Over the last three years, this blog has mostly been in the back of my mind, and I posted randomly. Even though I tried and tried to post on a regular basis, life got in the way. But failure is only true failure when you quit trying. My life really has not changed that much over the last 2 years. In fact, I find myself frequently re-living the same scenarios in my life- whether it be a type of self-fulfilling prophecy lifestyle, or maybe I have not learned all the lessons that God has taught me. Either way the point I know is being made is to keep moving forward- fall forward. I think that is one of the most important lessons in life is to learn to make even failures a learning opportunity, and not beat yourself up for mistakes or errors. I read once that the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Cheers to trying something new! A new way to look at life! A new way to embrace adventure! This year I have decided to revamp my blog. You may have noticed that we have a whole new look and new identity. It was picked with my fellow travelers in mind. As Christians, it is exactly what we are- travelers on a journey to someplace better. This earth or fallen world is not our home. The Bible refers to us as sojourners, pilgrims, travelers etc…It is how I got the title for our new identity on this blog. This year I have learned that the ultimate destination for Christians is not Heaven but instead is to become more Christlike. SO if you think of your destination as a state of being then you will come to realize that the Journey of Life is the destination. This place is like one giant classroom meant to teach us important lessons and help us grow in Christlike character so that we can get back to that place from whence we originated. We came from Heaven and to Heaven we will return. I have learned to think of life like one of those amazing action movies full of twists and turns where the characters go on this grand adventure. In the course of the adventure, they make friends, learn to love and forgive, learn about themselves, and serve a higher purpose. Let’s share the adventure together as it was meant to be! Let’s commit to never stop learning, growing, or loving! Happy New Year!
So about 9 days ago when I published my last article, I sat down and did a study on “giving.” I made a page of notes to copy and paste into this forum (which I will do following this post) intending to share what I learned. Little did I know, that the Lord would really start to build on this idea of “giving” so complexly that what He was really giving me was Spiritual Gifts. Now I will not share them or tell you all of the stuff that was intended for my Growth, but I will share what it has come to mean. Often the little lessons lead to a bigger lessons like becoming a more mature Christian. It led to some amazing supernatural experiences that are so different from ordinary life that I feel like a part of the Matrix movie. It is like severe moments of clarity and understanding that just occur without any input from me. That is exactly what Spiritual Gifts are: Directly from God, nothing short of amazing, and are not in any way done as an individual. Now what is amazing that upon learning God had given me this amazing blessing: my first goal was to learn what it was, how to use it, and what to use it for. I prayed over it and He answered as He always does. HE told me to read Ephesians. I started in Ephesians which turned into kind of an instruction manual for Spiritual Gifts, then sought council from older wiser Christians, close friends who know me, and as I learned more questions came into my head. And after each prayerful question, He gave me amazing answers. I realized suddenly what it truly means to “add to your talents,” to use what you are given. It seriously requires lots of study. It requires lots of prayer, and lots of practice. What is truly amazing is how God is with me every step of the way. So amazing that I could cry with the sheer wonderfulness of it. He has led me to people and books, Scripture, and sources to further my understanding. He has provided me opportunities to practice by studying false religious systems (it is scary how they have permeated our world without us knowing it). I always said if there is one thing that I could do or share with others it would be my faith. It is like this amazing adventure full of twists and turns, hope, constant encouragement from my invisible Father, lots of potent life lessons (even when I get things wrong), and experiencing God in such a way that it can be nothing short of extraordinary. Moments like hearing Jesus teach me to paint, and Jesus watching a movie with me pointing out where the movie has satanic influences and where God always shows that Good conquers evil. It is like having a constant companion that will never leave you. So to conclude, let me just say that anyone who wants to talk more about Spiritual gifts just leave me a comment with your email. IF the Lord is willing, I hope to next share with you how He is teaching me to “Walk in the Spirit.”
Notes on Giving
As I mature In Christ, I feel Him putting on my heart to make my life about giving. In a general sense, what is giving? Baker’s Evangelical dictionary has an entire page dedicated to “Acts of Mercy” or giving. The online dictionary defines it as “cause or allow (to someone or something), offer, supply, or provide.”
But what exactly do we give? According to the Bible, we are called to give to the needy- clothing, food, or water. We are to enable the church to preach the Gospel. Hebrews 13:3 also says “not to forget those in jail.” Not only are their numerous verses about what to give in the Bible, but there are so many instructions on how to give. Not to mention the many parables that Jesus spoke giving us concrete examples of what we have to offer: think “the Widow’s Mites, the parable of the talents.”
