Sunday, September 30, 2012

My trip into the woods...

Do you like to go venturing into the woods? Whenever you go hiking, do you take anything with you? Walking stick? Water bottle? Boots? Bring a flashlight, if it's dark?  In my experience, I have found that when you go venturing into the woods you must be prepared for opposition.
 
For instance, one day when I was about 10, I  ventured into the woods (actually, my backyard, but it might as well be the woods, since we have land in the country) and stepped on a nail. It wouldn't have been so bad if I wasn't wearing sandals which allowed the nail to go all the way through the sole and into my foot. Not a good feeling. I then realized that I must be prepared and wear more appropriate shoes when I go on my little "adventures". You think that sounds silly? Just wait. Another time, right after we moved to the country, I decided to go "roam" my backyard (aka the woods) and pretend I was in an "enchanted forest" (I was eight and imaginative haha ). As I was searching the "enchanted forest", I decided to hang from this tree like a swing. Little did I know, the tree was dead. Next thing I knew, I was laid out on the ground with my head on a stump, a tree on my face (lovely image, huh?), and blood on my fingers. Yes, I faced opposition with a dead tree. If I was prepared for my "enchanted forest" adventure, I would have learned what a dead tree looked like...but obviously, I didn't. Now, I know.  Those two stories aren't the only interesting experiences I have up my sleeve, but it's obvious I have definitely faced opposition in the outdoors. All silliness aside, my main point is that we must be prepared to face opposition in many aspects of our lives.
 
If you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, I'm sure you've faced a ton of opposition. Today I heard an awesome sermon about facing opposition as believers. Of course, as believers, we are extremely blessed with the gift of salvation and that is the best gift anyone can recieve. However, the Bible tells us many times that followers of Christ should expect opposition. Jesus said, "No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also" (John 15:20)..... "All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved" (Mark 13:13).... "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first" (John 15:18). Jesus has made it clear that even though we may follow Him, it doesn't mean we won't face opposition.
 
We face opposition because we live in a sinful world. Sin is all around us. Satan is at work. He wants to keep everyone away from Christ and the eternal life that He so freely gives.  Satan tries to work through oppositions of sickness, death, financial, divorce, fear, rejection, guilt, broken relationships, failure and more.   In John 10:10, Jesus says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
 
This may sound discouraging and not like something you want to be a part of, but wait, before you click off of this blog, please keep reading! There is good news! God doesn't want the opposition to take us out. He is here to help us. He can prepare us for the opposition that is to come, but most importantly, He can help us overcome the opposition that we face.
 
The first way God prepares us to face the opposition is by faith. Pastor Nathan said, "Faith equips us to stand in the face of opposition and to do it well." Today's scripture was Hebrews 11:23-31 and it explains many instances when people faced opposition but overcame it with faith. Verses 26-27 say, " He (Moses) regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.  By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. " Although Moses knew he was going to get in big trouble by the world, he knew he was going to get a gold star from God, because he acted in faith. He looked "ahead to his reward" and "persevered because he saw him who is invisible"....aka he had FAITH! Moses gained strength to get through the persecution of the world because of his faith in God's will.
 
The second way God helps us get through the opposition is by a wonderful reminder. Pastor Nathan explained..."He reminds you that even though you feel like you're losing...faith says, "you win." Hebrews 11:40 says, " since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect." For all the opposition we face, it is worth it! 2 Corinthians 4:17 says, "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." 1 Peter 4:13 says, "Rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." 1 Peter 2:20 says, "If you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God."
 
So if you are facing opposition right now, hold onto your faith. Grasp it. Embrace it. Realize that it will not last forever. If you aren't facing opposition right now, get prepared (just like you get prepared to go hiking)! Read God's Word. Have an accountability partner. Serve. Grow stronger in your faith because that is what is going to get you through it.
 
 Thankfully, because of God's grace and mercy, He sent his perfect son, Jesus Christ, to be crucified for our sins...for anyone who would believe in Him. What's even better is that Jesus was resurrected from the dead to prove that death has no power over our lives. Then when Jesus comes back to take His followers to His heavenly, eternal kingdom, we will no longer face opposition.
The opposition is worth it.
Hold on and look forward to the reward of eternal life that Jesus Christ has given us.
 



Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hold your horses!

I have a problem. Maybe you have the same problem. Patience. Ugh. Isn't that just a lovely word? I know I've talked about this before, but it's just been on my mind all day today so I figured I should probably share. Obviously, I haven't conquered the problem of patience just yet, but I'm still working on it. So I'm going to guess that there is a big chance that many of you struggle with this problem of patience. You want to know why I guess this?

