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.
whole foods
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!

Ready or not….

road and sunsetI know it is late but I just wanted to share a thought and a prayer I been praying. I am still dreaming the dream, God knows what it is! (will share more later)  I have prayed and asked Him to stir my heart and awaken my soul.  To show me the next step in my walk with Him.  This season of my life has not been full of turmoil and stress as the past has been but it has been one of restlessness.  I believe God is wanting to make changes within me, to clean out the cobwebs of the past to make room for a new story in my future.

These past few years have been about transition.  The transition from a single mother to a married woman, to a married ‘couple’ again.  I had not really thought much about what that was going to look like when I embarked on remarrying my 1st husband.  I was very caught up in the story God had presented in the form of restoration and healing within our family.  So now I have had time to settle in, reflect and catch my breath.

The restlessness that has slipped into my heart and mind have left me at a loss of identity.  My husband travels sometimes for his job.  In being separated from him I find I am at a loss for direction and focus.  In discussing this with a close friend who has also remarried after having been a single mother for many years, we both have determined that in the two years we have been remarried our husbands have managed to untangle us from the  independent, self-sufficient, organized women-on-a-mission selves that we used to be.

How is that even possible? Make no mistake I am not complaining, it is a good thing.  A good thing to be a help-mate, one with another soul and a partner in all sorts of fun adventures.  God has given me the gift of loving another person completely and having that given back to me in return.  He has allowed me the privilege of watching my husband grow in the Lord.  Most importantly allowed me another chance of showing the love of Christ, through my marriage, to my children.  Even though three of the four are grown and living their adult lives, it is NEVER too late!!!

So imagine my concern when I can not seem to focus or find the direction I need to be going in with my Lord.  I know it is as simple as trusting in Him.  Seeking Him in prayer and waiting on Him.  And I am doing that albeit the restlessness.  So far I believe He wants me to make some changes starting in the month of November.

1) Finding balance in my thought life –  Romans 12:1-2 has always been one of my favorite verses and it often comes to my mind when I struggle with my thought life.   But balance?  What does that actually mean?  I believe it means that we can often place too much value or emphasis on what we are thinking.  For instance, there was a time when I first became a Christian that I was learning about the enemy and demonic activity. I was learning many scriptures and listening to many preachers who ‘specialized’ in the subject.  I found over time that I was beginning to see demons behind every rock, every conversation and every action of others.  I myself was becoming fearful and legalistic in my prayers and words. God had shown me at the time that while it is important to understand the enemy and how he works we are not focus on him.  We are to focus on Christ and be aware of our enemy.  We are to trust Christ and stand in faith and take Christ at His word.  People can believe in God but not believe Him.  Believing in God is just the first step to liberty.  True liberty is when we believe what God says is absolutely true and then walk in that truth.  When I realized my thought life was skewed I began seeking the truth in God’s word and godly counsel.  In a short time I was back in balance.  By bringing my focus back to Christ I, again was walking in peace and liberty with my Lord.

2) Seek God’s direction in the dream I am dreaming – Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” another verse that I have practically ate and slept with many times is Proverbs 3:5-6  “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”  I have always loved the fact that God put an ‘s’ on the word path, meaning He is multi-tasking on our behalf.  So yes, I am dreaming a dream. One I have had for many years but now is becoming more vivid.  I know it is in front of me but I also know that God has not given permission to move forward, so I wait on Him.  It is a matter of His time!

3) Surrender my body and will to God – wow, this is a big one.  You may think you know what this means by reading it but believe me it entails quite a bit of hard work.  Weight loss and health.  I know what I need to do but my legs and mind are not cooperating.  God convicts me and shows me where I must make the change.  I have made attempts but I have to admit they are half-hearted.  God will not stand for this long, I am sure.  He loves me too much to let me just ignore this.

So this is where I am.  Standing here with eyes looking up. “God you know I love you, I believe you and I really want your power on my life.” All the while I am thinking, I know what this is gonna mean.  More surrender, more trust and more lessons.  Those of you who have followed my journey on here know I have come a long way and have seen God do some great things.  I can not even begin to tell you how overwhelming it is to know the God of the universe has already given me soooo much!   This blog is where the dream started and as usual, I can not imagine what He has in store.  I can imagine it won’t be anything I am able to do without Him.  So here goes nothing….

“God, I am ready.”

Stay tuned!

grace to you,

shell

It’s God’s Move

I have been having these memories lately about my years as a young mother and even some from my childhood.  They are random but somehow related and I am not exactly sure what I am supposed to do with them.  They seem to be moments in time where the direction of my life changed significantly due to a decision I made.  They say that the devil uses your past failures or sins to discourage you, to taunt you or cause you to be defeated.  But I think the devil gets way to much credit for things that may be of God.

It is of my personal opinion that God may use our past to show us something about the current state of our heart.  When God is ready to deal with an area in our life I believe He may start with a memory.  The Holy Spirit may bring it to mind, showing it to our inward self much like a slide show.  There may be no real trigger to the memory it may just be God’s timing.  His time for us to sort through an experience or decision made that led to a turning in the road, a turning that changed our lives forever.

He does not condemn us but may want to teach us truth, truth about ourselves, our heart and its motives. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)  Yes, sometimes, there is pain involved or guilt perhaps because we did not face the truth back then.  But for the most part there is freedom in looking at it and asking God, “What do I do with this?”  Seeking His wisdom or healing in it.

While Paul speaks of forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth to the prize of the high calling, I think there are times in our lives that God uses our past choices as lessons to transform and conform us into His image.  David says to God, Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties;”(Psalm 139:23)  He already knows everything we have said and done in our lives and the moment we become a child of God He begins to transform us.  While our past sins are forgiven, often the past consequences continue to be evident in our lives, as well as the current blessings of a relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Every decision I made I made consciously but not always in wisdom.  Much like a beginner chess player I did not look ahead at every possible move that could have put my ‘piece’ or my family in jeopardy.  You know the choices we make in the past are never really at rest until we find God’s grace in them.  I have struggled so much with choices I made for my children through-out the last ten years and at times the pain goes so deep.  When I find His grace in it I am reminded that it isn’t about me at all, it is about what He does with our choices, good or bad, for His purpose. 

Gods’ word says “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) so we should not fear or be anxious about those past decisions.  We should just believe that He will do what He says He will do.  He will use “all things” to transform us into His image.  How it all works I have not a clue, why there is pain involved I do not know but I do know that in trusting Him I find the grace and mercy of His peace.

The older I get the more I often wish I had known Him at a younger age.  I wonder what my life would have been like had I known His ways before I chose my ways.  I do know more now then when I first accepted Christ as my Savior that He is sovereign and even though He chose me before the foundation of the earth it was still up to me to choose Him.  He gave me that free will.  He gives it to me every single day, to choose His ways over mine.  One of my favorite passages in God’s word is Romans 12:1-2 because I believe it is pivotal to what God wants to do in and through me. 

“I beseech ye therefore brethren, to preset your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God.”

“O’ God, give me the wisdom and discernment to see the temptations before me, to apply the truth of your word before I choose so that my decisions glorify you, Amen.”