Posted in Devotional, God's Lessons, Spiritual beliefs

Hope

Hope.png

 

Today I want to share a more personal lesson – an experience I recently went through, and what God showed me during it. Yes, the subject is Hope. There are a great many lovely songs and Bible verses centered around this word. It is, indeed, an inspiring word. But previously, I hadn’t really ‘attached’ to it as much as I have now.

As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I have long battled with Sensory Integration Dysfunction, and it shadows a lot of my life experiences, over-arcing into many areas of my life. It’s rather boring to talk about, but it does play a significant role in my journey.

One night recently, I had been struggled with my “sensory-issues” in the form of clothing. As is typical for me, I was having an awful time adjusting to how the clothing felt on my skin. Each clothing article felt just terrible, and I was dealing with some other struggles that were majorly stressing me. I was in tears, and just a mess. With my dear mom’s encouragement I went upstairs to try to pray about it all – just take all my stresses, worries, and uncomfortableness to our Lord.

I’ve experienced a lot of amazing healing from Him throughout my life. God is good. But as I sat at my desk that I night, I wasn’t feeling a major feeling of healing. I still felt low. Yes, I felt His awe-some presence, but I didn’t feel healed, and that’s what I wanted.

I flipped through the pages of my Bible, pouring out my heart as I went, and the word ‘hope’ stood out in almost every verse I “randomly” came upon. But honestly, I still felt downcasted. The verses were good, but weren’t really sticking to me. I reached for my last prayer-journal and again opened randomly, praying that I would turn to a page that would help me, minister to me. ( My prayer-journals aren’t entirely filled with prayers – in fact, they’re mostly verses I write down or things God has shown me, so I guess I should probably rename them. ;))

Sure enough, I turned right to an entry I had made in May of 2017, where I was once again writing out whatever my current struggle was and what the Lord showed me. Right at the top of that entry was the verse featured in the graphic above.

“Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Good Hope Through Grace.

I re-copied the verse into my current prayer-journal and emphasized that phrase. Good hope. Through Grace. 

I’d like to share what our Almighty Father spoke to my heart then:

“Hope, My child. Trust is good and vital, but also hope. Do not forget to hope in Me. Hope is a way in despair. Hope is the companion in sorrow. Hope in Me.”

And then He led me to write out my struggles but beside each one write: “Hope in Him”. Over and over. Hope. Let Him complete. He soothed me again with His words, “As you weep and as you cry, remember your hope in Me. Fight for it. Cleave to it; for through it you cleave to Me. Sorrow, but hope.”

The realization, the reminder, that hope is a companion in sorrow was profound to me. Hope does not take away our sorrow – it does not change our situation, but it makes a way through them. It lightens our burden, and eases our spirits. It is the light in the darkness. I pray we can all comprehend it and not turn away from it.

So, I sat there, tears still marking my face, pain still hurting inside, and my clothes feeling awful. But Hope. “Hope in Me”, He says. Hope is our companion as we sorrow – and we will sorrow. We are not promised good days all of the time. But we are promised His grace, and His Hope. Hope eternal. Forever, and always.

It’s hard, though – and that, I believe whole-heartedly, is why He said we had to fight for it, and cleave to it. The world and all its trials will try to rip it away from us. But we have to fight to keep it, fight to hold on to it, to cleave to it. For through it, we cleave to Him.

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” (Ps. 43:5)

If you are sorrowing, my friends, remember to Hope. Hope that the Lord is here, hope that He is our consolation, our greatest reward, and He will remove us from our troubles – one day. Hope that He is GREAT, and all-powerful. And He is Lord.

Hope.

Advertisements
Posted in God's Lessons, Spiritual beliefs

The Feast of Dedication

The Feast of Dedication.png

 

Hello!

I don’t think I’ve ever really mentioned this on here (and if I have, well…memory blank! Just keep swimming ;)), but my family and I have come to learn quite a bit about the Biblical Jewish Holidays over the years, and one of those that we celebrate now is called the Feast of Dedication. Some call it Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights. The meaning behind it is all the same. It’s been a really neat experience to learn more about the Biblical Holy Days. To celebrate the ones that Jesus Himself celebrated, not just man-made holidays.

