Saturday, April 28, 2012

Should Our Servitude Be Selective?

"Should our servitude be selective?"
By that, I mean when the word of God clearly instructed us over and over again did that mean we can thoughtlessly pick and choose when we want to be generous and when we want to be selfish? I attended a blood drive recently and heard accounts of several "Christians" speak of how... they "just don't do that."

What exactly does that mean?

I understand if you have a medical condition or if you've been out of the country and they won't let you, but are there really any justifiable, BIBLICAL reasons? Of course not! We must learn to serve all in every way we can.

They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.
 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:33b-35)
If someone was passing around a bucket for money for a child with cancer, we would look at our brother/sister in Christ like they were crazy if they said "I have it, but I just don't do that." If you're a mechanic, with ample time on your hands and the means to change a tire and you see someone with a flat after class, would you really just say "I have all of the tools, but I just don't do that"?

Now, I am far from perfect and my level of servitude could definitely use an upgrade. So don't think I'm just tossing out fire and brimstone; this is also a "self check". Many chances have passed me by in my life where I could have served my brother or sister, and in return I would have be serving the God I so truly adore. But that's the beauty of the God we serve; He's a God of second chances! No single scripture says those exact words, but the Bible is filled with accounts of God watching us turn away from Him, or love Him half-heartedly and still come to our rescue when we are in need. He is patient with us and smiles when we stop, reevaluate our lives and serve others.

Now, this does not always mean we are serving financially. I know I mentioned in my last blogs ways to give up that extra dough we may be spending selfishly, but there are so many instances when what our brother or sister in Christ really needs isn't $$$, but instead they need some good Biblical advice, or someone to hold their hand through a tough time. There may be someone on the side of the road who is cold, and even though you may not have somewhere for them to lay their head that night (because where you lay your own head may be someone else's home) you might decide to stop and give them your coat. You might buy two grilled chicken salads at lunch instead of one and give one to the intern you know is scraping coins just to buy that double cheeseburger. You hook up with your local Habitat for Humanity chapter a become part of someone's dream of having their own home. You can serve with simply the love in your heart and your time.

In Galatians 5, Paul reminds us "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other."

He reminds us that Jesus said love your neighbor as yourself. Those words are so powerful. If you were dying from a rare blood disease but had the power to put new, clean, healthy blood in yourself would you simply choose not to? If your own son was injured in a car accident and loosing blood quickly, only for the nurse to come in and say "We're out of O negative", how would that make you feel?

When it all comes down to it, God is not concerned about our fear of needles, or discomfort with blood, or preference to buy yet another $5 cupcake or $6 cup of coffee instead of giving it to a worthy cause. He is not concerned with our fears because they are a direct disobedience of His command to fear Him only. Not in worry, but in reverence.
We have to stop letting fear stop us from giving all we can, and stop allowing ourselves to get sucked into the self-centered mentality of our culture. But instead remember Who we belong to and what He has called us to do.

With A Servant's Heart,
Ashley Danielle

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Give It Up!

So, I am definitely one of those people who is almost bawling in tears on my couch after watching one of those informationals on poverty stricken areas. I get sad when I see a stray dog, starving on the side of the road, seeing children with cancer struggle with losing their hair during chemo makes me want to pull a Britney Spears in my bathroom every now and then in hopes of making them feel better [hey, I did my big chop when I was going natural...not a big difference :-)].

Needless to say, I am a charity kind of woman who loves to we all should be.

Proverbs 3:27-29 tells us: "Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow”— when you now have it with you (NIV84)." And in Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus clearly instructs: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

We cannot hold on to the blessings God has given us by selfishly keeping them from sacrificially serving His kingdom. If I die as soon as I publish this post, I don't want to have to open my eyes on the day of judgement and find myself trying to explain why my bank account was flourishing while my sister was hungry.

I often run across people who say they are interested in giving to charities and volunteering, but do not really know which ones to get involved with. Personally, I say it depends on whichever one seems to be pulling at your heart the most. Before getting heavily involved with anything, I am a firm believer that spending some quality time seeking guidance from our Heavenly Father is a must. He has softened my heart towards the plight of our youth, and I believe that is why most of the non-profit organizations I am involved with are primarily geared towards children and teenagers.

In this blog post, I really just wanted to share a few of the non-profit organizations that are closest to my heart. Hopefully, they will be a good starting point for you...God bless!

