Tag Archives: God

Simple & Holy

Simplify. What a beautiful, absolutely refreshing concept it is that this word implies. Rather than meaning mundane, plain, or boring, as some might think, to me this word fully encompasses what a renewed life should, and can, look like. In the New Year we simplify and set goals for the next 12 months, during spring cleaning we organize our homes, rooms, and closets and simplify them. When one is baptized into the Kingdom of G-d they choose to simplify their heart and make room for what is now most important. We do undertake this idea of simplifying periodically, but it is not enough. Piles upon piles of junk accumulate anyway, in our thoughts, words, bedrooms, minds, lives, etc. I don’t know about you, but I feel like my heart & soul could really use a breath of fresh air to cleanse myself from this clutter daily

To dig even deeper into this idea of simplicity, though, let’s build a connection between it and the word Holiness. I have been learning a lot about both of these terms recently, and how curiously similar they really are. To be simple can also mean to be holy. Any everyday occurrence, such as putting on your shoes or making the bed, can become a meaningful way to elevate ourselves to G-d. Just by purposely thinking about how thankful I am to have multiple pairs of shoes that I get to choose from each day, or praising G-d for blessing me with a comfortable bed and a house to sleep in every night during the process of these things, I can work towards achieving this state of elevation. It is all about having a positive, grateful mindset.

Think about the moment of baby Jesus’ birth. There was nothing absolutely extraordinary about it from first glance. I mean, yes, legions of angels appeared in the sky and sang praises to a baby whose birth was witnessed by farm animals, but still, for the most part it was a simple night, with simple people. But it was also the holiest of all holy nights. This occasion in history, as well as all the other stories that are written in the Bible for us to read at any time, sets a perfect example of marrying these two concepts, simplicity and holiness, and receiving a breathtaking life full of His blessing in return.

xoxo,

Ashton

My 1MISSION Campaign!!!

((Click here: https://my.1mission.org/AshtonJensensCampaign to Donate!!!))

Sweating so much your shirt turns a different color, the sound of constant hammering in your ears, a work load like no other, living the uncomfortable tent life for three nights, and a ridiculous amount of humidity. Imagine all this but you don’t care one bit. That sure does sound backwards… why would all this not bother you?? Because you & everyone around you is filled with so much stinkin’ love & hearts are overflowing with the joys of new friendships & Gods peace that passes all understanding. That is how I would describe the weekend of October 9th-12th for me. 400 high schoolers, including me, from Phoenix, AZ made the 4-hour drive down to Puerto Penasco, Mèxico. We had one mission(pun intended, hehe), to provide safe housing for thirteen families before the weekend was over. I am very happy to say that our mission was accomplished, all the homes were completed and the families are currently beginning a new life in them, but it was oh-so-much more than that. Hearts & lives were rejuvenated.

While in Mexico the 1MISSION staff gave all of us the opportunity to start a campaign to raise money and build even more sufficient housing around the world, but I didn’t really think anything of it at the time. It was like a, “Oh that’s cool, I hope lots of other people do it and change the world” & move on kind of thing. But ever since I’ve been home from that trip (over a month ago) I felt God tugging on my heart and bringing me back to the idea of starting a campaign. I kind of came to the realization that just taking 4 days away to do God’s work did not have to be the end, there is no limit to God’s strength, His power. I have gone to Puerto Penasco twice with 1MISSION and love what they do and the fact that it is much more than just donations and houses, they value connections and relationships, which sometimes makes more of a difference than four walls and a door. The beauty of 1MISSION is that they work with families, if someone wants a house they must earn it by serving in their community.

This venture of starting my campaign has been slightly delayed, I knew and have seen proof that this is the right direction to go, but I kept making excuses for myself saying things like, “It’s not the right timing”, “Not today, I have a lot to do”, and all other sorts of junk with no true reasons. God has given me the perspective that it is ridiculous to be selfish when He is the One who blessed me with a wonderful house, so why not do what I always say I want to do and be like Him by being apart of another family receiving their blessing of a home? So today I am choosing to obey God by launching my campaign! The donation page will be open until May 31st and my goal is $3000, which I know is a lot of money and honestly makes me a little nervous but I trust that the end results are in God’s hands. If you would like to help me reach my goal & be a part of providing a family with a brand spanking new home you can donate at https://my.1mission.org/AshtonJensensCampaign. Not to mention that prayer is extremely essential throughout this campaign & I’d be absolutely overjoyed if you would join me in praying for these families, what God is doing in their lives, and for His faithful provision. Thank you so so so very much to you all, I am stoked for what’s in store in the next few months!!!

xoxo, AshtonMy 1MISSION Campaign

Day 56 out of 365

 // Visit many good books but live in the Bible. \\

>>On August One I started something that lots of people attempt but few finish. Reading the Bible in one year. If I’m completely honest, this entire journey has been quite the struggle, until today. You see even from the first day of the plan I was behind. I didn’t set aside enough(or sometimes any) time during my day to do the reading, which resulted in it piling & piling up, until I felt like it’d take forever just to get caught up. I prefer to read my bible in the morning, you know for a fresh perspective to get me started for the day. But when I woke up I would find myself putting it off because I was just so overwhelmed & thought about how stinkin much I was behind.

