Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

Some days it can be hard to follow Christ instead of the world

Some days it can be hard to follow Christ instead of the world.
And for that, I think God maybe disappointed and a little ashamed of me.
Some days it’s hard to display grace to others.
Some days I try hard to be a ‘good Christian’ but know, deep down I am failing.
And that makes me feel ashamed of myself.
Some days I am guilty of spending more time online, reading blogs, than reading the only Word that matters.
Some days I am scared when I see what is happening in this world.
Some days I am sick when I read the hate that comes out of a fellow Christian’s mouth, or from behind a computer screen. That also scares me.
Some days I don’t love thy neighbor.
Some days I wonder if I am doing this for His glory, or for mine.
Some days I see the evil in this world and I cry real, full-on tears.
Some days speaking the Truth is scary when the world demands you to be tolerant of every other belief, even when they are not tolerant of yours.
Some days I forget that I am a sinner too.
Some days I forget Christ died for my sins, all our sins.
Some days I forget that the laws made here on earth are not the laws made in heaven.
Some days I can’t find the words that I am feeling in my heart.
Some day I hope to get it right, but I won’t hold my breath.

Lately it feels like Christians have struggled with a lot of some days. Last week’s Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states has caught many Christians off guard about how to respond.

Some days the world feels crushing and confusing and out of its mind, but Christians have a choice to make. How will we respond? Some days we will respond with love, other days not so much. Because we are human. Christian does not equal perfect.

Some days speaking the Truth gets you yelled at IN ALL CAPS, especially when it is not among popular opinion of this world. Thankfully, the opinion of this world is not the one I worry most about.

I wanted to share four posts that have made me stop and think this week in some way. This ruling has made me think deeper about my faith than ever before. Being Christian is not about being perfect, or having all the answers. It’s a journey.

We Are That Family | “This is What I am going to do today (in response of the Supreme Court Ruling)”
Into The Wild | “Dear Homosexual America: I am Sorry. An Open Letter From a Christian”
The Blaze, Matt Walsh | “Yes, Gay Marriage Hurts Me Personally”
Grace to You | “Why Biblical Christianity Is Intolerable in an Age of “Tolerance”

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.” 1 Timothy 1:15

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LINKING UP with these amazing bloggers who continue to speak truth: Holley Gerth’s Coffee for your Heart and Bonnie’s Spiritual Whitespace. l visit other bloggers writing from the heart.

God Created us to Create

I’ve thought a lot about creativity lately; and why we, as humans, are creative.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1

This is God’s first act of creating something from nothing. He is the ultimate artist.

Later, in Genesis 1:27 it says, “God created mankind in his own image…” When he created Adam (Genesis 2:7), Adam was given the task of naming all the animals God had created. (Genesis 2:19-20)

This is the first recorded act of creativity in the history of mankind.

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:17 God is an artist quote

God created us in his own image and if he is the ultimate artist, then it stands to reason that when we create we are His reflection.

Bezalel is a prime example of that reflection. If you’re like me, you probably skipped over the story of Bezalel tucked away toward the end of Exodus.

It’s here we read about Moses leading the Hebrews out of slavery. They were having a self-pity party, wandering around in circles in the wilderness, and making their own idols. Because of this idol making, and wondering away from God, therefore God decided that a Tabernacle would be built.

The Tabernacle was a portable dwelling place built for God. Now, if you are going to build a dwelling place for God, well, you can’t just slap a few 2x4s together and call it good. Nope. It must be spectacular!

You need a fine craftsman to plan and build a grand Tabernacle. You call an artist. {Ring, Ring} “Hello, Bezalel.”

The Lord says to Moses that he has chosen Bezalel to “make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.(Exodus 31:1-11) God gave Bezalel an assistant named Oholiab, plus a whole bunch of other skilled craftsmen to help with the task.

God didn’t set Bezalel out on his own, He gave him a team of talented artists to work with. I bet Bezalel was freaking out at the idea of building the great Tabernacle, but he trusted the talents God gave him and went for it. It worked out well for him.

How’s that for a holy commission? God could have picked a priest or a warrior for this job, but He didn’t. He picked an artist!

God loves beautiful things.

  • The very nature of the written Word is affirmation of creativity.
  • He created the stars and calls them by name. (Isaiah 40:26)
  • We are God’s ‘image bearers’. When we create, we are sharing his likeness.

Creativity looks different for each of us. We are given a variety of gifts. Like Bezalel, God chose to give you creative gifts…use them. Don’t hide them away or waste them. He created us to create.

