Thursday, May 30, 2013

Every season, turn, turn, turn

Okay so I've been going through somewhat of a struggle... Just internal, no inspiration, no drive, just missing something.  You've all probably noticed because I haven't really had a lot to say before actually putting my hands down on the keyboard lately and I started a lot of these blogs with "I don't really know what to say... not sure what I'm gonna say today..." Thankfully, God eventually gives me something to say but I've missed the feeling of strength I used to have.This blog is different, it's a Saturday and I already am writing! I think the Lord actually has been speaking to me for a while I guess I just didn't really notice.. Now it's clear!

My Bible reading as of late has been, well, just that, reading... Nothing bad about reading, it's just not really what I would call encouraging, nothing really to help me through. This past week has been different, somehow it's all taken a turn and just seems like everything I've been reading has something for me, like the words on the page have been the Lord speaking directly to the struggle that I've been going through.  I have been taking a class that is teaching me how to study God's Word, how to get something out of it each and every time it is read but to be honest the week before last was not a great week for me, just life in general was busy with many excuses not to read or not to get up early or whatever... Monday (last week) I decided this was not how it was going to end, I would be connected to this, I would get up an hour early every morning and read God's Word, I would think about what I was reading not just get through, I would pray the Lord would speak to me through it, I would meditate on the meaning, I would re-commit. I chose to go with devotional style reading (I told you a few weeks ago about an APP which is also a book you can get at Walmart - it's cheaper as an app - "Jesus Calling..." It's just a short devotional every day with about 2 to 3 scriptures after the devotional  confirming what you've read; something I often do you here) I've gone back to "Jesus Calling" and added to it; instead of just reading the devotional with the Scripture references alone, I look up and read the Chapter of the reference verses in the King James Version...  It puts some context around the Scripture and I get to see if God is saying anything else to me for the day. (King James is preferred... There is actually a graph you can look up to see where King James Version comes from as opposed to other versions to see why I say it's preferred. As you know, I'm not against other versions, I am using them all the time but with King James as the base of truth because sometimes there is a little something missing from some of the other versions or something that can be expanded on via King James.)

The thing I've found surprising (and somehow while writing I realize I shouldn't be surprised at all) is God actually has quite a bit to say! I guess I'm just telling you guys this because I want you to know that no matter what you're going through, what other people know or maybe something you don't know that causes a battle of the mind, no matter what it is, no matter what you feel, no matter the questions and the doubts, no matter if you're ashamed of feeling the way you feel or having the questions you have,  stop the shame and realize that it can be turned into something good between you and God, it can turn into a lesson... Just keep doing what you know to be right and eventually the Lord will speak to you! I think that there's a level of commitment we all need and I am not in any way downplaying that, you do need to keep praying, reading the Bible, going to church and submitting your life to God, acting in the way you know you should as a Christian; what I'm saying is even when those commitments seem to make little difference we still must continue. Change can take a while, this thing that's been going on with me internally has been somewhere around a month which seems like a long time to me, you may have been through longer struggles but just know that if you continue in commitment and love and in the way you know is right, the Lord will bring you out and He will teach you with it! He'll never leave you discouraged, ever! He will always help, we just have to learn the Lord's timing is not our timing and we have to be content in the meantime. He will come through. We are now a generation of instant gratification, we wait for nothing, I've often said "the invention of the microwave was the ruin of patience" but we must learn to have patience when it comes to the Lord and realize that He's going to honor His Word, He will never forsake us but the Word also says there are seasons to everything. You may be waiting for a season and as we all know seasons are not a day or a week they are lengthy... Hopefully our seasons of question, concern, confusion or doubt, whatever internal struggle, are not as long as physical seasons but even if they are; use the physical seasons as encouragement... winter - at least in Canada - is four months and probably more like six months but we come out of it and spring comes along! Remind yourself of the seasons in your spiritual life and your walk with God, He's not gone, we just can't see the trees for the snow.

I want to encourage you and tell you "keep doing what you're doing! Keep following what you believe Jesus is teaching you with confirmation from the Bible! Don't step outside the lines of God's Word, just keep going! Keep moving forward with Him and you'll find that He's been there all along, just a little snow-covered maybe. Be encouraged, allow yourself to be lifted up and if you feel you need something from the Lord I encourage you to get that APP or book and try what I'm doing right now...  Sometimes the devotional is a little hard-hitting and God definitely uses it to prick your heart but he also uses it to mend and heal and restore you."  I guess this week is just all about telling you that all of us face struggles, questions and doubts and weeks where we're just sort of living, nothing new the Bible speaks of, and those seasons are nothing to be ashamed of! If you remember when I first started this blog it was because I was raised in a Christian home with an amazing heritage but I had doubts and questions, not doubts about God being real but about my relationship with him and if it was really for me or just for others.  I felt I had no one to talk to, I was embarrassed and ashamed, I didn't think I should have questions or doubts or anything like that, I thought I should be further along my journey with God... This blog was me committing that none of you would ever feel that way while reading these posts. So this week we are getting back to the basics of why I'm writing to you, I'm trying to let you know that there's someone out there, in ministry position, supposed to have it altogether who doesn't quite have it all together and still faces struggles, has questions, just like you. Someone who is embarrassed and ashamed sometimes just like you. The good news is we are part of the "normal crowd," the only reason there aren't more people in this crowd is because people embarrassed to talk about it but we need to share in our struggles and to help lift each other's burdens the Bible speaks to that!

