The Inspire Shop


music monday: he loves us by jesus culture

Tiffany NicoleComment

When the Israelites took for granted being God's chosen people, eventually God's plan was revealed that salvation was to be offered to the gentiles - those not born in to the covenant -  which in turn caused the Israelites to be jealous.

Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring! Romans 11:11-12

It is interesting how jealousy is used here to turn the Israelites back to God. Some of the Israelites did not feel as special now that grace was offered to the rest of the world but through seeing this grace played out through others, they longed to have what they may have walked away from prior.

It is similar to watching toddlers play. There is always one toy everyone wants to play with. It may have been sitting on the ground most of the day but once someone picks it up, all eyes lock and all hearts crave it. Some things just look more desirable in the hands of others.

But God is a jealous God. Jealous for us. He wants us all of us. Setting things in front of choosing God makes his jealousy burn. Choosing time with the television or a book or a friend or child or husband or work over him is what idolatry is all about. Putting things higher than God. Making other things priorities before God, your first love.

And God loves us. He graciously unravels our hearts and knits them in to what we were made for. He unravels our hurts and anxieties and fears and hopes and failures and turns them in to the miraculous.

Have a listen to How He Loves Us by Jesus Culture.

He is jealous for me
Love's like a hurricane, and I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy

Praying you would be surrounded with those who are passionate about Jesus and can drive you to the point of godly jealously, truly wanting to have a deep and passionate relationship with God, drawing you nearer to God and in turn, drawing others to Christ. Praying you would be able to spur each other on and that you would see God's compassion and mercy and love for you.  

Praying you would see how much you are truly loved and how beautiful you are. Praying you would see glimpses of God in others and yourself as you go about your days and that your relationship with Christ would be the most desirable thing in your life.

Here's to jealousy and God and love. 

music monday: man of sorrows by hillsong worship

Tiffany Nicole8 Comments

I have always had this picture of Jesus as a warmhearted, passionate, joyous person. He made time for the children and broke bread with the disciples and taught and was passionate about God's temple. It all seems so sweet, yet Isaiah 53:3 declares him a man of sorrows.

He was despised and rejected by men,
    a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

The opposite of pure joy perhaps is sorrow.  Though it is possible to have joy in your sorrows, in the same way you can be being happy and sad for various reasons.

Sorrow is defined as mental, physical or emotional anguish. The gut wrenching angst for something more or something less. For the wrongs to be righted and the dead to be made alive and the dark to be overcome by light and the night to give way to the dawn and ultimately, for the sinners to turn from their ways.

Living in a world full of sin that is distant from God, knowing this is not how we were meant to be, must have been hard. Knowing we were made for greater. Knowing the toiling and ensnaring and separation and chaos that sin so entails each person, should he choose. That is a reason for sorrow and pain and suffering.

But Jesus' sorrow was not without reason and not due to his own sin, but for the most worthy of causes. It was about encouragement for us, all the more, in to leading humanity to repentance while he walked the earth and died on the cross and rose from the grave and ascended to heaven. Culminating with bringing about our redemption.

Man of Sorrows by Hillsong Worship is a great listen for this sorrow + redemption story. Have a listen.

Man of sorrows Lamb of God
By His own betrayed
The sin of man and wrath of God
Has been on Jesus laid

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 2 Corinthians 7:10

Godly sorrow is the root that gives depth to the soul and allows praise to bud and rise and grow in to a nourished, strong, unwavering, fruit producing, shade giving tree. This sorrow produces perseverance and repentance and has the ability to set the heart ablaze with the desires of God.

Paul goes on listing to the Corinthians what godly sorrow produces (2 Corinthians 7:11):

               Earnestness  - sincerity of heart to repent  
               Eagerness to clear yourselves - a certain amount of excitement to stop sinning
               Indignation / alarm / longing / concern / readiness to see justice done - taking ownership                 and acknowledging the sin + its effects in order to learn + grow.  

Would I like to be known as a woman of sorrow?  Quite frankly no. Perhaps you would like that added next to your name on a business card?

________, a man / woman of sorrow.

It has a such a broken and sad connotation to it. But what if in your state of sorrow, you brought one person in to eternity. Or maybe two. Or a dozen or hundreds. It is impossible to see what God has planned but there is a place for sorrow as there is a place for joy and becoming like Jesus encapsulates them both.

Praying that as you experience sorrow in your life - sorrow for the poor, the afflicted, the broken hearted, the sick, the unjust - that you would find encouragers on the path to point you towards the goal and that it would ultimately lead you to a deeper concern and love for others and with God.