You get a text and have to respond immediately. You start a task at work and you have to finish it asap. You go to the doctor and you get agitated when they don't call you in at the time of your appointment. You go to McDonald's and you expect to have your food right when you get to the pick up window but the new guy is making your burger so it's taking longer than usual . You are in traffic and want to scream with frustration (maybe you do) because you want to get home immediately

I could list more examples of when we do not have patience. Part of it I think is our fault, but I think society also plays a part. Our society is not the waiting type, it's the NOW type. "I want it and I want it NOW!" I don't know about you but I've definitely said that phrase and thought it multiple times. Now that I think about it, I realize how childish it is to be so demanding. There are going to be times when you don't get what you want or you don't get it when you want it. That's just how life is. 

Today I was reading my Bible and it dawned on me that God truly is a God of patience. That might scary to think about, since we aren't patient often. However, it should be a comforting thought. God grows us through patience. Think about Noah and the flood. He had to wait after a year until he could get out of the ark (Can you imagine?!). Abraham also had to be patient. God promised that he would be a father of many nations, but Sarah couldn't get pregnant at the time. Because of Abraham's faithfulness and patience, he waited until he was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 years old to have his son, Isaac. Hebrews 6:15 says, "And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised." Job also was an example of how God blesses people through patience. The book of Job isn't the most joyful book in the Bible (that's my opinion of course) because it tells the story of how God let the devil take everything away from Job, but because Job knew that God had a plan for him, he waited patiently.  In fact, God rewarded him. Job 42:10 says, "After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before."

See, it's clear that patience is important.
 It may not be fun during the waiting period, but in the end it can grow us. 
God is patient with us, so we should be patient with Him. 
He waited for us to open our eyes to His truth, so lets wait for His plan to play out. 

When you start getting impatient, remember that it's in God's time, not yours. He blesses those who wait for His will.

Hebrews 6:12- We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

Galations 6:9- Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

This is the song that came to mind when I was writing this...check it out!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Got faith?

 
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (NASB), Hebrews 11:1, is the verse I'm memorizing this week. Read that again and think about it for a second. I think a lot of times we read things and don't take the time to really sit and figure it out what it means. When it comes to the Bible, we for sure don't want to miss out on the meaning! My college minister always encouraged us to refer back to the Bible's purest translation, the Hebrew and Greek language. Taking his advice, I decided to share with you the Greek translation of this verse. I've never taken a Greek class (I hope to one day), but www.blueletterbible.org helps me out a lot. So if you're ever intrested in finding the Greek translation, check out www.blueletterbible.org. This is what I use and it gives lots of good information.

Pistis is the greek word for faith which means "the conviction of truth of anything" or "belief".
Assurance, in the greek language, is hypostasis which means "that which has foundation, is firm" and "a substance, real being."
Finally, elegchos is the greek word for conviction which means "a proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested."

So if I am translating it correctly, it means our belief is our firm foundation of what we hope for and the proof of things we can't see. Our beliefs should be our foundation for our lives even if we cannot physically see them. My belief in God (something not seen) is my firm foundation for my life which then becomes proof that it is true.

I love how The Message interprets Hebrews 11:1 as, "The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see."

Here are a few things that I put my faith in...
I have faith that God has healed me. (Isaiah 53:5)
I have faith that God will never leave me. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
I have faith that God is strong, when I am weak. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
I have faith that God created me for a purpose. (Jeremiah 29:11)
I have faith that God loves me with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)

All this talk about faith leads me to ask...
what do you believe in? What do you put your faith in?
Also, if you are memorizing scripture with me, it's time to pick out a new verse! 
I would love to hear what you put your faith in and the verse you are memorizing!
 
Check out this song...it's one of my favorites!
 
 

Monday, September 24, 2012

No more short cuts

My dad and I were driving back from my doctor's appointment today, when nature called so we saw a gas station in the distance and decided to stop there. Since we were in a hurry, we decided to turn right instead of waiting for the light turn. Long story short, we thought we knew a short cut, but we didn't. Trying to outsmart the stoplight only got us in trouble. If we would have just waited for the light to turn green, we would have been at the gas station sooner.
 
This little mishap made me think of when God lights a path for us to take and instead, we often take another path. God opens all these doors for us and we choose to close them so that we can open our own door. When that happens we can't blame God for the trials we've faced, because we ignored God's guidance in the first place.
 
