ly/aplaceofquietrest

I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris: http://bit.ly/i-kissed-dating-goodbye

Girl Defined by Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird: http://bit.ly/girl-defined

Love Defined by Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird: http://bit.ly/love-defined

I Dare You by Isabella Morganthal: http://bit.ly/i-dare-you-isabella-mor…

Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst: http://bit.ly/uninvited-lysa

12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You by Tony Reinke: http://bit.ly/12-ways-your-phone-is-c…

Porch Swing Girl by Taylor Bennett: http://bit.ly/porch-swing-girl

The Coronation by Livy Jarmusch: http://bit.ly/the-coronation

The Rebellion by Livy Jarmusch: http://bit.ly/the-rebellion

Regal Hearts Season One by Livy Jarmusch: http://bit.ly/regal-hearts-1

Regal Hearts Season Two by Livy Jarmusch: http://bit.ly/regal-hearts-2

4 Tips for Battling Temptation

Temptation is something that all of us face. James 1:13-15 gives us some insight as to where temptation comes from:

Let no man say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God can’t be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. Then the lust, when it has conceived, bears sin; and the sin, when it is full grown, produces death.

This passages shows us that temptation comes from lust (NKJV says desires), and lust then turns into sin. Death comes from following those temptations & being enticed by our lusts. We might then wonder, where does lust come from? I believe that it comes from the enemy. Lust is part of our sinful nature; when we become Christ’s and die to our sinful nature, the enemy still tries to creep in with sinful thoughts.

Jesus said in John 10:10: “The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.” What I’m getting at is that our enemy, the devil, wants to steal, kill, and destroy us. He will oftentimes do so through our thoughts, and temptation.

Again, temptation is something we all face. Lustful and sinful thoughts, it happens to us all, including ME. We aren’t perfect, because the enemy often will try to plant these thoughts in our head. If we aren’t careful, and end up following our temptation, this will lead to death. I don’t say this to scare you, but to make you more aware & to help you fight the fight of faith.

Because temptation is real & comes from thoughts from the enemy, today I want to share a few tips to help you battle temptation.

Seek God FIRST & Arm Yourself with His Truth

Seeking God first is so vitally important in our relationship with Him and battling temptation. When we daily set aside time to get in the Word and in prayer & worship, our mind becomes focused on what truly matters.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray without ceasing. It’s super important to have a designated time to pray & read the Word every day, as well as to pray/worship/meditate on God’s Word throughout the day. This will help us keep our minds on things above (Colossians 3:2), and cast our cares on Him.

We need to daily be arming ourselves with truth and the WHOLE armor of God (found in Ephesians 6:10-20),by getting in His presence daily. I hope and pray you will designate a time of day to spend time with the Lord, as well as strive to set your mind on Him throughout the day.
Seeking Him first & setting your mind on Him is the first step in having victory over temptation.

John 8:31-32 // Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, andthe truth shall make you free.”

Check out my quiet time routine on Youtube for inspiration for your time with God!

Establish Boundaries

Without boundaries, we will more likely do things we know are wrong. Think about this example: if a girl hangs out with guys in God-honoring group settings and makes a point not to be in one-on-one/tempting situations with guys, she will be protecting herself from giving into temptation as well as protecting her purity and that of her guy friends.

Boundaries can apply to various temptations you might face – temptations to be on your phone all day, to eat junk food, to be lazy, etc. Strive to set boundaries from what you will and won’t do, and stick to them by God’s strength. Obviously, we will still mess up; but we can always come to God and repent and turn from sin and start again.

Setting boundaries means nothing unless we daily look to Him for strength. He is the strength in your weakness; surrender all to Him, look to the Lord for the power to resist temptation. Don’t live in guilt when you mess up; genuinely repent and start again.

2 Corinthians 12:9 // And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 

1 Corinthians 16:13 // Watch! Stand firm in the faith! Be courageous! Be strong! 

Be Alert – Fight the Enemy & Claim Victory

We have an enemy and he wants to knock us down; he wants to steal, kill, and destroy our souls (see John 10:10). I’m not saying this to scare you, friends, but to remind you to be on guard.

