Hiatus 4.28.14 – 5.4.14

Hiatus 4.28.14 - 5.4.14

I am sad that I have to take a break from this blog but excited because I am going to London to attend the Colour Conference!

I do not want to incur roaming charges so I will only be using WiFi and I’m not sure I will have consistent service.

If I do I will post as usual, but if I don’t I will be more than happy to carry on–business as usual on Monday 5.5.14!!

Love you all!

Friday Inspiration 4.25.14

Friday Inspiration 4.25.14

I love this verse because it’s great in and of itself. God is my strength and my song–how beautiful to think about being so secure that all you want to do is sing..because we’re HAPPY. That surely beats any song by Pharrell. 🙂

When I was reading my new Bible App plan “Hearing from God Each Morning” I was challenged by Joyce Meyer’s words:

“We are all guilty of treating prayer as a last-ditch effort and saying things like, “Well, nothing else is working, so maybe we should pray.” Do you know what that tells me? It tells me that we really do not believe in the power of prayer as we should. We carry burdens we do not need to bear – and life is much harder than it has to be – because we do not realize how powerful prayer is. If we did, we would talk to God and listen to what He says about everything, not as a last resort, but as a first response.”

I enjoy talking to God, so much so that I don’t always think of it per se as “prayer”. I think I “pray” all day. Of course I still enjoy a formal prayer where it is deliberate and intentional, but I value my casual conversations with Him as well. However, I still think it’s natural and human when I am feeling restless about a situation to be discouraged if I can’t solve it immediately. To have to be still and pray and hand it over to God.

I want prayer to always be my first reaction–not worry, not restlessness, but prayer. I want to be powerful in my relationship with Him always and be able to pray with the kind of confidence that Jesus had when he was talking to the Father.

Photo Credit: Found on scriptureinpictures.tumblr.com

Thursday Inspiration 4.24.14

Thursday Inspiration 4.24.14

Not too many years ago I was still struggling to really enjoy reading the Bible. It wasn’t for lack of trying, but I hadn’t really had the kind of success with it that I wanted. I didn’t want to just read it like a textbook and glean little from it. In one ear out the other kind of thing. I remember being very frustrated with God and praying for clarity, praying for a passion to ignite, whatever it took. I knew reading the Word daily was an important thing to do, but I found myself dreading it. At my worst point I remember feeling as if maybe God didn’t want to talk to me. Ridiculous but I feel when you stand at the door and knock and you aren’t getting an answer you tend to feel like nobody’s home. Or they are home but they aren’t in the mood for visitors.

Luckily that was just a season in my life and I’ve found a groove that words for me. What works for someone else in their Bible is not necessarily going to work for me and vice versa. I think it takes time to figure out what works best for you.

Here are some tips:

1. Test drive different versions of the Bible via the Bible app on your phone or via Bible Gateway on the internet. I find my favorite version is “The Message” just because I’m a writer and so I enjoy the often poetic/unexpected language.

2. I’ve tried on more than one occasion to read the Bible from start to finish. It didn’t work for me. I’ve tried Bible plans on tape. I was still bored. I don’t think the Bible should ever feel like an obligation or something robotic and forced. So don’t feel bad if you are like me and reading straight from the beginning to the end isn’t working for you. I personally either choose topical verses to meditate on for the day i.e. worry, love, etc and I find that speaks to me in the day. I also enjoy devotionals on my Bible app. I’ve completed roughly 5-7 plans on that and it’s a nice snippet to reference each day. Also the Bible app has a verse of the day every day on top of that. I believe it’s quality over quantity. I would personally rather know verses very well and have a visceral reaction to it than be steam rolling through the Bible and have no idea what I read.

3. Try to apply it to your life/what is happening in your day. I.e. If someone says something nasty to you at work and it upsets you– you can pull out Psalm 18:18-20 MSG “When I was in trouble, they attacked me (at work) but the Lord protected me. He helped me out of danger, he saved me because he is pleased with me (even when others around me are not)” or Ephesians 6:10-12 MSG “And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you (me) strong….take everything the Master has set out for you (me)….and put them to use so you (I) will be able to stand up to everything the Devil (my co-workers, my boss, etc) throws your (my) way”. See? I feel like making the scriptures personal like that is helpful. You are writing the scripture into your heart, into your mind, into your mouth, and holding it in your hands.

