Sunday, October 25, 2015

Self Evaluation... Dun dun dun!!!

Ok I need you to imagine the dooms day music in a movie that happens just before something huge happens. Dun dun dun dun….Here it comes… its gona happen… its inevitable!!!!!
Oh well that wasn’t so bad after all.
This is how many of us feel when it comes to self-evaluation. We sometimes view it as low self-esteem or being to self-critical. But really that is just an excuse to not do it. Why are we so turned off by the fact of reviewing our own actions and yet criticizing others comes so easy. Personally I believe there are a few reasons. These same reasons are behind many of our more complicated questions. One is due to our past, broken hearts, lies spoken over us, decisions we have made about who we are ext. The second is that there is a very clear spiritual war going on. The enemy (well my enemy anyway) knows that if we all turned our critical eyes away from others and made it constructive towards ourselves then his job in this war would be so much harder.  The last and most common are simply because we are lazy. It’s easier to point out someone else’s errors because we then don’t have to do the work to fix it. I say all this as we and us because I still do not consider myself to have taken hold of this concept 100%. This is why I’m writing about it. The subject has come up in a few studies I’ve been at which causes me to always analyze what the Spirit is trying to do in the church as a whole. (This is so I can intercede, another blog all together)
Christian or not you should always be looking for ways to improve yourself. Those who say they have nothing they can change for the better someone that will be stuck in a very sad place in their life. We should never stop learning be it for our jobs, how to be parents, how to love our spouses, how to drive better, or whatever you do every day. The point is that biblical principles apply to all whether you believe or not. They are laws set forth since the beginning of time by the One True God and there is no escaping it. This is why so many religions have the same opinions on many things. The biblical principle which gives the basis to this post is to work on your issues and try not to focus so much on everyone else’s issues. This topic ties in pretty closely with what I wrote a few weeks ago. But today I want to go more in depth on the idea of constant self-evaluation.
First off how is this going help me in my daily life? If you are evaluating yourself, often times you see changes you need to make before anyone else notices. Then if it is brought up to you it’s something you have already come to accept and maybe have even looked for solutions. Let me give you an example. Last Sunday one of the things mentioned by our Pastor Gaby was signs of a sleeping heart (you can see the sermon we were discussing here :________________). One of these signs was if you get offensive when a leader gives you constructive criticism.  When I heard this I said, “Oh I receive criticism from my leaders well.” And God said, “At church maybe yes, but is this true at your work?” Ugggg and as always he started showing me times that I had gotten offensive with my coordinators and bosses. “Ok Father, I know you don’t show me these things to make me feel bad. So I receive them and I ask you why did I react that way?”  We had a nice conversation for a few days about this. I even expressed it at a study that we have on Tuesdays. (Confession is a huge tool towards breaking walls of misunderstanding between your heart and your Spirit). So by Wednesday morning I had in mind some things I needed to change about my methods in the class room and the way I would respond to my bosses in the face of criticism. And low and behold guess what happened Wednesday at 1:30. I got called into a meeting regarding a teaching method I had use. It’s never easy to receive correction but I can tell you that the meeting didn’t hurt because it was a confirmation of all that I had already gone through with God. It was pretty cool because everything that was brought up was things that God had already discussed with me and I had already made decisions on how to change. I received what all they had to say, expressed that I agreed with them and explained how I plan to change it. Lastly I asked for and accepted suggestions, and most of all received their suggestions. Although God spoke into my life this doesn’t mean that he hasn’t put people in my path to do so also. These people have years and years of experience in this field and I should take their experience and let it help me to grow faster.Wow!! How quickly God works in us when we are open to it and when we let him flow. Again I’m not saying I am always so open to Him but this is a huge example of why we should be. So many times I have wrestled with God over silly things and every time I give in and let him take over there is so much less damage done to my heart.
There are many books written about self evaluation and maybe if you don’t have Christ in your life you may need to read them. I even suggest you do. The world will be a better place if everyone turns there “change for the better” focus upon themselves. But if you do have Christ in your life this means you also have the Holy Spirit. This is a huge advantage that we have over the rest of the world in this subject (and really in any other subject). The Holy Spirit was sent here to be our constant guide and teacher. He is the one that brings these things to my attention without bringing guilt or fear. This is what prevents things like depression and anxiety. When the Spirit shows me something I could do better he does it in love. And I receive it with my identity firmly planted in Christ. I know that in Gods eyes I’m already this pure person that the Spirit is guiding me to be. So I don’t have to feel guilty about how I acted. What I do need to do is repent and work on changing it. I urge you to sit and ask the Spirit what he sees in your heart to work on. If at that time you start feeling sad, guilty, hatred, or any other negative feeling it IS NOT the Spirit that is guiding you and most likely is your soul (which is usually very confused without the Holy Spirit). If this happens, you can say to yourself, “NO I don’t receive these bitter views of myself. I only receive what the Spirit is giving me.” Just wait a few minutes and see what happens.
Now after the Spirit brings you these revelations he never just leaves you there high and dry. He will help you through the process of change. He will remind you on a daily basis of the decisions you made with Him. He is very helpful in that way. I have also found some very helpful tools on how we can work on our character growth which I will be writing about later but for now let’s just focus on focusing on ourselves and not others. (This is talking about the critical change for the better eye not for other purposes.)
I left a short list of verses to help you further your biblical knowledge on the subject. There are actually a ton more but I don’t want to overwhelm. If you want more verses on the topic leave  a message and I’d be happy to send them to you.

