I think the bible is mostly optimistic, but it is not the stereotypical optimism that we like to characterize as hopeful and fantastical. It is a realistic optimism that is founded in our faith. How REAL you feel the optimism is depends on your faith. For example, the bible reveals some hard truths about what will happen to those who are not saved, those who do not believe, and those who deny the grace of God in their lives. The bible also reveals some tough truths about the level of crime, violence, and blasphemy that will fill our earth up until the second coming of Christ. Eccl 5:8. All of these promises are in the bible. However, as sad as they may be, I do not believe that they are pessimistic in any way, shape, or form. They are more like promises that the world will be the world, as we can only expect it to be, full of carnality and evil-doing in many ways, but God … GOD will always be GOD. God is faithful and true. He is a keeper of his promises to deliver us from evil and guide us through hard times and love us eternally.
Although, the book of Ecclesiastes seems to put a DANGER DO NOT ENTER sign on many areas of life, I think the book of Ecclesiastes is very optimistic. This book is a warning against over-indulging. Solomon is issuing a warning that many things will look enticing and fulfilling as we travel down the paths of life but to take a detour is to follow “a chasing of the wind.” Eccl 1:14. And for me, that only means one thing, that our duty to GOD is so much more important than an empty detour. Not to say that we shouldn’t participate in anything that this world offers, because God reminds us that he expects us to be in the world but not of the world. think the point is that God is so much more fulfilling. HE is the wise choice. Eccl 2:12. Placing our hope in HIM is not a futile work. Eccl 2:17. GOD is our Father and the ultimate decider of our fate, whom we should spend more of our time and energy pleasing than anything else in this earth. What is your view of Ecclesiastes? Optimistic or Pessimistic? Why?
Imagine yourself in a dark place. You hear a cry in the distance, but it is very dark and you can't see the other person. The crying gets intense. You are frustrated about your current position in the dark but you feel even more saddened for the person that is moaning and crying in the distance. You fumble around in the dark until you find a lighter and a small tealight nearby. You light the tealight and slowly walk towards the sound with the light. You call out with comforting words as you move along, "I am here," "You are not alone." "Someone is nearby." "Don't cry" "It will be OK" When you reach the other person, you look back and realize a few things 1) you lit the pathway and brought the light with you to a dark place and you gave it light, 2) you have moved out of your own darkness, 3) you have spoken life into this person AND yourself. Proverbs 12:25 reminds me that when we speak a good word to someone else, we also speak a good word to our own hearts. Speak a word to someone today to fight your anxiety, fear, and/or stress.
It is never too late to start again. These words ring in my head every day that I pick up my cell phone to start a devotional 5 days late or check the daily bible verse after breaking a streak. I tell myself, you got this. Each day grants new mercies. You haven't spoke to God like you should, but he is still there. Waiting for you to see Him for the gracious and forgiving God that he is. This past week, I have been called to share my testimony. I have almost never shared my testimony but I know that if you don't share the bad, God can't get the glory for the good. And boy is God working good in my life. I have grown up in the church and I cannot remember a time when I did not have a church to call home. But there has been a time when I did not feel at home in church. BUT God rescued me from myself, my doubts, fears, insecurities, indiscretions, and each day he reclaims me. This book was my first step towards FULLY walking in my purpose. I am growing towards more transparency because I know God wants me to share my story to bring others closer to him. This book has been a blessing to me because it represents my obedience and my faith. The second book is coming soon, as I myself am being renewed in purpose. It is never too late to start again. It is never too late to start again. Love you guys!
"Fasting and prayer? Didn't those go out of style decades ago?" The woman who said this to me was a godly woman, a woman who had been in the church all her life, and a woman intent on obeying the Lord. She knew her Bible. She was very serious in her questions.
Yet for some reason, she had concluded -- at least subconsciously -- that fasting and prayer were no longer intended for believers in today's world.
The truth is, fasting and prayer are for today! In fact, now more than ever!
The combination of fasting and praying is not a fad or a novelty approach to spiritual discipline. Fasting and praying are not part of a human-engineered method or plan. They are not the means to manipulate a situation or to create a circumstance. Fasting and praying are Bible-based disciplines that are appropriate for all believers of all ages throughout all centuries in all parts of the world.
Through the years, I have learned that many people in the church have never been taught about fasting and prayer, and many have therefore never fasted and prayed. As a result, they don't know why fasting and praying are important, what the Bible teaches about fasting, or how to fast. To many, fasting sounds like drudgery -- or a form of religious works. To others, fasting sounds extremely difficult. People tend to stand in awe at reports of those who have fasted for several weeks. When I hear about such fasts, I no doubt think what they think: If I fasted that long, I'd die! I couldn't possibly do that!
The very simple and direct conclusions I draw are these: First, if the Bible teaches us to do something, I want to do it. I want to obey the Lord in every way that He commands me to obey Him. And second, if fasting and praying are means to a breakthrough that God has for me, I want to undertake those disciplines so I might experience that breakthrough!
