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Monday, 11 February 2013

Spiritual maturity=Christlikeness


Measure yourself against Jesus, measure your growth in him. If we take such pride in our growth in life, why not in this? You mark lines on the door frame for height, weigh yourself to see that your gaining muscle, watch your bank balance grow. All of these things we take pride in, so why not take pride in our spiritual growth and our nearness to Jesus?

Why not continually go through the process of transformation and draw nearer to Him and take pride in that?

We often think about maturity as having to do with the amount of knowledge you have and what you know. Its not necessarily  its how you use that knowledge. My pastor made a point to say that spiritual maturity=Christ likeness. The knowledge you have just puffs you up, but when you allow that knowledge to change your mind, and enter your heart, and transform your life and then you are able to re-release that into the world, then that is true maturity, and something we should measure. So let us all grow and enter this process of transformation that will renew our minds and our lives, and bring us closer to Jesus and His likeness. So, as part of our 30 day challenge at church, this week we are called to become more like Jesus.

So to become like Him, what was Jesus like?
-doesnt judge, instead offers compassion (woman at the well)
-generous (fed 5000 people)
-selfless (knew no sin,but died on the cross for US)
- hospitable
- true to his word (covenant with Abraham)
-walks by the Spirit to become loving, patient, kind, self-controlled (Galatians 5)

These are just a few characteristics of who He was. But it is an interesting way to read the Bible, to see each story for who Jesus is in it, to see His likeness. It will help give you a new perspective on who the Lord is, but also who you should be as your draw nearer to is likeness. So I challenge you to pick up your Bible and compile a list of all that you think Jesus is based off of readings, and strive to become more like Him as you walk with the Spirit and with Him. It will renew your mind and help you to move towards more spiritual maturity. So go now! pick up your Bible and get reading, and then pray!

Love Kristy

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Give God His Cake

Hello there,
                  I havent been writing much because I dont feel I have many readers and therefore I dont see the point in going on to post all this separate from my diary entries, but I figured this is important for anyone who happens to read so I will share.

My church is doing something called the thirty day challenge in which we are trying to change and transform ourselves and the congregation to better embody the first church that is described in Acts. Every week one of our pastors institutes a new challenge, and we attempt to carry it out personally and as a congregation. This week the challenge surrounded worship and I thought the points were wonderful.

One thing Pastor Lance said, which many fail to do is that worship should not just be something that is done on Sundays while in church. We should be worshipping all throughout the week whenever we can. Our worship reflects well on our maker, and shows our gratitude and love to the One who gave us life, and everything we have.

The second part to this is that we should be worshipping with our very lives. You could be the loudest most joyous worshipper on Sundays. Maybe you have a beautiful voice or play an instrument and you even help lead worship time, but what about your life? Are you drinking constantly? Treating your body poorly, engaging in sexual deviance and sinning the rest of the week? These things don't reflect well on your Maker, they dont reflect well on you either. They are counter productive to your Sunday worship time, and to the life Jesus wants you to live. The best worship you can give to our Lord is that you live your life every day, the way he demands and that you offer him your very best all the time. He is not a God of left overs, He is a God who demands and deserves your best.

That leads me to the final point, and the title of this post. Imagine your wedding day. You say your vows, and then retreat with your new spouse to a private area before your entrance as husband and wife. You come down to greet your guests only to find they have already eaten your beautiful wedding cake and left you only crumbs. They say "oh but we left you a piece!" What would your response be? you would be so hurt and offended because it was your cake and as husband and wife you only wanted the FIRST piece and then you would have given them the rest right? This is how God feels if we offer Him the left over parts of our life and of our worship. He deserves our first and best piece, every second of every day. This is the best way we can offer worship to him, and move closer to the Church and people we are supposed to be in His name. So give God His cake!