In many ways God shows us which path to take, whether it be from reading the Bible, prayer, counsel and more. Psalm 119:105 says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Because we are selfish, there are times when we see His path and decide that our path is better than His. That's where we get in trouble. His path is better than our's. No matter what. From the distance, His path may look scary or boring or challenging, but it always ends up better than we can imagine. When we know what is right and decide to choose wrong for whatever reason, it gets us into a mess. James 4:17 says, "Anyone, then, who knows the good ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." We fall into temptation. It may feel good and right at the time, but it will catch up to us. We start getting caught up in all the world's desires and lose sight of God.
 
That's not the end of the story though. God never gives up on us even when we start to ignore his guidance. He is always there waiting for us to wake up and see the light. He sends his Holy Spirit to get us back in check. Our job is to recognize it. Once we recognize that we chose the wrong path, God shows us how we can get back on the right path. 2 Samuel 22:29 says, "You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light."  He gives us a new start and guides us back to where we're suppsosed to be. Proverbs 3:6 says, "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."
 
When God lights the way for us, we need to follow it instead of ignoring it. We should obey Him instead, of trying to "outsmart" him because it never works. We have to open our eyes, ears, and heart so that we can find the path God wants us to follow. Don't blame God if you aren't following His path. His path is better than ours.
 
Check out this video...it's so true!
 
 
 






Saturday, September 22, 2012

Clueless, overwhelmed & excited

Have you ever been truly excited about the future instead of scared?
What about being content with being clueless?
Positively overwhelmed instead of negatively overwhelmed?
 Well, that's where I am...at the crossroads of being positively overwhelmed and excited.

It has now been nine months since I have been unable to work. These nine months have been filled with struggle, courage, sadness, happiness, pain, anxiety, contentment, reflection, and growth. Put all of that together and you get overwhelming. It may not sound like a piece of cake (which it hasn't been), but overall, it has been pretty amazing to see what God has done the past nine months.

There were times when I wanted to give up, but God was there holding me up.
There were times when I have felt lonely, but God always opened my eyes to see that He never leaves my side.
There were times when I was scared, but God showed me that there is hope.
There were times when I was confused, but God made it clear.
There were times when I was hurt, but God bandaged me up.

Obviously, it has been a pretty overwhelming time, but the past few weeks it has been especially overwhelming...in a good way. I'm not saying it has been perfect, because it has been tough. However, I have seen God move so much lately.

He has overwhelmed me with ideas of how He can use me. 
He has overwhelmed me with the love and encouragment of people, including strangers!
He has overwhelmed me with the joy that comes from serving.
 He has overwhelmed me with His timing and how He truly connects people together.
Needless to say, this is my kind of state of being overwhelmed.

For once in my life, I have no clue what I want to do as a career, who I'm going to marry, where I'm going to be in 10 years and so on...usually this would freak me out, but it doesn't! Crazy, I know, especially since I like everything planned out. You're probably wondering, "why are you okay with this?" I'm content because I know God has it under control. The past 9 months has clearly shown me that God has it under control. He's working everything out and I'm stoked!! He has healed me and transformed in me in so many ways. I know He is going to continue to challenge and work on me, because I'm far from perfect. Knowing that the creator of the universe has a plan for my life, gives me peace that being clueless is okay!

If you're clueless, overwhelmed, anxious, seek God. His promises and teachings will give you hope and courage to live out His will for your life. When God is at the center of your life, everything else falls into place. Then you are able to glorify God with the amazing testimony He has given you.

I'm gonna go back to Jeremiah 29:11 once again (because it's awesome!), "For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future!"

Don't forget to memorize a verse this week! Find an accountability partner to encourage you or let me know and I'd be glad to help!




Thursday, September 20, 2012

Holding your word close


Some of you may know that I started volunteering for a kids bible verse memory program. Since I'm unable to work, I figure this is a great time to do some volunteering. This program is just 2 hours a week so I figured I could handle it. Anyway, I missed the first week because of my herxing but I was able to make it last night. Yay!! 

My duty for this program is to listen to 3 year olds recite bible verses (I think it's the cutest thing EVER) and give them snacks. I thought it might be difficult to get them to say the verse, but surprisingly, probably 80% knew the verse by heart. I was impressed! My job is pretty simple..ask them to say their verse, affirm them, and give them a sticker! They were just precious. Kids definitely know how to put a smile on my face especially when they talk about Jesus. I don't think anything gets better than that. 

