Treasure in Jars of Clay

We are oblivious.

Once upon a time there was no way that we could comprehend what Christ has done. Perhaps that’s you – maybe you just don’t understand who God is or why we need him as much as we do? From my experience, now that I know him, I cannot imagine what life would be like without such knowledge. That’s just it – knowledge. We all seek it yet somehow all fall short of it. I guess one could say that we are “blinded” from truth – we don’t and can’t know everything. Frustrating? Not quite…

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There’s a verse in 2 Corinthians 5-12 (vs 6 to be exact) that says, “For God who said, “let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” We are completely oblivious but we have been presented with the gospel as God declares, “let there be light” over our hearts, so that we may understand more of who Jesus really is and so that the glory of God may be displayed in our lives! As we patiently step to learn more, God aids us in that, whispering encouragement and revealing new wonders each day.

We have the light of the knowledge of God’s glory within us! This not coming from ourselves but God’s mercy.

However although Jesus’ light is living within us and shining out of us to present us as holy and pleasing to God, we ourselves are still unclean. Nobody is fully good. Nobody completely understands the bible. Nobody lives in faith without a little doubt. In fact, without Christ, we are nothing – we lack the knowledge of love, acceptance, and God’s purpose here on earth. Without Christ we are full of weakness and this is to be made known more than our strength…

I can be a bit of a control freak. I’m not always happy. I sometimes get angry at my siblings. I often lack ideas. Some days I can be selfish instead of serving others. I am a normal, everyday, messy individual but I know that Christ is shining in me and presenting me as strong and holy before God. You to can have this light – it starts with yes.

It’s as if we are jars made of clay. We are completely earthy! But if we ask Jesus to fill us with the light of his knowledge, our jar fills with treasure! We are jars of clay filled with treasure – this treasure being the knowledge of who God is and all that he has done, as well as a personal relationship with the Father. This treasure doesn’t just look good either – it reminds us to trust the true spoken promises (that from experience have always been fulfilled) of God: when we feel attacked or challenged, we will never be 100% defeated for Christ’s strength empowers us; when we are confused or begin to question, Christ comforts us and listens to us; when others harm us, Christ reveals an encouraging light and whispers, “you are not alone – I will never forsake you nor harm you”; when we are exhausted or lose control, we can never fall because Christ stands tall within us!

Be real. Accept your flaws and dare to say yes! Life in faith does not mean trying to be perfect but rather allowing God to give you rest from the frustrating world that tells you that you must know and understand everything. We come because we heard but want to understand. We come because we are weak but God will make us strong. We say yes because we don’t yet believe but are curious to find something to trust in.

We are jars of clay – filled with treasure? I can assure you it’s a beautiful life with God, the creator of the world!

Eleanor ♥

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Hello 2016!

It’s a new year, and time for action – New Year is such a great opportunity to reassess life, look towards adventures and reflect upon some great memories. This week, I’ve been preparing for New Year, discovering the things in my life that I want to change, and dreaming about where I want to direct my strengths…

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In some ways, I want to hold onto 2015 – it’s been such a great year. I’ve found it near enough, 100% positive, and accomplished so many things: I’ve attended Spring Harvest (travelling alone for the first time), had the blog featured on YFC’s website, completed my GCSE’s, had the longest summer ever (with so many great travel opportunities), transitioned into a-level studies, shared some brilliant moments with friends, been asked to be Bridesmaid…. There are so many things to talk about – not to mention the fact that God has placed a missions gap year on my heart for 2017! Its fair to say, that when I sat here, writing this last year, saying that “2015 was going to be my year,” I most definitely was right!

However, although my heart yearns for a little bit longer, it’s time to move on and await the many adventures that God will lead me on – even if I don’t really know what they are yet! Last year, I set out to “Give, Save, and Love,” which involved a monthly project, to use my creativity and strengths to give to my community, and to others. As well as this, I aimed to start saving money, and spread love in a world of hate and judgement. I feel that the Give and Love aspect was one of the greatest things this year, and I began to see some of you viewers getting involved also! How great is this? That as a community we can share love, especially amongst the sad times of 2015, including the Paris attacks.

What about 2016? This year my three aims focus upon Grace, Cherish and Go.

