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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Religion vs Christainity

I was having a conversation at work the other day that got me thinking on how to answer one of the questions that keeps coming up. A question of blurred lines between Christianity and Religion. I think this is where many in the secular world get confused and lost. I know I use too...

Religion, as defined in the oxford dictionary:

the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods

Christianity, as defined in the oxford dictionary:

the religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, or its beliefs and practices.

I never really understood the difference until I was taken through the refining fire (1 Peter 1:6-7). I think, as I walk this Journey of Faith, my understanding has been transformed.

I use to think Religion and Christianity were one in the same, just a different word to explain the same thing, this view has changed.

My understanding now is that:

 Religion is man made- a word used to describe a group of people that have come together to practice there common belief in something they hold as a greater power that is in control. ( James 1:27)

Christianity is Christ made- Our Lord and Savior is who calls those to Christ, as he knocks on the door ( Revelations 3:20), and through ones heart felt belief that Jesus bore our sins and was crucified for those sins and rose again taking the keys from death and Hades three days later and the asking for forgiveness for those sins one becomes a Christian.

I do not believe that one needs to make themselves perfect first, before they except Jesus Christ. I believe that you need to repent and turn away from your sin.

 I can say that I did not transform my life when I became a Christian, through the power of the Holy Spirit, my advocate that Jesus left for those who believe is what has transformed my life, creating the fruit of the Spirit that is evident in those who are Christian.

Many can call themselves Christian, but only God truly knows their hearts.

I ask you now is Jesus knocking at the door to your heart? are you ready to let him in? do you want to know more about this relationship you can have with him? If you answered yes to any of these questions I encourage you to follow this link "Knowing God Personally" You will find an example of a prayer you can pray near the bottom of the page on the link if you are ready to start a relationship with Jesus, remember he doesn't need you to clean house first, he would like to transform/makeover your life for you!

If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, I would love to pray for you!!

Just leave a comment below or email me at iblong2the3in1@shaw.ca

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Learning to Listen

Hi everyone I know it has been a while since I have spent dedicated time writing here. When we moved into our new place I had made a commitment to work on my relationships with my family and start putting them above my time spent on the computer.

Before we moved, I had found myself escaping the stress from what we were facing by hiding in my room away from my family using the excuse of talking with others over the internet, but in reality I was burnt out and could not face another demand on my life, another chore, another request for something, another need to feel something and the easiest way was to escape onto the internet where I thought I could hide from life. My family was suffering for it, as our relationships were being torn farther and farther apart and what I was trying to avoid would call even louder, with my need to escape growing.

I had become addicted to escaping lives demands. My vice was not alcohol or drugs,  cutting or eating disorder, but it had just as much impact on my family, as my vice was the internet/Facebook, and the self gratification of being lifted up by those I would speak too, feeling like I had some kind of control in life by being able to help others, as I ran from my own pain, to receive that feeling you get inside that makes you feel warm and fuzzy knowing you could help, it made me feel good, like alcohol to a alcoholic, drugs to a drug addict, cutting to a cutter, purging to a bulimic.I felt excepted without being asked to visit the memories and the pain. Like any other addict it dulled the pain.

I realized how bad it had gotten when we moved. God had a plan, the movers moved my computer instead of me and I could not find my computer. I had found myself on withdrawal from my computer, God had opened my eyes to my vice, my addiction that was taring up my family and my relationships.

I asked God to help me to put my relationship with him, my family, friends and those around me in the real world. God gave me the strength to realize that if I didn't go on Fb every waking non-working moment the world would not end. He made me realize I wasn't in control of the worlds problems  and did not need to be there to fix them and in that make me feel better. I needed to listen to him I needed to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and through that all things would be healed. God would restore and deliver my family from the damage that had been done.

