June 17 at 8:17am

Sometimes I forget that “death” as a Christ follower is not always going to be in a physical way.

This morning right when I woke up, I had that Bruno Mars song stuck in my head, the one in which he says,”… take a bullet straight to my brain. Yes, I would die for you baby, but you won’t do the same.” Now, I do not listen to Bruno Mars in my free time, nor do I care for his music. So obviously, not having listened to the song recently, I start to wonder, “Is this from the Lord?” More often than not, the Lord will bring songs to the forefront of my mind to communicate something to me. So I pondered over those lyrics and felt that God was in a way saying this to me, but in my defense I responded, “God! I would die for you!” Yet he only responded, “But, you don’t.”

"Don’t!?", I think,"I could have died already and didn’t!?" And then it hits me… and I remember… death is not always a physical thing.

If we are to be obedient to the Lord, we must continually die to our sins and selfish needs, essentially partake of these “mini” deaths. Though these deaths quite often seem small, the impact in the long run is huge! This concept was something I had indeed forgotten and I was getting into the habit of not doing it!

The apostle, Peter, is spot on when he writes, “He (Christ) himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” (1 Peter 2:24)

We were not put on this Earth to cater to our needs, but to the needs of others! Unfortunately, sometimes our own sin encourages or coaxes us to indulge in ourselves in a very sneaky manner. Here are some examples of thoughts I’ve had prior:

"Oh, your too tired to do that. You’ve had a long day (even though I really did not) you deserve a break."

"She hasn’t done anything productive all day! She just sat around playing stupid games! How could she ask me to do this when she could have easily done this herself? I just got home from work!"

"I definitely do not feel like walking over to the computer to watch a dumb video with you right now… so no."

Guys, sadly, the list could probably go on. Some of these thoughts may seem logical, but the underlying grounds for them are selfish! These responses have kept me from being obedient!

Instead of rebelling those around me, I need to rebel against my own flesh and to lay down my desires and sins! I am so thankful that the Lord revealed this to my heart and once again tended to this garden planted in my heart long ago!

 

June 16 at 9:51am
Early morning #buffalo#watercolor

Early morning #buffalo#watercolor

June 11 at 1:45pm

For Miss Vivian!

June 10 at 3:09pm
I just realized today that I really do love to draw trees and that many of my doodles have always contained various trees.

I just realized today that I really do love to draw trees and that many of my doodles have always contained various trees.

June 10 at 2:39pm

Well guys… Let me see if I interpreted Vivian’s letter correctly:

Hi!
It’s me Vivian, I am back. You can come over to my house at 7pm, but not Friday, June 28.

How did I do?

June 3 at 8:24am
Last Mumford picture, I promise!

Last Mumford picture, I promise!

June 3 at 8:23am
Mumford!!!!

Mumford!!!!

June 3 at 8:23am
Mumford and Sons: pre-show!

Mumford and Sons: pre-show!

May 25 at 10:16pm

lcanaleyna-deactivated20130715 said: Your last post was SO encouraging... Really needed to read that.. You have a beautiful blog! God bless -mamaleyna

Thank you! I’m so glad to hear that, and that’s why I even post these things! And now I’m encouraged to keep writing, so really, I should be thanking you! SO thanks :)

May 25 at 11:04am

My walk with Christ has been quite challenging as of late. As I sat on my bed this morning, I began to think about how God has been preparing me right up to this moment, as I write this.

Not too long ago, I knew that God wanted to teach me about love, His love, about how it works through me, as a vessel of Jesus Christ. Then I felt that God wanted me to learn about the Holy Spirit. Who the Holy Spirit is, what He does, and how He works within me. All the while, I could not understand and I kept asking God, “Why love? Why Holy Spirit? Why am I learning about these things? What for?”

But now I see why, as I sit here, I know why.

Boldness.