Love,

Kristy

ps I stole the analogy from my pastor, so no credit there haha

Monday, 21 January 2013

Choose the Path of Light

Hey there,
Still steadily reading my Bible passages and cooking, I am just finding it hard to write. I have school, placement, my job, church, Campus for Christ, exams etc. Quite the hectic life I lead. However instead of telling you what I am thinking of the scriptures again because it would be an information overload, I will instead share with you my thoughts on a sermon my pastor gave from a while back. They are still relevant especially because of the new year so enjoy. It enjoys some personal notes, because as you will see I broke up with the very boy who helped bring me back to God. Ignore that if you want, the message will still be clear.


Pastor John spoke much today of small openings that can allow the devil to wedge himself inside of you. Selfishness, doubts, hatred, bringing another down. all of these things allow the devil to step inside you, no matter how close you were to the Lord before.

Judas sat almost directly as Jesus' right hand man, and yet upon his takng of the morsel the devil entered into him. He was a disciple, and had been within Jesus' presence for 3.5 years, and even then allowed the darkness inside? So what chance do any of us have?

it is hard but I have faith that if I am to stay postive and remain on the path that the Lord has so clearly set out for me, then I will in fact stay clear of the darkness. 

the other thing that stuck out to me today about the service today was the idea of forgiveness for last year, and of new plans for this year. of making each decision by founding yourself first in Jesus. Not making a single decision unless you feel as though you would have His full blessing.  And that is how I have faith in Caleb and I. I prayed to the Lord often for guidance pertaining to him and I, for a hint of what to do. I had my worship time, and offered to him my love in return for His, and in return for the wisdom he would bestow upon me. And I feel as though He is in full support of what I have planned for Caleb and I, that if he could forgive me for what I have done to hurt the path he has chosen for me, that others will as well. Pastor John said that the path we choose for this year should lead us to the light, and take us farther away from the darkness, and that decision for me is Caleb. Pastor John also spoke of taking the scenic route rather than the fastest. 

Drawing upon Psalm 23 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

 2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

 3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 

My other thoughts were surrounding David. David committed adultery, and murdered for personal gain, and was truly corrupted. He repented, and the Lord forgave him. If this level of forgiveness is possible then surely so is mine? Surely if others can believe that David was good and that he was worthy of forgiveness than so to am I. this gives me great hope. The Lord asks us to humble ourselves and not compare ourselves and our faith to other Christians, to say that we are better or worse than they. but I do not believe as though this is the context in which he meant, for surely He would like for us to draw hope from the holy scriptures. 

Next pastor John made reference to Ephesians 5 

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

 2And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 

AND EPHESIANS
6. 

10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

 11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

 12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

 13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

 14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

 15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

 16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

These both got to me today. if I step into the world and outfit myself with the armour of God then I can stand against all. I can help the thoughts of darkness to perish in my heart, and cast the devil from my life forever. If I am to live in His image, then I am to live a holy blessed life. This has really got me to thinking...probably more on this later. I do my best but I am not perfect, and I am not close to living in his image yet, but I want to be, and one day I will be. 

Finally came his talk of the Lord choosing the one you are to be with, choosing your life partner (2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?) He said simply that you should let Jesus make the decision for you when you are ready. That He would know best of all who you should be with, and to that statement I wholeheartedly agree. I feel as though the hardships set before Caleb and I were designed not simply to torment us, but to bring us closer together, to draw us closer to one another and to the Lord. That the Lord has blessed our union so that we may set upon the path he has designed for each of us. I ask anyone to try to stand against Him on this matter. I tried. I left Caleb, I said it was too hard and that I could not do it anymore. I let the devil inside. I let myself be led astray by doubts, and fears, and the selfishness of my own self preservation. I let these consume me, and instead of turning to the one person who I could trust to turn me back onto God's plan for me, I left him. I left Caleb with no say in the matter. I wont do this again, I wont turn my back on my Father's plan for me, when he is so clearly pointing me to Caleb. 

A friend and I have been talking lately of ridding our lives of all that goes against God's word, even if this means people as well. People who will try to lead us astray, or who do not accept us as we are, as followers of Christ. those who purposefully try to lead us from this path. 

