#FallingUpward: It Matters why you’re ‘Filled’

Being on my journey of FallingUpward this year has taught me a lot about my walk with Christ. One thing for sure, it’s shown me that you can start something having one mindset, but as you continue to walk in it you can end up with a different mindset. This has been true about my walk with God since 2009.

When I first gave my life to Christ, I started off with a sincere heart to do right and please God. I was naturally a “good” person. However I was so focused on “doing right” that no one initially explained to me the concept of relationship with Christ, and not just having a form of religion. So naturally as life hit I would often find myself in this back and forth with Christ, and it caused my life to run in the same cycle for years!!

I found myself wasting time because I was serving God from a selfish perspective. I only wanted to do right when it made me look good, but behind closed doors I was sinning, doing what I wanted to do. I was asking God to clean me up and heal me so that I could escape the pain I was experiencing, but I never was really asking him to deal with my heart.

Even as I grew with God and I thought I was getting stronger in my walk, my mindset about serving him and being “filled” with the Holy Spirit, still wasn’t Godly. In 2014 I started doing spoken word for my church and because I thought God had given me this gift, I thought finally my life would be on this track to what I thought was “spiritual stability.” But often times I found myself ministering through my poetry, but still leaving away feeling empty and still battling with the very things I thought God had delivered me from. I was praying to be “used” and to be “filled”, to do ministry, but I never really asked God to use that same power to help me live day to day.

And this can be a fine line for many Christians in their walk. If you’ve been walking with God for a while, you get comfortable and start doing ministry, using your gifts; it’s easy to think you’re filled and on track. Don’t get me wrong, it does take being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit to operate in your gifting, but it also takes that same power for everyday living. We can’t ask God to fill us up for one and not the other.

My Pastor has done several messages about being filled with the Holy Spirit and WHY we want to be filled. The more he speaks on it, the more I really appreciate the true power of what God wants to do in our lives. Are we asking God to fill us so that we can work in our gifts and be ‘grand’ making a name for ourselves, or are we asking so that we can truly come to know the character and way of the Holy Spirit to help fulfill God’s true purpose in our lives.

Once upon a time I thought being filled with the Holy Spirit was a ‘big deal.’ In my mind I thought it was all about speaking in tongues, shouting and being able to really hear from God and get prophesy. But what I’ve come to know from experience, being filled with the Holy Spirit is making a lifestyle choice to be led by him and not by our flesh.

Have you ever noticed, that when Jesus performed a miracle, it was never this big show. He was always very humble about it and he simply was walking out what God had already put in him to do. He wasn’t trying to make a reputation, even when the people tried to crown him King before HIS time. He didn’t use the power to make himself great, but he always made sure to glorify the Father!

If we only want God to fill us when it’s time to do ministry so we can be known by man, then we take away his glory. We’ve missed the whole reason he wanted to use us in the first place. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is never about us. It’s literally about walking out HIS will day to day.

I encourage you to examine your walk and how sincere are you in your motives when you asked God to “fill” you up. I think about the popular son “Fill Me Up” by Casey J, and I wonder do we truly count up the cost of being filled. Do we really understand what being filled could look like?

Sometimes, being filled isn’t about being the one on the speaking platform in the spotlight, God may fill you up to send you to that one Ethiopian on the side of the road that everyone has overlooked, just like he did Philip in Acts8:26-40. Or he may fill you up to go heal the sight of a notorious Christian murder, like Aninias in Acts 19. Those two incidents are just as powerful as David killing Goliath or Moses parting the red sea. In either scenario the Holy Spirit is still present with his power. Don’t discount the small stuff God ask you to do, you truly never know.

When I really think about being filled with the Holy Spirit, I think about my upcoming missions trip and I try to prepare myself. As I go over there, I can’t have this grand miraculous idea in my head that ministering will be this big show. I have to remember that God has sent me to give him glory first and as long as I let that be my focus, I will allow the Holy Spirit to lead. The mission’s trip is not about me, and hyping myself up for all the “souls” I’m going to win for Christ. I’m going to serve in whatever capacity they need us in. I may not even be vocal while serving, I may speak a few words here and there; but even in that the power of the Holy Spirit is present.

This year, while focusing more on the love of God I have truly learned to make the choice to be led by the Holy Spirit and not just by my desires. He fills me up to do HIS will, not mine. When we allow the Holy Spirit to lead for the right reasons, not only do we make wiser choices, but we honor God.

