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.)