Mountain Top Experience

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A couple weeks ago, the youth and young adults from my home church (Metro Life Church) went up to the mountains of Jasper, Georgia (at Sharptop Cove) to hear from God and have some good ol’ summer camp fun.

The sites were amazing, the food was mouth-watering (it wasn’t your typical camp food. It was homemade deliciousness), and the words/prayers that we were covered with were life changing. Lots and lots of people were baptized, we worshipped, we zip lined, we danced, and we shared the amazing things God has done in our lives.

My top 3 “takeaways” from camp are:

Be open and vulnerable
When God asks us to pray, to speak, to share, to listen, let’s just do it. And let’s do it with a humble and open heart. Sharing what God has done in your life can be scary and it takes vulnerability. But you never know who is listening. There are people needing to hear what YOU have to say.

Embrace the unknown
Going into an environment or place we’re unfamiliar with can cause us to put up walls and become isolated. But the unknown is a great place for us to discover what God wants to show us. The daily grind has a way of masking and muffling the voice of God. When we are in a new environment, with new faces, and new scents and new sites, our eyes are opened and our ears become alert. Let’s be willing to embrace the unknown so we can hear from God more clearly.

Make a remembrance
Whenever I travel or have an experience that marks my life, I make it a point to create a remembrance of it. This year I bought an arrow necklace at the camp site’s store that has inscribed “Be Brave”. It’s a reminder that I must continue to be courageous and do the things God asks of me. Going to camp was a step of faith. And by taking that step of faith, God used me and affirmed me in ways I wasn’t expecting. I also took a load of pictures to remind me of all the fun we had up in the mountains of Jasper, Georgia.


What experiences or trips did you have this summer?

Have you set some time apart to meet with God this summer? What are some ways you can do so before the hectic fall season starts?

Anchored by God-What’s the Connection?

As I started thinking of how we can live a life that’s anchored by God, I was reminded of the time that it took me to understand and actually walk this principle out. Living out my faith in God from ages 14-20 was a complete roller coaster for me. At times, I was devoted, and at other times, I was completely astray. I made connections with the wrong people and decided I wasn’t going to do the “church thing”.

But one night in my dorm room, a few months before turning 21, I told God I was completely exhausted and tired of living on a never ending cycle of devotion and unfaithfulness towards Him. I was at a point where the things I said I’d never do, I did. And the heaviness of being away from God, was getting to me. Well, God spoke to me so clearly that night. I will never forget it. He told me I was standing at a crossroads and I had to choose His way or my way. But I couldn’t be in-between any longer. That night I decided to get off the roller coaster I had been on for 6 years and decided to live a life devoted to God.

My heart was resolved, but I had to put action to my decision. Actions that before I hadn’t taken seriously. I believe the actions I took by faith, are the ones that have helped me stay connected to God. And they are the actions we as believers must take on a daily basis to be anchored by God.

So what are these practical actions that keep us connected and anchored?

1. The Church
1 Corinthians 12:12-28
Yes, going to church will keep us connected to God. The bible teaches us that we should not neglect congregating as believers. I used to say that I didn’t like church because people were judgemental and controlling. The truth of the matter is that churches are comprised of people. And people, including myself, are not perfect. There will be judgemental and controlling people at church, but there are also loving, generous, grace-filled people that help us walk out our faith. The church is not a building, the church is made up of the people that go to the building. It’s our duty to encourage the church to keep fighting the good fight of faith. If you’re alone on this, it’s going to be a lot harder to stay anchored. But if there are people encouraging you and inspiring you to “keep swimming”, it will be easier to walk with God.

2. God’s Word
2 Timothy 3:16 | Psalm 119:11
What does the bible mean to you? Do you take its words as truth or as simple suggestions? I would like to submit that the bible is our guide and ultimate truth. It is literally the words God speaks to us. If we need to know what to do with our lives, or the will of God for our lives, then we need to read His teachings. The bible, because it comes DIRECTLY from God, is our strength. When we are about to throw in the towel, God’s word gives us the strength, the knowledge, the understanding, and the determination, to stay anchored. There are so many verses of encouragement and so many promises for those who are living for God. God’s word is the love story of how God gave it all up, to give us freedom and life. No other story can compare to the one written in the Bible because it is not fiction, it is true and it is true because it comes from the very mouth of God.

Maybe all of this is foreign to you as you’re reading or maybe this is something you’ve heard so many times. If it’s new, don’t be overwhelmed. Take steps every day towards these actions. Take an online bible study, read a Christian book, or read a Psalm every day. And find a church that believes in and teaches from the Bible.  If this is not new to you and you’ve heard it all your life, then be encouraged to not grow weary. Take it up a notch. Make a commitment to dig deeper into God’s word and continue serving at your home church.


What are some practical steps you have taken to stay anchored by God?

Do you have to recommit to making God your anchor? Or do you have to make a decision to follow Him once and for all? 

Anchored by God-Who is God?

In order to be anchored by God, we should know who He is. There’s a difference between knowing about God and knowing Him personally. Perhaps you’re thinking, “How can I know something or someone I don’t see”? or “How can I know God if I don’t hear from Him”?

In the last post about being anchored by God, my friend Jenny said, “But in order to be anchored in God I need to know who He is and who I am IN Him”. And she’s right. People, culture, government, cannot be the sources of our identity. Our identity is tied to something eternal. Not even a religion or religious activity can mold our identity. Only through knowing God, who is infinite and eternal, can we find ourselves.