Anyways, these are my thoughts about the sermon,

Love,

Kristy

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Set Backs, and an amazing unconditional love

Hello internet friends,
  If anyone even reads this, then you will for sure see that I have not posted in quite a while. Seeing as a lot of this surrounds my ideals of "new years resolutions" you might think that I have already given up or that I have fallen behind. I assure you this is not the case. I am currently up to page 70 in the bible, and am enjoying reading Exodus which is what I am now on. The set back however came because I was in the hospital for a little bit, and that once released have been on very heavy antibiotics that make me quite dizzy. This has made it hard to want to sit down at a computer and type. However, I am back now. Instead of trying to bombard you with an insanely long post, or catch you up on all of the thoughts I have surrounding the scriptures I have read, I am instead simply going to share a story and two pamphlets.

I havent had a normal upbringing as I have mentioned, so I get myself through a lot of situations.When I went into the hospital via emergency room, I was alone. I was waiting for hours and hours and feeling quite lonely. Everywhere I looked around me, people had someone to sit with them. Friend, husband, mother, sister etc. Whatever the case may be. I was literally the only one sitting there alone. This began to weigh pretty heavily on me, especially because I was scared. In general, hospitals just freak me out, and in Dec. when I had gone into the hospital I ended up getting surgery. With all of that on my mind, I leave my seat and go to the bathroom. When I come back, no one had sat in my seat so I went to sit down again.There on the chair I had just previously been sitting on, was one of my favourite pamphlets. It is called "Father's Love Letter". Have you seen it? It is written as though it is a love letter from God to you as His child, and is made up entirely of scriptures. When I was first getting into my faith, Caleb's mom actually gave me one, and I cherished it. It was just what I needed then, and again just what I needed in the hospital. Here it is,


My Child,


You may not know me,
but I know everything about you. 

Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up. 
Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways. 
Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. 
Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image. 
Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring. 
Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived. 
Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation. 
Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake,
for all your days are written in my book. 

Psalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth
and where you would live. 

Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. 
Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother's womb. 
Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born. 
Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented
by those who don't know me.

John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry,
but am the complete expression of love. 

1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 
1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child
and I am your Father. 

1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. 
Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father. 
Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. 
James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. 
Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. 
Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love. 
Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless
as the sand on the seashore.

Psalms 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing. 
Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you. 
Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession. 
Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul. 

Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things. 
Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart,
you will find me. 

Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart. 

Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires. 
Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine. 

Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager. 
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you
in all your troubles. 

2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted,
I am close to you. 

Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb,
I have carried you close to my heart. 

Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away
every tear from your eyes. 

Revelation 21:3-4
And I'll take away all the pain
you have suffered on this earth.

Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you
even as I love my son, Jesus.

John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. 
John 17:26
He is the exact representation of my being. 
Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
not against you. 

Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression
of my love for you. 

1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love. 

Romans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
you receive me. 

1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you
from my love again.

Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I'll throw the biggest party
heaven has ever seen.

Luke 15:7
I have always been Father,
and will always be Father.

Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is…
Will you be my child? 

John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you. 
Luke 15:11-32


Love, Your Dad
Almighty God


wow, how amazing is that? It is always a comfort to me to be reminded of how much my Father loves me.I am always a believer that God comes to me when I need Him most, and speaks directly to me in any way He can. He is the Great Comforter, and Encourager. So to find this on my chair, I knew that God was saying hey, you may physically be alone, but I am ALWAYS with you. I am here, I am holding your hand, and it is in Me that you can take comfort.

Inside the love letter however, was a smaller pamphlet that also helped while in the hospital.It was entitled "In Times of Trouble" and inside said the following.

First: He brought me here. It is by His will I am in this difficult place: in that I will rest
Next: He wil keep me here in His love ad give me grace in this trial to behave as His child.
Then: He will make the testing a blessing, teach me the lessons He intends for me to learn, and working in the grace He intends to give.
Last: In His good tie He can bring me out again, how and when He knows.

Say: I am here...
1. By God's appointment
2. In His care
3. In His training
4. For His time

"And call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me" Psalm 50:15

Wow. Two simple little pamphlets that someone placed on  my chair, but what a lasting impact they will have. I encourage you to read these fully a couple times, pray about them, meditate on them. Whether or not you are reading this from at home, at work, or heaven forbid a hospital bed, contemplate the essence and very depth of God's love for you. Even if you're not worried or in need of comforting, do the same. After all He loves us at all times, when we are at our very best and our very worst. Shouldn't we marvel at that frequently and often regardless of our state?

