good quote

" In my opinion, the great single need of the moment is that light-hearted superficial religionists be struck down with a vision of God high and lifted up, with His train filling the temple. The holy art of worship seems to have passed away like the Shekinah glory from the tabernacle. As a result, we are left to our own devices and forced to make up the lack of spontaneous worship by ...bringing in countless cheap and tawdry activities to hold the attention of the church people." ~ A.W. Tozer

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Christ Alone, Once for ALL...

Someone I've recently become aquantented with sent me some verses out of Isaiah chapter 12 today. They were: "Isaiah 12:2-3 KJV Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. [3] Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation."
  As I kept reading those verses over again to myself I kept stopping on that word salvation... then tonight during church Brother Joseph Porter was preaching out of Hebrews chapter 9. Now I have a bad habit of continuing reading the passage while the preaching is going on and I did that again tonight. I was struck again and again by the reacurring thought of "Christ Alone, Once For ALL"... Do you get the gravity of that as I believe the Lord was showing me tonight? My brain did a whole "Mr. Magoo- "GREAT GOO-GA-LEE-MOO-GA-LEE!"" when it struck me...

In Hebrews 9:11&12 it says: "BUT CHIRST being come an high preist of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but BY HIS OWN BLOOD he entered ONCE into the holy place, having obtained ETERNAL REDEMPTION FOR US."

Why? because...

Hebrews 9: 22 says: And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and WITHOUT SHEDDING OF BLOOD IS NO REMISSION."

Without Christ giving his life's blood for our sin, there would be no redemption and no remission of sins. Back in "the old days" of the law and the tabernacle sacrifices had to be given yearly. Over and Over again and not once did they ever really "Clean" sin but more like covered it up.
  If I were to give an illistration of this, it's like when you're sweeping the floor in your house. If you sweep the dirt, trash under the rug instead of taking it outside then you're not really cleaning it up. You're simply "covering it up" so that it can't be seen. But when you sweep it up into the dust pan and take it outside and then mop the floor, THEN you can say that it is truely clean. That's what Christ did on Calvary for us and does now for us when we except His gift of Salvation through Him. He doesn't just cover up our sin, He takes it out of our lives and out of our hearts and cleanses us from it completely.

I was also struck by how many times this same point is reinnerated throughout the rest of Hebrews 9 and on into Hebrews 10: 1-18.

In Hebrews 9:23-24 it talks about Christ being THE BETTER SACRIFICE.
  "It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these: but the heavenly thigns themselves with BETTER SACRIFICES than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God FOR US."
  You see earthly sacrifices are not good enough. ONLY Christ the Son of God was the only sacrifice that was holy, pure and acceptable to God the Father for the remission of sins and He did it FOR US! Also Christ only had to do it ONCE! Not over and over again like the many sacrifices of the Old Testament law.
  If we read on in the chapter it says in verses 25-28:
   "Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high preist entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; [26] For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now ONCE in the end of the world hath he appeared to PUT AWAY SIN BY THE SACRIFICE OF HIMSELF. And as it is appointed unto men ONCE TO DIE, but after this the judgement: SO CHRIST wad ONCE OFFERED to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."

AMEN! GLORY TO GOD! For you see, there is a vast difference between covering sin and washing away sin. There is a vast difference between that dirt being under the rug and being out of the house completely.... It is not truely clean if it is still there and that is what Christ has done for us. He did not just cover our sins... He BORE THEM UPON HIMSELF AND PUT THEM AWAY!!

And again in Hebrews chapter 10 verse 1: "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, (that's talking about Christ), and not the very image of the things, CAN NEVER with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect." 

Folks only CHRIST could/ can do that!

Verse 2- 8:
 [2- 3] "For then would they not have ceased to be offered? (do you get what is being asked here?) because that the worshippers ONCE PURGED SHOULD HAVE HAD NO MORE CONSCIENCE OF SINS. But in those sacrifices THERE IS A REMEMBERANCE AGAIN made of sins every year."

In Christ, because He was offered once, then there is no more rememberance of sins. Our sins are GONE COMPLETELY! No other sacrifice can do that and so it must be THROUGH CHRIST ALONE!

[4-8] "For it is NOT possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, BUT A BODY HAST THOU PREPARED ME: In burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. THEN (that's a big word that changes alot) said I, Lo, I COME (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt-offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered BY THE LAW:"

Verse 9 establishes that the first law was taken away so that room could be made for THE LAW OF GRACE.
[9] "Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He TAKETH AWAY THE FIRST, THAT HE MAY ESTABLISH THE SECOND."