I want to leave you with this thought about WHY God wants to fill us with the Holy Spirit:

Not even Jesus came to do his will, but he was filled to do the will of his father:

 Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

#FallingUpward…..to be continued

 

 

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#FallingUpward: It would be my ‘honor’

I’ve discovered the more you fall in love with God, the more you will want to honor him. I’m not sure if I blogged about this before, but back in September or October 2015 when I decided to become celibate I remember constantly saying “I want to make a choice that honors God.”

I knew at the moment, I didn’t have it all together, but my heart was truly sincere. I had reached a point in my life with Christ, where I knew I couldn’t go back down an old path again. I refused to go down without a fight. And although it was hard, and I’ve had to cry and hang in there, I’ve been able to honor God in that area of my life and it has been a blessing.

When I made that conscious decision, it almost became a catalyst to everything else that has happened since then. Especially when January hit and I was able to really start grasping the love of God and it made me honoring him with my life that much better.

All the times before I tried to quit having sex, I would always reach a certain point and fail. I now realize that the saying is true ” it matters why you quit sin.” If you quit for any reason outside of trying to please God, you will go back.

Honoring God was my motivation. I really wanted to please him because I was beginning to see things through his eyes and not mine.

Honoring God is so important in our walk with him. I discovered that the more we have a sincere heart to please God, the more He is willing to meet us halfway.

Looking back on the last 8 months I have no doubt i made the right decision in wanting to honor God with my body. But not only that, eventually honoring him consumed me and it moved from just a choice in one area to a lifestyle of honoring God with my WHOLE life. Although the fight may be hard at times, the longer I stick with it, the more strength I gain to resist and the more peace I have with God.

When you honor God he will honor you. Often he will honor you in ways that are beyond what we ask for.

I remember in December 2015 asking God to make 2016 a year of growth and change. I went into 2016 expecting God to do great things in my life. Initially I had no idea what to expect, I just wanted it to be different from the last 5 years of my life.

And indeed it has been! I’m going on my first ever mission trip to LA. God provided the funds in unconventional ways. He helped me discover my talent for creating hand decorated mugs & it has gone far beyond my mission trip fundraising efforts.

Also, by me honoring God, it has trickled down to people around me. My little sister gave her life to Christ & I have improved relationships with my mom & my family as a whole. Recently God told me, because I made the choice to honor him, he would always keep my younger siblings covered & protected. He will watch out for them.

Hearing that made me so thankful of God’s love and all that he does. Even when we don’t ask, God just knows. Literally when you honor God and his Word, he always comes through for you.

I want to close with this scripture :

Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Having a genuine love for Christ, helps you to honor him. When you reach a certain point, it’s almost as if honoring Him has become second nature in ALL that you do. To please God becomes your everyday agenda.

 

I encourage you to honor God in your lifestyle choices. Honoring God is part of us serving him. Please be encouraged, because honor doesn’t alwags mean “comfort” It can be hard, but in those moments I pray the holy spirit be a light & strength to your life. And this is what falling upward is truly about. Falling in love w Christ and wanting to honor him because of the love he has for us. #amen

#FallingUpward: Planted by God

My Pastor did a recent message on the importance of being planted by God. His message came as a great reminder that whatever God has started in my life he will complete because his word cannot return void.

Scriptures: Psalm 92:12-15 & Psalm1: 1-3

After reading these scriptures, Pastor helped to remind us of a few key points:

1. ONLY what GOD plants, will grow & sustain.
2. If you try to plant yourself, you will uproot yourself.
3. God either prunes the leaves on the top of the tree, or works on the roots to help them grow deeper. (Which season are you in? ) Know that in either season there’s growth that works all for God’s glory & purpose.
4. You have to have deep roots before you can sprout up & grow

Those were just a few key points that really stuck with me from the evening. But overall, when I came to church my mind had been racing about my career all day. I was thinking about writing a business plan, finding the right name, doing all my research etc. And I had gotten slightly overwhelmed. It began to seem like a lot for me to conquer alone.

After hearing this word, I could hear God tell me all over again that he loves me and he will honor what he has spoken over my life.

For a moment I had gotten so wrapped up in my planning that I forgot who started the whole thing. Who had planted my roots. God has planted my roots, and if he starts it then we should trust the way has been made.

I think of all the times I kept wanting to start a business out of selfish reasons and my own strength in the past. For 3 years I was consumed and nothing ever happened. I never really saw the fruit of it all, I ended up having to shut it down. (Some of you who follow may know this from previous post in 2015)

In the last year, God has had to refine my ambition and purify it for his purpose. A journey that has not been easy. But what I’ve learned is that if I trust God and where he has me planted, He will provide the rest of what I need.