1 Peter 5:8 says: “Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Just because someone is a Christian and sets Godly boundaries, doesn’t mean they won’t still face temptation. I have, and still do, face tempting thoughts at times and things that I know are from the enemy. It happens to everyone, which is why we must fight and claim victory in Jesus’ Name.

We have the power through Jesus to rebuke and reject the enemy and tell him to leave our minds and our lives. Lately I’ve been doing this daily as I face any thoughts that aren’t of God, and it has helped me greatly. I encourage you to vocally command the enemy to leave you alone in the Name of Jesus and to claim victory, as well as pray throughout the day – praising God, giving Him your struggles and sinful thoughts, etc.

Romans 8:11 // But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Politely Decline Others When You Need To

When others are telling and tempting you to do something you KNOW is wrong, you need to flee. Sometimes, the only thing you can do is leave. Politely decline others when you need to. Just say NO. Even if it means looking weird in the eyes of others, it is worth it to protect yourself from sin.

We should befriend and love on and show Jesus to unbelievers, but make sure they aren’t your best friends who influence you. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says: “Don’t be unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”

Know that it’s okay to distance yourself from friends who aren’t saved who are dragging you away from righteousness. In some occasions, if you have friends who consistently try to drag you away from righteousness, you may need to break up with those friends. Prayerfully evaluate your friendships and learn to say no when you need to.

I hope these tips encourage you in your battle over temptation & the devil. In Jesus you have victory. ❤

Fun Announcement!

I’m so blessed to be on the book launch team for Taylor Bennett’s upcoming book, Sand Castle dreams! Look how gorgeous the cover is!

The book releases on April 1st, and I’m so excited! I read the first book in the series, Porch Swing Girl (read my review here) and I know this book will be amazing as well. Go check it out! I recommend this series to all teen girls & young women out there; it is all pure and Bible based (there is some romance and a couple kisses on the cheek, but that’s the only thing I found that some people might be concerned by), and the story is so fun and inspiring. The characters are so sweet and relatable! 🙂

3 Tips for Finding Contentment in Christ Alone (Purity Series pt. 5)

For the other posts in this series, click here.

Contentment in God alone can be tough to focus on in your daily life, ya feel me? We have so many distractions, and guys can easily be one of them. It’s easy for us girls to be so focused on guys or things of this world, that we place our hope and contentment in things other than the Lord.

The truth is, only God can satisfy our hearts. When we place our hope in other things, we’ll always be dissatisfied.

Have you ever found yourself jealous of other girls who have boyfriends or are getting married?

Have you ever found yourself placing your hope and joy in the ONE DAY when you’ll meet “the one?”

These thoughts are completely normal for us girls to face, so please don’t think you have a problem if you’ve thought these things. The problem is when we let these thoughts consume our minds, and we place our contentment in whether/not we have a guy, or even in other things like friends and social events, etc.

The question is, HOW do we find our contentment in Christ alone, when we so easily place it in other places? I want to share a few ways with you girls today.

Read More »

Why It’s Important to Pray for Your Future Husband (Purity Series pt. 4)

For the other posts in this series, click here.

Praying for your future husband is something that is so exciting and wonderful for us as single women to do. We get to pray for the one that we’ll one day be married to, and already honor him, although we haven’t entered into a relationship with him yet.

Why is it important to pray for your future husband, you might wonder? Well, there’s a few reasons why, and I want to share them with you today. 🙂

Read More »

4 Tips for Living in Purity (Purity Series pt. 2)

Purity can often make people feel uncomfortable or confused. What does it mean? How do we live it out? In this post I want to dive into some practical ways to live out purity in your own life.

Before I dive into this post, I want to remind you of something: purity isn’t a checklist. It’s not something that we can live out perfectly because we aren’t perfect. God’s Word describes purity in Psalm 119:9:

How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. (emphasis mine)

Purity starts in our mind, as I talked about a couple weeks ago in the first part of this blog series. However, it doesn’t stop there. We must live out what we know to be true.

