God’s Power over My Plans

God’s power over my plans – if only I really knew what had God planned for me… Then I wouldn’t have to come up with so many “ideas” for Him! Haha…

This verse humbled and reminded me to refocus my mind’s attention to the power of God over the stress of my own plans.

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10

There is greater power in God’s Plans than our own…

Mission Central’s Virtual SERVE Conference will showcase missional interviews during the broadcasts, which I am MC’ing. So, I got a sneak peek at a few of them already. It was very uplifting to hear the ways God is moving through people during this pandemic. Also, to hear their own stories and passion for God in their own lives and the lives around them. I watched three videos and all three spent time talking about the importance of loving their neighbours and making time to foster community. Especially around studying the Word and sharing the Gospel. Even with the pandemic, they were able to start new ministries, lead people to Christ and love on their community.

It’s less about us and more about God

In the beginning of 1 Corinthians, Paul talks about the importance of the Spirit of God in Him and less about his own words or human wisdom. But simply, God and His Spirit. So that our faith may not rest on man’s wisdom, but on the power of God (1 Cor 2:5).

God’s Power has greater plans

God will move in unexpected ways. Yet, still bring extraordinary opportunities to witness and share His love. While watching these mission interviews, my faith grew. God had moved in these people’s lives because they were simply seeking Him. Less worried about the future of the pandemic and more concerned with the present sate of their faith. Allowing room in their heart to be led by God in whichever direction he chose.

“no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor heart of man imagined…”

If we truly believe this verse, then we are praying with faith that God will answer. Not in our own expectations of how we think he should answer – but in ways that “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor heart of man imagined…” All because he loves us and has the best for us. This means He might (most likely will) move in unexpected ways we didn’t plan for.

Canada’s Largest Christian Missions Conference – ONLINE!

Mission Central (formerly known as Missions Fest Vancouver) is a Christian ministry that seeks to collaborate and build relationships with the church, different mission agencies and the community. It seeks to inspire the people God to become mature disciples of Jesus. One way Mission Central does this is by hosting Canada’s largest Christian missions conference.

This conference is normally in-person with attendance reaching to 10,000 people over the course of a weekend. Due to Covid-19 and the restrictions of large gatherings… Mission Central conference is going completely VIRTUAL in January 2021! A great opportunity to reach more people through the amazing features of online technology.

A Conference for Everyone in Christ’s Mission

As believers of Jesus, we are all passionate about Him, but are we passionate about missions? Why or why not? By attending this conference you will explore what missions means to you – where ever you are in life. Seek to SERVE and SERVE well.

Mission Central’s SERVE Conference

  • Learn to serve God in your own sphere of life and influence on others.
  • Grow faithfully as a mature disciple of Jesus.
  • Create ways to proclaim the gospel through your own skills, gifts and talents.
  • See who’s speaking!
  • Collaborate with different ministries to learn how or where to serve.
  • See who’s virtually exhibiting!
  • Learn from different mission experts through online seminars.

How to register for Canada’s Largest Christian Missions Conference:

Registration is by donation and a great way to connect with other Christians across North America. Mark in your calendar to start the new year with the right perspective. A perspective TO SERVE.

REGISTER HERE!

The Known Path of Jesus

You Will Not Abandon My Soul

A Psalm of David.

You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11

The KNOWN Path

Despite our physical and earthly unknowns – God makes His path of life KNOWN. What is this path that David is talking about? It’s the path of following Jesus. In Matthew 7:14, Jesus says its not an easy path rather it’s narrow and hard and few will find it. But it leads to eternal life. The easy way is a wide path which seeks the approval of man rather than God. So to have confidence in this KNOWN path of God – we must follow Jesus with our lives. Regardless if its hard, because it will be. Thinking of a narrow path there is only one direction I can walk, straight. In a wider path there is so much room to roam I may actually start walking sideways or backwards, losing my sense of direction completely. I choose to follow the narrow path, where it keeps me directly inline with Jesus, the original trail blazer.

Fullness of Joy

This brings me to the second part of the verse, where David says, “in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” So, not only is the path guarantee life for us, although hard, there is still a fullness of joy. Where is this joy found? In His presence! Where is His presence? It’s in us who believe in Him! I can receive the joy of Christ where ever I am or whatever I am doing because His spirit lives in me. By believing and accepting Jesus as my Savior I no longer fear which path to take. Instead I make a commitment to the KNOWN path that promises a fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. This brings me great peace because its not by my own strength that I must follow. It’s the Lord’s strength that goes before me and guides my steps. I have joy in knowing His presence is always with me.

I am Encouraged by the Known Path of Jesus

My husband and I have no idea where we will live or work come next year. We are facing so many unknowns about our own lives currently that this verse brings me great comfort. To know that my joy is not found in a location or in a job but its found in Jesus. His presence with me anywhere I am. Praise God for the narrow path, although hard to see (physically) where it leads, (spiritually/mentally) I know its good for me.

