When God Calls You, Don’t Settle

When God Calls You, Don’t Settle

Well, I mentioned in my previous post, Why I Decided To Take A 21 Day Social Media Fast,  that I fully expected to hear God speak to me. And He is.

Shortly, after that post, I decided to listen to a sermon. The Spirit pressed on my heart to listen to Christine Caine. I was not very familiar with Christine Caine. I had first heard her speak when I was listening to Elevation’s Code Orange Revival back in 2016, during my last social media fast. I remember that her message was powerful, but I was also distracted because she was a woman. If this is your first time visiting my blog, I mentioned that growing up, I was taught that women are not supposed to preach. It is a mindset that I have had to retrain.

I went to Youtube, and put Christine Caine in the search box, and I listened to a sermon that struck my very core.  The interesting thing, is that, earlier that morning, I was reading the account of Jesus’ last moments with his disciples. Jesus told Peter that he would deny even knowing him three times. In Luke 22:60-61 says,

Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed.  The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.”

Jesus looked at Peter, and Peter, I imagine, felt a piercing in his soul. I am sure he felt that similar piercing, when Jesus asked him three times if he loved Him (John 21:15-17). That is what I felt listening to this sermon. He reminded me yet again, “I have called you! Why are you trying to do the old thing, when I have told you that I am doing a NEW THING? I am preparing you for what I have prepared for you, and because the process takes longer than you expect, you decided to return to fishing.” Ouch!

I had never really identified with Peter. He’s a bit of a spitfire, talkative, kind of guy. So not me! But when reading John 21:1-11, I realized we are more similar than I ever realized! When Peter didn’t know what else to do, he simply returned to where he was comfortable, and Jesus had to call him out again, and remind him of what he was called to do.

Same, Peter. Same.

Why I Decided To Take A 21 Day Social Media Fast

Why I Decided To Take A 21 Day Social Media Fast

Yesterday was Day 1 of my 21 day fast from social media. Many people have been asking me why I decided to do this.  Especially because the timing doesn’t make sense. After all, I am about to launch my first online course. Going ghost from social media is the last thing you want to do before a launch.

But the answer is really simple. God told me to. I’ve learned that even if it doesn’t make sense in my human mind, if God tells me to do something, I need to obey.  What He wants from me will always be more important than what I want for myself.

I don’t know what will happen in these next three weeks, but I fully expect to hear from Him, and see Him move in my  life. I can tell you that yesterday I got so much done!! It’s amazing how much time you have when you aren’t wasting it “in the scroll”.

God On Speed Dial

God On Speed Dial

Since January, I have noticed how my prayer life has shifted. It’s richer, more personal. It feels more like a conversation rather than rambling a list of requests. Today is one of those days where God wants to challenge me a little bit. I have started to read through Luke 18. It starts with this short parable; in my Bible it’s titled “The Parable of the Persistent Widow”. I jotted down verses Luke 18:7-8,

And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

And I as I wrote these verses in my Bible, I realized that there was a part of me that didn’t believe them, not really. I know that it was God pressing that on my heart so that I would ask myself “why”. As I began to explore it, He shined a light on the problem. I know in my head that God loves me. I know by experience that He cares for me. But for some reason, I have a really hard time receiving it. I underestimate the value I have to God. The one who sent His Son to die to restore a relationship with me…why would I doubt that? Why would I think that God loves me enough to die for me, but not enough to listen to me? It seems ridiculous, doesn’t it?

I think there is an explanation. Unfortunately, God is often victim to our projections. Whether it was a bad church experience, or parents, or other negative experiences, we sometimes unknowingly project those onto God. For me, it’s not really understanding what it means to have a Father. I was raised in a single parent home by a strong and independent woman, who taught me to be a strong and independent woman. That sounds great, right? Except when this strong, independent woman has a hard time giving up control to the only One in control. To trust Him to take care of me…that He wants to. It’s a foreign concept.

However, I am so aware of God’s presence in my life that I know that He is challenging me to put Him to the test, to pray the big prayers, and the little ones–the trivial ones. He wants to show me what a good Father He is. It’s crazy to know that I have a direct line to the Creator of the universe. Who wouldn’t take advantage of an opportunity like this?

What I Have To Give Is Enough For God

What I Have To Give Is Enough For God

I’m thinking back on the story in Luke 9 of Jesus feeding the large crowd of people. All of the gospels tell this story, but I love the little detail found in John 6:8: “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish…”  There is a crowd of tired, hungry people far from town to hear Jesus, who couldn’t enter the town because word had spread of the miracles he had done. Here is this boy with his lunch, who probably overheard the conversation between Jesus and the disciples about this large crowd needing to eat. I imagine that the boy wanting to help, offered what he had. From that small offering, Jesus fed about 5000 people.

