Monday, March 31, 2008

Religion Is Not God

Religion has a list full of dos and don’ts. It has a lot of requirements that it takes from people. It seems as though it will never be satisfied with what people accomplish to tame its decrees. It kind of reminds me of what Proverbs says about selfishness, it is and will never be satisfied. Do you think that religion exists for the only reason to fulfill its own desires and commands in a person? Does that really have anything to do with Christ? It doesn’t seem so. Religion seems like a counterfeit or substitute from who God really is and how he wants to live out in our own lives. The reason I think it is so hard to ‘unlearn’ religion, is because it trains us to bow down to it and relay on it when we don’t know anything else. If this is all that we have known through our entire lives, it makes it much harder to see the lies and ugliness that it really holds. Its like a spiritual mask or delusion that we follow, and we think if we do what it says and live the way it wants, God is more pleased with us and finds favor in us more than someone who doesn’t live a religious lie. In this religious reality you can tell who sits in center stage, it isn’t the relationship that you have with God, or God himself, but religion and its customs-(SELF).

What it does:

Convinces -
Controls-
Hard Working-
Manipulates-
Deceives-
Punishes-
Betrays-
Hates-


It is easy to over look these aspects of religion and how it defines us as people! It can easily lead us astray from the truth and the love that Father wants to give us freely in a relationship with him. See, the focus of religion is not on love and being in a relationship with Father, it’s all about what is listed above. The Old Testament is full of this, and proclaims that religion is God! But that isn’t so, since Christ died for all of us and set us literally and spiritually free from religion and sin, it is now easy to see that God isn’t here to: convince us, control us, work us to death, manipulate us, deceive us, punish us if we blow it, betray or condemn us, and to hate us. I know God’s truth and show us himself by his love and relationship he longs to have with us, but I think it really boils down to a HUGE misunderstanding, a lie that leads us to believe that religion is God! Maybe Father allowed this misunderstanding to take place in order to show himself to us individually and in his own way. There are so many things written in the bible that seem controversial and confusing when compared to the freedom I now see and believe, but I think Father had a reason for it to be that way, so that He himself would make himself real to us in his own way and not let the laws, and decrees and all of the above stuff, (religion) take control. He may allow it to happen in many peoples lives, but now that I have a better understanding of whom Father is, religious obligation doesn’t have a hold on my life.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Unexpected Surprises In Uncertain Times

We just found out recently that my husband may have a job opportunity in Kona Hawaii. This guy who is wanting Jon to be the CEO or Director of a company in which the guy wants to invest money in, he is flying both Jonathan and I out to Kona in two weeks for five days to see if we could see ourselves living there. It will be completely weird, but I am extremely excited to visit Kona and see what it is like! This possible move would not be a permanent thing, it is too far away to make it completely permanent, and I would want to be close to family when and if we start a family in the future. I think we would only be there for a hand full of years if that. It would be a ‘big’ change from the Rocky Mountains; living on an island that is surrounded with water, but if Father opens this door for us, than we will take it! What a thought though, in times where it has been financially hectic and scary, we get a free mini vacation to Hawaii. Who would have ever thought that would be possible! God is truly amazing and seems to be full of surprises in these uncertain times.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ditching Spiritual Coverings And Embracing Father’s.

Why is it that many Christian’s think they have to have a ‘spiritual covering’ in order to relate to Father? Is it necessary to have a spiritual covering other than father living in our hearts? It reminds me of a royal family, in order to talk to the ‘king’ the hierarchy of a nation, you must go through several other ‘leaders’ or people in order to get permission to talk to the ‘king’. Why does some think they can’t just go to God on their own without the ‘in between’ people. I think some elders and leaders in our local congregations forget that they too are just people who go through the same things as anyone else in the congregation. But some think they have to ‘cover’ our spiritual lives in order for us to be saved. Isn’t Fathers blood enough to ‘cover’ us for eternity? I think so.

