You don’t know who’s watching.

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Our lives have tremendous impact on others.

As Christians, we can change lives just by openly walking out our faith!  I recently read a blog post that showed me how true this is.  The writer of the blog, let’s call him Jim for simplicity, said that he was a part of a group of cyclists who would meet regularly and ride.  One member of the group spoke freely about how much he loved Jesus, and the group excluded him and spoke badly about him behind his back because of it.  The man didn’t change his behavior, but continued to openly express his passion for God, completely undeterred.

Jim was so impressed by this man that he went to church to see what God was all about.  He became a Christian shortly after, all because one man wasn’t afraid to be ostracized for his faith.  Jim never told this man that he played this crucial role in his salvation.  We won’t always know when our actions change others lives, but trust that they do!

 You are the light of [Christ to] the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and[recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:14-16 (AMP)

We show Christ to the world through our lives!  One day, I was at the gym, and I was playing worship music in the locker room as I was showering and getting ready.  I had recently read in When Heaven Invades Earth by Bill Johnson that worship changes the atmosphere.  It invites the Holy Spirit.  So I played it openly, hoping to make an impact on the room and whoever was close by.  I noticed that a gym employee was standing in the locker room inclining her ear, listening to the music!  She jumped when she saw me and left, but I was excited to see her so interested.

These two examples aren’t exactly the same, but they both show that Christ attracts attention.  When we express Him in our lives, people take notice.

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The Mind.

“We drink the poison our minds pour for us and wonder why we feel so sick.”

– Atticus

I am a Health Studies major at The University of Rhode Island with a minor in Nutrition, so I’ve taken my fair share of science classes.  Anyone who has taken a basic science course would understand that we are taught that organisms are generally improving themselves over time.

Why then are so many of us so held back because of our own thoughts and perceptions, some of us even debilitated by them?  Shouldn’t our brains be developing in a manner that promotes healthy thoughts that help better us?  Instead, we see a high prevalence of mental disorders that are stopping us from living our best lives.

  • Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44 (1).
  • Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older (1).

Psychologists can testify to the power of our mind.  Our thoughts determine our actions which determine our lives.  The devil attacks our minds because our minds have the power to change our lives!  Life-changing power!

From a non-spiritual perspective, people are taught to overcome negative thinking by cognitive behavioral therapy and various methods. I’m going to tell you the best method there is.  Embedding the truth of God’s Word into our hearts and minds.  The truth of who God is, and who we are in Him, will change everything!  It did for me, and it will for you, too.

The devil is the father of lies.  God’s Word is all truth.  We must fight to protect our minds from the venomous lies of the enemy.  A pastor once illustrated how we must protect our minds so well.  He said he had asked a mom of two kids what she would do if someone tried to break into her home.  She said she would fight with all she had to protect her house and kids.  Why don’t we do the same with our minds?

Recently, God showed me that I should keep a journal of each lie that I’ve let into my mind, and then underneath, write the truth of what He says in His word about me.  Then, I will declare the truth over myself every day.  This process is going to destroy the works of the enemy on my mind.  He is not allowed in my house.

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NIV)

 References:

  1. Facts & Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics

My Mom’s Healing.

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~One of my favorite pictures of my Mom.

This past September, only a few weeks after I rededicated my life to the Lord, my Mom woke up me up at 7 A.M. telling me to call an ambulance because she was having severe chest pain.  I knew I should pray for her to be healed, but I didn’t because I thought I didn’t really know how to.  We were at the hospital for 8 hours, the doctors ran every test they could think of, but they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her.  My Mom was in 10/10 pain.  She said it hurt more than when her ovary was necrotic, which is when all the tissues and cells in your ovary die due to lack of blood flow.  She couldn’t even sit up without throwing up from pain.  She could barely move.  My Mom is a tough woman, and I’d never seen her like this before.  It was really scary.

The doctors told her she had to leave because they couldn’t find the problem.  I knew she couldn’t leave.  She couldn’t even sit up, how was I supposed to get her to the car and drive her home?  I was desperate and I needed God to move.  I put my hand on her back and I prayed Jesus of Nazareth, help my Mom feel better so she can get out of here.  Before I laid hands on her, I happened to look at her blood pressure, and the top number was around 160.  I looked up after praying, and it had dropped to 123!  I asked her how her pain was, and she said it was a 5!  She was able to get up, go to the bathroom for the first time that day, and walk out of the hospital!  She was completely better by that evening.

