Christian

The Holiday Challenge You’ll Never Forget!

Do you think you could go a whole month without complaining even once?

I visited my Dad’s church Sunday and Pastor Mike challenged the whole congregation to go for a whole month without complaining.

Our family took on the challenge (all 8 of us). Christina had the idea that if you complained about something, you had to sing your words! Here are a couple of the “songs” that were sung at dinner that night:

“Is that kale in my salad?”

“I thought we were eating at 6:45!”

Christina and Patricia making dinner

Get the idea? Needless to say, it was a lot of fun! Not only that, it cut down on complaining because everyone was being careful not to. And if anyone came even close to complaining, the others immediately made the guilty party sing it!

After I was caught complaining, I said, “But I’m just stating a fact!” Guess what? If the fact is negative, that’s complaining!

Our family kept this up for about 3 hours and I learned something. We complain and don’t even realize we’re doing it! (That is, until you get caught!)

So why take this family holiday challenge? God says,

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” Philippians 2:14-16 NIV

Shine among them like stars in the sky

And don’t forget how the Israelites complained in the wilderness after being set free from bondage and witnessing one miracle after another. (That’s a whole post in itself!)

“All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness!” Numbers 14:2 NIV

Have you ever been around anyone who never complained? Pretty nice isn’t it? Have you ever been around anyone who complained constantly? Not so nice! It’s pretty straight forward. Complainers don’t make bright stars in the darkness.

Complaining has negative health effects.

God knows that complaining isn’t good for us. If only we would just obey Him! Science has proven that complaining is unhealthy. Consider this.

  1. Complaining changes the way people see you. “According to Travis Bradberry, PhD, “Repeated complaining rewires your brain to make future complaining more likely. Over time, you find it’s easier to be negative than to be positive, regardless of what’s happening around you. Complaining becomes your default behavior, which changes how people perceive you.”
  2. Complaining causes brain damage. Research from Stanford University has shown that complaining shrinks the hippocampus—an area of the brain that’s critical to problem solving and intelligent thought. Damage to the hippocampus is scary, especially when you consider that it’s one of the primary brain areas destroyed by Alzheimer’s.
  3. Complaining has negative health effects. When you complain, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol. One effect of cortisol, for example, is to raise your blood pressure and blood sugar…  All the extra cortisol released by frequent complaining impairs your immune system and makes you more susceptible to high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. It even makes the brain more vulnerable to strokes.

So I challenge you to accept the “Don’t Complain Challenge”. For one month you can’t complain about anything. See what happens. Pastor Mike guarantees that it will make you a happier, healthier, and more positive person. You will not only feel better, you will become a person others like to be around.

You will be “seen as bright lights (stars or beacons shining out clearly) in the [dark] world, Holding out [to it] and offering [to all men] the Word of Life…” Philippians 2:15b-16a AMPC

With Love, 

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This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog  

You can listen to Pastor Mike’s energizing sermon at https://www.wesleymethodist.org/sermons

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning coauthor of Emotional Intelligence 2.0.

Cover Photo by Sarah Kilian on Unsplash

Stars Photo by Farid Askerov on Unsplash

Hospital Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Christian

Lord, Teach Me to Pray

[Friends, Because I have been out of state for the last month, helping my dad with medical issues, I have had to repost several times. Today, as I searched for the right post, I was reminded how we often put pressure on ourselves to “pray right” as if answers depended on how good we pray. But, God reminds me that He knows our heart and what we need, regardless of how we might stumble along. I pray that you will be encouraged and know that God is working whether you see it or not.]

Two and a half  years ago, I had no idea I was going to write a blog. I had no idea my daughter would lead worship in my church. I had no idea God was getting ready to change my life and hers.

But God’s plan was working all along, even though I was completely unaware of what He was doing! He already knew these things would happen. 

That’s what faith is: being sure of things unseen. (I’m sure He is working, I just can’t see it now. )

I have frequently prayed and asked God to do many things, but I haven’t always seen the answers I hoped for when I hoped for. In frustration, I asked Jesus to teach me to pray.

