hat’s because I was focusing too much on the dark, too much on everything else. I was feeling overwhelmed with my responsibilities. So anything that would take my attention away and bring me pleasure I would focus on that. It was Instagram, Facebook, Netflix, etc. And I was stuck just complaining about how hard life was at the moment, I just dwelled on what I was feeling. I dreamed of not having to work, of not having so much responsibilities and the more I did the more I got upset of where I was, of what I had to do. But what I needed to do, and thank God I eventually did, was stop and spend time with my Lord. I cried, no crying is not what I did, I burst out in tears before God. I opened all my feelings, all of my heart to him. After that moment did everything change? no, but my perception on it all changed. I felt God closer, I knew He was with me everyday through every trial, through every decision.

DRAFT – Guarding our hearts

Emotional people don’t always notice they are being too emotional, I know because I’m a girl and sometimes I don’t notice at the moment. There’s nothing wrong with being emotional, but emotions can not be what leads us, what guides us, the base for our decisions. As I read Psalms 42, I imagine David writing down on a journal all that he is feeling and is saying to God. When I was younger I used to do that more often than I do now a days, I had tons of journals where I would write my feelings and emotions and most of the times they would end up in prayers. mostly prayers crying out to God for help to know how to deal with whatever had happened. In the book of Psalms we see David write many times his emotions, his excitement, his faith, his burdens and cries to God. And as we read chapter 42, we see how David would not let his soul take a hold of him, but he would take a hold of his soul. He owned his soul. Verse 5 “Why, my soul, are you downcast?     Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God,     for I will yet praise him,     my Savior and my God.” We can learn from David in this one verse, being a man or a woman we all have emotions. We all hear things or see things that makes us upset,makes us angry,etc and we don’t notice but those things effect our hearts. And once these things effect our hearts it’s hard to deal with. Our soul is made out of our Mind, Thoughts and Emotions, all these are also connected with our hearts. We think of things and plan things for the future which become dreams and connects to our heart. What happened? you gave into your soul, your soul is where lies your emotions, your thoughts, your heart. Your spirit in the other hand was crazy to get you up to go hear the word of God. (For the more we hear, the more our faith grows, and if we get up and we are sensitive to God, he can use us) John 15: 11 – If his joy is in us it is complete Prov. 4:20-22 Guard God’s word! keep eyes on God. Prov. 4:23 Guard our hearts we cannot guard all else and then our hearts. What we let in eventually will come out. What we hear, what we see, etc. We have to guard and filter our thoughts we may start to grumble, we may start to wonder about certain things we shouldn’t we may start to get down and dis-motivated and all this may start in our minds then to our hearts leading to our feeling and emotions. Because if it’s a thought in our heads it eventually will get into our hearts. Don’t believe everything we think and hear. WE have to own our soul, our emotions. we own our iPhone we control what goes into it and what comes out. the same should be with our souls and hearts. David wrote psalms started owing his soul, his emotions he would say I am down today (recognizing what he felt) but then he would own it to control it. -Psalms 42:11 I WILL praise him. The way your attitude starts does not have to be how it ends. Don’t let what you hear affect what you think and feel. Guard your hearts! prov. 4:20 What you let in will eventually come out Matthew 15:11 what comes out your mouth is in your hearts. You will feel what you say. So declare good things so you will feel good things. If you insist on saying what you feel then you will feel tha way. you can’t guard what you don’t own, that is why you need to own to guard prov 4:23

Comparing and Contrasting.

My husband would say to me all the time while we were going out,
” All comparison is foolish.”

And he is right, when we were courting/dating we were also in a long distance relationship, and this got to me a lot. As you can imagine having a relationship from long distance is very hard and I would not desire that for anyone, although it happens, and the relationship can still workout. At that time I would compare our relationship to many of our friends around us, because I wanted him close. And sometimes I would mention that to him and we would both be put down for the fact that there was only so much we could do through distance.

Recently God started to speak to me about comparison. How constantly we are comparing our lives, ourselves, our husbands/boyfriends, our friends, parents, etc. to others! But comparison brings us sadness, because we don’t have what the other has. Ever heard of that quote “The grass is always greener on the other side?” well that is what I’m talking about. We look around us and it seems like everyone else has it all figured out and everything put together but they are probably looking at you thinking the same thing.

