He Is Literally Blowing My Mind…

I am putting a message together for my youth group this week and it is about refining us like silver.

I just started with one verse and decided to look up the definitions and God is literally blowing my mind.

The verse is Isaiah 66:10 For you God, tested us; You refined us like silver. 

You can take this one small short verse and find so much information by looking up definitions. Lets take tested for example. When you think about tested what comes to mind? No looking, just think of you own definition first…

Okay, I thought of a test in school. They give you a test to see what you have learned or to see where you are in a subject. Well, the definition brings it to life even more.

take measures to check the quality, performance, or reliability of (something), especially before putting it into widespread use or practice.

OR

reveal the strengths or capabilities of (someone or something) by putting them under strain.

Wow, this shows being sanctified. Being set apart from the world or the norm. You see our sole purpose here on earth is to glorify God in all we do. Your work, raising your children and taking care of yourself and your home all qualify. The way you think of others and the words you speak are a huge part because it shows where your heart is, it shows the kind of person you are. But the norm is to be judgmental, fight back, curse and drink or drug to stuff you problems deep down inside. But God’s ways are the complete opposite way. However, we can’t accomplish the opposite without the Holy Spirit inside of us, changing us. And we can’t receive the Holy Spirit without accepting Jesus Christ as our connection through His sacrifice.

God wants to change us to be more like Him so He can use us in ways that we never thought possible. This takes us back to the first definition. He tests us to see where we are, our quality, our performance, our reliability (faith). He does this so He can use us to bring Christ to others, so they can also partake in this mind blowing kind of life, the free life. Free of bitterness, anger and our own harmful ways of coping. So He tests us and gives us opportunities to do things that bring peace, purpose and joy to not only ourselves but to others, a little at a time and more each time as we grow.

This takes us into the second definition. As He tests us and changes us to do His work, He reveals our strengths and capabilities. I call these hidden jewels. Whenever He changes me it hurts a bit, but not the kind of hurt we put ourselves through. His kind of hurt doesn’t linger and destroy our lives, it comes and goes quickly bringing healing and then those jewels rise.

Some of my jewels have been… Confidence, Joy, Peace, Loving others even when they are unlovable, being patient and listening, keeping my mouth shut until it’s time and enjoying public speaking (crazy I know). I recently found out I am actually a very talkative person, I am not shy like I thought, that was just all the shame I carried that made me think I had nothing worth saying. And the list goes on.

The strain in the definition is not a painful thing like your imagining either. He gives us bigger more purposeful opportunities as time goes on, but He has to mold us or train us with things that come our way in life. It’s like working out, you won’t get the muscles you want if you don’t keep adding to the weight that your lifting.

So to conclude this long blog… The enemy is also after us, he doesn’t want us stronger and making an impact in our lives or the lives of others. So next time you have a choice to make, really think it out and if it seems at all like it could harm you or your life, choose the opposite direction, even if it seems harder and you will see your jewels come.

So now I dare you to look up the other words in this verse. How about go one step further and check out how silver is refined (look up refined too). Peace

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The War Inside…

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Who Knew life could be this way?

As you know I have recently been delivered from a couple of things in my life. It has been 6 weeks and 3 days since I had a cigarette and 7 days since I had a drink. I don’t think that this means I won’t struggle or even slip, but that the complete hold it had on me is less.

Like I said before, I had been trying to stop both of these things since I was saved 6 years ago. I would quit and go back and quit again. But the thing that is different this time is I wasn’t trying to quit, I was just going to God with it. I would tell Him how weak I was and how I just needed Him to take it. I kept meditating on the Scripture above and reading Romans and BAM. I woke up one day and the chains were broken and I was set free.

God told me a long time ago that I ran to those things in order to stuff my emotions and He was right. Now these feelings are all rising up from within me and with them come tension in my body and anxiety in my chest. But instead of my mind going right to smoking or drinking to relieve it, it goes to alternatives like working out or using essential oils. My mind has been renewed (Romans 12:2). God’s Word has come to life inside of me.

I relate this experience to child birth. When  a woman goes into labor there is no stopping it, she just has to make it through until it’s over. That’s what its like for me. I have these feelings coming up and there is no stopping them, not because God forces us to go through healing but because I surrendered my heart completely, and the Spirit then took over. God’s Spirit and my flesh are at war inside of me (Galatians 5:17). And the things I used to run for are not even an option or a desire anymore. So I am finding new ways to make it through while we work on my healing.

