Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Walking in style

Well, today is Halloween! I'm not too excited about it, because it's my first Halloween without candy. Halloween without candy?! It's a travesty, I know, but I'm on a sugar free diet and I have to deal with it, especially since I cheated a few days ago and got sick. Not going to do that again. Anyway, since today is Halloween, I wanted to dress my pup, Lola, up in her ladybug costume (but Ma couldn't find it) so her Halloween handkerchief will have to do. By the way, if you've seen pictures of her in previous posts, you may not recognize her (she went to the groomer...I prefer her fluffy...I think she does too...it's much warmer).



 
 
So enough of all that Halloween stuff. Today I went to read my Bible on YouVersion and the "verse of the day" was one of my favorite verses. I thought it was appropriate that I'd share it with you. "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."Micah 6:8. Gosh, don't you just love that? I love straightforward verses. It lays 3 things out that He requires us to do. Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God. Notice that these three things are actions. They  require movement. Act. Love. Walk. God doesn't require us to sit and let Him do all the work. He wants us to be active. He wants to work through us (even though He's big enough to do it all on His own). It's only when we follow these requirements that God's love is shown through us, while being strengthened in Him at the same time.
That's what I call walking in style.
Are you walking in style today?
 
Today's scripture for the read-your-Bible-in-a-year plan is Luke 10-11.
 
If you are struggling with these three things, please pray this with me.
Dear God, I know I may mess up, but I want to live my life for you. Help me to act justly, love mercy, and to always walk humbly with You. In Christ's name, Amen.
 
Have a great day & be safe!
 
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Monday, October 29, 2012

Being in the "in crowd"




You know how in school there was always the "in crowd"? The group of people who had the cool clothes and shoes. Maybe you were in that group or maybe you weren't. If you weren't one of the "popular" kids (I know I wasn't),  you either were jealous of them and tried whatever it took to be a part of that group or you were fine in your own skin. Whatever group you were in, whether it be the jocks or the yearbook people (I was one of them), I've got news for you. News that may not be news to you or news that may be a surprise to you. News that you need to know
You are in the "in crowd" with Jesus. It may sound cliche', but it's true.

As I've been on my year long journey in the Bible (only about 2 months in), I've been forced to realize that Jesus was friends with everyone. There were no groups that he ignored. There were no groups that he would only eat lunch with. There were no groups that he only hung out with at the mall (well, maybe not the mall, but you know what I mean). He wouldn't stick his nose up to some people and high five others. Everyone was cool to the big JC. You could be demon possessed (like Mary Magdalene), a thief, or whatever and Jesus would still love you

If you don't believe me, here's some proof:

  • "The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples saying, "Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?" And Jesus answered and said to them, "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." Luke 5:30-32 NASB
  • "The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them (verses 35-39 explain the least of them as those who are thirsty, hungry, naked, sick, prisoners, and strangers...that's a lot of people, if you ask me), you did it to Me.’" Matthew 25:40 NASB
  • "For God so loved the world (that means everyone) that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16 NASB

Just wait, it gets even better! Even though Jesus is not literally (His Holy Spirit is) here on earth with us today, His "in crowd" is still the same....everyone. Not one person is better than another.  There is absolutely nothing you could do that would make Jesus turn his nose up at you. Nothing. Seriously! He loves everyone. Even if you've done drugs, been in jail, whatever it may be...Jesus includes you in His "in crowd". Yeah He may be disappointed in some of the choices you've made just like a good friend would, but He still has your back. 
He just wants you to take His advice (trust me, He gives good advice) and live with Him. 

Don't EVER doubt the love Jesus has for you, because of something you have done wrong. 
He knows that we are gonna mess up every once in awhile (we are imperfect) and that doesn't keep Him from loving us. He loves all the different groups of people and wants us ALL to choose to walk with Him, because His way is the HIGH way ;)

This reminds me of one of my favorite songs, "Jesus, Friend of Sinners" by Casting Crowns. 
Check it out!

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P.S.- If you are following along in the year long Bible reading plan, today's scripture is Luke 8-9.






























Friday, October 26, 2012

Are you afraid of the dark?


