Sunday, August 25, 2013

#YestoGod Wholly Commited

As I was debating on which blog topic I wanted to write about this past week, it was clear to me after I went to church on Wednesday night. My Pastor talked about taking up our crosses and following him from Matthew 16:24-28. So I knew that wholly committed would be my topic.

One thing I have found to be interesting about this #YestoGod journey & Bible study that I started is that it came shortly around the time I made 2 decisions. The 1st was that my 'one word' for the 2nd half of 2013 would be "surrender" and the 2nd is that I decided to get re-baptized.

You can watch the video here. :)


Making the decision to get re-baptized is not only a beautiful symbol of surrender, but it also shows that I made a commitment to follow him publicly.

One of the things that my pastor mentioned that I made note of was that the word deny means to disown one self or own interests. So we have to make a daily decision that will either yield to the spirit or give into our fleshly desires - which is me most of the times. It also means that we need to be putting the things of God and His kingdom 1st. 

Surrendering or denying myself has been difficult because my crazy flesh keeps wanting to get in the way. I'm also used to being independent that it has been hard to let go of certain things that I feel I should be able to handle. But as previous experience has taught me it is in those small things that I need Him most.

He also said that the "cross" is a sign of commitment and when it says to "deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me", Jesus is saying that we need to lay down our own will and take up "our cross". In order to take up something we must lay something down.So in other words, we must lay down our own plans, desires, wishes and "take up" God's calling, purpose, plan & will for our life. 

That is why I think this whole SURRENDER & YES TO GOD is so interesting. Especially since I've been saved for over 23, but I haven't always been committed to God and His plan for my life. My journey has had many ups and downs and gone down many roads I wish I had never gone. But at the same time, if I hadn't, I never would have had the pleasure of knowing that God "works for the good of those who love Him". (Romans 8:28 NIV). Plus, it wouldn't have shaped me into the person I am today.

The above post is in response to the  Yes to God Blog Hop week 3

Thursday, August 8, 2013

#PalmsUp

Welcome to my blog & the 1st post for the online bible study for What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst hosted by Melissa Taylor through Proverbs 31 ministries.

For this weeks topic, I chose #3 #PalmsUp.
In the bible study section at the end of the chapter Lysa asks, "What is holding you back from going deeper in your relationship with God?" List one or more things you sense holding you back (fear, intimidation, time, lack of confidence, etc). Use your bible study tools to find scriptures that will help you apply God's truth in this area. Determine to release, surrender, and move forward with #PalmsUp receiving all God has for you.

I first chose this topic when the OBS email was sent on Sunday. I hadn't even read the 1st chapter yet, but I already knew this is the one I wanted write about. It was mostly due to the word "surrender" - which happens to be "My One Word" this year - or at least this 2nd half of the year. I didn't chose my word until mid June, but the Lord has definitely confirmed my choice. 

Then last night at mid week Bible study at church, my Pastor spoke on "What Is In Your Hand?" He talked about how God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt & Moses told him how he was unqualified. Then in Exodus 4:1-5 God asked him "what is that in your hand?" And Moses said a rod. God told him to cast in on the ground and when he did it became a serpent. 

My pastor said that it wasn't until Moses released what he was holding onto that God was able to finally bring it to life. God can't use anything we are tightly holding on to.

For me, I believe that fear is one of the things that keeps me from going deeper in my relationship with God. Fear is very paralyzing and it is also the opposite of faith. I know deep down that I need to trust God more - especially in the areas of finances & my future - so that is why I chose the word SURRENDER. I want to surrender those fears to Him, let go off those things that I'm trying to hold on too tightly and live my life with my PALMS UP ready to receive what it is that God wants to give - or take away - as the case may be.

I wanted to share a few of my favorite quotes from Chapter One that really stood out to me.

In this first one, I love that she says we don't need perfect circumstances or the perfect religious attitude or all the answers. We just have to surrender - there's my word - all that's clamoring for attention in our heart.

