Born Again

“And the vessel that he had made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.”
Jeremiah 18:4

We are far from perfect—nor can we make ourselves to be—but we can choose to allow God to reform us into something beautiful. It requires letting Him hold us in His hands and allowing Him to reshape our lives, many times quite drastically.

“No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine in old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
Matthew 9:16-17

I think we often try to hold onto parts of our old lives that are hard to let go rather than fully surrendering to God, and this quickly creates a problem. As long as we are holding onto our old bodies—our old ways, traditions, lifestyle, selfish desires, and such—we are naturally going to be rejecting God without even meaning to. We aren’t going to be ready to receive His Spirit and His blood upon us to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We won’t have His desires within us. We won’t be fully equipped to share the gospel as long as we are like this.

I might as well say it: it’s not easy—not if we’re doing this 100%. It takes a continuous surrendering, but it is worth it. Let’s allow God to fully renew our bodies so that He can fill us to overflowing with His Holy Spirit, His desires, His strength, His love, His wisdom, His peace, His joy, and so much more.

Is Christianity Decreasing?

As I’ve heard more and more of the percentage of the American population that claim to be Christians decreasing, it has really got me to wondering how many truly know what Christianity is. Perhaps I am seeing this wrong, but what I am seeing is less people claiming to be Christians who weren’t truly Christians in the first place. Not all, but a huge part of what America considers “Christianity”, has become very shallow and insincere. I think a lot of it is because much of the modern-day church has become very fact-based.

When I look around me and see the amazing detail of the creation of the world and how we can’t make a single blade of grass I wonder how people could even doubt God’s existence. The way so many things function—where if one single detail were off it wouldn’t work at all…can this really be a coincidence?

But I am slowly beginning to see that as I grew up in a Christian home, I had faith in Christ first—before all the details. And that’s where real Christianity starts—with faith.

God didn’t go to the Pharisees and perform a miracle to prove Himself. He went to the sick, the hurting, the hungry…those who were seeking and willing to step out in faith. God then reveals Himself to those who put their faith in Him.

A lot of the Christian church has been trying to prove themselves with facts—but to no avail because many non-believers already have their own “faith”. They already have something they believe, that they’ve grown up being taught and you simply can’t replace faith with facts. There’s nothing wrong with having facts, to be sure. I’ve been very fascinated by the history of the Church and all the details of God’s creation, but it’s not where my faith is based.

There’s something I have to give agnostics a credit for, and ironically, it’s their faith. Their strong belief that there is no God. It’s not really something they can prove, but nonetheless, they believe it.

A religion that stands is going to be one that is based on faith. It’s where your heart is set, what no words any man can say will convince you otherwise. Sadly, a lot of Christianity is no longer faith-based. What I’ve been seeing is as there have been so many discoveries and the world has learned new things, a lot of sincere Christians with a faith-based religion mistakenly have been raising up a generation of fact-based religion…which does not stand very long.

And this generation I am speaking of is not our current generation, but previous generations. There was a period in time where many families were growing up saying, “Well, the Bible says it, so it must be true.”, and “good people” keep the Ten Commandments and go to church. This is hardly “faith” that is being passed down, but facts.

I believe the decline of people who claim to be “Christians” is people who never had a faith-based relationship with Christ in the first place. Many grew up in “Christian” homes that literally had no faith…just facts. And then as they grew up, became more independent and were out in the world they were quickly surrounded by a “faith”, but not a faith in Christ…a faith that there is no God.

We need to realize that Christianity takes faith…without it, it won’t stand. Don’t build your life and family on facts, but faith in God and His Word to us. True faith won’t decline, but will grow.

What Faith Can Do

Even if it seems impossible, that’s ok. Even if I have no idea how I’m going to reach the goals before me, that’s ok. Even if I can’t say exactly where I’m going, that’s ok. Because God is great, and He knows. With faith in Him I can reach the impossible, I can go further than I’ve ever dreamed possible, and can achieve things that I hadn’t even thought of achieving. He is my God. He goes before me and knows the way I am to go…nothing can come between me and God.

Facing Our Problems

We’ve all got problems. Who doesn’t? It’s a part of life. Where it becomes a BIG problem is when it’s not taken care of. The roots of the problem grow deeper, and it becomes a lot more to deal with…more than we can deal with on our own.

Identify
Before a problem can be worked out, we have to know that it’s there, and what exactly the problem is. We can usually tell when something isn’t right, though sometimes if we’ve been ignoring it for a long time or have put our hands over our ears to God it becomes as though it isn’t even there. Sometimes it takes some digging to find out what exactly it is, but with the power of the Holy Spirit, God will help us see what needs healed or removed from our lives. Until we find out what it is, we can hardly do anything about it.

God is Bigger
Thankfully, our God is able to handle ANY problem, no matter how big. But in order for that to happen we have to lay it down at His feet and give Him control.

