Proving God’s Goodness

Monday was the day! We officially have gotten rid of all the junk! After a few days of transition (replacing all the traditional American diet stuff to whole food plant based – WFPB – items) we finally said, “Ok, let’s jump!”
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It really was not scary because God has given us both confidence in our new journey. We both watched the show, Forks Over Knives, on Netflix and heard some very disheartening information but also some encouraging news. So afterward we both came to an agreement, we needed to make a change. Making that decision together is half the battle in a home. My husband and I are determined, of course. I began to pray about the best course of action and low and behold God gave me a verse in my bible study the day after we made the decision. To me, it meant God’s final nod to me that we are walking in the right direction. It seemed to be an answer to a prayer I prayed weeks ago, “Lord, make me a clean and pure vessel for your service.” He almost always speaks through his word.
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly;
and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Thessalonians 5:23
Do you see ‘sanctify you wholly’ and ‘whole spirit and soul and body be preserved?’ Watching the show Forks Over Knives seemed kind of random at the time but it made clear to me what I had been learning for some time through the scripture. It nagged me, the connection between food and man.  The numerous diets programs, the different messages coming from different health organizations and the habits we formed from childhood led to so much confusion as to what we should be doing.
The bible states so plainly, we are God’s creation. In Genesis, before the fall, mankind was eating the whole food plant-based diet. And after the fall we immediately started to decay, to die. We became meat-eating humans which meant animals would die to satiate our hunger and our comfort. I know the theology of it. The first animal dying, the first blood sacrifice for the covering of sin, the animal skin covering Adam and Eve which is way more than I want to go into. Suffice it to say, the message all connected in my body, spirit, and soul. There had to be a connection to the diet after the fall and the diseases that have crept into our everyday lives.
And let me say first nothing is random in God’s time and secondly, I am not going to lecture about the inhumanity of killing animals or the effects on our environment from raising and processing animal fat and meats (that may be for another day). It is not the reason we decided to do what we are doing as far as our diet goes. The main reason is for the health! We are sick of taking medications and being overweight and lacking energy! We do not take near the medications that our parents do, nor some of our friends and family, but if there is a way to not take them at all and it has to do with changing our diets then we are willing to try.
The money spent on doctor visits, medications, and hospital stays are so astronomical not to mention the danger of it all. If you could avoid all of that, wouldn’t you want to try???? I watched both of my parents go through heart surgeries and complications. Being connected to machines, depending on humans to know what they are doing and to do it in the right way. Sometimes guessing at what might be the matter. To see them both struggle with breathing, wearing oxygen masks to get through the day. That is not what I want for myself or my husband. Heart disease runs in my family and so does diabetes so why wouldn’t I do better for myself and my family? I know things happen that are beyond our control but most of our health is within our control. Our daily choices, to get informed and get off our butts, make some changes in planning, prepping and shopping.  From all the information I have read and studied so far it is proven that it can be done and done well. To the benefit of all.
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Another thought inspired by God’s Word is from one of my favorite verses in the bible and one I truly attempt to live out on a daily basis is Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
During my study of the books of Thessalonians these past few weeks, I was struck by the fact that Paul often repeats himself when making a point. I found a repeated thought in his letter to the Thessalonians, Chapter 5 verse 21 ‘prove all good things; hold fast that which is good.’ Here he is telling us to prove something is good as he told us in Romans to prove that which is good. Christianity is about living out the Word of God, living out what Jesus lived out when walking on earth. He was proving God’s goodness, proving God’s ways are good and His ways will work if applied, He was proving God.
When we walk, act out and/or do God’s Word by applying His principles, we are proving to the world, as Jesus did, His ways are good, His ways work and thereby prove God’s love. Afterall love is not just a mushy feeling one feels, it is action. You can hear Paul pleading with believers in Romans 12: 1-2,  (paraphrased) ” I am begging you to give of yourself, your whole body, spirit, and soul, to God. Which is the right thing to do and if you keep yourself separate from the world in body, spirit, and soul you will prove the goodness and the ways of God”
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So you see how it all fits together? Praying and asking God to forgive you of your sins and save you from hell brings you to salvation. Praying and asking God to make you a vessel fit for service brings you to emptying yourself out to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Praying and asking God to make you healthy brings you to make choices about what you put into your body. When we pray for God’s direction we need to be able to watch and wait, while actively seeking and moving forward in what He already tells us to do. We pray, ask and take action.
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 29:13
I have heard friends say to me, “I am not sure what God wants me to do. I am waiting but not sure which direction He wants me to go in.” And then they literally just wait for God to magically put up a door that says “walk through here.” I kind of believed that at one time. But it has been my experience that when we take steps of faith toward something we desire or something we believe God is telling us to pursue, He will either close the door of opportunity or open the door opportunity. He will make it clear one way or the other.
If we sit and wait, how will we find the doors if we are not going out there looking for them? God’s Word tells us to seek and then it tells us we will find. You can’t find anything sitting and waiting. There must be action.
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This seeking and knocking can be disappointing or exciting depending on what it is you believe God is saying. And that, my friend, is where praying in faith comes in. You pray and BELIEVE God wants His very best for you so you trust whatever door He opens for you! And remember sometimes He has to bring many things together before we even get to the door. Yes, it may take some time. But never stop seeking! Because that door may just be around the next corner!