The next verses go on to show that Christ IS THE ONLY WAY!

look at verses 10-18 to finish up tonight...

Hebrews 10: 10-18
 "By the which will we are sanctified THROUGH THE OFFERING OF THE BODY OF JESUS CHRIST ONCE FOR ALL. And every priest STANDETH DAILY ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, WHICH CAN NEVER TAKE AWAY SINS: BUT THIS MAN, AFTER HE HAD OFFERED ONCE SACRIFICE FOR SINS FOR EVER, SAT DOWN ON THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD; (this is speaking of Christ) From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. FOR BY ONE OFFERING HE HATH PERFECTED FOR EVER them that are sanctified. (that's us, those who have put our trust in him alone) Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities WILL I REMEMBER NO MORE. NOW WHERE REMISSION OF THESE IS, THERE IS NO MORE OFFERING FOR SIN"


GLORY TO GOD!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

VBS: The Unofficial End to Summer...

 I can rememeber when I was growing up that Summer was an awesome and seemingly magical time between school years where anything could happen.  The days were hot, long and full of adventure. However there were certain events that one could always look forward to; Family camping trips, church youth camp and Vacation Bible School (VBS). 

Now that I'm an adult, summer still holds for me some of that same old magic. It's the highlight of my year to spend a week camping with my family. I haven't been able to help at a youth camp since 2007, and I miss that but the Lord knows best. VBS is something different all together though... For me it is bitter sweet as it marks the unofficial end to the summer season. The last HOORAH before school starts the next month. Stores are putting out school supplies and fall decor and cooler weather clothing. The last several years our church has always held our VBS in July to try and not have a scheduling conflict with other churches. 
  We spend almost all the summer planning for it and then it takes place and it's a week packed with teaching, singing, crafts, games, memory verses, prizes, contests and so much more... So much anticipation builds up to it's beginning, which is usually a little bumpy until we get some kind of routine down and we finally get it all worked out and it's all over. It takes a lot of energy and effort, a lot of love and patients as we work with the kids. I've seen some of the wildest, rebellious kids turn into some of the sweetest, most loving and obedient kids by the end of the week. It's a labor of love and I kind of feel like I'm adopting these little ones for the week and they become my own little children to raise and love all for the honor and glory of the Lord. I watch as they grow. I see how their eyes light up when I draw them into my Bible story and make the Word of God real to them. I listen as their songs change in the corse of the week from worldly music about sin and things that little kids shouldn't know anything about at such a young age, (if ever), to songs of pure godliness. And I realize the importance that consistancy plays in the life of kids. For that one week we hit them hard with the things of God and we work on the same things day after day it seems and for once in their life, literally for some of them, some one actually CARES about them to tell them "No" and to set limits for them and not just limits but set goals for them, godly goals, and to help them work toward those goals. For once they have someone who EXPECTS MORE from them then for them just to be present. It's CRAZY AND TERRIBLE AND EXHAUSTING AND WONDERFUL AND BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZING all at the same time.

And then, it's over....just  like that. A part of me wants it to keep going to see just how far we can take it and how long we can keep the momentum up. But the realization is that I know it must come to an end. "To everything there is a season..." The first indicator that it can't go on forever is, of course, the physical one. I don't know about the other workers but I for one was utterly and completely exhausted by the end of the week. When your working a full time job 10-12 hours a day during the daytime and then trying to handle 12 to 15 kids ranging in ages from 2 years old up to 6 years old, well I'm not Superman.... I came home Friday and went to bed around 10:30 and I slept a good 12 hours before I woke up. Yeah folks, I was THAT tired. I know there were some that were more tired than I was too. 
 But the other indicator that it can't go on forever is that of a spiritual one... As a worker you present the Gospel of Christ to these kids over and over again all week long but there comes a point after you prepare the soil, plant the seed, water it, tend it, pull out the weeds around it.. that you have to step back a just let God work and let the seed do what all seeds do....see if it grows. It's a lot like the old saying "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink". During VBS you share God's free gift of salvation each night and in the end, if that child has reached the age of accountablity, (which can be different for each individual child by the way) then they are the ones who have to choose to accept Christ, through faith, as their own personal Savior. I spent days, months, the whole year praying over this ONE WEEK! Praying for God to do a great work and whether I get to see it or not, I know He does answer.

