Thursday, November 29, 2012

See Ya Mediocrity!


This is my first blog post for the GREATER study through Melissa Taylor's Online Bible Studies.

If you are visiting & not a part of the Blog Hop, you can visit Melissa Taylor's website for more information

For this blog post I chose, "what would a "greater" life for God look like to you?"

Before I answer that question, I wanted to give you a little background and tell you why I was happy to learn about this book and the online bible study.

I've been a Christian since I was 15, but became a prodigal after my parents separated when I was 18. It would be another 12 years before I end up rededicating my life to Christ & going back to church. I was an active member in the church for 4 years (2004-2008). However, as my knowledge of God and the Bible increased & after a series of events that transpired, I became grieved because I found out the church I was a member of was full of doctrinal errors and false teaching. I officially left there in August of 2009 & spent the next 4 months figuring out where God would have me go next.

I visited several churches and even watched a few online. Then I finally found one I was interested in after watching their Christmas play online & thinking how awesome it would be to be a part of it. It would be another couple months before I actually set foot in the church, but when I finally did, I knew I was where God wanted me after the service was over. Especially when the speaker - who was also the worship leader at the time - answered the very question that I had been asking God about days prior. In July of 2010, I decided to take their membership classes and even joined the choir. I've been a happy member ever since, however, there is still a sense of wanting to do more with my life that just working a full-time job, M-F, with weekends off & attending church twice a week.

I'm also single and I've been struggling with this issue for quite awhile now. Especially since I feel like I waste too much of my free time - evenings & weekends - on trivial pursuits or nothing of real eternal value. It wasn't until recently that the story in John 5 about the lame man near the pool of Bethesda really spoke to me.

See, I just turned 38 and even though I don't have a physical infirmity that has kept me paralyzed, I do have fears, doubts and insecurities that have kept me paralyzed from fully pursuing everything that God has for me. I like how the man makes an excuse when Jesus asked him if he wanted to get well. I feel the same way in that I make excuses for why I feel stuck & can't move forward in my Christian walk. And it's at this time right now in my life that I sense Jesus is saying to me, "Get up & walk". That is why I was so happy to hear about this book and study because I believe this is the perfect timing for me to start doing GREATER in my life.

Especially since I have been struggling with bouts of anxiety and depression for several months. I've literately felt like giving up and not trying anymore. I've looked back on my life and where I've come from, and even though spiritually I am grateful because I'm not who I used to be, in the physical I'm very unhappy.

Last year in February I quit smoking & because of stress, lack of physical exercise & poor diet, my health started decreasing & I started suffering from bad digestive problems.. In October of last year, I had a procedure done to test for celiac disease, however the results came back negative. But after a follow up, the doctor concluded that it must be IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). At first my symptoms weren't that bad and manageable, but as the months progressed, it started getting worse and worse. Then in May of this year, the Lord led me to a conference where Sid Roth was speaking & I sensed the Lord telling me that He would heal me. So toward the end of the meeting I went up to have hands laid on for healing, However, I would later learn that this would be a gradual healing, not the instant that I was originally hoping for.

Then, about a month ago, I decided to take a break from the choir, mostly because my digestive issues seemed to be getting worse, not better. The frequent attacks caused me to become less sociable. So, even though I believed God was (IS) going to heal me, the enemy kept flooding my mind with doubt and unbelief, which I believe is what led to my anxiety and depression. The worst part is that stress makes my symptoms worse, so it just ends up being a vicious cycle. I also started seeing a prayer counselor around the same time I stopped attending choir for encouragement and I'm slowly starting to get my life back on track.

My main prayer for this study is that God will use it to further encourage me to not give up and start dreaming big again.

Now to answer the question, what would a "greater" life for God look like to you?

1. To take back everything that the enemy has stolen
2. To live life with confidence, boldness & strength in the Lord and not shrink back because of  fear, insecurity or shyness.
3. To have better faith to trust God for the impossible.
4. To be able to be a better witness to my circle of influence & share my faith without fear.
5. To FINALLY be able to attend She Speaks after 3 years of trying in order to pursue my dream of being a writer.

If you are visiting from the Blog Hop, thank you for taking the time to read my post & I would appreciate your prayers as I continue on my way back to health and the GREATER life that God has for me. :)



Monday, June 4, 2012

A Penny For Your Thoughts?