A hole I can not fill….

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I will tell you these past few weeks have been more than a challenge to my heart and mind, to my motherhood.  I hesitate to write these words but feel that if I don’t put something down I can’t sort it all out.  The enemy is hard at work trying to confuse the issues and scramble the picture.  I know this, which is a good thing, I am one step ahead toward victory.  I have spent so much time on my knees, in tears, begging God for several things.  I try to stay on point with Him.  I try to pray in His will, for His will and His glory.  Through me!  I trust Him so much that I keep going to Him with the same prayers.  Just as the woman did in Matthew 15:22.  (My pastor preached on this verse on Mother’s Day, confirming my faith in being persistence with the Lord concerning my children) 

What is different about these prayers is that when I pray, I pray with urgency, desperation for God to move on the behalf of my children.  I am convicted with the words that come from the depths of my soul.  Convicted to confess my helplessness, my inability to handle what may be simple to some.  I know the verse “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he shall not depart from it.”  What happens in between?  Between childhood and old?  The many things in the world vying for attention in their lives, the holes in their lives left by others, even perhaps me.  The woman in Matthew did not quit, she did not back down.  I am at that point in my prayers.  I can not back down.  I am wondering how long it was until she went to Jesus.  How long had she gone through the worst of it?  What did she do on the days that she was overwhelmed and weak with despair of the circumstances?  What hope did she have before she heard of the miracle worker, the Jesus that saves?  Was the rumor of what He could do the very answer to her prayers?

I remember the very first time I prayed for my children after getting saved.  I prayed that each one would come to know Christ as their personal savior, I prayed that they would grow up and serve Him.  I dedicated each one to the Lord.  I have to admit when I prayed those prayers and gave them to God I had no idea what lay ahead. Even if I did I would have done the same. I had no doubt that what I prayed would somehow be manifested.  I look back over these years with my kids and can only see how even my best efforts were not often good enough.  I see now that the work being done in their hearts was that of the Holy Spirit not mine. And sometimes out of ignorance, I hindered that work.  For instance, I seem to be able only to see faults, mine and theirs.  I do see the good things, the gifts that God has given to them, to all of us, and I truly am grateful for them…but I keep going back to the faults.  I admit that as a single mother it is hard, so very hard to be objective.  Maybe it is because I am a woman…too emotional, too sensitive and too soft.  I believe that is why God meant for a man and a woman to raise children together.  To bring balance to parenting.

How do I bring balance to my home?  I don’t know the answer to that one. How do I fill the place of the man in my home?  I don’t know the answer to that one either.  So many good opportunities for my kids have slipped away through time.  For them to know what a father would and could bring to their lives.  I know that God says in His word that He will be a father to the fatherless.  But I have to be honest here, this is one place I do not see that in their lives.  And I am losing this battle.  Trying to fill a hole I can not fill.  Not one of my children, all four, do not know their fathers well enough to know what that relationship with God should be like.  What do I do about that?  I pray, I cry and I beg God for that answer!

This is not a lack of faith asking these questions.  It is real life battle that I and probably thousands of other single parents are facing everyday.  I know He is sovereign.  I know God works all things together for good.  I know He loves my children more than I could ever possibly hope to. I can tell you that I knowGod is working.  What exactly He is doing, I can not tell you.  My heart hurts, I can not lie, but there is a piece of it that hopes!  

And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety. Job 11:18

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