So now that VBS has reached it's end, the labor isn't done. For every end there is another beginning somewhere for each of us. I have the project of repainting and redecorating my Sunday School classroom for the 3 to 5 years olds to finish. It was put on hold for VBS. There's always my Sunday School lesson that must be prayed over and prepared each week for the children and then there's "Kid's Club" on wednesdays throughout the school year to look forward to and we have a month before that is to begin. There's the annual church revival and the church's "Birthday" in September to plan and as this marks our 50th year there's much to be done to celebrate and plan. So it is the bitter sweet goodbye to Summer with the completion of VBS and a big HELLO to what is ahead. I think the month of August should be a time to rest but we wont be lazy. There's much to be done... much to be enjoyed and much to look forward to...

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Virtue of Steadiness

Sometime back I found a book that struck my curiosity and it's title was "A Jane Austen Devotional". Now some of you know that Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors so when I saw this book I wanted to find out what it was all about. This book takes some of the virtues that were valued in the Regency Era and applies them to people today. I don't like the fact that the book uses other translations of the Bible besides the KJV but the passage I read the other day on the virtue of Steadiness is wrote sharing. It has some good thoughts and it made me think of myself as well as some others I know.

I thought I would go ahead and share it here and also the right verses.

The Virtue of Steadiness

Harriet was soon back again, and the proposal almost immediately made; and she had no scruples which could stand many minutes against the earnest pressing of both the others. Emma wished to go to work directly, and therefore produced the portfolio containing her various attempts at portraits, for not one of them had ever been finished, that they might decide together on the best size for Harriet. Her many beginnings were displayed. Miniatures, half-lengths, whole-lengths, pencil, crayon, and water- colours had all been tried in turn. She had always wanted to do everything, and had made more progress both in drawing and music than many might have done with so little labour as she would ever submit to. She played and sang,-- and drew in almost every style; but steadiness had always been wanting; and in nothing had she approached the degree of excellence which she would have been glad to command, and ought not to have failed of. She was not much decieved as to her own skill either as an artist or a musician, but she was not unwilling to have others decieved, or sorry to know her reputation for accomplishment often higher than it deserved.

--Emma By: Jane Austen

 A Certain virtue is lacking in Emma Woodhouse, and its absence is quite apparent in this charming scene. Emma's failure to ever completely finish a project-- be it a water-color painting, a reading list, or an advanced musical composition-- is on display here, where she shows Harriet and Mr. Elton her portfolio of half- finished paintings.
  Jane Austen describes Emma as lacking the virtue of steadiness; modern readers might recognize her behavior as lacking in diligence. It is, simply put, an inability to stick to something until the job is done.
  Perhaps you too struggle with the same issue as Emma. Is it any wonder? In an age of rapid-access information, expanding technology, and sound-bite news clips, we are pulled in a hundred different directions.
   This is by no means a criticism of the wonderful advances in communication ushered in by social media and networking. But as with Emma, the danger lies in the ever-present possibility of distraction, in doing every job half way, in looking for entertainment to rescue us from the task of hand.
   It is important for women today as in Jane Austen's day to develope discipline and steadiness in character. Proverbs 4:23 tells us, "Keep thy heart with all dilligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Make no mistake: the choices that govern your time have direct bearing on the way you lead your life.
   Do you check e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter daily (perhaps even hourly?) Are more beneficial disciplines-- like time in prayer, time with your spouse or children, time spent serving and blessing others-- being disrupted or even put on the back burner? Perhaps it is time to examine what activities and interests you let dominate you waking minutes and hours. Pray about how to best spend your time...........and then choose wisely.

 "Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have." -2 Corinthians 8:11

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Beginning my Journey through Joshua

Some days ago I mentioned that I wanted to start a Journey through the book of Joshua and today I want to get that started. I'll be using KJV only, of course, but my Bible is also The First Scofield Study Bible based on the 1909 edition of the Scofield Reference Bible. While I don't agree with all of Mr. Scofield's notations on Scripture, I do think that some of them present thoughts that Mr. Scofield had that are worth notice but are not at all to be taken as God's Holy Word nor do they carry the same weight. They are the thoughts of a MAN and not to add or take away from the infallible WORD OF GOD. That being said, let me begin.

    According to Scofield's notes, Joshua records the consummation of the redemption of Israel out of Egypt. It is the "Ephesians of the Old Testament" in a spiritual sense. "The Heavenly" of Ephesians is to the Christian what Canaan was to the Israelite- a place of conflict, and therefore not a type of Heaven, but also a place of victory and blessing through the divine power of God. The government was theocratic; Joshua succeeding Moses as the leader under God.

This is WEEK ONE: DAY ONE

Scripture: Joshua 1: 1-2
   "Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel."

