Day 2: Purpose Driven Life

“You are not an accident.”

“I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born,” says the Lord. Isaiah 44:2

Point to Ponder: I am not an accident. I don’t think any of us are an accident. As someone who believes in a life after death, I find it depressing to consider that this life is all there is. It’s no mistake we have the parents we have, or the siblings we have. Nothing is a mistake or accident. We may not always like our life status, but it’s where we’re meant to be.

Question to Consider: Knowing that God created me for a purpose, what areas of my personality, background, and appearance do I need to accept?

I’d like to think that I’m a very compassionate person. I am sensitive to the needs and feelings of others, which can be a detriment to myself, as I am too sensitive to what others say towards me. But, I am sensitive, and I’m not ashamed of it. I’d rather be sensitive, than rude or heartless. My life experiences have made me just as I am today and that includes being compassionate towards others’ struggles and tribulations.

“You are alive because God wanted to create you!”

I know this may sound like “witchcraft” or psychic, but I have always had this feeling that I recall being among a group of people standing before, what I assume is a “God figure”, and volunteering to take this life and come to earth. I know that sounds crazy and I’m not naive to think that maybe it was something I dreamed of when hearing this verse for the first time. I just know that it’s a “memory” I have when I hear this verse. I think the hardest thing to comprehend is how we live with so much turmoil, war, and abuse in this world. I have no answers why God hasn’t intervened, as many who don’t believe have suggested. All I know is that having faith keeps me going and focused on the afterlife. Truth is, no one really knows what the life answers are, but I feel much better with having faith and hope, versus believing this is all there is to life.

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Day 1: Purpose Driven Life

I’ve been away from blogging for quite some time, but I wanted to return and record my thoughts, while reading “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. The Journal starts out by stating “Your life is a journey and a journey deserves a journal. You owe it to future generations to preserve the testimony of how God helped you to fulfill his purposes on earth. It is a witness that will continue long after you are in heaven.” I do enjoy reading and listening to Rick Warren, however, I don’t necessarily agree with all his political stances. But, I don’t read scripture for politics. I think it’s like going to a podiatrist and asking them to clean your teeth. Both professions are doctors, but fulfill a completely different study and approach to their craft.

“Write down for the coming generation what the Lord has done. So that people not yet born will praise him. Psalm 102:18”

What on earth am I here for?

Day 1: It all starts with God.

“For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible,… everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. Colossians 1:16”

Point to Ponder: It’s not about me.

Question to Consider: How can I remind myself today that life is really about living for God, not myself? I would say this question has been posed to me several times in the past year. I had my career, as a social worker, and had found a good job, with good benefits. I enjoyed my work and coworkers. When I became “sick” I was faced with ending my career and starting a new phase, which still feels quite uncomfortable to me. I admittedly spent a year or more, with a lot of anger and confusion, as to why I was “sick” and all that comes along with someone who deals with chronic illness. I still feel this way from time to time, but it became clear to me that I had to learn that I have a completely different purpose. I still haven’t quite figured out what my new life role will be, but I stopped trying to live my “old life”. Perhaps at the end of this journal, my purpose will become much clearer. But, I know that I can’t keep focusing on the what if’s and why’s, because that only focuses on myself. I need to start asking how.

“Prayer: Father, As I begin this journey, help me to realize that building my life around myself instead of you will only lead to emptiness and meaningless. I was made by you and for you, and I want to discover my purpose in you.”

