Friday, May 7, 2010

Why God?

Hey Girls,

Kinda a different question today but something I was thinking about this morning. Why do you believe in God? What made you make that choice and turn God from some concept to uniquely part of your faith? People seem to struggle so much with accepting that there is a God, or when they do, accepting that he wants to have any type of relationship with them. Although, I think a lot of that problem is in the fact that they feel inside themselves that they would have to change something about their lifestyle and no longer would they get to control everything. That is probably one of the hard parts holding people back- their own selfishness. So, what made you accept God? Or who knows, maybe there are some internet readers out there who stumble upon this and haven't made a decision for Jesus yet.

I'm just curious because we all know that our parents faith or the faith of someone who cares for us is not enough to count as faith of our own. We can't be Christians just because we grew up in a Christian home or go to church. Those things don't make our souls belong to God. We have make that choice, each, individually.

I chose God because I couldn't deny the truth. I knew he existed and I wanted to know him. I choose to believe what the Bible said about a loving God, and what I learned from others as well as what was confirmed in my own heart. Truth is undeniable. It's there; it's all around us. In every smile, every laugh, God's love speaks. So why do you believe in God? Why are you willing to give up everything in your life if God asks you to? Why are you willing to let God lead you and have full control? Because I know he knows best and had a plan from the moment he created the universe and only wants the best for the creation he loves so dearly and never stopped looking out for.

I think these are good questions for us to answer. Sometimes we can just get into such a routine that we don't really think about the basics anymore or why we do what we do or why we even believe. After all, how can we represent our faith to someone else or even try to convince them to believe if we can't answer the basic questions for ourselves. Why??

Faith comes down to a choice. We all know that because we can't rely on our feelings. Sometimes it may get really difficult to have faith, to believe. God may seem sooo far away. But those are the times when our choices matter so dearly! When it is so important to have faith. That's partly why faith is there, to help us through the difficult times. So many people seem to abandon what is most important when they come up against something difficult instead of allowing God to carry them through. We have to always choose to believe.

I was reading today about faith. Matthew 17:20-21 says, “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible." I was thinking about this. A mustard seed is 

pretty small. So this makes me think that perhaps instead of trying to have more faith, we need to make the 

choice to believe.  We have to take God seriously and his power to heart.

A lot can happen by faith but faith is driven by choice. We choose to believe, against all doubt, we believe. 

This is when faith really comes alive- don't you think? 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Forgiving the Unforgivable

Hey Girls,

What do you think about forgiveness? It's a hard thing to do sometimes but we all know that we have to do it right? It's easy to forgive the people we love don't you think? We're close to them and can understand what their going through, reasons for their actions. It's hard to forgive what we don't understand. It's hard because we see their faults so clearly and we just can't understand or justify their actions in anyway. Yet it's important to understand that forgiving is not making excuses.

Think about that for a moment. How often have you 'forgiven' someone with the attitude of everyone has to make their own choice? Or we all make mistakes? Or it's their problem, not mine? This is trying to justify their actions. You're not really trying to forgive by doing this. You're trying to understand. Just because someone is mean to you and you justify it as everyone makes mistakes, doesn't mean that you've actually forgiven the person. Forgiveness implies that sin is gone, slate is clean, pure. Not that 5 years later, you bring up the issue again.

I think we need to be careful about making excuses and truly forgiving. After all, when someone really does wrong by us, deeply hurts us- no excuse in the book would justify the what they did. Right? Think of the most unforgivable person in your life or maybe of a situation where something horrible happened to someone, imagine yourself there. Do you think that when Jesus was dying on the cross, he looked over at the crowd of people and mused, everyone makes mistakes? Huh, ya right. I just don't see that happening. We know that it says in the Bible that Jesus prayed on their behalf, asking for the Father to forgive them. He didn't justify their actions; he didn't say what they did was okay; he just forgave them.  "Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing...'" Luke 23:34. He forgave their actions done in ignorance.

Luke 17:3-4 says "If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive.  Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive." But that's not all, Matthew 6:14 tells us, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins." This makes it clear that we have no choice but to forgive. If we don't forgive, than we won't receive God's mercy and our sin will kill us. God extends forgiveness to everyone so when we submit to him and become a follower, we too, must extend forgiveness to everyone.