And yes, it’s been a change to switch to these holidays, but it’s been so good. I can honestly say that. Each year as we learn a bit more how to better celebrate the Feasts, it becomes more enjoyable. I think my favourite feast is this Winter one – The Feast of Dedication.

A family friend wrote a beautiful devotional about this Feast, and I wanted to share that here, because it really is encouraging, and also informative. Let us all shine brightly for Him this season and always! Enjoy reading this devo :)

 

Image result for free curly scroll image

 

“Be The Light” by Anita Nelson

“Tuesday night began an 8 day celebration in remembrance of the dedication of the 2nd temple after the Jews reclaimed it from those who had polluted, defiled, and profaned it for over 4 years. It is a time of rededication.

Each year, the Jews remember their countrymen who died for God’s laws when …they were told they could no longer worship God in the way he had taught them. These few men preserved the Word of God so future generations would receive it.

This was a Holy War made up of few Jews in number, but numbers did not matter to them, because they trusted victory comes from God.

Just thinking….
Without Hanukkah, there would be no birth of Christ, no Savior, no songs like Oh, Holy Night.

Think on this!

John 10:22-23 tells us that Yeshua himself, kept the Feast of Dedication .
It is not a Jewish Christmas as so many of us have once thought. It is the story of God’s children refusing to assimilate into other pagan cultures. Let us learn from them!

Let us be set apart, peculiar people who will die to keep, and guard God’s commands!

Yeshua came to be the LIGHT of the World. And, this occasion is a reminder to all of us to be a light to the world.

He brought truths which made Way for all of men to see the path of righteousness, the Way of being right in God’s eyes. Those who don’t have God’s light are not sure where they are, as they are walking with just a small measure of light…the seed of God planted in them. But, just like all seeds, they need light to grow, they need God’s Truth. They need God’s Truth to guide them in what is right. So, those of us who are walking in the light, are to share our light with others who are walking in darkness. We can point them in the right Way!

Just as a light house sends out a beam of hope to guide big, and small ships to safety, our light does the same… When we share our light within us, we help others from having a ship wreck. The more light you and I have, the easier it is for others to know the Way. Many people in this world do not read God’s Word, so our righteousness is an instrument in showing the Way! This, is what Yeshua did. He came in the flesh to show people how to fulfill Obedience to Torah (God’s instructions) by doing it perfectly. We desire to be perfect as He is! And where we fail, there is forgiveness.

Let each one of us be God’s light in whatever sphere of influence he has placed us. Ask God to shine more of His “light” into you. Then, do not hide what truths you have been given, but rather, give them out to others who are seeking light in the darkness. I urge you all to be God’s light today!

God bless you all, in Yeshua’s name, and in his authority! Now, SHINE!”

 

Posted in God's Lessons, Pinterest, Random babblings, Spiritual beliefs, Writing

Social Media and Me

I have this inner war with myself regarding social media. I love it, I see the good in it, and then…I don’t. I hate it. I hate how much garbage there is out there.

And my heart cries for how many mislead people there. How many people claim Christ but don’t proclaim Him.

There are days where I scroll through one of my feeds and I just get disheartened by what I see. We live in a very technology-age where social media is basically everything. And our lives looking good on the outside are everything.

But it’s not. We’re messy on the inside. Aren’t we all? Who can say their life is truly as perfect as their instagram pictures? Or their Pinterest boards? Or what we portray on Facebook or twitter? It looks good. But does it reflect our soul, which should be a mirror of our Savior?

I do not claim to have this down myself. Oh how I wish I did. But I still want my life to look pretty. I want to be able to take these aesthetically pleasing photos, and make beautiful art that just makes you want to stare at it for hours. I want to join in with the crowd and proclaim my own accomplishments. Ouch.

