Citizen of Heaven

Scripture Reference: Phillippians 1:27-29, 2:14-15

Who can count how many people joined in on your latest pity party? Who came to your latest anxiety fulled rage fest?  Last time I checked, my attendance was one person: just me. And that pile of soggy tissues.  I don’t blame anyone because I don’t enjoy my own company when I’m like this. Not even Christ, who loves me, wants to go my rage-ing pity parties. He stops in to inform me my heavenly shine is diming and my grumbling is not a good use of my time (Philippians 2:14). Then He leaves to prepare a future I can’t see through my rage, tears, and sadness.

Taking action will better serve anyone who is wallowing excessively in their misery. My advice: walk until the pain in your shoes shines brighter than your problem. Next, sit down to figure out a plan. We have been given a responsibility to be ambassadors for Christ, not to present how defeated we are. How does that benefit anyone? Christ gives us all power to face every challenge in our lives if we participate.

Real talk though, I have a hard time standing up. I have a tendency to cuddle up with my anxiety next to a warm fire and come up with reasons to never make a move. Solid logical reasons. No one can douse the cozy fire or take away the familiar comfort of hot cholate except me. I have been given responsibility to have responsibility for myself. No one else. If I don’t do that I can’t impact my circle of influence because I’m hiding behind earthly logic to never move. I trap myself in anxiety always jumping at shadows instead of banishing them.

We cry out for excitement. Adventure. Safe adventure and safe excitement. Christ promises us both but not the safe kind. He promises the ride of a lifetime filled with a holy, heavenly suffering.  He put up with more pain, hatred, contempt than most of us will ever experience. But its who He is that sheds light on how much of a privilege it is that we are chosen. He is the Christ that rose from the grave so suffering will end one day.  He rose so suffering will cease to harm anyone on any level.

If you will, I ask you to join me in canceling that next pity party to instead take a walk. To make a plan and embrace the unsafe adventure Christ has prepared for us. Accepting responsibility for yourself and your actions, emotions, and past pity parties. Take a step in participating, in rejoicing when all we want to do is cry. Walking out our love of Christ instead of talking about it with our anxiety next to a cozy fire. 

Most importantly, see past ourselves and see the big bad world for what it is and what it could be. Christ plan will defy our logic but go with it, Christ won’t let us drown in questions or make our suffering amount to nothing.

Blessing, Peace, and Love,

Randa:)

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Mindsets Make the Difference

Scripture reference: Romans 8:5-7

Out mindset is like a filter we put on photos: they color a situation in a good or bad light. We can see a situation in sepia or in full color. Maybe we see an event in our lives as a photo negative filter. All these “filters” make up the photo album of our lives and give us a great tool to make adjustments in the direction we’re headed. Warn us on a dangerous path we weren’t aware we were on. Even better, changing our path is easy as one simple act a day.

Where to Start?

  We must see with as much clarity as possible the path we’re on and try to identify what got us here- what motive drove us. In my life I get tired of waiting and, as I put it, take stabs in the dark when it comes to decisions. The paths I’ve taken weren’t bad but still gave me quite a mental/spiritual sucker punch. I was left feeling more lost than before. Take time to evaluate where you are if you’re not happy because it’s not too late.

We are able to turn around! Christ will not leave us to wander off with no plan to rope us back in if we are willing to admit we don’t know everything.  It is freeing to think we don’t have to know everything. Think about it, our heavenly father arranges the details we can’t see and all we have to do is put in the work to show up, be willing go out of our comfort zone.  Be willing to master what God has given us.

Daily assignments

Whittling down a to-do list, personal and professional, is just an autopilot experience for most us. To give us strength for our daily grind, God, in His great mercy, gives us our daily bread. He gives to us daily assignments so the journey, though a long one, is broken down into doable steps. While we may not reach our destinations this minute, this week, this month, or this year, we are working toward our goal. 

As we pray/meditate: let’s not just hear what God is saying, let’s decide how we are going to complete the small, daily assignment God has given us. For me, I’m going to study and practice how to make writing these posts more interesting. Practice writing more clearly with a clear theme and intention.