The Bible has a great deal to say about both fasting and praying, including commands to fast and pray. The Bible also gives us examples of people who fasted and prayed, using different types of fasts for different reasons, all of which are very positive results. Jesus fasted and prayed. Jesus' disciples fasted and prayed after the Resurrection. Many of the Old Testament heroes and heroines of the faith fasted and prayed. The followers of John the Baptist fasted and prayed.Many people in the early church fasted and prayed. What the Scriptures have taught us directly and by the examples of the saints is surely something we are to do.
As we approach Ash Wednesday, I have been thinking about fasting and what the Bible says about fasting. Above is some great information that I got from www.cbn.com
More Reasons to Whittle Your MiddleWhile many people are concerned with how they look and feel the muffin tops and beer bellies aren’t the sexiest, the truth of belly fat is far more nefarious. Excess belly fat has been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers and stress.
When you have stress, your body releases certain "fight-or-flight" stress hormones that are produced in the adrenal glands: cortisol, norepinephrine and epinephrine. When you first get stressed, these hormones kick into gear. Norepinephrine tells your body to stop producing insulin so that you can have plenty of fast-acting blood glucose ready. Epinephrine will relax the muscles in your stomach and intestines and decrease blood flow to these organs. Once the stressor has passed, cortisol tells the body to stop producing these hormones and to go back to digesting regularly. It's normal for your cortisol levels to go up and down throughout the day, but when you are chronically stressed your cortisol level goes up — and stays there.
When your stress and cortisol levels are high, the body actually resists weight loss. Your body thinks times are hard and you might starve, so it hoards the fat you eat or have present on your body. Cortisol tends to take fat from healthier areas, like your butt and hips, and move it to your abdomen which has more cortisol receptors. Hello ab flab! In the process, it turns once–healthy peripheral fat into unhealthy visceral fat (the fat in your abdomen that surrounds your organs) that increases inflammation and insulin resistance in the body. This belly fat then leads to more cortisol because it has higher concentrations of an enzyme that converts inactive cortisone to active cortisol. The more belly fat you have, the more active cortisol will be converted by these enzymes — yet another vicious cycle created by visceral fat.
So what if you have belly fat? Lose it by eating clean and exercise AND prayer, fasting and meditation.
Leaning on the word word of God is a great way to alleviate stress and fight belly fat.
Worrying about things you cant control will leave you with the bulge and many other health problems.
(Some excerpts courtesy of Jillian Michaels)
Mother’s Day is approaching and unfortunately it isn’t a happy day for everyone. For some, it is a joyous occasion filled with traditions and loving exchanges. But for some, Mother’s Day reminds them of a barren womb, the passing of a child, an estranged relationship, or the loss of a mother.
Just recently, I lost my brother and in 2006, I lost my maternal grandmother. These two experiences shook up everything I knew to be true. It has been difficult to recover but I have found that the key to a positive grieving experience is a good support system. I truly believe that GOD gives me everything that I need. In that blessed mindset, he has delivered friends who have stood by me like the closest sibling and older women who have coddled me like a grandmother.
During this Mother’s Day, I ask you to seek out those close to you and show them a special kind of love. Embrace and show gratitude to the women who are amazing mothers to their own children AND women who are mothers to those that are not their own. Maybe you are mothering someone close to you. I salute you! Keep giving love, where love is needed.
I believe that Mother’s Day is a day for gratefulness. If it is normally a sad day for you, seek something to be grateful for and celebrate that thing!
The event on February 26th was amazing! Not only did I sell my book but I was able to share my ministry, my passion, and my story with hundreds of people. I also made some very valuable connections and I was deeply inspired by all of the creative talent in the room. God reminds us to shine our light where ever we may go. I am so thankful that I am able to take advantage of opportunities to shine my light. God has blessed me tremendously to do what I LOVE. I am so blessed and I know that it is a privilege and I do NOT take it for granted.
God sent three separate messengers to me at this event and it was EVERYTHING I needed and MORE. Each person had the SAME message... "Keep doing what you are doing. You are helping people, even if you can't see it." They used the same words, they looked me directly in my eyes and held me close. They had a very important message for me and I received it wholeheartedly. I know that God is blessing me and my family for a purpose. My husband and I have very service oriented gifts. We love to help people and we are blessed through the love we show to others. If a part of the message I received is also for those who subscribe to my blog or read my posts, I say "LIVE YOUR PURPOSE."
I think this is the most confusing, yet intriguing quote from the Bible. The message is sharp and poignant as Isaiah discusses the year of God's favor on his people. He lists a set of opposites, and promises that God will make a trade with us for a more positive thing in place of a negative thing. The most stunning part about the passage is the trade of beauty for ashes. In the Bible we often saw ashes represent mourning and grief. A person in mourning would sit in ashes and tear their clothes to show stages of grief. But what would happen if we gave our ashes to God? The pain, the sickness, the anger, the frustration. If we killed everything negative and decided not to mourn about it but rather to rejoice in the promises of God, we could let beauty from God rain down on us. What will God give for our ashes? Beauty. The most beautiful thing God has given for our ashes is His son, Jesus Christ. Dedicate some time to get to know him. Kneel at the cross and learn his word. Precept upon precept, He is calling you closer. Take Him at His word. Give Him your ashes.
I love you, but GOD loves you more.
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I love to share my thoughts. Please feel free to leave comments and join in the conversation. This is a process that helps us both to grow! #devote52weeks