 

So there are days where I get upset as I scroll. Disheartened. Angry, even. I sometimes want to shout “People! Let’s tweet about Jesus harder than we tweet about ourselves!!”, but then God stops me short. He pulls me back and reminds me of the verse about seeing the speck in the other person’s eye when I’ve got a log in my own. He leads me to posts by others that convict my soul. I read one just this morning.

 

“Oh my soul, do not be stirred up by what does not bring life to self or others” 

 

-This quote comes from the post, Just Delete the App, on author J.A. Marx’s blog.

 

When I think I am right in my “righteous anger” towards people on social media, I really am just judging. And that’s not my place, and so I repent.

Yes, there can be shards of truth in what I was feeling – social media can be a monster. But it’s not my place to be all judgey about it. What people post is between them and God. I cannot change anyone. I can inspire. I can encourage. But it is not my battle to tell them what to do. Basically, it’s not my issue, so stop taking it on. I’m to live MY life, learning how to make it pleasing to the Lord. To stop looking outward and start looking inward more. That can be hard. But I want to try. I don’t want to be stirred up by things that do not bring life to myself, to others, or is  not pleasing to my Lord and Savior.

So maybe that means I click out of twitter for a while, or don’t visit facebook as often. Again, to quote J.A. Marx’s post…

“If your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away” Matthew 5:29.
Seriously, it’s easier just to delete the app.”

 

 

Image result for "I want God, not my idea of God" quote

(Image from google)

 

I want to be focused on following after God, not how to encourage other people to do that. Because if I first follow after God, encouraging people to do the same will happen naturally.

Yes, it is right to want to see Jesus more on social media. But it isn’t right for me to say where people need to put Him. We are all at where we’re at by the grace of God. And we’re all growing. Hallelujah! I’m so thankful to learn that it’s not up to me. The power is of God! And oh how I love Him.

 

 

Posted in Blogging For Books, Book reviews, God's Lessons

Book Review: “Daring to Hope” by Katie Davis Majors

Toothless Books (4)

 

“Daring to Hope” by Katie Davis Majors  

Non-fiction, Inspiring

Review copy from the publishers through Blogging for Books

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book: 

How do you hold on to hope 
when you don’t get the ending 
you asked for?

When Katie Davis Majors moved to Uganda, accidentally founded a booming organization, and later became the mother of thirteen girls through the miracle of adoption, she determined to weave her life together with the people she desired to serve. But joy often gave way to sorrow as she invested her heart fully in walking alongside people in the grip of poverty, addiction, desperation, and disease.
 
After unexpected tragedy shook her family, for the first time Katie began to wonder, Is God really good? Does He really love us? When she turned to Him with her questions, God spoke truth to her heart and drew her even deeper into relationship with Him. 
 
Daring to Hope is an invitation to cling to the God of the impossible—the God who whispers His love to us in the quiet, in the mundane, when our prayers are not answered the way we want or the miracle doesn’t come. It’s about a mother discovering the extraordinary strength it takes to be ordinary. It’s about choosing faith no matter the circumstance and about encountering God’s goodness in the least expected places. 
 
Though your heartaches and dreams may take a different shape, you will find your own questions echoed in these pages. You’ll be reminded of the gifts of joy in the midst of sorrow. And you’ll hear God’s whisper: Hold on to hope. I will meet you here.

My Thoughts:

 

 
I absolutely loved Katie Davis’ first book, “Kisses from Katie”, and so when I saw that she was writing a new book, I was beyond thrilled! And then even MORE beyond thrilled when the opportunity came to review it. Yes please!
I do not read a lot of non-fiction. But Katie’s two books have captivated me fully. I have loved them both. “Daring to Hope” was so inspiring, so encouraging, and so challenging. I was just deeply moved. Each new chapter had me thinking more, and I shed many a tear from my heart being touched by her words.
A truly magnificent book. She just writes with so much passion, and it is all so God-centered. Really, I’m not sure I’ve read a book so full of God’s glory being the focus as this book was. Every thought was turned back towards Christ. What a lovely accomplishment! He is worthy to be praised, and that was shown well in “Daring to Hope”.
This book isn’t just a light, inspiring book – it is prick-your-heart and make-you-want-to-grow-more. So much so. Katie D. Major’s tackles the hard aspect of faith: Do we trust Him even when it’s hard? When He does something different to what we prayed for? Wow. Her life-experiences lends so much to these lessons. Reading this, I just was encouraged to really pray even more and trust even more. He is Worthy. He is in Control. And He does all things for our good – even the hard things. I so definitely recommend this book – it is a must read!
I also loooved reading about how her marriage came about. Wow, what a cool God-story. <3 That really encouraged me too.
I could probably just go on and on about this book – I am just full of love for it! But I suppose I shall end with one last word:  Exceptional!
Posted in God's Lessons, Writing