Yesterday, I had my monthly doctor appointment for Lyme. Good news- 2 times in a row-my doctor says we are getting closer to the "light" at the end of the tunnel! Yay!! God is good! I'm staying on the same regimen for the next month and then will probably start on some other tough medicine to get me even closer to the end! I'm one excited girl! What made it even better was that I was able to spend some time with 2 other fellow "Lymies". It's amazing how being in the presence of people who are going through the same thing can really help get you through. We called it our little "lyme away". Pretty clever, huh? 

Speaking of light at the end of the tunnel, are you afraid of the dark? I wouldn't really say that I'm afraid of the dark like I used to be as a kid. I don't run to the light switch to turn on the light like I used to, but I will say that being in the dark can sometimes arouse some not-so-good feelings. However, I've learned lately, that being in the dark isn't all that bad. I mean, as a "Lymie", it's better to be in the dark, because of light sensitivity but that's not exactly what I'm talking about. 

I started reading this book called, "Seeking a Miracle" by Julie Tillman. I'm only two chapters into the book and I love it! Like the kind of love that pushes you to go highlighter crazy (I love my Nook highlighter tool). Seriously though, 90% of the two chapters are highlighted. I mean it's that good. Anyway, moving on. So far it has talked about how God moves. He doesn't have small movements, he has BIG movements. Obviously, since He parted the Red Sea, He makes BIG statements. Can't deny that. 

While I was reading last night, I had an epiphany about light and darkness. When it is dark, it is easier to see light. Pretty simple, right? For example, if you turn on the light in a room with windows during the day, the light isn't differentiated like when you would turn on a light at nighttime. When it's dark, the light shines bright. So where am I going with this?

We all go through dark times in our lives. We face times of struggle. We face times that we lack understanding and vision. We face times that cause us to fear, but it's during these times, that God shines bright. 1 John 1:5 says, "This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, in Him there is no darkness at all." In our darkness, He is magnified. Isaiah 45:3 (NASB) says, I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden wealth of secret places, So that you may know that it is I, The Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name." Sometimes it takes being in the dark for us to see God. Don't get me wrong, we can see God during our good times, but darkness definitely doesn't limit God, it often magnifies Him. 

Isaiah 42:16 (NASB) says, “I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, in paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains.These are the things I will do, and I will not leave them undone.” Even though we may feel alone and scared in the dark, we should have hope. It may be dark, but that doesn't mean God has left us, it gives us all the more reason to seek Him, because He is light and He shines bright.


If you are joining along in the year long journey of the Bible, yesterday's scripture was Luke 1 and today's is Luke 2-3.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Need a little hope?


I just finished a book! Don't you just love finishing a book? I love it when I finish a book. I feel so accomplished, especially since most of my life, reading has been a struggle for me. It may have only been about 260 pages, but hey it was a book! Anyway, I'm sure you're just dying to know what book I read. The book is called "Fools Rush In" by Janice Thompson. I was browsing the free books (nothing's better than free!) on my Nook and came across this one. It's a romantic comedy about a wedding planner from Galveston who has yet to find her own true love. The book tells a story of how the wedding planner, Bella, stumbles upon something different. It was cute and witty, but there was a reoccuring theme for the book that I really enjoyed...hope

Credit janicethompson.com


Bella's Italian family hangs onto this one phrase whenever they face obstacles..."finché c'è vita, c'è speranza." Don't worry I'll translate for you..."as long as there is life, there is hope." I don't know about you, but I think that's deep! "As long as there is life, there is hope." This one statement got me thinking.

In the Bible, John 14:6 says, "I [Jesus] am the Way, the Truth, and the Life..." You see where I'm going? Jesus is life. We find life in Jesus. So as long as we have Jesus, we have hope. No matter what. As long as I'm keeping Jesus in the center of my life, I will always have hope. This may not seem to be a revolutionary thought to you, but it is to me. 

Of course, I've always known that I find life and hope in Jesus, but I guess this fictional book made me think of it in a different light. With Jesus there is always hope. If I am living for Jesus, I have hope. So it seems simple to me, if you feel hopeless...seek Jesus. He is the only source that can give you life and hope. Nothing else can give you hope. Worldly things will fade away, but Jesus is eternal.   Presidents, jobs, and money can't give us hope. 
Jesus is the only source that gives us eternal hope.


Today's scripture for read-your-Bible-in-a-year plan is Mark 15-16.
Have a wonderful day!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

He won me over...he stole my heart

In my post, Are you a fan of...?, I talked about how Jesus always had crowds gathered around him, but another thing that has stood out to me during my journey through the Bible in a year plan, was that Jesus never stopped. He never said, "Man, I need a vacation." He kept traveling to teach and to be in relationship with people. Like my Dad says, he "was on a mission". His mission was to win hearts...to win people over.