We were created with intention. The flaws we see in our bodies, in our personalities, in our abilities, they are not flaws to God. If we continually compare ourselves to the people around us, we miss the opportunity to build others up and bring glory to God in what we can do.

One night I was at church, and my heart was a little heavy that day, I don’t remember exactly what was making me upset but one of those things were just not having Rafa close to me. He was in Seattle and I was in Florida, extremely far in distance. That night I watched as many of the couples got together after service to figure out what they were going to do, where they were going to go. And I just needed to talk to Rafa, so I made my way outside and sat under this tree by myself and I called him. We small talked for a bit and then I started to open up my heart to him. I told him I was upset that I couldn’t hold his hand like everyone else did, I couldn’t have him close to me like everyone else did . And as the cry baby I am, I began to cry on the phone. I was upset because I didn’t want to cry but I had to let it out. And he said Ester, I understand, I would love to be there with you but unfortunately I cant. and then he said, close your eyes, hug yourself and let me pray for you. And his prayer went something along these lines, Father I put Ester before you right now, I know that you love her very much, and I know that I’m distant from Ester and I know she is needy and misses my presence, but Father you are there with her, so hug her for me and satisfy all her needs that I can’t in the name of Jesus amen. It was a simple prayer he did, but as he was praying I truly felt God’s presence and Him hugging me. After we got of the phone I continued to stay seated where I was and I prayed to God asking for forgiveness. I asked God to forgive me one for comparing my relationship, my life to others and I asked forgiveness because I knew I need to seek God more. I needed more of who He is, His love, His presence.

The thing is, it’s easy to compare our lives to others. Why? because we go through trouble, situations, problems, everyday. But we don’t know the other person’s troubles, situations, and problems they are going through. We see a mere image, a second of when her boyfriend is kissing her fore head and they walk away giggling as if their relationship were perfect. The truth is, the more we compare the more our joy seems to disappear. When we compare we are putting our lives and selves lower than the one being compared to. And this is a lie, because God in his perfection creates us as his masterpieces!

Comparison is a thug that robs your joy. But it’s even more than that — Comparison makes you a thug who beats down somebody – or your soul.

Scales always lie. They don’t make a scale that ever told the truth about value, about worth, about significance.

And the thing about measuring sticks, girl? Measuring sticks try to rank some people as big and some people as small — but we aren’t sizes. We are souls.  There are no better people or worse people — there are only God-made souls. There is no point trying to size people up, no point trying to compare – because souls defy measuring.

– Ann Voskamp

When we compare it’s almost as if we are saying God’s blessings aren’t’ enough. It’s saying that God isn’t enough, that what He is doing in our lives is nothing. That what he created isn’t enough.

Either be comparing blessings to other blessings, or our times of difficulty we need to know that God is with us, and what He has for you may be different than what He has for others. But one thing is for sure, God promises us that He has far more greater plans for our lives than we have for ourselves, that he will always loves us and always bless us.

The only person we need to try to better than and compare our selves with, is the person whom we were yesterday.

In Romans 12:15 it states “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” The way to get over comparing is rejoicing with others, and this means rejoicing as in deciding in your heart that you are so glad and thankful for that achievement that others achieve. Whatever the circumstances be, rejoice!

God is good all the time, and He will always be.
He is with us through the hard times and the good times.

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” – Psalms 139:141 [ESV]

