May 25, 2015

Free-will & the redeeming power of God (Bob Ross style!) ...

Tonight I was listening to a teaching by Chip Ingram called "You're a masterpiece in the making."

I've often thought of the Lord as an artist... I mean, look at all the beauty around us! I definitely wasn't expecting a humorous vision about this though.

Ever heard of the "free-will" or "pre-destination" debate?

Well, this vision gave me a little different view of that topic. Not so much about which one is right or which one is wrong, but how they're used together perfectly in the grand scheme of things...

It was like I was standing behind Jesus as He was happily painting a beautiful nature scene onto a canvas with an easel. It was a painting representing the beautiful plan He had for someone's life (we'll just say it was yours). There were beautiful trees and a river winding about and mountains in the background & a clear blue sky, but every now and then He'd add something in that He hadn't originally intended. "Oh, ok we can put this tree over here instead..." this constant loving compromise went on throughout the entirety of your life & the canvas became a very large, intricate, & beautiful masterpiece over time...

...and then there was an odd splotch painted in the middle that really didn't seem to make any sense. There seemed to be a pause... and then Jesus smiled & said, "that's ok... lets just make that into a bird!" (I kid you not - like totally Bob Ross style!) I couldn't help but giggle a bit at the Lord's humor. :) 

God has given us the right to make our own choices. He won't force us to love or serve Him because He wants family, not robots. Love is patient, kind, & is not self-seeking... you know the drill. With free-will comes mistakes... human error... a separation from God (aka: sin). So then what?

The Lord's original plan for mankind did not include sin. 

We brought that element into the equation (remember the garden?). Because He is just, the sin we invited in was allowed & mankind was no longer allowed inside the garden. Because of His love, He sent His Son Jesus Christ to be the atonement for mankind - bridging the gap between God & man. Because of His grace, He redeems & transforms us from whatever we've been through (kinda like that mess-up in the painting being changed into a bird)! I'm so thankful for my God... my Redeemer :) Amen.

May 23, 2015

I've got the eye of the tiger... and encouragement for you!

Truth be told, God often speaks to me through movies. Any type of movie, really... I must be more open while watching one or something. Anyways, Native American totem poles were referenced... 

Now, I'm not at all into spiritualizing things that weren't meant to be spiritual, but I couldn't shake the leading to investigate these interesting things. I did some reading & even did one of those "very spiritual" online quiz thingers... you know, the ones that can tell you where you should've been born or what hairstyle you could totally rock! Ok just hear me out here... I took a quiz about spirit animals or something & realized I was selecting a lot of answers relating to "will-power" or "strength."

All animals were created by my Father God & can have very different personalities (just look at a cat & a dog!). I personally don't find it hoaky whatsoever to take note of this & have God speak something to me by pointing out similar characteristics I have with one of His magnificent creations... The animal I got from the quiz? A tiger.

"Tigers are actually very easy going people in the totem world. 
(As long as nobody disturbs their territory) 

You make a great friend, and will protect loved ones 
no matter what you have to do to complete that task. 
You can be extremely unpredictable, but Tiger people 
are wonderful people and make great friends!"

Call me crazy, but this meant a lot to me... so I had to keep investigating. I asked God what He was trying to tell me & continued my search until I came upon an article available to read online: Here  

I learned that: "The tiger's two most astonishing qualities are its hunger and its strength. It has been said the tiger walks in perpetual hunger, eating as much as sixty pounds of meat in a single meal. This bottomless hunger drive sharpens its senses to live in constant readiness to hear, watch, stalk, attack and consume. The "eye of the tiger" is a term describing the blazing intensity a tiger has on its prey. This intensity is revealed in the tiger's burning gaze.... Champions from all walks of life are said to have the eye of the tiger when they passionately concentrate their entire being on conquering the challenge before them."

Side note: I have been told on multiple occasions & by several different respected Christian folks, that God has given me a very specific spiritual gifting. Recently I was even told that I've been wasting it & need to take this gift seriously, so here it goes.

The Lord has called me to be a prophet.... 

I have what's called the spiritual gift of prophecy. 

2 Peter 1:20-21 says, "Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet's own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God."

According to 1 Corinthians 14:3, the purpose of prophecy is to strengthen, encourage, & comfort others... So I am now going to strengthen, encourage, & comfort you with the words God gives me.

"YOU have the eye of the tiger!" 

If you have received Christ as your savior & seek to follow/serve Him with your whole heart... you've got "the stuff" that true champions are made of. No matter your circumstances, God's fighting for you, He is in your corner, & will stick with you no matter what. 

Your source of STRENGTH is in Him and that strength/intensity will grow only as your HUNGER for Him grows, so lets be in agreement with one another & ask God for these things now...