This makes me think of one of my favorite songs, "Won Me Over" by of course, the one and only, Audrey Assad.
 
"Was on the run, a road that I ruined,
chasing a lie I thought I believed in,
Don't know why I do what I do


Running from you, is running to you
You're everywhere... I couldn't escape
You never stop - you never do.

[chorus] I was full of fear and prone to wander,
lost & lonely till the day you won me over, you won me over
I was halfway gone and going nowhere
Half alive until the day you won me over, you won me over, over

I should have known what I was missing
If I were you, I would have stopped chasing
Your love's too strong to let me go.
[chorus x2]

I was halfway gone and going nowhere..."
 
 
Can you relate to that song? I know I can. I think we have all experienced a "full of fear, prone to wander, lost & lonely" time in our lives. You see, Jesus doesn't want us to fear or wander or be lost and lonely. When He was here on earth, His mission was to win those people over. Even though He may not be physically here now, His spirit is with us and still winning people over.
 
He doesn't win just church going people. He doesn't win just people who drive the speed limit. He wants to win everyone over. Whether you've done drugs, been to jail, turned your back on Him, He still wants to win you over. Even if you are running from Him, He is still there. Most of the times when we run from Him, we find Him. "Running from you, is running to you.You're everywhere... I couldn't escape You never stop - you never do." God is a pursuer. He is a chaser. He does not give up. That's not His style. Just like He was here on earth, He would not stop teaching and loving people.
 
I love the lyrics, "I was halfway gone and going nowhere. Half alive until the day you won me over." We may think a life of luxury makes us alive, but the truth is, it doesn't. When we let Him win us over, we become truly alive. A lot of times we run after things that cannot make us happy, the worldy things. God wants to give us true happiness. So if you haven't been "won over", stop and look around. He is trying to show you that He is there and He wants you. He wants you to notice that He is the only one who can give  you happiness and a purpose. You may have this "worldly" film over your eyes that makes it hard to see, but God has the ability to remove that film and show you what you've been missing.
 

"I should have known what I was missing. If I were you, I would have stopped chasing
Your love's too strong to let me go." Don't waste your time on things that can't win you over, let God win you over. Let Him steal your heart. You don't want to miss out.
 
Do you remember when God won you over? What did it take for you to realize that He was with you the whole time? Were you running from Him?
 Feel free to leave me a comment! I'd love to hear about how God won you over :)
 
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P.S.- If you are reading along with me, today's scripture is Mark 14.
 
 
 















Sunday, October 21, 2012

Blessings [Link Up]

 
Hey everyone! Well, it's been a busy, but blessed weekend.
I hope you've had a blessed weekend as well!
 
So I'm linking up with my fellow blogger, Kaity at (Bee)autiful Blessings blog, to talk about my blessings from the weekend.
 
Friday marked the 3rd birthday of my youngest niece. I can't believe it's been 3 years since she was born. They grow so fast, making me feel so, so old (I know I'm not really old, but I feel like it haha). So Friday night I was blessed to join my sister and her sweet family for dinner and then off to their town's football game to listen to my oldest niece play in the band and my 5 year old niece dance with the high school dance team. The weather was great, the band sounded awesome, and the dance was precious. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures...I fail.
 
Saturday was the big, Barney, pizza birthday party. The kids wore chef hats, aprons, and made their own personal pizza with their own personally picked topping, while I rested on the couch after setting up for the party with my sister. It's always an extravagant task planning birthday parties, but it's always worth it.
Definitely a blessing, to celebrate a birthday.
 
 
 
 
After the party, my parents and I went home (with no time to nap) and got prettified for my friend's wedding. I always love a wedding. Plus, it forces me to fix myself up (it's amazing what make-up can do), which also makes me feel somewhat better. It's a win-win situation, get pretty and feel better. Weird how that works. However, it takes a lot out of me to get ready. Thank you, Lyme Disease. Anyway, it was a blessing to watch another couple be united together, fellowship with close friends and talk about future weddings to come. Oh, how I love weddings!
 