I learned I was right to ask Jesus to teach me how to pray. He has already taught me something new! Jesus said,

“This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” Matthew 6:9-10 NIV

What does that have to do with effectual prayer? Everything! Because, I don’t need to go to God with a list of things for Him to do. What do the words mean “hallowed be your name”? Hallowed means: honored as holy, blessed, greatly revered, respected, honored and worshiped.

Let’s think about that for a minute. When we go to the Father in prayer, let us worship Him. Let us adore Him and recognize the character of our God. Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving and praise.

Then Jesus said,

“Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” 

God has shown me that the key to effectual prayer is not about me. It’s not about my ability to pray. It’s about Him! I’ve been too focused on myself instead of on Him!  

Let Jesus teach us to pray. Let us worship the Father. Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving and praise. Then, let us pray for His will to be done in our life, in our church, in our city, and all over the world. He has a plan that is better than all we can ask or imagine! 

“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…” Ephesians 3:20 NIV

The words of the hymn are true, “What a friend we have in Jesus.” But, let us have a new and deeper revelation of His greatness and love. Let us revere and love Him as we should. We can find words to praise Him throughout the Psalms! Here are just a few key verses:

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth. You have set your glory above the heavens…. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him… that you care for him?” Psalm 8:1-4 NIV

“I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the Lord who is worthy of praise….” Psalm 18:1-3a NIV

“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God.” Psalm 25:1-2a NIV

“Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep…. How priceless is your unfailing love!” Psalm 36:5-7 NIV

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

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Christian

Dear Christian Writer

When I do all the talking, I can’t hear God! That’s right. You heard me right. Do you ever have that problem? Prayer isn’t just talking. It’s listening, too.

Sometimes, in my eagerness to write, I rush ahead of God. When I don’t wait on Him, I make mistakes – not horrible mistakes, but my writing lacks something.

In other words, I can’t wait. So I write in my own strength, depending on my own abilities. That is not what God wants from me.

How do I know that I rushed ahead of God? Because I realize later that I ignored the still small voice. That’s easy to do. We hear the whisper of God’s Spirit, but do not stop long enough to consider it. We cannot wait. We have to plow on.

This quote by John Piper made an impact on me, “To wait on God means to pause and soberly consider our own inadequacy and the Lord’s all-sufficiency, and to seek counsel and help from the Lord.”

I pray that God will teach me to wait and to listen; and to know the difference between working in my own strength or wholly depending on His.

Scriptures to Ponder

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin….” Zechariah 4:10

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.   Isaiah 40:31

 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 1 Kings 19:11-12

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog

This is a reblog from 2018.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Christian

We Are The Temple of God

We don’t have to visit a temple made by man to be in the presence of God, as the Israelites did. As a Christ Follower, we are the temple of God and He dwells within us. Isn’t that an amazing thought? As I read about the building of the Temple, I was struck by the great wealth and incredible planning that went into it. It took Solomon seven years to build the temple. (See 1 Kings 5-8)

Solomon used 8,100,187.5 pounds of gold and 76,275,000 pounds of silver. The gold and silver alone was worth $216,603,576,000. This does not include all the precious metals, bronze, iron, ivory, or cedar wood used in the temple. Extrapolating from the number, the total cost of Solomon’s temple including the labor costs (153,000 forced laborers) would have been well over half a billion dollars! Pure gold was everywhere! Even the wick trimmers were made of pure gold! No detail was overlooked.

The Living God doesn’t live in a building. If you are a Christ Follower, He is literally living in your body! Take a moment to let that soak in.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV

You may think the temple that Solomon built came at an incredible price, and it did. But God purchased you at an even greater cost, the precious, priceless blood of Jesus Christ. So what does that mean to us today?

We must recognize that we are the temple of God and that we belong to God. He has a plan for us. We have been commissioned to go out and make disciples. We are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart and love our neighbor as ourselves. This is obedience to the One who owns us, to love one another. We must examine ourselves to see if we are honoring the price He paid.

