Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Reflections, Gratitude, & Spiritual Growth

As I reflect on this last year and how blessed I have been through the stress and the mess of things, I only have gratitude toward God, and for those who have walked beside me in this journey and continue to do so.

Out of that gratitude I want to give back and be a blessing. I just don't know how to minister well to people. I used to serve a lot more than I do now. Anymore I don't get as much time learning as I used to. So that makes me cherish the times I can be in service and listen and learn. I'm not really cut out for teaching, I don't think anyway. Maybe God has other plans for me. But I don't know right now. I just feel like I have forgotten to be a servant these last few years. I was nominated for a Servant Leadership award during college. That blew my mind then because I didn't know what anyone saw in me that they would even nominate me then. I especially don't see that in myself right now. And I want that to change.

This last weekend I gave a friend a back massage. I haven't really had much opportunity to give back massages to friends since college. I used to give my friends (you know who you are ;) ) back massages a lot. I loved doing that; being able to minister in healing with massage. I always took the opportunity to quietly pray for my friends during that time. It blessed me to be able to help them feel better. It definitely blessed me to be a blessing. Just being able to help my friend move her head better blessed me. Being given the opportunity to give a back massage again was a blessing. The last time I gave back massages was for a ladies night like a year or more ago. That's too long a time between giving back massages!

I just feel so many things stirring in my spirit. Ministering to others, serving others, praying for others both one-on-one and corporately. I haven't really felt a heart of ministry since college. I hadn't been with a group of believers who are all seeking God and ready for breakthrough in the spiritual realms since college. I keep being reminded of my time with Prayer Watch. I feel as if I wandered from that path after Prayer Watch ended, and am returning to where I was then, and growing beyond it. I am still excited for what God is doing in the church body that I am a part of. I don't want to become complacent in this season of growth. I don't want us to stop seeking just because we've grown a little. I pray the fire keeps burning within us and the Holy Spirit keeps pouring out His presence among us.

We, I, can't back down or become stagnant in growth. It makes me think that the complacency that I felt early this week, which i feel was part of a spiritual attack to get me to just stop being fervent in my reading or studies. I mean how easy would it be to just have given up early this week and let myself fight through the jaw pain and being tired and moody this week coz that's what my body felt. I could have just blown off my readings and not tried to study anything. I could give up on trying to bless others, because what can I really do? Right? How easy is it to become complacent in the day to day grind! When I feel like that I know I can't give in. Because I know God has greater things in store, not only for myself but for the small church body that I call home.

I feel as if a shift happened in the atmosphere when the women got back from our retreat in August. Something happened there. Something changed in our church. A fire was lit. We really did begin a "Fresh Brewed Life". It wasn't just a catchphrase for the weekend and what our leaders hoped would happen. It actually happened. It has been evident in our lives. I'm still excited for what God is doing in us, how He is growing us, molding us.

I can't put it into words adequately, so with that I will finish this slightly long winded and random post. I don't even know how many of my thoughts were cohesive. I do have a tendency to begin a thought without any backstory. And I feel like that has been several of my most recent posts. I don't think I have a really good starting point without going into far too much detail that would really be unnecessary and somewhat boring for most. Especially those adsensewatchdog people that keep stalking my page and jacking up my stats. Oh well. Time for me to sleep and see if my dreams are any more cohesive than this blog post.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Commercialism and Connection - A potpourri of thoughts

The more I see of commercialism, the more I hate it.

Yes, I like stuff just as much as the next person. But I keep getting annoyed with stuff. Like my last computer hard drive disc. It stopped working. I lost all my pictures, music, and other files. It was depressing.

I think of photography. I love photography. I like looking at pictures. I want a decent camera (like a DSLR) just so I could contribute to the plethora of photographs that are out there. Because people don't take the time to stop and enjoy the sights of what is around them every day. But then I think of heaven. We won't have photography in heaven. We won't need photography in heaven. Because we will be worshiping the Creator of all the beautiful things we see in this world. That will be all that will matter. Worshiping the Creator.

I look at days like today. Black Friday. The "kickoff" of the so-called "Christmas Season". People take one day to be thankful on Thanksgiving, and turn around the next day and practice a ridiculous display of greed, on what is supposed to be the season in which we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Christ Jesus. Never mind the fact that it's a Catholic holiday (I am a non-denominational Bible-believing Christian,) and I do not celebrate the Catholic Mass remembering Christ's birth, but I do think that His birth is obviously worth remembering (and I dislike those who want to take Christ out of Christmas). Christmas is also not in the correct season... since Jesus was likely not born in the winter time. Christmas trees stem from a pagan ritual to celebrate the winter solstice, so should we as Christians really be decorating them?