Also some other scripture of note:

2 Timothy 2:1-2
   "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."

Here we have Joshua commissioned by God to follow in the pathway which God had designed for them. They have left Egypt and have been in the wilderness for some time now. I think in these first two verses we are seeing a "passing of the baton" so to speak. The first spiritual leader God chose for them has now passed away and God has chosen a new leader. This new leader was not just anyone but he was the son of Moses' minister and picked personally by God to lead His people through the next leg of the journey. While I don't know exactly the kind of relationship Joshua might have had with Moses, I do want to focus a little on the spiritual leaders in my life and who might be looking to me for spiritual guidance and how I want to be sure that in all things I am pointing people, not back to myself, but to God.

2 Timothy also speaks of being strong in the grace of Christ but it makes mention of staying close to those things which we have heard and been taught by faithful men of God and to teach to others those things as well. Being a Sunday School teacher to 3-5 year olds I can see where that speaks to me personally as being one of those faithful persons with the responsibility of teaching about God's grace and living for God in a wicked world. Also, I look back in my own life at those faithful Christians who taught me.

My first Question for you, reader, and for myself, is "Who has helped you/ me the most to grow spiritually?"
      Years ago, when I first did this study, my answer to that question was quick and easy. The answer I gave then was, (no surprise), my MOTHER. I think we can all probably give example after example of the impact our mothers have had on our lives. They, if they cared for us at all, sacrificed immensely for our benefit in all areas of our life. They carried us inside them for 9 months and loved us before they knew us.  Then there is all the years of loving devotion that she gave in raising us. To have a CHRISTIAN mother also adds the spiritual impact that she has on our lives for Christ sake. I am reminded of Paul's letters to Timothy and Timothy's testimony of the impact his mother and grandmother had on teaching him the Scriptures from a youth. Mothers are a wonderful gift from God and a great representation of God's love for us. That being said, I would definitely say that my mother has been and will always be a foundation stone in my own testimony because of HER testimony for the Lord.
  As I have grown in age both physically and spiritually, the list of people that the Lord has used in my life to help me grow in my walk with Him has also grown. From preachers, Sunday school teachers, godly ladies and gentlemen that I have spent time with in fellowship, youth leaders, evangelists, missionaries, and even a few ungodly people have served, unknowingly, as warnings of what can happen if I were to wander away from the Lord. The list continues on and on...
 When you start to consider who has helped you to grow the most, you also may want to ask why. What is it about that person that seems to shout to you "Jesus Christ is EVERYTHING!", "Jesus is THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE!", "JESUS! JESUS! JESUS!"

The second question for consideration is: "How would you feel without that person around to direct you?"
   Without my mother, I would be heartbroken and lonely but I would also have the peace of God with the knowledge that she would be in Heaven. That is if death was the reason for her absence in my life. It was through my mother being a teacher of the youth at church that lead to my trusting in Christ as my personal Savior. Now that's not to say that God could not have used another way to show me the truth about my lost condition and my need for a Savior but the fact that He used my mother in such a way makes it so much more special to me on a personal level. Through God's omnipotence He chose to put me in a Christian family and to give me a godly mother that He KNEW would raise me with spiritual grace and wisdom that would guide and direct me the rest of my life. Without that heritage, I can not say for sure that I would be living for God today. That same heritage was what Joshua and the Israelites had. It is a mighty gift not to be taken for granted. Do not take those faithful people in your life for granted. They are far more precious than gold or silver.

The last question for consideration is: "How do you think Joshua may have felt with Moses dead and God telling him to take over?"
   Now, as far as I can tell, the Bible doesn't give us Joshua's personal feelings in these verses about how he felt during this but it does show in later verses that despite what he may or may not having been feeling at the time he chose to follow God's call for his life. I think that gives a wonderful example of how we should be as Christians. Following God's will is not based on how we feel at any given time, it is based on that personal relationship we have with Him and His Word telling us "God wants me to do this, so I'm going to do it" not for our own selves but because of what Christ did for us.
  In my own limited, human understanding, and based on my own personal experiences, I think that there is a chance that Joshua could have felt humbled, and perhaps a little apprehensive of the responsibility placed before him but I also think that Joshua, through faith in God wouldn't have been afraid. He would have known that he could place his full and complete trust in the one true God. This is jumping ahead in my study of this book a little but in verse 5 God gave Joshua a promise and it says:
   "There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."

With a promise from God like that, how can you be anything but confident in the power of the Almighty God? Joshua had nothing to worry about and we as Christians, don't either.