Courtesy of www.heartlight.org


Last week, I was drawn to the blog of Nicki Koziarz & she had written a blog post sharing how she is on a 30 day quest for God to interrupt her life – her every day, common life. With a little hesitation, something stirred in me that made me decide to “join her” on her quest. She’s already on day 7, but you can read her original post here.  http://nickikoziarz.com/2012/05/interrupt-life-jesus/

So, this post is kind of a reaction to saying “God, interrupt me.” And I believe one of the first things God is doing in my life is interrupting my thoughts about Him & how he answers prayers. Because of my belief system and things that I’ve heard growing up, I guess you could say that I kind of put God in a box on how He operates. But something happened to me on Saturday morning that has started to change my thinking. I found how amazing it is that God can speak to us in the most ordinary things, if we’d only take the time to listen.

Before I went to bed on Friday night I had been studying some stuff in the Bible that I was really getting excited about learning. But there were some things were still confusing me & I verbally expressed my questions to God before getting ready for bed. I had also said some ‘formal’ prayers as well afterwards.

In the morning when I got up, I was still half asleep, so I stumbled into the kitchen to fix some breakfast before deciding to get online & read my email devotionals. After I finished eating, I came back into the bedroom – because that’s where my computer is set up – and I had noticed there was a shiny, almost brand new penny lying on my bed.

When I first found the penny, my initial thought was that I must’ve dropped it earlier in the week and that it had landed on the bed & it got buried beneath the sheets. Then as I tossed and turned during the night, it became visible & that’s how I was able to find it. So, I didn’t think much of it & set it aside on my night stand.

I had originally got online to check my email, but I got distracted because my mind was wandering to what I was studying the previous night. So, I decided to visit the website of a Christian program that I watch frequently on TV and do a search for this particular topic. Five episodes came up in the results and since I’d already seen the first one, I decided to watch the next one down in the list.

About half way through the 1st part of the interview, this pastor and author happened to mention the very thing that I had been questioning the night before. Not in the same words, but the same idea and concept were being discussed. Then, when they went to the break to give an opportunity to purchase the book that he was offering, I knew it couldn’t just be a coincidence that I was lead to search this particular website & click on this particular show. The book that was being offered was a book that I had thought about buying previously within the last year while browsing the bookstore. I had actually picked it up on several occasions, but decided to put it back because it wasn’t what I was looking for at the time.

I paused the show and as I sat there in shock & awe, my attention was averted back to that penny that I had found on my bed that morning. The phrase a “penny for your thoughts” came to mind. So I decided to look it up & I came across the following information from wisegeek.com:

…when the saying originated, a penny was worth a lot more. Thus, a "penny for your thoughts" when the expression was first used likely indicated the thoughts were more value to those imploring the listener to give them than they are by today’s standards. Still, the phrase is hardly ever taken as an insult even today. Therefore, if someone offers a "penny for your thoughts," feel honored they think enough of you to value your opinion.”
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-does-a-penny-for-your-thoughts-mean.htm

The definition reminded me of a picture I saw that was shared on the FB page of JD Chandler from KLOVE. The picture is for a penny off a pound of ham & people were jokingly commenting of what a ‘great deal’ it was and that they just ‘had to go get it now’. I don’t know if it was a typo or if they were being serious about the discount, but I thought it was quite funny myself, since a penny today isn’t worth much as far as a huge savings go. You can view it at the link below.
http://www.facebook.com/KLOVEJDChandler#!/photo.php?fbid=10150821673646021&set=a.122152931020.113353.91746921020&type=1

The reason I’m sharing this is because when I read that definition, it was as if God was telling me that He valued me & my questions. So, because of the honesty and sincerity of my questions, He decided to answer it. It’s also what prompted me to share that particular verse at the beginning of the post.

This just totally made my day because in my finite mind, I wasn’t doing anything spiritual or even praying a ‘special prayer’. I was just basically thinking out loud & ‘talking to myself’. But, the God of the universe who never sleeps or slumbers heard me that night & decided to answer. It also told me that I don’t have to pray a ‘formulated prayer’ or use ‘fancy words’ for God to hear me. All I have to do is be honest & sincere about whatever I am concerned about, believe that He will hear, and that He will answer. And that He did. :)


By the way, I was so excited about all this that since I already had to run out later to do an errand, I decided to purchase the book. And, if you must know the name of the book, it's called "10 Curses That Block the Blessing" by Larry Huch. I don't have time to go into all the details right now of why I needed or wanted this book since it's a topic of a WHOLE new discussion. But let's just say, I read it from cover to cover that night & it brought me to tears on several occasions. So I highly recommend it, if it's something you are interested in personally. :)