Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Heart of Life Is Good

Sitting here in Jackson's cold sterile library, alone with my thoughts; listening to a song by John Mayer called "Heart of Life" and feeling melancholy, thinking about life...

How's life going for you? Mine is going pretty good, optimistically speaking, but reflecting on all the despairing headlines in the news ( the violent earthquake in Italydisastrous flooding in the neighboring state of Louisiana, chaos in the Middle East, and political chaos here on the home front) I am reminded that "pretty good" is just not the case for everybody. I know even some close to me, in my circle of friends, that are dealing with some pretty tough stuff these days. I consider myself to be in a pretty blessed season of life right now, but honestly, I can't help but think that surely trouble is gonna find me. It's inevitable, isn't it? For this reason, I am reminded not to hold onto my life, or anything in it, too tightly.

So what do we do when trial and adversity strike?


NOT FRET, for one thing (for it only leads to evil- Ps. 37:8)! I feel like Romans 12:12 has been a theme verse for me lately.

" Be joyful in hope,  patient in affliction,  faithful in prayer. "

Romans 12:12

This morning, during my reading in Matthew God provided me with an answer to my question. Matthew 16:21-28 says:

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

...So from that, I concluded that the answer to what we should do when trial and adversity strike, is to keep hope, remember God's promises, and have eternal perspective.

I mean, think about what the worst bad news in all of history probably was; hearing that Jesus was to be crucified (having not known, or maybe having not the faith to believe that He would rise again to be our great eternal, victorious, savior, redeemer, and bridegroom) 
And in the moment of Christ sharing the bad news with his disciples; because He had eternal perspective  Christ was able to rebuke Peter, who opposed the thought of Jesus' God-ordained destiny...which was a destiny of hope and promise.

that just amazes me!

...and because Jesus was able to have in His mind, the concerns of God above merely the concerns of man, the GREATEST news in all of history was then able to come about; The good news of the gospel; that Jesus as an ultimate sacrifice would die on the cross, and shed his blood for all of man kind, taking on the punishment that should have been ours so that our sins might be forgiven, and that we might be made whole and live reconciled to God!

Mindblowing!

I see from this account how, realistically YES, affliction is hard to face; for on lookers (Peter and the disciples) and for the victim ( Jesus himself) as this can be explored further in other chapters in the bible. But I can also see how God had a far greater purpose and plan that was to come out of Jesus' trial and death, and Jesus knew it. He trusted God, and we have a lot to learn from his example about our own trials and afflictions keeping hope, remembering God's promises, and having eternal perspective, so that ultimately God can bring glory to himself, which as a believer is our greatest desire, and blessings for us will be reaped in the process. It is promised.

...So as John Mayer's song says:

"Pain throws your heart to the ground, LOVE turns the whole things around ... 
No, it won't all go the way you think it should ... 
... But I know the heart of life is good" 
 
So... I have no more reason to be melancholy. Let's keep hope, remember God's promises, and have eternal perspective. Below I have listed some fitting truths and promises we can remind ourselves of in the midst of life's twists and turns:

  • "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." ~Romans 8:28

  • "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." ~Genesis 50:20

  • "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." ~Hebrews 4:15-26

  • "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones." ~Proverbs 3:5-8

  • "For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." ~Isaiah 55:8-9

  • "I know Lord that You can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted" ~Job 42:2

  • "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." ~Matthew 10:28


Please feel free to add additional scriptures you find helpful in the comments below! 




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On a different note, here is some good news to share with you! I leave to Brazil for my missions trip in TEN DAYS! And my airfare is almost completely covered now, aside from 50 more dollars! Praise the Lord! If you feel led to support my trip financially, click here! I CAN'T BELIEVE there are only ten days left before heading out. Our days have been so full here (and of Christmas choreography of all things)! I have had no time to even think about Brazil...aside from every time I watched the Olympics ^_^ I don't know how to pack or even what season it is over there, winter? spring? I will definitely be taking bug spray. I guess I have to start getting on the ball with all that. Do any of you have any good packing tips or advice about traveling to brazil? Do Share!

I can't wait to start blogging and updating you from Brazil! We are VERY expectant of the Lord and of what He's going to do through us. For the inside scoop and more detailed information, please sign up for my newsletter at the top of this page. Below is a list of things you can join me in prayer about, concerning Ballet Magnificat Alpha's missions trip to Brazil. 
  1. Pray for divine ministry opportunities, for salvations, and deliverance EVERYWHERE we go!
  2. Pray that language barriers would be overridden.
  3. Pray that God's favor would rest upon us, especially in terms of setting up our trainee program.
  4. Pray that God would draw people to our performances, and that they would logistically go well.
  5. Pray that as we pour out, we would also be poured into; that we would find time of refreshment along the way; personal time to spend with God despite are busy schedule.
  6. Pray for travel mercies, and good health.

God is SO Good.
Thanks for reading!
comment, follow, subscribe, and don't be shy! 
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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tamara's Transformation


TESTIMONY TUESDAY!

“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.”