Psalm 32:3-5
Philipians 2:13
Psalm 51:1 The whole 51 is an excellent prayer for your daily life.
Psalm 129:23-24
Mathew 7:3
Luke 6:41
John 14:26, 16:12-15

Sunday, October 18, 2015

What I believe.... (what I love)

Since I started writing again I knew my blog would be shifting in a bit of a new direction. I don't feel the need to change the name or the site because I feel history is important for any reader. I love to know more about the authors that I am reading so Im going to give my readers the chance to find out who I am.
My title for today if you only  read the first line would send out some groans for some people. Which is exactly why I'm writing. A lot of times people have felt that saying "What I believe is..." should be followed by lots of arguments about how people should act and think and move and conduct their lives. Its so sad to me that so many in the world can list off a million things that "Christians" believe and many of those things will be filled to the brim with condemnation. Sure I could fill this blog with things I believe are wrong but I don't believe that's what the Bible tells me to do. Plus a lot of them would be things that I'm working on in my own life. Jesus was clear about how we were suppose to live, he made things very black and white most of the time. He didn't beat around the bush. So yes if you say to me Amanda do you think this or that is ok. I will answer you honestly and say yes or no, but this will not change the way I treat you or love you. Last week we heard a sermon on Judas Escargot. I loved the sermon because it expressed so much of what I have always felt when reading the what I consider one of the saddest parts of the life of Jesus. Every time I read about Jesus telling him, "just go." I cry. I was always sure that Jesus was holding out hope until the very last instant that Judas would change his mind. I don't believe that Judas had to turn Jesus in. Jesus had many enemies in high places they could have captured him any time he was ready for them to. Jesus had disappeared on them a couple times but that is because he knew it wasn't time. Three years before he was sold by Judas, Jesus saw the hurt behind the eyes of a man and had faith that His Father could change that hurt. He spoke life and and purpose into the Judases spirit for three whole years. Clearly he also corrected him because correction is a form of love. But he never rejected him or gave up on him. He ate with him and slept next to him. He loved him!!!! He hoped and I believe prayed that Judas would open his heart to the promises God was giving. I don't believe that he constantly berated him, or geared all of his teachings towards the specific sins Judas was committing or would commit. 
Who am I, you may be thinking, to write about such an opinion. And its ok if your thinking that because I also feel the same way. But that is exactly the point. I am no one important to this world. BUT!!!!! To God I am his precious daughter, loved, and cherished. I am the moving, living, breathing, hands, feet, mouth and body of Christ.  I have lived what Im writing about. And I can tell you many of the "terrible sinners" I have loved and still love in this way are still living their lives the way they were before I met them. And yes this brings me to tears during my times of intercession with the Spirit. But guess what, many are not. Many saw something new, something loving, something they could relate with in the way I live. And those that are still sinning differently than me I know have a seed planted in their hearts. I know that, even if they bash the followers of Christ or just continue living in ways that Jesus clearly said would kill their spirit, they always know who Christ was and is. They know that they are loved by the one true God! How do I know that you might ask. I know because Jesus used my mouth to speak it into their spirits. This gives me the confidence that at some point they will begin to want to be closer and closer to him. 
I know I haven't quoted much of the bible here and this may all look like a bunch of opinion but at the end of the blog I'm going to post verses that explain what Iv been talking about. I don't feel the need to place a scripture behind each sentence because Id rather you look them up and let the Holy Spirit lead you to your revelation. So if you are at all curious about this topic take a look at the scriptures below and before you start reading speak to the Holy Spirit and ask for his guidance. Ask him to give you revelation. With out revelation the scripture is just another book. Please don't just take it from me. Its so important that you grow in your relationship with God and receive it from Him. This post is just a spark of a flame that I know He is going to cultivate in many hearts. 
This morning as I lay in bed discussing this theme with God I asked him to show where in my life I need to be speaking more life and less condemnation. As usually he asked me a simple question that I couldn't answer. Do your kids know what I love about them? Do they know what you love about who they are? My answer was, I hope so. So I asked my middle child. Shes the early bird and so it was just her and I. I said, "Honey, what does mommy love about you?" Her first answers were her hair, her eyes and her cheeks. This is all true she is amazingly beautiful. But it wasn't the answer I'd hoped for. So, I asked her, "what about you, about who you are, about how you act, what parts of that does mommy love?" She got all shy and couldn't answer.  I gave her awhile and tried to explain it in diffrent ways hoping that was why she couldnt answer. She understood the question but nothing came to mind. So I started asking her if mommy loved certain things. For example that she gets completely crazy sometimes and makes us all laugh till we cry. That she has an amazing singing voice and sounds like an angle. That she is creative. Her teachers have told me how driven she is.  Clearly her answer to all these things is yes those are things that mommy loves. What do you think my new goal is? Well I want those to be the items at the fore front of her thinking. My youngest is only four yet answered that she loves people and is nice. Both of which are true. With my oldest her answers were more along the point. She said the way I act because I am happy, that I am creative and smart and that I am beautiful. That I'm a leader. Interestingly she also said, "That I love you." wow that one was powerful. Here is  a thought for prayer time. Should one of our answers to Father God be, because I love you? Oh the things we can learn from our children.
My lesson out of this is that I need to be speaking these things into the life of my middle child. I love how gentle God is with me and my heart. Had this teaching come from anyone else,i may have taken offence. But because it came directly from the heart of my Father I'm excited to make the change.
To end this all and to finish the sentence in the title I want to say I believe that Jesus was a man born from a virgin who lived a normal life trying to please God. And he did!!!!!! He was able to live his life without sinning. I believe when he was obedient and got baptized the Holy Spirit entered his life and changed it drastically. I believe He has given me the same chance to have the same Spirit and to change my life drastically. (He actually expects me to do greater things than Him, Yikes!!!) I believe I sin (maybe different than you) and that all of us should be reaching for the goal of perfection. I believe that I love what God loves which includes you and everyone else. I believe I fail miserably in this aspect and that God continues to help me to get closer to my ultimate goal. 

