Consider the Lilies..: 2013   

Dec 21, 2013

The fear of man..

"When you are bound by the snare of the fear of man, man is now your meter of acceptance; your standard of success.  Your joy is now tied to the fickle feelings of people.  It is man's approval you now seek, it is man's standard that you now judge by.  It is man's opinions and advice that you now value, and it is man's wisdom you now esteem.  
In short; as man goes, so you go."
-Pastor Stephen LeBlanc

Dec 14, 2013

If Jesus were the pastor of your church...

This one really made me stop and think about my life and where I want to be..  It's sort of long, but seriously, please watch it and let me know your thoughts..

Dec 10, 2013

Moments..


Nov 20, 2013

Awesome things about Sabbath..

Linking up with

The last two sermons at our church where about taking a sabbath. 
For the past three years I have always tried to observe the sabbath. Sundays were the days I chose. Not for any particular religious reason, I know that many denominations believe the sabbath should be only on Sunday, and then there are those who believe that the sabbath should only be on a Saturday. 
I chose Sunday because I was usually busy throughout the week so Sunday just seemed like the right choice. 

At fist I felt like a total failure at observing the sabbath because I would end up doing laundry, or I would notice the dust bunnies under the entertainment center and I just knew that I would not be comfortable the whole day if I didn't just take care of it right then and there. 

I blogged about my sabbath failure a couple years ago and my husband's cousin pointed out a Bible verse to me. The one where Jesus asked the pharisees "if one of your sheep fell down a well on the sabbath, would you not work to pull it out?"
She explained to me that sabbath was about rest, and enjoying that rest. Not exactly about following rules. Then she did the most awesomest thing ever. She sent me a lesson on the Levitical Sacrificial system which inspired me to go to college and get my theology degree (thanks Lestie!)..

But still, it is a commandment right?

Since then I tried to focus on the sabbath the way God intended. To rest and to enjoy it. So I put aside the 'have to' mentality and tried to just go with it. 
If there was a load of laundry that needed to go into the washer, I put it in. If there were dust bunnies, I dusted them. 
But after a while, Sunday just turned into a normal day. Except I went to church before doing the housework and maybe I would "rest" for an hour or so in the evening. Which actually meant watching tv before bed. Truthfully, that in itself was no different than any other day of the week either. 

So three Sunday's ago I sat and listened to the pastor talk about sabbath.  He talked about the blessings of taking a sabbath and about how it was something that God had made for us.  It wasn't just a rule that we needed to follow simply becase He wanted us to prove that we could be obedient, He wanted us to rest for our sakes..  For our own good..
I understood what the pastor was saying, but I must admit; I was a little frustrated.  I had tried to do the sabbath thing for 3 years.  Every Sunday for 3 years and so far I wasn't feeling rested.  My sabbath wasn't a special day.  It was just a day.  

But then he read from Exodus 16:22-26

"On the sixth day the people collected twice as much food as usual, two omers per person. All the chiefs of the community came and told Moses. He said to them, “This is what the Lord has said, ‘Tomorrow is a day of rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. But you can set aside and keep all the leftovers until the next morning.’” So they set the leftovers aside until morning, as Moses had commanded. They didn’t stink or become infested with worms. The next day Moses said, “Eat it today, because today is a Sabbath to the Lord. Today you won’t find it out in the field. Six days you will gather it. But on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be nothing to gather.”

It finially clicked!  How to not only observe the sabbath, but to actually enjoy it:
God told them to collect twice as much manna on the sixth day, to cook it and set it aside for the next day.  They prepared for their sabbath the day before!  They did the seventh day's work on the sixth day so there wouldn't be work just staring them in the face on the seventh day taunting them to break the sabbath.  What a concept!  
For three years I have been trying to figure out how to have a nice, peaceful, restful sabbath, and it was there in the bible the whole time!!  I have read exodus at least 20 times and I hadn't picked up on that before?  It's so simple!

I shared this revelation with my husband when we got home and we decided to make a few changes and see what happened..  We reaized that having our Sabbath on Sunday wasn't a good idea because we give our daughter a 'day off' on Saturday.  She can sleep as late as she wants and doesn't have any chores.  With her not doing anything on Saturday, that leaves more work for me.  Add Sunday's work to Saturday and it's just too much.  
So we moved our sabbath to Wednesday.  This way, we can do Wednesday's work on Tuesday, and our daughter can do the little things on Wednesday like switch over the laundry that I started the night before, run to the grocery store if need be, and throw dinner in the crock-pot.
We decided that turning off the phones would be a good idea too.  

