Saturday, August 30, 2014

#SeptemberThanksgivingChallenge begins in 2 day!!!

I have been excited about taking the #SeptemberThanksgivingChallenge 

I have been listening to Chrystal Hurst's podcast from June.  The whole month she was celebrating life...because it was her birthday month too.  I guess since I have been listening to her celebrating that's what brought the idea of celebrating that I am fearfully & wonderfully made.  I'm so excited to share with what God is bringing into my mind while preparing for this.  

This was a rough week for me, because my focus was wrong at the beginning of the week. However, when I went to Bible study on Wednesday I was able to get my focus back on God and where it is supposed to be.  Doing this challenge I think will help me see God as the Strong Creator - Elohim. So excited to share this!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Rock Bottom - continuation on perspective

Well...this week has been a lesson on perspective.  The importance that I have found during this week is that God, the Creator of the universe, cares for little me. Why am I important to Him? Because I am His creation.  I am also a believer.  I believe on His Son, Jesus, who came to this earth as a baby, grew up as a young man, lived a sinless life while on earth, to be able to die for the sins of the world.  Why?  Because He Loves Me...and You...and EVERYONE He created.  So some may ask, if God loves us as a creation, then why does He send people to Hell?  Well, the simple answer is that He doesn't send them there...the people choose it.  What?  They choose it? Yes...they choose Hell.  

Before God created earth...Satan was an angel.  His name was Lucifer.  He thought that he deserved praise like God, so he rebelled against God.  God created Hell for Lucifer and the demons who rebelled with him.  God did not create Hell for the creation of people who came from Adam and Eve...it was just for Satan and his crew of demons.  

So, when Adam and Eve were finally created on that 6th day of Creation, and God saw that everything he made was VERY GOOD.  He was satisfied.  It was perfection. However, Satan is in the picture as a rebel of God, and he knows the word of God...possibly better than the "most intellectual man who has ever lived."  That's how he tricked Eve into eating of the fruit in the Garden of Eden.  So once sin entered into the world, there was punishment for that sin.  Death.  But God...I love those words. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 (NASB)  God had a plan...the plan did not change when Eve ate of the fruit.  Eve had free will.  God did not create her as a robot of His, but a person who could praise Him (because she wanted to praise Him)...out of choice.  

Since sin entered into the world at the fall of man...God's plan was to send Jesus to redeem us...to pay the price in full.  Death is the price.  So Jesus died to pay the price.  "For the wages of sin is death..." Romans 3:23 "...but the gift of God is eternal life." The wage is death.  The gift is eternal life.  So how do we get the gift from God.  Believing Jesus' work in the cross.  Romans 10:9-10 "That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."  

Notice that the gift of God doesn't have any work for me to do to get it.  It's not about being a "good person."  It's confession in my mouth, and believing in my heart. Nothing more.  Why is there nothing more for me to do?  Because it's a gift...you don't work for gifts.  Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."  There is nothing that I can do to make God love me more than He already does.  There is nothing that I can do to make God love me less than He does.  Why? Because God loved me first...in my sin. He loved me.  He loved me enough to give His one and only Son, Jesus to be that sacrifice to pay it all!.  Jesus paid it all!

This morning, I heard a song on WalkFM by Kristian Stanfill with the Passion Team.  it was called "My Heart is Yours"

I give You my life
I give You my trust
Jesus
You are my God
You are enough
Jesus

My heart is Yours
My heart is Yours
Take it all
Take it all
My life in Your hands
I lay down my life 
and take up my cross
Jesus 
For You are my God
Whatever the cost
Jesus 
For You, Jesus

All to Jesus I surrender
All to You I freely give
I will ever love and trust You
In Your presence I will live

So that song brought my perspective to remembering the moment that I believed in Jesus as my Savior.  I was 13 years old.  I was raised in a pastor's home...and had heard the gospel message so many times, I could quote it to others.  What was the difference after that cold December night than the other times before...I had a head knowledge that Jesus had died on the cross.  I knew I was a sinner (trust me...I knew I wasn't perfect).  But knowing the information isn't enough...there has to be faith...believing (an action).  TI like the simple example of faith that my daddy used in Vacation Bible School one year. He took a regular folding chair. Sat it in the middle of the stage.  He said, "I know this chair can hold me if I sit in it." Head knowledge.  "I believe this chair can hold me" Still head knowledge.  It wasn't until he took the action of actually sitting in the chair and experiencing that it held him that he demonstrated faith.  he part of the song that comes from the hymn "I Surrender All" reminds me that daily, I have to surrender all to Jesus. Perspective.  I surrender the struggles I'm facing.  I surrender the doubts, thoughts, etc to Him...moment by moment.  When the stress begins to take over...I surrender. Perspective.  Get my focus back on Him. 