I have discovered these amazing teas that help with tension (the tension literally disappears), I have discovered essential oils that calm and smell so good and I started working out again. There is such wonderful relief in these things and its all natural. God can still work with me and in me and I am becoming the woman I envisioned in the past. One who is happy and carefree, content with life and able to deal with anything that comes her way.

I think about all the people in AA type programs and how everyone tries to be so thoughtful when referring to a higher power, they might say “whoever your higher power may be” instead of referring to Jesus Christ.

This makes me sad because these people with other “Gods” are essentially trying to change on their own and they are torturing themselves and trying to reach out to a God who is not there. My question to someone with a God other than Jesus would be “Has your God delivered you or even lessened the bondage you are in? Has your God done anything to transform you and change your life?”

And I am positive that the answer would be no. Then I would say “Maybe the reason your God doesn’t answer is because he is dead and was never a “God” in the first place. Jesus is the only God and He proved it by rising from the grave so that His Spirit could dwell in those that accept Him, so that they to can be set free.

And you my friend can be set free just like I have been, all you have to do is believe that Jesus actually died for your sin, your addiction and your pain, so that you can be healed and overwhelmed by His love that rises from the grave.

 

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No Numbing…

God’s ways are mysterious to me. To fully explain how the Spirit takes over once you surrender is impossible.

I have tried to surrender myself so many times, but I was only going through the motions with a small piece of my heart attached. I have wanted to give Him my whole heart but only in my mind.

Recently while reading Romans something happened and I surrendered my heart to Him in a way I never had in this specific area of my life.

God had shown me all that would change, so long ago and He has proven Himself to be honest and true to His Word. I have changed from deep within over the years becoming this new person, a person I didn’t even know existed. This strong woman who can stand her ground and has grown to love herself. Yet, there is a part of me that still holds onto an old comfort.

Drinking for me has changed. It went from a lot to a little, but it was still there. Just a few beers can do the job of numbing past pain and it has been stopping Him from setting me free. I finally realized that I am weak and can’t do this on my own. I have stopped making excuses and justifying my use. In my life, a little is too much.

So I surrendered. I feel like it is a struggle from within, like I am being pulled from one end to the other, but this time the Spirit is winning. A small part of me still wants to numb but now a larger part of me wants to heal.

I sit and sadness comes upon me out of no where. A tightening of my chest while my body trembles. I ask God why, what is happening? I just want to get rid of it, numb it. But instead I think and write. I start to cry the kind of cry that makes you gasp for breath. I tell Him I just want somebody to hold me and let me cry. I don’t want them to fix me, I just want to cry and trust and have someone listen as I speak these toxins out from deep within.

Then the shaking stops, the tension in my shoulders and chest are gone and the tears dry up, I can breathe more clearly than I did before.

I know this is painful at times, I have been through it in other areas of my life, but healing is what sets us free and brings us new life. This will be a journey to remember and joyful when over. I will be a new and stronger me.

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Love LGBT?

I told you in my last blog that I met this man who was part of an organization that supported and helped anyone who related to being LGBT.

I had to do an event for work and when I walked in they happened to seat me next to this man. We made our introductions and told each other about the organizations that we were representing. My first thought was “Lord, help me”.

In these situations in the past, my heart would start to beat rapidly and my thought pattern was that they, were against God and my beliefs and that I needed to show them their sin and where it was taking them. I had to sit next to this man for the next 3 hours and didn’t know how I was going to deal with this situation.

But God took over and this man, named Michael, opened up conversation about God. Michael said that at the last event he was at, a conservative Christian man came up to him and started to say mean things. This man treated Michael like he was garbage. I told Michael that I was a Christian but that I loved everyone. This love opened the door to speaking about God for the next 2.5 hours.

Michael shared the horrible things that happened to him since childhood by the hands of men who should have loved him and protected him, not to mention the man who should have lead him spiritually.

It was clear that Michael hates men including himself for being created as one. He even relates to the Holy Spirit as being a woman named Sophia. I guess in the church that this organization is starting, they claim that the Holy Spirit is a woman named Sophia and this was lost in the translation of the Bible over the years. Sophia had relations with Mary to create Jesus, which I guess makes same sex relationship Godly. And it became clear through other parts of the conversation that Michael has a hard time thinking of God as a man.

I didn’t tell him that he was wrong nor did I say he was a sinner destined for Hell. But I was able to share my testimony, how I believed God and the Spirit were men and what kind of relationship I had with God. Michael seemed to really listen and ponder what I said. I believe this is because of my recent growth with God and the over whelming love I feel toward others. I am now able to completely separate person from sin.