5 Pitfalls of Self Care

Self care is important but there are pitfalls that can negatively impact how we self-care. This post looks at warning signs by describing 5 pitfalls we all face.

Pitfall #1: The Binge

– The binge of “I deserve”. A mentality of self reward with excessive indulgence. This may include a shopping spree, eating whatever food I want (lots of it) and later feeling great regret or guilt because of it. This pitfall lures us with temptation assuming if we engage in that activity or spend that money it will make us feel better. To avoid this temptation of indulgence we must realize that this is not self-care it’s self sabotage. Self care is supposed to fuel you up with a great sense of confidence and joy – not regret or guilt.

Pitfall #2: Being Reactive not Proactive

– Someone who self cares is a proactive person. The opposite is being reactive. A reactive approach is acting in response to a situation rather than creating or controlling it.

This one hit home for me as a new mother. I did not realize that I needed to schedule in advance my “break” or “me time” to self care. Instead I waited until the wall came and smacked me in the face. Then my husband, unfortunately for him, took my reaction of burn out. This pitfall involves zero self care as it doesn’t plan for it. Be careful for the wall – its coming and coming fast!

We need to be proactive like adding a new routine that opens space and time for our self care. This may include new daily habits that positively increase your rest, energy and ability to thrive. As well as, planning for things that bring you joy like a friend date (within your bubble/distant walk), reading or exercise. Scheduling and pre-planning is a great way to avoid the wall of burn out. Do not wait for plans to come to you, create the time now. To quote my husband, “present self doing future self favours.”

Pitfall #3: The Social Comparison

– The social comparison of assumptions, which manipulates the truth to make ourselves feel insecure. For instance, you feel insecure about your progress compared to someones success they posted online. The key is to stay in your lane of growth, success and achievement. We are all in different lanes but in the same race. As Christians we are racing for the same goal – to grow in likeness of Christ and to bring heaven on earth. Surround yourself with like-minded Christians that support, encourage and build you up in the way of Christ – not in the way of social comparison.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Pitfall #4: The “No Time” Theory

– Lack of prioritizing God in your life. This theory is an excuse we often use to reduce the guilt about not knowing God and His Word. If we want successful self-care, we need daily spiritual care. As Christians our priority is God. Him in us, through us, all by the workings of the Holy Spirit. Make time for God first.

Pitfall #5: Its Only About Me

– Its about who is around you. We all have a circle of people we lead and influence daily. By creating healthy boundaries in our use of time and daily habits it will help us become better people to those around us. Love your neighbour as yourself

Conclusion

To sum it up self-care is spiritual care for the Christian. No magazines, online blogs (like this one) can really tell you how to live a well-balanced life without adding a pitfall as a positive. There is a mandate to loving others and ourselves. The key is in humility. To reach this type of humility we need Jesus (loving God first). Let’s be a people of the church that talk more about the benefits of spiritual care in likeness of Jesus than self care in the likeness of people.

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus in human form as an example in how to live and how to self care. As Jesus took time away from the crowd (Luke 5:16) to spend time with you, Father God, may we do the same. I pray that as I start to make more consistent time for you, I will learn how to love myself and others more humbly with a focus of Christ as the centre. Amen.

Comparing David and Goliath to The Hunger Games

The first heroic act we see from David, in the book of 1 Samuel, is his “volunteer for tribute”. Yes, a Hunger Games reference. He asks King Saul to voluntarily fight against Goliath. The reason for the one-on-one fight is whoever wins will have victory for their nation. All the men in Israel were fearful of Goliath, except for David. He bravely volunteered to fight Goliath. Telling the King, “let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine (1 Samuel 17:32).”

Katniss and David both Volunteer to Fight

In The Hunger Games, the main character, Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place to compete in the “Games”. The competition is a fight to the death against other teenagers from twelve districts to be the last one standing. Each competing teenager is chosen at random because no one would volunteer to fight for their own potential death. But when Katniss witnessed her sister be randomly selected, she protected her by volunteering for her spot. David also protected his family – the nation of Israel by volunteering for their spot against Goliath.

Katniss and David both learned wild survival skills from their fathers.

Prior to fighting in the Games, Katniss, learned to hunt wild animals with her bow and arrow. Skills she learned from her late father. In comparison, prior to fighting Goliath, David worked in the fields herding sheep. He came across lions and bears that he would tear apart with his own hands to save his captured sheep. In the end both Katniss and David experienced perseverance through tough trials by simply providing for their family. Unknowingly, both were being trained up for a much bigger battle. In the end their experience led to their volunteer to fight and their victory to win.

However, unlike Katniss, David already had the knowledge that He would win because He trained from his Heavenly Father. As Christians we too are trained by our Heavenly Father. We rely on His strength not our own to win battles.