Love,

Kristy

Monday, 7 January 2013

Day 7: Genesis 19:1-25:11


I fell a little behind on my readings as I was quite sick and my migraines made it hard for me to even keep my eyes open long, but I am catching up today.

I started at Genesis 19:1-25:11

in this there are multiple tales, but most i found to be background stories that will lead to more.

Sarah finally has Isaac an decides she wants Hagar and Ishmael to be cast away from her, which I found quite selfish of her considering she was the one who told Abraham to father a child with Hagar before God blessed her with child.

Hagar and Ishmael are then blessed by God and given kingdoms to rule, which is nice to see here because they did nothing wrong.

You learn how Lot's daughters wanted to continue on his lineage and got him drunk and then slept with him to father his children. You also see how Lot originally offered them to the soldiers who came to his home as a prize.

These two passages reminded me of the feminist issues I once harboured towards religion, and Christianity. Number one, lot offers them as though they are his possession. Of course they would simply lay with any man he chose for them, how could they say no?

and then because his daughters are painted in a disturbing, plotting, devious light that sins and ends up with children.

but I have to remind myself of the simple fact that many years ago, this was the truth of life.Women belonged to their husbands and fathers and were not considered people of their own rights. Its harsh but its reality, and I cant judge stories for falling what was so acceptable at the time, least of all the tales of God.

the major part that first stuck out to me was Genesis 21:22
which shows Abimelech and Phichol saying to Abraham, "God is with thee in all that thou doest"

how scary a thought this may be for some!  to think that they can hide from God. Hide their lies, their lack of love, their sins. But if he knew you before you were formed in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5) then how do you think you could ever hope to hide  from him?

knowing that God is with me in all that I do is a comforting thing to me. Not only because I trust it to keep me more on track, knowing that he is always there. But also because it means he is always listening.

I am one of those people that talks to my Father all throughout the day. Not just when I wake up, or for a few hasty minutes before bed. but always. I've been criticized because I have conversations that are so far beyond the norm of praying "dear Father, I ask that you lift me up in your name etc etc"

Im not saying these are bad or wrong, they work for some people. But He is not just a ruler to me, He is also my friend, my confidant, or more intimiately, he is Abba, Father. In believing this I talk to him like that.

"Dear father, I just wanted to thank you for providing me with wisdom in that conversation, and allowing me to deal appropriately. That customers was very rude and I didnt think I had the patience not to scream, but you were here so thank you. I love you, amen"

It may seem childish or silly to some, but I feel closer than ever to God with these conversations. So because I send them out so frequently during the day, I like knowing He is there with everything I do.

Just like Hagar, who left Ishmael alone because she had accepted his death but didn't want to watch him die, God is listening and will often come through when we least expect it. At the very last moment, in the nick of time. But He will come through.

These passages also covered Abraham offering Isaac as a sacrifice, in which the Lord comes through right at the end, and saves Isaac. That is an amazing part, but I think even more amazing here is Abraham's love and fear of the Lord. That he would sacrifice his only true son to Him. I do not wish to sacrifice any of my kin, but I do wish yet again to have Abraham's level of devotion. How true is his love and fear that he would raise a blade to his child's throat, without even a question! Such absolute devotion. and for 315 years Abraham was rewarded on earth, and you can bet an eternity by His side. Glory!
______________________________________

On a side note and sticking to my other resolutions, I have made contact with a few teachers regarding guitar lessons which is exciting. Also, I cooked not one, but threeeeee new recipes this week. I made spiced teriyaki fajitas, greek quinoa salad, and a pot roast for the first time :)


Fajitas:
Thinly slice: One red bell pepper
                  -Half a red onion
                   -5 large mushrooms
                   -1 chicken breast (or buy the pre sliced)

I then mixed a bottle teriyaki sauce, with a little Worchesteshire, paprika, and cumin for the sauce

I fried it in the pan on high with a little EVOO and continuously moved it around for about 6-8mins until everything was soft and the chicken was fully cooked.

put it on a pita with some lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream and salsa, and voila. yummy,easy, and fast.  I got about 5 fajitas from these portions :) a dinner and lunch today for me.