So we tried it.  Today is our fourth Wednesday and let me tell you, what a difference!  
I have noticed that even though my schedue for the week hasn't changed, I don't feel as busy, it's as if I have more time to get everything finished. 
 I'm not tired during the day, and I sleep better at night.
For our past two sabbaths, our daughter has volunteered to get up early on Wednesdays and take our son to work (which is huge because our girl really loves her sleep) so we can sleep in.  
I'm happier during the week..  Not that I am normally an unhappy person; but I'm more cheerful and even seem to be exhibiting more patience.   
And I just feel good, you know?  Things just seem to be easier.
Not only that, but I get to hang out in my favorite, ratty, full of holes sweater all day :)

 God is pretty smart..

Nov 7, 2013

What I've learned recently..

Arrogance is almost always a mask for insecurity. 

I am amazed at how practicing just a little patience can turn a bad situation around. 

You can know everything there is to know about the Bible; who wrote what book, when, and why. You can know what every number, color, and symbol means. You can even know and understand every single verse; but if you don't KNOW Jesus, it's all worthless. 

Knowing the truth and living it are two very different things. 

Vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness. 

Just because you are older and wiser doesn't mean that you can't learn from someone younger and less educated. 

If you have decided that you know exactly when, how, and where you are going to hear from God, chances are you won't. 

The voice of God may come from the mouth of someone you least expect. 

Instead of being envious that the prayers of others are being answered, ask yourself why yours aren't. Maybe your prayer life isn't the problem, maybe it's your real-life. 

Seasons in life always end, but only so new ones can begin. 



Oct 17, 2013

Woah..

"Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked, or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,
But those whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and does not wither-
Whatever they do prospers."
Psalm 1:1-5

Do you see that? Do you see how awesome that is?  
Read the word of God every day, meditate on it day and night; and you will PROSPER in WHATEVER you do..

Yeah..  It's that simple..

Oct 2, 2013

Keep your eyes on Him.,

Sometimes we all overthink things and make situations more complicated than they need to be. 
Of the two boys who we have taken in, our oldest boy, Jakey is the one I am most concerned about. His life has not been a long one, but it's been a difficult one. He is the sweetest person I have ever met, and it amazes me that he is given his upbringing. 
But every couple weeks or so he is hit with horrible bouts of depression. When the depression comes on him, he goes to his room, shuts the door turns off his light, and lays in his bed for hours sometimes even days. He will come out of his room to have dinner, and he will sit there quietly not talking to anyone, not really listening to anyone. Just eats his dinner and goes back to his bed. 
We knock on the door and ask him if he is okay, and he always replies "yes I'm fine, just thinking".

We pray constantly for him, we have groups praying for him. I have asked pastors and other people how we should approach him, if we should approach him, what we should say if we approach him, and even what we shouldn't say if we approach him. 
Depression has always been such an uncertain area for me. Because I have never experienced it myself I simply do not understand it. I must confess that I am at a loss at how to help someone with depression, even though God seems to have surrounded me with people who suffer from it. 

For weeks I have prayed for him, and I have asked God for guidance. I have asked God to tell me what to say, how to say it, if I should say anything.  Over and over I have asked "God please direct me, show me what to do". But God has either remained silent to me, or I'm just not hearing Him. 

But then, two days ago my daughter sat down next to me on the couch and said "by the way, I talked to Jakey". 
She told me that after the second day of him hiding away in his bedroom she went in, sat down and asked him to talk to her. 
As usual he told her that he was just thinking, so she asked him "what are you thinking about?"  He said that as he has been laying there, thoughts just seem to fall out of his head, memories that he hadn't remembered or thoughts that he really did not want to think about but could not make them go away. 
So my daughter said "well maybe that is God dropping thoughts out of your head, one at a time so that you can deal with each of them and move on to the next one".

I have to tell you, I have no idea where she came up with that because I certainly never said that to her but I was surprised at the wisdom in her statement. 
She then told him that she had decided that from now on, when ever his depression came over him and he went into his room, that she was no longer going to let him be alone. She told him that it's never good for anyone to be alone in times like that, so they would sit together and talk about whatever thoughts God decided to bring out. 

She said that she saw his bottom lip start to tremble after she said that, so she sat next to him on his bed and put her arms around him while he cried. 

For weeks and weeks I have prayed over and over for Jakey. I have sought help from friends and from pastors. I have gone back and forth in my mind trying to think of the right way to help him, but our daughter just walked in and sat down. She didn't think about what she was going to do, she didn't think about what she was going to say, she just did it. 

For some reason, and I don't know why, but I just assumed that it was her job to bring the boys to us and that we would take it from there. Never once did it occur to me that God had included Sky in His plan for the boys as well. 

