Nov 042013
 

Sometimes being thankful isn’t easy.

Especially when we are going through a rough season in our lives it’s downright hard.

I’ve been there many times in the last several years – and honestly everyone’s thankful posts in month of November haven’t really helped me feel more thankful. But really left me struggling a bit more.

As I reflected over being thankful recently, and all that God has been showing me lately about doubt and worry – I realized where my focus needed to be this November. Not because I don’t have things to be thankful for this year – in fact I think I have MORE to be thankful for now than ever – but because I remember all to well those years of longing and hurt. If I knew then what I know now it may have made those hard times just a bit easier on my heart.

So when I was given the opportunity to write my 1st Ever Guest Post – I knew this was what God laid on my heart to share.

Please check out Being Thankful When It’s Hard at The Welcoming House Blog.

Wisdom for being Thankful When Its Hard


God also laid on my heart to share my thankfulness for who He is – and focus this month on that. So as I join the crowds on Social Media this month of November, instead of posting the tangible things (people, things, opportunities) I’m thankful for this year – I’m posting what I’m thankful for about God’s nature. 

Won’t you join me?

Find me on Facebook here and Twitter here to follow along! Please share these with others as you’re thankful for who God is in your life!

 

Oct 292013
 

Halloween is almost here. And like many Christians I’ve got some mixed feelings about the whole thing.

Finding Wisdom for Halloween

+ Trick-or-Treating is a fun activity for kids and is a social time with friends and family – and an opportunity to visit neighbors and others you may not see often

– Most of these social times include ungodly things (witchcraft, demonic ideas, overt sexuality and immodesty, mockery of others, etc)

+ Halloween is named after All Hallow’s Eve, which the Catholic Church set up to remember those who’ve gone before us.

– It was meant to replace a celebration with very pagan origins (see here for more info about both)

+ Costumes are fun to dress up in and pretend

– Many commercial costumes glorify ungodly things, mock Christianity, or are overly sensual – even kid costumes. And even if you don’t go with these, you are going to see them, and have to explain them to your kids.

+ It’s an opportunity to witness

– Our kids and family’s witness a lot of unGodly things

I trick-or-treated as a kid and always had a blast. We never did scary/demonic costumes, or glorified these things in anyway. We made treat bags and passed them out. Halloween was a non-issue for our family – just a fun time.

My concerns started in college as I started really noticing the demonic nature of Halloween. The glorification of all things that the Bible says aren’t good (Deuteronomy 18:9-12 for one reference out of many) really bothered me. I also learned that many of the “fictional” characters of Halloween are real (witches, vampires, etc.) and that people actually do practice these activities.

I’ve had the above internal conflict over the last several years, but it’s really been a non-issue for us as we didn’t have kids and were rarely home for Trick-or-Treat night anyhow. I did take the kids I nannied to the mall for Trick-or-Treat, and we always had a good time. As questions arose about the “scary” costumes we had a discussion about them and moved on.

But this year we’ve had to make a decision – and as such needed to ask for wisdom for dealing with Halloween.

As I’ve prayed for wisdom on this topic, as with many others, I’ve utilized the A.S.K. principle – Ask, Seek, Knock.

Here’s how this process has gone for me and my family. God may lead you and your family in different direction than He has for us at this time in our lives. My goal in sharing this is to help you in finding God’s wisdom for dealing with Halloween. 

Ask:

In seeking wisdom for your family – please take the time to go through each of these parts. I don’t think on issues like these there is one right answer for everyone – if so it’d be spelled out clear as day in the Word. However, God does promise us guidance and direction in these matters – unique and personal to our distinct situations. We’ll be going through this process every year as we continually seek Him.

Prayer has to be the foundation for finding wisdom. The Bible tells us that He will write the law upon our hearts and minds (Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 10:16), and that if we need wisdom we should ask God (James 1:5). So I’ve been praying a lot about this issue.