I think this program is wonderful because it helps kids treasure God's word in their hearts. My college minister always encouraged us to memorize scripture (I admit, I've been slacking :/). The bible tells us many times that we should guard God's word within us so that it can help us be witnesses and remind us of God's promises. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training righteousness." Psalm 119:9 says, "How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word." My favorite, Colossians 3:16, says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God." When we let His word dwell in our hearts, we have a constant reminder of His love, grace, and guidance to live out our lives they way He intends us to live. I was reminded a few days ago by a friend/mentor how memorizing scripture can encourage others and be a shield to protect us. She prayed over me, recited scripture, and it was such a blessing to me. She didn't need her bible to tell me the word of God...it dwelled in her. It was such great encouragement for me to be more proactive in truly learning God's word and guarding it in my heart. She suggested that if I memorize a promise each week, I can say it when I'm anxious and God will give me peace and reassurance. I thought that sounded like a pretty good idea!

My verse that I'm memorizing is Psalm 91:2. "I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in him will I trust." 
So my challenge for you is to pick a bible verse for this week and memorize it. You can even use my verse! Recite it. Guard it. Use it. God's word is truth. Nothing is better than speaking God's truth because it grants us peace, confidence, and guidance.

What verse will YOU be memorizing? 

PS- you know what one of the most popular phrases I heard last night? "I wanna be line leader! I wanna be line leader!" Haha...if you read my last blog you would understand the irony. 


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Get behind the line leader!"

You remember when you were a kid in school and the teacher would say, "get in line!" What was the best part of getting in a line? Being the line leader, of course! Whenever we would get in line, there would usually always be a race to be the line leader (if the teacher didn't assign line leaders). Now that I think about it, what is so cool about being a line leader anyway?! I guess it's because we are humans and even when we are kids, we like to be in control...go figure. 

If I wasn't line leader, I always hoped to be closest to the front. You want to know why? I remember the first time I got in trouble at school was in 3rd grade and  I was in the back of the line (aka "caboose" the teacher would call it, to make us feel better...it never worked for me).  Anyway, I was talking to little Tommy and we all know, you're not supposed to talk in the hallway, right? Well my teacher heard me chatting away and as a consequence I had to pull a marker (in front of all my classmates) and let me tell you, I thought the world was ending. So ever since that life changing moment (well, maybe not life changing), I decided that it is less tempting to talk or misbehave when you're closest to the line leader.

So while I was having my quiet time, reading my bible and listening to music (Audrey Asssad, of course!) I realized that we aren't meant to be line leaders. Line leaders are supposed to be responsible and know where to go and how to get there. Let's face it, we aren't always good at those three things. I'm irresponsible at times...I don't always know where to go and I definitely don't know how to get there. You want to know my solution? I step back. Let Jesus lead and realize that He is my line leader. 

In order to follow Jesus like a good follower, I must stay towards the front of the line, preferably right behind Him. The farther back that I'm in line, the more I lose sight of Him. We are more likely to be tempted to do things we shouldn't and that leads us to discipline (like pulling a marker...or worse, and that's no fun, trust me!)  Line leaders lead us to our destination and set an example for us along the way. Who better to lead us, than Jesus?! He sets the example. He knows where to go. He knows how to get there. He knows how to act along the way. He set the example of patience, true love, forgiveness, acceptance, service, humility and many, many other attributes. 

Jesus told his disciples (and us), "Whoever wants to be my disciple, must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me" (Matthew 16:24). John 8:12 says, "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” There are many other verses about how Jesus is to be our example...our line leader, but these show that we can't go wrong when we follow him.

Let's have the mindset of Audrey Assad's song, "No Turning Back".... "I'm following behind you. I'm staying close beside you. I've got nothing to lose and I've got everything to find."  So step back and let Jesus lead you. He knows the way. 

Check out one of my favorite songs...



Monday, September 17, 2012

Dream BIG

Sorry, it's been a little while since I posted. The past few days have been really tough, but I got the strength and mind power up enough to post today. Here is my my most recent project. It still needs some finishing touches, but it's pretty much done. This was an experiement canvas art project that didn't turn into what I was thinking at all, but that's okay. It kind of looks like it would be in a nursery, but it's whatever...it inspired me to blog!
 
