Follow Him

There are times in my life that may not reflect that I follow Jesus and that I committed my life to Him. But this I know, Father God carried me and protected me through difficult times and truly loves me like no other. God loves you! He wants you to follow Him. He wants a relationship with you. He created your life and values you. The world is not enough. So I hope you decide to follow Him and commit to Him today.

Prayer

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me of my sins, change and restore my life and live in my heart. I believe that you died and rose again for me to have eternal life. I receive you as my personal Lord and Savior. Direct my path from this day forward. In Jesus Name, AMEN!”

Congratulations!

Welcome to His Kingdom! This is the best decision you will ever make in your life time. So, now what? I suggest, you find a Bible and read it, pray for direction and find a bible believing church. Do not be stagnant in this decision. Pursue the Lord!

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I Deserve to be Happy -

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!  Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.”

1 John 3:1

 

“The boys you like will not like you because you are too fat,” said a close family member.  That statement devastated me. I tried to wipe the tears away quickly but they were coming down too fast.  The person saw my reaction and they said, “the truth hurts, get skinny.”

 

I spent many years after that, feeling depressed and worthless.  I tried my best to make myself invisible.  If I was thinner, only then I would be allowed to be happy. In the rare times that I would laugh or start to enjoy myself, the enemy would divert my attention to a thin woman with a handsome boyfriend or husband.  Then those words would come back and haunt me. I wouldn’t let myself be happy until I lost weight. But it never happened.

 

I abused my body by starving then binging.  Exercising for 3-hour walks and I could barely move.  While I was suffering through those hours-long walks on the beach when I saw a young woman on the beach in her bikini.  I wanted to jump off the cliff and hurl myself into the ocean, so the pain would stop.  Then I heard a voice, “that doesn’t matter to me.” It was so loud and clear.  I turned around and no one was there. I thought, great, now I am going crazy. But I knew down deep it was God. God loving me, loving his child, his creation.

 

It was the first time in a long time, I felt some peace.  I knew I needed to take better care of myself physically but to also take care of my soul.  When you are a sensitive person, it is hard to let go of nasty words or comments, especially from people who are supposed to love you unconditionally.  A lot of people in this world treat thinner and beautiful people better. But there is a large majority of people who couldn’t care less what I looked like.  We can discuss shaming people until we are blue in the face, but people still won’t get how wrong it is to degrade someone over their looks. So, we must see ourselves as God sees us.

 

I wish I could say I don’t care what people think, but I still do.  I am happy to say it doesn’t affect me as much as it used. God doesn’t want us thinking we are junk.  We are His children. He loves us so much. And He has opened my eyes to see how much love there is for me.  No matter our circumstance, we still deserve to be happy and experience joy every day.

 

Lesson Learned: We are all children of God, deserving of love and acceptance.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for falling for the standards of this world.  Help me to forgive those that say horrible things about me. Let me know my value.  Thank you for loving me. Help me be healthy in body, mind, and spirit. Break those strongholds that have been ruining my life and replace them with your strength and love.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

(Better) Thought and (More) Prayers with Action -

“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” James 5:16

There are a lot of emotions towards tragedies, such as mass shootings. The obvious emotions of sadness and grief are in our hearts. When that initial shock wears off, the opinions from people on social media come out. Then the divide grows deeper.

Recently, one of the sad things I have seen from some people is that “thoughts and prayers” do nothing. As a Christian this breaks my heart because in some way, it has felt useless.

Have you ever had someone say, “you are in my thoughts and prayers” and it felt like they were just saying it? Down deep you knew they would forget and no words will be prayed on your behalf. In America, many seem to take action first but usually on adrenaline and emotion. In other third world countries, their only resource is God. That is why we see more miracles there, than in America and other first world countries.

Prayer provides God’s perspective and peace. When we diligently seek God first and pray, we will hear what God wants us to do. Ask God what you should do and how He can use you in a situation. Should I volunteer for an organization or go to a march of what I believe in? If there isn’t a march for what I believe, should I go organize one? Pray for the elected government officials to do the right thing and not make their decisions based on who donates to them. Ask for guidance on who you should vote for in all elections.

There are many things to ask God and things God will reveal. But you must have faith that God listens to our prayers (because God does) and an answer will be given.

Prayers aren’t always answered right away. Things take time to develop. We must continue to pray for situations that cannot be decided quickly. Fervent prayer is a way to contend for things that take time to come into fruition.

Prayer is not something for our to-do that we hope we can get to. There are so many things that don’t need our attention that we give priority. Prayer should be first, not our last resort. Whatever is important in our life, pray first. Let our thoughts meditate on what is true. And when God provides the answers, then take action.

Lesson Learned: Pray first, think good and holy thoughts and take action.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me when I try to act out of emotion and pain. Lord, I give you the matters in my life that need help. Heal our country and let people hear each other out. Let conversations actually create action that will benefit all people. Holy Spirit help me when I don’t have the words to pray. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Fear Factor -

“I give you peace, the kind of peace only I can give.” John 14:27

There are days, I can feel the anxiety in the air. If you watch or read news stories, one cannot help but be fearful. There are tragedies of shootings, natural disasters and uncertainties in government.

I admit, there were days where the anxiety was too much for me and I would have a panic attack. It was draining. So, I made a decision to wholeheartedly go to God first with prayer, then to have my mind go into a downward spiral.

Three years ago, we made the decision to remodel our kitchen. We saved for many years to pay for it all up front. I was so excited to get new cabinets and countertops because our kitchen was about 38 years old.