I think maybe today we should end in prayer, I'm going to pray out loud and I encourage you to find a place where you can do the same even if it's just a whisper (I'm using a dictation APP this week seeing how that works out but so far I like it "Dragon Dictation" and so I'm praying out loud with you and for you.)

"Jesus we just want to say that no matter what is going on in our heads, in our lives right now, doubts are not removal of love, questions are not removal of commitment and we just want to renew our commitment to you. We need to make sure you know, God, that we love you no less than we did before and we take right now, this moment, to return to you, Lord. We just want to be your friend like Abraham, your sons and your daughters. We just want to serve you with our lives and make a difference in our world and with our family and friends. God, you told us to be salt and light to this Earth, to the people here, and that's what we want to be.  We ask that you help us. I ask that all of my friends who are reading and praying right now, that you would send a special encouragement to them, that you would comfort them with your Word, your Spirit is the comforter! God I pray right now that you would teach them through their questions, let them know that sometimes they have questions because you need to talk about those issues or topics and that it's actually a good thing, we just misinterpret sometimes. God, I ask that you would send more than the encouragement of these words, that you would send confirmation, as your Bible says these things shall follow those that believe. I pray that you would send special blessing and reward to these people and that you would show your glory and your presence in a strong way just like you did for Moses when you passed by. Let us know that you're here God, let us know that you're listening and you love us back because sometimes we forget the cross was your expression of love. Help us to be reminded that you were lavishing your presence on us, that you were giving us everything we would ever need in one moment of time, that you would give your last breath for us, that you would be punished for us, that you would take shame for us so that we would not need to feel it. We just glorify your name because you are so good to us! You are great and almighty, all-powerful and we can't even understand the blessing we have because we know you or because we're getting to know you! Thank you for reaching through a blog post or friends speaking your word and for continuing to reach for our hearts! God, I just pray that you would be glorified in our lives, that we would be salt and light to the people around us and that we would understand that even our walk with you has seasons and sometimes those seasons are not the best, sometimes they are winter or rainy days but that you are with us through it all and we are still meant to reach for people and be your hands and your feet and your lips and to just love because you love us! I take right now to say that I love you, you are great, you are my best friend and you've been my father! I lift you up and magnify your name because it is the only name that is worthy, that is good and that can make a difference in any life! Amen!"

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Demolition: it's Hammer Time!

Hey guys, a bit later tonight because it's getting crazy busy at work for the summer and we just ordered lunch in today so I didn't even get to write or post...
Of course now I have M C Hammer playing in my mind... yikes! I did, however, get a chance to look out the window at an old apartment building being demolished... It was quite interesting I must say, not sure why exactly, maybe because it happened waaaaay faster than I thought.  My co-worker was surprised they didn't just fix it up or something but hey, if its going to cost more to fix than rebuild or if you're just building on a rotting foundation it's tear down time... It's hammer time!

And there it is, tonight's topic... Is it time for a demolition in your life?  What kind of foundations are you building relationships, mind sets, career, family, spirituality, etc on? Is it going to cost too much to "fix it up?"  I know demolition in life is a bit more difficult, we have to admit we were wrong, the initial build wasn't taken care of properly or we didn't build it to code... Nevertheless, we have to be smart about all of this and we have to put what we want immediately aside in order to have what we need ultimately.  I know it's not necessarily popular to admit to such prudent, grown-up thought patterns but its something we all need to think about in every area of our lives... If you're building on an unstable foundation you're just wasting your time and energy on something that will eventually fall in on you.

Tonight I'm not going to even attempt to tell you what you need to tear down but I am going to tell you to do it! If it needs to be done don't be embarrassed, don't procrastinate and don't be afraid! If you've been wrong admit it to yourself and others if necessary but not without a planned out path of solution... It will be step by step but you can rebuild and it will be better than before. Some of us will most likely already know something that needs to be demolished but maybe there's more than one thing, or maybe you're not entirely sure what it is, pray about it! Remember God is the master potter, we are the clay and he can see what parts have cracks, he will lead you to what pieces of your life need to be rebuilt and best of all he will be there to help you throughout the whole thing!  Don't worry about what others think, some things are too important to worry about people pleasing... The hardest decisions of my life have been made difficult mostly because of worry for others but I've found eventually those decisions are made for us and if it's the latter it's always more difficult and hurtful than had we followed what we knew to be right in the first place, usually we end with dust in our hands when if we would have just demolished and rebuilt in the first place we would have something stronger and new! It's hammer time!

So what is it? What's that one thing you've held so tightly to that is just no longer stable? What have you procrastinated doing long enough that it's become a run down, creaky, shadow of what it was supposed to be? It's not to late to save it! Just admit where you've gone wrong, demolish what's no longer good and strong and rebuild a new, beautiful, safe, inspiring area of life! It's hammer time!

