Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Romans 12:2

When I became single, I started to fill all the alone time with movies, or episode binge watches on Netflix. Even now as I'm dating, watching a movie is one of my favorite things to do. But lately, I've noticed, it doesn't make me as happy as it used to. Quite frankly, I'm getting tired of the language, and other filth, that seems to becoming more common place in movies these days. Really, how do those things even improve the movie?

At first, I kept telling myself, even if you refuse to watch this movie, based on its rating of language and sexual content, its not going to make a difference. Hollywood doesn't actually track you to see what movies you do and do not watch. 

But lately I've realized, sure, I'd love to change the big scheme of things. I wish I had the power to influence Hollywood on that level and stop the filth they are spewing out these days. But since I can't, the question was, what can I do? And then it hit me. Just because its out there, doesn't mean I need to be a partake of it.

Romans 12:2 "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."
Lately, I've felt the calling to step up and be a bigger part of my church's ministry. I've got this fire in me to share the love of God and I'm ready to step out of my comfort zone. The hotter this fire burns, the more dim the things of this world appear to me. I've been moved to clean out the junk of the world so I can make more room for Him, and therefore be able to share His light more fully. 

I no longer find delight in the filth of the entertainment industry. But I don't need to wait for things to change in the world. I need to start in my own heart and home. I can't change the world if I'm not willing to change myself. 

So I started by removing all R-rated films from my Netflix. Then, I did a google search, looking for a website that maybe kept track of what movies used certain language. If there is such a site, I couldn't find it. So in the end, I decided to cancel Netflix all together. Yes, I do realize that Netflix has all genres of shows and movies and there is plenty of other options. But to me, its the potential of that in my home I can no longer stand. I want my home to be a sanctuary, so I decided to do away with it all together. I decided to try out Pureflix (which compared to my Netflix plan is cheaper, so its a win-win). I've only had it for a few days, so I can't comment yet on how much I like it. But I am sure I'll end up loving it. 

I feel like, by cleaning up what I take in, I am shedding the ugliness of this world. When I feed my mind and soul with filth, I feel.... less. Less worthy, less happy, less pure. But when I feed my mind with good things, I feel more... more light, more peaceful, and more hopeful. I'll take that over a filth filled movie any day. 

This is my declaration. Enough is enough. (Oddly, that seems to be a running theme in my eating and spending habits also.) Even if my actions can't change the world. they can change me. My hope is that by changing myself, I will be able to affect those around me in a more positive way.

Right after making my decision to no longer seek the things of this world, I heard this song, "Different" by Micah Tyler. I love it!


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Romans 8:31

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?" (Romans 8:31)


I ask you, when God is on your side, who can come against you? No one! I tell you again, no one can come against you when you have God on your side. No man can destroy you. No financial burden can ruin you. No addiction can control you. No storm can knock you off the course He has already set you on. 

If you feel like you are losing, maybe its time to stop and ask yourself, is it because you aren't seeking God? Are you being stubborn and hardheaded and trying to do things on your own? Are you trying to run from your problems or drown them out with the things of this world? Do you really think your ways are that much greater than God's? Do you really think you have a better way of doing things than He does? Do you really think you are bigger than God? When we shut Him out of our lives, we are giving up the right to have Him fight for us. God never abandons us. If you don't see Him in your life, it is because you have turned your back on Him. 

I'm not saying that when you give up on God, He gives up on you. That is never true. God is always working for your benefit. But when you turn your back on Him, it is you who is denying yourself the blessings He wants to give you. When you aren't living for His purpose, His blessings will go to someone else who will use them for His honor and glory. When you deny God, you are denying yourself of His blessings.When you try to tell yourself you don't need Him, you are choosing to miss out on His strength and goodness. He is ready to bless you, beyond all you can imagine, but you have to open your heart and mind to receive those blessings. 

"But I do love God. I am doing my best to trust Him." Then just keep hanging on, because He is working things for your good. Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." So even if you think you are losing, if you are letting God fight your battle, then your victory is near! When you serve God, nothing can come against you. Nothing can defeat God. The Red Sea couldn't stop His people. A lion's den couldn't destroy His servant. Death on a cross couldn't stop His Son from saving us. The battle is already won. Victory has already been declared. We just need to reach out and claim it in the name of Jesus. 

How do I know this? Because it says in Isaiah 41:10 "Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand." And in Isaiah 40: 28 "Don't you know? Have't you heard? The LORD is the everlasting God; he created all the world. He never grows tired or weary. No one understands his thoughts." Let go of that worry. Cast out those doubts. Don't be a prison to fear any longer! 