Pastor Warren and Kay on #theview

This morning I watched the TV show, The View. Pastor Rick Warren and his wife, Kay, were guests and they said a lot of things I completely agreed with. First, they discussed the tragic passing of their son, who suffered from various mental health issues, and eventually took his own life. All of us have experienced some form of depression in our lifetime. We don’t have to be diagnosed with clinical depression or other mental health diagnosis, to know that being in a state of depression is a very hopeless, horrible, and lonely place to be. I am not making light, I realize that chronic depression is much more serious than a rare bout of it. Sadly, some people who are in that state of depression, feel that things won’t get better and don’t feel that they have any worth in this world; leading them to often end their lives. One of the ladies on the panel asked about whether the person who has mental health hasn’t prayed enough, as if praying will alleviate and cure them of their mental health issues. Pastor Warren stated very clearly, that our faith has nothing to do with eradicating our mental illness and the stigma that goes along with treatment of mental illness, often makes people halt from getting the help, they desperately need. I don’t suffer from chronic depression, but I do have bouts of clinical depression. I know that there are things I have to do to try and keep myself “even”, like praying, meditating and eating right. That doesn’t mean I won’t experience feelings of depression, but as I get older, I know that I need to take better care of myself to try to arm myself with the best armor so that I can “defeat” those awful feelings of depression. Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I know I have to hold on tight, and wait for the depression to “lift”. Pastor Warren said that no one would question him twice if he had to take a pill for his heart, liver or any other body part, but if he has to take a pill for his mental health issue, then people tend to judge you. My own church starts many services out with praying to God to rid people of all of their ailments, including fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, which are two things I live with. I often wonder how someone in a wheelchair feels? Do they think, if I only prayed harder, then maybe I could walk? I try not to dwell on that, I know that it’s all meant well, and I most certainly pray every single day for pain free days and a cure! But, I don’t blame myself or think that I’m not Christian enough or spiritual enough for God to heal me. A while back, I wrote a post about how my illness almost has nothing to do with me, it has everything to do with others around me and how they treat me!

Another point made by Pastor Warren and Kay, was about how hard marriage is. Marriage is very hard! I’ve been married for 13 years and I can’t remember having a “honeymoon” phase. It’s a myth that couples who never fight are perfect and that every day is all roses and chocolate. Give me a break! Marriage is a lot of work and there are times you don’t even like your spouse. You love them because you care about them, but truly liking them, is a whole other thing! Marriage is very hard and sadly, too many get married young or too soon and don’t realize what kind of work goes into it. Too often people think that if they fight, then it’s all over. Too often during a fight we say, “let’s just get divorced”, like it’s nothing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking counseling to work on one of the most important things in your life, your marriage. Granted, there are very serious reasons why people should not remain married; no one should live in an abusive marriage. But, too often we get irritated by the most minute things, that if you take a step back, you learn to pick your fights. My husband and I are about as opposite as it gets, although, the longer we’re married, the more we’re becoming alike. We don’t like the same TV shows or like doing the same events, but we focus on the things we do enjoy doing together. If anyone says being married is easy, then they’re lying or they want to have the facade that they have it all under control. There was a point in our marriage several years ago, where I moved out. We separated for about 3 months and then we decided to move back together. I realize that may not work for everyone, but it worked for us. I read that if you break a bone, the spot where that bone heals, becomes the strongest part of that bone. So I like to think that our separation has “healed” us of what issues we had at that time and we’re stronger than we were before.

Take your time, don’t rush into getting married. Forget about the fairy tale of wearing a beautiful dress and all the fancy things that come with a wedding. Instead, ask yourself, if we went to the justice of the peace, would I still be just as happy with getting married? If you say yes, then you’ll know it’s likely based on real love, versus the fairy tale. Never let anyone tell you it’s a bad thing to seek counsel for your marriage, or for any health issues you’re enduring.

Many blessings.

Favorite Lines from #FaithDare

I recently read “Faith Dare” by Debbie Alsdorf as part of an online Facebook group discussion. However, I never quite made it to any of the group discussions and I sort of took longer than the 30 days that the book was meant to be practiced by. Oh well. the bottom line, is that the book provides a lot of great insight that I find to be extremely helpful to my life. Instead of reviewing the book, I decided to include all of the scripture or words that I underlined while reading this book. If it’s not indicated to be a Bible verse; then it’s the words of Debbie Alsdorf.

The following are sentences in the book that I decided to underline because I enjoyed what was stated:

God is true, mighty, and loving.

Rather than be defined by my stuff, I will let the truth of God’s Word define me, direct my choices, and get me in a faith groove.

