Monday, April 30, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
I think we all need help in fighting of fear. I know in my own life, fears try to creep into every area. I've had fear in dying and leaving my husband and child, fear my family members dying, fears of suffering, hypothetical fears, actual fears, emotional fears, fears from real pain, fears of potential pain (like child birth- most recently! ha ha ha!).
And I've noticed that what I fear, usually begins with dreading. I think dread is the appetizer to main dish of fear! I know that sometimes I start dreading times that I usually have fear, like when my mom is leaving and I fear that as she drives away that I will never see her again. And it IS a possibility. I think this is where Satan does some of his most effective work, that what we can FEAR is POSSIBLE. And we know this, but what does God want us to do when presented with very possible fearful outcomes? Choose to have FAITH in Him instead. That's when we step beyond ourselves, and walk with the Lord. We can CHOOSE to put our hope, trust and faith in God--that whatever the outcome, He will be with us, see us through whatever the challenge may be.
Whatever you are facing right now, I pray that the scriptures I've included will speak to you heart and give you courage and faith in God, where fear and despair have been festering!
In the Bible we read "Do not fear" but in the Hebrew translation, it's an even stronger command that has no direct English translation. It is actually MORE than just a "don't do it" but more of an ABSOLUTELY NEVER EVER FEAR type of command. According to the Hebrew, it means we are not to have ANY trace of fear. We are absolutely forbidden to even entertain the least speck of fear. It's not some suggestion, but an absolute command. No exceptions.
And how do we fight fear exactly?
By staying close to God, not running AWAY from Him.
By worshiping God, so crank up the worship music and sing your heart out to Him!
Confessing sins (asking God to forgive us) as soon as we realize we have sinned.
And NOT dwelling on negative outcomes, negative "what if scenarios" but taking control of your thoughts and make them obedient to God's Word.
Here are some of my favorite verses that I refer to when I'm trying to wrangle wrong thoughts into submission to God's Word:
Isaiah 41:13 For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
Psalm 3:5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Proverbs 3:24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
Matthew 17:20 “…if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Psalm 34:4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
Matthew 14:27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. "Don't be afraid," he said. "Take courage. I am here!"
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Take courage beloved, you are not alone and never without help when you are a child of the Most High God who loves you and calls you by name. Have you made this life changing choice yet? If not, go visit: http://youtu.be/Zrly2vXY1E8
Weeding out the fear and growing my own faith garden,
Posted by Tiffany at 10:29 PM
Monday, April 23, 2012
I think I lost count at how many times people would tell me, "don't get married until your 30 or 40." It was always confusing advice for me to hear, because deep in my own little heart, I couldn't wait to be married and totally in love with my husband. And I personally hated dating, breaking up then dating again. Yuck.
But WHY do people say this to young people in the first place? A few different reasons, for one, they are probably speaking from their OWN mess they have created in THEIR life. They have failed to take responsibility for poor choices they have made and instead try blaming AGE instead of their failure to obey God. Beware of this kind of "advice" as it's usually not good advice at all. If someone can't accept responsibility for their actions, then they are living in De' Nile, land of the irresponsible. Ha ha ha!
Other reasons people say this is because our society as a whole doesn't VALUE family and children. Don't believe me? There are approximately 3,700 abortions performed daily in the U.S (www.abortionno.org). The Bible says in Psalm 127:3 "Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him." But the world views pregnancy like cancer--something you have to get rid of. In the Bible, it says that many children are a blessing. Psalm 127:4-5 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!"
But since we are told over and over again, don't get M-A-R-R-I-E-D, just live together. Don't get M-A-R-R-I-E-D, just sleep with your boyfriend/girlfriend...we tend to do this and forfeit our potential blessing.
And there is science behind all this "waiting" which shows it's a detriment (harmful to us). We see people struggling with infertility, miscarriage and other extremely difficult and heartbreaking situations when it comes to having children. Our bodies weren't meant to wait until 40 to have a child.
From WebMD, The risk of giving birth to a child with a birth defect does increase as the mother's age increases. This is probably due to abnormal division of the egg, called nondisjunction. This leads to unequal chromosomes at the end of division. The traditional age at which a woman is considered to be at high risk for chromosomal abnormalities is 35. Approximately 1 in 1,400 babies born from women in their 20's have Down syndrome; it increases to about 1 in 100 babies born with Down syndrome from women in their 40's(webmd.com).