Seek:

Second we have to seek – starting in His Word. Here are some Scriptures that apply (hover over the reference to see the actual Scripture, you can also change the version if desired or click it to read the Scripture in context (highly recommended!) by clicking more in the bottom left). There are many more Scriptures that could apply to this issue I’m sure, but here are some of the main ones that get references frequently.

  • Think about good, pure, true and noble things (Philippians 4:8-9)
  • “Turn from evil and do good” (1 Peter 3:11)
  • Don’t be yoked together with unbelievers, what fellowship do light and darkness have? What agreement is there  between the temple of God and idols? Touch no unlcean thing. (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)
  • Ephesians 5 makes the following points:
    • Follow God’s example (Eph 5:1)
    • There must not be a hint of sexual immorality, impurity, or greed (Eph 5:3)
    • There should be no obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking – but thanksgiving (Eph 5:4)
    • Live as children of light for we were called out of darkness (Eph 5:8-9)
    • It’s shameful to mention what is done in darkness (Eph 5:12)
    • Be careful how you live – as wise not unwise, make the most of every opportunity, be thankful, filled with the Spirit, and encourage one another with psalms and songs. (Eph 5:15-20)
  • 1 Corinthians 10 also makes many points:
    • flee from idolatry (1 Cor 10:14)
    • Food sacrificed to idols and idols are nothing, but they are sacrificed to demons. Don’t participate with demons (1 Cor 10:19-20)
    • You cannot take part in both the Lord’s table and demons (1 Cor 10:21)
    • We have freedom in Christ-but not everything is beneficial (1 Cor 10:23)
    • If an unbeliever asks you to a meal go, thanking God for the food, without worry about if the food was sacrificed to idols, but if told the food is sacrificed don’t eat it for the sake of the unbeliever (1 Cor 10:27-30)
    • Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31)
    • Don’t be a stumbling block to others, but seek the good of others that they may be saved (1 Cor 10:32-33)

The main principle that I see when looking at these verses, and others like them, is about idolatry – and the heart of those participating in such events. God warns us time and time again to not be idolaters – for He wants us to worship Him and Him alone (Matthew 4:10).

Ultimately where the question of Halloween lies is in your heart and the heart of your family, is it idolatry?  <<<— Click to Tweet

Are you worshiping the idols and evil that are presented on Halloween? Are you participating in the evil practices? Are you greedy for fun, fitting in with the Joneses, and candy? What exactly is Halloween to you?

Knock:

Once God has given you wisdom on this issue for your family then you must act upon it – and yearly keep seeking Him on this issue. Time and circumstances change – as do our hearts – and we must continually be evaluating what God would have us do now.

For my family this year knocking on the Halloween issue means we will be taking this time to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16) and to bless others for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31).

As I prayed and sought through the issue of Trick-or-Treat God reminded me that most people in my area pass out candy in order to bless their neighbors and enjoy the children. Their purpose isn’t to glorify demonic idols, or practice witchcraft. The Holy Spirit also prompted me that this is a great time for my family to bless others around us.

For us as a Paleo family, the candy is a null-point, so I was thinking it’d be easy to skip out on Trick-or-Treat, and probably the most practical thing to do. But the more I prayed about how to handle this issue, the more I felt God leading us to bring some light to this dark time by blessing others around us in our community. So instead of Trick-or-Treating we will Bless-and-Treat. 

I haven’t fully decided what that is going to look like yet (I’ve still got a couple of days). However, my small group has decided to Bless-and-Treat some residents at a local Nursing Home this week.

God also prompted me to change my thinking about Halloween.

I’ve been viewing it as a dark and “bad” time. A time of “evilness” in the air with all the gory-ness and haunted things everywhere. It’s really been down right depressing and I’ve strongly disliked this time of year.

However, Ecclesiastes 7:2 says “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.” Maybe as Christians we need to take each October to be reminded that all of the horrible things we see around us at this time of year are no longer our destiny. It’s good to be reminded of the evil that is very real and present in this world and eternity – and to be able to praise God that this is NOT our destiny! 