The quote in the picture was posted on Dr. Tony Evans Facebook.  "Sometimes God lets you hit rock bottom so you will discover that He is the Rock at the bottom." This statement has "Trust God" and "God's Got This!" all over it.  When we are feeling that we are hitting rock bottom...our perspective can be good because we know that God is our foundation. He is the solid Rock! 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

God's Got This!

What a difference perspective makes! When facing tests and trials in my life, I find that if I'm trusting God I can continue on in them with not too much of a hiccup.  But when I look directly at the circumstances that I'm facing my vision is overwhelmed by issues, and I can't think or even breathe...yet alone praise the Lord.  The past several days my focus was on my situation.  Thanks to a great bible study and wonderful family and friends in my life now my focus is on trusting God. 

I woke up this morning and getting ready for work and received a text from a good friend telling me she was praying for me and encouraging me to just "Trust God."  Do you know how sometimes you can get advice from friends or family and you think...yeah I know that's what I'm supposed to do, but you don't understand the situation.  With this friend it's not that way...she chose the phrase "Trust God" for her phrase in 2014.  So when she tells me to Trust God...she is telling me from experience that it's sometimes a struggle to do so.  

On the way to work, listening to WalkFM, I was able to hear again Matt Maher sing "You're Grace is Enough."  Praise God for that not so new song to be getting so much air play lately.  

Also before work, I received several texts from friends letting me know they were praying for me and for direction of what to do.  I'm so thankful for God using ordinary people to encourage me.  

He also gave me my brother David who sent me a song this morning.  It was beautiful, and I believe it could have been written for me in my circumstance.  "God's Whisper in Your Ear" ... beautiful! Simply beautiful!

Because I love music and listen to it a lot, God uses it to point me toward Scripture and reading the Word.  So, when I was thinking about perspective yesterday evening and today...I went to the account Peter walking the sea with Jesus. This is one of my favorite times with Peter.  I think of Peter as someone who thinks before he speaks.  He's like..."Lord, if that's really You, tell me to come out with You." He doesn't even remember that a crazy storm is happening, and when Jesus says "come on" (or as in the Jayne family we would translate this to "commawnhea" - you have to watch the Camo-plaid Revolution 2 videos from season 5 to understand that statement).  Anyway, Peter gets out of the boat and begins walking toward Jesus...his eyes are fixed on Him...until he gets a quick look around him (maybe this was something of pride - him looking at the waves thinking...look at me, I'm walking on water.) Whatever it was...Peter lost his focus and began seeing the circumstance around him.  Lost focus can cause issues with attitude.  So, as he begins to sink into the water, he looks to Jesus and again and says "Lord, help!" And Jesus reaches out His hand to take Peter's.  This reminds me of my daddy's testimony, because he talks about going forward at the invitation and saying "Lord help me, and He did"  

We can learn from Peter's experience...keep our focus on God...after all HE'S GOT THIS!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Perspective - Glass half empty or Glass half full


Last week...My pastor preached a message on Psalm 46:1.  The beginning of the week, he preached about how we let things get in the way of our worship with God.  We sometimes will allow distractions to appear in front of Him and we let a distance come between us and God.  I went forward and prayed to confess some areas in my life that I allowed to distance me from God.  Well...that's when spiritual warfare began to heat up in my life.  

I'm a Christian.  Sometimes I'm quiet, but sometimes I'm bold.  And when I'm bold...that's when I get attacked.  Monday morning, the attacks began.  Tuesday they were strong enough for me to begin seeking employment elsewhere.  Today, PRAISE GOD, was Wednesday.  I listened Walk-FM on the way to work.  Three songs were encouragement to me - Fix My Eyes by for King and Country, Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave, and You're Grace is Enough by Matt Maher.  I was so happy to be able to walk into work for a new day, but work was even harder. But God did show me highlights in my day.  He put me on the mind of a good friend of mine, who brought me a devotional book and Frappe from McDonald's.  When I finally made it to Bible Study, I was just ready to sit there and enjoy to hear the word of God.  

