Spiritual Growth

Are you REALLY Better than a Mass Murderer?

There’s a woman who wrote a post I was semi-aware of this Summer, but didn’t want to dig deeper into thinking about (because it was ugly). I’d literally just had a baby when I first skimmed her post – and I could only skim it because it was that disturbing to read and think about too much.  Here is the post.  In it she tries to get the reader to feel guilty for judging a child molester every time we hear the sordid details come out about how they harmed or killed an innocent child.  Yes, you just read that.  She tries to make the reader feel guilt for judging a person who delights in harming innocent children…. (CONTINUE READING)

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How Do You Deal w/ a Critical Christian?

This is another idea that is fascinating to me… that a Christian would continually give themselves over to being critical, nit-picky, or sarcastic (which means using humor to try to partially cover up the sting of their criticism).  A critical-spirit Christian, just like a “grouchy Christian,” is a walking oxymoron!  No Christian should allow themselves to be critical, sarcastic, or grouchy toward others, because by definition, those behaviors are behaviors of the flesh, and are no way representing Christ to the world.

But what about the benign Christians who are always critical and try to be humorous about it, and genuinely see nothing wrong with their hidden contempt? … (CONTINUE READING)

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How Do You Deal w/ Romans 14 Violators?

So obviously this is a spiritual topic I’ve thought of on-and-off again over the years.  It’s very interesting to me, to see Christian people sin without being awake to their own actions.  In different ways, they cover up their sins, lie to themselves about their sins, or blatantly accuse others of doing exactly what they’re doing.  Romans 14 violators are the “divisive” people of Christianity.

You could put it all under one big umbrella of human (sin) nature, I believe.  None of us are without it, every one of us have probably at some point, been a Romans 14 violator; even when we are trying to be good and righteous, sometimes we are actually harboring sinful motivations we may not even be aware of…. (CONTINUE READING)

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Criticism & Being a Stumbling Block

stumbling block2A couple of years ago, one of my mentors told me that you’re never more tempted to sin, than when you’ve been sinned against.  I think it makes a good quote deserving of all caps… YOU’RE NEVER MORE TEMPTED TO SIN, THAN WHEN YOU’VE BEEN SINNED AGAINST.  I went to her after I had gone through a time when I was being criticized by a woman running a gossip/slander blog that has now since become private.  Every post I made, this woman found a way to turn it into something to mock… right down to attacking my husband and children.  Other women, even Christian ones I looked up to previously, jumped in on the mocking and gossip, and it was weird to see that even the supposedly Christian ones were doing this.  It lasted for a good half a year before I confronted her at her blog source, only to have the confrontation end in more pain and frustration…. (CONTINUE READING)

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Trusting God

The past couple of years have been hard emotionally.  I haven’t wanted to write about any of it really, because I usually want to try to learn something – or at least understand it – before writing about it.  I think it was Hemingway who said “Never write about something until you’re through it.”  Well, what if it doesn’t have a clear “end?”  What if you still haven’t learned anything profound from it?  What if you’re never really “through” it?

Losing my dad has been so horrible.  I don’t write about it, but I think about it often…. (CONTINUE READING)

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Spiritually Preparing for Childbirth

spiritual childbirthI finally found what I was looking for to help with understanding the spiritual side of pregnancy and giving birth.  I’d been feeling frustrated with the difficulty of this pregnancy, as my last was very easy and I didn’t have pelvic, cervical, or inner c-section scar pain.  It may just be that my uterus is not very good at carrying babies.  And then I felt frustrated that I even felt frustrated when it isn’t really that bad.  I knew deep down that feeling frustrated or dwelling on all these feelings wasn’t going to help anything – in fact, I think it only increased my stress and gave me fear about dying – something I thought wasn’t normal, but it seems like quite a few women feel this way when you talk to them…. (CONTINUE READING)

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Deeper Look Into Envy & Social Media

This is a really interesting topic to me, and I considered titling this post “Women prone to the sin of envy need to stay off social media.”  It wasn’t meant to be a command or anything, just merely an observation which even female Christian leaders and teachers are coming to admit is becoming necessary.  You won’t hear them come out and say it so directly, they’ll usually just advise a woman to take a break from social media or not spend too much time on it, but it’s becoming more and more obvious that even modern women in church leadership are now recommending it for the mental health of the women who become dissatisfied with facebook or instagram (or blogs, etc.).  Even with staying off of social media however, women with this particular sin still have to do some major heart-work & self-evaluation to keep the envy from creeping into their real life interactions…. (CONTINUE READING)

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This is the True Joy in Life

This is the true joy in life,

the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.