I think about some of the current trials I am facing in this season of life (a dysfunctional/often verbally abusive home life, my mom’s unemployment, my brother’s mental illness, my difficult work environment, my sometimes loneliness both platonic and romantic) and this image is a reminder of that. However I think in God’s love He allows this desperation to create a soil in your soul that only He can water. Maybe the scriptures now have a chance to go deeper and deeper in your roots so that you will never have to strive to read his Word or to know His character because He let you be dry so that he could restore you. So that you could know very tangibly what it feels like to be without, and then with. To manifest the His power of his Word.

I pray that if you are struggling to get into his Word like I was that you find whatever works for you. God will never give you something that is ill fitting or heavy for you to carry. He WANTS you to live freely and lightly and his Word will give you wings to carry you through your days. I also pray that if He sees fit to bring you through a wilderness so that you will use his Scriptures to create a paradise within your heart that you will allow Him to have His way. Thank you Jesus for your goodness. Thank you for giving us both Your Word and Your Spirit. In Your name I pray. Amen.

 

Photo Credit: Found on myrecipeforjoy.com

Wednesday Inspiration 4.23.14

Wednesday Inspiration 4.23.14

Growing up being a Christian wasn’t “cool”. Young people and new Christians today are pretty lucky to have Hillsong United, Planetshakers, Jesus Culture, Young & Free, etc etc. I know Jesus’s message is timeless but growing up in the Church was more or less, boring honestly and there was not a huge focus on modernity or speaking in a way that younger people could understand. There were no youth groups in my area, most of the people going to church were double my age or older, and you knew if you invited someone to church there was a better chance of them falling asleep than asking to come with you again. I don’t name-drop these groups because they are “trendy” but because they incorporate the language and feel of the present and aren’t dated or disconnected from what’s happening today. I think that’s huge. We are a generation connected to technology and largely very expressive/artistic so why wouldn’t it be a good idea to reflect that in the Church and use those passions and gifts to reach people who speak the same language?

But more to the point.

When I saw this image I thought more specifically about again, the comparison I often feel as a participant in the contemporary Church. There are so many creative types and there is a tendency I think to fit into that mold. A brief example is Instagram. I’ve noticed in my church there is a tendency for conformity when posting pictures. Granted, maybe this is just my perception, but I’ve noticed a lot of people post the same kinds of pictures, take the same kinds of photos with friends, and write the same kinds of captions. Maybe that’s normal and reflective of our particular Church culture, but there are many ways to reflect Christ that don’t need to be carbon-copies of what everyone else is doing. Don’t get me wrong, these images are beautiful, almost commercial/professional magazine-level portraits and landscapes, but sometimes I feel like there is a desire to fit in, or dress like everyone else, or have all the same skills as everyone else and quite frankly that’s not the point. We are all made in the likeness of God but if God is unfathomable, expansive in his wonder and talent, then as His children we can feel free to be unique and reflect an array of talents and beauty that doesn’t have to be quantified or contained according to what “everyone else is doing”. I never want to strive to be a mirror of other Christians, I am called to be like Christ. And so are you.

Photo Credit: Found on heartprintsofgod.com

Tuesday Inspiration 4.22.14

Tuesday Inspiration 4.22.14

I was just reflecting on God’s greatness after reading my daily verse today:

 

Romans 8:9-11 MSG

9-11 But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!

 

Things that popped out to me:

-Even though we have the Spirit of Christ we are still a paradox because we are still susceptible to sin

-God will do the same thing in me that he did in Jesus

 

Even though I have been in Church for my entire life and a lot of this is head knowledge I never want to get to a place where I forget how great my God is. Even though it is hard to accept my lack of perfection, even though as a Christian you want to constantly improve and not fall back into bad habits or create new ones God knows. My old church prior to Hillsong NYC used to say that “Faith is a journey, not a guilt trip” and we are constantly being refined. Jesus is an impossible role model, in the sense that, he faced evil and temptation and was never tainted by it. However God’s word promises that He will do the same great resurrection work in me that he did in Jesus. Although we have a while before we are all raised to life and given our perfect bodies in Heaven, we can be joyful in the journey knowing that the greatness of Jesus is already a whisper inside of our Earthly bodies and will come to fruition. It is promised. God is Great!