From the moment these boys walked into my home I had it in my head that God had put it on my husband and I to lead these boys to Him. I have worried about what to say and how to say it. I have struggled with trying to formulate a plan to get these boys to know Jesus, without even realizing that my own daughter was being Jesus to them and not even knowing it. 

The Bible says "cast your cares upon him for he cares about you". Peter 5:7

All this time I have been trying to figure out how do I do this?  It was almost as if I thought "God brought them to me, I will just take it from here". It did not occur to me until just a few days ago that God put them in our home so obviously God had a plan for their lives as well. He did not just bring them to my door and then walk away, he is with them even now watching their every step as well as our own. God IS pursuing them!

When God puts a calling on our lives He doesn't just set the job before us and walk away. He doesn't just drop it in our laps and then leave us to deal with it all on our own. 
He put a love for these boys in me, a love that I know I would not have grown myself. And that is all I really need to do, love them. And even that is so easy because of God. 

God says to seek Him first, to keep your eyes on Him always.  Because when we take our eyes off of Him our problems and our issues seem so big to us that we forget how truly minimal they are to God. But when we focus on God, no matter how big our problems seem to us, He will walk through them with us. He will clear a path, as long as we stay on it.
He WILL show us the way and His way is good. 

"Be still and know that I am God."
Psam 46:10

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Sep 1, 2013

A man of faith..

It's been forever since I've blogged.  Things have been so busy that I haven't had a minute to sit down and blog anything.

I was going to blog about the next thing on my list, I think it was supposed to be what do I like most about my church?  But something came to me while I was sitting on my front porch so I'm going to blog about that instead. 
I'm not going to say that there is a lesson, or that I am trying to make a point.   I just want to write about it, and since it's my blog I'll do just that. 

Three years ago presbyters came to our church and spoke over several people, my husband was one of them. He had been saved for only a few months and at the time we weren't really sure what presbyters even were.   There were three of them; Tom Lane from Gateway church, Wayne Drain from Fellowship of Christians, and Clark Whitten from Grace Church. 
Tom Lane got up and explained what presbyters do and then said that they would chose people from the congregation and speak to them as God prompted them. 

Clark Whitten asked my husband to stand and told him "you are a man of faith. Be obedient, follow where I lead you, declare your faith, and I will put men in your path who will follow you. I will shower you with blessing. Financial blessing, green pastures, cup running over. You are a man of faith. Declare it and I'm going to give you everything."
Ok seriously, who would not give their right arm for a prophecy like that??

Well naturally we thought we knew exactly what that meant, we had visions of him leading Bible studies and men's groups. Because my husband works overseas we were sure it meant that he would go to the nations and spread the word of God, make disciples, bring jesus to people who didn't know Him. 
We also assume that this would happen right away so we waited, and waited, and waited.  Weeks had passed by with no sign of men falling in behind him.  He worked all over Angola, Luanda, and several other countries in Africa for a year but didn't make a single disciple. The financial blessing that was promised had not arrived, in fact he was laid off without warning and we spent several months without a paycheck. 

Then he got a really great job offer in Texas and we thought okay this is God sending him to Texas where he will minister to men, he will lead them to Jesus, he will live out the prophecy that was given to him.   The presbyters came back and this time Tom Lane singled him out and told him the same thing that Clark did the year before. 

He worked in Texas for a year and then, again, quite suddenly he was laid off.  We went four months without income.  
We were confused.  What was happening was definitely not fufilling the words spoken over him. He was doing everything he thought he should be doing and still, nothing. 

And then three job opportunities sprang up at once.  Australia, Canada, and Libya. So we prayed, we asked God to open the door to the right location and close the doors to the others. The door to Canada closed right away, and then Libya so that meant Australia. I was glad about that, let's be honest Libya is not somewhere I wanted him to be.  
We thought it was a done deal, he was all set to go to Australia but just before he was ready to leave Libya opened up again. Two days later the door to Australia closed. I was not happy.  On the third day several job offers came to us, one after the other fell through almost  immediately. Pretty soon Libya was his only option. So he took the job. 

The pay was great. Better than he had ever had in his 13 year career in the oilfield. He wasn't worried at all. He had been to Libya before in the Marines. 
To be honest, he has never been afraid to go anywhere. 
I was afraid, but I supported him.   People thought I was crazy, several told me that it was my job as his wife to talk him out of it. But I couldn't do it. I would rather him happy doing a dangerous job that he loved rather than a safe one he detested. 

Besides, he simply had NO fear about it. None. Before he got on the plane I asked him if he was worried at all. He said no, of course so I asked him why. 
He said that God had made him a promise and that he had faith in that promise. 
So my husband got on the plane with his Bible in his backpack and headed to a Muslim country. 