Just as the Lord paid careful attention to how His people treated His temple, so He takes note of the choices we make, our priorities, and the directions we pursue. Our bodies are no longer “our own” because we no longer belong to ourselves but wholly and completely to God. This is the single most important truth about our lives.”

dr. David Jeremiah

“. . . the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27 NIV

“Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.” 2 Timothy 1:14 NLT

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Ephesians 3: 14-17 NIV

We may look around at our world and blame our problems on the culture, drugs, TV, violent video games, and any number of evils in the world. But we must remember that revival doesn’t start in the world, it starts in the hearts of God’s people, the Church.

What would happen in our world today if all Christ followers in this generation chose to be Christ-centered instead of self-centered?

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog  

Jeremiah Study Bible

Photos by Center for Online Judaic Studies

Rdchamberlain.com (cost of temple)

Christian

My Bible, My Life

Thy Word

Thy Word I love, O Lord. 
Tis my greatest delight.  
Early I rise to seek you 
And wait for the morning light. 

Thy Word I receive, O Lord.
Tis my daily bread.  
It feeds my broken heart  
And prepares for the day ahead.  

Thy Word I will keep, O Lord.
Tis my strength for each day,   
You are the solid rock.
I will follow all your ways.  
  
Thy Word I need, O Lord.
Tis the joy of my heart. 
You draw me closer to You, 
To teach and Thy Truth to impart .  

I give thanks for this wonderful gift.
More precious than silver and gold
A treasure of promise and love, 
My Bible, whose worth is untold.

How shall I know my own heart, if I do not read God’s Word?

“For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. . . . exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 AMP

How shall I learn, if I do not read God’s Word?

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4 ESV

How shall I have faith, if I do not read God’s Word?

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17 ESV

How shall I be obedient, if I do not read God’s Word?

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.” Joshua 1:8 ESV

How shall I find my way, if I do not read God’s Word?

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105 ESV

How shall I fight the devil, if I do not read God’s Word?

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.  And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”  But he answered, “It is written . . . Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:1-4 ESV

How shall I keep myself from sin, if I do not read God’s Word?

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11

How shall I have peace, if I do not read God’s Word?

“Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” Psalm 119:165

My Prayer

Lord, Give us a love for your Word. May we hunger for it more every day, that we may serve our family and answer our calling in truth and love.

“I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” Psalm 119:16

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

realchristianwomen.blog  

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Rachel Lynette French on Unsplash

Christian

Abundant Life is Relationship With God

I have a very specific reason for writing this post. A friend wrote to me and said she didn’t understand why God had not answered her desperate prayer. This post is for her.

Teach me about your love
the gift that's from above.
When sorrow fills my heart,
your comfort alone can part
the sea of pain.
You lead me on dry ground
to the Promise Land.
In this life, you will provide
the manna and the quail.
That nourishes my soul
until I see
the Promise Land.

” . . . as for me, I trust in the Lord.
 I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
    for you saw my affliction
    and knew the anguish of my soul.” Psalm 31:6-7

“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.“Deuteronomy 8:3 NIV

“Every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” refers to spiritual food. It is your relationship with God through the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, who teaches us all things.

Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

Abundant life is relationship with God. It is knowing the Almighty God, the Creator of the Universe, the King of King and Lord of Lords. It is being able to talk to Him at any time and in any place. It is the privilege of saying, “My Father” and knowing He is listening intently. It is for now and forever.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 NIV

A relationship with God should never be trivialized. Nothing can compare to such a glorious blessing, certainly not things (cars, houses, etc.). Our God is not Amazon.com. He isn’t here to be our Cosmic Santa Claus. Jesus didn’t sacrifice His life in order for us to prosper materially here on Earth. He didn’t have to die to accomplish that. He died to give us eternal life through a right relationship with the Living God which will last forever. May we know the true gift of God.