And to me, the most startling data I've read, which is from the University of Chicago's Center for Aging. They recently published a study that examined the family histories of American centenarians (100 years old). The strongest predictor of long life is the age of your mother. If she was 25 or younger, you are most likely to live to 100!!! Crazy right?!
And no, I don't think EVERYONE should get married. But like Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:9 "But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion."
God says about marriage: In Hebrews 13:4--Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.
So even if you personally don't ever want to get married, we should still honor it and support it as God does. And don't discourage others who aren't 40, not to marry yet. Remember that wisdom DOES NOT come with age, only God gives wisdom as He is the source of all wisdom...and He doesn't age discriminate.
Wanting to get married isn't wrong, it's actually where we come face to face with ourselves as it's a test, trial and blessing. And deserves all the support we can give!
Posted by Tiffany at 5:53 PM
Thursday, April 19, 2012
What?! You are probably thinking, but hang on, I just want to explain that we have been lied to for most of our lives. And it has hurt us tremendously when it comes to marriage and our relationships with the OPPOSITE sex. We've been taught that men and women are the same in all areas--which has lead to attacking and judging each other when we come into contact with reality--that men and women are polar opposites, even down to how many colors we can see!
Here's just ONE example: Women have more cones (color receptors) in their retinas, thanks to the X chromosome of which women have two. Men can tell the difference between red, blue and green but woman can detect more distinguishing differences such as magenta, taupe, aqua, teal etc. A man will say "that car is green" and his wife will say, "are you kidding me? It's teal." And the husband will say, "it's still green!" (My husband and I have had this EXACT conversation many times! ha ha ha!) But now I can appreciate what he sees, and not yell at him that he is SOOOO wrong and have a ridiculous argument. I have an appreciation for his view and don't NEED to make him "see" something his chromosomes won't! Ha ha ha!
To value the uniqueness of someone is a very mature position to take, it allows them to be DIFFERENT from us and not WRONG because of it. But most people resist recognizing this and rather see differences in men and women as flaws and afflictions. But God MADE us different. Look around, God likes variety!
This is neither good or bad, but just different. There have been billions of snowflakes formed and no two have ever been alike! Amazing!
Differences between the male brain and the female brain: Research has found that men have four percent more brain cells than women and 100 grams more brain tissue and women have more dendtric connections between brain cells which means they use their brain much more efficiently and effectively then man are able to.
In pregnancy, at about 18 to 26 weeks, a male baby's hormones (testosterone) comes into action. It washes over the brain and disintegrates the connection (called the corpus callosum) which connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
As we all know, the left side houses the logic and reasoning centers. And the right side houses emotions, feelings, judgements about beauty, and social relationships. Not exactly a shocker, but 85% of men end up being left brained! It's all beginning to make sense! Ha ha ha!
Female babies in the womb are subject to estrogen, which actually fosters MORE connections in the nerve cells, making their brains more efficient at processing information from both hemispheres at once. Women are able to process logic and reasoning juxtaposed with feelings and relationships. Men on the other hand (85% of them) view with only the left brain logic and reasoning. This difference in brain processing of situations and information typically leads a woman to say things like "you have no feelings at all!" and men to say "you're so emotional!" But it's our hard wiring that gives us these different conclusions. Your husband isn't a cold hearted jerk, nor are you some emotional mess. It's just called, female and male! Ha ha ha!
I truly believe that the more we understand and know about the opposite sex-- and it begins with realizing we ARE NOT created equally--we can start appreciating each other and the very unique ways God has made us different.
When we are able to talk openly about our differences, we can enjoy and celebrate them. Our differences ARE scientifically documented, so we might as well embrace them and move forward USING our unique brains instead of blaming each other for being "right" or "wrong" in our conclusions of life and everything in between. A man should learn to embrace his wife's tender conclusions of a situation, as she can "see" more than he can. And a wife should learn that her husband isn't some cold hearted turd, but it's the left brain of logic he approaches life--it's not that he's devoid of a beating heart as we thought before! Ha ha ha!
Differences were attractive when we began dating...it's funny how we come to hate them once we are married! But keeping all of this in mind, we can laugh at the differences, appreciate them and not think "I married the wrong person, because if he or she was right, we would agree on everything." But now you can see that's faulty thinking and move beyond yesterday's ignorance and embrace today's new intelligence!