By Oswald Chambers of Bringing Sons unto Glory: When a man’s heart is right with God the mysterious utterances of the Bible are spirit  and life to him. Spiritual truth is discernible only to a pure heart, not to a keen intellect. It is not a question of profundity or intellect, but of purity of heart.

Just like your frozen computer needs to be rebooted, the spiritual part of you needs to be turned off from self and restarted in a new habit of living up to God.

Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. 1 Timothy 1:19 NLT

…what we really need is a faith life- and upward lifting of our eyes to God, every day, many times a day.

The Word of God equips us for every good thing God has prepared for us to do. The Word of God is powerful and cuts into the deepest parts of us, doing for us what we could never do for ourselves. Hebrews 4:12

Faith in God trains us to believe in someone bigger than ourselves who can do in our lives what we cannot accomplish by ourselves.

For us to build belief and to hear a personal message from God, we must be in the Word. When we are in the Word, we learn the ways of God, the character of God, and the love of God.

I think it’s important for us to look at what God says about faith and why our faith must be tested to become mature.

Scripture tells us that trials and hardships are gifts and should be looked upon with joy.

When something difficult comes at you, realize that your faith is being tested.

Embrace the Spirit life within you. Every day offers a gift of growth. If we submit to the Father, we will live the richest, fullest life imaginable.

Let every detail in your lives – words, actions, whatever, – be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the father every step of the way. Colossians 3:1-3, 5, 7, 17

Daily surrender is the path to following Jesus.

If we want total life change, we have to be willing to let go of the areas in our heart that are blocked from God.

Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. John 8:12

Coming to Christ daily is a directional shift and means making the choice to walk with Jesus that particular day. Coming to him is the first step; following is the next step. Following takes the choice of coming a step further. When we follow, we chase after God and his dreams for us. We comply with his voice, obey his lead, and, most importantly, we pay attention to him!

And so we know and rely on love God has for us. God is love. 1 John 4:16

God showers us with his love. This extravagant covering, when realized by faith, can calm us, center us, and build confidence in us. Life is no longer a set of unfortunate circumstances but instead a journey with the Father.

Our body is a temple where the holy spirit dwells. Our life lived through this earthly vessel is a place dedicated for a special purpose. The most important thing to God is that we live in the truth of who we are in him.

I am a representative of Christ in this world, and he desires to work through me.

As a born again believer, my primary residence is not Earth; I am just passing through. I am now a citizen of a different Kingdom, God’s Kingdom.

Paul urges us, as believers in Christ, to stay connected to the reality of God’s love and mercy toward us and in response surrender our lives as an offering to him.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I am holy in his sight. I do not belong to the world but to the God who loves me.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

God’s word is living and active, having the power to set us free and change us from the inside out.

Often we take God’s power for granted and fail to tap into it even though it is in us and available to us each day.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Paul didn’t just tell them, “Get to work!” He cast the vision of trust out to them, that they were different because of Christ, and that as those alive in Christ they could walk in all the good things God had prepared for them.

Life gets exciting when we realize that a resurrection took place within us as we became Christ’s, and now we are filled with the Holy Spirit.

God has given us his power and equipped us for a purpose. His plans for our lives fit into his bigger picture. We represent him, as ambassadors of his love, grace, and power in this world.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Here is the secret; what was intended for us spiritually cannot take place unless we are plugged into the outlet of all power…Jesus Christ.

But when I am connected to my maker, his power pushing through me, my life is filled with the very things I so desperately desire; love, joy, peace, patience…

When I am connected to the power source of all life, good fruit will characterize my life and God appointed things will happen in and through me.

Your prayers will be answered from on high because your good God has heard every one. Rejoice today that you have a God who loves you more than anyone could ever love you.

The answer will come in God’s time because everything is about a bigger picture. But surely in God’s time the answer will come in the form of a good gift. Whether it is the answer I wanted or expected is not important; the important thing is that God will give the right gift and answer to prayer at the right time. God is love and God is good.

I have a heavenly Father, and he knows what I need and provides all I need.