~ Luke 8:39

Presenting with excitement, I introduce to you Testimony Tuesdays!!! A testimony by definition is: a formal written or spoken statement, a public recounting of a religious conversion or experience. The Bible commands us in numerous places to bring praise, glory, and honor to our God by proclaiming, declaring, and telling about His marvelous works to others. That is the purpose and heart behind this installment for my Tuesday posts. Each Tuesday (more or less), a testimony will be shared here involving the recounting of salvation, redemption, overcoming, and/or healing just to name a few; A story that brings glory to our God and in which we might be encouraged, spurred on, and challenged with at the same time.The stories that will be shared will either be of my own personal experiences, excerpts from books, testimonies I find via youtube or other media sources, as well as YOURS! I would love to know and give you the opportunity to share here with us a testimony of your own, of whatever fashion that involves the Lord doing a transforming work in your life. Just email me your testimony and I will see what I can do about posting it on a future Tuesday! You may choose to have your name be known or anonymous. I look forward to hearing from you!


So I first heard of Tamara Lowe when I came across her presentation that has gone viral on youtube called "One Minute Sermon". Maybe you have seen it. If not I have provided the video clip below. It is 'tight'! Though 'very in your face', her presentation is original, impressive, entertaining, relevant, and powerful! It got me asking "Who is this lady!?" And it was to my surprise (I should have known...) that there lies an amazing testimony behind this woman!




*Tamara's story of transformation:

Tamara Lowe grew up on the streets of New Orleans. At age 10, she was taking drugs. She became a drug dealer at 12 and dropped out of school in the eighth grade. For the next decade, she went from one drug-induced high to the next. Then, Tamara had a life-changing transition - she got motivated.
When Tamara looks back at the spiritual dimension of her success, she remembers that she was put off by religion. Her mother was Jewish and her father was Catholic, and neither one of them regularly attended weekly worship services. Tamara was not interested in God, the Bible, or organized religion as a child or a teenager. At 17, someone gave her a Bible as a Christmas present. She thought it was not a very good gift, considering she was a drug addict. Knowing that the gift giver would ask if she had read the Bible, and not wanting to lie, Tamara figured she would read a few sentences from the New Testament so she would be telling the truth. She assumed the Bible was an old-fashioned book that was hard to understand and irrelevant. However, she found when she started reading it, she couldn’t put it down. 
Tamara read the parts about Jesus and found herself addicted to the Bible. She finished reading the New Testament in about three weeks. Through reading the Bible, she found her life radically changed and she had a new motivation in life. It was not religion that changed her life, but a personal encounter with Jesus. She got off of drugs, earned her high school equivalency diploma, and went to college. Her faith is a great motivator for everything she does. In her 28 years of being a Christian, she has read the Bible from cover to cover many times over and still gets excited. Applying its words and wisdom is the secret to her success.
Motivational seminars have become Tamara's calling. To her surprise, she has ended up working with five U.S. presidents (Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George HW Bush, and Bill Clinton), numerous world leaders (British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev), politicians, heads of state, business leaders, professional athletes, Hollywood celebrities and other influential people (including Billy Graham, Colin Powell, Joe Montana, George Foreman, Goldie Hawn, Charlton Heston, Bill Cosby, Christopher Reeve, Rudy Giuliani, Mary Lou Retton, and Mother Teresa).


"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."
~Ephesians 3:20


*as seen at http://www1.cbn.com/700club/tamara-lowe-motivational-dna

Be Blessed!
comment, follow, subscribe, and don't be shy! 


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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Personal Testimony from Yours Truely

TESTIMONY TUESDAY!


“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.”

~ Luke 8:39

Presenting with excitement, I introduce to you Testimony Tuesdays!!! A testimony by definition is: a formal written or spoken statement, a public recounting of a religious conversion or experience. The Bible commands us in numerous places to bring praise, glory, and honor to our God by proclaiming, declaring, and telling about His marvelous works to others. That is the purpose and heart behind this installment for my Tuesday posts. Each Tuesday (more or less), a testimony will be shared here involving the recounting of salvation, redemption, overcoming, and/or healing just to name a few; A story that brings glory to our God and in which we might be encouraged, spurred on, and challenged with at the same time.The stories that will be shared will either be of my own personal experiences, excerpts from books, testimonies I find via youtube or other media sources, as well as YOURS! I would love to know and give you the opportunity to share here with us a testimony of your own, of whatever fashion that involves the Lord doing a transforming work in your life. Just email me your testimony and I will see what I can do about posting it on a future Tuesday! You may choose to have your name be known or anonymous. I look forward to hearing from you!


When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
 ~1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Presented below is a 20-minute video clip of me sharing a part of my personal testimony during the 2016 Ballet Magnificat SDI. Please keep in mind that speaking in front of a crowd of 300-some people is not exactly in my comfort zone. I am by no means trained or skilled in public speaking, nor do I consider myself to be a good communicator, so please be gracious if you choose to view this, turn up your speakers as the audio is low, and be blessed. ^_^





Thanks for stopping by, I hope you were blessed!
Do you have a topic idea or suggestion of something I should write about? 

Do you have a question you’d like to ask me?
Leave a comment below!

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