God showed up. I was able to give praise for how He is going to work in the work situation I am in. I believe God brought me to my current job for a reason.  Why?  To be a witness to others.  To be bold in my faith and stance.  To be an encouragement to people.  This morning, I couldn't encourage anyone, not even myself, but I'm feeling much better.  On the way home, I heard "Word of God Speak" by Mercy Me.  


Before Bible Study I had been reading in the book "Praying Through the Names of God" by Dr. Tony Evans.  I got to "ELOHEI MA'UZZI: The GOD of my Strength"  I loved the adoration and thanksgiving part. 

Elohei Ma'uzzi, You are my strong fortress. You are the God of my strength. In You I find all that I need. In You are power, might, and force. I praise You for Your mighty hand. I lift up Your name to given You honor because of Your greatness. Your creation testifies to Your power. The mountains rise to proclaim Your strong arm. The ocean depths reveal Your force. The moon keeps its place because of Your great strength. The sun flames as a result of Your own creative prowess. You are to be held in the highest esteem, and I praise You, Elohei Ma'uzzi.


Elohei Ma'uzzi, I thank You for being strong and powerful -- and for being strong for me.  You are a personal God who desires to see me live out my destiny according to Your calling and the purpose for which You have created me.  In order to do this, I need Your strength. I don't have to juggle everything in my life on my own because You have told me that if I come to You, You will give me rest. Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light because You bear them for me.  Thank You, Elohei Ma'uzzi, that in You I find my strength.


This prayer was so encouraging to me and I'm thankful for how God has encouraged me this evening.  Yes, I may go into work tomorrow morning with the same issues, but I have a GOD, who is my REFUGE and STRENGTH.  Like the picture to the left "I may not be in an ideal situation, but I have an Ideal GOD!"

So, I'm trying to keep my perspective as a glass half full! God is BIGGER than my situation.  He is the one I can lean on...He is my REFUGE AND STRENGTH!


Friday, August 22, 2014

September Thankful Challenge

I have been reading three books lately. I normally only like to read one book at a time, but two of them I'm using as a devotional study "The Power of God's Name" and "Praying Through the Names of God" by Dr. Tony Evans.  The other one is by him and his daughter Chrystal Hurst "Kingdom Woman."  Reading these books, have gotten me to think about life and my eternal purpose.  


Recently in the news, we heard about the suicide of actor and comedian Robin Williams.  Over the next several days, people on Facebook began writing different things about how they enjoyed watching the movies he did.  Others gave sympathy statements. One of my friends who something that got me to thinking.  
If you love someone...if you love them without prejudice...tell them.  Tell them often...whether it's your child, your significant other, relative, friend or the person who makes your favorite latte at the coffee shop.  Just tell them. Depression hides and does not discriminate.  Never know when it can make a difference. (Rajan Patel)
At first it was what he wrote and how I need to be treating the people in my life, but as God began to deal with me and my own life, I realized that any one of us could be like Robin and take their own life if they don't realize the reason for our purpose.  

This brings me to the two devotional books I'm reading.  The first name we read about in those books is ELOHIM (The Strong Creator God).  The reason this is the first name we read in those books is because it's the first one in the Bible.  Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning, God (ELOHIM) created the heavens and the earth."  Dr. Evans writes

That one line at the beginning of time reveals a deep character quality of God -- Creator.  It's God's introduction, His prelude.  It's the first impression of Himself that He offers to His creation.  In essence, God says, "Hello, I am Elohim."
God is the Creator of all things...including me!  Why did He create us?  Well, the short answer is for His pleasure.  I like that too.  Some people struggle with their purpose in life. I personally like the fact that God created me for His pleasure because it assures me that God likes me.  
He put his time and energy into making me the girl who see today. Crazy, goofy, fun-loving me!  I am unique.  My identity is in Him...which  makes me a Kingdom woman (a daughter of the King.  



Pondering Raj's quote over the past several days, helped me to come up with a September Thankful Challenge.  
Yes, I know November is the Thankful Month, but God is teaching me a lesson to be Thankful for the way He created me.  A few weeks ago, I was challenged to fight the #fatdemon by Chrystal Hurst by taking the #7daychallenge on Instagram.  I was able to complete it...not 7 days, but actually 12 or 13 days.  I think I missed the last day.  I was so excited that I completed something.  Well, God has been speaking to my heart about me being Created by Him.  Psalm 139, my favorite Psalm has a few verses I would like to share.  Verses 13 & 14 "For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb.  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well."  I believe God wants each of us to praise Him and give glory for how He created us. I believe every one He created even those children who were miscarried or have died right after birth...God has a purpose for them...and He's getting the glory out of their short lives.  I want to be able to accept this challenge and have those who follow me be my accountability.  Help me to remember to post each day about what I'm thankful for in how God created me.  You may want to join me too.  Hint! Hint!  If you do, please use the hashtag #SeptemberThankfulChallenge so I can see how you are thankful for how God created you!