1. Code BLUE Youth Mentoring
This non-profit may very well be the closest to my heart because it is the brain child of me and my eldest sister; it's my baby. We started the program in 2007 with only eight girls. To date, God has allowed us to provide mentorship for over fifty young ladies in the Mobile County Public School System.

We spend a lot of time teaching the girls the benefits of going to college and encourage them to take their academic careers very seriousl...y, even at such a young age. Assigned mentors are required to visit their mentee at school at least once a week, and are to call them regularly. 

For more information on how you can help out, send an E-mail to or visit our Facebook page by clicking the progam title above!

2. Compassion International
This non-profit is fairly new in my life. When my husband and I first got engaged, he was sharing with me all of the charities he gives to on a regular basis. He let me know that he sponsors a child through Compassion International and needless to say, I feel even more in love with him at that very moment.

According to their Web site, "Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults. Founded by the Rev. Everett Swanson in 1952, Compassion began providing Korean War orphans with food, shelter, education and health care, as well as Christian training."

Click the link above to see how you can sponor a Compassion child!

3. charity: water
I absolutely LOVE this charity! When I first heard about while I was still in undergrad, it opened my eyes to a growing problem in our world that I was not aware of. I mean, of course I knew getting clean water was an issue in some countries, but I had no idea of how many people were affected by it and I could not just stand by and watch after putting faces to the epidemic.

Through charity: water, each $20 general donation the organtion receives one person to receive access to a clean water project...$20! I used to spend that on a night at Liquid Sushi Lounge with my girlfriends, or on a handbag, or some scrapbooking supplies. How beautiful that that Lord can change our heart so that we begin to understand how He really wants us to be a blessing to others.

Click the link about to see how you can start making a difference through charity: water!

Again, I pray this short blog tugs on your heart and inspires you to give more (in anyway you can) to the children of God.

With A Servant's Heart,
Ashley Danielle

Sunday, March 25, 2012

No Temporary Affair...Bound4LIFE!

God has given me the privilege of being surrounded by some truly amazing people. People who understand their lives are meant for a much greater purpose than simply fulfilling personal definition of success. They not only know Who created them, but they have silenced themselves to listen attentively at what our Creator has instructed them to do during the current season of their life.

Marquita Southall, 20-year-old pro-life activist, is one of those people.

In 2011, Southall answered God's call to take ownership of the abortion epidemic in the United States and became the leader of the Mobile Chapter of Bound4LIFE. She has given up the typical entertainments and recreational activities of the average college-age woman, and has instead decided to spend her time educating and mobilizing new activists. Through Silent Sieges, which are public events where activists wear "LIFE Tape" over their mouths while silently praying in front of courthouses and abortion facilities around the nation, and the distribution of LIFE Bands, the need for an increase in Faith in order to create an increase in pro-life legislation and personal decision making is growing.
Mobile Chapter of Bound4LIFE Leader Marquita Southall (right), and fellow
pro-life activist pray outside of Planned Parenthood in Mobile, AL.
Not only am I honored to know her, I am also honored to call her my friend.
I recently had time to probe Southall on exactly how she feels about abortion, her relationship with Christ and how it has affected her pro-life involvement, and get some more insight into Bound4LIFE.

Why is spreading this message so important to you?
The message of LIFE is very important to me. I remember lying in my room one night and the issue of abortion fell upon me like a ton of bricks. God basically swamped my soul with His heart for the unborn. Abortion is a topic most people are "too familiar" with. Countless amounts of people write papers and even give speeches about it in their class projects. To me, abortion is more than a topic, it is murder.
So I began to do my research on abortion and after finding out so many staggering statistics I felt as if I had to do something about it. There have been about 53 million abortions in America since 1973. That’s the population of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Texas combined. I don’t know about you, but they blew my mind!

The issue of abortion is so close to my heart because I could have had another sister, but my mom chose to terminate her life. My mom has five girls and every single time we gather together it feels like someone is missing. Immediately my mind floods back to the abortion my mom had before my youngest sister was born.  The cutoff date for abortion is 6 months and my mom actually gave birth to me at 5 months; I was born 1lb 3 oz. I always think to myself if I survived, every single baby that was killed at that stage could have survived as well. I was in the hospital for 3 months fighting for my life, and LIFE won. I believe every baby deserves to get a chance to live.