However, a couple days ago, I changed my attitude towards it. I figured, there’s no way I can go the entire year just pushing it to the back of my mind, hoping to get caught up ‘someday’, I’d end up quitting eventually with that mindset. So I sat down, picked up my bible & started reading. I think I read like 20 straight chapters of Exodus at one point, which, let me tell you, was not easy. Once I began reading though, I was determined to get caught up, at least in the next couple days. And now here I am, on day 56 of the ‘Bible in a Year’ plan, the first day so far that I’ve been on track. I must say I’m pretty happy about it, although I realize it’s just the beginning, I’m going to have to work super hard to keep it up & not fall behind again. The main reason why I was itching so badly to be caught up was so that I could get back into spending time with my God & reading His word everyday, not just every once in awhile when I felt like reading a lil bit. 

Anyway, I didn’t share this with you to try and get you to read the bible in a year or anything like that, just with the hope that this will encourage you to start or continue reading your bible everyday, because boy do I see a difference in my days when I do. Also if there’s something in your life(not necessarily bible reading) that you feel behind on & keep pushing away, don’t give up. It truly is all about the attitude, if you tell your self you want to & can get it done, you will, and also asking God for strength to push through is always a good choice.

 

Refresh+Awaken

       We see it all over pinterest in pages of fancy fonts & pretty florals, quotes telling us to ‘throw kindness around like confetti’, ‘choose kindness’ or, as the new Cinderella movie has made popular, ‘have courage and be kind’. These sayings have (unfortunately) become overused, and forgettable. The reason why I say this is unfortunate is because they should be the ones we really take to heart. I don’t think we realize how much influence our words, or lack of words, have. One rude comment to the cashier at Target could make their day that much harder. On the other hand, just ignoring that text from someone you didn’t really want to hang out with might hurt their feelings.

       I’d like to challenge you to use your words wisely and fill them with kindness. If kind is still too cliché for you try replacing it with ‘compassion’ or ‘goodness’. When you see a post with the word kindness don’t just scroll past, try to delve into it & learn something new. Try with all your heart & soul to refresh your thoughts on kindness and change it from commonplace to admirable/ magnificent/sensational/phenomenal, any or all of the above.

Little things like leaving a sweet note for a friend or paying it forward, can be powerful, but big things are even more powerful. 

       “3At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:3-7

       As you can see from this verse, kindness is not a shallow, meaningless word; it is originated from God. HE created it & only HE completely understands its meaning. It’s up to us to do our best by following His calling when it comes to Kindness.

Awake your soul to the kindness it holds.

The Power of Prayer

Prayer- it is the way we communicate with our Heavenly Father. It is extremely important in our everyday lives as Christians. I think we need to start praying big again. In the Bible people would pray for strength to overcome an entire city and have complete faith that when they prayed for a sign, God would tell them which direction to take through it. I feel like the prayers of this generation have become less confident than they could be. We have gotten rather good at giving God the reigns right before a math test or the big game, and don’t get me wrong, those are definitely things we should pray about, but we should also trust Him in the impossible situations. This is definitely something I have struggled with and am still working on, but I see how crucial it is to have such strong faith & that God ALWAYS answers. Here’s the thing though, He always gives us an answer, but that doesn’t mean He always says yes. Sometimes He tells us later, not now, maybe, or just straight up no. No matter what we pray or ask of Him, He will still do what is in His flawless plan. However, this does not mean there’s no reason to pray.

(James 1:5) If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

In this verse we are told that we cannot just magically have wisdom, we must pray and ask for it. Think about it this way, we don’t receive salvation at a certain age or anything like that, it’s whenever we decide for ourselves and go to God requesting it. Same with wisdom, forgiveness, discernment, etc. Prayer is very necessary in order for those virtues to be evident in our lives. 

Maybe you’ve only ever been taught how to pray when you need something from God or are in a troubling circumstance. A good piece of scripture to follow while praying is the Lord’s Prayer, found in Matthew 6:9-13…

This, then, is how you should pray: 9“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name (Praise the Lord for all He is & everything He has done in your life) 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Give Him your full trust and allow the Holy Spirit to speak through your life) 11 Give us today our daily bread. (This is where you would say any prayer requests: whether for healing, or direction, or wisdom, like we talked about earlier, or anything) 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Confession time, tell Him everything you have done wrong and ask Him to forgive you. Also, let go of any grudges against those who have hurt you.) 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (Declare that you feel secure in knowing that our Heavenly Father has the power to completely overcome the devil.)