John 13:18-30
Mathew 24:24
Mark 3:13_18
Mark 6:6_12
Mathew 3:17, 5:43-48
Ok this could go on forever but I think ill stop here. Last and not least: John 13:34,35

Friday, October 2, 2015

My Passion

Most of my readers know that I am christian and love to share of all that God had done in our lives. The day after receiving our Canadian visa denial we went to talk with our pastor at Sozo Church. Our pastors have been used by God many times in our lives over the last couple years and we wanted them to know we were staying and that we were ready to commit 100% to service in the church. Our pastors response  was, and with a straight face,"Are you guys OK?" We said,"Yeah, really we are." He said,"OK can I be happy now." We all laughed and said, "Of course. We are!" Although since this happened one week after our going away party I asked if we were gona get a welcome home party, but that never happened. 
From there we were put in charge of what can be considered the welcoming committee at church. We were faithful in this and as the bible says he who is faithful in little will be given a lot. This happened in August last year. During this time God spoke to me a lot about how I can finally put down roots. That Hes not going to move me again for a long while. This brought me a lot of comfort. God also spoke to us about us serving in the church. We have always worked in the church but more and more God was calling us to do more. In the end of October we were asked to be co-pastors in our church.  This was the fulfillment of a promise God gave me when I first met Issac. Over 10 years ago God told me that Issac would be a pastor. In those 10 years there were times I forgot the promise and times I didn't believe it. I'm thankful that God is faithful even if we are not and even if at times we don't believe Him. Since last October we have seen God move more powerful than ever before. Mainly because we are growing in what we believe about Him and what He can do. And partly because we are believing more about how he sees us. Our Identity in Christ is something that our pastors have helped us to understand. The Holy Spirit has been pushing us and teaching us and guiding us every day and each day we learn to listen to Him more.  
This is the poster that was made to help the church members recognize us and know what we are doing in the church. It says, What we do in Sozo is care for the leaders and the congregation which the Holy Spirit has placed us to pastor and serve. It comes from a verse Acts 20:28-29 (check it out).

These are our pastors and a poster showing our DNA classes. We want all our leaders to not only understand but but be infused with the vision that God has given for Sozo. We love these guys so much and are so thankful to God for placing them on our path. 

I received a word one day saying to me that my hands were made for healing. That I didn't make a mistake with my profession (nursing) but that God wanted to use my hands to heal in the church and for Him now. This was such an awesome word for me and came at a time when I had just reread a poem I wrote when I was a nurse back in the states. When I read it I was in tears because I realized it all applied to my current life which has nothing to do with nursing. But I am still caring for people and helping them heal each and every day. Here is the poem and it can sum up where my passion remains. 
The Greatest Privilege
I get pleasure from their smile. 
I hurt for their hearts pain. 
I give from my healthy body to their broken soul.
Appreciation is the best reward. 
No amount of money can equal someones comfort. 
God has awarded me the greatest honor possible. 
To show his love to the broken. 
Hearing laughter from one with little reason. 
Swells your heart in a way few can understand. 
I can only imagine how Jesus felt as he healed the sick completely, heart and body.
Brings me to tears to even try to imagine. 
Thank you god for what I consider the greatest privilege.