God is good...all the time! All the time...God is good! Let's celebrate the life that God has given each of us and give him praise and glory for it.  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Day 2 #7daychallenge to fight the #fatdemon

Well, day two is upon us.  It's been a great day so far with food choices.  It wasn't the best day of work, however.  Thankfully it wasn't too stressful that it messed up my food choices :)

I began the day with my Greek yogurt and a banana with water to drink.  I know that there is supposed to be a variety, but I find when I'm at work if I eat anything but Greek yogurt, I'm usually starved before lunch.  I try to make my fruit different each day to help with the variety.








For a snack, I did have some sesame sticks and blueberries.  I ended up eating my blueberries during some of my lunch too.  


For lunch I had a really great Turkey sandwich on 12 grain bread, one cucumber, grapes, peaches, and watermelon.  I drank water with lunch, but not a lot.  I still have some grapes left, because I wasn't able to eat them all with everything else. I also had part of my sandwich on the way home from work, as I didn't have time to eat it all.





For dinner I'm going to have chicken salad on multi-grain crackers (I love these crackers because they are also gluten free.  I'm not totally gluten free, but I am trying to not eat a lot of it. I do when I eat bread, but I don't always eat bread.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Day 1 - #7daychallenge (2nd time around)

It has been a pretty good day as far as my eating has gone.  I planned on breakfast and snacks for today last night.  It was good to be prepared.  And I'm gonna try that again tonight for tomorrow.  Planning is the key.


For breakfast I had Greek Yogurt (for protein), sliced peach, banana.  I drank water with this and throughout the morning. Drinking water has really helped me from snacking too much.
 For lunch, we had a drug representative to bring lunch. I was already getting stressed and didn't want to have to deal with lunch, so the provider said it was okay to do the platters or box lunches from Chick-fil-a.  I ate the sandwich and chips.  Said no to the cookie, in fact I took it out of my box so it wouldn't be tempting me.

I drank water again.  Part of my lunch time was spent running errands quickly.  So I made sure I enjoyed the sandwich so I knew I ate it.






I had forgot I brought a cucumber to eat with lunch, so I had it for snack with some black seedless grapes. I also had a half of a pickle from Jimmy Johns, but had eaten it before I got the picture of the snack.  I still have some of the grapes for dinner time too.








For dinner - or after Zumba snack, I had popcorn, two brownies with fat free organic milk and water.  Yes I had popcorn for dinner. After Zumba I don't like to eat too heavy, so I just eat popcorn, because after my workout my metabolism is higher.  So I added the brownies too.

I got my water in for the day.  It's so easy to do that when I have Zumba class. 

I was also good with points today. I used a few of my weekly points, but that's cool.

Enjoy working to fight the #fatdemon on the #7daychallenge 








Sunday, August 10, 2014

#7daychallenge

I have recently been following Chrystal Evans Hurst on Instragram. I didn't realize she had co-authored a book with her dad Dr. Tony Evans until this summer.  But since learning this info, I have been able to see what she is like by checking her Instagram page.  

I feel Chrystal could be one of my sisters.  She was raised in a christian home and her dad is a pastor too. She has struggled with her weight, and I have too!  She challenged her "followers" to take a #7daychallenge to fight the #fatdemon.  I have been involved with this challenge this past week, and the benefits have been really great.  I have been conscience about what I'm eating.  Yes, I missed taking a few of the pictures of my meals, but even though I didn't get the pictures, I still was able to make good decisions about what I was eating.  

This morning was my weigh day and I really wanted to see how well I did.  I lost 2.6 pounds and am actually on the losing side again! Yeah!  

I want to thank Chrystal for challenging us with this adventure.  I know it has helped me, and even when I went to the store tonight, I made wise choices to get healthy foods for the week.  

Please continue to pray for me on this journey, I know I need it, because it's through God's strength that I will fight the #fatdemon!