"Heavenly Father, thank You for your grace. 
Give us the continual hunger & strength of a tiger. 
Start a fire down in our souls that we can't contain.. 
that we can't control. We want more of you God!" Amen

The hunger you have for God is intimately connected to the strength He will release to you when you need it the most... 

Please allow me to assist you in entering into a moment of worship with your Creator... ask & keep asking for a hunger to know Him more & for Him to release His strength to overcome whatever situation you are in right now. Whether it's for perseverance as a mother (like me) or to trust Him through an extreme hardship... He is for you, not against you. Click here to start worshiping! 

May you be blessed & highly favored... Amen.

(P.S. Signs/symptoms that the Holy Spirit is being stirred up within you could include things like tingling all over or feeling really warm... or at least this is what's up with me right now! ;) I know this is a bit deep for some, but know that God is a relational God. He wants to be close to you. Speak to Him & look for the special way He is trying to speak to you.)

Feb 6, 2015

"Perspective on Vaccines by a Cancer Mom" (guest post by my sister)

"We live in a world of gray. Many shades of black and white......

There is nothing in my adult life that troubles me more than those who cannot see the gray in deep issues.  We should vaccinate...  We shouldn't vaccinate... Black and White... This just is not the case with anything, let alone vaccines.  

I feel I have some unique perspective.  

You see I identify as being one of those "crunchy" moms. Granola, hippie, natural... you get the point.  I had heard the horror stories about vaccines and felt strongly about them.  We chose attachment parenting, baby wearing, nursing, etc.....  A common movement among mothers today.  I was not sure I was okay with the risks of the vaccines when a lot of these diseases seem to be eradicated diseases.  And I know this is a common thought process.  I also have met numerous moms who believe firmly that vaccination is the reason for a serious medical issue they experienced or are still experiencing with a child. It seemed very scary as a first time mom.

The flip side to this is my current reality.  Years after I had to make these decisions about vaccines, I am also the mother of a radiant 4.5 year old.  Big blue eyes, adorable blonde curls, and personality for miles. She is my baby.  My only child.  A child in treatment for cancer..."

Feb 2, 2015

Living Well Spending Zero...

We had a good thing going for awhile.

After admitting our struggle to communicate each other's daily expenditures, my hubby and I decided that what would work best for us would be separate checking accounts.

As a SAHM, I received a monthly allowance from him. With that amount, I had a little bit of freedom for my free-spirit (aka Amazon & Walmart) & could also get some of our grocery essentials.

Since the holidays though, I haven't been very organized with this... so I decided that this month required drastic action...

Jan 29, 2015

The Grace Card...

I wasn't prepared for that phone-call.

Have you ever experienced a call that completely threw you? Maybe it was really bad news or an unwanted reminder of your past? Yeah... I wasn't very impressed with the experience either :(

What do we do, as Christians, when we are forced to face our demons? You know, those lovely ungodly feelings reserved for extra special moments? Anger... shame... fear...??

It quickly turned into a very bad day...

Jan 17, 2015

My Secret To The Good Life... Inspired by "Living Well Spending Less" by: Ruth Soukup

After reading a book entitled, "Living Well Spending Less: 12 secrets of the good life" by: Ruth Soukup I was reminded of something I intuitively knew deep down in my soul, but desperately needed to be reminded of.

Jan 11, 2015

Words Hurt (the truth about bullying)...

I can remember, as a child, saying this phrase after somebody would say something unkind to me or to one of my friends, "sticks & stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!" 

I don't remember who taught me this phrase. All I remember is that saying it made me feel like I gave that person a slam right back... even though what they said DID hurt... a lot.

Jan 5, 2015

How Do You Define Wealth...?

Many in the western world would consider a person "wealthy" by the job they have or by the value of their possessions. 

Us middle-classers generally don't consider someone wealthy unless they drive brand new cars, have a huge house, or go on trips to warmer places on a regular basis. A family from a 3rd world country, however, would likely view another as wealthy if they could afford to feed their family or send their children to school.

I'm continually reminded of how easy it is to equate this word with our finances or by all the things we own, but as I'm growing in my ability to be grateful for all I already have & to appreciate the simple things in life... wealth has taken on a new meaning for me...

Jan 4, 2015

Overcoming Discontentment in 2015... (with free To Do List)

If there's one thing I know I need to work on, it's getting & KEEPING our home truly organized.

What do I mean by organized? Well, in the past that looked like buying more bins to hide all my excess clutter & quickly stashing our mess in rooms we don't use before company came over... but I'm finally beginning to accept the fact that there's "probably" a better way to go about this...