It is clear to me that I must give my thoughts to God. The best way to stop a mental moment is to interrupt it and replace it with a positive truth, a scripture passage, or praise. This interruption is an important spiritual discipline we must practice and learn.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praise worthy-think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2

God’s word is the divine power that can demolish the places in our minds that are held in a stranglehold by our own negative thoughts, worldly perceptions, or the lies of hell.

Fill your minds with what is good, and the peace of God will be yours.

Guarding your mind means putting up barriers of truth in it so that when the negative thoughts come, you have something with which to combat them. Each hour, on the hour, stop and thank God for something positive in your life.

When I focus my thoughts on the good, my mind is at peace.

I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry” (John 6:35) .

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).

“No one can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

For Christ love compels us because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

Faith is not some weak and pitiful emotion, but is strong and vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love.

In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength… The Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion…blessed are all who wait for him! … How gracious he will be when you cry for help! Isaiah 30:15, 18-19

It is better to live for Christ than stay stuck in self. The Lord, my shepherd, longs to be gracious to me!

God, your God, chose you out of all the people on earth for himself as a cherished, personal treasure. Deuteronomy 7:6

For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the people’s on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. Deuteronomy 7:6

You see, this enemy is threatened by us when we realize our worth because confidence in God and his work in us is much different from prideful self-confidence. God confidence causes us to rise above ourselves and live in him. God confidence causes us to be grateful for the gift of value bestowed upon us and the gift of grace that leads us each day. God confidence causes us to trust we are his, we are beautiful in his sight, and we are chosen for his plan. God confidence causes us to bow our hearts humbly before the one who says, “You are my girl, my love, my treasure.”

All things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:16,17

God made me to use me as he planned. He goes before me and holds me together.

We can learn much about God through nature.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Hebrews 12:1-2

It is time to believe that the shame that has covered us or the insecurity that has surrounded us can be changed by looking to Christ. It is with this upward gaze, that we are changed and no longer ashamed. So take an inward look at the hurt that seems to be holding you back, mentally place it in your hands, and lift that hurt to the God who loves you. Then believe his word; you are radiant.

Jesus gave his life for me, laid down everything he had, so that I might be reconciled to God through his death. His death at work in me brings beauty to life.

As long as we are trying to be enough, we will be chronically about self and not about God.

Newsflash! Becoming enough on our own is not God’s plan for us. He never created us to be enough. He wants us to know we are enough-because of him and his life in us.

His spirit, which is powerful within me, would change me, transforming me from a woman of self focus and insecurity to a woman of God focus and confidence.

I like how Max Lucado says it; “What makes us special is…the signature of God on our lives.” God is our letter of recommendation and he is forever writing our story.

The King is enthralled by your beauty. Psalm 45:11

When God looks at me, he sees beauty—the miracle of his creation.

Realizing we are complete in Christ makes all that he is doing in us worth some of the pain-because in the end the maturity and wholeness will be the spiritual gain. There is freedom in embracing the truth that all we are and all we ever will be is now hidden in Christ and constructed by the power of Christ’s work in us.

All of life is ministry, so all of us, regardless of life vocation, season, or position, need to be filled and ready to live a life of completion by Christ’s power each day.

Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11

God completes me!

Be joyful; pray continually. 1 Thessalonians 5:16

And yet the nature of surrender is to let go and let God have everything that concerns us. It helps if we learn to believe, at the very core of us, that no matter what, we are in good hands.

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. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his son. Romans 8:28-29

In Romans 8 Paul starts out by talking about living life differently…in the Spirit. After Paul explains the difference between living in the flesh and living in the spirit, he talks about our identity as God’s children, and then he goes right to our present sufferings. He encourages us by saying that the spirit helps us in our weakness and that all of these sufferings, trials, and hardships are working together for our good…because it is God’s will to conform us to the image of his son. My take on all this; things happen to us, so something can happen in us.