Grace. As I began to reflect upon 2015, I realised that over the past 3 months, I’ve been struggling with stress – that’s the thing, you never really notice until you take a break. I guess this next year will be one of the hardest yet – everyone I know has admitted to me that A-levels are extremely difficult, but you just have to keep positive, dedicate yourself to the studies, and give everything you have to the future. One day, these efforts will benefit not just your life, but the lives of others. However, it’s still so important to rest in grace – I experienced my first burn out this month, and it’s time for a reality check. God calls us to take one day at a time, rest in His grace and not worry about the “what if’s.” And so this 2016, I’m determined to do something everyday as stress relief – to find a 5 minute pocket (or longer) to just break, whether it’s seeking God in prayer, journalling, napping, or buying a colouring book and creating art without the pressure of design work! It will be hard, on days when I just want to secure myself with an extra workload, or perhaps just want to climb into bed instead… But I know that it will be worth it. I’m not afraid to accept that I’m living in a stressful period. After all, we’re only human.

Cherish. This aspect of 2016 is something that I’ve dreamt of doing for the past 3 months. As a photography lover, I find myself taking hundreds of photographs, and because of this, they always seem to disappear from my mind! I never get the chance to look back on the memories behind them! Also, finding time to carry out a shoot is proving to be more difficult and so I’m running out of good, precious captured moments. This year, I’m going to take one photo everyday, to mark a memory or moment – I’m going to build up a great photo album, that I can look back on. So that I can cherish memories away from screens and social media, and be more creative! If you follow me on Instagram, I’ll be posting the highlights, but many, I plan to hold onto myself – to not become overly consumed by publishing.

Go. Recently, God has been placing missions on my heart – the kind of home town missions, that involved going into the lives of those around me; by inviting people to church, practically sharing love in order to start conversations, and being a living encouragement. These things could be caring for those who serve – taking missionaries/church leaders for coffee. Or perhaps praying for people in their situations; asking God to send me out. I have no idea where this will lead at all but I plan to share the journey with you – I want to encourage you readers, whether Christians or not, to do something regularly, throughout the year, to show love. To go, and act. Just do something!

And so I look towards 2016, and all the memories it will bring – may you have a blessed new year and continue to come along with me, as we strive towards “Grace, Cherish and Go.”

Have grace on yourself, cherish memories, and go out sharing love.

Eleanor ♥

 

Give Save Love | Review

It’s official, it’s July and we are closer to the end of 2015 that to the start. For 2015, I set out to complete a giving project each month, in order to put love back into the community. Now that we are six months in, I felt that it was time to review the project so far, and launch project number 7…

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The following review is not to boast about the giving that have been doing, but simply to follow up from the project launch and to give readers ideas of projects that they can get involved with. In fact, I very much disliked posting this review, and almost didn’t post it because I wanted to have humility. In the end, I decided to post it, in order to demonstrate the love that God is pouring into the community through this blog – not my works, but God’s – to hopefully inspire you to live a life of love.

January: bought cans of beans, and spaghetti, from a local store and donated it straight into the food bank. This was a fun first project, and the food bank is a very good cause.

February: launched the agape love challenge, carrying out raoks (random acts of kindness ) and encouraging all readers to get involved, sharing love. I loved how people got involved and made the valentines month, a month of true self-sacrificing love!

March: during March, I attended a World Share Moldova evening at a local church, all about the country of Moldova, and their issues with human trafficking. Moved by the issues, I donated the money that I would have spent on a giving project, towards the work of World Share out in Moldova.

April: following suit from March, within youth connections throughout the town in which I live, a youth leader decided to move permanently to Moldova, or at least for as long as God keeps him there. He goes to work for Operation Mobilisation in September. Many members of our community supported him with some money but also prayed for him throughout the month. Please join in prayer for his new life.

May: exams began in May, so I made up 14 little exam survival kits for my school friends and they went down really well. You can find the tutorial in the May archives!

June: a friend and I set out to the town centre with a bunch of flowers, where we handed out these flowers to people along with cards, telling them that it was a raok.

And so now July is well underway and this month I want to launch a ‘book of love challenge.’ The book of love challenge is simply to give a life changing book to somebody. This book can be anything from a novel, to a biography, poetry or even a bible! But the one rule, is that this book must be inspirational, full of encouragement, and given to somebody who really needs it!

So as we head into this challenge, with eyes open, I wish you the best! Instagram a picture of your book of love using #distinctivemodeBOL, or email to distinctivemode@outlook.com with a caption explaining why it’s life changing to you! I can’t wait to see them all, and share them on the site!

The challenge runs from now, through until the end of August so get creative, find inspiration and share it with the community!

Eleanor ♥

 

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