You know when you were a kid, everyone used to tell you reach for the stars? As you grew up, you probably lost sight of your "stars" for one reason or another. I know I've had many, many dreams. Some were a little far fetched and now that I'm older, I realize.."eh, that's probably not realistic", but I have other dreams that seem to be more doable. I think as we grow older we can get discouraged or distracted from living out our dreams. Since I've had so much free time the past 8 months, I've had to time to really think about the things I want to do. In fact, I have a pretty big bucket list board on Pinterest..haha. Try and live out your dreams. Weigh your options and figure out what is more important to you. Most importantly, realize that God has great plans for you and even if you don't reach some, He will give you the strength to accomplish bigger and better dreams.
 
Isaiah 55:9 says, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Trust that when your dreams don't flourish, that His ways are so much better than yours, as long as you follow His lead. Lastly, don't be discouraged. Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
 
So don't give up just yet on your dreams. Trust that God will strengthen you to reach them or put bigger and better dreams in front of you!
 
Question of the day: What is a dream of yours? How are you going to accomplish it?
 
 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Waiting for the storm to pass...


Yesterday morning, I was sitting in my sister's screened in porch and I noticed something different...the sky was divided. One side, bright sunshine...one side, raining. A clear line divided the two. I've never seen that before!

This made me think. It made me think how we all have times of sunshine and times of storm. Often, sunshine is linked to happiness and storms are referred too as bad times. 

Reality of it is, we will never experience sunshine 24/7 nor we will experience storms 24/7 (yay!). The weather is always changing. It's always moving. Let's step away from the literal thought and relate it to our actual lives. 

I'm sure you have a faced a "storm" or two in your life, right? I know I have. So what do you do when it's storming? Do you hide under a blanket and wait for it to pass? Do you do something about it? 

Just like if we were to face an "actual" storm for days, it's often hard to get everything we need to do, done. We may face some challenges like slower traffic on our way to work, football games cancelled, power outages...and more. When these difficult things happen, do our lives stop? No. They continue. It may be hard...it may not be enjoyable..it may change our plans, but life keeps going and the sun always comes out. 

Instead of shutting down when a storm comes our way, we have to continue to trust in God. We can't throw in the towel. We have to remember that His mercies are new each morning. Lamentations 3:23 says, "Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning." 

Instead of giving up, find the good in the storm. Just like in an "actual" rainstorm, it may push us to slow down. I don't know about you, but I love to cuddle up on the couch with a book during a storm. Rainstorms can force us to slow down from our busy lives and rest (which is a good thing!). Also, rainstorms nourish the land. So just like an "actual" storm, we should let our "spiritual storms" grow us too. It may not be our ideal experience, but God wants every season in our lives to bring us closer to Him. Use God as your safe place. Deuteronomy 33:27 says, "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." 

Be thankful for the storms because they grow you and be thankful for the sun because it strengthens you for the next rainstorm. Be thankful at all times for there is a season for everything. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

What helps you get through the storms in your life? 


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Heart broken


Your Story:
"You've been let down, it's true
Your
pain is so easy to see
You're haunted by your history
And it feels like you've got no escape

Your life left you high and dry
You used to be sure of yourself
But then your whole world went to hell
And tomorrow looks just like today

So, you lie on your bed, you won't let the morning come in
And you hide in your room, feeding that fear and it's killing you....

His Story:
I miss the life in your eyes
The home that I found in your arms
And now you don't know who you are
But I won't give up on you

You lie on your bed, you won't let the morning come in
And you hide in your room, feeding that fear and it's killing you
Don't you know
That it's killing me too, cause your heart break is breaking you

And you lost your fire
And your flame's gone out
And your down on your knees
Cause your life is not what you thought it would be

Lift up your head
Help is on the way
And it won't pass you by
You just gotta reach out your hand
Lift up your eyes
Love is on the way
And it won't pass you by
You just gotta reach out your hand

Go on and lift up your head
Because love is on it's way
And it won't pass you by
You've just gotta reach out your hand."

What you just read were the lyrics to "Breaking You" by Audrey Assad. Could you relate to the top story?  If that's your story, God wants you to know something...
He is with you.
No matter what you've done or what your history is...drugs, alcohol, sex, regrets, whatever is "feeding your fear" and guilt,
He is NOT giving up on you.
He hates to see you this way.
He wants you to open your eyes & heart to Him.
He wants you to trust in Him.
He wants you to ask for help.
He wants to help you.
He wants to give you life.

I hope and pray that this was encouragement to "lift up your head" and "reach out your hand". His hand is there and He's waiting for you to grab hold. God doesn't want you to go through this alone. Trust me, you won't get any sense of relief or peace unless you open up to God. There was a time when all I did was lay in bed and hid because of fear, but when I reached out to God, my life was transformed. If you need prayer, please let me know! I would love to pray for you. Check out the video for the song!