I want to be like Bezalel. I want to create something beautiful for Him.

LINKING UP with Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart and Suzanne Eller. As always, check out some amazing blogging inspiration. Choosing to lift you up, not bring you down!

Who Was the Real Mary Magdalene?

The Bible doesn’t tell us a lot about Mary Magdalene’s past. Her back story is hidden from us, left to speculation by many.  Was Mary Magdalene a prostitute, Jesus’ wife, the most loved disciple and Peter’s adversary? We can speculation all day long, or we can look to the Bible for clues about the real Mary Magdalene.

the real mayry magdalene

Background Image Source: StockVault

Luke first introduces us to Mary Magdalene, “Mary who was call Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out…” (Luke 8:2)

Mary was called Magdalene because she was from the fishing village, Magdala on the northwest shore on the Sea of Galilee.

We know Jesus had exorcised many demonic possessions in that area, so we can assume that He was the one who released her from Satan, and because she was following Him. It makes sense if He saved her, she would then follow Him.

Satan tortured her with seven demons…SEVEN! The number seven in the Bible is symbolic of something being finished or complete. In other words, Mary was completely possessed. Read more about the number 7 in the Bible.

Demon possession is bondage of an evil spirit. Mary’s exact afflictions we don’t know, but because of the number 7 we know it was severe. There is enough information in the New Testament that we can imagine what her afflictions could have been. The New Testament tells us such afflictions included insanity, blindness, anxiety, self-loathing or any other disorder(s) commonly described as demonic possession.

Mary Magdalene was truly suffering.

No worries, though. Jesus Christ delivered Mary from all that torment.

Side note: people tormented by demons never sought out Christ for healing/deliverance. They were always brought to Him by loved ones. I assume that was because the demons were rightfully afraid of Christ.

Other than being saved from demons, we don’t know anything else about Mary’s past, but we do know her life after Christ.

So, what does the Bible tell us about the real Mary Magdalene?

  • Because Mary Magdalene was saved by Christ, she was free and righteous (Romans 6:18). Mary Magdalene was born anew.
  • Mary Magdalene traveled with Christ and his 12 disciples. (Luke 8:1-3)
  • Mary Magdalene used her “property and personal belongings” to help support Christ and his ministry. (Luke 8:3)
  • Mary Magdalene was faithfully devoted. She prepared cleaning spices after Christ’s death. (Luke 23:56, 24:1)
  • She was faithfully devoted to Christ. She was there at Pilate’s Hall when His death sentence was announced. She stayed with Him during the crucifixion. She was there when a Roman solider thrust his spear into Christ’s side and pronounced Him dead. She stayed to the bitter end. (Luke 23:54-55)
  • Christ revealed himself first to Mary Magdalene after the resurrection. (John 20:12-17) She was the first to know the most important event in human history. Christ chose a woman to reveal the Good News to the disciples.
  • Mary Magdalene loved Christ with all her heart and soul. He saved her from her demons and for that she gave her life to Him.

Mary Magdalene is a shining example of the power of Christ’s redemption. He is glorified when He rescues us from our demons then uses us for a greater purpose. His purpose. Like Mary Magdalene, we are rescued from a hopeless life to a life that knows the deep love of Christ, but only if we seek Him.

Let’s be like Mary Magdalene. Let’s seek Him. Always.

LINKING UP at these encouraging faith blogs: Counting My blessings, Simple Moments StickJennifer Dukes Lee, Holley Gerth’s Coffee for your Heart, and Missional Women. Go. Read something to lift you up this Friday morning.

Do You Remember the Earthquakes of Nepal?

On April 25, 2015 a 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, then 17 days later another earthquake, 7.8 magnitude, hit the area again. Do you remember the earthquakes of Napal?

Nepal earthquakes 2015

In the wake of two earthquakes and multiple aftershocks, the nation of Nepal is desperately struggling to rebuild.

Sure, the News covered the devastation, but quickly moved on to more ‘pressing news’ of the personal lives celebrities and Presidential hopefuls. Living in America, we are so very easily distracted. Sometimes I think we have too much time on our hands, we’re too privileged. No, I know we are.

Even when I feel stressed to the max because things aren’t going my way, that stress is nothing compared to living in a place like Nepal and losing everything, especially people I love.

But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required. Luke 12:48

Translation: Christians are called to give, whether it be our talent, our time, or our money. We give.

