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.

Instant Gratification

The desire for instant gratification in this country has grown astronomically over the years. When we want something, we want it NOW…and this doesn’t just apply to physical things such as a car, a house, a movie right when it comes out, or an awesome cell phone upgrade with all the new features. There are other things we desire to have without too much effort such as achievement, respect, honor, healthy relationships, and the fruit or reward of our hard work.

As we’ve become more and more impatient, we’ve been trying to satisfy ourselves with things we can easily access or achieve. We’ve been satisfying ourselves with all the times people accept or send friend requests on Facebook instead of truly bonding with others as Jesus did with His disciples. We choose our occupation based on what pays the best and isn’t too difficult of a goal to reach. We accept what only gives us satisfaction for the moment rather than a lasting memory. We do kind things for others just to make ourselves feel good, though deep down we know we are capable of doing even more.

We need to stop settling for the instant and fight for the authentic. It takes time, discipline, faith, love, grace, trust, and a whole lot more but that’s a part of the journey and it’s worth it.

Don’t give up. Keep pressing on.

 

 

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.

 

 

Never Alone

This song has been a favorite of mine since I was in my teens. Whenever I have restless nights I have a specific playlist of songs, this song being one of them. (Might as well spend that time with God, right? Sometimes I wonder if God allows me to have those nights for that very purpose) It’s a collection of songs that are reminders that God is always there, and simple songs of worship. Focusing on God and worshiping Him truly is an immense help in taking attention away from ourselves, our struggles and pain, as it allows God to take up our burdens for us.

Something I specifically struggle to keep in mind is simply that God is ALWAYS there…not just some or most of the time, but always…I am never alone. There is a special kind of peace that comes from remembering that. Remember that God never fails. Remember that if we allow Him in He doesn’t walk out on us. Remember that He loves us more than anyone else ever can. Remember that His love never fails, and we are never alone.

Letting Go

Letting go of dreams the world has set,
Sharing our gifts with all we have met.
We always know we can have what it takes,
By God’s love and strength that constantly makes,
A way to get through the struggles of life,
We can face the heartaches, battles, and strife.
It’s not just making it, getting through a day,
But living to the fullest, using God’s perfect Way.

Not “Good Enough”

One of the things that pains me most is seeing people discouraged, that are afraid they’ll never “measure up”, or be “good enough”…whether it’s to fit in at church, for their parents, for God, to be a pastor, missionary, or whatever. Sometimes I see it causing them to lower their standards, seeing themselves as uncapable of doing the great things they are called to do. (EVERYONE has a purpose and a calling, and NO ONE has a “greater” calling, or is more important than another! Remember this!) Well, *newsflash* you probably won’t be good enough. No one ever is. (Rom. 3:10)

But, that does NOT mean you can’t do great and mighty things for God by the power of His Holy Spirit!

God CHOOSES the foolish and the weak. (1 Cor. 1:27) The Devil will try and tell you “you aren’t good enough”, “you don’t deserve it”, “you are not worthy”. (It truly is amazing how the Devil tries to bring us down with the truth, and if we’re living in fear and doubt, he will succeed) Well, we need to be prepared to respond: “But, to each one of us grace has been given…”(Eph.4:7) “We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that we are saved…”(Acts15:11) “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.”(Titus3:5)

Guess what? If we are where God wants us to be, and if He’s on our side we (us and God together) WILL be good enough, and we will succeed!!!

A Place

1494331588578Ever since I was young there’s always been a place I can come back to. A place on Jesus’ lap. In His arms. A place of peace. A place to cry, a place to let things go, a place to surrender, a place to ask for forgiveness, a place to say thank You, a place to just remember that everything’s going to be okay.

Oh, what a wonderful place!

If you haven’t yet, find some much-needed time, some quiet, (though I personally prefer some worship music…everybody’s different. πŸ˜‰ ) and find this place.

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!!!