I believe that I don’t need anyone ‘above’ me other than Father and his love! Father then becomes more real to me as I walk in an ongoing relationship with Him and what He is accomplishing in my own life. I am not saying that having mentors and others along side me to help me is a bad thing, but that doesn’t mean that in order to know what Father is doing in my life, I need someone else to cover me and make sure I am not missing the ‘mark’. Where did that idea come from in the first place? I can’t seem to find anything in the scriptures that says we have to have someone else to be our spiritual covering.

Here’s another thought! Are husbands supposed to be the wives ‘covering’? Does that mean they have authority over the wife and makes all the decisions in the family as the leader? Doesn’t this ‘covering’ seem to be the same thing about leaders in congregations and can be looked at in the same light as well? I know in my marriage my husband and I work together as a team and we make decisions together; he doesn't act as my authority, that I must ‘submit’ to him , but he is my helper and equal. Can the word 'submit' be looked at in a different light? I have always heard the term for submit meaning the same thing as ‘obey’. However, I think it may be misinterpreted…

Any thoughts about ‘Spiritual Coverings’?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

For When I am Weak, Then I Am Strong



I just experienced the worst pain I have felt in the longest time. It feels like a hot festering sore that derives one to madness. I hurt some friends of mine because of some weakness and frustration that I was dealing with according to where I spiritually stand with the Lord and with these brothers and sisters! I don’t want to lead in to any great detail, but I know now what I am capable of and how quickly that I can lead to destruction. Its like finding out you like to smoke even if you know that it is not good for you. Not that I smoke or anything, but the nicotine in the cigarettes make you crave it and consequently, that crave could lead to lung cancer. I know what I was doing could lead to great destruction, but something about the issue led me to lets just say, lose my cool. I understand that we all have weaknesses in our lives, and some struggle with these weaknesses on a daily bases, (me too). I can’t start to understand the depth of pain I put on these people in my time of weakness and not having the mind of Christ. It happens so quickly and then I can’t take anything that I did or said back. But, there is hope in forgiveness and a fresh start; I am now experiencing. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Checklist for life? —The Ten COMMANDments

So, I was talking to my husband yesterday about the Ten Commandments and how they still apply to us today as we are living in a grace filled non-religious relationship with Father. However, I just can’t seem to look at the Ten Commandments differently then from a religious point of view. Particularly resting on the Sabbath. It goes into great detail as to how you’re basically not allowed to lift a finger during the Sabbath. Some people I know live by this law so religiously that they will hardly leave their house from Friday evening until Sunday morning and do all of the traditional Jewish stuff during the Sabbath. I just can't see living like that would make anyone more righteous than anyone else. However, if I am supposed to embrace the law and ‘do’ what the ‘commands’ say to do, I want to have a full understanding of it all from a non-religious view. I realize that Joel and others in our blog community talk about the old laws and stuff, and I just want to see if the Ten Commandments go along with the old laws and I want to know if they still apply or not in our freedom with Father now. They were written in the Old Testament so do they still exist today? This may be a no brainer to some and I am sorry if I sound like a complete idiot, but I just can’t seem to wrap my brain around this. Are we supposed to treat this as a checklist and mark the ones that we fail on a daily bases?

I understand that some of the laws were to protect us from harming ourselves, but some just don’t make a whole lot of sense to me now!

Exodus 20
The Ten Commandments

1 And God spoke all these words:

2 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

3 (1)"You shall have no other gods before [a] me.

4 (2) "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.

7 (3)"You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

8 (4)"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 (5)"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

13 (6)"You shall not murder.

14 (7)"You shall not commit adultery.

15 (8)"You shall not steal.

16 (9)"You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

17 (10)"You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."


Why are there a lot of ‘do not’ commands? And how is it that Father is behind this still today?

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

Monday, March 17, 2008

When All Else Fails!

Having the mind of Christ is what I want to turn to when (all else fails) and it normally does when your mind is on things of this earth! I love what Bino has said on his latest post about knowing the will of God. How do we really know His will? It's not like he comes down from the clouds and shines a bright light into the direction or place where He wants us to go!

Acts 17:26 says, "From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live."