I'm finding that I need to come to my Father every morning and ask him to fill me with the Holy Spirit and ask the Holy Spirit to take charge of my thoughts my words and my actions and my will. I have to say God has been and the Joy that fills my heart way surpasses anything the internet or this world could give me. I have been spending more time building relationships with those I love and spending less time on the computer. I try to make sure that the only time I spend on here is when my family are sleeping, like right now or they are busy in their own stuff and are not available to spend time together.

This last week at my Church was prayer week, a week where the Church comes together for corporate prayer and takes place the first full week of the new year. I had committed to God, after 2009, that I would not miss one day of prayer week and so far I have kept that commitment.

When I first started going I was so intimidated by the whole thing, as I was raised that prayer was a very private thing you did behind closed doors.

When I went to my first prayer week I did my best to just observe and only speak when I couldn't get out of it, as I had only prayed out loud once before and that was out in the back parking lot of the Church when my child was under spiritual attack and I had no other choice and I was surrounded by the youth pastor one of the elders and a prayer warrior and they encouraged me that I could do this. I was put on the spot to pray at this prayer meeting in a small group with Pastor Ezra, who I really didn't know, as we prayed for the missionaries. I have to say I had this very large not in my stomach and lump in my throat as I tried to pray and not very well.

When I went to my second prayer week last year, I was still quite nervous and self conscious, but I was able to pray with others a little bit easier than the previous year.

I have to say this year was allot different as in 2012 God had delivered me from the fear and shame I had been carrying around like a suite case for so many years. When it came to pray this year, as we started with the prayer for the Holy Spirit to fill us and to lead our prayer, I had no reservations, I had no self doubt and I have to say God surprised me with how far he has brought me in this last year. I was finding myself being lead to pray with and for strangers and as the prayers left my lips I knew they were being formed by the Holy Spirit as the words flowed out filled with God's truths, giving me the confidence to pray more. I had always wondered how these people could pray with such spirituality in their prayers and I think I know how now as I think there words are formed by the Holy Spirit and through the Faith God has grown in them they are able to stop speaking their prayers and start listening to the prayers of the Holy Spirit and speak through the Holy Spirit.

I am finding out as I continue to walk with Jesus that is so much less about what I say but more about listening to what God has to say and just surrendering to his will and walking and speaking when he guides us too.

My personal prayer for 2013:

Father I thank you for all that you have done to transform my life. I thank you for the refining fire that you took me through in 2009 ( 1Peter 1:6-7) Thank you Father for revealing yourself to me through the refining fire. Most importantly thank you for the death and resurrection of your one and only son Jesus Christ who carried my sins as he carried the cross and paid the price of my debt. Thank you for saving a wretch like me, who has not deserved all that you have done for me but out of your love for me you have redeemed me.

Father I ask this year that you consume every nook and cranny of my life and if there are doors that I am not aware of that are locked in my life please break down the doors. My only desire Father is to be close to you and for your will to reign in my life. I live for Christ and to die is gain. In Jesus precious name through the Holy Spirit Amen.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Guatemala Update/ December and Christmas

Update on Guatemala Missions Trip

I am so excited as the plane tickets are booked and over half of the money is raised for the missions trip itself. We will be leaving on Feb 24. and laying over in Dallas, which will be an extra $50. . I have though been informed that I only have 2 vacation days to cover my wages from work and the days I will miss, so please pray for God's provision in this as I walk in faith that he will provide all the details. We will be arriving back home March 8, please pray for the school, that we will be serving at in Tizate, their children on the sponsorship program, the locals, for the building of the home and for God to prepare our hearts, provision as a missions team. Oh and for learning Spanish easily so we can communicate with the locals more fluently.

Thank you for your prayers and if you are interested in donating to this missions trip please follow go to the tab at the top of the page that said "Contact and Donation information" or push the link.
All support is greatly appreciated!