The Sun Stand Still Prayer

In the ending of 2012 a good friend of mine lent me a book I had been already dying to read. This book is by Pr.Steven Furtick who is a great pastor and such an inspiration to me and many others. This book is about having faith, but not just any faith, it really challenges you to have audacious faith, and like the main story, the audacious faith that Joshua had. See Joshua which early on the bible, in the old testament asks God a pretty bold question, he asked God to make the sun stand still.
Now I don’t know about you but never have I sat in world history class or science class and heard the teacher tell me that one day the sun stood perfectly still, meaning the earth stopped circling for a whole day.. Nope never has that happened before Joshua or has it happened after. How many of us christians know that verse, where if we have faith as small as a mustard seed we could make mountains move!? Now I know that every time I think about that verse or am teaching my kids about it, I question myself, “How big is my faith? what can my faith do?” You see, Joshua walked by faith at this moment, and I mean walked, because walking here i mean he stepped out in faith, he not only just believed God could do it, and went on to his battle hoping that God would make it happen. He STEPPED out in faith and asked God to make the sun stand still. And this here is a clear and great example of what audacious faith looks like, another great example in the bible is when Peter tells the lame man to stand up and walk in the Gospel of John, not only does Peter tell him to get up, but he steps out in faith and takes the man by the hand.
I honestly recommend this book to all christians! I already told my pastor that this one has to be one in his reading list, as well to all the girls who walk with me. This book was a life changing book for me and I am already looking forward to reading it again some other time. But as I finished reading this book, and wonder and thought about what it is that I would make into my sun stand still prayer like Pr. Steven encourages us to do and apply in our own lives, I had no clue. I had no clue what thing I need to just depend on God for. And don’t get me wrong here, I do depend on God for all things, and pray to God that I would always keep and maintain my dependency on Him. But what I mean is, I didn’t have any situation in my life where I was lost, or desperate. I wasn’t in any debt, I didn’t have a divorce, I don’t have any one in my family who is an alcoholic, etc… see I thought about those kinds of stuff and wondered what is it that I’m going to make my sun stand still prayer and believe on it. I started to pray for my Kids Network, ( a group of kids and teen girls that I lead)  and I started to ask God for leaders, for kids, and just over all for us to be able to fulfill God’s purpose and will in the kids lives that we are investing in. I started to pray for my husband, I guess it’s a pretty good place to start, since it’s one of those things I’ve been praying for and don’t see results right? But all this was already part of my prayers and all this are great for a sun stand still prayer, but something about a sun stand still prayer struck to me. It’s the fact that all facts truly tell you NO and God is saying YES!
It’s the fact where you’re at a place where you can’t do NOTHING and only believe and trust the Almighty God who can. And that was what it was like for Joshua, Joshua had no way to be able to go to that battle which he was preparing himself for and win, he didn’t have enough time, what he need was time, it wasn’t for more soldiers, it wasn’t for more equipment, or strength. No, it was for time, and to gain that, he need the sun to stop.
Now, it’s crazy to just think about it, imagine having to have to faith and act on it? (this sentence is horrible, totally seems like I can’t believe something like that. I guess it just shows that I personally would shake in faith as I asked God for something so great as this.) Today, around probably a month or so after I have finished reading this book, I realized what my sun stand still prayer truly is. Well if you don’t know me, I am 22 years old, and me and my family are from brazil. Me and my brother were born there, we came to the U.S. when I was 7 and he was 4, in 1999. Now since then, we haven’t been back, and that is because in 2001 we started a case to become legal here and be able to have our green cards. Now also know that when my parents came to the U.S. they weren’t coming in search of money, or better jobs, or because life back there was screwed up. We were coming because of a clear direction from God to my parents. Okay now back to the green card process, we were in this process from 2001 till 2013. We’ve waited these 12 years for the answer of our prayers to come in the mail. For the letters in our names, that contained green cards to arrive. In these 12 years as a family we struggled, faith wise, doubts, family thinking that we don’t care about them, and the loss of two of my grandparents, and uncle. January 2013 my parents got the news that our process had been declined. That we now have one year to continue living here in the U.S. legally. This struck us all. But the funny thing is that even though we worried about our next steps into finding new lawyers and where to invest our money in this a new case, we had peace. Peace from knowing that God is in control, that He will do something. As soon as my parents told me, a week later from when they found out,  I just nodded and then a later as I thought about it I cried. But I cried because I simply know that I, myself am capable of doing nothing in this situation. I can’t go to the lawyers, to who ever and tell them they need to approve our case because all these years we have been faithful to the government and to the U.S. I can’t. But I have a peace in my heart, and crazy wonder and expectation to see just what is God going to do. Since then we have applied for documents with other lawyers and are in the process still. Literally they told us that any day our papers could be arriving in the mail….

