When we ask God for a King

In my personal quiet time, I’ve been reading through the Old Testament. When I reached 1 Samuel last week it was hard to turn a page without being overcome with conviction.

I’ve always known the story of David and Goliath and heard how inconsistent the Israelites were in their faithfulness toward God. But reading the account straight through and watching how God responded… it was pretty powerful.

In 1 Samuel 7, the Israelites were in the midst of consistent battles with the Philistines. The Lord had just forgiven the Israelites for worshiping foreign gods. They repented of their idolatry, so God prevented the Philistines from taking over Israel’s land.

Verses 5-9 of that chapter say:

“Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them…Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

“They have rejected Me.” Wow. How gracious is our God? Despite the hurt/anger caused from being rejected by His own people, His own creation, God tells Samuel to warn the Israelites of the consequences of their decision first.

Samuel warned the Israelites, and in verse 19 it says:

“But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”

The word that comes to my mind is defiance. God knew the truth; He is the truth.  He knows all things. He sees all things and in Him all things hold together. And yet, when He warns His people, they have the audacity to look at Him, and say, “No!” … like somehow they knew better than God what they needed. How often are we guilty of this?

there shall be a king over us, that we may also be like all the nations.”

So, that’s where their defiance came from? They wanted to be just like everyone else? The God of the universe was fighting the Israelites’ battles for them, and yet they wanted a flawed, human king instead. How often do we compare our lives to the people around us and think we’re missing out on something? How often do we look to the left or to the right and convince ourselves that we need someone/something besides the Lord to fight our battles for us?

The story continues. 1 Samuel 12:8 says:

“But they forgot the LORD their God. And He sold them into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab. And they fought against them. And they cried out to the LORD and said, ‘We have sinned, because we have forsaken the LORD our God.”

Along with their new king, the leader they thought they needed, came defeat. The Israelites quickly remembered that God was the One in command. God was the One fighting their battles for them… and they realized that what they’d wanted wasn’t at all what they needed.

Even after their huge mistake, the Israelites called out to the Lord for help, and He heard them and delivered them.

In verses 20-24, Samuel encouraged the Israelites and said to them:

“Do not be afraid; though you have done all this evil. Do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the LORD will not forsake His people, for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for Himself…Only fear the LORD and serve Him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things He has done for you.”

I don’t know where you find yourself reading this; Maybe you’ve recently asked God for a “king.” Maybe you’ve given into the lie that God alone was not enough for you.

It’s mind-blowing how easily we can “forget the LORD our God” and look for something or someone else to bring us victory. How often do we “turn to the right or left and pursue empty things”? Things like vanity, success, wealth, or human approval? It’s amazing how patient God is through those times and how He reveals His glory and power in our lives. And if we repent, He graciously forgives us.

“the LORD will not forsake His people…it pleased the LORD to make you a people for Himself.” It pleased Him to make us His own. That will never stop amazing me!  When we ask for forgiveness, He hears us!

“Only fear the LORD and serve Him faithfully with all your heart.” – THIS is our call. That’s all we have to do. We don’t have to figure out every single detail or attempt to manipulate the crazy circumstances in our lives. All we have to do is fear and faithfully serve the Lord, and He will take care of the rest.

“For consider what great things He has done for you.” Tears come to my eyes as I reflect on that verse. Oh, what great things He has done for me! Our God is so faithful, despite our unfaithfulness. We all have different stories to tell, different accounts of what great things He has done…how He has redeemed us.

If you’re currently at war within yourself, believing that worldly things, such as beauty, fame, success, wealth or human approval, will grant you victory…remember these things are powerless! The LORD is your Deliverer. He is your Redeemer. He is your King.

“For the Lord your God is He who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’” ~ Deuteronomy 20:4

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will shape the desires of your heart.” ~ Psalm 37:4






When I see You

So often when problems and struggles come my way, the pain of it consumes me. I have a hard time finding perspective and context when I’m overwhelmed with circumstances present in my life in the moment. But, then I remember to look to Jesus.