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5 Bible Verses for When Life Gets Complicated

Lately, I have felt that life is really, really complicated. That mostly centers around juggling bills, healthcare paperwork, family obligations, work, family stress, car repairs, so, basically life in general. I’ve wondered why can’t life just be simple?

life is simple quote

I half-jokingly tell my husband that we should just sell everything and move to a tropical island. We could spend our days selling trinkets and seashells to tourists, and nights walking on the beach. We’d live the island life, slow and easy. In my head, that sounds wonderfully simple.

But, we can’t do that. Just check out. Although it’s tempting. Really tempting.

What do I do when I want to quit this and move to a tropical island in the middle of nowhere?

I open my Bible for comfort. I admit I haven’t been doing a lot of that lately. It’s an old habit of trying to do it my way, or the world’s way, instead of His way. It’s an old habit to break.

As believers, we aren’t promised an easy, simple life free of complications. We are promised, however that Christ will be with us in our time of worry, stress, and anxiety. That’s easy to forget in this world.

Sometimes we just need a little reassurance that He has our back. I’ve rounded up 5 Bible Verses: When Life Gets Complicated for this very occasion.

5 bible verses to lift ou up when you are down

Isaiah 41:10
[9] You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its remotest parts And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you. [10] ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ [11] “Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish.…

Luke 12:25-26
[24] “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! [25] “And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? [26] “If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?…

Philippians 4:6
…[5] Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. [6] Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. [7] And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

John 14:27
[27] “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. [28] “You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.…

1 Peter 5:7
[6] Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, [7] casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. [8] Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. [9] But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

“And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span?” That is the million dollar question in Luke. What is all this worry and anxiety getting me? An anxiety attack?

I don’t know how I will fix all that is worrying me today. Only the Lord knows. So, I am letting it go. Right now as I type this. [Letting it go…letting it go…letting it go.]

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RELATED READING :: Read Life is Hard over at {in}courage. I read this post a few days ago and just feel in love with Jennifer’s words.  I used BibleHub took up the verses above.

Small Seeds Doing Good | The Prom Dress Project

This post comes from my friend and co-worker. She is a Small Seed doing good works.

In one of the most under-served areas of the Denver metro area, Liz is on a mission to make a difference in young people’s lives. To show them there is a better life for them, there is someone who truly cares what kind of adult them grow up to be.

They are not just a statistic.

Their story matters.

One of her many projects is The Prom Dress Project at Aurora Central High School. This event brings stylist, low cost (really low cost) prom dresses to those who can’t afford a fancy, high-priced dress. All this to make girls feel like Princesses for one night.

She is one person doing good things right where she is. She is making a difference.Tentatively, round two of The Prom Dress Project is scheduled for April 1st.

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With a Humble Heart…

Today was Day ONE of The Prom Dress Project 2015.  The amazing women of Friends of Aurora Central High School Alumni Association showed up.  In grand fashion.  With a humble heart, I’m happy to say that we helped prom become a reality for seventeen young women.  I didn’t know what to expect, and honestly, I am the type of person that is really outcome oriented.  I see black and white, so very little gray… just ask my husband.  This is what I know. Seventeen young women had the opportunity to experience what it is to have someone come alongside you and show kindness, to know that we’re all a part of the same tribe.

The women in my cohort, oh my dear gracious, there just isn’t enough that I can say about a group of women that just “get it.”  From those who donated their time, to those who donated their talent with a few stitches here and there (you know who you are girlfriend), to those who offered their treasures… It just didn’t get better than today.

I didn’t sleep well last night, nerves I suppose.  Wondering if this little event would be successful.  We were expecting the local media coverage from our community newspaper, would we have a story to tell?  Today is a day we have a story to tell, about young women that deserve our best, an interested adult who is invested in their story, their future.  Today we had a story about women who make a difference, and I am grateful they are mine.  With a humble heart…thank you, to the young ladies that we served and to the ladies that I had the pleasure of serving with.

By the way… We’re hoping for Day TWO on April 1, 2015.  No Foolin. #alwaysatrojan

*You can check out Liz’s blog here. Or, if you want to know more about The Prom Dress Project, connect with her on Facebook.

Guarding Your Heart Against Social Media

To grow my blog, I must network using social media. Or, so I am told.  But, is using social media bad for your health? Are you guarding your heart against social media?

Social Media Break Up

I’ve had a Twitter account for a few years, but really didn’t use this social media as it is intended. I am a natural introvert, which is the opposite of ‘social’ media.

Mostly, Twitter was linked to my blog. A tweet was posted when a new blog post was published. That’s about all I did. After a few years I had total of 62 followers. 

In social media terms that is LOL, literally.