 
Anywho, I've done a little too much the past few days which means I'm laid up in bed with heavy, aching legs, headache and stiffness all over so I'm unable to get to church today. Once again, I'm thankful for the creation of live webcasts so I can watch church from my comfy bed with the company of my heating pad. Another Sunday with 2 baptisms led me to tears because of the testimonies they shared. Lives that were surrounded with sin, but turned around because of God's grace. Once again, I'm reminded that God is not only moving in my life, but He is moving all around.
 Praise God!
 A quick summary of my sermon notes from Pastor Gregg Matte:
~Acts 2:42-46: unity and generosity of the church
~"Awe of God leads to unity and generosity between men."
~"Generosity is a balance to be managed, not a problem to be solved."
~What you have is from God...they are tools to be used for His glory, not for you (my words).
~"Awe of God brings praise, favor, and impact."
 
Well that's all for today! I hope you all have a blessed, restful Sunday!
If you are reading the Bible in a year with me, today is a catch up day. So far we've read the book of Matthew and Mark 1-11.
 
Have you been blessed today? I'd love to hear...leave me a comment or link up!
 
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Friday, October 19, 2012

Are you a fan of...?



So there was this guy. Not just an ordinary guy, but a special guy. He turned water into wine. He healed a leper. He demanded evil spirits out of people. He walked on water. He made a blind man see. He fed 5,000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. He calmed a storm with a spoken command. Obviously, he was not your average Joe. He is Jesus Christ.

The past couple of weeks I've been on my journey of reading the Bible in a year. So far I've journeyed through the book of Matthew and 9 chapters into the book of Mark. While reading these books, I  read about amazing, miraculous events. Also, I continually read that Jesus was almost always surrounded by people...not just people, but crowds. It made me think...hmm, Jesus was like the rockstar of the day! Some of the people knew that He would save them from sin and death, while others were skeptical. Can you imagine living back then? Being able to literally walk in Jesus' footsteps? Touch his cloak?Ahh, it would be awesome! I'm sure to some people, he was the cool guy, to others he was the weird guy and to the rest, they just didn't know about this man called, Jesus.

So as I read, I kept picturing Jesus as the number one rockstar of the land. I don't know if that is wrong, but that's just what my mind pictured. Everyone was talking about him and trying to figure out where he was going next. So just imagine your favorite band or singer. You know every single lyric and birthdate and maybe even sibling's names. Who knows! Main thing...you love this band or singer. You would drive 8 hours to go to their concert. You have every single album. You have a shirt signed by them that is framed in your room. You know the schedule of their concert tour. You are their number one fan.

I believe Jesus had different groups of people who gathered around him. Skeptics. Fans. Followers. They all had different motives.The skeptics gathered to figure out this guy who did all these miraculous things. The fans gathered to cheer, to be a part of this new hype because everyone was doing it, and maybe they wanted to get a little healing out of it too. Then, there were the followers. These people were the ones who knew that there was something special about this guy. Even if people looked down at them for following this man, Jesus, that wouldn't stop them. They followed wherever he went. They listened to his teachings, but not only did they listen, they took his advice. They did what He told them to do. They trusted His word. They supported Him. They loved Him. They were one step farther than a fan, they were a follower.

Let me ask you this...which group are you a part of? Are you in the group that is curious about this guy, JC? If you are, I would recommend you digging a little deeper to find out more about Him. You may be surprised what you find. It may be difficult to understand, but it's definitely not something to pass up. Are you in the fan group? The ones that cheer and want all the benefits of being a fan, but not take His advice? If you are, think about how it's working for ya.  Maybe taking His advice could be a life changing decision. There's nothing wrong with being a fan, but you could be more. Are you in the follower group? If you are, awesome! Keep following him, even if people look at you differently and try to get you to join the skeptic group. You are on the right track. Following the only man that can heal people with just a touch, walk on water, and most importantly, be crucified and raised from dead for you, is the best person you could follow.

So I challenge you to check your motives. 
Why are you following Jesus?  
We should be more than a fan, we should be a follower.
Think about it.

Today's scripture reading for read-your-bible-in-a-year plan is Mark 8-9.


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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Who is your defender?


Hey everyone! I'm back again today! I didn't just want to talk about blog awards,
so I wanted to share with you a song that I keep on hearing. I love it! It's called, "Defender" by Chris McClarney. His voice is so unique and soothing...so check out this video and really read the lyrics and try to live like the song.
 
