Saturday, May 22, 2010


Hey Girls,

Do you consider yourself a generous person? Do you give of your time or your money to others in need? Well, growing up in a church environment, I was always taught to tithe but then later on in life, as I learned more about following the leadings of God's Spirit, I realized that it is more important to live in generosity to others.

Well, let's see what the Bible has to say about tithing. In Deuteronomy 14: 22 it says "You must set aside a tithe of your crops—one-tenth of all the crops you harvest each year." Then in Deuteronomy 26:12 it states, "Every third year you must offer a special tithe of your crops. In this year of the special tithe you must give your tithes to the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows, so that they will have enough to eat in your towns." In Biblical times, the tithes went to the Levites on a regular basis who took care of the Temple and they gave a tenth of that in a sacred offering to God (Numbers 18:26).

Ok, so did this change when Jesus came? Well Jesus often criticized the religious leaders of the day for their concern and obsession with keeping every detail of the law; "What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things," Matthew 23:23. It seemed as if Jesus was not after their 10% but instead looking at their heart, the way they gave and how they treated others. Remember the story when Jesus and his disciples were at the temple and they were watching people give their tithes? They saw wealthy individuals giving out of all their wealth, something they wouldn't miss but then they saw this poor widow who gave everything she had (Mark 12:41-44); "Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions.  For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”

Ok, so we can see here that generosity in giving is very important. Yet, are we required to give a regular 10%? When Jesus came, he changed everything.  We're not bound by the rules of law and regulations but have freedom in following Jesus, knowing his mercy and grace, being led by the Holy Spirit. 2 Corinthians 9:6-10 tells it clearly, "Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you." 

We are called to be generous with our giving and the Holy Spirit will direct us inside on how much to give. We just have to be faithful to give. When we give, than we will receive blessing. You won't be left with nothing, in fact, all your needs will be met and you'll have enough to share with others. We are led by the Spirit, not under the law, like the Bible says in Galatians 5:18. 

So I think it is really important that we do what God tell us, that we give generously to those in need. If you don't know who to give to, ask God and he can tell you. Sometimes giving at church is important but it doesn't always have to be that way. You could support organizations that help others, or maybe you know a family member who is in need and God lays it on your heart to pay their next car payment for them- that's giving too. Yet I'll admit, giving is hard. Maybe you have student loans, or you're just starting out in life, maybe looking for work and finances are tight. That doesn't mean you shouldn't give. God will bless you and provide if you are faithful to give.

I encourage you, don't forget to be generous to those in need. Listen to the Holy Spirit and you'll know exactly what God is calling you to do. Then step out in faith and do it.  

Friday, May 21, 2010


Hi All,


I was thinking about this the other day and how our North American society seems very apathetic towards God. When you think about it, there is a lot of self dependence and reliance. We are pretty well off, we have lots of material positions, we drive cars, have grocery stores, jobs, health's a pretty good life. We really can't complain. We are very blessed.

So like I mentioned in my post yesterday, how good times can sometimes allow us to forget about God- well maybe you've noticed that happening around you. Think of how advanced our society is, how medically and technologically capable we are. It doesn't surprise me if people think that science is an answer to everything. It just seems to me as if people don't care to give God too much thought because they think they don't really need him, that they can figure everything out for themselves, on their own. Even Christians can take matters into their own hands all to often.

So what do we do when everywhere around us it seems that people are so concerned with themselves, and forget about the wider world, forget about moments beyond this one. By caring, you can make a difference. Be enthusiastic for good things, for God things. God does not want his people to be apathetic, closed off to others and only concerned about themselves. It's called God's family for a reason. Families look out for each other and love each other. God commands us to love one another anyway. Luke 10: 27 says "... 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

So I encourage you today to look beyond the individualistic, 'looking out for number 1' beliefs and ideals that surround us and treat others with love, care and respect. That way, you'll be demonstrating God's love to others.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Things to Think On

Hi Girls,

I just have a bunch of random things to write today I guess. I hope that all of you reading my blogs feel encouraged in your lives and in your relationship with God.

Ever think about witnessing to a non-Christian friend? Or just think about that in general? I write these blogs geared to Christians because it is important for us to keep focused on God, keep living in the truth and encourage each other to do so. So what about other people? Who don't believe? How do we encourage our friends? Well, I was thinking about this and realized it never works to push God on people. But honestly, God can do it all on his own. He can just change people's hearts without any doing on our part really. Although, I think God sometimes does give us a responsibility to reach out to people (and not always with our testimonies or talking about God). He could tell us to help a older woman carry her grocery bags to her car, maybe that act of kindness will set off a entire turn of events in her heart- we don't know. Truth doesn't need to be defended. God is truth and he can reveal himself to any heart. I think we just have to live out what we believe.