Six months ago, I started a little Twitter experiment. I used, engaged, tweeted, retweeted, and commented on Twitter to gain followers, and ultimately blog readers. In six months I went from a lonely 62 followers to 350 followers. Still, laughable, but it was an improvement.

In the beginning, I found inspirational tweeps out there. (Tweeps, that’s what we call followers.) But, the more I used it, the more useless chatter filled my brain. 

Also. People can be really nasty when hiding behind a keyboard. The kind of stuff that makes my heart race.

The million dollar question? Did I gain more traffic to my blog from Twitter? The simple answer is no, although it’s a little more complicated than that.

Not only did the traffic to my blog not increase from Twitter, but I wrote less because I spent so much time listening to the chatter, drama queens, haters and trolls. (Trolls are what we call bullies and not-so-nice people who pick fights.)

I know some who say Twitter is dying; I don’t think that is so. There are a whole lot of people who still use it, and use it well. I am sure there are companies who have great success with it too. 

Right now, for the health of my heart, I am breaking up with social media.

Why for my heart? Our heart is at the center of who we are.

In Hebrew the word “heart” means “the essence of our inner-self, the totality of our thoughts, feelings and will”. According to Solomon, we live out of our heart.

Proverbs 4:23 (NLT) is a plea from a father to his son to guard his heart from evil influences and wrongdoing.

It’s easy to justify having to have social media links on my blog…everyone’s doing it, that is how people connect nowadays, or that’s how you grow your readership.

The justifications I make for not guarding my heart against social media really don’t pass for good reasons. We must filter what goes into our hearts. The decisions we make every day must deepen our relationship with Christ. Whether it’s what we read, how we speak to others or what we post online because “…it determines the rest of your life.”

Social media is not good for my heart, so I am taking a hiatus. I might be back some day, and if that day comes, I will be more careful about the chatter I listen to and follow.

A social media hiatus for me means Twitter, is gone. Facebook, is gone. Google+, is gone. Instagram, will remain private. Pinterest, will remain public.

It’s almost unheard of to say ‘no’ to social media, but it’s what I feel I need to do, for now.

How are you guarding your heart against social media these days?

Author’s note: I am not saying social media is evil and will be the downfall of human-kind or anything. So, if you love Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, whatever, keep doing it. And, of course, if you like to share this post on social media, you still can with the buttons below. I am just saying it’s not working for me right now. And, remember, what you post online never really goes away. Ever. Images: The heart graphic above was created by using images found at Vecteezy.

LINKING UP | With Holley Gerth, Coffee for Your Heart. Read amazing women blogging and linking up there!

UPDATE: Um, yeah. So, I don’t regret pulling the social media plug. Taking that break to wipe the slate clean was liberating. Seriously liberating. I learned what I don’t want from my social media accounts, and how I want it to represent me. Deleting my accounts (particularly Twitter) to get rid of trolls was a good thing. It’s like weeding your garden in life…get rid of people who drag you down, are mean or toxic. It feels really, really good. After much debate, I started a new Twitter account. I have written rules for this account. Number one being only positive and creative tweets from my account. And, I will only follow others spreading positive, inspiration, or creative tweets. Because this world is full of enough negativity.

The Power of Prayer is Real

Have you ever prayed for something that you wanted/needed badly? Have you ever prayed for healing, whether for yourself or a loved one? Were those prayers answered? I have, so I know the power of prayer is real.

It’s not to say those prayers were answered just the way I wanted, because God answers prayers, and sometimes the answer is “No”. But there is always an answer.

Which brings me to ask, “How’s your prayer-life?” My hubby says he has trouble praying for himself because he already has so much more than others. So, he prays for others. Lifting up others in prayer is a great thing.

Let me introduce you to someone who knows personally the power of prayer. Her name is Sister Mary.

power of prayer

For years, Sister Mary suffered from painful stomach aches. Doctors couldn’t help her. The pain was so great, one night she made the decision to take her own life. On that night she meet someone who would change that decision, and her life forever.

His name was Jesus.

Since meeting Jesus in a vision ten years ago, Sister Mary has used the power of prayer to help the sick and suffering in her small village. She has prayed for thousands, transforming their lives and hers. Jesus has a way of doing that.

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:12

As followers of Christ we are called to pray for others. Prayer is one of the best ways to strengthen our relationship with Him.  By the way, He wants us to ask for help, when we need it, too.

So, maybe you are like my hubby, and don’t want to pray for yourself, but want to pray for others. He can change the lives of others through your prayers.