If you ask him how he feels about working in Libya he will tell you that he has never felt more welcome, more appreciated, or happier anywhere else that he has ever worked. 

They have asked him if he is a Christian and he has said yes, they leave the discussion there and go on with their work. 
When he comes home everyone asks him about working in Libya, and the inevitable question always comes up; "Aren't you afraid to spend so much time in a Muslim country?"
He always says no and they always ask why. And he always says "God made me a promise, and I have faith in that."  He doesn't say it with any big bravado, he just says it. 

I stand back and watch their faces when he says this. They look at him for a minute, sort of surprised. And then they say things like "that's amazing" or "I wish I had faith like that" or "Clay, you inspire me".
He just shrugs. He doesn't say things like "I am just doing God's work" or "I'm doing it for the glory of God" or anything like that (something I like to call a humble brag).  He just shrugs.  Sometimes his humility catches people off gaurd. Even me. It's so natural to him. It's one of this things I love about him. 

Then I realized something, from the moment the first word from the presbyters was spoken over him I had an idea of what it would look like. He would go to the nations and proclaim the word of God, he would convert others to Christianity, his faith would simply blow them away. 
I was wrong. Yes he does go to the nations but it's the people here at home who he is proclaiming his faith to.  Its the people here in our church who are blown away by his faith. Without even realizing it, he is doing exactly what God put him on his path to do. 
So where are these men he is supposed to be leading? Well...

A month ago two teenage boys moved into our home, one is in desperate need of a father figure who loves him and believes in him. The other is more in need of a mother, but they both need the influence of a strong man in their lives. 
Now they have that. 

I suppose if there is a lesson here it is simply that even though we think we know God's plan, it turns out that we never completely do. We may even think that our plans are just as good but they aren't. They never are. 

My husband goes to work in Libya but the real testimony of faith is given to those here at home.   The men he is leading are not Muslims but two teenage boys living in Omaha Nebraska. 

I don't know if he will work in Libya forever, I don't know if he will always have a position but I do know that whatever happens next will happen for reason.  Because God has a plan. And it's a good one.

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Aug 21, 2013

Lessons learned..

1. Everyone deserves a second chance. 
2. Sometimes God is just waiting for you to ask. 
3. Works of the enemy are never as easy to recognize as you may think. 
4. Once you recognize a mistake it's not a mistake, it's a lesson learned. 
5. The real mistake is not learning from it. 
6. If you don't put it down, God will not pick it up. 
7. There is a season for everything. 
8. God will never give you a job without   equipping you with the tools to do it. 
9. We try so hard to find the right pieces to the puzzle, that we don't even realize that God has already lined them up. 
10. Sometimes we can be so sure that we know God's calling for us. Only to find out that His calling for us is something we would have never considered. His is always better. Always. 

Aug 8, 2013

Many are the plans..

Daily..

Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord.
Psalms 107:43

God is not a distant power. He is an active presence in your life.  When you develop the habit of reading the tone and incidence of your day as if He shaped them, you gain insight into how to draw closer to Him. 

Things don't just happen. Those things you may call "accidents" or "surprises" or "discoveries" are actually revelations of God's love and constant concern for you. 

If you greet each new day and expected to reveal the glory, power, and love of God, your hours will be filled with joy and awe. 

I remember the days of old, I think about all your deeds, I meditate on the work of your hands. 
Psalms 143:5


Aug 6, 2013

Humility

CHALLENGE #3   - For each of the next three entries describe one thing that has changed about you since you accepted Christ as your Savior.

It is impossible to talk about one's humility without sounding the complete opposite. I have never been the type to need validation or attention, but I was very arrogant and sure of myself.. I did not put anyone above myself..  I put my daughter before me, but not above me.. There really is a difference..  The same went for my husband..
I didn't put anyone else before, or above..  Period..

I have changed in the humble department, but talking about it wouldn't make for a very humble post right?
So instead of talking about myself which would be anything but humble I am posting this sermon by Joyce Meyer.. She covers both arrogance, and the need to be edified..
Robert Morris also has a wonderful sermon about humility but I can't find it on YouTube, only on the Gateway church app..  If you have the app though, go to 'sermons' then 'series' then 'Dream to Destiny' then 'The Power Test'.. I think it's my favorite sermon about humility..

* Someone told me that the sermon starts in the middle..  Not sure why..  If it does, just slide the bar back to the beginning..

Anyway..

Jul 17, 2013

3. Me and my big mouth..

BLOG CHALLENGE #3   - For each of the next three entries describe one thing that has changed about you since you accepted Christ as your Savior.
Things are so busy lately that I am only able to blog here once a week..  Sorry about that..  
So, another thing that has changed about me since I met Jesus..  It's taken a lot of work, a lot of biting my tongue (literally) and a lot of prayer..  You know the kind of prayer I mean; "God why do I keep doing this? Please, please, please make me stop!" but I finally think before I speak..  