Shoudn't we then understand that Father already know's where we should live even if He hasn't made it known to us personally? Shouldn't we trust in just that? His word? This can only happen when we accept in inhabiting the mind of Christ and then our trust in Father becomes easier when we do so.

So, its not worth worrying or living in fear of the 'unknown' in which the future holds, but laying it all down and accepting and trusting Father with it.

It's in Your hands Father...

Friday, March 14, 2008

What Is - To What Could Be

This post is a reflection of what I see when I think of Christians in general who seem to be missing out on real community.

I think that we are people who desire to have true fellowship and true community. I am reminded of the TV show, Little House On The Prairie, as a small poor community in the 1800’s come together in the worst of times and in the best of times. Even if they meet together in a building every Sunday, the community of people always seem to come together all the time helping, hurting and loving together as a real true community. No one really seems out of place and doesn’t feel like anyone could be apart of this community. Each person has a place and a part in this community and without each person this community would be incomplete. This community called Walnut Grove welcomes everyone to their community and always-offers wonderful hospitality to anyone who drops in. Everyone knows everyone and it wasn’t looked at as a bad thing, but a good thing as they acted upon love for everyone regardless of situations.





I love that show and as I watch it, it is a healthy reminder of what true community really honestly looks like. However, in this day and age, we live completely different. We don’t depend on each other and find hope in each other. We go to Sunday services with the same people but always leave without hardly any interaction with others. We don’t connect to anyone for the fear of becoming too vulnerable. We live as if we are alone on this planet and no one could understand or relate to our practical and spiritual problems. We strive on faking our way through life so our true selves never become exposed.

Can you imagine how different life would be like if we all actually depended on each other as brothers and sisters, and shared our hearts openly without any hesitation? Trusting each other with our lives, and knowing that we are all in this life together living for God. I think the only way that this is even possible is if we were all stranded on a disserted Island and had no other choice than to help and protect each other from danger and learn to live together for each other. Then we could possibly see what a true community could look like!

This reminds me of another TV show called LOST. In this show a large number of people get in a plane crash on an Island and are forced to protect and take care of each other. They then discover that there are ‘Others’ on the Island that want to hurt them. They are then forced to take care of each other and keep each other from danger. They struggle with trusting each other though and that tries to get in the way of what is more important, the community that is formed, or their own individual. It is an intense show, and I love it. It really defines what real community looks like if we had no other choice.





What can we honestly do to change what this Christian system is, to what a Christian community could be? Nothing?!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Does God Test Us?

Okay! I am struggling with something. How can a loving God who cares for us so much and does everything to show us how much He loves us; how is this God able to test us? And what if we fail the test? What Then? Is that the end of our relationship with Him? What about his unfailing love? Why would He test our hearts if He already knows our hearts? What if Father allows us to go through hardships and storms so that we can depend on Him, period? Would you call (that) a test? So that we would trust Him in our hard times or is He testing us and waiting to see if we DON'T trust Him, what then?

These questions keep piling up in my head, and I just need peace about this! It is sitting in my spirit so uncomfortably. Am I losing sight of God if I don’t believe that Father ‘tests’ us for the sake of a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ grade?

Scriptures I found that relate to this!

1 Thessalonians 2:4

On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted by the gospel. We are not trying to please people, but God, who test our hearts.

James 1:13

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me,” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each of you is tempted when you are dragged away by your own evil desire and enticed.

So maybe I am confusing tempting and testing to be the same thing. Does that even make any sense? God doesn’t tempt us but tests us?

I need some insight! Any thoughts?!

Monday, March 10, 2008

CONFLICT- How Far Will It Go?

IT STARTS WITH A DISAGREEMENT-



THEN LEADS TO THIS-



THEN THIS-



TO THIS-





WHEN WILL IT STOP?



