Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Reblog: How Do I Know God's Will?

If I make this decision, will it bring me closer to God or further away from Him?
1. The first thing you need to believe is God's will is always good (Eph. 2:10). You won't want His will unless you trust Him.

2. The only things that can cause us to wander astray from all of God is sin. Ally Spotts defines it like this:

Sin: Any thought, action or attitude  that is outside of God's will for you.

If the relationship you're in brings you closer to brokenness than wholeness, it's not His will. If the music you listen to fills your mind with impure thoughts, it's not His will. If the career choice you make is about making money, being popular or gaining any self-worth/merit instead of honoring God, it's not His will.
Your motives determine how closer you are toward God and holiness because motives influence your decisions.

3. God's will includes self-control & self-denial (even if it's just for a season).
Self-denial & self-control are always required with God. You want Him to bring you a life partner, you're gonna have to stop hooking up & watching porn. You want Him to answer if you're called to ministry, you're going to have to spend a lot of time in intimacy with Him.  You want to be a leader, you're gonna have to serve. You want Him to bless you in all you do, you're gonna have to be obedient. Girls, you want your fear of God to be praised, you're gonna have to stop being vain & flirting with guys. You want to live a life worthy of Him, you're gonna have to stop following & pleasing the crowd. You want Him to provide, you're going to have to stop spending $ on things you want but don't need. It's about sacrifice and delayed gratification. Why? Because we don't focus our eyes on the temporal. You might have to leave friends, change majors (even schools), habits and lifestyles.
There's a reason why the Lord tells us to abstain from things! Don't take part in what you know contaminates you.

4. Going against God's will leads to our destruction. We choose the temporal, what feels or seems 'good' now and we go for it. Deep down we know the ultimate consequence is a spiritual death, but we can't see past this moment so it feels okay. We end up empty, broken and unsatisfied. We become slaves to addictions and sin. We forfeit the chance of an abundant life because we refuse to sacrifice.

5. God's will for your life is holiness. How do I know? The evidence was on display on a cross (and later resurrected), 2,000 years ago. A lot of people think holiness is this legalistic form of prohibition. [You don't have shave your legs, cut your hair or wear pants, etc..] It's not! Holiness is basically that desire for God that makes you give up whatever hinders you from all of Him. Holiness is also intimacy. When we step into holiness, we step into who God called us to be. We get to be in a authentic relationship with the Lord that compares to no other!

To be a woman or man of God you must choose His will. You must be holy.
Your life should always point at Him if you're decisions bring you close to His will.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Reblog:Love Has No Agenda

I follow a number of blogs (some by friends, some I've just picked up on my voyages into the blogging world)  and there are so many great blogs out there. And a lot of people reblog (post something on their own blog that was written by another blogger), but I have never done that before. However, I recently read a blog post by Kristen  from http://kristendoeslife.blogspot.com that really spoke to me, and has an essential message, and thought I would share it:) Check out her blog - she writes a lot of awesome stuff!

And as we drove home yesterday, my Father began to speak to me about love. I was praying for healing in a friend of mine's heart, and God just began to nudge me. He said, "You never love so that some one will be healed. You never pray so that something will happen. You love because that person is worth loving. You pray because I died for them. I didn't die for you just because you needed someone to died for you. I died for you because I love you, because it is who I am. You don't love someone to marry them. Marriage is the natural outcome of two hearts that have fallen in love. Love requires trust. To truly love, you must know what love does. Love repairs the broken places. Love makes things new. Love brings healing, truth, light to the places that need it. You don't love looking for a result. You just love."
    Our only call in life is to love. When we heal, when we raise the dead, when we cast out demons, when we give prophecy, we are to love and let all of those things be what love does. When we focus on the problem, rather than the person, we give the problem relevance. It is irrelevant. God will do what He wants. We are called only to be open to whatever it is He wants to do. When we are open to loving someone and that is all our hearts are set on, our minds and ears are open so that God may speak how. If we see a brother without clothes, we love by giving him clothing. If we see someone who is thirsty, we love them by giving them a drink. But we must never consider the result before the need. I do not love someone to fix them. I do not love someone to open their eyes. I do not love someone to heal their heart. Those are all things that happen as a result of love. I have love to give, and I am called to walk in it. Yes, I will heal the sick and cast out demons, and I believe one day, I will raise the dead (Jesus said it; I believe Him), but I am called to love, and all of those things will flow out of that place of love.
Love does not have an agenda. It just is.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Under God

I realized something today. And, my slight epiphany came through the most unlikely of things - a TV show. I don't know how many people watch Flashpoint - I feel like its one of those shows that flies under the radar but is surprisingly really good. Its some cross between Criminal Minds and CSI, but better... its not just the typical "there's a crime, and we'll solve it." The storyline for every episode is always really epic and gets right to your heart!

Tonight's episode started with a parole hearing for a black man that was convicted of murder at 15 for shooting/robbing a convenience store owner. The victims daughter and wife appear at every parole hearing Antone (the man convicted) has, in order to make sure he never makes parole. And hate, especially from the daughter, is palpable. But you get the feeling that Antone is sincere and feels truly guilty for his crime.

To make a long story really short (actually, I probably won't be able to make this concise..) - Antone's prison houses many rival gang members. One gang stages a riot in order to take out all the rival gang's leaders, but the daughter and wife (civilians) are trapped in the midst of it. Antone  takes it upon himself to protect the civilians, but in order to do so he has to pretend he is working with the gang leaders. His cover ends up getting blown as he is caught helping the cops, and he has to make a huge choice.