I am not at all saying this is the ‘only’ or ‘right’ way to pray, because any prayer is a good prayer and God hears them all. I have just found that this outline is excellent if you aren’t sure where to start or just need a little direction to stay focused:) I use this almost everytime I pray & it works really well for me. My favorite part is that it starts out with praise, which is something God demands from us. I try to keep my praise to things simply about my Lord, leaving myself out of it. (for example, I wouldn’t usually say “I praise you for loving me unconditionally” rather “I praise you because you are capable of unconditional love”.) This way it truly is just about giving all the glory to the One who deserves it. Again, I know this is not required and I do not expect it from everyone, just my personal preference. 

I could honestly go on & on & on about the value of prayer and how genuinely powerful it is. You may even see another post on this in the future. I just really love talking to my Creator and hope you have or will experience how wonderful it is!!

-Ashton

the power of prayer-2

 

 

Armor of God Poetry

Happy June to you! For all my fellow Arizonans this also means we start saying things like, “wow only 100* today?” or “I don’t care how far away this parking spot is, it has shade.” ha! During this summer heat I always tend to spend more of my time inside rather than out (do you blame me?). Instead of spending these hiding-from-the-heat days scrolling pointlessly through my phone I’ve been trying to work on using this time to study my bible. Like not just read intentionally, but truly study God’s word in the hopes of growing closer to Him. One of the areas I have done this with recently is Ephesians chapter 6, verses 10-20. In this passage Paul encourages us to put on the full Armor of God so that we can take our stand against the devil’s schemes. This is prime advice and, I don’t know about you but, I think I’m going to try my hardest to follow it. Obviously this armor is not just something that’s handed over, it is something to be earned by hard work. I decided to write a poem that basically repeats the apostle Paul’s words, just in a contrasting approach. And here it is!

As Christians in order to stand strong, we must use the Armor of God all our lifelong.

No matter what you have felt, wear truth on yourself in the form of a belt.

Use the breastplate of righteousness to guard your heart, for this is one piece with which you should never part.

The gospel of peace shall always be at your feet, if wearing these shoes you steadily repeat.

Extinguishing Devil-flung arrows will be no trouble, if you hold up the shield of faith your courage will double.

A pity it’d be to neglect your head, don the helmet of salvation instead.

The word of God can act as a sword, it comes from His spirit and is welcome to be explored.

Prayer is the element that holds it all together, without it there would be absolutely no treasure.  

-written by Ashton Jensen

Lots of thanks to you for reading a little tidbit of my thoughts today! Feel free to have a look around at my other posts (& the About page) if you haven’t yet. I’m feeling the love from all you who have read, liked, commented on and shared my posts, thank you SO much! Have a splendid day♥

Life Is A Garden

Life is a garden, God is the gardener, and we are the flowers. Gardens are full of beautiful, unique characters. So is life. Gardens create a wonderful home for roses, daisies, lilacs, and dandelions alike. Life does that for humans as well.

Flowers are diverse in stature, in quality, and color, and smell, and virtue- and some are better than others- however, where the gardener has set them, there they stand, and do not quarrel with one another. –John Bunyan in ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’

Let’s attempt to compare this with our lives. God would be the gardener and we -humans- are the blossoms. Every flower is uniquely created in all types of variety, and each have a different talent that benefits the gardener. A hand full of them seem as if they are always good-looking & better than the rest. Sound familiar? This happens all the time with us. We idolize certain celebrity’s (or simply our own friends) with the mindset that they always have things going in their favor & live the perfect life. When, in reality, they are doing that exact thing to someone else. We always judge ourselves more than those around us. What separates us from being exactly like the flowers in the example? Humans do not simply stand where God has placed us- we want excitement & are greedy. However, the gorgeous(and not-so-gorgeous) blooms are content to settle where it is most beneficial to the gardener. We are all made uniquely & exactly how God intended us to be.

Honestly, it makes me so sad to see people trying to change themselves, whether in a physical way, personality-wise, or mentally. God specifically tells us that we are made in His image & should praise Him because we are fearfully and wonderfully made(Psalm 139:14). We don’t need to alter our bodies or way of thinking so other people, or even ourselves, will like us more. The problem is: we are focusing completely on ourselves when we try to do this. All the glory belongs to God- so let’s not steal it from Him.

Here’s another example we can correlate with this topic: ‘There was a tree whose inside was all rotten and gone, and yet it grew and had leaves. What does this mean? This tree, whose outside is fair, and whose inside is rotten, is that to which many may be compared that are in the garden of God; who with their mouths speak high in behalf of God, but indeed will do nothing for him; whose leaves are fair, but their heart good for nothing but to be tinder for the devil’s tinder-box.’ Does your life appear to others as the flourishing, ideal lifestyle everyone is searching for? If so, I bet you a nickel & a penny that it sure doesn’t feel like the perfect life to you. It can be plain out exhausting to fake your thoughts, actions & feelings. Trust me I’ve tried it, it’s no fun. Instead of being all talk & giving the illusion of loving God to the fullest, let’s try to do things for our heavenly Father, the one who created us, who cares for us, and loves us unconditionally. In other words, let’s commit to being like the flowers, content with where we are and what we have.

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xo,

«Ashton»