I’ve been learning that when my eyes are fixed on Jesus, the pain and struggle that I am experiencing fades in comparison to the glory and compassion of Jesus. I’m reminded of the old hymn, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glorious grace.”

In the face of temptation, look to Jesus. When experiencing loss, look to Jesus. In the midst of physical pain, look to Jesus. When you don’t know what the future holds, look to Jesus. When fear assails and darkness falls, look to Jesus.

 He is our hope.

I wrote and recorded this song about three years ago after a season of truly understanding what it means to look to Jesus.

“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” ~ Hebrews 12:2-3

A great place to find devotionals is shereadstruth.com, and they wrote a great article on what it means to fix our eyes on Jesus. I recommend checking it out!

Trust Fall

Trust is defined as “a firm belief in the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing; the condition and resulting obligation of having confidence placed in one.”

Lately I have heard so many people say that they find it difficult to trust people. I even found myself saying that to a friend lately. I decided to explore this idea a little further. It didn’t take long for me to realize that there’s no wonder why it’s hard for us to put our trust in people. People are human. We should obviously trust people to a degree- that is normal for all relationships. But I think too often we are looking for people to fill a place that only God can.

One reason people find themselves absolutely devastated in the midst of heartbreak, betrayal, and drama is that expectations and faith have been misplaced. Yes, leaders, preachers, parents, and friends may let us down, and it will hurt, but that should never shatter our world or make us question our beliefs. Christ must be our constant. He must have our full trust.

Without trust in Christ, we will be lost as to His will for our lives.

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” ~Proverbs 3:5-6

I love how trusting in the Lord automatically leads us to finding His will for our lives. When we surrender every moment, every thought, and every action to the Lord, when we offer ourselves as a sacrifice to Him, He will direct our paths. He will show us His will. If you’ve been scared to trust fall into the Lord’s hands, don’t wait! He will prove Himself trustworthy before you know it.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” ~ Romans 12:2


“I learned that courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ~ Nelson Mandella

Fear effects your decisions. Fear hinders your abilities. Fear does not accomplish anything helpful or useful.

So, why do we hold on to it?

A few years ago, I battled with fear on a daily basis. I struggled with fear of the unknown, fear of failure, and fear of being rejected.  I minimized those fears as much as possible, and pushed them down deep inside, but there was one place that I just couldn’t hide from it all.

Every moment I stepped on a platform to lead in worship, I froze. I felt the weight of every gaze, and the glance of every eye in that auditorium. I wanted to run for my life. All eyes were on me, and I couldn’t hide.

For weeks I struggled with this developing fear.  I told myself to “woman up” and just step confidently on that stage, but moments later my mouth was dry, my hands were shaking, and I was reminded how weak I truly was.

Completely frustrated, I sat down in front of my piano at home and prayed. I poured my heart out to God, asking Him question after question. Why am I struggling with this? Why am I afraid? Why do I feel this way?

It was then that God whispered to my heart.

“It’s not about you.”

Wait, what? I’m telling You that I’m afraid, and I’m struggling! How could this be Your answer?

“It’s not about you.”

And then, I understood. The root of all of my fears came from worrying about other people’s opinions, of failing, of not being good enough, and not trusting God to work through me.

So what if I hit a wrong note? Who cares if a few people in the audience didn’t like my voice? I wasn’t the point of getting up on that stage, and if I thought I was, then I’d better find a different way to express my worship.

That moment, my fingers hit the keys, and I wrote this song.

Are you struggling with fear today? I want to encourage you to surrender those fears to the Lord. He is trustworthy! He is faithful! We are safe and secure in His hands.

“I sought the Lord and He answered me. He delivered me from all of my fears.”~ Psalm 34:4

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Photography by Ryan Arrington. https://typingphotography.wordpress.com/

Without love, what’s left?