"Resting in Your promise
I will rest within the knowledge that You care
I put my trust in You
Deep within the darkness
Though my enemies surround I will not fear
I put my trust in You

And when I don't know what to do
I will fix my eyes on You

You’re my defender
I hide my hope in You
You are the loving arms my broken heart can run to
I will remember
That there is nothing You can't do
For You are God, You are good
And I surrender
You're my defender

You are strong when I am weakest
You're the peace that passes everything I see
I put my trust in You
I'm surrendering completely
Laying all my cares here at Your feet
I put my trust in You

A mighty fortress is our God
I will not fear, I will not fear
Safe and secure here in Your love
I will not fear, I will not fear"
 
Here's the video :)
 

 
My favorite part of the song is, "I will remember there is nothing you can't do".
Let's fix our eyes on Him!
What's your favorite lyric?
Comment me :)
 
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P.S.- Scripture today is Mark 4-5...it's pretty awesome! :)

Award? I got an award?!

So yesterday- I found out from my fellow Blogger over at Behind The Smile, that she nominated me for two blog awards- The Versatile blogger and Liebster Awards. That was definitely a nice surprise, especially since I'm somewhat of a blogger newbie and had no clue they did "blog awards". Thank you so much for nominating me! Please check out her blog, Behind The Smile-I'm one of her followers and it is obvious that she has a gift of writing!




 
Because I was nominated, I get to answer some questions!
 
Q1. Who is the person who has influenced your life the most and why? This is such a hard question- so many people have influenced my life...so I'm going to the Sunday School answer (which is true)...JESUS!! Nuff said. :)

Q2. Do you have a saying or a quote which is your favourite and you refer to often? Jeremiah 29:11 - '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.'

Q3. What is your greatest fear? I'm gonna go with snakes. Yep-just thinking about them gives me the heebee-jeebees. Moving on...

Q4. If you could turn back the clock what would you change? If anything? I would probably take my time in college, instead of rushing through, but then again, it has been a blessing that I graduated early. So I have mixed emotions.

Q5. What do you do to be kind to yourself? Hmm...I guess I'm being kind to myself by trying my hardest to be healthy and get better so I can get into remission of my Lyme Disease. I would say that's pretty kind. It's also kind of my parents too, they're a huge help...couldn't do it without them.

Q6. Name two positive attributes/gifts you have? According to friends, one would be that I'm a good listener. Another one...I like to think that I'm a positive person. I try to find the good in everything.

Q7. Name one new skill you would like to learn? Cooking (yes, mom, I said it)...but I'm such a perfectionist and it really upsets me when I mess the food up. I know, I know...I have to work on it, especially if I want to have a man in my life ;)

Q8. Do you attend church? If so what do you like about your church? Yes- I love to know that there are so many different people all there, at one time, worshipping together. It's an awesome feeling!

Q9. What are you thankful for? There's so much to be thankful for...the first thing that comes to mind, is my doctor. I am so thankful that God has put him in my life. I know He is working through him-I can feel it!

Q10. What makes you smile? My Lyme puppy, Lola. Yes-I have Lyme and she does too. Crazy, huh?! I love her.

Q11. Why do you blog? I used to be against blogging because I thought it was narcissitic. Ha and what am I doing now? Well, my mind has changed about blogging, because I feel that God really led me to blog, just like many other people. Today, the internet is such a huge way to minister to people and my prayer is that God is using me and my story through blogging.
 
A part of this award process is to pay it award forward by nominating other bloggers! All of the blogs listed below are nominated for both awards! Please go check out these blogs- they're awesome! If you aren't on this list, please know that this list would continue if I had time-all of you rock! So go on ahead and join in on the fun...I think everyone who blogs deserves it.
 
 
If you are nominated, please use the award images (above) and follow these rules: (You pick which one or both...I just followed the Liebster Award rules)


Versatile Blogger pay it forward rules:
1) Thank person who nominated you, include a link to their blog, include an image of the award in your post.
2) Give seven random facts about yourself
3) Nominate 10 bloggers for the award to pay it forward to.
 

Liebster award pay it forward rules:
1) List 11 facts about yourself
2)Answer 11 questions given to you
3) Create 11 new questions for the bloggers you have nominated for the award, mind go to their blogs
and tell them you have nominated them.
4) Choose 11 bloggers (it is recommended for those with 200 or fewer followers, if you wish)
5) Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.