If I would have acted like the last Christian he encountered (which I would have in the past) I believe his defenses would have been up, but they weren’t. Without going into detail (because it would make this blog too long) I know that God is drawing Michael. He had a revelation about how you can have an actual relationship with God and that God is not like the men he has encountered, right in front of my eyes.

As I was getting ready to leave he asked me to take this angel statue that he had with him. He said that it was very important to him because it was given to him by a woman that passed away and she had a relationship with God like I did. So I deserve it more than he did.

I was shocked because when we first started to talk, he was talking as if he had a relationship with God but had a different view of who God was than I did. So I said with shock “I thought you were saying that you had a relationship with God but different views than I did”? He said “NO, I don’t have a relationship with God, if anything I guess it’s with the goddess”.  But he was no longer sure.

So I said “Well, I love to talk about God, here is my phone number, if you ever have questions or want to talk about Him, then call me”.

He gave me the angel and I gave him a hug. Then we parted ways.

I am asking for prayer for Michael to find Christ and His love. He is heavy on my heart. I prayed for him with my youth group after the message I gave, and I wept as I prayed (which I know was the Spirit).

I have thought about what to do with this angel. My initial thought was to use it as my connection to Michael and pray for him with my hands laid upon it, since it is our connection. Then I started worrying that it has demonic spirits attached to it and threw it out. Then as I wrote this I realized that it was attached to a woman who also witnessed to Michael, and he considered her a person like me, who loved God, and held it dear to his heart for years and chose to let go of it the moment he met me. So I took the angel out of the garbage, washed it off and prayed that anything attached to it is cast out of my home and off of Michael.

I will keep it to pray for Michael (not as an idol) until God tells me different.

 

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And The Spirit Moved…

I have taught this youth group for almost 6 years now. I started teaching them about 4 months after I was saved. So I was on fire for the Lord and taught them everything that God was teaching me. We bonded and grew together.

Well since my recent transformation with Christ, I have been consumed by God and I am again on fire for Him but with more maturity. The emotion that has consumed me most is love. Which makes sense because God is love.

Today I was in charge of preaching to the children during our youth service. I had a deep message from God about how we were created in His image. I was excited about the message but didn’t expect the emotion that came out of me.

The girls in our youth group started with their worship and they did an amazing job. The Spirit was flowing through our Church in such a powerful way that my body began to tremble and this emotion welled up inside of me.

I taught on how God said ‘Let us create mankind (everyone) in OUR image’. He is speaking of the Trinity, therefore we are created in 3 parts. The Soul, Spirit and body.

The soul is our mind. It stores our conscious, imagination, memories, feelings, and it is where we get our reasoning. The spirit receives impressions from our soul (mind). And the body contains the 5 senses.

Now our spirit in it’s original state (before the fall) contained Faith (trust), hope, prayer, worship and reverence (deep respect) for God. After the fall (sin) these things died. We still have the knowledge of God when we are born (Romans 1:20) but we are distant and if that fire is not kept alive (by our parents) it becomes more distant.

On top of this we experience life and the sin that happens through others toward us. So when “bad” things happen to us they go through the soul and emotions are attached to them and then an impression is made in our spirit that is already distant from God, but should love God.

This creates impressions of who we believe God is in our spirit. For me, I had huge trust issues (wall) with other people because of the things that were done toward me. This was impressed in my spirit through my soul and I didn’t trust God, which created more distance.

The cure is receiving the Holy Spirit, which is being born again (John 3:3). The job of the Holy Spirit is to regenerate (regrow what was lost) our spirit to it’s original condition.

In my story, God took me through intense healing for the past 2-3 years. The Spirit searched me and God, He saw the gaps, saw why they were there and lead me in healing. It felt like a long process that I thought would never end but it did, and I am able to love like I never have before. My spirit is in now in agreement with God’s. My mind (soul) has been renewed.

When Jesus was on the cross, He didn’t spit down upon the people who hurt Him in order to try and gain some revenge. Instead He said “Father, forgive them”. I am now able to separate person from action (sin) and love on them. This is so much more fulfilling than hurting them back and holding onto the pain, but it wasn’t possible without the Holy Spirit in my life.

I am so moved by the love that I have for others, that I prayed after my message and wept for this man that I met. He is gay and very involved in an LGBT organization (this will be my next blog). Without God and the regeneration that has happened within my soul and spirit, He wouldn’t have been able to use me to plant the seeds that He did in this mans soul. Real, untainted love is the best feeling I have ever experienced.

 

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Giving God Control…

Before my last experience with God there was another one that I didn’t tell you about.

