–If you want to sing out, sing out–

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I have always found this song very incouraging. The verses go like this… “if you want to sing out, sing out…and if you want to be free, be free… ’cause there’s a million things to be you know that there are” and then the chorus “–You can do what you want–the opportunity’s on–and if you can find a new way–you can do it today–you can make it all true–and you can make it undo–you see–its easy–” I see it as a reality that there are many possibilites out there for me and for you. In the same respect this goes towards other outlets we use. For instance, social media outlets, we have the control over what we post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumbler, WordPress (or blog site),etc… either it be for good or bad–the choice is yours.

I’ll be the first one to admit that I used to be quite the complainer–always going on and on about all the crud in my life that I couldn’t stand. I then looked at my constant negativity and realized that I needed a change. I needed to be a “light” to draw people towards the positive and point them to Jesus rather then a the alternative. So know I post uplifting photos and statuses. Sometimes I wonder if they do any good… Then I get confirmation every once in a while that someone has been benefiting from them–that it was just what they needed to see that day. It makes me realize that even when I don’t know for sure if I am making a difference to keep going…Jesus knows.

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So carry on. Fight the good fight. Be positive. Post things that uplift and point towards Jesus! You will at least lift yourself up in the process even if you don’t get confirmation you are making a difference I will bet you that you are!

“Finally, bretheren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.” ~ Philippians 4:8

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God’s Not Dead

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I was there not but a few years back. I was in a life that had its ups and downs but was relatively smooth sailing. I would say it was good… even if a guy decided to be stupid and dump me there was always another guy not far down the road ready to take his place. Life just came pretty easy going. I did what I wanted. Worked and sometimes went to college. Lived with different guys. Had what I thought were good friends. Drank. Partied. Went to clubs. Loved house music and dancing. Played World of Warcraft and was antisocial for a while only talking to my friends in the game… Saw many popular bands in concert…some of my favorite ones were Sevendust and 10 Years…just to name a few. I didn’t really think about what I did, what I watched, how much I drank, or anything like that… it was when I found myself completely miserable time and time again that I realized all the angry music or all the hate for what others had done to me or what I had done to myself wasn’t enough anymore to get me through life… I liked this quote from the movie I saw tonight summed it up pretty well what had happened to me…

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It was my turning point when I ran so far but found out that I didn’t remember what I was running from anymore or where I was going was not where I wanted to end up… I hit what was rock bottom for me. I tried to think back to where I was the happiest in my past and came to the realization that it was at church… so I called up a friend. I was to meet her and try to come back to church. I came not once, but left, twice, and got scared and left again, but the third time I came to the second service. I was scared that people might ask me or judge me for being gone so many years. Yes…I was the prodigal son, the wayward soul, the younger sibling. I let my sin come between me and God (the Father). It didn’t feel like I needed to leave because I was comfortable there for such a long time. That is the biggest lie of them all. I am here to tell you it is a lie. Don’t listen! You have a God shaped hole in your heart that only He can fill… don’t get trapped in the nice jail that sin holds you captive in. It may look nice at certain times but in the long run it is a trap. You night think it is too late for you and that you can’t go back. I ran away from God for more than half my life…and no time is ever too late! Pray to God and believe in Jesus who died on the cross to save YOU! If you were the only one who ever messed up He still would have died to save you… yep that is how much he loves you and me! I came to know Jesus as my friend again. He is the best friend you can ever make… “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20.

It after all is your choice who you will follow. If you don’t decide to follow Jesus you still have chosen… not Him but to follow the devil and the king of lies. My prayer is that one day you will awaken like I did and realize that Jesus who loves you so much He died for you, even while you were still a sinner, wants you to stop listening to all the lies and follow Him!

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As water reflects the face,
    so one’s life reflects the heart. ~ Proverbs 27:19

#Peace within

God knew who I would become before my parents even thought of having me. God formed me in the womb. He choose me as a child of God before I was born. What a marvelous awe inspiring concept.

Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Ecclesiastes 11:5

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.
So on this journey sometimes I have not really loved myself as the person who was specially formed and created by God as one of His own. It has been when I was running away and trying to do life my way. It left me empty, sad, lost, lonely, depressed, and so much more. I had to realize that the old me didn’t realize the sacrifice that Jesus made for me personally. If I had been the only lost sheep He still would have come down to this earth and died on the cross. FOR ME! How could I not love, trust, have faith, and care about one who went through so much so I could be forgiven for all of my sins (1 John 1:9) and become a child of God through His sacrifice? When I do not love all of my which includes my overweight body how does that show faith in God’s plan? Well it doesn’t really show trust or faith in His promises in the Bible.
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I don’t have to understand every thing God does but His peace which surpasses all understanding will guard my heart and my mind. When I struggle to be at #peace with my body or the storm raging around me I need to pray. I need to lean on bible promises like the one below which is a FAVORITE #bibleverse of mine…
Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
Isaiah 54:10
One person who might have had a problem with events that happened to him was Joseph. So many things happened to him and most of them were bad. 10 brothers who were jealous of his status as favorite son. Dreams that he told that made not only the jealous siblings more jealous but even his father thought something might be wrong with him. Mother who died giving birth to his little brother. Then when told to go check on the 10 jealous brothers by his father the same family members sell him to a traveling caravan. Drugged to Egypt and sold as a slave to Potiphar. Put over Potiphar’s whole house hold… Assaulted by Potiphar’s wife..then put in prison. Made overseer of the prison. Two prisoners come in and have dreams which are explained by Joseph (with God’s help). One is put to death in 3 days…just like the dream. One is brought back to his position but does he remember Joseph like he said he would? Um no not at all… Joseph stays in jail for another TWO YEARS. Then Pharaoh has dreams that no one can interpret for him. Then the ex-prisoner remembers Joseph. Pharaoh send for Joseph. Joseph tells Pharaoh what the dreams mean by telling him first it is not Joseph but God who will explain to Pharaoh what the dreams are about. Then Joseph goes ahead and tells Pharaoh that he should setup someone to make sure Egypt makes it through the years of famine.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble,

2 Peter 1:3-10

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I have read this story so many times… what I keep seeing that astounds me. No complaining from Joseph at all is mentioned. Joseph had serious FAITH in God. I also kept seeing the phrase, “the LORD was with Joseph”. What if I consciously kept saying that phrase to myself… when bad things happen or good ones… “the LORD was with Carolyn”. What a difference that would make in my life and my struggles. All of my stress, my weight issues, my anger problem, family drama, and so much more would benefit from repeating that phrase. It would also fit the phrase I picked to work on from 2 Peter 1:3-10… PERSEVERANCE. I want to work on the ability to follow through with the issues I need to deal with and work on… I need perseverance to continue on with the journey and not give up so easily. (Which I happen to do quite easily most of the time). You see it is easy to keep saying yes to things but the Imagefollow up and finishing the project is where I am lacking. Like loosing weight for instance because I have done it before. I lost 25 pounds easy. Why can’t I do that now? I lack motivation to start what I need to do and I lack perseverance to finish the race. Our Bible study tonight was very motivational for me. One of the activities was to write a new plan for action of a way to get up and move… I shared my plan with you on the left as you can see… We were also then to right our name in the verse to make it personal. It sounds true to me that my flesh and heart may fail me and truth be told they have a few times before…BUT the good news (the hope you might say) is that GOD is the strength I need to keep going. Isn’t that the truth for us all? If we have faith in God’s promises (like the one I personalized) then we have the hope and peace that comes from putting all of our mistakes, failures, and problems in God’s hands. We can truly, “Let go, and Let God“.
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I will call upon your name…
and keep my eyes above the waves
when oceans rise
my soul will rest
in your embrace
for I am yours
and you are mine.
your grace abounds
in deepest waters
your sovereign hand
will be my guide
where feet may fail
and fear surrounds me
you’ve never failed
and you won’t start now…
Words from the song Oceans (Where feet may fail) by Hillsong United that I shared at the first of this blog.
This song gives me #peace within.
May I continue to say, “the LORD was with Carolyn” all the days of my life…

Gossip Girl

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Wonder what they are talking about?