If you would like to answer the questions, here they are:
 
 1. Favorite kind of pizza?
2. What gets you energized on a Monday morning?
3. What is the one thing you couldn't live without?
4. Do you have any pets?
5. What is one thing you would like to change about yourself?
6. Name one place you would like to travel to.
7. Favorite song?
8. Favorite author?
9. What is a pet peeve of yours?
10. What was your dream job as a child?
11. What motivated you to blog?
 
 
Have fun & thank you ALL for sharing your gift of writing! :)

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Reacting with anger

This was the longest time I've ever spent on a post..you wanna know why?
MEET...


So I apologize for any typos that Lola might have made :p Anyway....
 
You know those words that sting like when alcohol is poured on a cut? Well earlier today something was said to me and it stung. I wouldn't actually say it hurt me, but I knew it wasn't true so I was disappointed in the person who said it. Normally, I would have corrected that person with a witty remark (plus some attitude or passion-not gonna lie, not braggin!), but this time was different. I fought so hard to keep from saying something back. It was like my mouth was open and ready, but my heart and mind were closed. That was a "God thing" (as I call it). I'm not going to lie, I'm still thinking about it and wishing I would have told the person off. However, deep down, I know I shouldn't. When we react impulsively in anger, we often want to retract that choice later or a relationship is damaged. You see, even though it's hard for me and this person to get along at times, I still love him.


Despite what your parents told you when you were little about how "sticks and stones, may break my bones but words will never hurt me", we all know that this commonly used phrase is not true. We may not like to think that it's true and may be a good motto to live by, but we've all had words thrown at us that cut deep. Words are powerful and lasting.  As a Communication Studies major, I learned that communication can never be taken back (you don't really need a degree to know that, but we had a lecture about this once actually!). So you know how people say, "Take it back!"? Even if they "take it back", they really said it and it really can't be taken back. Thankfully, there is forgiveness, but that's for a whole other topic that I'll save for another day.

Main idea - words can hurt. We are called to uplift a person with words, not degrade them. Now, I'll be honest with you I'm talking to myself here. I sometimes forget that my words are powerful enough to uplift or degrade someone. Like I've said, I'm not perfect at all. Proverbs 12:18 (ESV) says, "There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." So instead of being rash with my anger, I need to wait and pray that there is a way to reply that will bring healing. If I can't find an uplifting response, then there should be no response at all. Ephesians 4:29 (ESV) says, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." If we don't want to be spoken to with degrading words, we shouldn't speak degrading words. Before we speak, let's listen, take a deep breath, think, and trust that God will give us words that will uplift others. Just like the popular saying goes, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all."

Oh you might have noticed something different...I have a NEW blog design!
I love it. I hope you do too!
If you are following along with the year long reading plan, today's scripture is Mark chapters 1-3.
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Monday, October 15, 2012

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Taking the dunk

So I've been praying about what I should blog about today and I finally figured it out (obviously haha). I only blog when I feel really led to write about something. Earlier I wasn't feeling tugged so I started reading other blogs and it hit me...the past 3 days there have been a lot of baptisms!
 
Baptism comes from the Greek word, baptisma which means washing. To Christians, it's more than just washing, it's a public display of how Jesus has washed your sins away and you are turning away from sin (repentance). Baptism doesn't save you, faith does, but it is important in our walk with God. You are giving your life to Jesus. You are trusting in Him. Because of His crucifixion and resurrection, you are saved from death and given eternal life! Romans 6:3-6 explains the importance of baptism very well..."Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—"
In fact, it's more than just a public display or symbol of repentance...it is a command. Matthew 28:19 (aka The Great Commission) says, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." Notice those are red words in the Bible which means that's what Jesus said! He told his disciples this after He was raised from the dead. He wasn't just telling the disciples, but it's meant for every believer!
 
Saturday night at the worship service I went to, the pastor invited anyone who wanted to get baptized that night to come on down to the front. Let me tell you, I'm thinking there were at least 30 young adults...maybe closer to 50. I just know it was a lot for such a short amount of time! It was amazing!!  Yesterday at church, there were people getting baptized as well! Then today I was reading blogs and read about a mother who has 2 young daughters who got baptized yesterday too!
 