The Roots
Once God reveals to us what it is that needs healing or removed, we need to find the ROOT of the problem—what has caused it, where it is from, and what can be done to prevent it from happening/being there again. Sometimes there are things that we need taken away or something we are used to doing that needs to stop. It’s not always easy to do, but without being willing to remove the root of the problem, the problem will likely grow back.

Healing and Restoration
As children of God, He is our Protector, our Healer, our Guide, and so much more. It is in Him that our trust should be found. No matter how much it may hurt to take away things that need taken away, God is able to heal, restore, and bring things into our lives that are MUCH better. He brings a satisfaction that nothing and no one else can bring.

So let’s not ignore our problems any longer, but rather face up to them allowing God to heal and restore. We’ll be glad we did.

Our Fullest Potential: God’s Will

Everyone is in a different situation, but no matter what country you grew up in, culture, religion, wealthy or poor, there’s something we can all have, and that is potential.

What is your potential? Our potential is often much more than we realize because we’re often determining by our own mind what our potential is, rather than allowing God to do the determining. Without a doubt, God’s will for us is our fullest potential. He has created each of us with unique gifts, knows our every need, our every strength, our every weakness, and how we can best live our lives in a way that glorifies Him and spreads the gospel of His love. So, really, this question falls back on asking God: “What is Your will for my life?”

Asking this question like you mean it is a daring question; accepting the response even more so as it is not always what we want or on our own timeframe. A lot of times we’re going to wish we could have a complete layout of what God’s will is for the rest of our lives—it sometimes seems like it’d be easier that way. But why would we want that? Most likely because it would make us feel like we’re in control and give us confidence in both ourselves and in what we are doing…and that could be a problem. It would lessen our confidence in Christ, faith, patience, trust, reliance on Him, and would very quickly make us feel like we no longer need to stay in constant tune with Him, which would be very dangerous.

There are many reasons—many of which we don’t know—that God doesn’t reveal everything in great detail for the next several decades of our lives. We just need to remember that if we are in close communion with God we will know what we need to know when we need to know it. God knows our fullest potential, and if we are willing to accept it, we can be sure He is going to one-by-one open and close every door as necessary to reach that point.

So, if we are seeking with sincerity God’s will for our life, even when we hardly know what the next day is going to bring we can take each step with confidence in Christ—knowing that we are living our lives to the fullest potential.

A Lasting Strength

Through the crashing waves our Lord speaks;
By the rolling thunder His voice is known.
He calls us out to step in faith,
to follow where He leads.
He reaches down and guides us on to where we’re meant to be.
His Spirit in our hearts is placed;
He makes His presence known.
His love for us can’t be erased;
His magnificence is shown.
Everywhere is seen His mighty hand and a quite intricate art;
A lasting strength that doesn’t fade–it can’t be torn apart.

Is God Our Focus?

What should our life be like if we are keeping our focus on God?

1. Praising Him
You may wonder why I began with praising Him. Well, it is easy to praise God in the rare situations that everything is perfect and things just seem to be falling into place…but what about when we’ve lost a loved one, we feel like we’re failing, or just have no idea what in the world we should be doing? It is these times that it can be the hardest to praise God—but it’s these times where it is most needed, for our own sake.

By praising Him anyway, it helps us remind ourselves of our priceless blessings of eternal life, God’s love, mercy, and grace that are way more than anyone else can give. It helps us shift from regret, fear, anxiety, and sadness, to contentment, faith, peace, and joy.

“My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed.”
Psalm 71:23

2. Following Him
Especially since I lost my license, (due to my epilepsy) I can TOTALLY be a backseat driver. I probably don’t have to get into too much detail to say that it’s not typically something that brings good results, and neither does trying to tell God where we need to go. There’s many times I need God to tell me something like, “Will you just let me drive?”

He can see far down the road while we can only see what’s right in front of us. We need to give Him control. If our focus is on God, then He is in front of us doing the steering.

3. Listen, talk, listen, talk…
Obviously, if we are a Christ-follower we need to have good communication with Him, commonly known as prayer. It’s easy to put our communication with God in a box–a certain timeframe of the day only, giving Him no attention the rest of the day. But what kind of relationship is that? He’s always with you, and doesn’t only speak through words.

Watch out for situations where there is someone in front of you in need and listen to see if God is asking you to help that person. When someone gives you encouraging words, don’t only thank them, but thank God who likely was speaking through them. Look for situations where He may do the same through you.

5. Relying on Him
We should be desperately seeking God for help, not placing our trust in the world or ourselves. While He many times helps us through others, we need to understand that it is still from Him. He alone should be our source of strength, wisdom, love, patience, and many other attributes that are critical to living our lives as a true follower.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2

I started to add a sixth thing on sharing the gospel but then stopped myself as I thought of something. (It’s amazing what you can learn from blogging! 😉) I felt like that would indicate it being something we should take the lead in when it’s not. If we are in constant communication with God, relying on Him, letting Him take the lead with a desire for His will, then His will will come about, including the spreading of the gospel. We need to focus on following Him, and let Him take care of the rest.