For The Greek Quinoa Salad:

This was super easy and turned out amazing. My room mate is a vegetarian and he was so happy with it, said it tasted and looked restaurant quality. Yay!

I put the quinoa to boil with two cups of water, and about half a cup of low calorie greek salad dressing actually in the water. This infused the dressing right into the quinoa itself rather than just throwing it on after words. It also made my salad less oily! After it boiled I turned te heat down and left it to simmer until all the liquid had been absorbed.

While it was simmer I finally chopped:
-half a red onion
-20 kalamata olives
-20 cherry tomatoes
-half a large cucumber

and I used a package of pre cubed feta cheese.

Once the Quinoa was done boiling I let it cool, fluffed it with a fork, and added all of my chopped veggies and the feta. Add more dressins as desired. Portions are at your control depending on how much you want.


The pictures are just from my phone so excuse the quality, but I promise its good! Happy cooking,

Love,

Kristy

Friday, 4 January 2013

Day 4:Genesis 14:1-18:33


Alright I didnt write yesterday because I was quite sick, and had read more the day before so I thought it would be ok. So these were my thoughts on today's readings.


Genesis15:1
"I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward"

How great a thing to be told! I often dwell upon the fact that the Lord is my armour. But he is also sword and shield, and all that protects me. I like this passage because it says directly that not only is He our great reward, but he exceeds it. Doesnt it make sense that a God who is so great beyond our comprehension would also then exceed the greatest ideals we have surrounding a reward? I, and we, must remind ourselves of this everyday. He is not only our greatest gift, and reward, but he will exceed all expectations we have.

The rest of what I read today was the blessing of Abram who became Abraham and his wife Sarai who became Sarah. When the Lord tells Sarah she will have a son, she laughs and does not believe it because she is old and so is Abraham. Also because she is "past the time of women" as it says, which I believe is to say that she is no longer menstruating. I read this, and am saddened that Sarah laughs at Him, and is so unbelieving of his power, but it causes me to stop and think too. How many of us would respond in the same way? If i were 99 and told I would have a healthy son even though I was no longer menstruating and had previously been barren would I simply be able to take that at face value and say ok, i will? I dont think so. But I want to get to that point.

 It is one thing to believe that the Lord can perform miracles, do anything. But another to believe it when it pertains to your own life, to your own struggles. So what is it that you dont believe our Father can do for you today? I ask that you trust in Him and you lay that problem at His feet, because believe me He can. If he can do all the miracles of the bible, and give Sarah a son, do you not think he can deal with your problems too? I do. So tonight I lay mine at his feet. I will not laugh in His face, for I wouldnt want Him to laugh in mine when I seek entrance to His eternal kingdom.


Love,

Kristy

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Day 2-Genesis 5:8-14:1


So as it turns out I read more today than I needed to. I got quite caught up in the story of Noah, and then Abram.

They are simple stories that most know, especially of Noah and his ark. But I was taken aback by the sheer love and trust that Abram had in the Lord. He did all that was asked of him and trust that his Father would provide for him. He did so even when there were not easy decisions to be made. He moved multiple times, separated from his nephew, almost lost his wife to the pharoahs, and still yet he loved and worshiped our God. Praise! what true devotion and love he showed in these beginning tales. What a great example. My prayer for today is that I should be more like Abram whenever possible, and lay my worries and troubles at His feet, trusting that He will provide for me. I will not try to pick these troubles back up if they are taking long to be resolved, nor will I believe the Lord is incapable. Because all things are possible through God,

So on this day after such simple readings, I ask that I be blessed with Abrams devotion and trust in the lord, that I too shall see Him as my just provider.

On a side note I began the preparations to begin guitar lessons today, and am well on my way towards these new years resolutions. I feel starting off positively is a good thing.

Until tomorrow,

Love,

Kristy