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.

God’s Plans

I have been reading Genesis and what amazes me is how God prevails His plans. Even when evil arises and people are disobedient – God’s plans still prevail. It makes me think of my own life in how I tend to fear the “what ifs” of my own plans. Instead I need to think of “what is”, which is God already going before me and working out His plans for my good. So my life’s “story” becomes a life’s testimony of who God is! He redeems, restores, saves, loves and is merciful.

Faith in God’s plans never fails because He has what’s best for us.

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

Deuteronomy 31:8

Game plan with scripture – learn the promises of God.

  1. God gives me strength when I am weak – 2 Corinthians 12:9
  2. Prayer relieves my unbelief – Mark 9:23-25
  3. Every opportunity teaches me to persevere and draw near to God – Romans 5:3-5
  4. God works out everything for good – Romans 8:28
  5. I trust in God, He gives me the desires of my heart – Psalm 37:4

God’s plans will always be better than whatever we can dream of.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

Pray

Thank you God for wanting and knowing what is best for me. I pray for belief to take over my unbelief. May you guide me to learn to seek you with all of my heart. I pray for faith to increase over my fear. Thank you for the plans I have yet to see and thank you that it has already worked out for my best! Amen.

Time and Purpose

Procrastination

Learning something new takes time – this is true,
The reading, thinking, the studying too,
Failure then improvement is how we learn,
Unavoidable, yet a good return,
I know I will find my joy by the end…
As for now, I’ll imagine it instead.

The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh.

Ecclesiastes 4:5

Refusing to work only ruins yourself. Don’t allow procrastination or predication of “what might be” stop you from living with daily purpose. Procrastination tells you, “wait for the perfect time” and God tells you, the time is now (2 Corinthians 6:2). We need to trust in God as He is the creator and ruler of time itself, the beginning and the end. We will make ourselves dizzy like a dog chasing his own tail trying to predict the future or wait for the “perfect time”. There is no time for procrastination and predictions. Time is for purpose and that time is now.

He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

Ecclesiastes 11:4

Purpose made simple by Jesus.

Jesus made purpose simple not complicated. It starts with acknowledging that we are all guilty of sin against God’s judgment and in need of a saviour and in knowing this God gave us Jesus.

Jesus (%100 God and %100 man) died on a cross as a sacrifice for our sins (John 3:16-18), which tore the veil between us and God (Matthew 27:51). Signifying that we can now have a direct right relationship with God Himself. Three days after His death, Jesus was resurrected. He seats in heaven, living today and passes along His living Spirit to all who believe (Luke 24:46-48, Romans 8:9-11).

The crucifixion and resurrection of Christ is a perfect act of love that I choose to follow. The moment I repented of my sin, asking for forgiveness and accepting Jesus as my saviour – my purpose for life began (Galatians 2:20).

Although my vocation, location and “dreams” change, my purpose remains the same. I glorify God as the Truth, the author and finisher of my life. So whatever work I choose to do or whatever life throws at me – I do it with the intentional purpose of giving God the Glory because He gifted me hope through salvation and eternal life.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

Time and purpose found in God.

Who created all?
Do we have a call?
Does it just depend?
Who stands in the end?

Striving to win, always getting ahead,
Complaining as we lie our heads to bed,
Just to beat someone else in a moment,
No one wins – everyone’s an opponent.

Only to circle back losing the trail,
Like a dog chasing his own stubborn tail.
The status, fame, followers and fortune,
And then your gone, alone and forgotten,
Wondering, what or whom shall you live for?
It’s God, who knows you, made you, long before.

With questions and answers – this sets us free,
No one can enjoy life apart from He.

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?

Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

We do not have to live life on our own. Placing our hope upon things in this earth – as everything is fleeting and a “chasing after the wind”. I think now, is a perfect time to understand your life’s purpose.

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“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
    and establish the work of our hands upon us;
    yes, establish the work of our hands!”

Psalm 90:17

Proper Footwear

God gave me a dream about the importance of wearing proper footwear. I hope it inspires and gives you hope like it did for me too!

The dream:

Whilst in the water, I looked down at my feet and I was wearing footwear. I asked my surfing instructor, “why am I wearing shoes on a surfboard, don’t most people go barefoot”? The instructor replied, “yes, but this will help you have traction and stability on the board”.

Dream Interpretation

After I wrote down my dream I prayed and asked the Lord for its meaning. Then I started thinking about spiritual warfare and the armour of God. So I read Ephesians 6:10-17 and came across verse 15 about our feet being “fitted with the readiness that comes from gospel of peace”. Reflecting upon my dream, the obvious factor are surfers don’t wear shoes so the symbolism in that came obvious to me. I have allowed the waves of fear and worry to push me off my “board” or path. Instead I need to be stable in my faith, with gospel fitted footwear, so I can ride the waves instead of letting them crash over me.