(Okay, just curious who noticed I skipped four? 😜)

 

God’s Seed

Hearts are hardened as stone and you ask why the seed does not grow?
The seed is planted among thorns and you wonder why when sprouted the plants are choked up?
It is no use to plant where the ground is not prepared to receive it;
time is wasted when you plant where nothing will survive to harvest.
Search for ground that has been prepared;
look for land that has not been swallowed up.
Plant where it will be well-tended and fed;
if there is no water and sun it will whither away.
Be sure the roots go deep so that a storm only makes it stronger;
plant among others so that it may bear fruit.
Do not keep the seed to yourselves or hide it away, for if you do when the Master returns it will be taken away.

 

 

“The proud man worries, the humble man waits.”

Silhouette of a Senior Caucasian Male PrayingMany times when we think we know what God has called us to and things don’t go as we expect our instinctive reaction is to worry. While it is possible we were misguided in where we thought God was leading us, it is also possible it’s just not time.

God has a great plan for each and every one of us, but something that is especially important is being prepared.

“Worry will not help our cause at all. It will, in fact, hinder our progress.” -Joyce Meyer

Don’t worry! Many of us have heard that God works all things together for good for those who love Him, but we have to know and really believe that. Living in fear only brings us down, and frankly, is a waste of time. We need to be taking each day God has given us to glorify Him, putting our trust in Him, and letting Him take care of the rest.

If you know where God is leading you, don’t let having to wait worry you. Take that time to learn, to prepare, to grow. Perhaps having to wait means you just aren’t ready. Seek God with all your heart, mind, and strength and He is fully capable of bringing about where He is calling you. We serve a great and mighty God! 

My Calling

1494209990522Ever since I was a kid I never wanted to be normal. Like, that’s just boring. I didn’t know right away, and still don’t know in great detail what God has called me to do with my life, but I know for sure normal is not who I want to be. (And does God really expect us to be normal?) I’ve always felt like there is so much potential in life, and that time is so important…it can be used for great things, or it can be wasted away. One thing is for sure: I do not want my life to be wasted away.

Now, you may be wondering what these “great things” are. It’s taken me years to figure that out myself, and I’m still working on it. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is doing “great things” starts NOW. Some of the greatest things you can do can seem so unimportant, so little, and even pointless. I know if I ever want to do the kind of things I dream of doing one day it’s going to require lots of learning, advice, questions, lots of prayer, and experience.

To put it simply, I want to love people. I want my love for them to reflect Christ’s love for me. I want to be at their feet willing to get dirty. I want to share the truth bringing light to darkness. I want to be there for people who just need someone to listen to them. I want to show my love by providing long term physical care. I want to show my love through teaching the truth of God’s Word. I want to show others how they can love too, so it’s not limited to what I can do myself. And do I really have to wait to start loving people? Of course not! I’m surrounded by people who need to be loved and cared for. Everybody needs to be loved. And, it provides lots of learning experience for myself. God has placed me in so many opportunities to teach, to learn, to love, and to care for people around me…I have been so blessed!

So, that’s the basics of it, but more specifically God has placed a desire in my heart to help orphan children with special needs.
Though the idea of helping orphans has been in my mind since I was a young child and saw commercials for nonprofit organizations asking for donations to support a child, it wasn’t till much later that the idea of helping orphans with special needs even occurred to me, simply because I wasn’t aware of the need.

When I was 20 I had the privilege of being asked to be a personal care attendant for a then 13 year old child with Spina Bifida and transposition of the great vessels. I would do things like homeschool, take him to PT, go along to appointments, cleaning, laundry, home exercises, keep meds in order and such…most importantly, just be a friend…what a wonderful experience it was! I worked with Seth for nearly six years.

I’ve had epilepsy for many years (9), and the family has been incredibly gracious to me as there have been many days I needed to leave early or couldn’t make it.

Finally, in November last year, I lost my license and had to stop working. Even if I could get to work the seizures were becoming too frequent to actually DO the work.
Thankfully, we found help. Seeing a new neurologist, within 10 minutes of telling him what had been going on he recommended brain surgery. So, after doing many tests over the last couple months, I am in the process of getting surgery. (Currently scheduled for July 26th) I am really hopeful of this being a huge help as this surgery typically 80% of the time completely stops seizures, and otherwise greatly reduces them.

Meanwhile, with books as pictured above, I’ve been keeping myself busy with reading and research with some more from Amazon on the way! 😊 I feel like in a lot of ways I hardly know where to start, but every time I’m reminding myself, if God is calling me to something, He will prepare me and open doors and lead me to that calling. If anyone has any reading suggestions, share in the comments below. Prayers appreciated!!!