In yesterday’s post , I mentioned that I felt that what I had to give wasn’t enough. But the truth is God can take what I have and multiply it over and over. It’s not about what I have, it’s about what God can do with what I give him (rather, give back to him). As I start this new phase of my journey of walking in step with him, I will need to daily yield my talent, time, and resources to be used for His purposes, not my own. He will do the multiplying.

 

I changed the name of my blog to “By Purposeful Redesign”, which interestingly is the name I chose for my home decor business. I “redesign” a home by using what they have, moving things around to make the home more functional and beautiful. God has blessed me with this skill to be able to look at a room and see what needs to be removed or reordered for it to have better flow and purpose.

Isn’t that just what God does with us? When our lives are messy and we just can’t seem to help ourselves, we finally reach our breaking point and invite God in, and he rearranges everything into something beautiful. He can use what we have, even the broken pieces, to bless others.

What do you have–gifts, skills, and experiences–that God can use to bless others? Go to God and say, “Here. It’s not much, but it’s all yours.” and watch what He can do.

Starting Over With a New Mindset

Starting Over With a New Mindset

This year has been so difficult, and we aren’t even through February yet. My life in general is pretty good. My family is healthy and well provided for. I really have no legitimate reasons to complain. My struggle hasn’t been a physical one, but spiritual. As I have committed to spending time reading and meditating on Scripture every morning and expecting God to move, I have been battling my own self will as well as spiritual attacks like I have never experienced before. At times, I have felt that I just might break. I can go back in my journal and see days where I could not write more than a verse down. But God’s Word is the greatest weapon I have against these attacks, and on my lowest day, God brought me to Luke 12: 6-7:

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

I remember forcing myself to write that down through tears, not even fully grasping it, and probably not really believing it. But that day, God allowed me to rest and feel renewed both physically and spiritually. What I realized is that the reason I felt so low was because I felt useless, and Satan took that and ran with it. God placed in my heart a desire to help others, to be generous, to see a need and help meet that need. I have been given so much, and I grew up learning from my mom who is always giving to others. For some reason, this past week, that desire to give just raged within me, but what I have to give just doesn’t feel like enough. I want to be able to give more.

So I have been praying, “God, how can I give more?”. God keeps bringing up, use what you have. Wait…what do I have? It blows my mind how God works…it really does because, right now, I have a tremendous and unique opportunity that will allow me to be able to give in ways that I can’t even fathom.

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. -Isaiah 55:9

I went to bed December 31, 2017 believing 2018 would be all about me. I was excited because I had finally connected myself to someone who could actually help me take my business to the next level, rather God connected me to this person (I really believe that). The last couple of weeks I have struggled on what to do because I know that God didn’t want me chasing after success and wealth for myself. So I have been standing here with these incredible tools in my hands and this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity but not wanting to use them because I didn’t know if it was the right thing. Was I burying my talents, when I could be investing them in the Kingdom? 

What if the purpose of my January experience was not only to remind me to stop neglecting my spiritual gift, but also to shift my mindset from wealth building to generously giving? Honestly I’m not sure. All I know, is that I can’t just stand here. I have to take a step. God will either shut that door, or he will blow it wide open.

How To Be A Disciple Of Jesus – Part III: Lifestyle

How To Be A Disciple Of Jesus – Part III: Lifestyle

Today, I am finishing up this series on how to be a disciple or follower of Jesus. We have been focusing on Luke 9:23, “Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.'” If this is your first time visiting this blog, make sure you go back and read Part I and Part II of the series. Today, we are going to look at what Jesus meant when he said “follow me”.

I had planned to go into what it means to “be like Jesus”, but today God asked me to show you by sharing about friends of mine who are missionaries in Tonga. I believe they embody Luke 9:23 in a real way. Please take the time to watch their story.

You may not be aware, but Tonga was just hit with level 5 Cyclone Gita, and it did a lot of damage to this family’s home. As I am watching them share the aftermath of this cyclone on social media, what is so abundantly clear, humbling, and inspiring is their joy, gratitude, and unshakeable faith.  They have learned Philippians 4:11-13 that through Christ they can be content in any situation. I am so inspired and so challenged by their faith.

In a video they shared, Chris is walking through the debris into what I believe used to be their kitchen, and he points to a painting on the wall which quotes Isaiah 43:19, “See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams of water in the wasteland.” My verse!  It might seem strange, but I know God is going to move in a huge way for this family through this event.

Following  Jesus means that we live our lives in obedience to whatever he calls us to, whether it’s in moving to the wilds of Tonga, or across the country, or being a shining light to our neighborhood.  It’s a complete surrender of our own will to do what God wills. It is a complete surrender of our resources to be used to serve God and others. That is the example that Jesus set for us. He surrendered his own life for us in obedience to God.

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Are you a disciple of Jesus? Does your life reflect that? Would you pray that God would show you where you could follow Him better?

If you would like to help Chris and Ashley recover from the storm and rebuild their home. I have set up a gofundme page for them. Thanks in advance for your generosity and support for this amazing family.