So I have to admit that today…well most days…I gossip in some shape or fashion at work. Sometimes about customers, sometimes about co-workers, and well you get the picture. I am either the one telling the “juicy” details to someone else or hearing about something that “so-and-so” did… Not that I ever have time really to waste at work doing this…just that is has become a habit I have let myself get used to doing that I need to break. Let me give you an example…Just in the span of a few minutes, up in the front part of my office, I was not only told something in front of the person who my co-worker was talking about but witnessed some “whispering” going on between two of my other co-workers who were talking about the other co-worker sitting in front of them though at the time that co-worker was chatting with another co-worker (hope she didn’t hear them talking about her)… whew and that was just in the span of about 20 minutes or so.

And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. 1 Timothy 5:13

As the verse states and I believe that Paul got it right… that we learn to be idle, gossips, and busybodies these days…even me. I believe that even the 10 Commandments says “you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” I know the actual definition of false witness is to lie but then does it mean that if you say something about someone that is true to someone else that it is okay? Best answer to that is another question, “Would Jesus gossip (say what you are saying) to someone else (even though what you are saying is true) about the person?” Jesus himself stated this in Matthew 15:11:

Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.

office-gossip-afYou see the two greatest commandments that Jesus talks with us about is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31. So when I gossip basically behind someone’s back about them am I really loving that person? No, I am not loving that person at all. When I allow someone else to lean over and tell me the “juicy” details about someone else am I loving that person at that moment? No, I am not loving that person at all. So now that I have determined that I have a problem and that I want to fix it…what now?

These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren. ~ Proverbs 6:16-19

A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends. Proverbs 16:28

I feel I need an action plan in case I find myself in the situations I described above again…and let’s face it I know I will be as soon as tomorrow. SO as friend’s young child stated so clearly…”stop talking about that person because it is not nice to talk about someone when they aren’t here.” The father then asked, “Even if it is good things?” … to which the child replied, “Nope not even then!” If the child could politely tell their parents to stop why can’t I tell co-workers that I just do not want to participate in gossip? Then it comes down to when I feel the urge to spill the “juicy” details to someone else…or even tell another story about someone else even if I am talking about nice things. Do I pinch myself? Do I pray? Do I put a quarter in a jar? Maybe I should memorize a verse that talks about gossiping such as Proverbs 16:28 and every time I feel the urge to recite it to myself quietly… I think that will do it and if I keep wanting to continue at that point I can send up a prayer.

Lord, I struggle with this bad habit every day. I know that this displeases you and is not how you would have me act. Please guide me in trying to get rid of this bad habit. Help me to stick to my plan of action. Help me to memorize the verse in Proverbs and to remember to recite it to myself anytime I feel the urge to gossip. I want to be an example of you to the world around me and I cannot be that when I continue this habit. Please continue to mold me into the person you know I am capable of being to show the people around me who I am in You. ~ Amen.

Sweet Place of Breakthrough

1-peter-5-7I had some symptoms back in 2012 that had actually been happening for a few years before that… I rationalized it as thought my allergies were acting up and sometimes that maybe I was sick to my stomach. Finally I decided that something was wrong that I needed to go to the doctor to get checked out. I ended up going to a GI doctor and had an endoscopy done. Discovered the cause of my problems was a hiatal hernia, GERD, and a very bad case of Acid Reflux. The doctor told me that it was getting worse because of how much I weighed. SO back then my first plan was to stop drinking cokes, then I cut out fried foods period, and lastly I started by working out (just moving along the best I could with a Zumba game I have on my Xbox 360 to walking on my apartment’s treadmill in their little gym) for 20 min every day except on Sabbath (Saturday my day of rest and worship). It really worked for me. I lost 25 pounds that time and got down to 160 pounds.

I wish I could say that I won that achievement and kept the pounds off… I have to say I didn’t. I now weight the most I ever have in my life. I think that if I can just get the motivation again like I had that I could get back under 200 pounds easy. If you see my motivation anywhere will you return it to me? I somehow lost it along the way and I really could use to have it back sometime soon. I do know that since I had this “personal victory” with loosing weight in the past I have faith in God and myself that I can do it again! One of the things we were asked to do in my online Bible study this week was make a list of excuses that we use to eat what we want… so I figured I would share some of them with you. (See below for my list)…

I have been doing good all week so I deserve to eat out this time.
I am so tired that I deserve to grab something quick to eat so I don’t have to cook.
I can really start eating better again tomorrow.