Another thing I was thinking about, is everybody has a religion. Some people believe in themselves- they're their own god- that's certainly religion. Religion is a man made system of ritual and belief. Knock on wood, all that superstitious stuff- all religious acts. I think sometimes society likes to make themselves above belief in something greater than themselves (especially if you look at TV). It's as if it's uncool to believe in something besides yourself, or your fellow man, or human goodness. Humanism is just like another religion really. Everyone believes in something and often people will have their own rituals to accompany that- like things for good luck... Do you consider yourself religious? You see, I don't think that if someone calls themselves a Christian that they're necessarily religious. Religion implies man made rules. For people who just follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit, and live in surrender to God- they're not religious- their just Christ followers.

I think sometimes the different denominations get really caught up in their own systems. Sometimes that's what turns people away- the interdenominational arguments. People have different interpretations, different beliefs on doctrine and ethics and God. It all makes for a lot of division within the church. That's sad. But like I said, God can speak to any heart. It's his truth that matters. I personally don't think there is anyone who has it all right, who has everything to do with God all figured out. We all have some part of our thinking messed up in someway because God is just soo vast, too big for us to comprehend in his completeness. But that's okay because God forgives our ignorance, and so we should do likewise to everyone else. Why argue about something when we can pray with the person and allow God to reveal the truth to our hearts?

Another odd thing I was thinking about was our brains. Ever hear that we only use a small portion of our minds? I don't remember the exact percentage. We aren't currently operating at our full brain capacity. Maybe that came as a result of sin. But anyway, wouldn't it be neat if God were to heal our minds and allow us to think completely? I've heard that every time someone is given a revelation from God that their mind expands a little more. Sounds interesting. Makes sense too.

You know in the Bible how people often talk about how the wicked are successful, having a great life when the righteous are suffering? Well, my husband kind of brought this idea to my attention the other day. Ever wonder how people who don't put their faith in God but seem to have amazing success in their life? Ever wonder how that possibly happens? I think they're being blessed by God without realizing it but at the same time; my husband made the comment that perhaps they are allowed all this success because the forces of evil leave them alone in that area so that they are able to lead people away from God and put the focus on human effort. That made me think, maybe the bad times we encounter in our lives aren't so bad after all and maybe the good times, perhaps they aren't so good. Bad times humble us, make us realize how badly we need to trust God. He's our only hope and strength when trouble comes. But when we're having a great ol' time, everything is going our way, we don't always stop and think about God. We need him just as bad in those good times, because if good parts of our life act to distance us from God- than they are really the worst times of our lives. Good times should lead us closer to God, full of thankfulness, not full of pride in ourselves.

Do you ever find that it's hard being a Christian? That there is a lot of opposition (well the Bible did warn us about that). It's difficult to stand for truth, and then to look around and see all the suffering people go through because they refuse to believe. It's also difficult because people attach a lot of labels to Christian based on their own personal experience with Christians (some good, but bad stuff too). I've known of people who believed in God but didn't want to call themselves Christians because of the negative connotations about it. Judging others is wrong (but that's a blog for another time). Yet, Christian just means Christ-follower. If someone is negative towards you because you follow Christ, than that's their own problem- not yours. Your job is just to forgive.  I mean, sure, there is a lot of negative Christians around, those who judge people who don't believe or whatever else negative stuff they do..but honestly, what to people expect? All Christians to be the same? Ya, right, no two people are the same, so no two Christians are the same. But what does set us apart, is that we believe in God and so we have a responsibility to do as God tells us because our belief surrenders us to him. Sometimes Christians can get lose sight of that but that's why forgiveness is so important, and continually turning back to God.

Anyway...this was super long today.. but maybe it will give you some interesting thoughts to think about when you get bored today..haha!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Broken Families

Hi there,

It's a sad fact today that many families fall apart. Maybe some of you reading this came from a 'broken' family, where there was a divorce situation or something else awful happened. I know that I'm blessed to have grown up in a home where both my parents remained married, together and love each other. Yet it's getting more and more unusual these days to find people like me who grew up in nuclear families.

As a prospective teacher (I'm currently looking for a job), I know that a bunch of the students I'll end up teaching will have single parents, or unhappy home lives. That's a big issue that kids bring into the classroom because they suffer from a lack of stability and security. If those ingredients are not present at home among the people who are supposed to love and do their utmost to care for them, than it effects them as a person.