Heeding His Call in Our Writing

I am participating in the Writing Contest: You Deserve to be Inspired. Hosted by Positive Writer.

 

with Bride to be anna

 

I love writing. But I’m not always writing. Some of you may remember a post I wrote last year, “I’m a Writer, no really!” where I explained some of my journey with writing.
Today it is my goal to do my best to encourage you to keep writing. But not daily. Whaaat? You may be asking. I’m not saying you shouldn’t write every day.  But I’m also not one to say “Push through whatever is stopping you and just write 24/7!”. I know that’s what we, as writers, are told to do. Don’t wait for inspiration. But what if…what if we’re not “feeling” our story at the moment? What if when we have “writer’s block” that means we’re maybe not supposed to push through it at the moment?
If we’re writing for God, we are crowning Him King of our writing. He writes through us – it’s ultimately His story. There’s no other goal as worthy and fulfilling as writing for Him, because that means that even when we’re not published, our stories are being used for His glory because they’re for Him. Even if the whole world never gets a glimpse of our writings, He does and He loves them. I find a deep treasure in that.
So, sometimes God may have us stop in our stories. He may have us take a break. He may be prompting us to wait on Him when we feel no inspiration. And I recommend listening to that prompting. Our writing will be SO much richer when we wait on God. Wait for His “Go”.
I’m not saying to be lazy. If God is calling you to write, even through periods of no inspiration, then go for it. What I AM saying is, please, heed His call no matter what that is, in your writing. If He says stop, take a break, then seek Him why you’re writing isn’t flowing at the moment. If He’s showing you to keep going, run that race with His endurance! Sometimes it will be tough, but if He’s at the helm, He’ll give you the words. He’ll guide you and show you He’s in control.
I’ve gone through periods of times where I’ve sat down at my desk and pulled out one of my story notebooks, sharpened a pencil and just stared at where I left off. Wanting words to start flowing. Waiting for them. But they didn’t come. I wanted to write. I thought, “I can do this. Everyone else does.” And I tried writing by myself. If I was able to write anything, it was rubbish because I had run ahead of God and His leading. I wanted to do it all by myself. And so you know what God did to lovingly teach me? He took away my writing ability. I could form no written words. I couldn’t even write a book review. I was at a total loss for words, and I broke down and cried. I realized, I can’t do this on my own. I can’t push through His telling me to wait. Without Him I simply cannot write. He wanted to show me that yes, He’s blessed me with the talent of writing, but without Him it is nothing. Once I repented, gave my writing back to Him, I was able to write – but not me, Him. And it was fantastic. It felt so freeing, so wonderful, because it was in His timing, all about Him.
Three things I learned through this are:
1.It doesn’t matter what “everyone else is doing”. We are only called to follow God.
2. Apart from God I can do nothing. And that’s glorious when we can let go of our self-vision and lean on His.
3. Sometimes it’s not bad to wait. It can be a major time of refreshment.
Posted in God's Lessons, Uncategorized

New Year, New Growth

Happy New Year all. :)

I figured I ought to make a quick first post of the year. ^.^ I was hoping to put together a specific post to be my first of 2017, but haven’t had the chance to do so. I think I say that a lot… Coming up I have a blogtour post, so at least that’s something. ;)

 

It will be interesting to see how 2017 plays out. I know God will reign strong, and keep prompting us to His Cross.