Today I want us to consider the choice to respond to truth while in the middle of pain, trials, sufferings, and hardships. There is a reason Jesus told us to look at the birds (see Matthew 6). The birds are carefree, and Jesus says we too can be carefree. How? How can we be carefree in a life filled with cares, sufferings, injustices, hardships, and pain? By making a choice to fix our eyes on Jesus and to find purpose in the pain by allowing God to teach us the truth of being conformed to his image.

Believe that this pain produce righteousness in your life and practical ways. Believe that this pain will produce peace and will train you for the life you were born to lead. Believe that this present pain is working to make you more like God’s son, Jesus.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. James 1:2

Whenever life is hard, God has a plan. I will look to God and count each circumstance a gift.

Rather than seeing the miracle God created, we see a distorted and shame based woman who is not perfect, who is ashamed of her imperfections, and who is chronically trying to see herself differently by changing the external.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 1 Corinthians 5:16-17

I am God’s work. I have been recreated spiritually in Christ. God has plans for my life.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. Colossians 3:15

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3

What’s a girl to do? Focus, focus, focus. You are in the fathers hand and nothing can snatch you from this place. When the funk threatens to take you down, look up. When your emotions start churning within, look up. When life gets you down, look up to the God who picks you up!

God knows me completely and loves me totally. I no longer have to spiral down to the places that are funky and depressing.

Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. Romans 12:21

I choose today to be positive, to walk in the faith that God knows me and loves me and that I am in his hand.

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own. Matthew 6:34

I do not have to live under my problems and worry. I can trust that God will get me through each day and each life circumstance.

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

When we are under our problems, we become a bit whiny and needy. In this place we become discouraged, and our bad attitude keeps the fire of the funk burning. But there is a way out; learn the power of praising God in all things.

It’s not enough to redirect our focus and affirm with our minds and hearts that God loves us. Those two things are very important, but we can’t stop there. We also need to look at how whiny and needy we have become while living so much of life for self or within the confines of insecurity about self. This type of life is not God’s abundant best for us. Constant complaining only serves to keep the negative fire burning brightly. It’s time to put out the fires flame. Don’t fan it. Put it out! Look for the good. Thank God for anything that might be good if your situation is not good, then thank God that he is.

Our position, according to Scripture, is one of being God’s dearly beloved child. As his child, we have received his holy Spirit to lead us, empower us, and comfort us through the hard times of this life. The Lord will save us.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 2 Corinthians 2:14

Dare to say “Thank you” or “I praise you, Jesus” several times throughout the day.

For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:13

My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. 1 John 3:16-18

Build yourselves up in your most holy faith…keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Jude 20-21

According to Jesus, the two most important things in life are to love him with all our heart, soul, and strength and -second to that-to love others.

I am to live to love God. I am to live to love others.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Jesus is asking us to live in his love and love with his love.

Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God. Matthew 5:8

The Lord is my helper and will teach me how to love others when I would rather hold back.

Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. 1 John 2:6

Psalm 143 Rescue me from my enemies, oh Lord, for I hide myself in you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good spirit lead me on level ground. 3:10

Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37

In other words, though we remember we were offended, we are no longer currently living in the offense. We have laid it aside and given it up, because Jesus said this is the way to live. It takes courage to follow Jesus. And forgiveness is an example of courage. It takes courage to offer an apology, and Jesus asks us to set things straight on our end. It takes courage to let go and trust God.

If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her. John 8:3-7

Let us no longer criticize one another. Romans 14:13

God’s love does not keep track of other people’s’ wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5

Mind your own business. 1 Thessalonians 4:11

Dale Carnegie said, “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain…but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” A critical spirit can keep us stuck. When we are filled with the negative, there isn’t much room for the positive. Criticism is not the way of God’s love and not the way to follow after Christ.

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned…For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:37-38

The way I treat others will come back to me.

How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! Psalm 133:1

We were created to connect, to do life together, to bear each others burdens, to care with our whole being for those whom Christ loves.

I want to learn to value people the way Jesus did.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Romans 12:9-10

God’s love is different. It is pure and not self seeking; it is patient and kind; it always believes the best in another; it doesn’t fail.

People matter to God. I will be open to others and to the relationships God has for me.