The being thoroughly worn out before you’re thrown on the scrap heap,

The being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy…. (CONTINUE READING)

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The Truth About Venting (Why it’s BAD!)

This blog is kind of on standby, it always seems to get that way when I’m pregnant 🙂 but I still like to post updates or fun posts just to have them here.  Enjoying the pregnancy of our little girl, playing with my kids and doing life as well as writing, has kind of taken priority for now.  Life is hard at times, but then again it is so beautiful!

This article on venting being BAD for you made a lot of sense to me in thinking about how we handle emotions or reactions to people who annoy or offend us…. (CONTINUE READING)

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How Can We Know We Have Truly Consecrated Ourselves To Him?

In January, I embarked on a journey to read a few enlightening books on past Christians’ spiritual thoughts and books on spiritual journeys.  One such book was Stepping Heavenward, by Mrs. E. Prentiss, a book that is written in a journal style following a 16 year old girl’s spiritual journey into womanhood, and finally, old age.  It was such a fascinating little book, with a multitude of great timeless lessons to learn regarding faithmarriage, and the role of a wife and mother.

It was like a breath of fresh air to dive into this timeless wisdom written in the 1800’s. (CONTINUE READING)

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Undaunted Radiance

Paul says this is the reason we are more than conquerers in all these things, super-victors, with a joy we would not have, but for the very thing which look as if they are going to overwhelm us.

The surf that distresses the ordinary swimmer produces in the surf-rider the super-joy of going clean through it.  Apply that to our own circumstances, these very things – tribulation, distress, persecution, produce in us the super-joy; they are not things to fight.

We are more than conquerors through Him in all these things, not in spite of them, but in the midst of them.  The saint never knows the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it – “I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation,” says Paul.

Undaunted radiance is not built on anything passing, but on the love of God that nothing can alter…. (CONTINUE READING)

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Called of God by Oswald Chambers

God did not address the call to Isaiah; Isaiah overheard God saying, “Who will go for us?”  The call of God is not for the special few, it is for everyone.  Whether or not I hear God’s call depends upon the state of my ears; and what I hear depends upon my disposition.

“Many are called but few are chosen,” that is, few prove themselves the chosen ones.  The chosen ones are those who have come into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ whereby their disposition has been altered and their ears unstopped, and they hear the still small voice questioning all the time, “Who will go for us?”  It is not a question of God singling out a man and saying, “Now yougo.” God did not lay a strong compulsion on Isaiah; Isaiah was in the presence of God and he overheard the call, and realized that there was nothing else for him but to say, in conscious freedom, “Here I am, send me.”… (CONTINUE READING)

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Great Christians Intentionally Do Great Things

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I’ve had a chance to listen to a few sermons from Chip Ingram, a man I used to listen to on my morning drive to work everyday in the car – boy do I ever miss the way he’d show me God’s character in such depth!  Listening to his voice is like hearing an old friend.  He’s recently had a series about Great Christians and specific things they do.  It’s not intended to be legalistic rules or anything, but to give you ideas if you’re serious about deepening your walk with God in this life.

One of the things he’s talked about that great Christians do, is they make great sacrifices.  He gave an example of a couple that were in China, who were doing the dangerous work of spreading the gospel there.  They were found out and the authorities came to their home asking who was the pastor – it was common there to have women actually be pastors.  The wife told them she was the pastor so that her husband (the real pastor) would be spared.  They took her, beat her, and imprisoned her… (CONTINUE READING)

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When You Doubt that God Can Use You

Like I’ve written before, this past few months and year has been quite a spiritual journey for me.  I’ve been faced with many lessons, many of my own faults and shortcomings, and with concrete truths that I had started doubting about God and what He can do.