It is time to declare victory over your life. When God is in control, everything will work out according to His plans and purposes. No one can stop that. No one can hinder His purpose for your life. Nothing can interrupt His plan for my life. 

Speak this prayer over your life. "God, I come to you now. I ask you to take my fears and replace them with Your joy. Take my worry and doubts and replace them with Your peace. When things feel hopeless, help me cling to Your promises. When I get discouraged, help me to see things through Your eyes. I know you are always in control of my life. I thank you Lord, because I know, that my victory has already been won. I love you and praise your name, Jesus, amen."

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Answered Prayer - The Home Edition

If you understood the power of prayer, you wouldn't stop praying. Don't you know that God is always for you? That He will provide all your needs? Don't you know, that when you give your problems to Him, He will find a way?

When I filed for divorce, part of the agreement was that he would sign a Quit Claim Deed, putting the town home in my name only. I had contacted the bank and was informed that once I established a good payment history, in my name only, I would be able to have him removed from the loan. The first thing I pay every month is my tithing. But right after that, I pay my mortgage. Without fail, I have made that payment, on my own, for over a year now.

When the 7th month rolled around, I paid my mortgage, and then I called the bank to start the process. Turns out, it wasn't near as simple as I had originally been told. They now wanted me to basically refinance, which meant appraisals, mountains of paperwork, and large fees. Technically, I had the money for the fees, but it was set aside for school. I couldn't justify using the money elsewhere.

After fighting with the bank for a few weeks, they agreed to simplify the process. But they still wanted me to pass a credit inspection and pay the fees, which they were willing to reduce, slightly. I wasn't worried about the credit inspection. At that point, I had been making the payment on my own for about 11 months. But if by some chance, I didn't pass, I lost the money I put down for the fees. That was a risk I could not take. Without that money, I would have to give up a semester of school and I wasn't willing to do that.

I never stopped praying through the process. I kept taking it to God, letting Him know I was frustrated. Each time, I felt His peace. I already knew He had set me up in my home years ago. He had already made sure I didn't lose it in the divorce. God was going to take care of me. I didn't know how, but I knew He would.

I reached the point the bank wasn't going to work with me anymore and I had to decide. I looked into refinancing with a different bank, but because the market is down, that wasn't an option. So one final time, I took it to God. I told him my problem. I didn't feel good about putting that much money into it, not when I was originally told I could just easily have him removed from the loan. I thanked God for providing me with my home and then asked Him to let me know what to do.


Be still. Do nothing. Wait it out. I thought that meant I would just have to wait until the market picked back up and then I could refinance. I didn't see any other options. So I decided to just wait and hope it didn't become an issue later down the road.

Last week, the bank sent out a survey. In the comment section, I unloaded my frustration of the last several months. How I was told it would be an easy process and how it had turned into a lengthy one, with fees. I let them know I was no longer a happy customer and I would be moving my mortgage as soon as the market picked up. As I went to hit submit, I noticed the survey was actually for their mobile app. I almost deleted it all. But I had finally been given a place to voice my complaint and so I hit submit.

On Monday, the vice president of the Salt Lake City branch called me. She apologized for all the problems I had experienced. She wanted to make it right. She wanted to do what she could to keep me as a customer. She was going to waive the fees and have the paperwork drawn up to remove him from the loan.

I was in shock and asked her several times, "No fees? I just have to come sign some papers?" What had seemed impossible was suddenly happening. I had basically given up, but God had continued to move behind the scenes.

Even after I got off the phone with the bank, I figured it would still be a few weeks before I heard back from them again. They had also informed me that he would need to sign also, which was a bag I didn't want to open. We've had no contact since April and I would like to keep it that way. But just two days later, they had the paperwork ready. And to top it off, only I had to sign off because he had signed the Quit Claim Deed last year. After months of tears and frustrations, its finally over. It was the last thing tying me to my failed marriage. Knowing he was still on the loan weighed me down. 

I'm still in shock.God didn't answer my prayer the way I thought He would. He went above and beyond what I could ever imagine. I was ready to wait years until the market picked up and then refinance. That would have involved fees. There was also the risk of still having him on the mortgage, even though I had agreed to take it all on myself. But I saw no other way. How grateful I am to serve a God who's ways are higher than mine. I couldn't see a solution, but He could. God is great. God is good. God is always in control. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Immediately

I've spent the last few mornings reading and studying from Mark 5: 21-43, the story of the healing of the woman with the issue of blood and the story of bringing back Jarius' daughter from the dead. I've spent this week trying to dive deeper into the story and I've learned so much. One word keeps jumping out to me. Immediately.