 




 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

You give me fever

Haha you think someone is giving me fever, huh? Nope, you're wrong, BUT I do have a fever! Yay!

You're probably wondering why I'm excited about having fever. Well, I'll tell you why...

If you didn't know, I have Lyme Disease and I'm going through treatment right now. Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection caused by ticks. I struggled with health problems for about 8 years and doctors could never give me a reason why, until I found a doctor who thought to test me and sure enough, I tested positive! Because the infection has been in my body for so long, treatment can be rough and last quite awhile since the bacteria has embedded my tissues and organs. 

Like I said, treatment is rough. I take multiple antibiotics and tons (TONS) of supplements. Last night, I had a major herx. Yes, I said herx. You probably don't know what that is so I will gladly explain. Herx stands for a Herxheimer reaction which happens when an antibiotic is killing off spirochete bacteria and toxins are then released which causes intensified symptoms or new symptoms. This is why all my fellow Lyme patients say, "you have to get worse before you get better." Well, I say BOO to that!  So anyway, I was feeling ROUGH. My knees...my back...my neck...well, my whole body was killing me. I started having chills and then feeling hot so I checked my temperature and it was...100.3!! That may not be high to you, but it's HIGH for me. Lyme patients either have HIGH temperatures or very LOW temperatures (that's me!) My body temperature ranges from (94-97). So when I looked at the thermometer, I almost fell over. I've never been so excited about fever even though I felt terrible. Fever shows that our body is fighting off infection. So of course I'm excited! It's killing the bacteria! Wohoo!

That was your Lyme Disease lecture for the day. Now I'm going back to bed to try and work off this herx. I hope you are having a great day! 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Have a BIG decision to make?

We all make decisions. We make decisions constantly. You made the decision to read this blog entry. We make little decisions, big decisions, irrelevant decisions, and important decisions. We are decision makers 24/7.
 We must be pros at decision making, but are we?

I don't know about you, but I've definitely had problems in the decision making department. If you are close to me, you know this to be true and you're probably say something to the effect of, "boy ain't that the truth!" I'm sorry guys, that it takes me 30 minutes to make a decision, but in every relationship there is a "decision maker" and a "decision maker-follower"...I'm the latter, so know this, I would be lost without you!

You're probably thinking, "Chelsea, you are 22 year old, college graduate. You should be able to make your own decisions." I know. I'm an adult now. I must make my own decisions. So lately, I've been working on the decision making. Not the small, irrelevant decisions like McDonald's or Burger King (I skipped those...because I'm brave like that... haha) but the BIG, important decision making. Decisions that can affect our walk with God. Well, do you want to hear my secret?

A lot of times we make earthly decisions for heavenly matters. Let that sink in.
 
What's wrong with that statement? Earthly and heavenly don't match up. We can't make stupid, impulsive decisions and expect for our walk with God to be strengthened. Of course, God can bring good out of the bad, but we can't go making unwise decisions and be waiting on a great outcome. For example:
  • A woman can't marry a guy just because he is good looking and assume it will be a blessed marriage. This is a heavenly matter, because God calls the husband to be a spiritual leader to his wife. Just because he's cute, doesn't mean he is going to be a spiritual leader for his wife. And vice versa. A wife is called to encourage and serve her husband.
  • A man can't accept a job, just because it will satisfy his hunger and love for money and expect that he will be blessed. This is a heavenly matter, because we should work  according to God's call despite how much money we make.
 
Here are my secrets to good decision making skills:
1. Pray/Read Bible - pray for discernment, open mind, & obedience in God's will.
2. Seek counsel - Find someone who has your best interest in mind, knows you well & preferbly, a Godly mentor.
3. Pray again. Never hurts to pray. Pray for open doors & closed doors.
4. Wait. Don't expect an answer right away. Decide when you feel at peace with a decision. If you are still worried/anxious when you make the decision, you might want to do some more praying.
5. Pray for discernment of time/how and courage to make decision.
6. Make decision!
 
Psalm 119:115 - Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
Proverbs 15:22 - Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
Romans 8:28 - And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Hebrews 11:6 - And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart;do not depend on your own understanding.Seek his will in all you do,and he will show you which path to take.
 
So what's your big decision to make? 
I pray that you make a heavenly one!
 
Don't forget your 30 minute fast of your possession! Let me know how it goes! I fasted from mine and got this blog out of it! Funny how God works ;)
 


 
 



Sunday, September 9, 2012

Are YOU possessed?