Thus, maybe there is someone in your life that God is working with you to forgive. It's a process after all. It doesn't necessarily happens instantly and sometimes we have to remind ourselves over and over that we forgave that person. It's an action, not a feeling or an emotion. It's a choice. We choose to say that we will not hold that person's actions against them. It doesn't mean that what they did is okay or that we understand if they feel the need to do it again. It just says that, like what God does with us, their slate is now clean before us. If someone lied to us, we forgive them- the lie is gone. We may remember that they lied to us once, or other consequences may arise from the lie but the person is forgiven and we don't hold the lie against them; there is no condemnation. We don't tell them years later 'you lied to me' and try to extract revenge or punish them. There is no punishment from us because we choose to forgive.

Forgiveness takes the focus off the wrong and puts it on the person. You're forgiving the person. Sometimes I think we make it difficult to forgive because we are so caught up on the action, on what happened to us. We hate the lie; we hate the mean words or the physical jabs. But we're not dealing with 'what' happened, we're dealing with 'who'. For example, you may have hated that your colleague at work called you a whale behind your back. It kills you inside because you've been struggling with your weight. Yet, you know you need to forgive her but every time you try, the word 'whale' keeps coming back to you and you get so angry. It's not the 'whale', the comment, that gets dismissed as okay. We forgive the person who made the comment; wipe the slate clean, gone, no more to condemned by. As for the actual comment, you'd need to deal with that privately since it has to do with a personal self-image reaction. You have to deal with your feelings of being undesirable and let God demonstrate how attractive you are. The person can't take back what's been done. That's impossible but in order to move on; forgiveness and healing have to take place.

Healing often goes hand in hand with forgiveness because we need to heal from the wrongs done to us. Playing the victim doesn't help you either. You have to take responsibility for yourself and for how you deal with the situation you're in. Maybe you're completely innocent, that's fine but don't become guilty by mishandling the issue of forgiveness by blaming the person who did you wrong. Then you're no victim anymore, you're just as bad because now you're sinning against them too by not reacting in love.

We've all done things wrong in our lives and we all know how wonderful it is to get forgiveness extended to us. We all know the incredible gift Jesus extends to us with forgiveness for our sins. We know how freeing it is and how wonderful it feels to know that he doesn't hold it against us anymore, that it's all gone. This is the wonderful experience we can give to others. We didn't deserve Jesus's actions for us but he forgave us anyway. So since perfect Jesus is willing to do that for us, we have to be willing to do that for imperfect people like ourselves who are just as undeserving as we are. God's love than restores us and makes us worthy in his sight.

As mentioned above, along with forgiveness, often comes healing. That's an important step in moving forward. We have to experience healing for what happened to us and what we did. Maybe it deals with trust, or self image, self worth, abandonment- whatever it is, it is our responsibility to go to God with it and say, 'hey God, I need some help in this area'. God will work in us and bring healing to us. Grudge holding, revenge planning- all that, will keep the wound open, make it bigger and never allow you to heal and move forth. And lastly, God will help us to forgive too. He wants us to forgive after all so he will make it possible as long as we're willing to take that step. You don't have to justify the action- just forgive the person. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Hi Girls,

What kinds of things do people tell you? Are you often complimented? Hopefully. Although sometimes people in our lives act to enforce negative thoughts in us. They tell us their opinion about what we do or say or believe and it's not necessarily good. Sometimes people tear us down instead of help us. And this can happen sometimes without even them meaning to hurt us. After all, isn't it the people closest to you who hurt you the most?

Well, whether or not someone has good or bad intentions by telling us something negative, we can choose to believe it or not. Maybe you weren't raised in a household where you were told that your are beautiful and intelligent. Or perhaps your boyfriend or husband doesn't compliment you that often on all the ways you try to make your house a home or on your abilities as girlfriend or wife. So it gets you thinking that perhaps your a bad wife or lousy friend. These words said to us become part of who we are if we let them. After all, if you've been told over and over that you're only average looking or not really that smart, you may start to believe those things.

Those are lies! After all, you're a daughter of the most high God. So think about it, since God created you, do you honestly thinking there is anything lacking? That's insulting the creator God! We can't do that. We have to look at ourselves through God's eyes. See ourselves as he sees us, only then will we be believing the honest truth about ourselves and not opinions of other people. You should ask God how he sees you. He'll show you  or tell you in someway. It's important to have your ears open to listen.

Now, obviously, we all know that we're not perfect but the problem with allowing negative beliefs about ourselves to become part of the way we see ourselves, allows those negative beliefs to grow. They get reinforced. So ya, we're not good at everything but hey, it's God's approval that matters, not peoples. We just don't need to concentrate on the negative. For example, perhaps you've often been told that you're just not cut out to handle your finances, that your husband should do it or that your a nasty cook or perhaps even not skilled at the job you hold- those beliefs (whether or not their true) can reinforce themselves. If you think you can't cook, eventually you won't even try and learn, the fact that you may enjoy it gets snuffed out. Or you can't manage your own finances, why try? You'll just tell yourself you can't do it anyway and set up yourself for failure.