I don’t know your past, but God does. If you have messed up and sinned in any way, including in purity, there is forgiveness for you. Romans 3:23 tells us that we have all sinned & fall short of God’s glory. Then Romans 6:23 says that the wages of our sin is death – yet, God has given us a free gift through Christ Jesus – eternal life. Come to the Lord and confess of your sin, and ask Him for a new heart. Ask Him to come into your life and to save you from your sin. Believe that Jesus died for you and that He wants you to have eternal life. You can live a lifestyle of purity.

With all that said, let’s dive into four tips for living in purity!

1. Know God’s Word

Knowing the Truth of God’s Word sets us free! (John 8:32) Getting into the Word daily is so important, and it helps us live in purity. When we face situations where we are tempted to compromise, we will know God’s Word and be better able to make God-honoring choices. Daily set aside time to spend with the Lord, and memorize verses and passages of Scripture. This is the most important part of living in purity – it all begins with knowing God & His Word and growing in our relationship with Him!

Psalm 119:11 // I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

2. Establish Boundaries

Boundaries are very important to living in purity. Think about it: if we don’t establish certain boundaries and limits, we will go and do however our heart desires. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us about the sin that is in all of our hearts: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?”

While there may not be any specific Bible verses/passages that say we must establish boundaries, they are very important. Romans 13:14 says: But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, for its lusts. (emphasis mine)

We should be careful how we interact with members of the opposite sex. If we aren’t careful & don’t have boundaries, we can get into sinful situations. God calls us to be holy, as He is holy, and boundaries help us to practically do that.

A few boundaries that some embrace are to hang out with guys in groups, not be alone with them at night/in a car, and not to put yourself in situations where there would be provision to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. These are a few ideas to consider; most importantly, I encourage you to think about situations where you or others would be tempted to compromise your purity, and make a point to stay away from those kind of situations by establishing boundaries.

3. Remember God’s Good Design for Sex & Intimacy

As we read the Bible, we see that God created intimacy & sex to be something that is saved for marriage. When people take it and use it outside of marriage, trouble always seems to happen.

1 Corinthians 6:18 says: Flee sexual immorality! “Every sin that a man does is outside the body,” but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.

Sex and intimacy is a beautiful and wonderful thing, but it is meant for marriage, to be an act between husband and wife. When you remember this, and that God calls us to holiness, it will help you remember the beauty of saving sex for marriage.

If you have compromised your purity, remember that God forgives and is always merciful. Whether or not you have compromised in the area of purity and sex, you can start walking on the path of purity today. Learning about God’s good design is super helpful in walking in this path.

There is so much more to learn on this topic, more than I can share today. If you are interested in learning more about God’s design for intimacy and sex and relationships, I highly recommend checking out Girl Defined ministries, and specifically, their book, Love Defined!

4. Repent & Turn from Sin

Daily we must allow God to search our hearts and know them, pointing out any and all sin. We can daily pray Psalm 51:10: “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.”

Purity isn’t merely setting up guards, trying on our own strength to be holy & refrain from sex. It’s daily letting God cleanse us from sin, crying out to Him, “make me holy, as You are holy.” True holiness comes from denying ourselves and our sin, asking God to cleanse us and give us strength to live righteously. Daily ask the Lord to search your heart and show you your sin, and then repent of it. Ask Him for strength to live victoriously over sin.

Purity isn’t a checklist. These tips aren’t meant to be something that you must legalistically cling to, and following them won’t necessarily keep you out of sin or tempting situations. However, as we daily strive to seek God first, establish boundaries, remember God’s perfect design for intimacy and sex, and repent and turn from sin, we will grow in God and in holiness! I’m going to leave you with this encouraging passage to inspire you to seek the Lord first, turning from sin to a path of holiness. We’re in this together, sister. ❤

Hebrews 12:1-2 // Therefore let us also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Let’s chat!

When have you been tempted to compromise your purity?

Which of the 4 tips was most encouraging for you?

How will you start living in purity, today?