I found Myself on Dec 16 posting a request on the Churches FB Prayer Group:

Need your prayers as I fight the battle of the mind one more time...I am fighting missing doing things that are very important and in result hurting those I hold dear as I fight memory issues. I was so thankful to a wonderful couple for donation for my missions trip to Guatemala and had every intention of thanking them and before I knew it a week had passed and I received an email asking if I had received the donation. My mind is betraying me right now and in result I am letting people down and hurting them. I am tired of doing this as it is totally against who I am. I am now fighting the beginning of depression as I fight the put downs in my brain and the realization that this will be the first Christmas without my children, even though I know that this is a wonderful opportunity to form a relationship with their dad and his family. Father please take charge of my thoughts and if this is a valley I need to walk through please give me the strength and peace to do so, please fill me with your Holy Spirit daily and when my mind forgets to run to you grab hold of me and don't let me go. In Jesus Precious name Amen.

After I posted that post I could take being at home anymore, I just needed to go for a walk to clear my head, the next morning, Dec 17, I posted again as a comment under my post on the prayer group:

I went for a walk last night as I fight the depression trying to grab hold of me, as I face my first Christmas without my Children. I walked and I kept walking and the crushing reality as I heard a voice saying your Children won't be spending this Christmas with you but at least you have the possibility of Christmases to come, unlike the many families that were unable to pick their children up from school that horrific day. I started walking home still looking at the ground unable to face anything as I felt so selfish for how I was feeling. I had been only seeing my shadow in the night but all of a sudden there was two shadows on the side walk. Startled and I looked around, thinking someone was behind me, the streets were empty and a peace beyond understanding flooded me as I realized it was God letting me know that I was not walking this valley alone. I got home to an email from a friend who I had been placed on her heart to pray for me and she nailed every unspoken need in that email. God is good and he knows our every need even when we can't put them into words.

God wasn't quite done yet as I found myself needing to post one more time under my post,Dec 18,:

 Today God took charge of my thoughts, as he filled my mind full of scriptures, replacing the lies of the enemy with his truth, returning me back to a place of rest and peace. He brought me to the scripture in Genesis about Joseph and his brothers/family. Christmas time can bring family gatherings that are not always ideal but even through the story of Joseph forgiveness was the end of the story. We are called to forgive those who have hurt us and extend them the grace we were given. We need to share with them the riches of our faith, not the bitterness of our sin.We need to love the unlovable in our lives as we are called to love.

Genesis 37-45

I have to say I am a little slow to the up take and this was one of those times, I did not connect the dots. God had a plan and this scripture he had placed in my thoughts as he took charge of them would also get me through Christmas, as I faced my first Christmas without my children but with my family. I had had been dysfunctional in the past and I had felt wronged by and hurt. I would be having dinner with them and without my children there I had no idea how I would survive it.

I asked a dear Lady that I have slowly been getting to know and felt God pushing me to ask her for her prayers, at Church after the sermon, another first for me. She prayed with me and prayed that Jesus would be present and at the head of the table and come Christmas day he was. I have never spent the most relaxed Christmas with know one knocking me or bringing me down. I have to say though I still missed my babies. I was so thankful when at least one of my babies came home, but I do so understand that God has a different plan for my oldest babies and it will be ok.

I didn't share this in Dec as the Holidays took over, at least I don't think I did.

 I had been told in Dec of 2010 that they had found a hole in my heart, a hole that eventually, be it a year or ten I would need heart surgery. I had never gone to the Elders for prayer before, as this wasn't quite where I though I was in my faith yet, but God convicted me to go and re-enforced it with a note calling for anyone needing prayer, the Elders were available. I was anointed with oil on my forehead and the elders started praying over me & my family, for peace for my family & for healing for me. I was shaking with nerves the hole time. I felt such a peace & filling of the Holly Spirit at the time and I knew that God would heal me.

While filling out an life insurance for our mortgage, I asked my doctor about the hole in my heart. I am Pleased to say and Praising God all the way!! they could not find the hole on the last scan, they couldn't find it at all!! Praise God for his healing!!