A few weeks prior, I felt the Lord calling me to become bold as a Christ follower, to go out into my community and share His love with others. And I see that He was giving me the tools I needed to have that boldness, by showing me love first. How could I love on others, if I don’t understand God’s own love for me? After all, as I had mentioned in a previous post, the love that I would want to give,  a true love that’s unconditional, is not from me, it’s from Him. I need to know and understands God’s love and before I can share it with others. Secondly, I needed to know the Holy Spirit before I could act out in Him. How could I pray for healing or know someone’s needs if I don’t know how to listen and respond to the Holy Spirit? 

Love and the Holy Spirit are key factors that play into boldness. Now that was shown, here came the harder part… executing this boldness. Learning to become like the disciples in the new testament, acting out in God’s love, empowered by the Holy Spirit, touching other peoples lives, is and has been quite a challenge for me. It’s a whole new world to me, one that I had unfortunately been out of touch with for quite some time.

Everything had become about me, myself and I, about how God was going to fill me up, about how God was going to speak to me, or how God was going to bless me in my life.

I had forgotten that this life is truly about Him, the cross, and His sheep.  Ashamed as I am to admit that, I say it because I want you to know and realize that despite the more positive things I have written, or if had come across like I’ve got it all together, or that I’m this really devout Christian, the truth is, I’m not. I’m human. I’m not perfect. And we all fall into this cycle of our walks from time to time, but the grand part of this is that we have a loving Father with open arms waiting for us when we finally come around. How great is that!? 

To venture into this new bold phase of my life, I had to get out of the “me” phase first. And God so graciously rescued me from that and now here I am, with eyes wide open. Granted, that was just phase one of the whole process, more have passed, but I shall soon write about the experiences that followed.

Until then.

May 7 at 2:30pm

Just when I was wondering if my little neighbors had grown tired of sending me letters, the day I got home from Sacramento, I found these all waiting for me inside the house. 

So with much of the love that was sent, I figured I would send the same amount if not more back to these little guys.

Honestly, I have no idea why these kids love me SO much! All I do half of the time is just say hello…

April 30 at 10:02am

Weak Made Strong.

Quite often I find myself sitting with my guitar in my lap, looking at my hands, and wondering why on earth I still can’t play bar chords. Or I listen to my voice, realizing that I’m not a great vocalist and I wonder how people can even listen to me sing half of the time… though I don’t always think this, these thoughts do cross my mind… I… am… weak. Why is God using unskilled and unequipped me?

I don’t have what it takes to be a worship leader. I don’t have what it takes to care for my fellow peers. I’m insufficient.

You know, I love reading Paul’s letters to the churches in the New Testament. I have been reading out of Corinthians and this morning, like a few mornings before, I came across a passage that dealt with weakness. And Paul, the last person who I would ever think of as weak, simply said this:

"But he (God) said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I (Paul) will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecution, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." - 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Wow. In our weaknesses, Christ is strong. In our weaknesses, Christ’s glory and power shines through us! 

You see, God operates on entirely different terms. He, 'chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong' and he, 'choose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise' (1 Corinthians 1:27-29) 

Think of Moses and the burning bush and about how many times Moses was desperately trying to explain to God how unskilled and unequipped he was to free the Jews under Pharoh’s reign. Yet, God says this to him!:

"WHO HAS MADE MAN’S MOUTH? WHO MAKES HIM MUTE, OR DEAF, OR SEEING, OR BLIND? IS IT NOT I, THE LORD?" - Exodus 4:11 (and it’s not all in caps in the bible, but I wanted you to sense the power behind the statement!)

Folks, God knows what He’s doing. Even when it doesn’t make sense, He knows what He’s doing. Even when we feel like we don’t have much for God to use, HE KNOWS WHAT HE’S DOING. God operates on a heavenly level, our brains can’t comprehend those things in this flesh and blood life and world that we live in!

Now, I don’t want you to think that these words and statements are a free ride for you to not continue to practice or spend time in what the Lord has called you too. God’s still expects us to wisely use the talents and time that he has given us. We must not be like the servant in the Parable of the Talents from the book of Matthew, who hid his talents away and did nothing to multiply them! That is foolish! Use your skills to the best of your ability and let God take care of the rest! 

I hope this is encouraging for you all, and is comforting to you as it was for me! Remember God is in control, He has a plan, AND He knows what He is doing!