Getting baptized may seem intimidating, especially if you are getting dunked in front of hundreds of people, but it is such an awesome and rewarding thing to do, especially since Jesus calls us to do it! I'll never forget when my nieces and Goddaughter were baptized...it's such an amazing thing to experience. I even cry when I see strangers get baptized! There is so much power in it.
 
What is even cooler, is that Jesus not only calls us to do it, but He did it TOO! Luke 3:21-22 says, "When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Isn't that awesome?! I think so.
 
“We may never be martyrs but we can die to self, to sin, to the world, to our plans and ambitions. That is the significance of baptism; we died with Christ and rose to new life” ~ Vance Haver
 
Have you been baptized? If so, tell me about it...I'd love to hear!
 
If you believe in what Jesus has done for you and have not been baptized, I encourage you to really think about it...talk to your pastor or a mentor or even me! Remember Jesus, himself, said to get baptized...so just do it! :)
 
Today's scripture for the year long Bible plan is Matthew chapters 27 & 28.
 




 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pumpkins and worship

 
Did my blog title get ya? No, I was not worshipping with pumpkins haha.
Yesterday, a couple of friends and I carved pumpkins (which I haven't done in awhile..it tends to be pretty dangerous for me) but good news...I didn't cut myself carving! Yay! We were going to spray paint our pumpkins but realized that with the wind, it might not be a good idea. Here are a few pictures from our pumpkin carving.
I'm not going to lie...this is my favorite part of carving pumpkins..
strange, I know haha

 KK & I were concentrating on our masterpieces



 E carved her pumpkin with a drill...she's a smartie!
 
 
 KK with her "K" & polka dot pumpkin
 
 
 Me & my attempted "love" pumpkin...can't ya tell? haha
 
The finished products!

 
 
It was nice fellowship & fun. THEN, we went to a young adult worship/Bible study. Let me tell you, it was so cool and encouraging to see so many young people praising God. It was a great night of worship!
Today, I actually made it to church with my parents. The sermon was over Hebrews 11:32-40 and it was awesome!!
Here are a few points that really stood out to me today...
  • Chapter 11 shows how there have been faithful people since the very beginning...Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and so on...all the way up to today. We are linked to these faithful people because of our faith...pretty cool, huh?
  • "The fact that you exist shows that the God fo the Universe wants you and has a plan for you" ~Pastor Nathan
  • Verse 40 explains that God provided something better for us, meaning the New Covenant (aka Jesus, instead of the Law)
  • Because of Jesus (New Covenant), we have a personal relationship...not religion.
These were just a few things that really stood out to me.
I hope you all have had a wonderful weekend!
If you are following along with the year long Bible reading plan, it's catch up day! Matthew chapters 1-26.
 
 
     
 
 
 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My pity party on the kitchen floor

Last night, I almost lost it. As I sat on the kitchen floor staring into the pantry as if I was hypnotized, I was about to eat anything and everything in sight. If you know me personally, you know that is not at all possible. If you don't know me personally, let me explain.

When I was 15, I suddenly became allergic and intolerant to wheat gluten. It was really strange since I never had a food allergy as a kid, but nevertheless, wheat gluten was banned from my diet. This means that this teenage girl could not eat pizza, donuts, cake, brownies, bread, hamburgers (the list continues). Basically, all the good stuff. The food that teenagers thrive on. At that age, I thought the world was ending because of this horrid diet...little did I know, that diet was a piece of cake (gluten free of course) compared to what I would face in the future.

As time went on, my family and I got used to this diet change and found substitutions and sooner or later, I was a pro at eating a gluten free diet. In the beginning, it was definitely a hassle , I'm not going to lie, especially for gatherings. "What's Chelsea going to eat?" or "Oh no, Chelsea can't eat this" were phrases I heard often. So being the hormonal teenager I was, I became pretty angry and pitied myself for this terrible allergy (I'm being a tad bit dramatic). Many people often would tell me, "Why don't you just eat it anyway? I don't know how you do it?!" Well, unless you wanted to see me with blown up JLO lips, I wasn't going to eat it anyway. I hate to say it but it just isn't worth it to eat pizza...it's close though!