We can't do this to ourselves girls. We can admit we're not that good at something. That's natural. No ones perfect. But admitting that should not prevent ourselves from trying to improve, especially if it's something we like. Just because you're not good at something doesn't mean you can't get better, become proficient at it. It's really up to you if you want to keep trying or not. Don't let negative things that people tell you shape what you believe about your own abilities.

Philippians 4:13 tells us "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." So reject those lies girls and start to live in the truth. God's opinion is what matters and he loves you a ton so don't worry about your shortcomings, his strength is sufficient to complete any task before you!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Coping with Change

Hi Girls,

For some of us this is the season for change right? Graduations, either high school or university, out to make your way into the world, or summer time, what jobs to get? Vacations to plan? Or life changes, there are a lot of weddings that happen in the spring and summer.

Some people love changes that life can bring. I think I'm one of those people- most of the time. Partly because, I love moving around. I don't like to stay in one place to long so relocating always excites me. Although, I know there are a lot of people out there who don't share this sentiment. For some, life changes are scary, a step into the unknown, out of the comfort zone into an area of fear.

Just to note, I'm talking general life changes (not necessarily purely good or bad, just stuff that happens like new jobs, new places..etc.).

So where to do find yourself? Excited and looking forward to change? Or scared of it, wanting things to remain exactly as they are? Maybe you feel a mix of both. That's often the case as sometimes we want to go forward but we're hesitant on leaving behind something we really like. Change is such a huge event in our lives and we have to learn to cope with it. People who can't cope with change often end up living in a fearful or limited state and we don't want that. Yet I admit, even though we may be excited for something new to happen, sometimes it's hard not to be a bit scared or uncertain.

Taking the plunge (no matter what form this takes) always requires some risk on our part, some faith. You can probably guess who I'm going to tell you that you need to have faith in- God. Sure it's obvious but is it done? If we truly had faith in God than fear wouldn't be an issue for us.

Why be scared when God is taking care of us? When he has everything in control? He understands your feelings of hesitancy or unsureness at the changes and he is there to support you but there is no need to fear when he directs you down a new path. Sometimes I think we really need to inspect ourselves to see how much we're trusting God. To figure out if that trust is just something we say in our heads or if it truly comes from our hearts. When we step out into the unknown, are we hoping that we have our wits about us? Or trusting that God will direct each step?

Sometimes we put too much faith in ourselves and our human capabilities and not nearly enough in God, creator of those abilities. So if you are going through a stage of change or maybe approaching one, look boldly at it without fear because God is walking with you and he will smash down any mean giants that maybe standing there leering at you.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Moment In Time

Hi Girls,

Have you ever experienced one of those moments where you have a sinking feeling, where someone is coming to tell you bad news and you know it has the ability to change your life or break your heart? When you know that whatever they tell you will affect you so deeply that it will change you? Often these kinds of things are always connected to something or someone we love being threatened in some way or a change in our life circumstances that we've grown very comfortable with and like very much.

I don't know about you but I find these are some of the worst moments of life. The bad news. You can tell right away when someone is about to tell you something you won't like, the tone of voice, facial expression, the shift in mood. And then you can feel your heart start to constrict inside and you unknowingly hold your breath until everything is revealed to you.

So where em I going with all of this? Well girls, I had such moments like these over the weekend. What was supposed to be a family camping trip, turned into two days of saving the life of my sweet adorable puppy. He was extremely ill with internal bowel troubles and had a high fever. Fortunately, I can tell you that he is in recovery now, thanks to God, the many vets and technicians and my family. For me, my pets are part of the family so with that in mind, hopefully you can understand a little better how horrible it was.

Now what was really interesting about this entire thing was the faith aspect. And that's probably true for every single life trouble. It's what it comes down to really. People can do all they want, try as hard as they want but in the end, it is still up to God. That's a big leap of trust for all of us. Now, I spent a lot of time praying because that was the only thing that could bring me comfort because I was able to actually do something. It's definitely hard to keep thinking positively in situations like that. I am sure a lot of you can probably understand  what I'm saying because whenever there is a possibility of death involved or serious consequences, the feelings of dread, worry, anxiety, fear- all that is the same. And a lot of us have gone through situations like that before. Yet the mind is such a battleground in circumstances like this, especially when you have no choice  but to wait for the outcome. The only thing there is to hold onto is God and what he says to us, than trust in that and not doubt. It's tough but important.

So lets just keep in mind that no matter what happens in our life, God can and will take care of us.