As I look around the coffee shop I’m sitting in right now, I can’t help but wonder about the stories that fill up this room. Where there are people, there are stories. There are dreams, hurts, challenges, hopes, fears, and needs.

I’m also thinking about the fact that there are 7 billion people in the world, and I will never get the chance to know all of them. It’s hard to comprehend that there are 7 billion completely different people, unique in personality, appearance, and interests. God’s creativity astounds me.

So, maybe I won’t meet all 7 billion people, but what about the ones I come in contact with today?


Will I get to hear their stories? Will I get to tell them about the God who can heal their hurts, bring them hope, deliver them from their fears, and meet their every every need?

I guess that part is all up to me.

God is love. He commands us to “love one another” eleven times in the New Testament. Love is powerful. 1 John says that perfect love casts out fear. 1 Peter 4:8 states that love covers over a multitude of sins. In John 13:35 it says that the way we love one another distinguishes us as Christians and sets us apart from the rest of world.

“Living a life fully engaged and full of whimsy and the kind of things that love does is something most people plan to do, but along the way they just kind of forget. Their dreams become one of those “we’ll go there next time” deferrals. The sad thing is, for many there is no “next time” because passing on the chance to cross over is an overall attitude toward life rather than a single decision.” ~ Bob Goff (Love Does)

I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to become a more loving person. Love requires action. Love requires being present. It’s noticing a struggling classmate, engaging in real conversation with a waiter, listening to friends and family but noticing what is really going on beneath the surface. Love is intentional and requires energy, but the joy it brings is an amazing fuel to love even more.

Loving people, showing them Jesus, and bringing glory to Christ are the reasons we live.

Are we taking that seriously?

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Nobody Said it was Easy

Recently I was reading through some journals that I’d written over the past five years. I was blown away by all the times that I had been concerned with something, but the Lord saved me and delivered me beyond what I could have hoped.

Those problems felt like my whole world at the time. I can still remember the nights I prayed over those situations and poured out my heart to God, asking for His deliverance.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget the context of our lives. Every trial and every situation that comes up may seem new and daunting, but if we remember the places that God has brought us out of in the past, we should never falter in our trust for Him!

Our God is so good and so faithful. There are things in life that we will never completely understand until we see Jesus face to face. But I do know from experience that there are also many situations where God has answered and shown me reasons for a trial.

I don’t want to be the kind of person who dreads or fears a challenge ahead with a complaining spirit. I want to be the person who grabs a hold of my Savior’s hand with unconditional trust. I want to follow the Lord, praising Him all the way.

It may not be easy, but I’d rather embrace life for the ups and downs instead of running from what’s hard.

Is anybody else up for the challenge?
“I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.” ~Psalm 34:1-4♥

Blogger Interview

I interviewed Sunny Murthy, a blog writer for welldressedstudent.com. First, I asked him what motivated him to start a blog and how he decided the topic of his blog. He said that his motivation came from seeing others do it. He wanted to give the fashion world a twist by giving everyone a view of male students’ fashion from the perspective of male students.

He said that he personally enjoys fashion, so he naturally thought “Why not take pictures and write about my fashion choices?” I asked him how often he likes to post and if he ever re-blogs or has other people post for him. He said he shares the blog with one of his friends and they both write together. He said they either do a shoot when they want or when a brand asks them to, but there is no particular pattern. He said their latest blog post picked apart different parts of an outfit and gave examples of what and what not to do.

The next thing I asked him was whether or not he researched how to promote and tag his blog and what his methods are. He said that they did research on what was the best site to create their blog, and they decided to use wordpress. He says that they pretty much tag everything that they can think of. He said the goals for the blog are to help influence fashion from a student’s perspective and maybe even incorporate more aspects of student’s life.