Photo Credit: Found on plus.google.com

No Greater Love

“Never confuse devotion with emotion. The Bible measures love, not in tingles per second, but in putting one’s life on the line (1 John 3:16-18)” – Grantley Morris

Sometimes if I’m honest I tend to judge my relationship with God a little unfairly. For example there are times where I don’t feel like raising my hands in worship, but I feel guilty only because everyone around me is. Or people are very demonstrative i.e. crying while singing, or speaking in tongues during prayer and my relationship with God isn’t like that. Am I the only one that does that? I think it is easy to look at your relationship with Jesus and compare it to what you see around you. It’s part human nature and part the enemy whispering things in your ear to cause you to self-doubt. It’s like the famous quote “Comparison is the thief of Joy”. And it really is true.

We’re all on our own spiritual journeys with Jesus. If we were meant to be on the same journey, well, God would make us the same way and speak to us the same way. But amazingly He wants us to have our own separate relationships with Him. And also luckily He is interested in the condition and motivation of our hearts instead of the outward appearance.

I remember a while ago “The Five Love Languages” was big in the Christian world. I never read the book but out of interest I wanted to see if there was a quick quiz online to reference and because of the magical wonder that is the internet, of course there was. I didn’t want to sign up so I just skipped the field with name and email.

For Singles: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/singles/

For Husbands: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/husbands/

For Wives: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/wives/

My scores and explanations are below:

Your Scores (out of a possible 12):
6: Words of Affirmation
10: Quality Time
0: Receiving Gifts
5: Acts of Service
9: Physical Touch

Quality Time

In Quality Time, nothing says “I love you” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes you feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed activities, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Whether itʼs spending uninterrupted time talking with someone else or doing activities together, you deepen your connection with others through sharing time.


Physical Touch

A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, and thoughtful touches on the arm—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive. Appropriate and timely touches communicate warmth, safety, and love to you.

Words of Affirmation

Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. You thrive on hearing kind and encouraging words that build you up.

Acts of Service

Can helping with homework really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most wants to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. When others serve you out of love (and not obligation), you feel truly valued and loved.

Receiving Gifts

Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures. Gifts are heartfelt symbols to you of someone else’s love and affection for you.

 ——-

I couldn’t agree more actually. I enjoy quality time more than anything. And nothing bothers me more than when people push off spending time with me, or when I meet someone new and they do not make eye contact or seem disinterested in being around me. Physical touch is also big. If I like you I will want to hug you. The end.

Now while it’s always fun to take a quiz there is a reason why I posted that. 1. Because we all respond to things differently 2. If we all have our love languages with people, wouldn’t that also be true when it comes to our relationship with God?

If ever you find yourself comparing yourself to how others love God or worse yet (guilty) questioning God’s individual love for you you have to remind yourself that we are all different and He knows what love language we need to be spoken to in. Also since we are made in His image he also desires to be pursued and understood by us as well.

The facts are that:

  • God loved us so much He sent His Son to die in our place (1 John 4:10).
  • There is nowhere we can go where His presence is not with us (Psalm 139:7-11).
  • Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39).
  • He has always loved us and always will. (Jeremiah 31:3)

–  http://www.strengthforthesoul.com/

Prayer: Thank you that You are always with me and have chosen me as Your child. Jesus help me to grow in my comprehension of Your love for me. If ever I find myself judging my relationship with you based on my assumptions of relationships around me, remind me who I am to You and that our relationship is set apart and special in and of itself. Continue to show me our love language so that I am secure in where I stand in Your eyes. Amen.

Monday Inspiration 4.21.14

Monday Inspiration 4.21.14

I’m still smiling from yesterday’s Easter services. It’s a beautiful day.

#crossequalslove

 

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost
But now am found
Was blind but now I see

Oh, I can see You now
Oh, I can see the love in Your eyes
Laying Yourself down
Raising up the broken to life
-Broken Vessels

 

Photo Credit: Found on homeword.com via Pinterest