One of things that was brought up was whether or not God could use a person.  Up until the past few months, having grown up in a Christian church and Christian school for many years, I firmly believed that God could and did use whoever He desired to use.  We were taught that anyone could be used from a young age, and taught that if we let Him, … (CONTINUE READING)

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Staying Focus: They Will Be Known For Their Love (Part 5)

The past few months, maybe even this past year, has been quite a journey for me spiritually.  I’ve been convicted, in August/September of this year, of not focusing on what God wanted me to focus on, of continually getting too easily distracted, or using the time God’s given me unwisely or at the very least, not maximizing its potential to do what I should be doing for Him.  Since that time, I’ve implemented many changes in my life.  It’s been such an amazing, beautiful journey.

And since I was starting a basic journal, almost a daily diary of sorts, to track my emotions/moods as I knew I was grieving a loss and wanted it not to unknowingly affect me,… (CONTINUE READING)

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Staying Focus: Having Joy in Spite Of (Part 4)

This week, we’ve been learning how to practice having joy in spite of difficult or less than desirable circumstances.  This journey over the past few months has truly grown me and stretched me, to where I’m not even the same person I was a few months ago.  I’ve heard so many messages now on what God was pressing on my heart – Staying Focus – and so many gifts of wisdom from people in my life on how to respond in better, more Christ-like ways to attacks and accusations.

I don’t retaliate anymore when I’m tempted to.  I don’t try to fight back in ways that only make matters worse.  I don’t give in to feeling ashamed when Satan uses people to bring up my past failures, things I’ve already apologized for and reconciled with them about… (CONTINUE READING)

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Staying Focus – An Unexpected Sermon Series (Part 3)

After a month of feeling God tell me to stay focus, an unexpected sermon series came on during the time I would listen to the radio to go pickup my son, the notes are in this post,

“-God is transforming me during this season, and God calls me to become focused during this time, focused on what really matters to Him, and in my life right now, where I am serving in my family and community

-God will bless and transform me so much that I will be unrecognizable to those who sought to destroy me, were against me, falsely testified against me to try to ruin my reputation, or tried to discount any wisdom I have from God.

-God called me before my condition was taken into account.  God doesn’t call us to disciple people who are “pretty good” in the first place, it is God’s calling that is going to bring about His purpose in our life.  God will take us from wherever we are, to where we need to be (we obviously help this process by obeying and staying focused)… (CONTINUE READING)

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Staying Focus: Don’t Let Anyone Look Down on You Because You Are Young (Part 2)

Most, if not all, of my spiritual growth posts are self-reflective (meaning for myself mostly to contemplate).  This is not one of those posts.  Although it fits right in line with what God’s been showing me lately as far as Staying Focus, I have no doubt that someone else out there needs to hear these words.

“ Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”  1 Timothy 4:12 (ESV)
“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”  … (CONTINUE READING)

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Staying Focus (Part 1)

I don’t know about you, but personally, I am, and have been, having a hard time for the past few months in the discipline of staying focus.  There are so many times when I’ve been sorely tempted to stray off onto tangents, and even when these tangents are supposedly “good things,” it became obvious that in saying “Yes” to entertaining them, I was saying “No” to what I actually needed to be doing instead.

With every choice we make, we are saying “yes” to something, and then also “no” to something else.

When I choose to say “Yes” to reading something ugly or passive aggressive, I’m saying “No” to something that is positive or uplifting, something righteous and from God that could have helped me on my path… (CONTINUE READING)

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Sweet Christian, You Do Not Have to Embrace Everyone

I had to be up early this morning to make an appointment, and was able to listen to my favorite pastors’ and their teachings while driving into the heart of our city during rush hour traffic.  It’s been almost 2 years since I did this every day while working, and hearing their voices was like being embraced by old friends.  Hearing God’s truths, the encouragement from Scripture,being reminded of the love God has for His children, and hearing practical ways to deal with tricky situations are things that I miss from these daily doses of Truth.