I was confronted by a couple of Christian brothers in my Bible study and they said that I was operating in a works/performance type of mentality. Not for my Salvation but in order to produce fruit. Of course I told them they were wrong and then God revealed to me that it was true.

God showed me that 2 years ago, when He started my healing, through counseling, talking with Him and many tears, that I put a wall up to Him and His power. As my old pain came up it felt like reality to a point, and I was angry with Him and scared to keep feeling the past. This wall was only a partial wall but enough to take much of my Joy, purpose and peace. But then, when He showed me that I turned to my old ways of perfection and performance in order to feel some sense of control in my life, I saw what my brothers in Christ were seeing in me. And all the sudden the anger and pain were gone. I am through that part of my healing and I am free from the bondage that it held me in. The emotional bondage and the addiction to smoking which is what I used to somehow comfort myself.

I had been trying to quit smoking for 4-5 years and every time I failed. I worried about dying young and I worried about my witness. I have prayed for God to make me hate it and deliver me from it because another brother told me that this is what he prayed for when he wanted to be delivered and one day he woke up and he was done.

So finally, I was freed from it. It has only been 2 weeks but it feels like it’s been a life time. The reason I know it is different this time is because when the thought comes, it isn’t this gripping anxiety (stronghold) which I try to overcome with menial prayer and quick intentions, which is really doing it in my own power. Now I can actually take a deep breath and really process my thoughts. The urge is then gone within minutes. The hold is gone. One day I woke up… and hated it. When I see someone smoking I don’t want one, when I smell it I don’t like it and when I am around it all I can think about is how my eyes are burning. I am completely free.

I bought a ring to represent this new freedom. This ring reminds me of my commitment to God and His love for me. I truly feel like His bride now. A bride that can trust her husband and put her life in His hands. To me this is a huge commitment that I wasn’t willing to make in the past. The power of the Holy Spirit can once again take over and I keep reminding myself that I can’t transform myself. All I have to do is pray, practice turning and wait for deliverance of sin in my life.

 

 

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Who Am I?

I have been stuck in my life lately. I have been craving more, more purpose, more to do, just something. I have felt stuck, held in bondage to certain sin and have been asking God what I am missing, why can’t I move past this? Why am I stuck?

Last night I had Bible study and a friend said that he thinks the key is knowing who you are to God. This must have taken root in my heart because I woke up and…

I felt different. I felt deeply loved (like I used to), I saw myself (more deeply) as His daughter, His precious little girl who He wants to protect and love deeply and I felt more freedom from my struggles.

I tried to find my identity through men for so long that I never knew any other identity. My identity changed with every man I was with because I was who he wanted me to be or who I thought he wanted me to be. My life was about making him happy and I never found myself.

Since I let God into my heart I have changed so much and I would never trade who I am now for anything. But I think I got stuck in a routine of trying to be who I believed God wanted me to be and because I strive for that image, I fall into condemnation when I don’t reach it and it turns into me trying to be perfect in my own strength. The reason is because I thought He wanted me to get this life perfectly.

I am starting to see that God’s plan for me right now is simply for me to relax and stop trying so hard to please Him and just find out who I am.

When people ask me what I like to do, I don’t have much to say because I went from liking whatever the man I was with liked, to following God hard. I would never change following Him like I have so far because like i said it made me who I am now, but I know I am at a point where He wants me to find me.

So, I have been wanting to do a puzzle for a while but never took the time. Today we received a bunch of puzzles at work and I remembered how I wanted to do one, so I took a couple of opened ones home (which I will return).

It felt so good putting this puzzle together because I was doing something I wanted to try. I was seeing if it’s something I like to do and I did like it.

This may seem small to you but to me it was huge.

I have always had to be what others wanted me to be. Growing up I was who I believed my parents needed me to be, then I was who I thought a man needed me to be and then I tried being the mom I believed I needed to be.

Now God is telling me that it’s okay if I find out who I actually am. That I can take the time to find out what kind of person I want to be, what I want to do and find out who He created me to be.

This is why I think I have been held in bondage to things for so long. I had to numb myself to be who I wasn’t meant to be. But if I continue to find out who I am these things will have less power over me.

I praise God today for loving me enough to open my eyes to these things. These things seem like they should be common sense but they aren’t because we are blind to simplicity and that is why God’s wisdom is so powerful.

And even more powerful is our identity in Him, the people He created us to be individually. We are not meant to get it perfectly (which I was trying to do), because that is the whole reason why Jesus came for us.

So my advice is… To stop pursuing who you think you are supposed to be and pursue Him who created you in order to see who you truly are.

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