It's that time of the week again..."Sunday's Sermon Notes"!
 
No, silly, I did not mean possessed that way...let me rephrase....
are you possessed by your possessions?
In other words, does your stuff take over your life?
Don't worry, you don't have to tell me your answer.
Think about it for a minute or two.
 
Here are a couple more questions:
Look around you, are you surrounded by stuff?
Do you find yourself buying stuff often?
Why do you buy stuff?
(By the way, my definition of stuff are things that aren't really essential to live.)
 
Pastor Barry talked a lot about stuff today. He related his sermon to King Solomon, the son of David and a philosopher who lived before the time of Christ.
We find in the book of Ecclesiastes that King Solomon has a lot of stuff. He had tons of concubines, slaves, irrigation systems, all sorts of the "cool" stuff back then. He was always wanting more, because something was missing from his life...
Joy. Happiness. Peace. True love.
 
Pause-I've got another question for ya.
Do you feel like you're missing something in life?
Well just like Solomon, when we feel like our life is incomplete or we aren't content,
we seek to to find something to fill it. Most of the time, we fill it with stuff.
 
The latest, biggest tv we want....because our's isn't big enough.
The latest, smartest phone...because our's isn't "smart" enough.
The latest, eco-friendly car...because our's isn't "eco-friendly" enough.
The list could go on. And on.
 
We may not realize it, but we our filling our lives with stuff that does not bring us true happiness. If it did, why do we always have to upgrade?
Or why do we have garage sales to sell our old stuff to get new stuff?
Obviously, we aren't content enough.
 
King Solomon shows us that every material thing holds no meaning. It took him awhile to realize that true joy does not come from the latest, greatest thing, but it comes from having a relationship with God.
 
Pastor Barry said, "God does not keep score on how much stuff you have." He continued to say, "If you think God loves you more because you have more stuff" you're wrong. God does not care if you drive a Mercedes, own an iPhone, or have a 3 story house.
 
I have been involved in a homeless ministry and have been amazed at how happy the people are. They have nothing. Zilch. Nada. Yet they are praising God for their lives. They are thankful. I wonder why...their lives aren't possessed by possessions.
They have time with God! They have time to take in their surroundings, talk to God, and most importantly, listen to God.
 
We find true joy when we are in a devoted relationship with God. No matter how much stuff you own, know this, it does not give you joy. It's much cheaper and richer (at the same time!) to be in relationship with God, than spending money on stuff that is never going to satisfy you.
 
Hebrews 13:5 says, " Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Philippians 4:19 says, "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." It is clear from scripture that all we need is God."
 
Challenge for the week: turn off or get away from your favorite possession (stuff) for at least 30 minutes and read your Bible, pray, or sing worship music.
What are you going to give up to work on your relationship with God?
Let me know how it goes!
 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Living in a birdcage

If you could be an animal, what would you be? Okay...think about it & we'll get back to that in a bit... So I don't know if Labor Day kicked my butt or what, but I have been totally beat the past few days. However, I've been a good patient...trust me! I didn't even need anyone to tell me to stop and take a break! In fact, I did a small craft project this morning and took quite a few breaks! Yay me!

So my project today is designed to match this project (below-sorry it's a little blurry) I did a couple of weeks ago for my mom's kitchen.



With that in mind, this was today's project.


Did you pick out the theme of both projects? Birds...freedom...you might say? Ding ding ding, you're correct...for both! I picked the first verse (2 Corinthians 3:17) because I like it and I'll be honest..I saw it on Pinterest. It was perfect for our kitchen because the theme is birds. Then, I saw something like today's project on Pinterest and I thought "that would be perfect for the kitchen!" So I did it. It was a lot of fun and I may do something like it again!

Back to my question...what animal would you be? This probably sounds silly, but stick with me. There is a point to this question, I promise. If you asked me this question yesterday, I would probably answer with a "horse," of course, but after I finished this project, my answer changed to a bird. You might say, "why?"Yeah I know some birds are locked up in cages in homes or at the zoo, so trust me, I wouldn't want to be one of those. I would want to be the bird that can fly anywhere at anytime! They are truly free. I guess you could say, "Well, Chelsea, wild horses are free." I would answer with, "But wouldn't the view from a birds viewpoint be much better than a horse??? I think so!" 