Psalm 37 Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. 1-4

My dear brothers, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19

Find words of encouragement to give to people in your life. Realize that when you encourage you are giving out courage for people to continue on the journey of life.

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

Pleasant words are healing, and I will seek opportunities to use them to give others courage to face the day.

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Isaiah 40:1

We need a humble heart if we are going to live in love toward others and if we are interested in honoring Christ.

Psalm 23 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life. 5-6

Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:5-7

But part of the faith dare is allowing God to shape us according to the new spiritual nature we have inherited in Christ. And that nature is humble and loving. Christ gave us an example of humility by dying for people who didn’t care, were in their sins, were undeserving.

Note that after telling us to be humble 1 Peter tells us to give our cares to God. A woman who has properly placed her cares in God’s hands has more space in her mind and heart to humbly love others.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

God desires me to clothe myself in humility and resist the devil by resisting pride.

Do not be deceived; God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows…Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:7, 9-10

Jot down some generic ways to bless other people, just to get you thinking about how you can give to others when given the opportunity.

Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:1-2

It is God’s good plan for me to bless others, give to others and find ways to show God’s love intangible ways to the people in my life.

Psalms 25 Remember, oh Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remembers me, for you are good, oh lord. Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them this way. All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful.

Luke 6:27-31 Love your enemies, Do good to those who hate you, bless those who hurt you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Pray for those who have hurt you and ask God to bless them.

Imagine the kindest person you know…duplicate that kindness!

I need to quit being selfish and be open to God. When he sends me out to encourage and bless someone else.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again; rejoice! …The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable…if anything is excellent or praise worthy…think about such things. Philippians 4:4-8

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Continually look for the good in every person you know.

Practice finding the good in people and dwell on the good parts. Live in contentment and strength. Look to God to supply all your needs according to his supply. Trust that God will give you everything you need to live in contentment and peace with all people.

God is aware of my need for his strength to be accepting of and content with people who are different from me, upset me, annoy me, or otherwise push my buttons.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21

Psalm 139 23:24 Search me, oh God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive ways in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

When we are empty spiritually we have nothing left to give.

 

In conclusion, I hope you find other verses and words of wisdom throughout the book. I highly recommend reading it, however, being able to read with the study group would have helped me gain even more from this, but I missed out on that. I hope you enjoy the lines that I underlined from this book.

 

 

 

Afterlife or Not, Live your best Today

This past weekend, my parents came to visit and we got on the topic of the afterlife. We have a good relationship where we can talk about such serious things and each of us has a bit of a different view. Truth is, no one really knows what happens to any of us when we die. We just have faith, based on our religious beliefs or there are some who think that after this life, that’s it, we just simply die. For me, living without a belief of an afterlife or heaven, is quite depressing. I just have to have the faith that there is more to life than what happens to us during our physical life. I mean, why would God send us here and then to only have us die afterwards, without a heaven to return to? I have to believe that we are here for a purpose, but that there is more to just this life. I know its controversial, most Christians do not believe in reincarnation, but I have some sense that it is true. Granted, this is not taught in typical Christian faith, but other faiths definitely believe in it.

During our discussion, we talked about an incident in which my mom, who was very depressed after her mom passed away, had a visit from her. She said it was late at night and she was crying to herself in her bed. She said her mom appeared, however, it was a beautiful white light of love, no face, that came to her and touched her face. She telepathically told her to not worry and that she was in a beautiful place. Could my mom have been dreaming this? Perhaps. But she is very certain that this was real. I would love to believe that this was real too. Why other family members don’t come back to share this same message, we can never know. I discussed a feeling that I have been having, which may sound quite “out there”. I say that I recall having this feeling that I’m among other people and we are hearing about various lives that we could “volunteer” to live. I recall coming forward and agreeing to live the life I’m currently living. Again, whether this is just crazy nonsense or reality, I suppose I’ll find out someday! But I have this strong feeling and sort of a de ja vu feeling when it comes to this. I can totally believe that we are sent to this life to learn and teach others. I also do believe in reincarnation, that if we need to learn and teach others more, then we return. Again, I don’t profess to know whether this is the truth or not, I know that none of us know the real truth, we just have strong faith. We have the word of God and other faiths, and we choose to believe what we feel best answers our questions.