Sure, I've blogged about the power of our words, more than once..  Believe me, those blog posts were more lessons for me than anyone else..  I remember that I would become so frustrated with myself when I would realize that once again I had said something without thinking and either hurt myself or someone else..  But more importantly, I know I grieved the Holy Spirit..    I would pray the "Oh God make me stop" prayer over and over..  

Until one day while reading Romans I saw this:
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.  but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.  What a wretched man I am!
Romans 7:18-24

Paul had the same problem..  He struggled with the same thing more than once too!  But he knew that because he had been saved, God forgave him for his past sins, and would continue to forgive him for future mistakes too!  And because of His son, we are free from the bondage of sin..  But knowing that Paul struggled with the same things that I did made me realize that everyone is a work in progress..  I was so busy getting angry at myself for doing it, and praying that God make me stop doing it, that I never took the time to allow the Spirit to do this work in me..

Several times Jesus tells His disciples that He will be sending them a comforter, a helper..  The why is simple .  Because God knows that we can't live a righteous life on our own..  We simply can not turn away from sin without help..  
So that's what I did..  I asked for help..  I didn't just pray "God, make me stop!" if He did, would I actually learn anything?  
So every day (several times a day) I asked the Spirit to teach me..  Remind me of His presence, convict me when I speak, and I even asked Him to show me my behavior in other people so I could see for myself what my own behavior looked like..  It was a lesson, that's for sure!

I began to hear things from people that I never really paid attention to before..  Things that at first seemed harmless but actually were not..  Someone would say something about someone else in passing and I would ask myself (or rather the voice inside would ask) "Was that life giving?  Did what she say glorify God?  Would it have hurt that person if she heard it?"  and then the last question "Why did she say that?"

It wasn't long after that I was asking myself these same questions about the things that I said..  Did it bring life?  Did my words make a difference in a good way?  Did they lift someone up?  Did my words glorify God?  Why did I say it?

When I would read, verses about my words would stand out..

The tongue has the power of life and death,

    and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Proverbs 18:21

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.
Matthew 15:18

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 4:29

There are about a bazillion more but you get my point..  
So I changed..  Just like that..  I stopped saying things just because I felt they needed to be said..  I stopped telling it like it is because it really wasn't my place to do so..  Seriously, who cares anyway?  Come on, we have all done it..  "it was the truth and it needed to be said"..  Right?
You know what that is?  Pride..  It's not our responsibility to set someone straight..  That's God's job..  Not to mention, what if our truth is wrong?  But we get offended, sometimes when it isn't even our business, and we just have to set that person straight!  

But that's not really true..  We don't have to..  We want to..
We want to have the last word..  We want that other person to know how wrong they are and truthfully, how right we are..  And even if we know we are right; without a shadow of a doubt, is it really our place to push it at someone else?  I promise you, if they don't want to listen to you and receive correction, they won't..  It doesn't matter how right you are..  They simply won't..  And all you managed to do was come off as an overbearing know-it-all..  Been there, done that..

Now I'm changed..  At least in this area..  I don't say exactly what I think whenever I think it..  Even when I'm asked for my opinion, I think carefully about how and if I am going to give it..  I don't argue back or defend myself if confronted with someone else who just has to tell me "the truth"..  Because, to put it simply; I really don't care..  Of course, I prayed over and over for a healthy dose of  'I don't care what you think of me'  and I'm seeing the fruit of that, so to speak..  I don't care if they think 'they won' or 'had the last word', I don't care what they think at all, or even what they say about me to someone else because I have learned (the hard way) that it takes more strength not to fight back..

This attitude has changed how I relate to everyone; my husband, my daughter, friends, strangers, and God..
It's funny how most of the time you don't realize you are in bondage to something until you are set free of it..  I was in bondage to my own big mouth..  
And now I'm not..  It's that simple..
It's an amazing feeling :)

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Jul 6, 2013

2..



BLOG CHALLENGE #2    - For each of the next three entries describe one thing that has changed about you since you accepted Christ as your Savior.

This first one is pretty significant..  Well, they are all significant..  When the Holy Spirit does work in you, it's always significant right?  But this is one change that others have noticed and commented to me about..

Offense..  I don't become offended anymore..  Things that people say to me or about me don't have the same hold on me that they once did..
I hardly ever appreciated anything offensive said to me, but I could handle it..  I wasn't OK with anything said about me to someone else though..  But worse than that was anyone saying anything about my husband or my daughter.  Them was fightin' words!