Praying for you & your families as you seek God’s wisdom on this issue and others!

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What verses have you found that really speak to you on the issue of Halloween? What are some ways that you can think of to Bless-and-Treat others in your community??

 

 

If you are looking for some more thoughts and insight into this issue Answers in Genesis has a great little booklet called A Biblical and Historical Look at Halloween by Bodie Hodge. It’s short and offers some interesting food for thought about the origins of Halloween and other worldwide festivals celebrating the dead that occur around this time of the year.

 

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Aug 092013
 

Thanks everyone who voted in last week’s Fab Friday poll! Here’s the winner of the poll. If you didn’t get to see the answer to our game 2 Truths and a Lie, click here.

My Journey to Paleo

It really all started with these words…

Paleo Diet path

Show me something.

Cried from the depths of my soul to God, as I longed to figure out what to do in my life. You see my Journey to Paleo is deeply intertwined with my Infertility Story.  And as I sat in anguish, yet again realizing I wasn’t pregnant as I thought I might have been, I didn’t know what to do or what to think. I knew I wasn’t healthy. I knew it had to do with being overweight and food, but I had no idea how to fix it.

Some History

I’ve been overweight my entire life. I never quite understood why, but I always struggled in this area. At 6 I was diagnosed with hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), and with a modified low sugar diet it went away a couple of years later. The only thing I remember being modified was that I had to eat yogurt ice cream instead of regular, and I couldn’t eat much candy.  I also had a lot of tummy issues. These were routinely dismissed as nothing and “normal”. I was also diagnosed with ADHD and depression at age 11.

Flash forward to my senior year of college, where I became very hypoglycemic (low blood sugar). It was not fun standing in front of a vending machine between classes trying to find something so I didn’t pass out. I made it through student teaching only with the aid of glucose tablets.

Growing up I always felt so much older than my peers.  I didn’t have their energy or stamina. I couldn’t run or play as hard. Even as a preschooler I remember having to sit on the sidelines in between races. But I always tried. I tried to eat healthy, I tried to exercise as much as I could. I played every sport for girls my school offered but 2, and I pushed myself as hard as I could. All to no avail.

South Beach Diet

In 2003 the South Beach Diet was very popular. A few of the teachers at my first teaching job were on it.  I desperately needed to lose weight, as my senior year of college I gained 50 pounds! So I got the book, and read it quickly one weekend. It explained a lot of what was happening to me.

The blood sugar rushes, the insulin spikes, and then my blood-sugar dropping out. These were regular occurrences of my everyday life! The lack of energy, the constant hunger, everything.  So Chris and I decided to try it.

The first 2 weeks were the strictest. All carbs were eliminated, even carrots and tomatoes. But we were seeing results! In a month I lost close to 30 pounds – but there were so many more benefits than the weight loss. I felt good for the first time.  In fact I felt better than I ever remembered feeling in my whole life. And this in the midst of the most challenging and difficult season of my life to that point (I won’t go into details but I was a 1st year teacher teaching 6th/7th Grade Emotionally Disturbed kids in an inner-city school, newly married, and my mother was very ill, and we didn’t think she was going to make it!).

My progress with the diet came to a screeching halt when I started adding back in some of the Stage 2 “healthy” foods – whole grains.

Suddenly I was hungrier, my cravings returned, and staying on the diet was much harder. I also stopped losing weight, and just felt blah all the time again. Just about this time, I left my job (before I became emotionally disturbed!), and since Chris was still in school we had no money.  Carbs are cheaper, or so we thought, so we went back to our standard American diet (S.A.D).

I gained some, but not all of the weight back, and I went back to my “normal” state of being. I did, however, realize that I definitely had an issue with breads. While we did switch over to healthier whole wheat breads and pastas, I did start slowly limiting how often we ate them over time.

In 2004 we started trying to conceive.