Seven years into dealing with this allergy, I became pretty content with my special diet and found the answer for my allergy/intolerance...drum roll please...Lyme Disease. Many people with Lyme Disease, not all, have trouble breaking down certain foods (wheat gluten being one of them). We thought it was crazy that this one little tick bite could answer so many questions dealing with my health, but my trouble wouldn't end there. Shortly after I began treatment, my diet became much more limited. You may be thinking, "how could it get any more limited?" How does gluten free, sugar free, low carb (or no carb), dairy free sound for limiting? Oh, add a few more random foods like tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes and you get almost impossible. It doesn't help that I'm not a salad person. I just don't enjoy eating greens unless they are smothered in ranch, topped with tons of cheese. So this has been my diet the past 10 months or so.

Well, I almost hit my breaking point last night. The past week I was put on a soft food diet for my jaw (go figure). Everything that I couldn't have sounded wonderful. I wanted to grab a few Chips Ahoy cookies in the pantry, eat a whole loaf of wheat bread, and get into the Halloween candy stash. I'm not proud to say it, but my pity party on the kitchen floor then began. "God, why me? That's all I want is a little bit of sugar, some wheat, and carbs. This is too difficult." Then something shook me. Self-control. Thank you God for self-control. If it wasn't for that, I might have been hurled over on the kitchen floor with JLO lips, hives, swollen tongue and a stomach ache (how's that for a pretty picture?). God had my back. Not only did I gain some self-control, I was also reminded that although my diet is extremely limited, I am blessed to have other food that I can eat. It may not feel like it can get any worse, but I was reminded that it could be worse. I was also reminded that in order to get my body healthy, I have to abide by this diet. My self-control has definitely been tested and I'm glad there is still some self-control in my system.
Do you have a problem with self-control? If so, with what?
How do you deal with it?

Here are a few Bible verses that remind us that it's important to have self control...
Proverbs 25:28- A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
Galatians 5:22-23- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
1 Corinthians 9:27- But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.



Today's scripture for the year long Bible reading plan is Matthew 26.
Have a great weekend everyone!
 


Friday, October 12, 2012

Life is like a chess game

My family and I were eating dinner last night and the conversation of lifesize chess games came up...yes, lifesize chess, real intriguing, huh?  We have interesting conversations at the dinner table...well, anywhere haha. I don't know about you, but I've never played lifesize chess. I haven't even really played regular size chess before (unless you count moving the pieces around as if they're dancing). You know why I've never played? My dad tried to teach me and I gave up. It's too complicated for me. I'm a simple kind of girl. It's just not my kind of game, so I can't imagine what it's like playing it life-size. It has to be really hard to play life-size chess because you don't see the whole board. You have a totally different perspective than you would have playing a regular size chess board.

So here is how I look at it, right now, in this moment, we are playing a game of life-size chess. Our perspective is limited to what is in front of us, behind us and nearby us. This perspective can make it difficult to move along in life.
  •  A lot of times we want to predict what is going to happen in the future and try to reach the back row of the chess board to checkmate (goal of the game). If we focus only on the future, we lose sight of what's going on around us. We miss out on living in the moment.
  • Same as when we focus on the future...when we live only in the past, we are unable to live in the present (Did ya catch that? haha). Usually when we focus on the past, we are holding onto things that can't be changed. We hold on to hurt. We hold on to memories. We hold on to guilt and so on. All of these past experiences keep us from moving forward (which is definitely not good).
  • Then when we focus only on the present, we lose sight of goals, dreams, and forget about our past.  
Obviously, these three perspectives can be a bit problematic. So we need to gain a  clearer perspective like God. You're probably thinking, "Whoa Chelsea, how can we do that?" Just keep reading :) I think of God's perspective being more like a person who is playing a regular chess game. He sees what's behind us, what's around us and what's in front of us.

 Psalm 139:1-6  says:
 "You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain..."
 
Although we will NEVER be all knowing like God (it's just not possible, don't even try), we can learn from many different perspectives.
 
So here is a strategy for our life-size chess game:
1. Don't focus on the future 100%...you'll lose sight of everything else.
2. Don't focus on your past 100%...it will keep you from moving forward.
3. Don't focus on the present 100%...you'll lose sight of your goals & forget your past.
4. Have goals for the future, learn from the past, live in the moment.
A sweet balance :)
5. Ask for perspective from others, because they have a different point of view, but especially ask for the perspective of your Creator
(He know's what He's doing, trust me).
 
Life-size chess can be pretty confusing, but when we take in all the different perspectives, it helps us get our checkmate!

Today's scripture is Matthew chapters 24 & 25, if you're following along in the year-long reading plan!