It’s all about the proper footwear

Whenever I embark on a new sport or outdoor activity my first reaction is, “what’s the proper footwear”? I want to excel at what I am learning and not waste my time with improper gear. For example, I know what my feet need in a shoe to perform well on the basketball court because of my years of experience. But when my husband introduced me to rock climbing I had no clue what my feet needed. Turns out rock climbing shoes are a lot LESS comfortable than a cushioned basketball sole. However, the tight fit of a rock climbing shoe was important in manoeuvring up and around a rock wall. Proper footwear doesn’t always seem comfortable at first, but with trust in its purpose it can help maximize performance.

Spiritual proper footwear

As Christians we need to have this same mentality when we walk in our faith. Are we wearing the proper footwear to best suit our spiritual quest? When we read Ephesians 6:10-17 we learn about the armour of God. As part of the armour of God, footwear is part of the spiritual gear.

“…with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”

Ephesians 6:15

My faith is in the Gospel of peace because then I am protected, supported and able to stand strong. I’m agile in my faith – ready to move in any direction. I fasten up my gospel shoes each morning because I know Jesus is the peace I stand on. Fully prepared and ready to move so wherever I go I can share the good news. I trust in the purpose of the Gospel and fasten it under my feet to be ready for anything that shakes my path.

Unlike buying a shoe at a store, the gospel shoe has already been purchased on our behalf. It is gift to receive. The peace of Jesus is a gift for anyone to receive.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”.

Ephesians 2:8

Unlike a shoe where its purpose is for one thing, the gospel shoe has purpose in all things. So trust in your fitted gospel feet – the first shoe you should be putting on to start your day!

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

Isaiah 52:7

How to Stay Present in Peace

I like to call this time of isolation: a forced time of introspection. Whether you like it or not staying present is mandatory. When we are busy we like to say, “we have no time” and when we have loads of time we like to say, “we wish we were busy”. The point is we aren’t good at staying present because we don’t have any peace. So let’s learn how to stay present by receiving God’s peace.

Oh boy, what is peace? How do we get peace? I want peace! Simply put peace is a blessing from God, and it’s in His nature to give us peace. Its readily available to all who call upon Him.

Okay, so how does this work? Well first lets accept introspection – “the examination of our own mental and emotional state” and name the burden that is preventing peace.

Second, let’s look at these three verses that teach us how to have peace:

1. Name your burden and give it to Jesus


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30
The illustration of a “yoke” refers to: “a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to the plow or cart that they are to pull.”

Our “yoke” can feel like a heavy plow or cart weighing us down and instead of moving it forward we stay stuck.

I have misread this verse for a long time

I used to think Jesus meant He will take off our heavy load so we don’t carry anything. Assuming that whatever was causing me burdens would leave entirely. But it says, “take my yoke upon you” – so we still have a load to carry. This is more encouraging because its realistic. We all have responsibility in our day which simply cannot just stop – we all have loads to carry. However it doesn’t need to be a burden, God says, “come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”. How? “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me… for I am gentle and humble in heart”. We are to come to Christ in confidence that He will help us because he is “gentle and humble in heart”. God is approachable!

How to stay present in peace… we learn from Christ

“Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did” (1 John 2:6). Walk in the way in which Jesus walked which is doing what pleases the Lord. The peace is in the knowing my Father God. He has the best for me so it’s in Him where I will find it. So I gladly take upon His yoke which is easy and light because He is good and wants good for me. Spending time reading my Bible gives me peace because it’s a daily reminder of how much He loves me.

Practically speaking

For me staying present in peace looks like focusing on the blessing rather than the burden. For example, my husband working shift work. Everyday I only get half days with him and sometimes when the weekend comes this is a burden because I want a full family day not just half. However, the blessing is he has a great job and provides well for our family. So I focus on the gifts God gave me rather than what I do not have. This takes discipline to practice daily.

2. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you


Come near to God and he will come near to you.

James 4:8

Avoiding our burdens by distracting ourselves with anything other than God will not bring us closer to peace. Spending time in prayer helps to refocus our hearts and mind back onto His. So, if in doubt pray it out… (oooo did I just make a snappy saying?!?).

3. Do not worry about tomorrow


Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:34

Until we are with Jesus Himself, in heaven, we will always be working towards something here on earth. I know I can get bogged down with a mentality of a “finish line” assuming success is something concrete. But success is making the most of TODAY – a constant state of progress. Humbling ourselves before the Lord so we can have His joy and His peace to guide our thoughts and actions of today. Its all about taking action in the right direction and maximizing the time we have, now! Jesus said it himself, do not worry about tomorrow. So we learn from His words and do as it says because its meant for our own good.

Jesus, I pray that you would change our perspective. Help us to look to you so we can receive your atmosphere of peace as we learn to stay present.