What small step will you take today? 

Blessing and Peace—Randa 🙂 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take Off Your Rose Colored Glasses

Scripture reference: Romans 7: 14-25 (CSB translation)

January of 2018, I didn’t make any resolutions. I didn’t make any plans or map out goals on how I was going to champion 2018 instead, I made myself a promise. A promise to not lie about anything regarding who I am or how I feel.  Lies, even white lies, are heralds of disaster as the long game is impossible to predict. Lying is against my moral compass, as a believer in Christ but of course, that compass is held by a very human hand. Mistakes are made, but it’s how I recover by removing the rose-colored glasses to keeping me blinded to changes I must make. 

Thinking positive is a hoax fed to us by so many that the real culprit is never going to be found. While I’m not against being happy or clinging to a gold nugget of joy, I don’t see how crushing my feelings in a box painted with “the best is yet to come”, peace signs’, and yellow smiling faces are going to make any of us feel better. Happier. Embracing our struggles is not giving up and wallowing in the past defeats. It’s a step in living a life that can impact our world. We remove our blinders going forth into a world full of people who are still blind.  Paul writes to us in Romans with a perfect example of what I’m trying to say.

Verses 22-23, “For in my inner self I delight in God’s law, but I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body.” Here, Paul is being honest with himself about his struggle as a follower of Christ, not painting his struggle with a happy shiny lie and a smiling face.  Once we’ve stopped lying to ourselves we can see the problem a clearer now that our pain isn’t dressed up in a pink tutu. It’s then “by the spirit we put to death the deeds of the body” we can live an authentic joy filed life.  We see where our challenges are and how much we need God to lead us.

Blessing and Peace :),

Randa

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No More Lonely People

We know what it feels like to be crushingly alone. Maybe if you’re like me being alone, as a choice, is your preferred way to spend time. Yet, when you’re forced to be alone even God seems to be miles away.  We then meet and make “friends” with Loneliness.  As Loneliness settles into various cracks and corners of our minds we sink deeper into the abyss with the surface fading fast.  This is the time to remember Christ is our eternal friend, who “sticks closer than a brother”. Christ can seem distant based on our feelings, but feelings aren’t absolute truth. 

Harsh as the above statement is when walking through loneliness, we need to hear it. Feelings are changeable. So how do we change how we feel? Change out routine for starters. Visualize loneliness as a starving, ravenously hungry monster just released from prison. To gather strength, it eats comfort food, easy to find comfort food (ex. the reasons why we’re lonely). Changing our thoughts isn’t what I’m talking about. I mean to take physical action to continue to starve our loneliness further beginning the process of freedom.

Ways to starve the “monster”:

  • Put down the phone.

Studies have shown social media increases a discontent in our lives. We don’t think about our browsing others’ lives deep enough until we look at our own page. We don’t have the smiling group, amazing cruise photo’s, our kids aren’t winning trophies like that etc. It has become routine for us to live in a digital backyard gazing longingly into the windows of other people. So, put down your phone and take a walk. Science has proven walking increase feel-good hormones.

  • Satisfy your curiosity.

All this method takes is a car, maybe coffee/tea if you’re tired, and the library. What has you curious, what have you always wanted to know more about? Distract yourself constructively while learning about what modern décor goes best with your star sign, how to defend your relationship to Christ, how to meal plan food with flavor, or how to draw 3D art. The world is your oyster!  

  • Volunteer

There are many causes needing (wo)man power to make the difference. Giving money is a start, but it’s a soul-lifting feeling to hands-on see what your hard work creates. If you attend church I can guarantee one ministry or another needs help. If you just donate some items and pass them out at outreach event you claimed a victory over the “monster”.

  • Take yourself on a date!

Is a concert coming up? A new restaurant you’ve wanted to try? Go do those things! You are an amazing person so don’t wait for someone else to tell you that! Treat yourself has become meme worthy, trivializing it, but take back what it means to love yourself and do what makes you happy! If eating alone is scary, order takeout from that new restaurant and sit in the park listening to a podcast (I suggest Rabbits).