Praying your adventure would not be one of wandering and meandering but seeking justice and loving and sharing truth. Praying that while it may feel like more of a lonesome journey at times, that you would take each step and put one foot in front of the other and count on God for the strength to endure and the love to act.  

Here's to sorrows and redemption. 

music monday: beneath the waters by hillsong

Tiffany NicoleComment
Growing up, my little brothers loved Winnie the Pooh. I spent lots of time reading Winnie the Pooh books and watching the movies that accompanied. In Pooh's Most Grand Adventure: The Search For Christopher Robin, Christopher Robin prepares Winnie the Pooh for a tomorrow without him, which is hard for Winnie the Pooh to understand. Christopher tells Pooh to remember that he's braver than he believes, and stronger than he seems, and smarter than he thinks. And of course Winnie the Pooh gets it all mixed up and Christopher tells him again and assures him that even if they are apart that he is always with him. 

Jesus does the same thing for us. He tells us that we are strong in him and that he is with us until the end of the ages (Matthew 28:20) and will never leave or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6) in good times or in bad. Even when we get it all mixed up with relationships and people and trials. Trials are vital in life. They show us how much braver we are than we think. How much we can really handle. They test our faith and affirm God's presence in it all.

Jesus tells Simon Peter that Satan wants to sift him like wheat.

Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers. Luke 22:31

Satan wants to break Peter down. He wants him to turn from following Jesus. He wants him to fall and fail and revel in guilt. Satan also asks to test Job - to see if Job will curse God (Job 1:11). God does not test us or put us through trials but they will happen. If Satan wanted to sift Peter and get Job to curse God, why would anyone be spared? The enemy came to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) and wants to sift us like wheat, too. This sifting comes in all forms and sizes and temperaments. It comes in the form of a bad marriage, health issues, a prodigal child, insecurity, self hatred, loneliness and anything else that is not from God.  It comes for days or months or years with more issues piling up as we go.

How long can you handle suffering? At what point do you praise God or throw in the towel?

Jesus reassured Peter that he prayed for him and that his faith would not fail. Jesus prayed for Peter assured him that once he turned back that he would be able to strengthen others. Not only does Peter endure his trail but he goes on to build up others, as well because of it. He is able to rise from what seems like a failure - denying knowing Jesus, not one but three times - to a great leader in the first church because Jesus. Jesus also prayed for us (John 17 20-23) and we are able to rise from our challenges, too.

Beneath the Waters by Hillsong is a great reminder of this. It was written about baptism but fits perfectly on the topic of rising above trials because of the power of Jesus. Have a listen.

I rise as You are risen
Declare Your rule and reign
My life confess Your Lordship
And glorify Your Name

Praying that you would see the benefits of your trials and the little blessings that are found in them. Praying that you stand firm in your trials, whether they last days or years, and that you would truly seek what the Lord is teaching you through it.

Praying that you would understand the importance of trials and the beauty that comes out of them - ever increasing trust in God, better understanding of yourself and others, and learning how to share that information with others. Praying that you would not be sifted like wheat but be like a rock, as was Peter, standing firm in the faith and leading others it to. 

Here's to sifting and rising. 

music monday: the motions by matthew west

Tiffany NicoleComment
In light of all the chaos that is constantly emerging in the world - crashes and shootings and wars and on and on - I find myself enjoying my life more than ever and being more intentional in the day to day and listening better to God's leading. Time is not guaranteed and I want mine to be spent with purpose. I do not want to get to the end of my life and realize I would have taken more chances or done this or that. 

The. time. is. now. To listen. To act. To love. To do. 

When the final chapter of my life is written and my story ends, I do not want to be mourned with sorrow but rather rejoiced in great celebration. The celebration of the life and hope and love that Jesus gave for me and knowing I am safe in his arms.

Matthew West wrote this song, The Motions with this sort of mentality in mind. Have a listen.

I don't wanna go through the motions. I don't wanna go one more day without Your all consuming passion inside of me. I don't wanna spend my whole life asking, what if I had given everything instead of going through the motions? 

I want to have loved fiercely and given freely. I want to have enjoyed the moments and forgiven the wrongs. I want to have a nonexistent comfort zone and God inspired life. I want to have enjoyed s'mores and campfires and have picked time over money. And savored the way Penny tells me Jesus loves me. Read tons of bedtime stories and embraced early morning snuggles. And eaten lots of chocolate covered almonds, for the health benefits, naturally.