To finish up this post on Joshua 1:1-2, let us thank God for the spiritual leaders He has put in our lives and for the peace that comes with trusting fully in Him.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Journey Through Joshua

I was doing a little "Spring Cleaning" with my books last week and started to rummage through my old Bible Study notes. I spend a little time with the Lord everyday in His Word but as I looked through my notes I wondered when the last time was that I did a real in depth study of any particular part of the Bible. I couldn't remember so I pulled out the latest Journal that was on my night stand and became aware that the last time was, well.... it's been a while...

I went back to my old notes and saw how the Lord blessed over and over again in opening my heart and head to spiritual knowledge beyond what I could imagine. As I looked I came across a youth devotional on the book of Joshua that I was given back when I was in my early teens. It covers verse after verse, chapter after chapter. It doesn't really give any commentaries by the author. It simply takes the verses and asks you questions about each one, allowing the Lord to direct. I really like studies like that.

I've decided to go through the book of Joshua again. I want to see if I get the same thing from it now that I did years ago as a teenager. I have decided to read through Joshua first on my own and then go back verse by verse and read the questions again to see if I don't get more understanding from the same passages. I believe I was around 13 the first time I did this devotional. I'm 29 now...

It should be interesting to see where this takes me. I'm excited to get started.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A New Favorite Folk Song: Black and White by: Cherry Holmes

This song has become one of my favorites and I wanted to share the lyrics because i think it has an awesome message in it. Enjoy!

Black and White

Oh, let me tell my story friend
That you might learn to stay away from sin
I took a life not mine to take
Imprisoned for this haunting dread mistake


My heart was harder than my soul
They sentenced me to life without parole
Where no one cares, we’re all the same
And I must wear this number for my name 

Chorus :
 Now life to me is black and white
I’ll wear these stripes until the day I die
But this ball and chain around my leg
 Won’t drag me down, won’t drag me down
When I am dead

 My mother prayed so hard for me
She did her time down on bended knees
But I was young and I had no fear
Her pleading voice still echoes in my ear

 Don’t let the beauty blind your eyes
This world is filled with discolored lies
For greener fields don’t sell your soul
You’ll think you’re rich with a pocket of fool’s gold

Chorus

 I’d rather be in this dark cell
Than to be free and die and go to hell
God bless the day of my new birth
I don’t have to pay the price that I deserve 

Chorus

Ending:
And when I’m dead and take my flight
I’ll leave behind this world of black and white

Friday, February 21, 2014

Psalm 40

This Psalm has been my heart's cry and meditation for the last few days and I wanted to post it here. I hope the Lord uses it in your heart just as He has been using it in mine...

Psalm 40 (KJV)

1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
and he inclined unto me, and heard
my cry.
2 He brought me up also out of an
horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and
set my feet upon a rock, and established
my goings.
3 And he hath put a new song in
my mouth, even praise unto our God:
many shall see it, and fear, and shall
trust in the LORD.
4 Blessed is that man that maketh
the LORD his trust, and respecteth not
the proud, nor such as turn aside to
lies.
5 Many, O LORD my God, are thy
wonderful works which thou hast
done, and thy thoughts which are to
us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up
in order unto thee: if I would declare
and speak of them, they are more than
can be numbered.
6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst
not desire; mine ears hast thou
opened: burnt offering and sin offering
hast thou not required.
7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the
volume of the book it is written
of me,
8 I delight to do thy will, O my
God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
9 I have preached righteousness in
the great congregation: lo, I have not
refrained my lips, O LORD, thou
knowest.
10 I have not hid thy righteousness
within my heart; I have declared thy
faithfulness and thy salvation: I have
not concealed thy lovingkindness and
thy truth from the great congregation.
11 Withhold not thou thy tender
mercies from me, O LORD: let thy
loveingkindness and thy truth continually
preserve me.
12 For innumerable evils have
compassed me about: mine iniquities
have taken hold upon me, so that I am
not able to look up; they are more
than the hairs of mine head: therefore
my heart faileth me.
13 Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver
me: O LORD, make haste to help me.
14 Let them be ashamed and confounded
together that seek after my
soul to destroy it; let them be driven
backward and put to shame that
wish me evil.
15 Let them be desolate for a reward
of their shame that say unto me,
Aha, aha.
16 Let all those that seek thee rejoice
and be glad in thee: let such as
love thy salvation say continually,
The LORD be magnified.
17 But I am poor and needy; yet
the LORD thinketh upon me: thou art
my help and my deliverer; make no
tarrying, O my God.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Revamping my weight loss goals for Spring

ok people... since December of 2012, when i started working for DCI, I've been trying to lose weight and it started with a weight loss challenge at work. I was 192lbs. when i started... I'm currently at (gulp.... dont laugh) 170-172 lbs... I've just been trying to maintain through the winter because it's been hard to get out and hike or exercise with the cold weather. I'm just happy I haven't put the weight back on. But with Spring and warmer weather ahead I'm looking to revamp my weight loss goals. I still have around 37lbs. to lose to reach my goal range and I need some accountability partners or even some exercise partners... I love to hike and be outside. I plan to do some gardening this year.. ummm I'm not crazy about going to the gym I prefer to do "activities" as exercise i guess is the best way to describe it... but i just wanted to share because I thought it might help me to lose the weight if others knew about it..