Last night I was reading scripture, and this one stood out:

1 Timothy 6:12…Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Whether you believe in heaven or the afterlife or whether this is your only life, the main purpose is to make the best of it. You are here to make a difference, to help others, and to accomplish what you were set out to do. I have faith that there is more to this than our current life, but if this is it, let’s make the most of it.

I Don’t Believe in the Death Penalty

Watching the Jodi Arias trial, I’ve decided that I don’t believe in the death penalty. Actually, I always knew this about myself. I’ve never been an “eye for an eye” person and I don’t feel like it’s my decision to choose death for anyone; regardless of what they’ve done. Before anyone says that I just don’t know what it’s like to lose a loved one by murder, you’re wrong. My brother in law was murdered and I don’t wish the death penalty on his murderer. I think that the death penalty is easier; I’d much rather someone sit in prison for the rest of their lives thinking about what they’ve done. Granted, they will have some sort of existence in their life even though it’s in prison. I just can’t say that anyone has the right to die, it’s up to God to decide someone’s final fate.

I know that Catholicism has fairly recently decided to take a stance against the death penalty. I always wondered how a church could be for the death penalty and against abortion. I understand that with abortion it’s an innocent life versus with the death penalty it’s against a convicted person guilty of murder, however, I just don’t think we can play God. On twitter, I’ve seen several tweet how Jodi Arias should be killed and for her to pay for what she did. I agree, she did a horrible thing, nothing will take away his families pain. She is a horrible person and has told many lies and didn’t even say she was sorry when pleading for her life! But I can’t have death on my hands by sending someone to the death penalty. I think this trial has brought out the ugly and worst in people who almost crave to see Jodi tortured. I feel great sorrow. I feel pain for the families, both Travis’s and Jodi’s. Both families have lost someone that they’ll never have in their lives like they did before this murder. In no way am I sticking up for Jodi; she is an awful person.

I don’t know what the right thing to do is, in the event of murder. I don’t know if God wants us to seek revenge or pray for the life that we’ve lost. All I know is that I don’t want to play God and could never send anyone to their death.

Getting Off Track

What do you do when you stop practicing your faith? I tend to read the Bible and scriptures routinely for a couple of weeks, then I stop. It’s not that I lose interest, but if I miss a day, it can easily turn into a week. It’s also not a hard thing to do, meaning, I enjoy reading scripture, but I admit, I get a bit lazy at times. I suppose practicing your faith, by reading scripture daily, is a bit like being on a diet or playing an instrument or learning a new language. Practice makes perfect!

I think it’s easy for any of us to stop practicing our faith when we have other things happening in our life. However, we know that to be faithful and reading scripture can be typically comforting. But, we don’t always do what’s best for us! But, like I said, there is no real reason for my departure from my daily scripture reading than just being a tad lazy and focused on other life issues. I always tended to turn to God when things were going well, but become inward and private when things were rough. I know that’s opposite of what most do, many turn to God when they need help or are going through a rough patch.

I know it’s easy to get back into the routine. I have about twenty scripture apps downloaded on my iPhone which make it very easy to get a new daily scripture to read. Even though my ultimate goal is to read the Bible, front to back, the daily scriptures are much easier to read and I like that I can share them to twitter and facebook. I continue to pray daily, but I stopped my scripture reading and online service viewing. However, God is always in my heart. My faith never fails and I know that I can get back on track. I always feel much better about everything when I start my day with scripture.

I know I can get back on track!

My #Disability Makes me Spiritually Stronger

As I’ve posted before, I like to start my mornings reading the various Bible apps on my iPhone. I’ve also discussed that I am disabled with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. I’ve come across two scriptures that helps me deal with the daily struggle of my disability. I often wonder if I’m being punished or why God isn’t healing me, when I’ve read that others have been healed through their faith. I honestly don’t think too negatively. Even though I deal with daily chronic pain, I have learned to accept my life and situation. The truth is, my symptoms won’t change if I’m negative, so it’s easier for me to be positive.