Someone said something about my daughter several months ago..  They didn't name my daughter outright, but I knew it was about her..  I was mad..  Really mad..  I lashed out without thinking..  Of course it didn't change the opinion of the one who said it, and it just made me look over-dramatic and stupid..  Then I had to humble myself and apologize, which never feels good (ugh)..

That evening I came across a verse in Proverbs:
A person's wisdom yields patience; it is to one's glory to overlook an offense
Proverbs 19:11

So I thought about that..  People say offensive (mean, hurtful, judgmental) things all the time..  But why?  There is a reason for everything..  Sometimes more than one reason..  So what are the reasons for this particular behavior?  

I came up with a few reasons (I'm sure there are more)..  
1. Vengeance..  Someone hurt them or made them angry, so they are going to give it right back..  
However the Bible says: 
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” -- Romans 12:19

You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.-- Matthew 5:38-39

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.--
Leviticus 19:18

2. Jealousy..  They are unhappy people, jealous of the happiness of those around them, so by making someone else unhappy it will somehow make them feel better..  (It may bring a feeling of satisfaction for a moment, but real happiness?  I doubt it)..
The Bible warns us about these types of people:

For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.--
James 3:16

3. To feel better about themselves.. If they can keep others down by pointing out their faults and saying mean things to them, it makes them feel and look better by comparison..
Stay calm; mind your own business--
1 Thessalonians 4:11

I realized that not taking an offence is a matter of obedience, I decided that I should try not to be offended by the ignorance and selfishness of others..  
It was hard..  I'm a stickler for obedience, and most of the time when I learn that certain behaviors are a matter of obedience, it's easy to stop (or start, whatever)..  But this one was easier said than done..  

It has always bothered me when someone says "I can't help how I feel"..  Because, yes you can!  We decide what is going to upset us..  We decide what is going to make us angry..  We decide what is going to make us sad..  Why else does the Bible say things like 'Let go of your anger- do not be afraid- do not worry- etc'?
We decide how we are going to feel..  We can chose joy or we can chose the opposite..  
But it's our choice!

But there I was arguing..  "What he said about my kid was wrong, I have the right to feel offended!" or "she insulted my husband, how can I not feel offense?"
Well  here's the thing..  The Bible tells me not to hold an offense..
So I prayed..  A lot..  I knew that praying for everyone who offends me to just stop would be fruitless..  My prayers asking God to change someone is usually answered with "change yourself"..
So I prayed for the Spirit to change ME..  
It didn't take long for me to realize the obvious..  No one can offend me unless I let them..
By allowing the words or actions of others to offend me, I am giving them power over me..  I am basically saying "you are allowed to make me unhappy..  I give you permission to make me angry because my flesh is  too weak for me to control my own emotions"..

After that, it just got easier and easier..  I'm not saying that people have stopped trying to say hurtful things to me or about me..  I'm not saying that no one tries to push my buttons, or control what I do or how I think..
I'm saying that when these things happen, I can remind myself that they are the ones with the issues, not me..
Because really, saying something to me or about me isn't going to make it true..  It's not going to change what I do, what I think, or how I feel..  So why should it matter?  And if it changes how others think or feel about me, that's really not my problem either is it? 
The same goes for whatever someone says about my husband or my daughter..  I know how awesome they are and so do the people who truly love them..  So who cares what someone else says?  It won't stop them from being awesome!
So now, I let people say what they want to say..  Most of the time they are the ones who end up looking immature and out of control anyway..

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world"
 "Stay calm and mind your own business"  
"This too shall pass"..  

An immense feeling of freedom came about me when I learned how not to be offended..  It's changed a lot about me and I'm grateful for it..


"There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers."
Proverbs 6:16-19



Jul 4, 2013

1

Day 1. What is your favorite book of the Bible and why?

I have two; one in the Old Testament and one in the New..  
My favorite Old Testament book is:  
I can't even tell you how many times I have read it..  To me, Daniel is the perfect example of what a follower of God should look like- obedient, faithful, and fully trusting in God no matter what the circumstances-- refusing to eat their food, watching his friends thrown into a furnace, stuck in a den full of lions, facing an angry king when he refused to worship him, knowing full well it could mean his death..  
I'm sure he was terrified in every circumstance, but he still held on to his faith above all else..
And for everything; Daniel's faithfulness was rewarded by God's faithfulness..
I also like this book so much because of the prophecy in his revelations..  They clearly show the second coming of Jesus..  I know that Isaiah does this too, but (in my opinion) I think the book of Daniel does a better job making it clear..  