"...I will give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes. I will give them the oil of joy instead of sorrow, and a spirit of praise instead of a spirit of no hope. Then they will be called oaks that are right with God, planted by the Lord, that He may be honored." Isaiah 61:3

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sick Me and Busy Bees

Hi honey bees! Ugh, I'm sick :o( Boo! And you all better start praying because I'm supposed to sing all weekend at Youth Convention in Saint John, NB... As of today I have no high register at all... "Aaaauuuwhhh Help me Lord!" (Shout out there to "God's Grace" Rev. Jack Leaman's message a few weeks ago. If you didn't see it here's the link!)  Anyway.... I didn't know what to write this week (maybe I'm in a rut because I feel like that's what I've been saying at the beginning of each post for months now..) all I honestly want to do is sleep, whine, sleep and take all the meds I can... And probably whine some more (I'm doing well with that in this first paragraph, actually.) But I'm sure you all don't need or desire to hear more whining than you already have in your lives.

Since all I've been thinking about this week is how much I hate being sick, how much I hate not having a voice and how I wish I could just go out but getting ready is enough to make me need a nap these days... I mean, I would do anything, take anything I don't like just to get this sore throat better! Sickness is all I have to write about.  But here's the thing that grabbed my attention: I probably needed the rest I'm now getting long before I actually caught this bug... I probably needed to eat a little more regularly and healthy... I probably could have used a slow down.  But none of us like that, am I right? We all like the buzz of the busy life, forgetting to eat a meal or only having time for drive-thru just means you're committed and getting lots of other things accomplished and really, we can function on 6 hours sleep... For a while...

And here's where it gets close to home, why do we always wait until we are ill before resting and taking care of ourselves, making sure we get all that rest, those nutrients and taking the time out for a nap here and there?  How dumb is that?  And don't we tell others, young moms, workaholics to just take a break, slow all that down and take a minute to consider themselves..  Because, after all, it doesn't take a genius to see that never considering yourself gets you a long way down the path of ware before it's ever really noticed. 

So I just have one question, do we do the same thing spiritually?  Have you poured yourself out every day and are you only taking the time to "eat" on Sunday's?  How far down that rabbit trail of apathy are you when it comes to your relationship with Christ?  Are you so busy working for the kingdom that you've forgot to be a part of it?  Martha was busy working for Christ but Mary took the time out to commune at His feet and the Bible says Mary chose the "good part" that would not be taken away from her. (Luke 10: 38-42)  And that's really it for us, this weeks thought and challenge is just to take some time for yourself and Christ... It's okay to minister to others but you have to make sure you're not getting sick in the meantime... If you're pouring our more than you're taking in it will catch up with you.  So, this weekend, tonight, whenever you can take some time to catch up on some spiritual rest, take some time from the busy and just be with Him, instead of ministering to others let Him minister to you and get you healthy!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Eat This Book... And a Cuppycake!

Hi Honeys! Sorry I abandoned you all last week, I was swamped and not home... I decorated for a Mother Daughter breakfast for 3 days! Then Friday at about 10pm when I was home I had family visiting. But I was thinking of you all and hoping you would find an older post to read! 

Speaking of reading, I have revamped my reading habits and I wanted to encourage you all to try it too!  I am a night reader, you know, crawl into bed, exhausted and just trying to use reading to sloe my mind down to rest... But reading that way I miss a lot and sometimes don't get as much reading in as I would like... I won't stop my night reading but I think I will make that read a "lighter" one... And I've switched my important reading to the morning... Yes folks I'm getting up an hour early every morning and "eating the book!" (Please keep your shock silent lest you offend me haha!)

I have been taking a class and reading a book about "how to read" and the fact that you're not really supposed to just "read" but "eat," you know, really pay attention, digest and meditate on what you're reading.  One part of the syllabus for the class speaks of four levels of understanding and it's so cool how the knowledge of the four levels helps you find a deeper connection with the words you intake! I have friends who always read with a pen and maybe a notebook and I've always thought they were nuts but I think I've crossed over... Sometimes I read with my iPad but I still have a notebook to transfer even those notes into because there's just something about writing things out that gets them in your head and heart.

So, I'm taking this blog post only to encourage all of you to give it a try, you don't necessarily need a class, I have posted a link below to the blog of the "Eat this Book" and you can order the syllabus for $20.00 plus it comes with a free journal and bookmark. The book it's about and the book I am reading is the Bible (the class only has you reading 3 easy books of the Bible so no worries.) If you believe in the Bible and would just like deeper understanding of it and for it to effect your life like you hear it effects others, if you want to grow your love for the Book then I truly believe this is how! (I know I sound like a commercial right now and I do want to make sure you know I am gaining nothing from this syllabus sales - in fact, the author is giving profit to missions as well - I just am so passionate because of the change I've seen in my own life so quickly that I really want everyone I know to be able to experience the same thing!) I can honestly promise if you try this and treat it with sincerity, committing to the twenty one days it takes to get through it, your life will be changed for the better... And that's what we are all after anyway, right? Better life.