Verses on how to give:
Matthew 6:2-4 Give in Secret
Romans 12:8 Give Liberally
Proverbs 3:27. 11: 24-25
Luke 3:11, Luke 6:30
Acts 20:35- It is better to give than to receive
2 Cor. 9:6-8
Paul even gives instructions to give voluntarily and cheerfully. He said that “God loves a cheerful giver.” He stated that if you have to gift of giving then give with “liberality.” One of my favorite stories on giving from scripture is about Dorcas or Tabitha from the Book of Acts. She was not well known and did not have a lot written of her, but what was said is telling. She was just a normal woman who gave back to her community with the talent that God gave her. What an amazing thing to think about! Just use your talent to give back! How hard is that? One of my favorite parts of my giving study was when I read 2 Cor. 8:10-20 in the Bible Version the Message. I felt like God was speaking directly to me about something in my life! We all tend to overlook giving until “we” are taken care of. We give to the poor and needy, but not until it hurts. The Bible and God have so much to say on this matter yet we ignore what we already know is one of the basics of being a Christ-follower. We give God and other people our leftovers and not our first fruits. What a Potent lesson!
Last night I had a dream where I was in a mall that had grown since I last saw it in a dream. The parts that were under construction were no longer under construction, and it not had three floors. The most vivid thing from this dream was that I was making rock candy in two different places. I woke up thinking what is so important about rock candy. I spent some of my time researching this morning and then the lesson from last week and last nights dream just kind of came together in these articles.
Now to fully understand, let me tell you what I realized the other night while i was trying to fall asleep. I was thinking about how would i describe my life if someone asked me too. I would say I work a lot , help my parents, take care of my dogs, watch TV, and sleep. I study the Bible and try to find time to do some serving. Then it was like this revelation just hit me: wow that is not what life should be about. It is part of it sure, but the Christ-follower life should primarily be about Serving God. So that article that I included by Pastor Rick was saved on my computer from a few days ago when I started researching serving, but I had not found time to read it yet. After I read article one, then I turned to the pastor’s article, and like I always say that nothing happens on accident. I think the fact that I read it today just really put on my heart what God has been showing me in the last few weeks. We as Christians can not sleep or stagnate in our faith. We have to make the conscious choice to keep growing and building on our Rock (Christ). We never stop maturing on this side of eternity, and like Pastor Rick said then our growing and maturing should lead to more serving. To study without acting on what we know means we stagnate. We become dead. You see we already have a zombie apocalypse going on. We have so many people walking around consumed by technology doing what the world says is normal, and it is not right. We have the Sunday Christians who show their faith one day a week and study, but they don’t LIVE IT. It is an everyday or more of an every moment choice to live God’s way. It is something that you consciously choose to do. Letting God change you on the inside is something you have to constantly choose. Its a race, a journey, an expedition, but mostly an adventure that you never quit living. You have to choose to do right over wrong, watch good stuff over bad stuff, study the Bible when you don’t feel like it, pray, love , and give. You have to choose to do those things. It is not enough to just “know.” Faith has to be composed of “actions.” Want a scriptural reference? Please see the Book of James. Love to all!
Almost every single day I wake up with very vivid dreams, and sometimes I instantly have been given meaning, and other times I have to research- which is something that I love to do. It is like solving a mystery. I am not sure why I love it so much, but God knows I do and so I guess this is how He talks to me. (He talks to us all uniquely- and His words always agree with scripture). Last night I had a very vivid set of dreams that led me to a study on gifts, blessings, the unforgivable sin, and just many different parts of scripture. I always research of course the things that stand out, and then I check my email because sometimes (amazingly) there are related devotionals to what I am studying. It is just truly amazing to me how God speaks to us. Truly nothing happens randomly. I wish that I could show people the amazing way He connects the happenings of my life to His teaching. For instance, last night I watched the 10th Kingdom and one line that stood out to me was “your as safe as a brick built pig house.” Well this morning, one item from my dream was a female pig- a sow, and I began by trying to understand why this pig was important. Every yahoo search led to “Reap and Sow” and sermons on the “Three Little Pigs.” Why was that important to me? Because the night before the particular line from the movie was from that exact story, and the entire movie is about fairy tales. Here lately that seems to be a theme in my dreams is the allegory in fairy tales. SO long story short, On my email i started by signing up for free devotionals from Dr. Charles Stanley, then ended up on crosswalk.com on his daily devotional then clicked on a page about the unforgivable sin (http://www.crosswalk.com/slideshows/10-things-you-need-to-know-unforgivable-sin.html?p=1) which is a fantastic read. As I was reading this, I also had open a browser to Dr. Stanley’s In Touch Ministries Site. I recommend reading some of his writings. Truly Inspirational. https://www.intouch.org/read/blog/the-fresh-start-effect
I love when all of the pages I click on seem to connect in a way that can only be God-Inspired learning. All the lessons coincide and I can look back over the last few days and see God putting these concepts and ideas into practice in my life. There are always a million little lessons, but it always ends on the most amazing conclusion: It leaves me with this sense of wonder that God is present in every single moment of my life, and sometimes gives me lessons on unspoken questions- things I have not said out loud b/c He truly knows me inside and out. For example, last night I was thinking about the Holy Spirit and how you know if you have them and I ended up in scripture on 1 Corinthians 3 telling me that I had Him. Then today I end up studying the unforgivable sin which I have been trying to understand for months. The study on the unforgivable sin led me to understand why i don’t completely understand the trinity- the absolute knowing that Jesus was God and the Holy Spirit is a manifestation of Him in our lives does not change simply because I do not understand it on an intellectual level. I don’t know if these musings help anyone, but I like/ love to share what I learn! Love to all!