I know that David was a man after God's own heart, but (again, in my opinion) Daniel is at the top of the list (well after Jesus of course) of the most admiral people in the Bible and I can not wait to meet him :)

My favorite New Testament book is:
I have read it more times than I have read Daniel..
In a nutshell, the book of James is simply this:
--If you're going to call yourself a Christian, then you need to act like it and this is how you do that..--
This Book focuses on the behavior of a Christian..  A true follower of Christ..  
It is a must read!  Not just read, but read and apply..
James doesn't pull any punches..  He lays it all out there, no beating around the bush with him..  You can't read this book and not know exactly what he means..  It's pretty cut and dry..
I love that..
I have learned so much from this book!  It has changed my life..  Truly..

Jul 3, 2013

10..

Still suffering from writer's block so I decided to make a Christian Blog challenge (since I couldn't find one).. So maybe if other's decide to do it, I can get some inspiration :)  If you wanna do the challenge, just link back to me and leave a comment so I know to go and read yours too..

I'm gonna start tomorrow :)



 1. What is your favorite book of the Bible and why?

 2, 3, & 4. For each of the next three entries describe one thing that has changed about you since you accepted Christ as your Savior.

5. What do you like the most about your church and why?

6. What would you change about your church if you could and why?

7.  Who in the Bible do you relate to the most and why?

8. When you think of God, how do YOU see Him?

9.  Since you have been a Christian, what is the greatest lesson you have learned so far?

10. If you could convince the whole world of just one thing about God, what would it be?


Linking up with..

Jun 21, 2013

Faith on fire.

I tell you the truth, whom ever believes in me will do the same things that I do. Those who believe will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  -John 14:12

John Wesley advised, "Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn."
His words still ring true. When we fan the flames of enthusiasm for Christ, our faith serves as a beacon to others.

Our world desperately needs faithful believers who share the good news of Jesus with joyful exuberance. Be such a believer.  The world desperately needs your enthusiasm, and just as importantly, you need the experience of sharing it. 

* Your enthusiasm will be infectious, stimulating, and attractive to others. They will love you for it. They will go for you and be with you.  -Norman Vincent Paul



Jun 13, 2013

Glorify God In Your Body..

I had a bit of a revelation while forcing myself to stay on the treadmill for one more mile..  I was going to blog about it, but while listening to a podcast by Robert Morris, I was directed to another sermon by him that pretty much said the same thing I was going to blog about..
So check it out..  Seriously, it's really good..

May 29, 2013

It's just so.. Woah..

Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
Isaiah 1:18

Last Friday I received a phone call from the senior pastor of our church..  He was writing the sermon for Sunday and had a couple of questions for me..

The conversation went like this:

Pastor- "When you were a satanist what did you think about the laying on of hands?"

Me- "That we could do whatever we wanted for them; heal, bring money, a better job, love, whatever."

Pastor- "Is that all you did?"

Me- "No..  As far as the people we were touching knew, we were doing wonderful things for them..  And we did do what we said we would do..  We did whatever they wanted, and it worked..  They got money, love, whatever..  But that was just a smokescreen for the terrible things we were really doing to them"

Pastor- "Where did that power come from?  Did you believe it was from a god, like Odin or something?"

Me- "The power came from demons.  We told people it came from the gods..  Usually Diana or Isis..  They were non-threatening and put people at ease."

Pastor- "So it was after you were saved that you realized the power really came from demons?"

Me- "No, we always knew."

        He asked me if he could share our conversation in his sermon, I said "sure' and didn't think much more of it until the following Sunday when he relayed our conversation to the rest of the congregation..  
Seriously, it's so different hearing it than it is telling it..  I was sitting in the front row (my husband does security so we have to sit there) so I couldn't see anyone behind me, but I could hear them..

        When the pastor said the word "demons" I heard the people behind me..  "Oh gosh!  Oh no! Oh Jesus!"  It felt strange hearing the surprise in their voices..  What was so completely normal to me for so many years of my life was shocking to the people sitting near me..  I mean, I know that my background is different from the others at my church, but I never really paid attention to how it affected others when they heard about it..
        But then, when the pastor repeated the last part of our conversation; "No, we always knew."  I heard more than just surprise in the voices behind me, I heard condescension..  I heard "tsk tsk" and "that's sick"..  Things like that..  I wasn't offended, it's a natural response..  

        But at that moment I was struck with a revelation that brought me to tears..  I became very aware of the overwhelming power of God's forgiveness..  
We all know that when we receive Christ as our Savior, that our sins are forgiven..  We say it all the time.. We sing about God's forgiveness, tell other's about it, write about, pray about it, blah blah blah..  But it wasn't until that moment that it really hit home for me..