You don't need perfect circumstances to be a woman who says yes to God. You don't need the perfect religious attitude or all the answers to religious questions. You simply have to surrender all that's clamoring for attention in your heart with the answer God is longing to hear spill from your lips, "Yes, God." - p. 13 &14

This is a great quote on radical obedience.
You may be surprised to discover that radical obedience is not really that radical. It is really biblical obedience - but we've strayed so far from biblical obedience that it now seems radical. Then a little further down that paragraph, Lysa says, we will never experience the radical blessings God has in store for us without radical obedience. It is the road that leads to blessing. It is what happens when women say yes to God- p. 18
And here is another one with my word "surrender" along with radical obedience.
Saying yes to God isn't about perfect performance, but rather perfect surrender to the Lord day by day. Your obedience becomes radical the minute this desire turns into real actions. Radical obedience is hearing from God, feeling His nudges, participating in His activity and experiencing His blessings in ways few people ever do. - p 19 

The following is a screenshot from my iPhone the quote about "God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called." I've seen it posted in emails and on FB and I just love it because all the people that did great things for God in the Bible were just like you and me. Imperfect with our flaws & maybe even a past we're not too happy about, but the great thing is God loves us and will use us despite our human imperfections. All we have to do is being a willing vessel and follow Him wherever he wants to lead us.
 


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Stressed Less Living Bible study, week 2

If you are visiting from the blog hop, welcome & if you are not from the blog hop, this post is part of an online Bible study called, Stressed Less Living, though Melissa Taylor of Proverb's 31 ministries.

This is my 1st blog post for the study & it is the actually the easiest chapter for me to comment on because I can actually relate to Tracie in the fact that stress can take it's physical toll on the body.

To briefly share, I had my gallbladder removed back in 2008 & during my recovery, I ended up going through a really stressful time. I found out the church I was attending was teaching some some unbiblical doctrines that I just couldn't handle & I spent the next 7-8 months praying, seeking God's will & gaining enough courage to leave the church.

Fast forward 3 years, in February of 2011 I ended up quitting smoking after being a smoker for about 17 years. I had been wanting to quit several times before that, but I'd quit for several months and then I start back up again because of stress or other problems. However, this time what changed is that I ended up with bronchitis & then pneumonia, which made it virtually impossible to smoke. So I decided this would be a good time as any. I tried using the patches & gum for the 1st couple weeks, but basically quit cold turkey after that because I was having a bad reaction to both. Overall, it wasn't too bad, but let's just say that it's only by the grace of God that I didn't harm anyone in the process. LOL!!

By May, I noticed that I started having bad digestive issues. At first I thought it was because of having my gallbladder removed, so I was watching my diet more closely for anything that I may be eating that is either high in fat or spicy, but it didn't seem to help. Then I thought that it may be a food intolerance, so at 1st I started with dairy products, but it only helped some. But after doing some research, I thought it may be a gluten/wheat sensitivity. So, I made an appointment with my doctor & had a blood panel done & it came back with a "possible" wheat intolerance. She wanted me to go on a gluten free diet for several months to see how it would affect me, but after going on it for several weeks I decided it wasn't for me. It was getting to be expensive on a low budget & having to check every label. Plus I DON'T COOK!!  Talk about stressful. I talked to my doctor & asked to be scheduled to test for celiac disease. I just wanted to be sure before completely eliminating it & committing to something I didn't have to. So that October I had a small intestinal biopsy to check for celiac, but the test came back negative. I was then diagnosed with IBS, just like Tracie (see p 54). BTW, add on some more stress from doctor visits. YAY!!

Well, my symptoms over the next year just kept getting worse & by October of 2012, I was becoming a social recluse because of my digestive issues. I was missing several days of work each month. Plus, I also had to take a break from being a choir member at church because I was missing practices and oversleeping on Sunday mornings. After finally having had enough, I went back to my doctor because I noticed that I had slowly developed anxiety, which also lead to mild depression. I had been doing some research and finally came to the conclusion that stress was the culprit & my health was suffering for it. Since there really isn't any kind of official test that the doctor's can do to check for stress related illness, you basically have to rule out the "symptoms" to find the cause. I did, however, have my doctor test my thyroid to make sure there wasn't any issues with it because a couple of the symptoms I had been experiencing matched the diagnosis. But all my blood work came back negative.

So, just 2 months ago, my doctor put me on an low dose anti-depressant for the anxiety & by the grace of God, it actually has been helping me. I really didn't want to have to go on an anti-anxiety/depressant medication, but I was desperate & I submitted the situation to God before seeing the doctor. So I believe that He can use anything that we submit to Him for His good and perfect will for our lives. I'm not 100% yet, but for the 1st time in a long time I'm getting my hope back & I'm able to spend more time in the Word without being tired, fatigued or too frazzled to concentrate.

I also believe that God's timing is soo perfect - if I could just remember that & trust in it - because the fact that this study coincided with me starting this medication 2 months ago is only proof that all things work together for good and I am determined to see this study through. :)