The following are copied straight from the “John Piper Bible app: Piper Daily Devotional”. I highly recommend downloading it!

Reading for February 4 from Desiring God’s Daily Devotional app, which features the best of over 30 years of John Piper’s teaching to your everyday life and satisfaction in Jesus. Download it for free in the app store.

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.(Psalm 119:67)

I have pointed out from Psalm 119:67 and Psalm 119:71 that God sends affliction to help us learn his word.

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. . . . It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.

I didn’t ask how affliction helps us understand God’s word and keep it. There are innumerable answers, as there are innumerable experiences. But here are five:

1) Affliction takes the glibness of life away and makes us more serious so that our mindset is more in tune with the seriousness of God’s word.

2) Affliction knocks worldly props from under us and forces us to rely more on God, which brings us more in tune with the aim of the word.

3) Affliction makes us search the Scriptures with greater desperation for help, rather than treating it as marginal to life.

4) Affliction brings us into the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings so that we fellowship more closely with him and see the world more readily through his eyes.

5) Affliction mortifies deceitful and distracting fleshly desires, and so brings us into a more spiritual frame which fits God’s word more.

I pray that we will not begrudge the pedagogy of God.

God’s Painful Exegetical Help

 

 

My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness
– 2 Corinthians 12:9

Someone has said, “God always answers our prayers, either by giving us what we ask for or by giving us something even better.” In Paul’s case, God gave him something even better.

Paul was afflicted with what he described as “a thorn in the flesh” — it was something that caused him constant pain. It was such a deep-felt difficulty that he took it fervently to God in prayer, three times pleading to have his suffering taken away.

The verse above is God’s answer to Paul.

But how was this an answer to prayer? God didn’t remove Paul’s painful burden. In fact, God told Paul that he wouldn’t remove it at all. But God’s answer to Paul’s prayer was even better: my grace is sufficient for thee.

Notice God didn’t say, “My grace is sufficient for this difficulty;” God said “My grace is sufficient for you, Paul.” Paul asked for deliverance from one ordeal, but God guaranteed him grace for every trial, throughout his life.

And, although Paul would still experience much suffering, God reminded him that this simply gave him an even greater opportunity to exalt the name of Christ. My strength, God declared, is even more evident when you are helpless. Therefore, this struggle is an opportunity for you to fulfill your purpose as a Christian, more than you ever could in a pain-free life.

Beloved, rest assured that God’s grace is still sufficient, and that his power is still being manifested through the difficulties you face in your life. What a marvelous answer to prayer this is!

Both of these verses and the attached prayers are so comforting to me. I know that my illness isn’t a negative, rather, it’s God’s way of allowing me to be strong spiritually. I can’t say that I would have such a strong faith if it weren’t for fibro/RA. My disability makes me incredibly strong and faithful. I read somewhere a while back, that I am in holy retirement. What a wonderful way of thinking of my disability. I may no longer work, but being home allows me the time to pray for myself and others. I can reflect on life and build a strong bond with God through prayer.

Thank you God for trusting me to handle my disability. Thank you God for giving me the strength that I never knew I had.

 

Daily Scriptures

I’ve been doing well with keeping up on one of my “resolutions”, if you want to call it that. The resolution is keeping my daily Bible study through apps on my iPhone. I have several daily Bible reading apps downloaded on my phone, which I read every morning. I love reading them the first thing in the morning, as it sets my mind and day right. I also love that some of the apps allow me to share them to my twitter and facebook feed, so that I can hopefully bring God’s word into someone else’s day.

I suffer from depression and lately things have been rough for me. However, I’ve been reading the Bible for help and guidance. It definitely helps motivate me each day and allows me to see that God is always there for me. I find comfort from God’s word, especially on my lowest days.

Heavenly Father, I pray for peace and wisdom. I pray for refuge from the darkest days and surround my spirit with your bright light of love. Thank you God for your love and comfort.