I pray that this little information blesses you and your relationship with the opposite sex!
We may have the same rib, but that's about where the "same" ends! Ha ha ha!
Genesis 2:22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
Huge love, from a very female brain,
Posted by Tiffany at 9:56 AM
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
I've struggled with this concept as I was confused by religions that "mediate" by emptying their minds as they sit cross legged while humming AND then hearing that God calls us to mediate on His Word.
So what's the difference? The other religions teach to "blank" your mind, if you will, or picture yourself on a deserted island to find peace. I personally can't MAKE myself at peace, my brain works too much to ever be able to "be peaceful," rather, I need God's peace to reign in my heart to experience REAL peace. So from my experience, God's way is the only way that works...hence we go to the BIBLE!
In the Bible, it tells us about 14 different times to mediate on God's Word. Which is a FILLING of your mind, with God's instruction, commandments and life giving Word!
2 Ways we can get God's Word IN US:
1. Hearing it.
2. Reading it.
Then we are to take whatever verses, parables (story used to explain a principle) and think on them, over and over throughout the day AND night.
Joshua 1:8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
In Hebrew, the word mediate is: to muse, to ponder. And in Greek, it means to: revolve it in the mind, to consider it over and over. One interesting example is to "chew the cud" as cattle. They eat grass, then sort of regurgitate it back up and chew on it some more. This might be the only time I think it's a good idea to be like a cow! Ha ha ha!
I know from personal experience, it's good to think on, or mediate, on the past things God has done for me. It always refreshes my faith to think on those, and it's also why I think it's so important to keep a prayer journal--where you write what's on your heart and also when God answers your prayers or works something out in your life that you have been struggling with. It's a wonderful blessing to keep a prayer journal!
And one last helpful thing we gain from meditating on God's Word, learning from the failures of those who have gone before us. We can learn from a good example AND a bad example if we choose to! And that's exactly what this verse is referring to:
1 Corinthians 10:11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.
When we study and understand how our brothers and sisters have failed to have faith, obey or do as God has instructed...we can learn to do better in OUR life. We can avoid the same pitfalls, if we know what they are! I'm all for learning from the mistakes of others, it's like getting a freebie on life wisdom!
I hope this helps you want to mediate on God's Word and gain all of the benefits and blessings God promises to those who do it!
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.
Huge huge love,
Posted by Tiffany at 10:25 AM
Sunday, April 15, 2012
I'm sure you've heard people say this kind of thing over and over again, it's "fun" to _____ (you fill in the sinful or disobedient act). And they are right to a degree, it's "fun" to do whatever your flesh or natural nature wants to do.
Have sex out of marriage.
Share gossip about others.
Eat until you are sick.
Lie to "cover you bum."
You name it, and it's fun for a season and that's IT. There will always come a time when the fleeting pleasures of sin end, and the consequences BEGIN. They always do, because it's part of the natural laws of God's design.
That "passionate" sex you couldn't wait to have, has now ended with a emotional ties that have bound you to that person and will feel like you are dying when he/she doesn't call again or the relationship has ended. Or worse, you have begun a life where you only wanted "sex." And now you are considering becoming a murderer, in addition to the first sin.
Remember that sin is progressive, it always gets worse and worse. It never just stays a "little sin."
Maybe that juicy gossiping has turned out to ruin a friendship, to hurt someone you didn't think would be hurt or now you are suffering personally from the words you couldn't bear to keep in.
Maybe you have gorged yourself and you are throwing up blood after you've tried to get rid of all the food you've eaten. Your body is suffering from the short term pleasure of gorging, or your weight is creeping higher and higher and your mental health is sinking lower and lower--depression has full control over you now.
Perhaps you've lied and now can't keep the story straight because lies are the HARDEST to keep straight. Now you've been found out and others don't trust you, don't like you and have walked away from you. This is terribly painful.
Or maybe you got just a little too drunk--drinking always leads to doing or saying things that hurt us later. Maybe it's DUI, you cheated on your significant other, or you're facing jail time now...all because you only wanted a buzz.
ALL of these outcomes are possible, and HAVE happened. All because people choose the short term SIN, rather than disciplining themselves and enjoying the LONG term blessings of obeying God's word. God doesn't tell us to obey Him because He is mean, but it's for OUR best interest. He wants us to ENJOY our life and He knows best how that is done...He created life after all!