God forgave me..  Me..  A former satanist..  Someone who at one time put hands on people and cursed them..  
He.  Forgave. Me.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17

He could have said "Ren, I forgive you, but I am going to remove your hands and your tongue so you never hurt another person again." and He would have been completely justified in doing so..  I deserved so much worse than that..
You know, when someone betrays our trust it can take years for us to trust that person again, if ever..  When someone hurts us, we can say we forgive them, but we never really forget it..  
But God forgave me in an instant..  Not only has He forgiven me but He actually allows me to put my hands on people and pray over them!
It absolutely blows my mind..  Seriously, it's just so..  Wow..  There isn't a word big enough to express how incredible it really is!

I can honestly say that now I understand forgiveness..  I thought I did before, but I really had no idea..  Everything, every offense against me, every argument I have ever had, every person I have ever felt angry at; it all just seems so insignificant now..  How can I be angry?  How can I hold a grudge at all?  
You know that saying: you can forgive but you can never forget?  Well pardon the expression, but screw that!  You can forget as well as forgive..  
It's just not that important..  It isn't!  The one or two things that someone has done to offend you is nothing compared to the lifetime of offenses that God has forgiven and continues to forgive you for..

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:14-15

Life is short..  Forgive and forget..
Once you realize the significance of His forgiveness, how can you do anything else?



Linking up with
PROWESS AND PEARLS and  and
 and  

May 10, 2013

How about....Now..

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Ephesians 5:22-24


How often do we (wives) decide that we know what the role of the head of the house/spiritual leader should look like and  how many of us have thought that we are responsible for shaping and molding them into our idea of that role so that when we have achieved that, then we can begin to submit to their leadership?

In other words; "Once you start leading the way I think you should, then I will start following."

My husband and I are very different when it comes to our spiritual lives..  I am intellectual, structured, disciplined, and I believe that everything should be done a certain way at a certain moment, and for a certain amount of time..  I have a closer connection to God when I read and study the word..  Some feel close when
they sing, or spend time outdoors, listen to worship music, or just sitting quietly by themselves..  But not me.. When I read the Word I feel His presence, I hear Him speak to me, I receive revelation, conviction, and answers to my prayers..  I love; absolutely love to read the Word, because when I do, God is more real to me than ever..

My husband is very laid back, nothing really bothers him, he does things in his own time, for as long or as little as he chooses..  Though he is one of the smartest men I know, he is not a bookworm, he
doesn't study, or live by a schedule..  He enjoys change and despises routine..  He feels closer to God when he is actively doing something; working, mentoring, building something, etc..  He doesn't spend time in one place doing one thing for very long..

I read/study for 3 hours every day..  My husband reads for maybe 20 minutes in the morning.  When I pray, my prayers are long, detailed, and cover just about everything..  When he prays, his prayers are short, simple and to the point..

Many times I have thought (and said to him) that as the spiritual leader and the head of our house, that he should read at least as long as I do (if not more) so he would know more, be more disciplined, set an example, blah blah blah..  I have made remarks about his short, simple prayers..  I would say stuff like "That's it?  Don't you have any more to add?"
Until last night I didn't realize that I was actually criticising him..  Not until God reprimanded brought it to my attention..

He said: "Instead of trying to make your husband into the spiritual leader you think he should be so that you can follow him.  Submit to who he is now because he is your husband..  'do not just read my Word, do what it says'."

Don't get me wrong..  We don't argue, I don't openly defy him or try to control him..  But my thoughts and behaviors, and my criticisms toward his way of doing things where his spiritual life is concerned was not honoring to him..  My thoughts and actions were not submissive to him, nor were they honoring or obedient to God..

I sat up in bed and thought about what an awesome man my husband is..  Selfless, attentive, strong, even tempered, and an excellent provider..  He's a loving and involved father, a supportive and doting husband, and a loyal friend..  He goes out of his way to do whatever for whoever and doesn't expect so much as a 'thank you', or even a 'good job' in return..  He refuses to be out-served by anyone at home, and jumps at the chance to help anyone he can; financially, emotionally, or physically..  He has never, and I mean never raised his voice to me or Sky..  He truly is an incredible guy that God saw fit to bless me with..  

I have talked to so many women who have said that they will submit when their husbands learn how to lead, how to be responsible, how to be more this, or more that.. 
 But that's not what the Bible says..  It doesn't say "submit to your husband when you decide he's deserving of it."
It says "submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord".
I know now that there is more to it than just submitting outwardly..  It means inwardly too..  In our minds and our hearts..   


Because God said so..  

P.S
My friend Michell added this in her comment..  I absolutely love what she said, so I'm quoting here so you don't miss it :)

"It's better that our husbands job be done badly by him, than to be done excellently by us!"