We have to reach out in love to everyone, being examples of God's love to others. God can work through us to restore the brokenness inside of others that can stem from an unhappy upbringing. There is always hope.

We all know how there are cycles of abusive, where if a son see's his father abusing his mother, he may in turn abuse his wife or girlfriend. Well, there are cycles of divorce too. Kids learn what they live. They learn from their parents. If growing up all you see is fighting, poor communication, unforgiveness and relationships that end, then whether you realize it or not, these experiences leave an impact. Maybe they taught you how to deal with relationships in a negative fashion because that's all you knew. So one day when you get married, and it turns tough, you may not know how to reach out and forgive, or break down the walls to really deal with an issue; instead, you may just give up, believe the person doesn't love you anymore and walk away because it's just not worth it.

And on and on, the negative relationship patterns continue. I know I've mentioned this before in my blog on dating, how multiple dating relationships are really just like practicing for divorce later. They're definitely not teaching consistency. So you can kind of tell how a person will be in their future relationships, based on how everything starts for them.

Now let's put God into the picture. After all, I'm finding it pretty bleak so far. Without God it is extremely difficult, maybe nearly impossible, to break this cycle, to come from a broken or abusive home, and have a life long happy marriage without carrying the past around. Often scars of the childhood, leads to sins in adult life as a way to cope (alcoholism, homosexuality, pornography, etc..). Yet God can change all this.

If this was your past, or maybe a friend's past, you can be confident that God can break off every lasting impact of a negative situation and restore you. Maybe you know this experience first hand or know someone who's gone through it. They're amazing stories really. God heals the wounds that divorce leaves, the feelings of abandonment that occur. He restores people who've had a rough upbringing, to have a relationally blessed future. That's what God does. He's the ultimate fixer. We just need to pray and break these things of evil off our lives in Jesus' name, giving all authority over our lives to God. We are children of God after all, and as such, we can walk around with a restored life and relationships.

I guess this is really important to me because I'd like people to have hope that just because something is broken doesn't mean it can't be fixed. It may not happen overnight, and it may take awhile to deal with all the issues, but God's power and grace is more than enough to do the job. And there is responsibility on our part too, since it's a thing of faith and constant belief in God that will carry us through.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

If God Wills It

Hey all,

I read this book recently, can't recall what one cause I've been doing a lot of reading lately. But anyways, it annoyed me because the characters were always saying 'if it's God's will' when it had to do with situations of danger or illness. It just didn't make any sense to me at all. I don't get it one bit when people say 'if it's God's will that so and so recovers from their sickness'. Of course it's God's will! Why would we doubt that? God doesn't want his children to be sick or in pain. It's like we doubt who God is. Why would we do such a thing?

After all, there are tons and tons of examples in the Bible about God's protection over us and Jesus walking around healing the sick. Jesus didn't look at a sick person, stop and think about it for a moment, if it was his Father's will to heal the person or not- no, he knew his Father- he just healed the person! And look at the psalms:
18: 30 "God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection."
91:4 "He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection."

God's faithful promises are our protection. Well, what does God promise us? So many things that I could blog all about that. He promises that his grace is sufficient, that he gives us rest, helps us resist temptation, answers prayer, guides us, guides us out of suffering...Just do a Bible or internet search and you'll come up with so many verses. 

Ok, so back to the topic at hand, if we keep all this in our minds, why do we doubt that God wants to heal someone, or restore a relationship? God loves us so much. Think of parents, if good parents had it in their power to rescue their children, they would! So we can pray for someone with confidence, knowing that God wants and desires good things in that person's life and does not want their pain to continue.

Yet, maybe you're thinking that this brings up a sticky subject. Sometimes people don't get healed, sometimes people suffer and die, sometimes it seems as if we don't receive what we pray for. What then? Did God change his mind? No, God never changes his mind. He's always the same. So why didn't he work in power? If he wanted to, and he can, why didn't he do? 

Well every situation is different and there isn't a sure fire solution to everything. For example, did the sick person have unforgiveness in their lives? Sometimes people are their own major obstacle to healing. Yet, what of someone who's innocent, like a child? Well, sin is sin and after generations of it, our world is corrupt and we live with the consequences of what was done. Our lives are not perfect, and everyone has their own share of troubles to deal with in this world. God doesn't take away every single trouble- not until we're in Heaven. He redeems us from our sin but we still exist in a world corrupted by it, and thus, it effects us.