And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”

1 Samuel 17:37

Here is the difference – we are not fighting battles alone.

The key in Christian training is having a relationship with God – learning who He is from Him. This way in times of battle we go from knowing God to believing God. Even with Goliath’s threats towards David and mockery of his lack of “amour”, David’s faith stayed strong. He says to Goliath, “the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hand (1 Samuel 17:47).” And he did.

Conclusion

In comparing David to Katniss, I choose to be like David. As he goes into the fight remembering it’s God’s battle to win. The glory always goes to God. We are His sheep and He is our good shepherd. Confidence in our Heavenly Father means boldly volunteering for tribute – if it means bringing glory to God.

Poop, Potty and Perseverance

The blog was on a hold due to some pressing matters… poop, potty and perseverance. My daughter tuned two in September. Prior to her birthday, I spent time gearing up in learning how to potty train. I bought two books and powered through each chapter thinking, “my kids got this”. Day six, and I told my husband, “I want to ram my head into the wall”. My lack of patience took over any hope for perseverance.

As I started to back off my intensity of training, teaching and telling my daughter how GREAT the potty is, I noticed a change. Particularly in me. I noticed how before I lacked any peace because I wanted to avoid the suffering part. This is what I learned, not just about how scary poop is to a toddler, but more about perseverance and how there needs to be suffering to get to hope.

Fear of Suffering

Touchy subject because this is not fun, light, encouraging or something we look forward to. Yet, it’s inevitable, part of life and present in our lives at times. Witnessing my daughter be scared of the potty, refusing to use it because of the unknowns, shocked me. I kept thinking, if only she knew how much BETTER it will be once she uses it then the fear will leave. Then I thought, how hypocritical I am to say that. My husband and I are too facing unknowns as we plan to change jobs, cities and re-schedule our lives. Many times I look to God in fear. Assuming I know better in my comfort than He knows in my future. Its no different than my daughter crying out for her diaper, because its all she knows – that’s her comfort zone.

However, now she is confident in her ability to use the potty. I witnessed her growth in a short time period due to her perseverance through suffering. I too must face my fear to persevere. Even when it feels outside of my comfort zone.

Joy of Persevering

Without suffering there is no training in perseverance. Once we train in perseverance we grow more hopeful in Christ. I am hopeful in Christ because He saved me from death itself. I am joyful in my suffering because I grow closer to the suffering of Christ. Who sacrificed His life, died and rose again to save me, a sinner. That hope, resurrection and redemption lives in all of us who believe in Him. There is no greater hope than Jesus Christ. He is where the joy is.

Hope of Persevering

In times of suffering we need to visualize our minds and hearts onto Jesus so we don’t quit. The time frame is irrelevant because our hope is not found on earth, its in heaven.

My hope of my daughter using the potty was set on “day 3” of training… a little TOO ambitious and unrealistic of a goal. But I really wanted perfection not mere progress. How unfair of an expectation to assume of my child. I’m so glad that God, our heavenly father, is more interested in our spiritual growth as progress and not perfection. In some sense *figuratively speaking of course* I’m still potty training in many aspects of life. To step out of our comfort zone is the beginning of growth.

I’ve heard of faith like a muscle – use it or lose it. So whatever we face now is an opportunity to grow our faith muscles. Growing in likeness of Jesus, the original trail blazer.

My daughter will forget these weeks – but doesn’t mean she won’t face it again in other areas of her life. If I want her to persevere in life as a kid, teen and adult – I need to train her up in knowing who suffered to save her, Jesus, our only path to hope.

Perseverance looks like Jesus

We all face unique situations a part from each other. But where we come together in unity is through our knowledge and love for Christ. Our hope found in Him. This is how we encourage one another through suffering. Hope in Christ.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. 

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:1-8

Turning to God in the face of Unknowns

The heaviness of unknowns lurk into the next season and it’s weighty. Many of us feel the same weight. As Covid-19 progresses, or stays the same, the unknowns in how to walk it out remains. Some of us are sending our kids to school in fear. Some of us have big life changes looming with fear. All are valid fears. But then I heard of a life near to us that was on the line. The weight of surviving life or death became much more desperate in terms of unknowns. For me, it brought into perspective of how little we know about the trajectory of our lives.

This is what we train for: to have faith despite the unknowns we face on earth. Since earth is temporary to our eternal home in heaven. So, instead of stressing over the unknowns we must think about what we do know. Christ in us for us.

Unbelief into Belief

In Mark chapter nine, a father brings his demon possessed son to Jesus. Asking him, “if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “if you can?! All things are possible for one who believes.” Then the boy’s father confesses to Jesus that he has some faith but acknowledges that he is spiritually weak. Then he appealed to Jesus to create in him a heart that believes more firmly. He said,Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” And Jesus healed his son who had an unclean spirit (Mark 9:14-29).