It matters who plants you and that you know why you’re planted. Planted w purpose, not just to be a pretty flower. Planted to bear fruit from your life.

As I thought more about my career I had to remember to realese it over to God all over again. I never want to forget who planted me and that there’s purpose when God plants you.

Yes even at the job you don’t like, or the troublesome family member you can’t escape. When you want to be used by God, purpose comes before comfort.

I had started to get a little discontent at work, because God was showing me the full potential of how things could be. For a moment I felt like I was being under utilized and taken for granted with my skill set.

However during service God reminded me why he planted me where he did: I was meant to be a light, and also this job has been great training ground both career wise & spiritually speaking. In both areas Ive grown so much because of the testing I’ve gone through with my job.

I eventually was able to see there was far more value in my spiritual & physical growth as a person than God rushing me into my next position. Or me trying to make it happen out of my strength and not with God’s grace.

If you’re like me and you’re in an interesting transiton of life, where it seems like nothing is happening… I encourage you to remember who planted you and his purposr in planting you. Remembering those two things will keep you encouraged because all road lead back to Christ.

The Countdown Has Began

In less than 6 months, God has really been faithful in 2016. Already I’ve had an amazing year.

In just a short time I will be headed to LA for my first missions trip ever! Im beyond excited for this opportunity and I’m so amazed to be a part of the experience.

In the fundraising process, God has really blessed me. He’s opened doors &  he has been more than faithful.

In March of this year I had only raised about $300 of the $1400 total I needed for the trip. We had a $800 deadline by end of March, and March was halfway over. Initially I had no idea where I was gonna get the money.

I had created a gofundme but hadn’t had a lot of success. I literally only had recived $20 since end of January, beginning of February. I had also sent out letters, but no luck yet.

I kept trying to think of fundraising ideas. I was on edge about funding. I was like God this literally will have to be all you bc fundraising was all new to me.

I remember sitting on Pinterest one day and I came across hand painted mugs w Sharpies and paint pens. And I was like maybe I could do that. It might be worth a try.

So I created a batch of 3 mugs around March 12th. Posted them on facebook talking about my trip, not thinking anyone would really buy them. The next day I had sold all 3 and had gotten orders for 3 more. I was really shocked.

And so eventually one thing led to another. People were buying & ordering my mugs; by the end of March I had over the $800 and then by beginning of April I was fully funded and went over the $1400!

Literally, all God. During that time in March as well, people also blessed me with donations left and right. Even coworkers. I was hesitant about asking. But many of them gave donations & gave generously!

I really wasn’t expecting it to all happen so fast. I took a step of faith even though I was unsure and God honored that and blessed me above and beyond.

He blessed me so good that even after my trip was paid for, I still had people wanting to buy my mugs just because they liked them. How exciting is that? Since March, Ive probably did close to 120 mug orders. At one point I had a 20 mug order. Crazy!

But in all of this, God had shown me more of who He is in my life and that he’s in control of all things. Time doesnt matter to God.

The last 5 months have felt like a year with all the doors he has opened in my life and all the healing and freedom I’ve experienced since January. I like to think it’s because I spent 5 years prior being trapped in a revolving cycle and that God truly is a God who reedems time.

I hope my story was able to encourage someone. I plan on blogging more in the next week or two leading up to the trip.  Please keep me in your prayers, along with my teammates. I know this trip will be life changing. I heard God say a few days ago that the trip will be a gift to me from Him and that when I leave LA, it will always stick with me.

I am believing God and moving forward in faith!

Please stay tuned for the journey! 21 days until the trip. 😀

Let’s go #DreamTeam

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#FallingUpward: Success vs. Purpose

For anyone who knows me, and for those who have been reading my blog for any length of time, know that I sometimes have quite the ambitious soul, hence the theme of my blog.

In the last several months I have been mentally suffering at work as I daydream about being somewhere else in my career. I feel as if I’m reaching a place where daydreaming about it, is not enough. I am getting to the point where I’ve gotten serious about writing out business plan and doing my research to get things up and going in motion. The idea of possibility always gets me excited!

But I always go back to my saying: Rome wasn’t built in a day!  I tend to get excited and forget to count the true cost of my creative endeavours. But for once, I think God is trying to get me to pause and see the bigger picture in where he wants to take me next.