Power of prayer

Here are some ways you can put your prayer life into action:

Pray for Widows. The treatment of widows in South Asia is unimaginably horrific.
Pray for Abandoned Children. Countless children in Asia have been discarded, aborted, and abused, but they are not forgotten.
Pray for Asia’s Youth. Did you know that 40 percent of India’s 1 billion people are under the age of 18?
Pray for Missionaries. Everyday missionaries in South Asia risk their lives as they share the love of Christ with others.

Watch this inspirational video entitled “When Sister Mary Prays”. Then, humbly lift up Sister Mary in prayer.

You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting, so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name, He may give to you.” John 16:15

Do not doubt the power of prayer.

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*I am a Gospel for Asia blogger. I am not paid for my posts. I feel blessed to share inspirational stories like this one with my readers. GFA is a Small Seed. Photos courtesy of GFA. You can learn more about GFA here.

A Love List for Jesus

Because we don’t say “I love you” enough. Because sometimes we ‘forget’ to say it. Just in time for Valentine’s Day…A love list for Jesus. Because it needs to be said.

I love Him

  1.  He said the truth, not what people wanted to hear. He wasn’t afraid to call out the Pharisees on their bad behavior. Luke 11:37-44
  2. He is dependable in His own time. John 11:38-44
  3. He is an encourager. Matthew 6:34
  4. He is compassionate. John 8:1-11
  5. He is calm in the storm. Mark 4:35-41
  6. He didn’t care what others thought about the company he kept. Matthew 9:11
  7. He forgives. 1 John 1:9
  8. He lost his patience a few times too. Matthew 21:12
  9. He endured the worst of human-kind had to offer on the cross, yet He did it all for us. 1 Peter 2:23-25
  10. His family tree is full of broken people, just like all of us. Matthew 1:1-17

Because it takes writing a list of things I love about someone that reminds me how much I love them. Thanks to Pastor Steve for this little assignment.

So, what would be on your list?

LINKING UP | Faith Barista // Missional Woman // The Jenny Evolution // Holy Splendor // Simple Moments Stick // My Freshly Brewed Life // Sandra Heska King // Click on over to read inspirational words written by women for women.

Take Stock in the Here and Now

We are one month into 2015. Thirty-three days of resolutions, one words, plans, and lists.  It’s a good time to take stock in the here and now.

And, the here and now is winter. Just when I was thinking spring was just around the corner with 70º degree weather, Mother Nature slapped us in the face with 8″ of snow this past weekend. Old Punxsutawney Phil spotted his shadow, so it’s official, another six long weeks until spring.

The term taking stock originates from ‘stock taking’ when farmers in the ye ‘ol days counted their stock, equipment, tools, etc. They took inventory of their assets. Taking stock can also mean assessing ones life to decide what to do next (which is what I think Phil is actually doing); or taking stock by counting ones blessings in life.

Taking Stock

I am pausing for a moment and taking stock in all the little blessings that may go unnoticed day-by-day.

Loving: Parker being so creative and sweet and thoughtful and silly and loving and…just wants to have a sewing day with mom only. I am cherishing this before she grows up and doesn’t think I am the coolest person to hang out with on a cold winter day.

Needing: An acupuncture treatment for dog allergies. Seriously.

Meeting: Friends at Starbucks to give blog advice and chat. Really, wonderful.

Creating & Sewing: Planning to sew new pillow cases. I have a long to-sew-list for 2015. But, before that I used Alex’s old t-shirts to make a few throw pillows (pictured above).

Link loving: #Create inspiration: Simply Me // My Art Journal // Oh Happy Day // Brave Girls Club

Watching: Alex playing basketball for the first time. I haven’t been this teary-eyed since she last competed at figure skating. Why do I do that? A good friend is her coach. So loving that, too.

Sharing: I am sharing a story for an e-book that a fellow blogger is working on. Lord willing there will be more news about that in the coming months. The Lord is blessing this woman in many ways!

Struggling: What do I write and do next? What is Your plan for me, Lord? I could use a clue right about now. Thanks so much. Amen.

Eating: More fruit in winter. And coffee.

Reading: My goal is to read one book a month. Check The Red Tent off the list. I highly recommend it, too. We are reading Junie B. Jones with Parker. We have read all of the book series with Alex, now it is Parker’s turn. And, I have started Gone Girl.

Planning: Alex’s 13th birthday celebration this week. She’ll officially be a teenager, even though I have been calling her a teen for the past six months.

So, what are you taking stock in?

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