This morning, Chuck Swindoll spoke on 2 Timothy, a book where Paul is writing from prison and giving advice and admonishment to his understudy, Timothy.  Paul talks about Timothy’s childhood, his faith development, and Chuck pointed out an interesting passage that takes most Christians by surprise… (CONTINUE READING)

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Grace in Crisis

Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns in the story, always an ebb and flow to the pattern.  I’ve been thinking on crisis situations… our sweet elderly neighbor recently found out she has rapidly spreading and aggressive lung and breast cancer.  She went from being normal, living out her everyday life, fostering sweet greyhounds in her home next to us, going about her business… to sudden hospice care.  A retired police officer herself, she was a strong cornerstone for me… in the midst of feeling helpless against the growing hatred and misunderstanding society, she was such a rock.  Such a beautiful, strong woman. I feel overwhelmed and heartbroken in letting her go.  She loved us so much… (CONTINUE READING)

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Being a Woman of Grace

I’ve been growing intently for years now in trying to become what I would call a ‘woman of grace.’  It’s probably been the most difficult journey for me personally, even though I’m naturally kind and loving, being a true woman of grace means exhibiting maturity even during the hardest of circumstances.  Maturity.  I love this word and it’s meaning.  I love that this is what Jesus meant when He said that He desired for us to be “perfect” (Greek meaning = mature, complete in growth), like He was. Complete in growth.  Stable, mature, peaceful… uneasily shaken by others and what they may say about you or do to you. When people are being human, with their flaws, or even sometimes difficult personalities, I’m able to exhibit grace fairly easily.  I’m blessed to be easy going and optimistic in nature, but when I’m confronted with extremely rude or even evil people, I tend to throw grace out the window and can become like a mamma bear in all her anger in setting my boundaries or telling them off… (CONTINUE READING)

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Self-Reflection & Being a Bad or Good Person

You can feel like you’re a bad person when a lot of bad things are happening to you.  When you don’t understand why or how, when you don’t understand your feelings of anger inside, you can start to wonder if you’re really the problem or a bad person.  Self-reflection is healthy and necessary, it’s a biblical command to examine yourself and search out if there’s anything wrong you might be doing, but I believe that sometimes we can be overwhelmed with tragedy or filth, and not be able to clearly see beyond our circumstances… (CONTINUE READING)

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FEAR

To me, fear is one of the worst emotions a person can let get ahold of them.  And I don’t mean that it is wrong to feel afraid, there is a difference between feeling afraid and actually letting fear control your mind and actions.  It is not even the same as experiencing anxiety & its symptoms, although it can be mistaken as that.  Anxiety usually paralyzes you, or makes you “faint” in or with fear.  The kind of fear I’m talking about right now, is fear that motivates a person to act, taking over your mind and pushing aside logic, causing one to make decisions that to others, make literally no sense…. (CONTINUE READING)

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The One Thing I Hope My Son Learns From Us As Parents: How to Apologize & How to Forgive

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I’ve been reflecting a lot on the dynamics of healthy relationships, and how you want your kids to grow up – who you want them to be as they watch and learn from you.  We send our children messages whether we’re aware of it or not, messages of adults always being right, never having to admit making a mistake, or maybe even refusing to ever humble themselves enough to make an apology when one is crucially needed.

I think… the absolute worst thing for my son, would be for him to grow into a man who cannot admit when he’s wrong or apologize when he knows he’s offended or hurt someone… (CONTINUE READING)

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Toxic People – How God Can Use Them & How You Can Deal with Them

omg poor dog - toxic people

I read two articles recently on Forbes & Yahoo that explained how highly emotionally intelligent people deal with toxic persons in their life.  I’ve really messed up in this area by either trying to engage in communication with them, or confronting them on their unhealthy behaviors, when in reality, I should’ve been kind, but walked away sooner.

It’s amazing how God can use even nasty, difficult people to try to grow you in ways… (CONTINUE READING)

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It’s Unfair

“Faith’s most severe tests come not when we see nothing,

but when we see a stunning array of evidence that seems to prove our faith vain.”

Elisabeth Elliot

Life is unfair, you can’t control who you are born to, what happens to you growing up, sicknesses that may come, unexpected heartbreak, even divorce many times, is out of our control now.  You may have to watch your children suffer with something you can’t help them with, or worse, you may be the one to bury your child… (CONTINUE READING)

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Waiting

Waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts. 