Looking back, I wish I prayed for her much sooner, and I wish I prayed for total healing.  I let fear and thoughts of inadequacy hold me back.  You don’t have to know what you’re doing, because you’re not really doing it, it’s all God!  You just have to have faith to believe He will do it, and take the initiative to pray for someone.  In my desperation, I cried out to God, and pleaded with Him to help her, and I believed He would.  He cares.  Thank you Lord for helping my Mom.  I still have a lot to learn, but this journey has been eye-opening and given my life so much purpose and hope.  With God, anyone can have the ability to heal! Laying hands on the sick and making them well is one of the many signs that follow those who believe in God and His Word (See Mark 16:17-18)

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.”

John 3:16 (AMPC)

“So that whoever believes…”  Did you catch that?  Whoever.  You can experience so much more in this life than you do now through knowing Jesus Christ.  I have so many more stories, and I’ll be sharing them week by week!  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.  I’d love to tell you more.  God bless you!

There’s more to life.

The story I am about to tell you might seem unbelievable to you, but I promise, it happened.  I have no reason to make this up.  I only want you to understand that there is more to life than the physical realm, but there is a supernatural realm too!  I’ve seen it, and you can too.

I saw angels in my kitchen.

A few months ago, I was talking to a pastor on the phone about different experiences he had with seeing demons.  All of a sudden, my propane heater started to make a loud noise and shake back and forth.  He prayed and told any demon to leave in Jesus name, and the heater stopped shaking.

The next day, I was sitting near the heater and thought about what happened.  I didn’t have any lights on, but the windows in my kitchen provided enough light to see.  As soon as I thought about the heater, a bright flash of light shot across the ceiling.  It sounded like a power surge; it’s hard to describe in words (sound effects are easier), but you could hear the power of the electricity surging through the air.  It looked like all the lights in the house flashed really bright then burnt out.  I quickly stood up and looked outside to see if something had flashed light inside the house, but there was nothing there.  I checked to see if we had lost power, but everything was on and functioning normally.  As I was walking to the window, it happened again, right over my head!  It was moving right towards the heater!

Not knowing what was happening, I immediately called the pastor and told him what happened.  He explained to me that the flashing lights were angels, and they were fighting to protect me.

“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”

Psalms 91:11 (NIV) 

He explained that thinking and talking about the supernatural attracts the supernatural.  I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life.  The power of those flashes of light were incredible!  I searched the Bible for descriptions of angels, and I found this passage in Ezekiel that described exactly what I saw!

“And the living beings moved rapidly back and forth like flashes of lightning.”

Ezekiel 1:14 (AMP)

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I didn’t know the Bible described angels this way before I had this experience.  I found a few more verses describing them in the same way, including one about Satan, who is a fallen angel.

“There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.”

Matthew 28:2-3 (NIV)

“His body also was [a golden luster] like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches…”

Daniel 10:6a (AMPC)

“Jesus told them: I saw Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning.”

Luke 10:18 (CEV)

I want to encourage you to ask people you know if they or someone they know ever had a spiritual experience.  It’s easy to miss it if you’re not looking for it, but people all over the world are seeing angels, demons, and the spiritual realm at work.  When I was younger, my friend told me her Mom was woken up in the middle of the night by a demonic being standing over her with a knife.  I didn’t really believe it then, but knowing what I do now, I’m sure it did happen.  This is one of countless stories I’ve heard in my life from people I know well.

If it is real, wouldn’t you want to know?  Life is pretty pointless if there isn’t anything more to it then existing for ~80 years.

I promise you, there is so much more.

Where is the love?

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“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 (NIV)

It’s been over 8 months since God made Himself real to me.  Since then, I’ve seen things that, unfortunately, a lot of Christians don’t ever see!  I believe that many people don’t believe in God because they don’t see any evidence.  They don’t see miracles.  They don’t even see Christians behaving differently than other people.  We are supposed to stand out.  We are supposed to love people in ways that don’t even make sense, like showing kindness, humility, and compassion towards people even when they are lashing out at us!

Imagine how different things would be if we acted and responded with love instead of hate?  A few years ago, I was playing soccer and a girl on the other team kept elbowing me and bumping into me.  At the time, I had a lot of anger inside of me and I was very easily provoked.  All I wanted to do was lay this girl OUT!  I was furious.  Finally, after she bumped into me again, I shut my eyes and gritted my teeth and told her “Don’t touch me.”  It took all my self control not to hit her!  She responded by sincerely apologizing and smiling at me, and she stopped bumping into me.  My anger immediately dissipated, and I felt so ridiculous for wanting to fight her!            

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)

Words spoken out of anger can cause tremendous damage to those around us.  There’s so many things I’ve said that I would take back in a heartbeat if I could, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.  We tend to make terrible decisions when we are angry.  Let’s avoid stirring up anger in others, and instead, be gentle. 