I think what spurred this whole weight loss thing for me was in December 2012 I stepped on the scale and kept seeing it inching closer and closer to that 200 lbs. mark and thinking "NOOOOO!!! There is NO WAY I'm going to hit that 200 lbs mark! Not going to happen!" So, just like everything in life I began to pray about my weight loss. I didn't want something like that to hinder whatever the Lord might ask me to do in life and yeah, I admit I selfishly wanted to look  better and feel better about my weight too. 

 I also just want to say that I'm not judging other people by their weight. I'm not that shallow or vain. Everyone is built and made differently. God didn't intend for us to all look like what the world considers "beautiful" but I KNOW for sure that I'm not physically built to be 200 lbs. I'm not built to be 172lbs. It's just not healthy for me.

 I also think that part of our testimony for the Lord is being a good steward not just of the things that the Lord gives us but also in how we take care of this body that God has given us. Now that being said, Spiritual things are FAR MORE important that physical things and Spiritual things should always take precedence but that doesn't mean that we should completely ignore the physical things like how we take care of our bodies.  I also think that there should be a spiritual aspect to it as well. I'm not talking meditation or some weird hoccus poccus that the world comes up with, what I mean is making sure that you have you eyes set in the right direction and on the right things. When I was a teenager our youth director's wife made all the girls memorize 1 Corinthians 10:31 at camp one summer. That verse says "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."  That verse has made a difference in my life in so many ways and it can apply to so many different things, including health and weight loss. 
    For example, when I grab something to eat, i ask "Does this bring glory to God when I know that it isn't good for me to eat?" Or when I do indulge a little in something that I enjoy, like how i really like Mellow Yellow, I ask " Does this honor God or am i making an idol out of this thing because I've become so addicted to it that I think I NEED it?" "Has it become more important than my relationship with the Lord?" If I'm willing to scrape together pennies and go WAY out of my way to get Mellow Yellow but I miss a church service simply because I "didn't feel like going" then yeah, it's become an idol. That's what I'm talking about with having a Spiritual view to my weight loss and exercise. 
 With that in mind, it also affects my exercise; from what I do and what I wear to where I do it at. Which is also why I'm not so fond of Gyms. At a gym you run the risk of being exposed to things that don't honor the Lord, like people who are showing way too much skin and music that doesn't honor God and the possibility of running into someone who is there for lustful reasons. I prefer at home gyms if you like that kind of exercise. 
  But there's other things to consider as well. What kind of exercises are you doing? I have always like to do activities that have a physical aspect to them, like hiking, kayaking, camping, I've even done some rock climbing back in my college days. I love that kind of exercise because you're exercising without really thinking about exercising. You doing something that you enjoy and it's good for you too. But again, how I hike, how I'm dressed for hiking, who I hike with and where... I ask every time "would God be pleased with this? Am I doing this in a way that would honor Him?" I've always heard that if there is any question about the answer to those questions being "No" then you probably need to rethink it because it's better to be safe then sorry.
 I have also had to think about some of the exercises I like doing or am interested in trying. I like what's called "low-impact" exercises because they are not as hard on the joints or muscles. I feel relaxed and refreshed afterward. You're  not trying to do anything unnatural with your body. I like to do pilates, water aerobics, I've even looked into yoga and tai chi. All are great for exercise but some are kind of questionable, like yoga and Tai Chi. My personal conviction is that if you are going to do those for exercise then be very careful that you understand the cultural and religious background of what you're doing. It's one thing to do the exercise but when you start to dabble in the religion behind it then you are no longer honoring God with it. Also they have some humanistic ideals and even some mystic aspects which should be avoided. So that being said perhaps those are not the best exercises to look into for a Christian and I think it is something that should be prayed over. Ask the Lord to show you what He would have you do do. Ask Him for wisdom in setting your goals and planning your exercise and diet. 