These really are just a few of the many ways I can rationalize the need to eat whatever it is that I have in front of me…
imageI have to say that I really love the verse of the week… 1 Peter 5:7-8 ~ Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. ~

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Anxiety 1. a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event of something with an uncertain outcome. (Synonyms: concern, apprehension, fear, angst, tension) I feel all of these feeling quite often and now that I have started this Bible study I have started to ask myself why??? I should as this very verse suggests “cast ALL my anxiety on him (Jesus)… why not only because the Bible tells me so but because when I tend to talk about things it is like I let out all the worry nervousness, concern, apprehension, angst, and tension I feel inside by talking about it. This verse alone tells me why I should pray about such things because Jesus himself CARES FOR ME!!! Plus unlike friends (now don’t get your feelings hurt my friends out there who maybe reading this) Jesus is never in the middle of something and needs to call me back later… or is too busy for me or would have to fit me into his schedule. SO why do I end up having to try and fit him into my busy schedule? Just some of the things that this bible study has me pondering recently… when I remember to pray more and read my Bible more it’s like receiving this:

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So what I have learned now from week two is that the key to being #Empowered is to read the Bible, memorize scripture, and spend time in prayer. This week I am learning to be #Determined to let go of the excuses and take one step at a time. To take even my struggles to Jesus in prayer, to lean on the good friends I have, and to say to my worries that my God is bigger than them and they should be worried about what He will do to them… and to remember the saying (while at work especially) that “If this is the WORST THING that happens to me today, it’s still a pretty good day.” (Thanks to Lysa TerKeurst for that motivational phrase!)

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Such a great memory verse!!!

New Years Resolutions…

Doesn’t everyone end up with a list of what they hope to do in the New Year to come? I have never waited this long to come up with some but I felt these were very important… I REALLY liked this list that I have copied here; not that it is meant for being resolutions for just a year but for the life of a Christian:

1. Never neglect daily private prayer; and when you pray, remember that God is present and hears your prayers. Heb. 11:5.

2. Never neglect daily private Bible reading. All backsliding begins with the neglect of these two rules. John 5:39.

3. Never let a day pass without trying to do something for Jesus. Luke 5:13-15.

4. If you are in doubt as to a thing being right or wrong, go to your room and kneel down and ask God’s blessing upon it. Col. 3:17. If you cannot do this, it is wrong. Rom. 11:23.

5. Never take your Christianity from Christians. 2 Cor. 10:12. Ask yourself, “How would Christ act in my place?” and strive to follow him. John 10:27.

“Five Short Rules for Christians” by E. J. Waggoner written in 1889

Now to add to that list…

6. Memorize Scripture. Joshua 1:8. 2 Tim. 3:16. Deut. 11:18.

7. My life goal for 2014 is the same as my church motto… “To know Christ, and make Him known.”

8. Want to share the Good News more… which in my case means preaching more this year. Plus sharing Christ with anyone who comes into my life who is willing to hear… (divine appointments).

9. Get healthier by making better choices, working out when I can, and eating better.

10. I give myself permission that if I fail on one or more of these at some point this year to give myself FORGIVENESS and pick back up and continue onward…

I am actually happy with my list. I feel if I stick to it for even most of the year I will end up 2014 having a closer relationship with Jesus. I will have 365 days worth of doing little good things for others…(what a fun challenge). I hope to know more about the bible and memorize some new verses. I hope to be healthier at the end of this year spiritually and physically.

What are your New Years Resolutions? Anything different this year then in past years? I know that some of mine ended up being different then in previous years. Some more open ended which makes them easier to comply with and more able for me to complete them. Now I need to find my partner in encouragement, you might say to check up on me 2 or more times a week so we can encourage each other through out this year… any takers?

Love,

Your Sis in Christ ~ Carolyn