God has set before each of us the ability to chose what we will, to obey Him or not. There is tremendous BLESSING in obedience and having the self discipline to do so!
Psalm 119:2 Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.
Doing wrong is fun for a fool, but living wisely brings pleasure to the sensible.
You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil--the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. (NLT)
When we obey the devil, we are sinning against God. And we are inviting into our life, more hurt, pain and suffering than we may ever imagine possible...until it becomes our reality.
I like what Dave Meyer says, "if you don't make yourself accountable, then your circumstances will."
The wisest thing we can do for a happy, pain free life is to read God's word, and do as He says. This ensures that we are not ADDING to the expected challenges of life, which are MORE than enough for me--thank you very much-- rather we are keeping the "pain and suffering" to the minimum. The last thing I want to do is make my life more DIFFICULT! So a little a self discipline now, will always bring you blessing later!
Remember that life with God is a learning process, and He is at work to bring about the good He started...so we are never alone in our efforts, but God Himself is for us and our ever present help in time of temptation and He always makes a way OUT!
So keep your eyes open for the safe escape out of sin, and you'll never be sorry. I know I'm never sorry for obeying God, rather than obeying the lusts of my flesh or the temptations of the devil.
I love this quote: "Whatever resolution you make today must be made again tomorrow."
You CAN do this, it's possible! And I pray for God to bless your smallest effort to obey Him first! Remember that when you FEEL weak, God's strength is perfected and can see you through whatever it is that you are tempted with!
Huge love to you Beloved,
Posted by Tiffany at 10:38 PM
Thursday, April 12, 2012
I think one of the most beautiful sights is a woman pregnant with life at the very core of her being. It's also an experience that God only gave to women, a crucial and critical role essential to the human race--without it, there would be no more humans at all!
In the world, you will mostly only hear negative views and comments about pregnant women. Just look at how awful people have treated Jessica Simpson, who is due any day. The only nice words the world says is about LOSING the weight gained. As if the only appropriate state for a woman is NOT with child. And who hates humanity and God's design to reproduce life? Satan of course, he hates all of humanity, and I think he effectively attacks the most precious beginnings of life--pregnancy because of this.
And Satan comes directly against the pregnant woman, if the life she carries wasn't "planned" then he tempts her to kill the precious life began. He attacks with putting thoughts of fear and worry about every possible outcome with you and the baby. He even stoops so low as attack old body issues and feelings of "being fat" when it's just part of pregnancy! Anyone who calls a pregnant woman fat should be WHACKED over the head, in my humble opinion! Ha ha ha!
I believe that God loves to see a woman in the full beauty of her pregnancy, to be on the verge of meeting the tiny, little person He has planned to be here--even before the foundations of the earth! What a glorious sight a woman pregnant is! I think that every courtesy possible should be made for a pregnant woman, get the door for her, offer to carry groceries or put her cart back...everything is A LOT of effort when you're pregnant. Even if you don't FEEL like you are doing much, you are! All the time, your body is in major production to grow and nourish that life (or lives :-).
And if you are like me, and people have said things like "you've gained a lot of weight" or tried to make a very NOT funny joke by saying "Hey Fatso"--remember that they only need a good whack on the head after a comment like that! Ha ha ha!
Pregnancy is NOT about being fat, it's about life. That big belly is BEAUTIFUL! I think the additional life within is what makes a pregnant woman glow! It's double life! Or in some cases, triple or more (if your blessed with multiple babies!). Remember that this is a short time in your life, it's a blessed time in your life, and soon you will meet him/her and at that moment, your heart will expand to encompass every bit of that baby/babies and you will be blessed as God has called us to be "a joyous mother of children."
My prayer for the pregnant gals: Father, I ask you to fill every expectant woman with unspeakable joy, with the knowledge of this wonderful participation we have with you in creation, and with view that this is a beautiful and precious time of life. I also pray for the baby/babies to be in the correct position for labor with their head down, for her body to stretch and open without tearing (or need of episiotomy), for mom and baby's bodies to function correctly, labor to be short and quick...In Jesus Name!
And one more thing, that there would be NO FEAR in this pregnancy. That every woman who reads this would refuse to give in to fear, but rather set her heart on 1 John 4:18 "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment."