Another part of my weight loss challenge is telling others and myself that I AM NOT ON A DIET, I am merely watching what I eat. Everything in moderation... Do I have the chocolate cake if I want it? Sure, a SMALL piece isn't going to hurt me so much and it isn't going to set me back in losing weight but 2 or 3 LARGE pieces are certainly going to hurt me and set me back. It turns me into a pig and I have to ask myself why do I need that much cake? I have a sweet tooth and I'm a muncher... If I'm not careful I'll munch on snacks all day long and not even eat meals. The problem with that is that I end up eating too many empty calories. To fix this I ask myself why I'm eating what I am eating when I'm eating it. Most of the time I found it was because I was bored. In that case I go out and find something to do.

 Well, I know I could keep going on and on but I've been sitting long enough. It's time to get up and get busy. I am looking for some accountability partners, someone who will ask "Have you exercised today?" and "What have you been eating?"  "Did you honor the Lord in what you ate and did today?" I'm also talking with my sisters and my friends about getting some exercies partners. I think my sisters are being a great help. One of my sisters and I are going to weight in tomorrow and go from there. YAY! 

I hope this has been interesting, God honoring and a help to anyone else dealing with the same challenges. I just felt like sharing with others... :-)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

So MUCH has happened and I praise the Lord for every moment

WOW! I can't believe it has been so long since I have visited my blog. Sorry to all my readers but it has been such a busy year and a half. I looked at the date on my last blog and it was July 2012! That's so unbelievable. I guess I should try to catch you all up on just what has kept me away for so long.
  As I try to apply Colossians 1:10,( "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being faithful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God."), to my life in all areas, the Lord has worked in many ways and directed my path and has been faithfully good through it all.

December 2012 I began a new job as a Patient Care Technician for Dialysis Clinic Inc. It's been such an amazing adventure. It really is a ministry caring for each and every patient that comes in for treatment. Some days are Great, some days are ok, and some days are bad but overall I've come to really care for the ones I take care of each day. I'm not the best at what I do but I give it my best everyday. I just celebrated 1 year there this past December. Can't believe I've lasted this long! Praise the Lord!

In February 2013 I was blessed with a new vehicle that I desperately need. The Lord blessed me with a 2010 Honda CR-V and has continued to bless me by allowing me to make each payment every month and to actually pay a little more each month than the monthly amount. Also, the Lord has been so generous as to allow me to keep insurance on it as well. It's been a great little SUV/Car and the gas mileage has been great too! The Lord knew just what He was doing, as always.

In April of 2013 I was able to move out on my own in a small apartment not far from my family. Within walking distance really. I've really enjoyed decorating and planning and having my own space. I spent months praying over a place that would fit into my budget, that I also prayed over, and would be a place that would honor the Lord and provide peace and quiet and hospitality to all who entered. I wanted all who came here to be able to see how the Lord works in everything and to feel His presence here. I even knelt in prayer the first night I stayed here and prayed over this place. I really wanted it to be an extension of my witness and testimony for the Lord.
   I've felt that it is very important to be a good steward of what the Lord has provided so I have spent a great deal of time learning about homesteading and recycling and reusing things and I've been so happy to be able to grow a few veggies and make my own laundry detergent and learning how to cook all sorts of things.
  Now that's a topic I could spend a long while on.. cooking. Growing up I was never interested in learning to cook. Mind you I have always been able to cook in "need-be" situations, just don't expect 5 star restaurant kind of food. LOL But in living in my apartment I've been learning a lot in the kitchen. Most of the time since it's just me and my little dog frozen pizza, hamburger helper and quick meals are on the menu the most often but I've enjoyed learning to make things like spinach tarts, 100 different ways to fix chicken breasts, and explore every new cookbook I get my hands on. Recently I got some deer meat from my parents and I've LOVED finding out all I can make with venison. Tonight, in fact, it will be deer steaks and onions.  :-)

In August of 2013 I received my CCHT (certified clinical hemodialysis Technician) certification. I was so excited because I had to study really hard and the training for dialysis is really intense. I couldn't have done it without the Lord helping me and giving me great teachers and trainers with a lot of patients. I've learned so much and still have so much left to learn. It's challenging and I like to help others.

September marked another Homecoming at church and this coming September we will be celebrating 50 years in the Church's ministry reaching the community with the Gospel. Right now we are planning a 50 year Jubilee for 2014. We always have our revival during September and this past one was such a blessing. The Lord gave the preacher a special message each night. I believe the Lord worked in my heart as well as others.