Good news though, you won't be seeing me with feathers trying to fly (thank goodness!). I don't need to be a bird because Jesus has set me free. Galations 5:1 (The Message) says, "Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you." Because we are saved by Christ, we have all the possibilities right at our feet. He wants us to soar and reach new heights.  Isaiah 40:31 says, "but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength,. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." With Him all things are possible (Matthew 19:26) , so we should never let fear or anything get in the way of what God wants us to do with our lives. Pray about it, seek God's guidance & then fly!

A lot of times sin can keep us locked up, just like a bird in a birdcage. Everywhere the bird turns, it sees bars and can't escape. God doesn't want us to feel like a bird in a birdcage. He wants us to feel like a free bird without rules and chains. In fact, He wants that for us so badly that He sent His only son, Jesus, to be crucified and resurrected. Romans 8:2 says, "because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death." Just like Jesus was free from death because of His resurrection, we are free from our sins. When we give our lives to God and confess that we've messed up, striving for a new start, He gives us freedom! So let's live like free birds rather than caged birds (I don't know about you, but I'm claustrophobic anyway).

Oh yeah, the words "I sing because I'm happy....I sing because I'm free" is from Audrey Assad's song, "Sparrow" (love it)! Check it out if you'd like!






Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"Got to go through the fire..."

As stated in the previous post, today I am resting. No crafting. No cleaning. Nothing. I'm on the couch, exhausted (and out of it) so I've been reading and browsing YouTube. I found this really cool song and I don't know about you, but music really speaks to me. I guess you could say it's a therapy for me. I feel like God talks to me through music a lot. If you know me personally, you know that I like all types of music....country, classical, hip hop, gospel, oldies, but contemporary Christian has to be the most inspiring for me. I'm always looking for new artists and styles.

I stumbled upon a song called "Story of Grace" by United Pursuit Band and have fallen in love with it. The lyrics go like this....

"One way ticket to the lion’s den
Got to go through the fire so I can come out again Fight for my faith, live what I believe
Got to stand on my feet
And sing Oh I will sing

Jesus You’ve called me friend
Jesus You’ve made me what I am
Jesus You are my life within

Jesus You’ve called me friend

Yet in my weak frame
I’m calling on Your Name
Broke my heart with Your love
God I will love You the same
Forgiven oceans I am
Brought to my knees
The story of Your grace
It fills me with the theme

I will live by the light of the glory you shine on me
I will live by the grace that you offer so freely"
 
My favorite lyric has to be, "Got to go through the fire so I can come out again Fight for my faith, live what I believe, Got to stand on my feet And sing Oh I will sing." Sometimes we have to go through the fire so our faith will be strengthened. If you are going through the fire right now, ask God for strength and endurance. Trust that He will make you stronger and show you things you've never seen before.  That's what stands out to me. What lyric stands out to you the most?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Laboring on Labor Day

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a restful, fun Labor Day! My Labor Day was actually pretty laboring, but fun laboring, I guess you'd say. I woke up, had my morning reading time and got to work! No, I don't have an "actual" job just yet, but I have been rather productive lately. I have been hooked on DIY (do it yourself) projects. On top of that, it seems like the more I craft, the better I get at it and the more creative I am, therefore, I want to do more! I have alllll these ideas in my head and I feel like it's going to explode. Do you ever feel that way?

So everyone keeps telling me I need to rest, but I just have to be busy no matter how I feel! I'm tired of Lyme Disease getting in the way. However, I realize I gotta slow down so I can get better and beat the heck out of Lyme sooner rather than later!

As I lie on the couch, throbbing with pain, I realize, "Hmmm maybe I should take a break and slow down." Don't you hate when people tell you something & you go against what they say because you're stubborn (which I am) and then realize...they were right... the whole time. Yep, that's where I am right now. So I figured I would show you what wore me out today, followed with a family gathering. Guess what I'm doing tomorrow? Nothing. So those of you who know me personally, please encourage me to rest and take care of myself. I know I'm stubborn, but please stay on me...I'm giving you permission...remind me of that.

So the first thing I did was DIY bathroom wall art for my parents' bathroom. All I used were shoeboxes, paint, craft paper, and stencils. Super cheap. Easy to do. Time consuming if you are a perfectionist like me (and they aren't even perfect). I'm glad I'm finally finished with this project and somewhat happy with it.

Lastly, I made a fall monogrammed wreath. This was super easy and super fun! All I used was a wreath, fall garland, ribbon, hot glue and a wooden letter.
This is what I did today, plus some cleaning and chasing down kiddos. Productive day, but totally exhausting for a Lymie (a person with Lyme). Anyway, I hope you all had some rest from your work and have a wonderful week!