Have you heard any deeply moving stories about abortion since becoming active with Bound4Life?

I’ve actually heard quite a few stories that were very stirring. My best friend met a pregnant young lady at her job and she began to tell her about Bound4LIFE. The young lady began to tell my best friend about her LIFE experience. This young lady was about 7 months pregnant and just months before she had an appointment set up to abort her baby. She started to tell her experience…

When she was only a few months pregnant she went into the abortion clinic to have her baby removed. She frigidly waited her turn while many other young women were having abortions in the nearby room. The door opened and the doctor called her into the room to perform the procedure. She proceeded to the room and sat on the bed until the doctor returned. As she sat there ,she could hear an abortion being performed in the room next to her; you can actually hear the little feeble body being sucked out of his/her mother’s womb. At this point the young lady was very shaken up. So the doctor came back into the room asked her to remove her clothes and lay on the table. After doing so the doctor began fidgeting with her belly to find the baby. After minutes of searching, the baby was nowhere to be found. They both were stunned because the young lady knew for a fact that she was pregnant. So once again the doctor began to look for her baby; nothing. The doctor set up a separate appointment with an actual hospital to see if they could find the baby. The young lady agreed to the appointment and after hours with them, the baby was still undetectable. Time had passed and the young lady visited four different specialists and no one could find the baby. Following all of this confusion they concluded that the young lady was not pregnant, but that was not the case. Weeks passed and the young lady felt weird, come to find out the girl was pregnant all along, but the baby was hidden from any detections of life. Not one piece of all those doctors advanced equipment could find a trace of that baby’s life. When I heard the story I wept because I knew God hid her baby. At that point the young lady knew that her baby was destined to live. She recently gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and named him Jordan.

What is the most Spirit-stirring experience you have encountered since becoming active with Bound4Life?

Recently, one of my family members found out that they were pregnant. When she found out her first reaction was, “Hey I’m having an abortion” and she said it with no hint of budging. I literally cried and petitioned God. Here I am taking a stand for LIFE and someone so close to me is thinking about taking her baby’s life. So I began to intercede on behalf of that unborn child. I refused to even sleep! So after a couple of days in prayer I had a dream. In that dream my aunt and sister, who is also pregnant, were both sitting on two separate sofas across from each other. I walked into the area and sat on the side of my aunt and instantly my dream transformed into a vision, and in that vision my aunt’s stomach literally opened up. When her stomach opened a little girl about the age of 3 jumped out and grabbed my neck. She grabbed my face, looked me in my eyes and said “Thank you for saving me”. I awoke at once completely overtaken by the presence of God. All I could do is weep and pray harder. I kept saying and proclaiming “This baby will live”, “This baby will live”. Just a few days later I received a joyous phone call from my pregnant sister that was in the dream and she happily informed me that my aunt decided to keep her baby. What’s even more shocking is just a few days ago I received another phone call that not only was my aunt keeping the baby, but that she is actually giving birth to a girl. Just like my dream! I fell to my knees in sobs, completely overtaken with the joy of the Lord. This experience moved my spirit even more to petition heaven on behalf of the unborn. At that moment I BELIEVED that my prayers were not in vain!

What do you hope to accomplish through Bound4Life?

I hope to (through prayer and action) move people to care for the widows and the orphans that the bible speak of. Psalm 82:3-4 says “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” In modern day terms, care for the aborted ones, neglected children, hurt and battered women. Take action against injustice, not through violence and hostility, but through the love of Jesus Christ. We’re here to offer life and hope for pregnant women considering abortion, not condemnation. So it is my desire that the lives of  these broken hearted women souls are saved, and mind set free!

To find out more information about the Mobile Chapter of Bound4LIFE's next event, please visit their Facebook page by clicking the link above.

With A Servant's Heart,
Ashley Danielle

Saturday, February 18, 2012

RECIPE: Fresh fruit, tofu & granola parfait

Fresh fruit, tofu & granola parfait
(serves two)

Hey Loves! This is what the hubby and I ate for dessert on Valentine's Day. It's my own, homemade recipe (as most of the things I cook are, lol), but we absolutely LOVED them! Give it a try and let me know what you think. God bless.