It’s easy to talk oneself into a decision that has no permanence – easier sometimes than to wait patiently.

Elisabeth Elliot  … (CONTINUE READING)

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The Unthinkable… The Untouchable

I’ve experienced the beauty of having God deliver you – bring you out to a place of rest – He revealed to me a beautiful inheritance.

If God is for you, then who can really be against you?  His Word is final, and you are redeemed – the price on your head has been paid.  No weapon formed will succeed against you.

The Accuser, although he stands and accuses you day and night in front of God, the only Judge, you will not be condemned.  God won’t allow you to stay in a position where you are condemned… (CONTINUE READING)

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A Testimony of Turning Away From Catholicism

This is a testimony from a woman who turned away from Catholicism upon reading the Bible and realizing that certain truths were present in it that Catholicism neglected to teach (or taught the opposite).  It is her own personal story and is in no way trying to bash Catholics or Catholicism, she is just simply telling her story of how she found salvation.  My husband actually read this story before I did, and compares it almost exactly to his own experiences with Catholicism versus Christianity, so for us, this testimony has a personal aspect to it… (CONTINUE READING)

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Jerkiness, Harshness, & Bad Attitudes

Yesterday, our church gave a sermon that introduced the idea of “What makes a person grow spiritually?”  The man giving the sermon had been brought in because of his past research and study devoted to the topic of God wanting us to have So Much More in our life – to the effect of making us grow closer to God in who we actually are… (CONTINUE READING)

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No One Deserves Forgiveness

Everyone has at some point, been hurt by someone else – whether it was intentional or random, violent or passive-aggressive, we have all had our experiences with hurt and pain.  Sometimes these instances can come from the hands of those who were responsible for loving or caring for us, accepting us and making us feel welcome in their life.  When we are hurt by those whom we are supposed to have good relations with, it can be extremely painful because it goes against our expectations of what life “should’ve” looked like with them.  Its not in God’s design and purpose for us to have to experience pain and hurt caused by anyone, but especially from those who were strategically placed in life to be close to us.

Biblically, these situations call for us to forgive, no matter how horrible the offense… (CONTINUE READING)

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Eve & The Devil

Us women can be so hard on each other, what was intended for friendship, support, and fellowship – even for the purpose of strengthening your relationship with God – like most things on earth, can be polluted and destroyed.

I remember a time when I was dating my husband, there was a girl who had become friends with an ex-boyfriend of mine (one who I dated for a mere 4 months); she was friends with a group of my close friends, and as a result, we found each other both at the same party.  I was friendly toward her, but not close as we simply didn’t know each other well.

As we were all sitting down together at our friend’s party, out of the blue… (CONTINUE READING)

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How Do You Speak in Truth w/o Provoking People?

I have a confession, I’m not always agreeable… I’m sometimes too feisty, too opinionated, too willing to get into it with others, and too eager to get my own sometimes narrow-minded point across – at whatever the cost.  I used to be like this more often, I’m so thankful I’ve grown in this area – but the tendency is still there.

Obviously, this is not good.  Not only is this not effective, I’ve found that when I’m acting in this particular way, it’s because I’m acting in pride.  That’s a hard pill to swallow… (CONTINUE READING)

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 Good Advice When Faced with Criticism

Everyone is faced with criticism at some point.  I could argue that the only way to grow is to somehow face the negative feelings of being criticized.  We all at some point do something worth criticizing… we make bad choices, or we are misunderstood… it’s part of life.  People who I really admire and look up to are those that are apt at taking criticism and gleaning whatever they can out of it (if anything) to become better people… Here is a checklist to go through

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2 thoughts on “Spiritual Growth

  1. I would like to say I love your blog and the wonderful and beautiful things you share as well as the inspiration and smiles you bring in doing so! Thank you for being you and I hope even if you do not accept awards you will accept the sentiment expressed as I honor you with one. There is no prize that comes with the award other than my appreciation and being grateful you are part of our world and making a difference by sharing in such a positive way…
    I have posted the award and link to it here I hope you will accept it or at least the sentiment behind it! http://artisticlyxpressedthoughts.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/awards-and-shared-gifts/

    With love,
    Joe

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