I guess the important thing to remember is that there is purpose in everything. Sometimes we cannot understand suffering or why it's happening. But God can always take a bad situation and change it for good (Romans 8:28). People die from their illnesses, all the time, but that doesn't mean God wasn't there helping them. Their illness had a purpose- we just may not understand what it was until God explains everything to us. Sometimes too, I think people just come under attack from evil and satan can steal things, steal even their life away. And God allows it to happen but that does not mean they died purposelessly. God has a purpose and a plan for everybody and will restore all that is lost to us. Our treasure is in Heaven after all. God knows what will happen before we step out the front door today and we just have to trust in him, trust in his purpose, know that his will contains only good things for us and surrender to him.

God will take care of us. God will make his purposes complete. But we should never doubt his love, or how much he cares. We shouldn't think that just because there is suffering, God's love is gone, or his healing power is not there for us. That's not true. We don't have answers for everything. I sure don't. Somethings that happen are just plain baffling but we only see a tiny spectacle of what occurs. We only see through the narrowness of our own gaze. God sees everything, sees the grand picture, start to finish. If he knows, sees, understands and loves all, than we better do our best to trust him in all circumstances.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Feelings- Girl stuff? Or not?

Hi all,

Okay, ever had to complain about your guy or another guy you know, that they're just so seemingly dense? They don't pick up on subliminal messages or they just don't understand how you feel? Maybe they seem like a post, totally logic and no emotion at all. Is it unmanly for a guy to be in touch with their feelings? What is it about this topic of emotion/feelings and men that seems to come up so much?

Well, for one, I think it's ridiculous for a man not to be in touch with their feelings. Everyone has feelings. Everyone has emotions. Sometimes people just work really hard to hide them. Often people are scared of feeling vulnerable and being judged or rejected because of it. Sometimes this whole feelings issue can make certain guys really uncomfortable. And even though they may try to blame it on feelings are a woman thing, I don't think that's true. I think you're probably just hitting a soft spot, something they are too uncomfortable to deal with in their private life.

I was watching part of an episode of Wife Swap the other day where there was this woman who was trying to get men in touch with their feminine side. Really strange. Anyway, it got me thinking. Why in the world do we attach gender labels to emotions? There are female and male emotions. I don't know about you but that strikes me as being really stupid. Crying, being sad, expressing your inner self- society sometimes implies those are female things, feminine emotions. I just think they're emotions. If a guy cries, I don't think he's acting like a girl. It's just become more socially acceptable for women to express their emotions in more overt ways than guys.

You know another thing that really bugs me? The whole logic verses emotion debate. Somehow logical people are always promoted as being more intelligent than emotional people. Men know what to do because they are acting on logic and women, well, they can sometimes use some guidance through their emotional web. I think that's totally silly. After all, where does logic come from? Can a logical decision really be divorced from all emotion? When someone makes a 'logical' decision, isn't there some kind of reaction inside, such as a feeling that it is the right decision? But I do think it's important to note that there is a difference between being driven by emotions without thinking them through and reaching out from an emotional response. It's important to think before we act. Just because we're angry, does not mean we can act out in anger. We have to temper our response (that's using logic). So really, logic and emotion walk hand in hand. Think of a mother's concern for her children, when she senses they could be in a dangerous situation, she reacts to protect them. Sometimes we have to listen to our emotions, to what we feel inside. We can't just  say that this is a safe neighbourhood because they haven't had a problem with crime in the last 10 years so let's walk home alone in the dark at night- logic alone can be inadequate, and faulty.

So where em I going with all this? Well, to summarize, emotion should not be attached to gender. We're all people, all capable of feeling in a variety of ways. And logic should not be separate from emotion because God created us as emotional beings, people who feel. Yet God also created us to be wise- which is a big side of the whole using logic issue.

So let's think about God for a moment. When Jesus was on Earth, he came as a man. And he wasn't afraid to feel either. He cried, expressed joy, pain and loss, loneliness- he experienced it all, and right in front of people too. Then if we think on God, who is neither male nor female but creator of all, he created emotion. So there is nothing less, nothing wrong, nothing bad about having emotions. It's natural, part of God's design. Experiencing emotions is nothing to look down on someone for having. It's good to feel. Yet because of the way our society is structured, this can be tough, considering how men and women are often socialized to appear and act a certain way. We need to rid ourselves of these constraints and beliefs, just be who God created us to be and not be scared of feeling but use wisdom in every reaction/action.