He hopes to monetize his blog, ideally through brands sponsoring them or through ads on the blog. For them, money is not an initial concern because they do it for fun and as a hobby, and just enjoy writing and taking photos about what they love. I asked him if he uses social media at all, and he said that Well Dressed Student started out on instagram. At first, they would just post pictures of outfits and detail what was being worn, but they wanted to expand and create their own blog. Their blog links to instagram, but that is the only social media tool they use right now. Soon they hope to incorporate Twitter.

What I concluded from this interview is that it is extremely important to love what you do. If you are passionate about fashion, music, photography, sports, or whatever it is, find a way to do what you love and share it with the world. No one needs to end up doing something they hate just to earn money. The Lord gave us passions and talents for a reason, and the ideal thing is to figure out how to monetize doing what you love.

Sunny’s blog right now is purely his hobby and isn’t being used to make money, but he is on his way to being able to do that. I love the ability blogs give people to go after their dreams. It was great talking with Sunny and I loved hearing his perspective and writing techniques.

Thoughts Taken Captive

“Ideas have consequences.”

My Creation Studies professor says this all the time. It’s amazing to trace back major movements in history and see how they usually originated with one main thought.

The thoughts and ideas of Thomas Edison, Martin Luther King, Billy Graham, Ronald Reagan and many others paved the way for new inventions, movements, spiritual revival, and political accomplishments. On the other hand, the ideas of Darwin, Hitler, and Karl Marx brought about movements and acts of violence, destruction, cruelty, and discrimination.

This week the Lord keeps reminding me how important our thought lives are.

Philippians 4:8-9 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace be with you.”

God tells us to think about things that are true, pure, right, and admirable because we usually act on what we think about.

2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

To walk with Christ, we need to take every thought captive to the truth of His Word. As a college student I can stress over what God’s will is for my future. But at every step in our lives there will be times of waiting and wondering what God’s plan is. I’ve been reminded this week that God’s will is less about a place, but more about a way of living.

I want to encourage all of us to make it a daily routine to surrender our emotions, desires, and selfish thoughts, so that we in turn open the door for the Lord to fill us with His thoughts, His desires, and His PEACE. It’s not necessarily easy, but it’s totally worth it.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.”~ Romans 12:2

Save Me Now

Have you ever felt like you’ve reached the end of your rope?

I have.

At one point in my life, I turned to earthly things to find peace and contentment. I thought beauty, success and relationships could somehow fulfill me.

But, at the end of the day, they couldn’t.

I learned how to put on a mask that convinced even my closest friends that I was okay. As long as heads would turn in a room when I walked in, I thought I was happy and secure. But, the thoughts and feelings that flooded my mind every night told me otherwise.

I’d lay awake trying to figure out where I’d gone wrong.

I looked in the mirror and hardly recognized my hardened self. I tried to let an unhealthy relationship convince me that I was secure and worthy of love. I found “confidence” and pride in frequently skipping meals, watching the number on a scale go down.

I spent too much time stuffing down that terrible feeling in my stomach, lying to myself.

I was running from God. I convinced myself that all the pain and disappointment I’d experienced in life was from Him, that it was His fault. I never doubted His existence. I couldn’t. I knew Him…I loved Him.

But, I was angry. I told myself that I would be fine on my own. So, I tried to live that way. And guess what?

I was miserable.

My pride and insecurity rose to new levels, as my value and identity shifted toward everyone else’s opinion of me.

I spent all of my time and energy attempting to become an ideal that didn’t exist. I wanted to be perfect, to never be seen as weak, to have it all together, and to do it all by myself.

But one day, I broke. The false little world I’d created finally crashed down around me. I looked myself in the mirror and literally said out loud, “I can’t do this anymore.”

I knew. It was time to surrender my life back to God. I needed Him, I wanted Him, and I couldn’t last another day without Him.

I also knew that God wasn’t mad at me. He’d been waiting for me to come back. He’d been calling me, showing me in different ways through different people in my life that He loved me and wanted me to be His.