As always, I get busy and don’t get a chance to write. Don’t give up on me yet…lol
You know it is so easy to get lost in “life” and lose our meaning/purpose over and over again. To get so wrapped up in bills and deciding what to do with ourselves that we forget this life adventure on our way to eternity is not just about us….I had a dream which led me on a study about spiritual stagnation. I realized in that moment that I was spiritually stagnate. I had never meant to stop moving or fall asleep at the wheel. I had never meant to hand over control of my life to another, but I got busy and as always my routine of Sleep, eat, work and pay bills took over my life. I think this is where we have to learn to recognize the habits in our lives that cause this stagnation. For me, it was the quest to make more money, work more hours (possibly get a second job), and before you know it my life was out of balance AGAIN. It makes me realize that keeping life well balanced is an everyday choice. Sometimes you have to say no at work if you have already worked a certain amount of hours, sometimes you have to say no to sitting on your butt at home and get up and do those household chores. Sometimes to make that difference in the world you have to make that conscious decision to get up and DO SOMETHING! Don’t sit around and wait for others to come along and tell you what to do. Use your words, your talents, your gifts and go encourage someone else! By all means, seek advice on how to get started making that difference, read inspiring stories, and make the money to get you started, but in the end you have to take that step forward. No one else is going to do it for you. Don’t wait for someone else to motivate you. Don’t wait until the money is just right b/c it never will be. Don’t say “in the future” b/c you could die in a moment. No one is promised tomorrow! Go make a difference today! I am not just saying this to my readers, I had to learn this as well. The Lord gave me a very potent lesson in this area, and even now I struggle with how to really get started, but what I do know. My dreams are right where I left them. The love I want to share with the world is still in me. Jesus still walks beside me. I might fall a couple of times, but the only true failure is when you quit trying. So here is how I started this morning:
Live My Faith
Use my gifts to show others what Jesus has done in my life
Provide for people who can never pay me back and provide for my parents
Encourage others and Show them Hope, Show them that God answers prayers
Then I asked myself: How am I going to do this?
Use my blog and Social Media to write and spread awareness: Try to get people out of the me-centric society, Publish my journal pages to show others how God has worked in my life.
Sale or give away my sewing projects, art etc to benefit others: Lets be honest we can’t all give monetarily, but if 30 people gave a $1 then that is $30 going towards someone who needs water, someone who needs school supplies, someone who needs clothes etc….If everyone took one talent and sold an item for a $1 to benefit someone else: how much love could we spread in this world?
Give away my time to people who need help: Help other people accomplish their dreams
I don’t know if this encourages anyone or moves them to action, but it was how I started my day and I wanted to share it with whoever reads this. I want my life to make a difference, I want people to see Jesus inside of me! I want to Glorify God in everything that I do!
Has anyone ever studied God’s Grace? It is actually a very abstract idea and difficult to put into words. However I want to share what I found with everybody as it was very enlightening and interesting. Firstly, God’s grace is free, but we are instructed “not to receive it in vain.” 2 Cor. 6:1. I didn’t research that concept much except to think maybe it means don’t get saved and then carry on sinning in the same old way because that is receiving it in vain? One of the biggest lessons I came away with was this (my words summed up) ” God’s grace saved us and through His grace we receive spiritual gifts and blessings. We should all honor each others as partakers of the same blessings and as we are part of the same body, and work hard to help each develop our spiritual gifts. The most important concept of being a Christian obviously being to love.” 1 Cor. 12 & 13. Remember that all good things we learn come from God. That goes for everyone. Each and every good lesson that makes us better people is not something that we accomplish on our own. God’s Grace is literally God’s favor and blessings and love that has be freely bestowed on us undeserving humans. Interestingly enough my original study started on discovering the meaning of “enlighten my eyes” as stated by the Psalmist in Ps. 13:3 and then went on to Shine light, Hope, Calling, then to Ephesians 3:2-3, 5 “dispensation of the Grace of God” and that is when I started really studying grace. If you are like me you just accept that we are saved by God’s grace, but what does that mean and what does such honor entail? Share your thoughts!!! Love to all!