I want to have given more than I have had and relied on Christ to supply the rest. I do not want to have left behind material possessions, as they are only of the flesh, but a legacy in Christ, which will last for eternity. But most importantly, I want to have finished the race strong, thriving in the work God has given me, as a wife, mom, friend, sister, aunt, cousin and whatever other title he has bestowed on me.

I pray that you would live like there is no tomorrow. Not arguing or ruffling your feathers over the small things and coming to realization that everything is small. I pray that as you come to the end of your day and week and month and year that you would stop and focus on what matters and not fill up your calendar with events that add to chaos but rather those that add to the deepening of friendships and giving and serving.

I pray that you would find what matters to you in life. That you would see the significance in your life and the difference you personally make in the life of others - the words you speak and actions you do. I pray that you would see Jesus and commit yourself to his unfailing grace and love and mercy and that when your life comes to a close that you would hear the words "well done good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21).

Here's to more big picture thinking and having a leaving your own legacy. Here's to getting out of the motions and in to God's symphony. 

music monday: do something by matthew west

Tiffany Nicole1 Comment
Health is something we easily take for granted until something comes up. The test is positive. The x ray reveals what is causing the systems. The prognosis is not looking good. It is at these times that everything else falls at the wayside and the fight begins. The fight for your life. Or the life of a loved one. Perhaps your own child. 

When I came across Alex's Lemonade Stand last year, I knew it was something our family had to take part in and was quickly added to our family's bucket list for the summer, along with dinners and mini vacations. We have been blessed with healthy children but other parents have not. What would I do if my child were sick? Truly sick. With the possibility of death as an outcome. The question would definitely not be what I do but what I wouldn't do to help them. We may not be able to sit next to them in the waiting room or hug them through treatments but we can do a little. We can organize and plan and facilitate events to fund research for a cure or help with traveling expenses. 
The non profit was started by a four year old girl who wanted to raise money via a lemonade stand to cure childhood cancer. The cancer she had been fighting since she was merely one year old. She went to be with Jesus when she was just eight years old but her memory lives on through the lives she continues to touch as new research and hope is given to families fighting the same fight all because of her stand. When God closes one door, he opens another one. It truly breaks my heart to think of Alex' family and their trials but the beauty that has come from it is amazing and the lives of those who have been touched is immeasurable. 

We began praying what this would look like for our family to help. When? Where? Location? And just as God always does, he made the whole thing happen as only he can.

Our neighborhood has a fourth of July parade each year and we had planned on walking in it with our church, as we had done the previous year but this year there was not an entry.

Very last minute, we prayed about doing our stand at the park where the parade ends and it all fell in to place. We got in kind donations from Nugget, a local grocery store, so we did not have to worry about supplies. We had friends and family give yummy snacks, time and monetary donations. The go ahead for the space at the park the parade ends at was given. And my favorite part of all, a few weeks before we even knew when we would do the event, the stand practically landed on our doorstep. I had been praying for something to use that was a little funner and fancier than a table. On a walk one day we found our answer. A neighbor a few houses down was giving away a desk for free. It was perfect. Ricardo noisily wheeled it to the garage.

Here's the before and after.

With exactly enough leftover paint and a chalkboard sign, it was perfect.

It was humbling to see the community come together and respond and God move. We our goal was to raise $500 and we came in at $420, which will fund just over a day of research. Woohoo! I am so thankful for everyone who helped and gave and did something bigger than themselves.

Not to mention we learned what a great barista Penny makes. Who knew?

The scripture says to carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). This is a tangible way of coming a long side families who are broken at the core and having to watch their children fight a hard fight and give them a bit of hope. No one can do everything but we can do something that impacts others and changes the world, one cup at a time as their slogan reads. If you feel lead to set up a stand in your area or be involved in one of their many events, have a look at their website for more info on all of the awesome things they are doing and how you can help. 

Penny's favorite song, second only to Build your kingdom by Rend Collective, of course, is Do Something by Matthew West. It seems appropriate to insert here. Have a listen.

I pray that God will reveal to you a little something that you can do. And that you will say yes to it.

Here's to more helping and doing all in the name of Christ. 

music monday: this is what you do by bethel music

Tiffany NicoleComment
During a recent living room dance party, God reminded me of how Jesus tells us in Luke that "the kingdom belongs to such as these" (18:16). Who are the "these" he is referring to you might wonder? Children. The kingdom of God belongs to children. In Matthew he goes on to say "unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (18:3). As the music blared on the speakers and Penny jumped from the couch in to my arms, the lyrics to the song playing rang true: this is what you do, you make me come alive." She twirled and we spun and danced in a circle and the music filled the room. It was there that God continued to show me glimpses of his glory that he put in this little girl that he made and gave her to me for a short time. In doing so, God has used her to make me come alive in ways that I never thought possible and continues to do so.