My hope is this post is some help to those who are feeling lonely today. Know Christ is ever present and a whisper away. Take a chance today because you are awesome- I mean that.

We need better Answers

Reading Forensic Faith by J. Warner Wallace lately, I’ve realized while I love Jesus I can’t defend my relationship to others in a transformative way. In a way that will impact their souls. On Forensic Faith’s website, a test asks you how you would respond to each question. You have 21 minutes to answer them.

Here are the questions:

  1. Why are you a Christian?
  2. What evidence do you have to believe God exist?
  3. Why do you trust what the Bible has to say about Jesus?
  4. Why would God send people to hell just because they don’t believe in Jesus?
  5. If God is all loving and all powerful, why is there so much evil in the world?
  6. If God is the creator of everything, who created God?
  7. Why would a loving God command the total destruction of all Israel’s enemies (including their children and livestock)?

I haven’t taken the test. I’m scared of my answers and I know I can’t answer them as I want to. Worst of all, those who don’t know Christ can better answer why they don’t believe, why they’re gay, why they think the government is out to get them, why aliens exist, and how science is the only “god” they trust. Even worse, I envy those who can stand up and make powerful leaders in my world follow them because they can answer why! Evidence, fake or not, is making a bigger impact than most followers of Christ. I want to change that.

How would you answer the above questions? Let me know in the comments or just share how you struggle as well to defend your faith in Christ. I want to show my love for Christ in this world. To sum up my point Mr. Wallace says it best, “We need better answers”.

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Enjoy the Journey, not the destination.

Practicing yoga is a fantastic method to blast away emotional barriers you’ve been experiencing. I love to focus on a few poses or just one that I want improve on. Like comparison for example. By breaking down the pose into various aspects I find a meditative state. Peace even.  Just like a yoga pose, we can get stuck on the end result, not the amazing progress we’re making. Seeing the big picture (or the full pose) can turn your dream into a nightmare.

Quotes like, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” while classic can make us look too far ahead. Enjoying our process and all those steps in between stop being fun. Moments throughout our journeys get lost, moments that shed light on the dark and the light side of who we are. Frankly, forgetting the miles from point A to point B is a sad way to approach our goals. Why not allow each pain, victory, and learning moment show us we are more than the box we put ourselves in?  

God has no limit and as His creation, we are truly limitless. He doesn’t leave us to walk our journey alone but guides us so we don’t lose our way. Trust in Him- walking with Christ will make sure we aren’t bored by the unique path we all walk.  

Journey meditation ( Nothing fancy)

 Connect with where you are in your journey. Don’t compare or judge yourself. Just appreciate the victories, many personal revelations, and challenges you’ve overcome. Imagine yourself on a  forest path if it helps to center you.

The Saviour you need, not the Saviour you want

Christ has risen giving us victory over death today. Because of Christ sacrifice, we are given eternal life and a million second chances. While many of us know these basic facts, how many of us are readily available to admit God’s way is right in face of temptations we face and when our plans are frustrated? I know I need a lot of help in admitting Gods right only because I get what I need from God confused with what I want from God.

What we want and what we need are vastly different. This contrast is heavily seen when it comes to our prayer life.  Praying without ceasing can become ineffective if we treat our prayer time as rubbing a genie’s lamp. God is not granting wishes, He’s transforming us into His holy likeness which means we are denied the easy way every time. Praying for strength in our spiritual character means we will face situations to practice a skill we don’t possess.  

Think of it this way, we don’t grow when life is easy or when we get everything we want. Influences of the world around us make it harder because easy has become the goal for daily life. Easy commutes, easy ways to pay, easy ways to search… the list continues. As followers of Christ, we are called to a higher standard of living. We walk a narrow path that cleaves the unnecessary dead weight we don’t need to make room for the great blessings God has promised His people if they will abandon their way of life to following His footsteps.

Daily Challenge: Read the passages you do read normally, but read them as they are with no devotional tone. Allow the scripture to reveal who Christ really, not who you’ve been told He is or think He is. Or how you wish He were. Meditate and pray for God to reveal Himself to you.

Blessings and Peace :)- Randa!