I had spent so much time in fear of being weak that I wasn’t strong enough to see reality and admit that I WAS weak. I was a human being in need of a Savior. I couldn’t do it on my own.

I wasn’t supposed to do it on my own.

That night I sat down in front of my piano and wrote this song.

I’m not sure where you are at today. Maybe you’ve been running, attempting to carry the weight of the world on your back and now you are exhausted.

Let me tell you from personal experience, it doesn’t have to be this way. Jesus Christ is literally right here, with open arms, telling you that He loves you.

I called to Him, and He answered me. He restored me. He fulfilled me. He brought me hope, joy, security, peace, and LIFE.

Are you in need of some saving today?

He’s listening.

“In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.”~ Psalm 18:6

“In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry”~ Jonah 2:2

“Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” ~ Romans 10:13

“You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all of your heart. ‘I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11-14

Dying to Live

I am afraid of being ordinary.

I take a look around, a long look in the mirror, and I see routine. Is it just me, or do we let “what happens happen” far too often?

Sitting in church, I’m easily motivated to spend more time loving people. I actually get pretty pumped about it. But before I know it, it’s 8 a.m. and I’m half awake with spilled coffee all over my jeans. I scramble outside, throw my bags into the car, and race to class. I awkwardly crawl over an aisle of desks, sit down, and pray that our quiz will be canceled. I doodle on my notebook, survive Biology, and head out to meet my friends. I check my phone as I walk through the hallways and spend the rest of my day thinking about what I’ll eat, what homework to accomplish, and strategically figure out how to spend as much time with my friends as possible amidst my class and work schedule. And there you have it, my routine.

I didn’t look to the right or to the left; I plowed straight ahead, focused on myself and what I wanted. But, at the end of the day, what did I accomplish? Who did I help? What did I change? It’s not that I didn’t have good intentions; I just didn’t act intentionally.

I heard this quote in church recently: “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” In order to accomplish something, we have to live with purpose. Lofty goals, distant dreams, and good intentions mean nothing if we don’t start working to accomplish them today. Desiring to spend more time in the Word won’t happen if we don’t set our alarms earlier. We say we want to love on people around us, but it won’t happen if we keep our faces in our phones and don’t look up.

To succeed in the long run, we have to be diligent in the small things. We have to be willing to change. We have to be open to the Holy Spirit. We don’t have to take on the whole world at once, but we start with small steps. If we keep our eyes open minute-by-minute for what the Lord has for us, trust me, we will find the extraordinary.

I want to get over myself for the sake of someone else. I want to put aside my silly momentary desires for a greater cause. At the end of my life when I go to heaven, I won’t be able to bring anything with me, except for those people that were on my right and on my left. I want to be so in tune with the Holy Spirit that when He says, “move”, I move, and when He says, “Go love that person”, I go and love that person.

Isaiah 30:21 says, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a Voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

There is a difference between existing and living. I think it’s related to the difference between intentions and action.

So, honestly, intentions aside, what are we doing?

In Matthew 16:24, Jesus says to His disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Me.” In order to truly follow Christ, we must die to ourselves on a daily basis. Simply put, we have to let go of our plan and submit ourselves to God’s plan. Not necessarily because what we desire is wrong, but because God has so much more for us.

So yes, the Christian life requires sacrifice. God may ask us to let go of something we desperately wanted to hold on to. But, guys, this is where it happens. This is where we trade ordinary for extraordinary.

As C.S. Lewis put it, “It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.”

So, this is a big decision. Do we want safe? Do we want ordinary? Or are we willing to go where God is calling us?

Before we let that little voice in our head convince us that what we want is more important than what God has planned, we have to realize the cost. John 5:24 says, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears My Word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”

This is a matter of life or death for you and for the people around you. The truth of the gospel that you hold in your heart has the ability to SAVE LIVES. God wants to use YOU to bring life into the lives around you.

So the question is…. What are you going to do about that?

Our world is dying to live.