1 Peter 3:3-4

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. - 1 Peter 3:3,4

Monday, February 24, 2014

You Are Not A Failure

A few months ago I was at church and we had a guest speaker. I can't remember his name but he came to preach about failures. Something he proved he knew a lot about. He had been through so much and so many times felt like he had let down the people he cared about. But over a period of years God was teaching him that 'just because you have a failure, doesn't mean you are a failure'.

Failing is not something I'm unfamiliar with. Many times I have disappointed my parents, siblings, friends, myself and most definitely God. I'm not going to go into specifics, but I can honestly tell you that in those times I felt like I was a failure, like I had hit rock bottom and didn't deserve to be forgiven. When I heard this man speak (I wish I could remember his name!) it was right after a time when I had really let my parents, my best friend, myself and God down all at the same time. I was definitely not feeling very good about myself. But when I heard him preach, it was like he was speaking straight to me and telling me that I had failed (ouch), but that didn't mean I was a failure.

There is something else I learned from him. His message taught me that even though I messed up, God was still there waiting to pick me up again and help me continue along rough road ahead. But just because He was going to walk this with me, didn't mean my actions were free from consequences. That was probably the lowest point in my life. I apologised to those I needed to and God has continued to be the constant comfort I need. Our God is a god of endless second chances and new beginnings. And for that I am so thankful. Repenting to those I love and had hurt was no easy feat but I have never been more grateful for the love and forgiveness of all those involved.

Failure doesn't need to define us. Instead we can learn from it, get back on our feet and continue living a life where forgiveness is only one apology away. Don't forget that God is the ultimate Comforter and NOTHING is too big for Him! Everything we do should bring honour and glory to God.

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:9 

God bless,

~ Taleisha 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Finding Our Identity In Christ

Most of us go through a time in our lives when we question who we really are. What do we believe? Why do we believe it? It's a journey we go on. A journey of self discovery. Now that I am heading off to start my next chapter of life in Australia, I'm planning on using this time to discover what I am about. What I like to do and believe - not just because it's what I've been taught and brought up to believe. 

A short while ago a friend was sharing his testimony and saying how a time after he moved out he turned against God  and started to do his own thing, trying to find himself. This lasted for a few years until he realised that he needed God. Something he said stuck with me that day. He said that he not only found who he was, but that he needed to continue searching to find who he was in Christ. This got me thinking of who I really was. 

I've heard pastors preach that without Christ we are nothing. Without God what can we accomplish. In our own power things are imperfect and there is an endless void in our hearts that we try to satisfy with the wrong things. But when we have received the Holy Spirit and He lives inside us, that void disappears. We know that with God we can do all things and if we follow His leading in our lives, He leads us towards greatness. I've come to realise that I don't need to find who I am, I need to find who I am IN CHRIST! Without Christ I am nothing. It isn't about me, but it's about God and everything I do needs to be an example of Him and His love.

May God bless you all as you continue to discover who you are in Him!

~ Taleisha 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Right (But Not Always Easy)

Some of you may recall reading that I live in Cambodia with my family. We have been here for nearly 3 years now and have had the most amazing adventure. We have been able to be God's hands and feet and share His unending love with many girls and young women who didn't know Him and the comfort of His love. About three months ago I made the decision to move back to where I was born and raised - Queensland, Australia.

I've been longing to move out of home for a while now and find my independence. Yes, yes, I'm only 17 years old (soon to be eighteen), but when your family members are the only people you really communicate with, a life outside of it seems very appealing. Don't get me wrong, I love my family to bits. They're the people I know will always be there for me. And though I am young, I was still faced with a pretty huge decision (one that would require moving countries!). I graduated from Year 12 last year and needed to really think about what 2014 was going to bring. Was I going to stay in Cambodia and continue to live off others generosity? Or was I going to go back to Australia, finish studying or study further, get a job and discover who Taleisha really is? This was no easy choice. If I stayed in Cambodia I would continue to live a life without my friends near me, and if I moved and got a job, it would mean leaving my wonderful family. Still, I knew in my heart that my season of service in Cambodia was going to end someday, and that God didn't plan on me being here much longer.

Although this decision comes with many new and exciting things, it also leaves behind the life that has become normal. I leave in 18 days and despite all the things I will miss, I know God has a bigger plan for me. Plans to prosper me and bring me a hope and future. (Jeremiah 29:11) I will never forget my time in Cambodia, nor my loved ones that will stay here. God has told me what to do. He didn't promise it would be easy, but He has promised to walk the journey with me. I can walk this path confidently knowing that whatever obstacles I may face, God is holding my hand and leading me to where He needs me.

So on a final note, I want to encourage you all, when you face your big decisions in life (and even your small ones), hold tight to God and the knowledge that He will never leave you nor forsake you. Continue to seek Him in the midst of all your problems and follow His light.

"'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are My ways your ways', says the LORD. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.'" - Isaiah 55:8-9 

May I ask you all to pray for me as the final preparations are happening, ready for me to start my next adventure in Australia.

May God bless you all!

~ Taleisha

Monday, February 3, 2014

If You Could Ask God One Thing

If God was sitting right in front of you and said you can ask Him one question about anything you wished, what would you ask Him? The Creator of the Universe, The One who sent His only son, The God of miracles, The Healer, The Comforter, The King, Father; what would you as Him? 

Let me share a little story with you. In December 2005 my dad went on His first trip to Africa. One night he visited a night camp where hundreds of children came. They would walk kilometers in the evening to get to this place that would allow them a safe place to sleep, and then walk kilometers back to their villages in the morning. While my dad was there he found three orphaned boys; James, Denis and Fred (all young men in their mid-teens). It was only days away from Christmas and Dad asked them, "If you could have one thing for Christmas, what would it be?". Their response broke his heart. All three of them said they would ask for a pair of shoes. A pair of shoes! While so many of us wish for iPads, phones, computers and laptops, these boys only wanted shoes for their feet. Doesn't it make you wonder if your priorities are in check? It begins to put into perspective what's important and how much we take for granted. 

So if God was giving you the opportunity to ask Him one single question, what would it be? Would you ask for better grades, a new car, friendships to be restored, a loved one to be healed? Or perhaps you'd want to know how He made the world, why He let Adam and Eve sin, why He sent His son to die instead of finding another way to save humanity, or when Jesus is coming back? Would you ask for earthly things or for spiritual things? Would you ask for anything at all? 

When I ask myself this question, I don't find myself thinking of the sick people I know, of all the injustice in the world, or for more possessions. Instead I think of things like: God what is Your plan for me? How can I use my gifts to glorify You? How can I be a better Christian? How can I change the world? How do I tell others about You in countries that grounded in other beliefs? I don't know the answer to these questions. Sometimes I really wish I did. Maybe one day God will reveal His plans to me, but in the mean time I need to be a faithful servant. I can do that by digging deeper into the Bible and continue to grow in my knowledge of The Word, showing love to others, keeping my prayer life active and communicating with my Heavenly Father. 

So I will leave you with one question. Only one, and I want you to really put some thought into it: What would you ask God? 

In His love, 
~ Taleisha