During my infertility struggle, I loved the story of the woman with the issue of blood. I tried to have that kind of faith, that if I could just touch His robe, my body would be healed and I would be able to have a baby. I like to believe that would've work, but God had different plans in mind. Looking into adoption changed my life. I met some amazing people. Even after our adoption fell through, I was able to remain friends with birthmom C. And, given the divorce, I am for once grateful we didn't have children so I could be completely free of my ex.

The woman had been seeing doctors for 12 years! She had poured all her money into treatments, but nothing worked. I can only imagine her hopelessness at this point. She was considered unclean. How great her faith must have been to go out in the crowd and touch His robe. It should have made Him unclean. But instead, He made her clean, immediately. I can imagine her joy that moment she felt her body healed.

Jesus knew He had been touched, and He knew who had done it. But He still called out and asked who had touched him. He didn't do this to call attention to himself; I think He did it to remind her. So if she ever started to doubt, she would remember that moment.

In the midst of this, Jesus was on his way to the home of Jarius where his daughter lay very ill. How did he react when Jesus paused his journey to help another? Before Jesus could get to the home, word arrived that the daughter had died. Jarius had to have been devastated. What if Jesus hadn't stopped? Maybe He could have arrived in time to save his daughter.

But Jesus told him not to fear. Fear and faith can not exist together. You can let fear destroy your faith. Or you can let faith overcome your fear. Jarius must have chosen the later, because they continued on to his home.

The girl was dead, but Jesus spoke to her and told her to get up. No one on earth can talk to a dead person and have them obey. Dead is dead. But when Jesus spoke, the girl immediately arose and got up to walk around. Only Jesus can call a person back from the dead.

I've learned a few things from these stories that took place at the same time.
-Jarius lost his daughter and was about to enter a dark time of grief in his life. The woman was out of options on how to be healed.
-Jarius was a man of importance. The woman was a nobody. She's not even mentioned by name.
-Jarius was probably rich, given his status. The woman had spent all her money on doctors and had to have been poor.
-Jarius came publicly. The woman came secretly.
-Jarius thought Jesus had to do a lot to heal his daughter. The woman thought all she needed was to touch his robe.
-Jesus responded to the woman immediately. His response for Jarius was delayed.
-Jarius' daughter was healed secretly. The woman was healed publicly.
-For both of them, once Jesus acted, healing was instant.

Immediately the woman was healed, even though doctors had tried for 12 years to help her. Immediately the girl came back from the dead.
Immediately our sins are forgiven when we offer them up to the cross. Its not like God says, "let me think about it and get back to you in a week." Once we chose to fully surrender to Him, he receives us immediately.

Not all miracles come immediately, but God is always working. I've had this conversation with two different people in the last 24 hours, so I feel the need to share it here. Wether you get your miracle immediately, or if its delayed, God is always in control. Four years ago, I wanted to purchase a different home, but it didn't work out. That's because God knew that I would need the home I have now with a payment I could afford once I was on my own. Two and a half years ago, He led me to a little church, knowing how much I would need that family in my life this last year.

Don't lose faith. Your blessing is coming. It might take time, but it could also happen immediately. Keep the faith and trust God.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

May I Never Lose the Wonder of Your Mercy

Today, in Sunday School, we each took a moment to talk about when we first gave our hearts to God. I still tear up each time I think about my Noel moment. As I sat there, waiting for my turn, I realized, there is no one word to describe it. I don't think I could string together a sentence to describe it. It was relief, forgiveness, mercy, and love all wrapped up together in one moment when I realized that God truly loved me.

Each moment since has been just as incredible. I look back at the last 7 months, the last year, and I am in awe at all He has done for me. At how my God, my Savior, my Strength, has carried me through all the storms the enemy has thrown at me. I could not have done it without Him.

We all stumble and fall, but with God's grace and mercy, we can get back up. Don't let Satan knock you off track. Stand firm in Christ. I feel like I lost and that has been the hardest thing to deal with. I prayed for my marriage. I prayed for my husband. I did all I could, but in the end, I wasn't enough.

Just days before he left, I could not get this song out of my head. Over and over I kept singing it, clinging to Jesus. I didn't know what was coming, but He did. He knew my world was about to be shattered. He was drawing me close, preparing me.


He has restored my joy, but He also knows the burden I still carry. Guilt over what I could have done differently. Sorrow over what I lost. So many times, I have felt like I lost. I was in a battle that I couldn't win and I carry that shame with me. I did all I could, but in the end, it wasn't enough.

Satan attacked, and he may think he won, but I serve a God that is much higher than him. They hung my Savior on the cross and killed him. But 3 days later, He rose from the grave and conquered death. He took my sins and washed them clean with His blood. The darkness will never win because I serve a God who is full of love, mercy and light.