How easily we lose sight of what is important in this season: Celebrating Jesus Christ and the fact that He came to earth, to live and grow up here like we do, yet without sin, so that He could take the burden of our sins and die in our place. Spending time with family and friends - being face to face with those we love... not going out and buying more crap that can't love us back.

Community and belonging are things that have been on my heart for a long time. Something that I don't see many churches *get* even though they may talk about it. So to see people, both Christians and non-Christians, so disconnected from others that they would trample those in front of them just to get some piece of metal/plastic, it's heartbreaking.

One of my more recent thoughts has been "Connect In Person". If you follow me on Twitter, you'll see me hashtag it sometimes, #ConnectInPerson. As much as I enjoy technology and social media, it can be a detriment to your social life. I would much rather spend time with people than online just browsing random sites and checking on what other people are doing. I don't get to spend a lot of time with family or friends because of my schedule. I enjoy when I can spend time with people. I think we focus too much on our social scores online, Facebook stalking each other, following people just to get more followers. Lately the unsubscribe button in e-mails has been my friend, when it works. I get too many stock e-mails, not enough personal ones. I see too much clutter in my Twitter feed. There are too many obnoxious posts on Facebook. So at the risk of losing followers, I am un-following several people and products, just to clean up my feeds.

Why do they call it a feed? What are we feeding ourselves? These social media platforms don't force us to follow these people or pages. What are we posting? Are we lifting up others with what we say? Or are we constantly tearing down everyone, including ourselves?

That is about the end of my thoughts for this evening. I'll leave you with a quote that has been on my mind recently. Mostly as I reflect on the craziness of this year. I could give a recap, but that should be another post in and of itself, and I don't know if I feel like doing that. But it's on my mind, and it also relates to general connectedness. Because I would not be as connected with my church family now if it wasn't for the events of the last year with my job, moving, the women's retreat, spiritual growth, and other happenings throughout the year.

We had some random things happen to us; some good, some bad, some you can’t explain, some you don’t want to, but one thing we did learn for sure…when God throws a curveball…don’t duck…you just might miss something.” 

      Will --- Extreme Days

Friday, November 9, 2012

Breakthrough: take two

I keep trying to write a post here and too much gets written but I don't want to delete it, so I keep saving my draft and writing a new post. So here goes this weeks "take two".

This has been a week of spiritual breakthrough. Of listening to the Holy Spirit telling me to act, and almost being too afraid to do so. However, when Holy Spirit tells you that if you are not obedient He will put His work in your life on hold, you know then you have to act. I had to step out of my box. I had to push past my fears. And with that came some spiritual breakthrough just in being truthful before God, as we had just learned about regarding the spiritual armor of God that is given in Ephesians 6. Chip Ingram spoke about the armor all attaching to the belt in regards to the Roman armor in that day. And as a metaphor the belt of truth means approaching God in truth, and being truthful with ourselves and others.

Stepping out in faith to walk in that truth, and allowing God to examine the deep places of your heart... That's some scary stuff. Or it can be. In truth there is freedom.

I cannot wait to see what God does when we are gathered together this Sunday. I am so thankful to be a part of this church body. I am excited for how God is going to move. I come expecting. Not for some kind of spiritual or emotional high from feeling His presence. Last week I came praising because I *didn't* "feel"like praising. I felt attacked last Sunday, which was all the more reason for me to praise. No, I can't wait to just have that time of corporate worship and praise, and getting in the Word. It makes me come alive to worship my Creator.

I am back out on the dance floor...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election 2012

Regardless the results of the election for President, this nation needs to turn back to God.  For too long it has been turning its back on God. Prayer is not allowed in schools. Sexual perversions run rampant in the media and marketplace. Individuals, companies and government entities are overcome with greed. "Numero Uno" is the god above the Alpha and the Omega. It's legal to murder children before they are born, but it's inhumane to deprive inmates of cable TV or the Internet. Drunken oblivion and one-night-stands are humorous (i.e. "Two and a Half Men" and other comedies). 

When will this nation awaken? It has reached a spiritual stupor. We, as Christians, need to gather to pray for this country. We are in the midst of a battle, and it isn't about party lines. It's taking place in the spiritual realms. A realm that most of America is blind to.

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
 Galatians 5:13-26 (NIV)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Rest in God alone

Truly my soul finds rest in God; 
    my salvation comes from him. 
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

~Psalm 62:1-2

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:

He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun.

~Psalm 37:5-6 

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 

     In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?

~Psalm 56:3-4

I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
~Psalm 91:2

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.

~Philippians 4:4-7

(All above verses are from the NIV)

Glo Bible Premium - PC - Home & Hobbies (Google Affiliate Ad)