Pursuing life faithfully is a mental battle we must prepare for everyday. Scripture is not just a book with cool stories, its a life line of hope. We learn from the boy’s father who knew Jesus was the Messiah but not sure if he could heal his boy. It’s the half truth we have of Jesus. Yes, I know you’re good God – but I don’t trust you. Without scripture we become lost in our knowledge and understanding of God. Thus, the only way to overcome our anxiety is through fellowship with God by prayer and reading His Word.

Fear into Faith

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Philippians 4:6

Every morning I wake up and grab my journal and my Bible. I start my day writing out my prayers, making my requests known to God. I end my prayer with thanksgiving, because I acknowledge and remind myself who it is I am praying to. The Almighty God who was, is, and is to come. The same God who spoke directly to Moses guiding the Israelite’s to the promised land (despite their constant sin and setbacks). The same God who sent Jesus to die for me and bore my sins. I am praying to the God who formed me in my mothers womb. Who knows me better than I know myself. I pray because it turns my fear of unknowns into faith of being known by God.

Unknowns into Known

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:7

A big part of releasing my anxious thoughts and feelings is through prayer. The peace that comes upon me after I pray is a reassurance that God is with me. He guards my heart and mind like a solider guarding his own territory. As Christians, we can entrust all our unknowns and difficulties to the Lord, who rules over all creation and who is wise and loving in all His ways (Romans 8:31-39). Therefore, having an attitude of prayer and thanksgiving contributes directly to inward peace.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, But take heart, I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

Suffering into Strength

There is no doubt that we will suffer and struggle in our faith because we are up against an enemy that is unseen, but seeks to devour our joy in Christ. Causing a heightened anxiety in us because we are fighting between two voices. A voice elevating our pride to worry and another voice humbling us to submit and pray. We must learn how God speaks to discern what is true.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5:6-11

In midst of your unknowns on earth,
recite and believe what you know in Christ!

Marriage vs. Singleness – is one better than the other?

Marriage vs. singleness are they at odds? This is a great topic to discuss because the Bible outlines so many different situations or scenarios that people are in. In this post, I simply wanted to start with one verse in 1 Corinthians chapter 7 where Paul touches on marriage and singleness. Paul says both are a gift from God. So let’s ask the question, when it comes to marriage vs. singleness – is one better than the other? What does the Bible say?

In 1 Corinthians 7:7, Paul, who remained unmarried, talks about his own singleness and how he wishes more would remain single as he. Simply because of the work he did for spreading the Gospel message. He had no restraints other than his own devotion to the Lord. Of course that is his own bias opinion. But what he teaches after is the main focus I believe he wants us to hone in on. Let’s read the verse and discuss why marriage and singleness are not at odds with one another but each its own gift from God.

It’s a gift.

1 Corinthians 7:7 : “I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.”

Paul said each has its own gift from God; like spiritual gifts differ within the body of Christ so does marriage and singleness differ within the body of Christ. Each gift has its own purpose and plan designed specifically by God. Also, we are not about to tell you which is best for you, as the Bible outlines very clearly its up to the individual and God. There is no more importance in having a spouse than staying celibate and single. Each is it’s own gift from God, which means, each has a divine and important purpose in itself.

However, situations between persons may differ. If a single person is unable to resist their urge to stay celibate than its best for them to be married. As sexual intimacy must stay within the marriage bed as it is a spiritual union not just a physical one. 1 Corinthians 7:9, “But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”

Find Contentment over Resentment

Paul is happy that God has given him the gift of being content with remaining unmarried. Since this permits single-minded devotion to the Lord’s work. The key word here is “content”. Comparing our situation to our neighbours is a dangerous slope for our mind and our faith. If we start to view our situation as resentment and not find contentment we will be in competition with one another and not in unity. We must use our gift to see that its good. A gift is something to be used, admired, and thought highly of; especially a gift given by God!

Marriage vs. singleness – is one better than the other?

So, what is it then, one vs. the other? Would you say when it comes to spiritual gifts like prophecy or teaching one is better than the other? Paul says view marriage and singleness both as “gifts” and what do we know about “gifts”? In Romans 12:4-6, Paul says: “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.

I do want to make clear that this post is not talking about if you are currently single that means that’s your purpose forever. Its simply stating that one is not better than the other – but each are a gift from God. Your gift can change into marriage one day. It is more about what we do now with our gift that matters, allowing God to take care of our future in His awesome plans for us.

Live as you are called… in this moment.

Paul continues in, 1 Corinthians 7:17, “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.”

Pursue what gift God has given you today. If that’s marriage – pursue that in a Godly way, if that’s singleness – pursue that in a Godly way. Lets see our “relationship status” as a gift from God’s amazing grace. So we don’t lose sight of His bigger purpose which is making Himself known through us to the world.