2016 was a good year. A growing year. Towards the end months, I personally have felt more “refining fire”, and it hurts, but God’s growing me. He’s working on me – healing a lot of stuff. I praise Him. But it is hard, can’t lie. However, these verse bring amazing awe and comfort:

“Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.” – Hosea 6:1

“For He bruises, and binds up: He wounds, and His hands make whole.” – Job 5:18

 

Yes, He will bruise us. But He will heal and make us whole again – His bruising is only to make us more like Him. I pray that He continues to do that in each one of our lives this year. Let Him bruise. Burn the dross out of us. We can’t be full of Him if we don’t let Him empty us of ourselves first. Let that be our 2017 goal – to let Him work, no matter how painful it might be. Because the wounds of God are better than the pleasures of evil. Like the verse that says “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”(Proverbs 27:6). Jesus is our Friend.

By Him growing us, we will only grow closer to Him, and that is a beautiful gift.

:)

 

glory

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in God's Lessons, Writing

I’m a Writer, no really!

teacher-appreciationweek

 

I realize that, on this blog, I rarely {If ever?!} really talk about my writing. I mostly talk about books and what I’m reading.

Well, I do actually write too. There isn’t a lot of evidence online of that, but you’ll just have to take my word for it. ;)

I’ve been writing for…about 9 years I think. And of course, writing small things when I was younger. I’ve always wanted to be published. That’s been a big ‘dream/wish’ of my heart. And yet….it doesn’t happen. Another year goes by, and I’m still not published. Why is that? Some people probably don’t even know I seriously write.

I’ve got two novels finished. Countless ones started, and several in progress. I am a writer. But not published. I have characters I adore, I have the story of my heart written, and more bursting inside me. This is a passion of mine. But. I am not published.

And this…this hurts on some days, truly. I look at several friends and numerous people who are published, and it hits me again that I’m not. I could be, but I’m not. Am I not good enough? Am I just too lazy? But no. I know those aren’t the answers. And really, I do know what the answer is.

It’s not God’s time yet. 

I want it to be though! So badly, I do. I want to be able to say, “Yes, I did that! I am published – maybe you’ve heard of me. Check out my books!”.

Ah, but there is much wrong with that sentence for me. Because it is the state of my heart. Where is it at? I get caught up on focusing on what I want. So that my name can be known, so that it looks like I’ve accomplished something to the outside world.

Two major things are wrong with that. One, is that: Does it matter if my name is known out there? If you’ve read the previous posts about “Honor” (Part One and Part Two), you’ll understand that I’ve been learning that, no of course it doesn’t matter. It’s not about me. It’s not about my name, but HIS name. And if He doesn’t want me to be published right now, then that is the best course.

Second thing wrong is: Why does it matter what the world thinks, and if they think I’ve accomplished something or not? It shouldn’t matter. Yet, sometimes to me it does. Because I’m broken. But….

It. Doesn’t. Matter.

I need to stop looking out, and start looking up, and in.

“What is that to you? Follow thou ME” – John 21:22

This is what God has called me to. Only He knows why. But that’s enough. It’s enough for me to remember that I’m where I’m at because of Him.

I’m a Writer because He chose me to pen His stories. I can’t write apart from Him. So it is ALL Him, and pretty much none of me. And at this time, He has chosen to keep my writing “hidden”. It’s our thing – His and mine. And it’s special. My writing may not be “out there” yet, but it’s a treasure to me, and it’s where He wants it. Maybe someday I’ll only have time to edit and publish, instead of write. So be it. Wherever His will is, that’s where I want to be.

So I’m sorry I don’t share my stories with you lovely people just yet. I’m sorry I can’t share more about my characters. But, I think, that day will come. In His timing. When I can wholly and 100% be able to say “Look at these books God wrote – He’s healed me through the writing of them. Maybe He can touch you through them too. It’s His Work. Not mine.”

It doesn’t matter if I’m a writer. But it does matter that He’s a Writer. And I couldn’t be a writer if He didn’t write through me. So… “He’s the Writer, really, and I’m just His pen”.

 

he-is-the-writer-and-i-am-just-his-pen