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” 1 Peter 3:18 NIV

“You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.
 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
  Psalm 73:24-25 NIV

Sometimes, God does not do things the way we want. Why? We may never know while here on Earth. But many times, we understand later, even years later. God is more interested in our character development than in giving us a cushy life here on Earth. We must trust Him.

I had a friend once who was desperate to save his marriage. He was convinced that by going to church and “believing” God, by having enough faith, God would save his marriage. He gave it his all.

But God did not save his marriage. No matter how hard he tried to “just have faith”, it didn’t happen.

Guess what happened to him? He left the church and was never seen again. From his perspective, God and faith didn’t work. That’s because he saw God and faith as a way to get what he wanted. He didn’t understand the true gift of God.

Do you see the disillusionment this can bring and why it causes people to abandon their faith in God? And this is the point! Truth is vital. That’s why we must be like the Bereans, who . . .

“received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11

Jesus said, We must “worship God in Spirit and in truth”. As you read the familiar passage below about the Samaritan woman, I want you to notice four things.

  1. Jesus reveals to her the “gift of God”. (v. 10)
  2. She thinks Jesus is talking about natural things, but he is talking about spiritual things. (v.11)
  3. Jesus shows her the superiority of a spiritual gift compared to a natural gift. (v.13-14)
  4. Jesus reveals to her the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. (v.23-24)

“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a]) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” 16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 17 “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” 19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” 25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” John 4 NIV

Lord, Help us to study your Word daily and love the Truth. Help us to appreciate our relationship with you and to understand your love.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105 KJV

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

Photo

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Christian

WARNING: THE DEVIL WILL LIE TO YOU! LEARN HOW!

When we set out to accomplish what God has called us to do, the enemy will tell us that we can’t (because we’re not good enough) or we shouldn’t (because God’s didn’t really tell us to do it). In my life, this has happened over and over.

At first, we might not realize that it’s the devil telling us lies. That’s because we think it’s coming from our own thinking, but it isn’t. It’s coming from the Father of Lies, the devil. He puts these thoughts in your mind! Jesus said:

“. . . the devil . . . was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 NIV

It doesn’t matter what it is, how big or how small. Whether it’s writing a blog, leading a women’s Bible Study, or teaching three little children in a Sunday School class, thoughts of inadequacy will attack my mind. Somebody else would do a lot better job, I think.

There have been moments in the past when I literally began to panic. Thoughts racing through my mind … God didn’t tell you to write a blog! You shouldn’t be doing this! This is all your own idea!

Have you ever experienced this deceitful kind of attack on your mind? God didn’t send you here! God didn’t say …

Do you remember what the Serpent said to Eve? Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1

This is the Deceiver in action: making you question what God has said. It is nothing new.

After reading Nabeel Qureshi’s book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, I have thought I should prepare myself to minister to Muslim women (in case the opportunity should arise). But then I thought, I’m too old now (67). If only I would have done this earlier in my life. (There goes that liar, the devil, again.) But, guess what happened?

While reading my Bible, I read that Joshua led the Israelites until he was 110 years old! (Joshua 24:29) And Joshua was between 68 and 78 years old when he took over for Moses, before they even entered the promised land.

That’s why we need to read our Bible every day. God might want to show us something! In addition to that, I learned that Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt when he was 80 years old and Aaron was 83!

All of these great men of God were used mightily by the Lord into their old age. God never does things the way we think He will, or like we would. (So much for the “You’re too old theory”.)

As my friend, Annie https://seekingdivineperspective.com recently said, “He doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” This theme is repeated over and over in the Scriptures (Moses, Gideon, and David, to mention a few.)

Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” Exodus 4:10 NIV

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” Judges 6:15 NIV

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV (referring to David, the shepherd boy)

Whatever it is that God is calling you to do, He will be right beside you, giving you wisdom, strength, and guidance. It is for His glory. If we were qualified, we would get the glory. But the battle is the Lord’s! To Him be the glory!

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Ryan Holloway on Unsplash

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