Sunday, March 9, 2008

For The Sake Of Friendship

Today I was able to help a good friend pack up her house as she is moving to a different house in a week. I helped her last weekend as well. It is a blessing to be able to help those in need. She told me today that the last time she moved, which was before I even met her, she asked some of her ‘so called friends’ to see if they could help her move, and they responded to her like she was a bother to them and they couldn’t take anytime out of their busy schedules to lend a hand. Only one person showed up to help, and she thought, 'wow, I didn’t know what I asked was such a big deal, but I guess it’s more than what they can handle'. At that point they stopped talking to her. I was saddened by this story but it made me even more blessed to help her and be there for her when she really doesn’t have anyone else! We got a lot accomplished, but still have to actually ‘move’ stuff to her new place. It will be fun. I was able to use my wonderful 4Runner to help, and it fills my heart with great pleasure to lend a hand. She thanked me by buying me a cup of coffee, (double tall Cappucino) YUMMMMM and some beautiful flowers! I came home overjoyed, not just by these wonderful joys she gave me, but by being able to be there when she really needs someone!

Thank you Father for this opprotunity to
give in the only way that I can right now!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Easier Said Than Done

I am struggling in trusting in Fathers provision for my husband and I. In order to not over elaborate on my problems, let’s just say, life could be a heck of a lot easier and better for us. We have been having money issues to say the very least and I believe I have shared this same remorse before but now it is worse. It seems like things around me are falling apart and all of it is taking a HUGE tow on my heart. I struggle with Trusting in God’s provision, and all my questions seem to go unanswered; not that Father doesn’t hear my cry for help, but I just can’t hear Him in all of this.

I listened to a podcast today that was really good from Wayne and Brad. It was so encouraging to hear. They were talking about when some bad or awful things happen to us, our initial thought would to think that ‘we’ did something to not win the favor of Father and we would go back to trying to win Father’s favor and good will for us. I have had those thoughts. I think what have I done to deserve this? Maybe I am not reading my bible enough, maybe I am not praying enough, maybe I am not in God’s will. I grew up hearing those words from leaders and pastors, and frankly, I am sick of playing this (feeling sorry for myself game with God). I am ready to know and live like I am okay just doing and being where I am without fear of disrupting my thoughts and moods about where I ‘stand’ with God. I don’t think Father holds things from us for those reasons I pointed out. I guess I think He tests our faith, but then again, I have had doubts about that as well. Why would a loving God who loves us and cares for us, would give us such a hard time with things? Is it to build up our faith? And is it to make us stronger in Him and maybe through those tests He hopes we will trust him through it all?! I guess, but right now it’s hard to say. I know the truth and I know that Father wants us to trust Him and believe that He has a plan for us, but it doesn’t make it any easier to trust Him or feel like I can when this world is so uncertain anyway. I am in doubt, but I can’t seem to get away from God. Even if I am deciding to live inside my own fears and live in this doubtful circle, I can’t seem to not reach out to Father. I can just picture Him looking down at me with a twinkle in His eyes and a smile on His face, saying, ‘just be still and know that I am God. Just know that Nicole. BE STILL! Just release your anguish on Me and I will give you rest.’ He wants me to ‘release’ something I don’t even want anyways. That doesn’t seem too hard, but oh gosh, it’s horribly hard. Its hard not to fear and not to have doubts and be uncertain of things in my life, but I ‘can’ do it. It has been done before, and I know Father has seen me go through similar things, but man, it can be really, really tough.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A Few Of My Favorite Things!

I think to really understand what someone is talking about, using pictures are the best way! In this post you will find several things that I like...

Please feel free to drop a question and I would be glad to elaborate!

Have Fun Browsing!


TV SHOWS-








MOVIES-







JOSH-MADDY-EMMA - Kido's I Care For





I LOVE COFFEE







WEATHER & SMOOTH JAZZ-











MY TRANSPORTATION-



RESTAURANTS-







DOGGIES & HUBBY-


MOCHA


BREWSTER


MY FAMILY-


My GREAT GRANDMA & GRANDMA-


MY NIECE HAEVYN AND IN THE BACKGROUND IS
MY SIS CHRIS AND MY OTHER NIECE SIERRA-


MY TWIN BROTHER JOSH AND I-


DAD & I-


MOM & I-