Friday, April 27, 2012

I love people. They frustrate me sometimes, but I still love them.

Nom nom nom yummy = the sound I make on the inside when I see the Spinach and Artichoke egg souffles at Panera. Naughty little souffle... you tasted so good.

I enjoyed one of these delightfully fluffy egg things with a good friend of mine this morning. We sat outside in the morning sun and perfect 68-degree weather. Charles calls us CWOLs -- Christian Women of Leisure. Hmph!   (0_0)        ...but secretly, I like that moniker.

Anywho, we were chattin' it up, discussing people -- both family and strangers -- and how easy it is sometimes to be forgiving of those we love, but not the strangers who wrong us. And sometimes it's the opposite -- we have a hard time forgiving family and friends, but we're willing to do so for the stranger. The point is relationships, communication, and human interaction can be difficult sometimes. Stuff gets lost between "what I mean to say in my head, before it comes out of my piehole" and what the other person hears. Body language is misinterpreted. Facial expressions can sometimes disguise true feelings. So how do we push past what we feel and love people for real?

For one, as Christians we have to see each other by the spirit, through spiritual eyes, the way God sees us. I'm still practicing this. We should give each other the benefit of the doubt instead of leaning toward thinking the worst.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness in this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
-Ephesians 6:12, KJV

Thursday, April 26, 2012

31 Status

It's fire. Just watch. That's all I'm saying.

Jesus Calling

This morning, I buried my head in my hands and sighed. Today is Day 19 of our church's annual Pentecost season fast, and "daily blog posts as an offering to God" have not been going so well.

Between some long days at work, a week of family visiting and back-to-back weekend trips, I haven't taken much time to write.  Don't get me wrong. All of the work and family stuff was wonderful, but I knew I wasn't in the right place with God. When I tried to write, it was like I couldn't. I got stuck at "Hello."

Feeling sick of me, I expressed all this to my husband and he lovingly asked about the quality of my personal time with God during this fast. I have to admit, I've been lax. He said, "A fast can show you what you're really made of," and he's right. I can praise and worship God every day, listen to my Sho Baraka and Marvin Sapp Pandora stations while I work, and even thank God for the day, but this is not the same as spending quality time with God.

This is about me becoming spiritually-minded. I NEED to sit as His feet, read His Word daily, focus solely on Him, and be quiet and still long enough to hear from Him, to be challenged, corrected, encouraged and guided by Him. But honestly, building my intimate relationship with Him has not been my top priority as of late. However, I'm determined to press on.

He gave me another day when He woke me up this morning, so I have another chance!
Click here to find it on Amazon

So this week at Costco, I came across this devotional book -- Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young. I appreciate devotionals (I currently own three devo books) as part of my daily diet of scripture and messages. This one is unique because it's written from the first-person perspective of God with biblical scripture references. Here's a segment of today's message:

Welcome problems as perspective-lifters... [A problem] can be a ladder, enabling you to climb up and see your life from My perspective. Viewed from above, the obstacle that frustrated you is only a light and momentary trouble. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Psalm 89:15)

After I read my devotional, I journal. I thought the blog would be the appropriate place to do this journaling,  but it turns out good ol' fashioned pen and paper is exactly what I needed. I'll still share here on the blog, but only as the Spirit leads me.

Although my days aren't going as planned, and this frustrates me more often than not, I recognize that slowing down and taking time to see things from His perspective helps me to keep my focus lifted and stayed on Him. It doesn't matter how big or small the problem may seem. I always have two options: melt into a place of self-pity or anger or (fill in the blank with other emotion) OR climb that ladder. Getting emotional doesn't help; gaining His perspective does.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Farewell, Cupcakes.

Hey ya'll! 

I grew up in the church and was familiar with prayer, but for most of my life I knew little about fasting as a part of the Christian walk. My good friend and brother-in-Christ, Pastor Paul Stennett (Twitter: PastorStennett), offered up a nice short phrase to describe both: 

We pray to draw closer to God; we fast to separate ourselves from the world.

During my first 50-day Pentecost (see Acts 2) corporate fast, I thought I was going to literally pass out. We went to a family friend's house that Easter, and she had a spread on the table that would make Paula Dean blush. The daily fast was from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM. Guess what time we sat down to dinner... 6:05. I slipped away to call my pastor and ask if special occasion dinners were exempt. 

Yes, I really did. Thank God for growth.

As in previous years, our church family does a corporate fast with specific prayer focus for each of the seven weeks. In previous years, we've done the Daniel Fast, no wheat, etc. -- but this year is very different and perhaps could be my most challenging fast yet:

For 50 days, SACRIFICE for God some item, thing or habit you regularly partake of or participate in that hinders you from being more Spiritually Minded, and OFFER to God something new and fresh to help you become more Spiritually Minded that would be a sweet smelling savor to God.

I'm sacrificing three things which for me are quite challenging to give up:  

  1. Sweets like these and these, because I turn to them instead of God when I'm anxious, stressed or frustrated,
  2. Mobile games because they're a time waster. Angry Birds and Words with Friends aren't fruitful for me right now, and
  3. YouTube channels. Though I will still post on my own channel periodically, I won't be watching other people's channels for a while.
My offering is to write, draw, paint and create to glorify God and to journal what He shows me every day for the next 50 days. To friends and family who might be following along or those who are also fasting, I'd love to hear about your personal sacrifice and offering. It's not too late to make the commitment. 

Thanks for reading and much love,