Here, have a listen:

The more that I hang out with my kiddos, the more that I see how true these statements are and the more God opens my eyes to see what Jesus was talking about in the verses. For the past three years I have been blessed to be the mama to one passionate little girl and a sweet little man who God has been using to teach me about his character and various other small lessons scattered amongst my days.

When you look at a child, there is so much life and so much joy compiled in to one teeny, tiny person that it is hard to believe it is contained so well and somehow does not burst outward. Somewhere over the years as bones grow and the baby fat disappears, joy is lost and complacency sets in. It is there that childhood is no more and the slogan "life is hard" may ring true. 

Finding Jesus makes you come alive, no matter the age. He awakens things in you that you may have thought were long over. You may find yourself enjoying things you did not think possible. Jesus has a way of awakening your soul and even returning you to that state of childhood euphoria and wonder and awe at everything around you. Like looking at your hand. Have you ever witnesses a baby examining his hand? The excitement and wonder found in something that he will most likely take for granted every day of his life. I pray that you would come alive and experience life through the eyes of a child with more anticipation and bliss than you have known.

Here's just a few tidbits about attributes of children that God has opened my eyes to lately, and I thought I would share:

  • They have a boldness about them, even the shy ones. They are confident and secure with themselves.
  • Passion for what they are doing radiates from them. Even after you give them a time warning to end the activity it can still be hard to pull them away.
  • They act the same in public and at home. They not afraid to be themselves. They do not care about what others are doing or comparing, they are simply happy to boldly be themselves. 
Yes, they are super simple but the simplest things make the biggest impact. Here's to truly coming alive in Christ and seeing the world through the eyes of a child. 

Music Monday: Simple Life by Keith and Kristyn Getty

Tiffany NicoleComment


Simple. That is a word that I have been struggling with the past few months. I have read a few books and such about it. The definition is straightforward enough: easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty. But the implementing of it that is the hard part and is difficult. I truly believe that less is more. Less clothes in the closet. Less toys on the shelf. Less to maintain and clean up. Less laundry to fold and less time spending picking out an outfit. Now that is a win-win. Getting there however is not as easy.

The past few months I have been working on what this will look like in my household and lifestyle. Going through things I no longer use and passing them on to some who can. Trying to be intentional with the items that I do have and that get brought in to our home. Being on a tight budget helps, too. It keeps random impulse buys at bay and therefore less messes and clutter.

This song by Keith and Kristyn Getty Has been in my head a lot lately, especially when I am tending our little garden. Really simple living. Getting to the roots of material possessions and focusing on more important things. Generations before us did not have the access to as many items as we have so readily available via Amazon with free shipping. And ready to wear clothes were not so ready, so closets were smaller and I am sure getting dressed was a breeze. Dress A. Dress B. Or dress C. In our consumerism driven culture it is hard to imagine having so little options. 

When Penny was born, we were blessed with an abundance of clothing for her. Her first year of life she hardly wore an outfit twice. And if she did it was one I really liked. The amount of options were overwhelming. I cannot blame Ricardo for never knowing what to pick out for her and which shirt went with which skirt and headband. Too many options. Too much space. Too much stuff. When someone says a teeny baby takes up space, it is no joke. That is if you let it.

This past December when our little man was born, I was determined not to have the same clothes frenzy. We were blessed this time with bunches of second hand clothing from friends whose little boys had out grown them. I kept my favorites and passed the others along to other mama's who were looking for clothes for their babes. What good is a bin full of clothes with a only a few items that baby is actually going to wear?

I don't mind him wearing the same outfit a few times. Perhaps even in the same week. Wearing the same outfit in our culture has such a negative connotation to it.

She doesn't have enough money to shop for more. Poor thing. She wore that dress the other day! Who does that? She really needs to get another sweater.

Having gone to school for fashion I know too well how often and common these thoughts are said out loud. I am guilty of the same in the past. Thankful for grace! Who wants to be judged because of what we wear?! 

Scripture says:

"your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, 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). 

So beautifully worded. I could go on and on about simple living. It's something God keeps teaching me and showing me how to and directing my focus to areas that need help. I am still horrible at it but I'm a work in progress. Praying God uses this song to touch your life in a simple way that only He can. Enjoy!

Here's to fewer items and more space. Less time focusing on what you need and more thankfulness for what you have. 

And a little 8x10 of the lyrics to inspire you to live a little simpler =) Click image to download.