In this process of renovation, I was collecting quotes from different contractors. This man, named *Mike came over who was highly recommended by a few people. He was going through the kitchen taking measurements and noticed I had a water filter on my counter.

*Mike asked me questions about the filter and if it filtered out fluoride. I said I had a separate filter for that attached. Then he asked if I had heard of a certain info website that was famous for being an alt-right wing conspiracy site.  When I heard the name (which I will refrain from mentioning), I thought, “oh no, where is this going?”

I was truthful and said that I had heard of that website. Mike seemed so excited to learn I knew what he was talking about.  He proceeded to give a lengthy monologue about how the end of the world was coming due to the government and that he has a stockpile of food, water and ammunition when all hits the fan. He talked about having pills to take in case there was a radiation fall out. You name it he was prepared for it.

I live in California, where a huge earthquake could happen at anytime. We are prepared. I do believe in having an emergency plan for events and knowing what to do. But at some point, you can’t have it rule over your daily life.

The fear and anxiety this man had, was making me anxious. Then I heard the Lord say, “he doesn’t know my peace.” So, when he finally stopped talking, I said, “it seems like you worry a lot. While I do believe in preparing and having a plan, I trust in God so I can have peace.”   He just stared at me, then he laughed. He said, “well how are you going to defend yourself when society can’t take care of you?” I told him, “I have never depended on society to take care of me but instead I dwell on the fact that I am a child of God and if I die, I will be in heaven not suffering.”

Again, he stared at me like I had four heads and didn’t say anything until he finished with the estimate. He said he would email me with the estimate and left.

I wish I could say, he accepted the Lord after our conversation, but he did not. I do hope though, something made him see an alternative way to live.

Life will be troublesome and scary. There will be times, where we just won’t know what to do. But God is faithful to His people and will carry them through those difficult times. Jesus overcame the world, NOT so we could live in fear and anxiety but to be over comers too.

Lesson Learned: I am an over comer.  I do not need to live in fear because the world does.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, I trust in you. Even though I don’t always understand your way, I believe you have my best interest at hand. Help me in those times of trouble. Give me wisdom to prepare the best I can, but to trust that we are in your hands. I am so thankful that I know you and can rest in your love. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Against the Flow -

“For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything else we see and a pride in our achievements and possessions.  These are not from the Father, but are from this world.” 1 John 2:16


My cravings lately haven’t been for more, it has been for less.  The world is going a little too fast for me and I want it to slow down.  It seems that many are feeling the same way. It is becoming a trend that I hope it catches on.


My church had a Spiritual Life Retreat on a Saturday morning.  I was pleasantly surprised and interested in going. For the last 5 years, I have begun a journey into Minimalism.  A friend posted an article on Facebook by a Minimalist writer, Joshua Becker in 2013 and I was hooked. I began to get rid of many possessions, scheduling less on my calendar and taking time to rest.  It has helped lessen the anxiety.


The church I attend is in Southern California, in a city located within Orange County.  This area loves busyness, materialism and success. Most people’s schedules are packed with long work hours and lots of activities, their homes are large with more items than necessary and they are glued to their smartphones so they don’t miss out.   Yet people are so disconnected and tired.


The retreat was led by a pastor named, Chuck Shumate.  He began the conversation that he wasn’t always like this.  But he knew God was calling him to slow down.  He said many valuable things, but one of them was, “out of our rest, comes strength and wisdom. Say no to that guilt of resting.”


His assistant, his adult daughter, mentioned a conversation she had with her nieces.  Her sister and family recently moved from Irvine to Fresno, California. She said her nieces, ages 10 and 12, told her how much they love living where there is no drama and how it is less stressful.  One of the nieces said something that broke my heart. She said, “in living here, I can be myself.” She understood that down here in South Orange County, you can’t be yourself, that you have to fit in or you are considered weird for just being you.


I already was on a path to slow down.  But now, I realize just because I live here, doesn’t mean I have to live and function according to the culture.  I am not looking to stand out and bring attention to myself. My goal is to not be in a hurry and appreciate all who and what God is in my life.  


In that retreat, Pastor Chuck mentioned having margins in our lives.  Margins of space. When he travels out-of-state, he gets to a speaking conference the night before, so he can rest.  If he is traveling locally, he allows a good cushion of time, so he isn’t in a hurry. One may think, but I don’t have time to have more time.  So, if you don’t get to everything in your day, will the world end? Guess what, unless you are performing life saving surgeries, it won’t end.


At one point in the retreat, he had all of the participants do nothing for 30 minutes.  Not to think or pray…nothing. After the exercise was over he asked for people to describe the exercise in one word.  You would have thought by people’s reactions that they endured torture. Some said, “Boring!”, “Painful!” and “Miserable!”  I said, “Refreshing!” I got some weird looks.


This culture promotes unnecessary competition.  It is a “dog-eat-dog-world” out there and people are suffering.  Suicides are many in this fast, competitive culture. Some of the recent teen suicides in the area, where the teens left suicide notes, mentioned they couldn’t handle the pace and competition.  We must do better for our children and ourselves.


Lesson Learned: I will allow margins and rest, so I can draw strength and learn wisdom.


Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, create in me a new heart.  May I honor the Sabbath. Show me areas that I need to change, so I can be less anxious.  Create a culture shift in this world to slow down and honor you, Father God. Forgive me for following the ways of the world.  Let me be content in what you provide. Thank you for supplying my needs. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”