The Great Physicians Rx and the Maker’s Diet

In 2006 I was in a car accident that left my back in pretty bad shape, and I began seeing a chiropractor. During this time I went back to my high weight point that I was at before I started South Beach. I was miserable, hurting, depressed, and longing to be pregnant.

My chiropractor also did nutrition counseling, and I decided to give it a try. I also began reading and searching for answers. They first 2 things that I came across were the Great Physicians Rx and The Maker’s Diet. I read both, and gained a better understanding of how nutrition is vital to our health an well-being. It was a lot to take in and digest (pun intended ;-)).

I decided to try the Maker’s Diet, which included a ‘no-carb’ 2 week detox similar to South Beach. Again I had amazing results and felt GREAT! Moving on to phase 2, which started to add in some whole grains, I started to struggle. After a trip to Disney, which I attempted to stay on the diet as closely as possible, it all began to fall apart.  The cravings were back. I stopped losing weight. I didn’t feel good, and I was depressed again. Add to that, I thought I might be pregnant, but wasn’t. After that I lost my desire to wholeheartedly continue.

I tried again several times to “get back on the horse”. My chiropractor put me on supplements to try help, and instructed me to not eat proteins and carbs together.  This helped some, but I was getting nowhere fast. One day my chiropractor told me that I had the worse case of sugar sensitivity (he used a bigger word, but this is what it meant), that he had ever seen. I was addicted to sugars.

So this is where I found myself in August of 2008. I’d been trying to eat healthy, taking supplements, exercising as much as I could with my back (I was still in constant pain, though I was “physically healed” according to my doctor).  I was even put on metformin to help stabilize my sugar levels (didn’t work) and help me to get pregnant. And again I thought I was.

I needed help. I needed wisdom. I needed God to show me something

And He has!

 

Stay tuned next week as I continue to share my Journey to Paleo. Bare with me as it’s a long story to tell.

See part 2 here. Part 3 here.

 

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Aug 072013
 

Wisdom is powerful.

We talked about that last week.  Solomon, who was world renown for being wise, wrote many things about wisdom – one of the most powerful being:  “Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7

How to find Wisdom, then?

How to find Wisdom

A.S.K.

The cost was paid for us by Jesus’ death on the cross, however we still have a role to play.  Jesus told us this role in Matthew 7:7-8, and Luke 11:9-13.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Our role is to Ask. Seek. Knock. (A.S.K.)

We’ll examine each part of this over the next few weeks. Let’s take a look at Ask first.

Ask

There are 2 things that asking requires of us. The first is the realization that we can’t find wisdom on our own. We need help. This is an act of humility.

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2

Asking requires us to humble ourselves and realize we are not in control, we don’t know everything, and that we in fact are not god. One of the most difficult tasks in finding wisdom is humbling ourselves and realizing we don’t have it all figured out.  We like to think we can do things on our own and figure it out without God, but this just isn’t true. And until something knocks us off our feet and we humble ourselves, we can’t find wisdom.

The second is acknowledging the source of Wisdom.

“For the Lord gives wisdom;
from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6

Once we’ve humbled ourselves and realized we aren’t god, we must then acknowledge that He is.  We can’t find wisdom without Him. He gave up everything so that the Holy Spirit can dwell in us and teach us all things (John 14:26). And the Holy Spirit is ours for the asking.

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!Luke 11:13

Finding wisdom starts here.  Once we’ve asked for and received the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:38 for more info), we then need only ask for the wisdom we desire and need, through prayer.

Asking for the Holy Spirit is a one time thing, but asking for wisdom is not.  We don’t just go through the steps of humbling ourselves and acknowledging God and then have it all figured out.  It’s a daily (sometimes hourly) process we must go through to ask for the wisdom we need for each day.

This day is different and unique.  Our circumstances and viewpoints today might not be the same tomorrow. Asking God for His wisdom needs to be a routine habit of our first morning prayer.  We need it – and I’m so thankful it’s there for the asking!