What you'll need:
6 Large, fresh strawberries
6 Large, fresh pineapple chunks
1 Two-pack Honey & Oats Nature Valley granola bar
1/4 Cup of Nasoya tofu
Two small dessert cups

Use a small mallet to grind granola bars into a loose, powdery form, but still leave a few small chunks.

Slice strawberries into thin slices, then place in bowl. Use the fork to smash the strawberries as much as you can until somewhat creamy with small strawberry chunks. Scoop strawberries into dessert cups. Set extra strawberries to the side to be used later. Then, scoop a layer of granola over the strawberries.

Next, mix pineapple chunks and tofu in blender until smooth. (Note: If you do not have a blender, you can mix the pineapples and strawberries in the bowl using a fork the same way you did the strawberries. But be sure to cut the pineapple chunks very thin). Scoop a thick layer of this mixture into each dessert cup.

Finally, add another layer of your strawberry blend over the pineapple mixture. Top with one final layer of granola. I like my top layer to have more chunky granola than loose, but it's up to you.

Let dessert cups in refrigerator while eating dinner, then serve chilled.


With A Servant's Heart, 
Ashley Danielle

Living in the -ing

I am one busy woman.

Like most young women in their twenties, I have been trained since I was in elementary school to do all I can prove I was worthy of respect and better than the rest. So the fact that on any given day I am faced with a to-do list jammed with more items than most people have in a week is no surprise. I am constantly on the go, and sometimes find myself running off of only 3 or four hours of sleep (not healthy), and I try to strive for a life free of imperfections (not Biblical).

Yep, sometimes I have my alone time w/God @ Starbucks :-)
Most of my life I was taught to live in the -ing. When I say living in the -ing, I mean I was made to believe that as long as I was making moves, I was on the road to success. What I didn't realize was that it is so easy to get caught up in the busy distractions of life that camouflage themselves as necessary assets to happiness, and by doing so I was missing out on countless moments where I could be growing closer to God.

If you haven't read the book Weird by Craig Groeschel, senior pastor of Life Church, I highly suggest that you do. While reading, I found myself being challenged over and over again to become "weird in a God way" in the way I worship. The chapters the stuck with me the most were the ones pertaining to how we spend our time. I often find myself saying that I simply do not have enough time. I say things like:
  • "I want to finish reading that book, but I don't have enough time."
  • "I really love hanging out with my grandmother, but I don't have enough time."
  • "I want to spend more time with my niece, but I don't have enough time."
  • "I want to wake up earlier so I can really dig into the Scriptures before I get my day started, but there just isn't enough time." 
...and the list goes on.
Why do we allow ourselves to be lied to so easily by Satan? And on some of the simplest topics. The majority of the professing Christian world may not be diligent Bible scholars, but we know the basics. We know that God is the Creator of all (Genesis 1,2). We know He is eternal and infinite (Revelation 22:13). We know He is the only true God, He is all powerful, what He says will happen will do just that, and He is sovereign (Isaiah 46:9-11). But we let Satan convince us that He can't do something and minuscule as make sure we have enough time in a day. We let his lies convince us that it's okay to ignore precious moments with our families and pouring ourselves into God's word...because we have better things to do.

God is the Author of time! He planned it all and He has given us the exact amount of time we need to get everything done that He wants us to accomplish.

How dare we feel as though we can't stop moving long enough to sit and bask in the glory of His presence. How dare we worry if whether or not we will reach our goals if we don't spend every waking moment striving to be the best. We should not live our lives looking opportunities to sqeeze in time for God, but we should make Him the focus and foundation of all we do and then ask Him how He wants us to fulfill our other obligations with the time He has provided. When we go about it the other way around, not only are we idolizing our jobs, schoolwork, ministry commitments, etc., but we are telling God that our to-do list is more important than spending time with Him.

Let me say this, the best me I could ever be is the me I am when I am dedicating all of my time to my King, when I make LIVING for Him my primary -ing. When I spend my time learning about Him, dying to myself so I know Him more, and understanding that He is the most loving and caring Person in my life...well, it's beyond humbling.

So, the next time you find yourself caught up in the busyness of living a life that is nothing more than a conformity to what the world considers to be "normal"...slow down, breathe, find a quiet spot (and maybe even a nice cup of coffee or tea) and spend some time with God. He wants your time.

With A Servant's Heart, 
Ashley Danielle