So who is He? How do we find out who He is? And how can we hear from Him? Well, we can know about Him through His word, the Bible. He is three in one: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

God the Father

Genesis 1:1 | Genesis 1:26-27 | Romans 8:15 | Colossians 1:2 | Ephesians 1:14

God the father is our creator. He wove us and thought us before the beginning of time. Because He is our father and our creator, we can say with full assurance that we belong and we are accepted. His word says that He adopted us as His children. We are not a mistake, our lives matter, and our place of origin comes from God. Even if we were born into a family or situation that’s not as good as we would like, we can rest in the fact that God made us, created us, and has a purpose for our lives.

God the Son

Hebrews 8:13 | Hebrews 9:15 | John 18:37 | 1 John 3:5

Jesus the Son of God is the reason why I live out my faith. He died on the cross to reconcile us to the Father after sin came into the world. Nothing was sufficient enough to bring us back to the Father, except for Jesus. He established a new covenant, in which we are saved by grace not by what we can do or say to be saved. If we want to know our standard for living, we should look at the life of Jesus. He was man and God, all at the same time, yet never sinned. He embodies all the truth and goodness of God. We may fall short on a daily basis in our walk, but Jesus paid the price and gives us grace to get back up and keep living by faith.

God the Holy Spirit

John 6:63 | Romans 8:16 | Romans 8:26 | 1 John 2:27

Some people think the Holy Spirit is like a scary ghost that does weird stuff. But that’s actually not true. He is the person of the Holy Spirit, who empowers us and gives us wisdom. The Holy Spirit empowers us to believe, have faith, and to take action on what we believe. He is our helper, our counselor, and He teaches us or gives us understanding of God, and His word.

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit come in a package. You are the Father’s children because of the new covenant Jesus made with his sacrifice on the cross and the Holy Spirit is the one who leads us to believe and be witnesses of this truth.

I will never fully understand all that this means or the depth of significance that all this has. And I know this is just the tip of the iceberg. (Make sure to read the verses in each section to learn more of who God is). But knowing more of who God is, each part of Him, helps me see how much my life matters to Him. He has made himself available as a Father, as a brother, a savior, and as a helper to us. He saves us, He teaches us, and he Fathers us. Be encouraged today by His willingness to be there for you. He cares for you and has a plan for you!

Palm Tree Lovin’

I love palm trees! They’re so pretty and they give me a sense of peace. I look at them and automatically think of tropical paradise. I think of rest and relaxation. I think of laying on the beach under a palm tree, sipping on a cold piña colada. Ahhh… if only I could be on vacation 24/7.

But I’m reminded of the Psalm that says, “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green” (Psalm‬ ‭92‬:‭12-14).

There’s a reason why we long for r&r. We weren’t meant to live crazy, chaotic, out of control lives. But we don’t have to live in paradise or be on vacation 24/7 to find rest and renewal. Like the verse explains, if we stay connected to our source, which is God, we will flourish and grow beautifully. The image this verse paints for me is of a person whose life, body and mind looks bright, lively and strong. It doesn’t look withered or hanging by a thread.

Now, how can we attain that?! Our days are filled with demands and crazy schedules and deadlines! Some days it seems like I just woke up and I’m already hopping into bed for the night. The key is to not allow the demands of life become more important than our relationship with God and others. What do you need to do today to find rest and renewal in God?  Maybe it means managing your time better so you can spend time with your family. Maybe it means saying no to an invitation so you can read God’s word. Perhaps it means going for a walk instead of binge watching a show on Netflix. Or maybe it means leaving some of that to-do list undone. (It’s ok if we don’t get it all done today).

Be encouraged today to find rest and relaxation, even after vacation, in your daily walk with God.

Fun fact: My last name means palm tree in Spanish… (Theresa Palma) 😉

Unearthing Easter Part 2

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“I love… Jesus”, I said to my husband right before falling asleep in bed. I think he expected me to say, “I love… you”. We don’t fall asleep without saying I love you to each other. But, on that particular day, I just had to verbalize to someone how much I truly loved Jesus. Not because it’s a cliché thing to say or because it’s the Christian thing to say, but because I was learning so much about who He is and what He did for us.

During the months of March and April, I made a decision to study the book of Matthew with a group of ladies, in order to prepare for this Easter season (we are following a bible study plan from Good Morning Girls). We share every day what God has revealed to us. The testimonies and new understanding we share, are ways we help each other grow in our faith. I think they can say, as can I, that learning about Jesus has caused our heart to long for Him and love Him even more.

My mission during these couple of months was for my faith and understanding of God’s word to be renewed. I’ve read the passages in the book of Matthew many, many times before, but for some reason they have come alive. Perhaps it has to do with the intention and motives of my heart in seeking God.

One of the themes we have seen in Jesus’ words and ministry is having the right motives for what we do. He is all about the intention of our hearts. When speaking of murder he said that if we curse a person, we have murdered in our hearts. When he spoke of prayer, he said God didn’t want to hear repetitive words, but authentic heartfelt prayers, and when He spoke of fasting, He told us to keep it to ourselves, because what we do in secret for God, He would reward us for it. The intentions of our heart matter more to God than our works. How we do things, versus what we do, matter to Him.

There have been many times that I’ve served God with the wrong motives, for recognition, or for my own gain. He knew I did and although those works served other people’s needs, God knew the intentions of my heart. Any other type of accolade I gained had no weight compared to the reward God could’ve given me if my heart had been set on Him. Have you been there before? Expecting to get a reward from people for the service or work you do? It’s human nature to desire recognition, but let me encourage you today to believe that the reward that God has for you is greater and better than any reward you can gain from people.

Reading Jesus’ words convicts me to my core. There’s nothing better and more loving than some tough love. People that love you, tell you what’s right and what’s good for you and that’s why I exclaim, “I love Jesus!”. He truly desires what’s good and right for me.


What can you do today to focus on serving God with the right motives?

Have you ever received “tough love” from someone, and it consequently brought positive changes to your life?