When people hurt us, let’s remember the golden rule: “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” Luke 6:31 (NLT)  We all want forgiveness when we make a mistake, so let’s forgive one another in love.  If we focused instead on how we could better love one another, instead of on each other’s flaws, I believe our relationships would be so much healthier!

Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others].”

1 Peter 4:8 (AMPC)

Discovering God.

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Trying to condense my experiences with God into a “short” blog post has been difficult, so I’ve decided to give you all a general overview focusing on my recent experiences to start.  In future posts, I’ll get into much more detail.

I grew up in a Christian family.  We went to church every Sunday.  My parents told me I got saved when I was five, but I remember my first encounter with God was when I was 14 in a youth service. I remember weeping because I knew God was real and that I was saved. I know that won’t mean much to a non-believer, so I’m going to explain the circumstances that can only be explained by the existence of God.

My relationship with God only lasted for about a year until I strayed.  From the age of 13, I suffered from severe depression and anxiety.  Constantly looking for ways to cope with life, I never had peace.  I HATED being alive.  I was looking for any way to feel better and my mindset was just to try to get through the day, every day.  Let me tell you, it’s a terrible way to live.

I had planned on leaving long before the BBQ started, so I shouldn’t have met anyone, but the new Men’s Pastor, Evangelist Anthony Greve, came over early to help set up.  My Dad introduced us, and we almost immediately got into a discussion about forgiveness of sins, Salvation, habitual sin, and the freedom we have in Christ.  I learned that day that God offers everyone the free gift of Salvation if we just believe in Him, and choose to turn away from sin.  I didn’t have to be PERFECT!  The Bible says in Romans 2:4 that God’s goodness leads to repentance.  That is exactly what happened to me.  I learned how good God is, and it made me WANT to stop all of the sinful things I was doing.

I admitted to Pastor Anthony that I had addictions in my life that I used to try and treat my depression and anxiety.  I was absolutely terrified of giving up my addictions because I thought I’d have to face my painful and overwhelming emotions head on.  The thought made me choke up just saying it out loud. He responded by telling me it doesn’t have to be this way, and he quickly walked over and asked if he could pray for me to break the depression and anxiety off of my life. I wasn’t sure anything happened at first, but I remember feeling really good after, and wanting to slide around the kitchen in my socks!   I had been depressed for 12 years, so I didn’t expect it to ever go away!  The following week, I still had no depression, but every time I went to do my addictive behavior (out of habit, not to feel good, because I already did), I would just feel worse.  I couldn’t stop thinking about God, about the rare genuine kindness the pastor showed me, and about how different I felt!

If lifelong depression vanishing in an instant isn’t enough to convince you, don’t worry, I have more!  A week after my talk with Pastor Anthony, I decided to go to a Friday night church service.  At the end of the service, the girl sitting next to me tapped me on the shoulder, laughed nervously, and told me God told her to tell me “I’m real, I haven’t been far, and I wish you would talk to me more.”  God knew EXACTLY what I needed to hear.  He knew my heart, my thoughts, my needs.  I had been doubting if God was even real because I saw no evidence of Him anymore.  All I saw was my miserable existence, just going through the motions with nothing to look forward to and no purpose.  God knew I was doubting, and He made sure to tell me He’s real.  He also knew the best way to get me to pray more is to tell me that He actually WANTS me to pray to Him.  Those words meant the world to me.

It’s been over 8 months since my life changed forever.  I gave up all of my addictions a few days after God told me He was real, and I have no desire for them anymore!  That still amazes me!  I had tried to quit so many times on my own, but I never could.  I would be miserable and crave it constantly.  ONLY God could do this for me, people!  You might think you lose your freedom being a Christian, but there’s nothing more liberating than Christ.  I don’t need anything to bring me peace but Jesus, not relationships, alcohol, drugs, video-games, you name it.  I could never say that before.  I was miserable, all the time, always seeking for ways just to feel okay.

Being a Christian doesn’t mean your life becomes easy.  Not at all.  I still face hardships, but I’ve never had such stability, peace, and hope like I do now.  For the first time, I am EXCITED about my future!  My life has completely changed.  “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23a (NLT).  I’m nowhere near perfect, but I’ve seen tremendous growth in my character.  I have seen the fruit of the Spirit in my life.  Before I understood God, and was trying to do it on my own, I would be so discouraged because I didn’t have any of those qualities.  Now, I do.  It is ONLY God and His Spirit who could change me like this.  I no longer think or behave the same, and it is ALL for the better. 

If you have questions or comments, please, get in touch with me by clicking on Contact in the top left and sending me an e-mail.  Despite my past experiences, I am strong and healthy and full of hope!  I’d love to tell you how you can have that too.  God bless!