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5

 

What wisdom are you asking for today?  Let’s pray for and encourage each other!

 

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Leave me a comment below or use the hashtag #AskingforWisdom so we can spur each other on as we seek God’s Wisdom for our everyday lives!

Click for part 2: Seek; part 3: Seek {part 2 in the World}; and part 4: Knock

 

 

Jul 312013
 

Welcome to the very first Wisdom Wednesday!

In line with Monday’s post on being Intentional I decided I need to be much more intentional on how and what I’m blogging about. So I’m designating Wednesdays for sharing some of the wisdom I’ve been seeking out.  I hope you’ll seek it with me each week! To keep updated you can subscribe to get new posts in email here, follow me on Facebook here,  and Twitter here.

Wisdom is Powerful.

Solomon wrote: “Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.Proverbs 4:7 Sounds pretty intense, right? But as we look back at Proverbs 3 and examine the rest of Proverbs 4, Solomon explains the need to get wisdom, and why it’s worth the cost of all you have:

  • more profitable than gold or silver (3:14,16)Wisdom
  • peace (3:17)
  • protection (3:23, 4:6)
  • honor (3:35, 4:8)
  • health (3:8, 16, 4:22)
  • freedom from fear (3:24-25)
  • guidance (3:24, 4:11)

Looks like a list we can all use!!! Would you find these things worth the cost of all you have?

The Cost.

Jesus says that in order to have life we must lose it (Matthew 16:25-27).  We must be willing to surrender all we have to Him in order to gain life and all the things that true wisdom can bring.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10 

The pursuit of wisdom starts with a relationship with God. (See here for some encouragement if this is new to you.) From there we have been given the Holy Spirit, who is our advocate, guide and counselor, who “will teach you all things.” (John 14:26)

Did you catch that? Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things! That’s a pretty amazing.

Even more amazing is that Jesus paid the price for us to receive the Holy Spirit, by losing all He had on the cross for us.  However, as you probably already know, being a follower of Christ and letting the Holy Spirit lead you isn’t easy.  It’s simple to understand, but not easy.

Seeking Wisdom.

Are you looking for answers to life’s endless questions? Do you have a long list of questions that you’re struggling through?

As a new mom, I’ve had a ton of questions to deal with in the last 7 months! Everything from questions about nursing and first foods to the flu and vaccinations. Living in the “Information Age” has afforded me the ability to read LOTS about these topics and a myriad of other topics. And while I found information and answers, I never found peace in all the searches.

I’m sure you’re all familiar with this scene. You need to know what the best course of action is to help and protect your family. One source says that option A is right.  The next says A is ‘dangerous’, and Z is right. Yet another site advocates choice B, and Z and M.  The more you read the more you “know” — and the more you’re confused on what to do! Fear then enters stage right, and you feel helpless to make a decision.

Knowledge can only take us so far. Without wisdom it’s impossible to figure out how to apply knowledge to the exact situation you are facing.  There are just too many variables in life!

But we live in far more than just the Information Age – we live under the New Covenant – with 24/7 access to the Holy Spirit who is able and willing to teach us all things and give us the wisdom we need to apply it.  So are we asking Him?

When you sit down to google something, have you sought out the Holy Spirit’s guidance first?  Have you asked Him what search terms to use?  Do you really have any idea what you’re even looking for?

Data and information can easily be manipulated, and unfortunately often are.  Without the wisdom of the Holy Spirit it is very easy for us to be led astray. We have to seek it out.

Jesus said to ask, seek, and knock, “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)

We are going to examine this model during our Wisdom Wednesday’s in August.  Ask. Seek. Knock. My prayer is you’ll join me in seeking out the Wisdom God has offered each of us!

(Keep updated on this series: sign up here for emails, here for Facebook, and here for Twitter.)

What Wisdom are you seeking in this season of life? Leave me a comment and let me know!

 

Thanks Sharon at Art ~ 4ThGlryOfGod for the photo!

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