OH! I almost forgot to catch you up on the ministry at church. That has been busy as well as we steadily work in reaching others with the Gospel until the Lord comes back. I'm still teaching the 3-5 year old Sunday School class every Sunday morning and I'm also a teacher for the younger age group in our youth ministry on wednesday nights. Unfortunately because of an eye infection I wont be able to attend tonight but this year has been especially exciting for me with the Wednesday night youth work. We've been doing a study on "Who is Jesus?" and we've been learning different attributes of Christ each night. I feel the Lord has really directed the lessons and He has given me some great and exciting ways of presenting Himself to the children. I've been able to use some great object lessons to explain some tough subjects like using a hard boiled egg to talk about Jesus as our Savior and then being able to present Salvation to them in a way that they understand, or using "Life" cereal to build a bridge to explaining how Jesus Christ is the Light and LIFE of the world. Just two weeks ago I used candles to show them how Jesus is our LIGHT. It's been so great and so much fun! I really hope and pray and believe that the Lord has used this to reach those kids in unforgettable ways. These kids need a lot of prayer though, most of them come on our bus ministry outreach from broken homes and don't really even know what real love is or what it means. They desperately need Christ in their hearts and lives.

Our bus outreach has been something too. It has come with its own set of challenges to try and keep the bus going. We have so many children that come on that bus and families too. There are two families in particular that come to mind as they are so faithful in attendance. They don't have much in the way of worldly possessions but they have riches untold in their relationships with the Lord. I've seen each member of one family saved in the time they have been coming and in the other family, the father has been saved but was away from the Lord and his two young children have been saved in the time they have been coming. Both children are in my Sunday School class and in the mid-week youth ministry. I've seen them grow as each week has passed.

I'm still the Church hostess though that doesn't require quite as much time and effort as the other things. I keep the Fellowship Hall stocked with plates, forks, paper towels, toilet paper, coffee, etc. That sort of thing... I also set up for church fellowships and i try to help with any church event that takes place in our Fellowship Hall. I really couldn't do that job without lots of help from our Pastor's Wife. She does so much and she is AWESOME! She has been a friend, a wise counsel, and a wonderful godly testimony.

I also do a lot with music in the church. I sing in the choir and do specials. I believe it's important to give every talent over to the Lord to be used for His glory. The Lord has allowed me to create a CD of hymns a couple years ago and I'm working on creating another one but it's been a challenge because there is so much planning and organizing and working with others in the church to get it done. I've had to remind myself that they have things going on in their lives too so I have to be patient. I'm still praying that if the Lord would have me to make this new CD of traditional hymns that He would make a way.

December 2013 brought with it my 1 year anniversary with Dialysis Clinic Inc. (DCI). As well as my first Christmas in my little apartment. I was so blessed by my family this Christmas, I can't begin to tell you how much I felt loved. My family has been so good to me. They helped me with getting all my furniture in my apartment. They spent hard earned money to be able to give me gifts to help me here like dishes and other furniture. This Christmas though my parents bought me a used washer and dryer and they even went so far as to get the dryer fixed when it didn't work AND helped me move it into my apartment. My sisters have given support and advice and tips for all sorts of things and have been so kind as to be supportive when I would need a listening ear.
  I had a lot of fun trying to decorate my little place on a VERY tight budget. I am so thankful for good friends and neighbors who gave me some of their own extra decorations so that I could make this first Christmas special. It was such a "hodge-podge" of decor that didn't match but I loved every piece for the warmth and love that came with it; from my little "charlie brown" Christmas tree to my strand of Christmas lights around the living room windows that only half of them worked. Hahaha! It was a Christmas that I will never forget though and it will make a story worth telling for years to come.

I'm looking forward to what the new year holds as I prayerfully make plans; like a veggie bed out in front of my apartment that I hope I can keep going all the way up to early winter as I've been learning about cold crops in my continuing study of homesteading. There will be new adventures in the world of Dialysis as I continue to learn the ins and outs of the clinic I work at and new patients to care for. The work of the ministries at Morning Star Baptist Church will keep going, Lord willing, and souls will come to know Jesus as their Savior. There will be children to come and go and I hope to be one of those teachers that they can look up to as a role model and as someone who really showed them not only that someone in this world cares about them but that God loves and cares about them too. There are still things in my own life that I am seeking the Lord in. I would like very much to be a wife and mother one day and, Lord willing, I would like very much for that to be sooner rather than later but God IS IN CONTROL and His time is best. Most of all I am praying to grow in my walk with the Lord more and more each day. I want to walk so closely to Him that when others look at me they don't see me but my Savior. I want to bare MUCH fruit for my Lord.

I hope you've enjoyed reading about the last year of my life. I will try very hard to keep you updated on all the Lord does in the coming year. I hope to share more bible studies with you and hope you will share with me as well. God bless and keep you!