The crime he was convicted for in his teens was not a cold-blooded act. He was a scared 15 year old boy asked to prove his loyalty to a gang he didn't want to be a part of but felt like he had no other option. He didn't mean to shoot the man, he just wanted the money as proof. But the man grabbed the front of the gun and it was accidentally fired. Antone, at the age of 15, felt so terrible that he sat with the man so he didn't have to die alone. Antone, at the time of the riot, had spent 15 years in prison for this.

So, back to the riot... Antone is told that in order to prove his loyalty to the prison gang leaders and not be killed, he has to kill the civilians. Its a similar situation to what he had to face when he was 15. Will he make the same wrong choice?

And this is where my epiphany comes in. I am so rooting for this guy. I am so moved by his story, and the fact that he is trying to overcome his past, that he is trying to redeem his life. I am on the edge of my seat - I mean, I might as well have pompoms and do a cheer because I am really rooting for him! I just...feel so much compassion for him, and those like him! And this is totally a theme in my life - rooting for the underdog (I know, I know...insert Leaf joke here), caring for the beat up and beaten down, and even those that have made bad choices themselves, but have the potential to rise above it all yet. It just - gets my heart like nothing else. And I know this is a God thing - because nobody cares for the underdog, the beat up and beaten down, and the forgotten like God does. That's His target market... that's where His heart is. And I know, with crystal clarity, that God has been shaping my heart to care for the same.

The thing is, by the world's standards, I am an 'underdog' too. I am not particularly good at any one thing, and I have certainly made a number of bad choices. The one thing I do have though... the one thing that I know God can work with, and is indeed only possible because of God -  is my compulsion, my conviction to root for the underdog. God has given me a compassionate heart, and I know that He can, and will, and is, using that as His means to work through me. Because you don't need to be the smartest, or the best  at _____ or the ____ -est for God to use you and have incredible plans for you. You don't really need anything, but a willing heart. A heart that is willing to be shaped by the King. And actually, even if you don't have that... God will make a way for you.You can ask God to give you a willing heart.

As I have been writing this.. every time I typed "underdog",  I accidentally typed "undergod" and I kinda like that. We are not underdogs... we are under God... hmmmm.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Heart of Prayer

I am currently fighting through a bout of the norwalk virus, so I have been in bed all day (minus the time I spent making home made chicken soup) tossing and turning, and occasionally sleeping. I haven't thrown up or anything, which I am so thankful for! My dad has it much worse than I do - so please keep him in your prayers! It shouldn't last for more than 3 days, but it is not pleasant! I have an exam in two days, so I am praying that I will feel better in time to not only write it, but also get in some studying. Getting sick around exam time is never good!

Although I am feeling kind of crappy, and a bit stir-crazy, I have also been spending more time in prayer and scripture than usual. I always find that when I am sick and can't really be distracted by life, I end up spending more time with God. I guess that is the bright side of becoming sick, if there ever was one!

So I was just laying in bed - feeling groggy but not enough to fall asleep, and my prayer 'wall' compelled me to pray. That has been the biggest benefit (and indeed the purpose of) my prayer 'wall" - it urges me to pray and reminds me of who and what I should be praying for. I prayed for a while, laying out before God all of the things that are troubling me, all of the people that I care for and are weighing on my heart,  and any sins that I felt convicted of. It brought me a lot of peace, but also  made me realize that there is soo much I have to pray for!

It is kind of ridiculous how many things and lives I feel compelled to pray for, but at the same time I know that I do not pray for them nearly enough! I normally just pray a quick prayer before going to bed - and often fall asleep while doing so! I know how powerful prayer is, and how praying draws me even closer to the presence of God, and I know that spending time in prayer is vital to my relationship with God - but yet, I do not make it a true priority in my day-to-day life. It is often something I just tack on to my day after accomplishing (or procrastinating from!) my daily routine.

For the amount of sin and darkness and pain that I encounter in my family and group of friends, and in my own life,  and in my city,  I really do not pray enough. I can't remember who said this, but it is so true "I am too busy not to pray!" Everything in my life needs to be surrendered to God in prayer and thanksgiving, but sometimes I wonder what exactly it means to pray.

I mean, prayer is kind of mysterious and weird. It is not just about asking for things, or being thankful, although that is obviously a huge part of it. But it also involves listening to God and being pulled into whatever God is already doing, and then acting on it. It is stepping into God's presence and aligning your heart and will with God's plans, and letting God speak to you and move you into action and purpose, whatever that may look like. It is also trusting in God's power and believing that He can and will do more than we could ever imagine. And sometimes it means talking, while at other times it means being silent. At least, this is how I understand prayer. But do I really understand prayer? How do we 'hear' from God? Are we listening? How do you understand prayer?

All I really know is that prayer is vitally important, and that I can pour out my heart to God and He will listen, but that I too need to "be still" and know that He is God.  I want to start setting aside time in the morning to pray - and really just start my day by soaking in God's presence. I think that will really revitalize my relationship with God, as well as my relationships with others.

 I want to live a life that is marinated in prayer.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


You cannot open a book in the middle of its plot
And expect yourself to be the main character
It is better to begin anew,
Than to try to write on already written pages