I’m literally just waiting for God’s miracle, and as I wait I just keep playing sort of a trailer of a movie in my head, because I can’t wait to actually see the movie. The trailer of the mysterious ways of our Lord, and how is He going to act in this specific case. And then in the end I will finally watch the movie, experience God’s miracle in mine and my families lives. (Then come and blog about it for your faith to be edified.) As me and my family fasted for 21 days, with this being our purpose and prayer request, I realized here is my sun-stand-still prayer.  I can’t do nothing, but my God can do anything and everything. I know that as I pray in faith, and act in faith. God is faithful to do the rest. I love the Lord with all my heart, and declare that His good and perfect will be done in my life and my families life.

What is good in HIS eyes.

God has surprised me over and over again. I don’t how many of you have a relationship with God but you would know what I’m talking about because He loves to surprise us.
As I was reading the story of Samuel in the bible, something caught my attention. Samuel was a boy at this time and The Lord wakes him up at night to talk to him. Samuel did not know the Lord (1 Sam.3:7) this being because he was still young and probably only had heard, but never having an experience with God. He then wakes up Eli asking if he had called him and Eli denied and told him to go to sleep, this happened 3 times and the third time Eli noticed that The Lord wanted to speak to Samuel, so he said lie down again when you hear him calling say Here I am Lord. When God finally spoke to Samuel he told him that He was about to do something in Israel that would tingle everyones ears who heard it. (1 Sam.3:11) He then went on to tell Samuel He was going to fulfill what He had already told Eli, which if we look back in chapter 2 we see where Eli receives the prophecy against his house. Eli’s son had become wicked and blasphemed God, and Eli failed to restrain them. Eli tried to restrain them and spoke to his sons, but they didn’t stop doing all the things they were doing.
The next morning Samuel woke up and didn’t want to tell Eli what God had spoken to him. But Eli called him and asked him. (3:18-19) “So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes. The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground.”
According to Josephus, a Jewish historian, Samuel was about 12 years old when God spoke to him. However, this is only speculation as Samuel’s age was never mentioned in the Bible. But imagine a 12 year old waking up and telling you that your sons are about to die because you have failed to correct them.
See this news wasn’t a surprise to Eli, he already knew, God had already told him, but I think that Eli’s answer was the best one ever. Eli said “He is the Lord, let Him do what is good in his eyes.” Eli had come to the conclusion that what God was going to do was good. Doesn’t seem good, and if you read the prophesy in chapter 2, it’s actually kinda scary. But we need to understand that God is good all the time, so we might not understand what He does, we might not understand the why… but we need to understand that God will never do something to hurt us JUST BECAUSE. His intentions are not to hurt us, but to see us grow, prosper, be happy and live an abundant life.
God is good always, like in Jeremiah 29:11 (one of my favorite verses)  says, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I want to be more like Eli, even when bad circumstances come, I want to be able to say it’s in God’s hands and may He do what is good in His eyes, for He is  the Lord. Let His will be done not mine.
I don’t know what circumstance you are living in now, but put it before God and ask that His will be done in this situation. Ask God to be the one to guide you in all your decisions, ask Him to give you wisdom, and to keep your eyes and ears opened to His voice and direction.
Amen, I pray that God will continue to give you revelation of this post today. God Bless you Unnaturally Lit Readers, if this post or any of our posts has blessed your life please take a moment to write to us, we love to hear from our readers.
-Ester Gomes

FOCUS ON JESUS!

//sometimes we get so overwhelmed with all we have to do. We have too many responsibilities and all of a sudden all of them are priority.

Recently I was living a very overwhelming life, daily I had my schedule full and I was juggling these things which I believed where all priority to me. But then God started to speak to me, that all I needed to do was focus on him .
Sometimes we need to stop doing so much and stop taking too much on our hands. But sometimes these things that we have to do are all pressures coming and being allowed by God to make us grow. To take us to another level .

In my case that’s what it was, God wanted to teach me, stretch me, take me to a new level of authority and anointing. And all I needed to do through the whole process was focus on him. As I focused on him, the burden got lighter, the mess in my head because clear and I was as to do everything by GRACE!

God is good, all the time, and he’s always with us. He’s always there to help us, we just need to seek, cry out and focus on Him.