“I  just want to be successful and I want to live a fulfilled life.” This thought crosses my mind often, as I’m sure it does for many people. But the difference today was that I also had a counter thought:

“What does success look like to Christ and how does it relate to my purpose in him?”  and then I also had the thought of  what’s the difference between success and purpose and my perspective on those two words. Often I have used these words interchangeably, but the more I reference God and his Word about it, the more I realize there is a difference.

Success defined by society typically sounds like this: “I made it! I’m rich, I’m famous. Nice car, clothes, jewelry, big house, lots of followers  etc.”

There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what you want out of life, but I know for me that doesn’t sound fulfilling. After a while all of that stuff can fade and then what? Will I still be successful? Can I be “successful” if I don’t have those things?

The answer: yes

What God brought to my attention was that with success (according to society’s definition) no one ever really talks about the flip side. What’s going on when you aren’t in front of people. Sometimes it can be lonely, stressful, unfulfilling, it can literally suck the life out of you. Being put on a pedestal and being expected to maintain a certain image is hard work, especially if you aren’t relying on God as your true source of strength. And you really want to know, how I KNOW being success isn’t all it’s cracked up to be: think about all the celebrities who have had drug problems, alcohol problems, committed suicide, been in rehab etc. So being successful doesn’t exempt me from the turmoils of life.

Now, yes there are successful people living decent lives and they aren’t caught up in “fame and fortune.” Kudos to them but truly it’s not a lifestyle for everybody.

Now when I thought about what successful meant in the eyes of God, these were my thoughts “Success in God, is doing is his will.” Period. Even if doing his will doesn’t bring you fame or fortune. If he used you to do his will, then in his eyes you’re successful. The question is, do you want to be successful in man’s eyes or in the eyes of  God’s.

Not that doing God’s will can’t bring you fame or fortune, but it shouldn’t be done for that reason alone. God’s will must be done with pure motives to be successful in his eyes. Although you may not always get big recognition for doing God’s will, it’s always more fulfilling. God has his own way of rewarding us for doing his will.

 Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Doing God’s will usually involves other people and helping bring them into closer fellowship with God. Being able to bring other people closer to God is the epitome of success to God. With God, it’s not just about a hand clap or recognition, for each believer I believe he has created a special unique purpose for each of us. God may have purposed for me to minister to low-income families, where as someone else he may have purposed for them to preach all over the world.

Although every believer has the purpose to look more like Christ, to give him praise where it’s due and to bring people to God, somewhere in between, each of our lives are meant to touch specific people and leave a specific mark behind on the earth for the sake of Christ. That’s what makes success different from purpose.

Anyone can be successful just to be successful, but if their lives aren’t getting God’s purpose across then their success has become null and void. Success doesn’t make anyone unique, it’s what they do with the success that they’ve gained.  I also think that usually when people think of success, it turns into all about “me.” But when God gives your life purpose it always goes beyond just you and it involves other people being touched by it as well.

A scripture that came to mind was Act2:37-47 when the disciples had finally received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and they began to go out and boldly minister to people. The people were so touched by their testimony that they asked “what must we do to be saved?”  That to me is true fulfillment of purpose; that your life can lead someone else to Christ, the true life giver. Walking in purpose is so much more fulfilling than success, because you can see the change in people’s lives because you have help guide them to the light and truth of God. Seeing the power of God change someone is an amazing thing to witness.

The disciples did what was in them to do through the Holy Spirit and the rest fell into place without them trying to make a name for themselves. Sometimes with success, we can get caught up with the idea of trying to make a name for ourselves. With purpose, the only name that needs to be known is Christ. Are we striving to be known, or are we striving for others to know Christ through our lives?

Ultimately God motivates purpose, whereas society motivates the idea of “success.”  Living out your purpose in God is always more certain than trying to chase after fleeting success. Celebrities come and go, but purpose is purpose no matter what!

I know I said a lot in this post, and it was a lot when God gave it to me. But I do encourage you, that if you’re like me and you’re ambitious to allow God to sift you. Test to see if the idea will remain standing when God has taken you through a few loops first. Ask yourself, am I trying to just be successful for the sake of fame, or my name being known; or do I really want to walk in my purpose with God and be fulfilled no matter if anyone knows my name?

As long as you walk in God’s purpose for your life, you will always be successful and lead a fulfilling life. Times may get tough, but it will all be worth it, because God’s reward is greater than any amount of fame or fortune.