Refuse to let fear in, even if you have to fight to keep your heart steady...just cling to this verse, that you are not under the curse of fear but rather safe in God's loving care. And God tells us over and over that He loves us and NOT to fear--ANYTHING! Trust Him for the best birth experience, because He loves you and that baby!
Big beautiful growing bellies,
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
As I'm always fascinated at WHY we do the things we do and holidays are no different, let's explore Easter---since it's right around the corner. And I realize that it is widely accepted in the church and promoted as a "Christian" holiday...but I think it's interesting to consider where the name originated, how chocolate bunnies and hunts for eggs came to be part of it all.
Put on your history boots...we're going WAY back. The name "Easter" comes from the Babylonian goddess, Ishtar (also, Astarte). So we are in the pagan realm, and they were ALL about fertility. That's how the rabbits got incorporated... they have one of the shortest gestation periods, only 31 days! A month goes by and BAM! You've got babies! The pagans admired this, and linked the rabbit's rapid breeding with the golden egg of Astarte, another symbol of fertility for the pagans. They celebrated the renewal of nature in spring, which places their celebration of fertility or "Easter," in Spring.
Now a little Biblical history...that occurred in the spring also.
Passover, which is when God instructed the Hebrews to sacrifice a lamb and put the blood over the door posts of their houses to be a sign to Him that they are covered in the blood of the lamb and to "passover" them. The rest of Egypt would suffer the loss of the first born as this was one of the plagues God sent to Egypt.
Exodus 12:12-13"On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn--both men and animals--and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt."
Passover was to be kept for all generations and occurred in the spring time. And when Jesus walked the earth it was Passover right before He was crucified and rose again on the third day--which marked the beginning of the Feast of First Fruits.
Matthew 26:2 "As you know, the Passover is two days away--and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified."
Now here's where the waters get muddy.
Later, as Christianity spread, the celebration that Christ had conquered death came at a time when the pagan world was celebrating the renewal of spring, Easter. As Christians tried to Christianize the pagans, they incorporate the pagan traditions with the Christian ones. Never a wise practice. And so, today we have Easter egg hunts at churches on Resurrection Sunday (or the Feast of First Fruits) and most people can't tell you why.
I've heard the argument OVER and OVER again, that the pagan traditions can be used to reach others with the gospel. To that I say, sha-poopy. If you can't reach people with the gospel alone, then you've got bigger problems. Sharing the hope of Christ is not linked to an Easter basket, Christmas tree or trick or treating. Christ alone saves, He doesn't need pagan rituals to "entice" people.
Now for the soul ties, these are what make your heart go "uh, oh, geez I really love all that--how could it be bad if I have such great memories attached to it all? I'm going to tell Tiffany to stay out of my Easter Basket!"
And as a free thinking person you can do just that, but I encourage you to pray about continuing to practice the pagan rituals of Easter. And think about this warning that God gave to us: we are not to even be like pagans in our prayers! If we aren't to PRAY like them, how much more so should we not DO like them?
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
God says DO NOT BE LIKE THEM -- TWICE!!! Keep reading.
The early Christians should have followed God's instructions regarding the pagan practices.
Exodus 23:24 Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces.
Exodus 20:3 "You shall have no other gods before me..."
If you recall from the beginning, the name "Easter" is the name of a god. Could we be putting Easter (a god) before God Almighty? Hmmm. That's no bueno (not good). I'm not very excited that most churches even USE the name "Easter" who is a goddess, when talking about the ONE TRUE GOD! It seems like blasphemy, to put the goddess' name as a the name of "how we celebrate Jesus death and resurrection."
Now if you're still annoyed at me, it's because of the soul ties I talked about earlier. Those are hard to break, I understand completely because I had to break my OWN soul ties with this and other holiday traditions that don't line up with God's Word. And above all, I encourage you to pray about this and see where the Holy Spirit leads you.
I personally believe in celebrating the Passover as Jesus did, and also celebrating His resurrection three days later. And I enjoy chocolate ALL year long, so I don't need "Easter" to provide it!
And the Biblical, Passover feast is wonderful and filled with Biblical lessons, all which teach children of God and His deliverance of His children from death to life. THAT is worth celebrating! And who doesn't like a feast?!
I pray this touches your heart and draws you closer to the Jewish roots of our Savior, and deep, meaningful feasts that God has called us to "keep for all generations!" I don't think He was kidding when He said "ALL."
Posted by Tiffany at 12:10 AM