Thursday, October 29, 2009

Let it Vegan!

Haha, the pun on "begin" sounding like "vegan" isn't a new one, but I will use it since it's new with me!

Yes all, I am vegan now. I know that some know and some don't, but for the past three days I have, to the best of my knowledge, stayed from things and foods that dealt with animals in their process of being made. I know that I am not perfect. I am still studying, learning and reading as much as I can as to what to avoid and, most especially, what I can eat! I understand that I work at a food restaurant that sells meat, but it would just not be wise or realistic for me to quit my job over it. I do know that I can do what I can to what I know the Lord has called me to.

Since my transition, the Lord has had so much grace with me, in that I don't ever feel at all like I'm dying for a hamburger or some cheese. I actually don't feel any desire to eat meat, at least for now, though I can't imagine wanting to.

As to how it began, suffice to say that I have felt convicted in my heart. I know that in my heart is where the Holy Spirit is. I am no stranger to His voice or His movement, and when I learned about what happens to animals in the meat industry, how they are abused, mistreated, brutally murdered, I could not help but feel such pity and sympathy. I know for a fact that this was not a decision that was made by me, but rather for me. I didn't simply 'decide' I was to be vegan, but just knew in my heart that this was the next logical step for me to take, fully knowing that it has been the Lord guiding me the whole time.

And such freedom it has been! It is one of the most freeing and exciting endeavors I have ever undertaken! It is fun planning dinners and checking nutrition!

On top of that, it is sweet seeing the confirmation in the word, and seeing how He has blessed me since stepping out in faith towards what I felt so strongly for. One of the most distinct things I know is from the book of Romans. It always scared me, truthfully, because of its intensity and I was afraid that I would not understand it. Two years ago, I started to try to independently study it, to no avail. I stopped after a million things I had read I didn't understand, and one that I always remembered very distinctly was the verse, "Everything that is not from faith is sin."(14:23) I freaked when I read that. How do I put that to practice? What does that even mean? How can it be tested? So many questions, but I just gave that to God....until NOW!

I feel very strongly in my heart that He has shown me how to put that into practice now. But as to how to word it......simply following His convictions? Knowing the movement and will of the Spirit, indwell'd? I don't know how to say other than what someone wise once told me, "work out your faith with fear and trembling."

I do not think becoming vegan is for everyone. I think it unwise to make a religion out of a conviction. If you feel it, it is in your best interest to follow through. I was scared, because I had NO IDEA how to be one. But the Lord has Grace enough for that, and has blessed me considerably. However, if there is no movement of the Spirit in this way, He is surely calling your attention to other things. I know, though, that to veganism is where I am called, and to Him, how can I deny? Truly, He is more satisfying.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Faulty Peace

Today I made a big purchase after making another earlier this past couple of weeks. These were out of necessity, and so were necessary things to buy. But today after driving away I had a panic attack. Like I always do when I make most purchases.

Those who know me, know that I really did not grow up in a very monetarily secure household, neither in my immediate family nor my extended. There is worry in my heart caused by these things. Namely, that I have noticed that I need to make proactive actions to not be attached to material things or money or 'perishable things.' I have a tendency to think that soon it will be gone, so I must hold on to it. I need to know that all my hope and peace, as the hymn famously says, is in Christ, His Love, His Cross. That's. it.

I wasn't thinking of Christ, Love or His Cross when I was driving and panicking in the car though. I was thinking of food, bills, college, things that I have to worry about, and a million things I can think that could cause me to pity myself or make it out to not be my fault.

The only thing at the time when I was panicking was to check my bank account, and make sure I was still safely in the clear. I was. And that brought peace to me.

THAT BROUGHT PEACE TO ME. Finding security in my current financial state BROUGHT ME PEACE.

That is severely wrong. Beware of the traps of money when they steal the place of peace in our lives reserved only for our Christ.

"I want to not find security and peace in money"

That is a prayer of mine. Importantly, to find if this has been answered is when I actually do not have security and peace in money.

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fall
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation
God, the Lord, is my strength;
He makes my feet like the deer's;
He makes me tread on my high places.

-Habakkuk 3:17-19

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Knowledge of the Law apart from the Spirit is Useless

As per the past year: It seems the soul/heart/mind(but more than that...) I once had has been evicted/transformed/wrecked. The previous self I was, with its life categorizing, double standards, and general selfish tendencies, allowed such painful regressions to sin, showing no true repentance. Yes, there was promise in 'mind', but not transformation in heart. There was awareness/conviction of sin, yet not the overwhelming desire to fix it in my life. (Possibly what we so often say, 'conviction' we may only be referring to the knowledge of presence of sin, which the word implies. The idea only that there is 'belief of' sin, rather than the necessity to do something about it.) So often I knew what I must do: turn away, flee, don't play the line of sin, yet when the tests came I failed. Surely my mind did not change in those times, as that I retained the knowledge of what was right, and what was wrong.
That is exactly what relying on the self and not Spirit looks like: failure in walking righteously. John's words from his first epistle are never so true as now to me. If we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. This truth is that God is light. They cannot coexist in one heart. Categorizing life is death. Death eternally, temporally. Death to joy. Can one, then, have the awareness of sin which comes with the Spirit, yet do nothing to stop sinful acts and begin righteous living? No I tell you. For presence of the Spirit, truly, alive and active in you can only bring such joyful pain of awareness of sin in one's life that the only course to take is action for that Spirit. It must be that when He is grieved, you are grieved, and sorrowful, as the bible will tell us leads to repentance. Our Spirit is changed, mine is changed.
And in this, we have faith in the strength given us to complete this end. Apart from walking in the Spirit we are working from our own power. Tozer will say,
"through the body of Christ, God is doing an eternal work above and beyond the realm of fallen nature. this requires supernatural working..."
Let all we do, then, have the after effects in eternity and this only through the Spirit.

Note: On this I could write a book on now that I have thought and developed this more. The knowledge of the Law apart from the Spirit can only lead to the situation described in Hebrews chapter 4:
Therefore, while the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us fear, lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened
and later,
Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.
What does 'strive to enter that rest' mean but to live a righteous life?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

For the Ladies

"There are no coincidences, only answered prayers." I think that is already a coined phrase. However, I don't know if it is, the Lord has just been putting this in my head lately. To believe in coincidences is such a hope killer in the belief of an intervening God.

Anyway, that's not what I wanted to focus on. This is for the ladies, as titled, because it is a message I want to share with them, that I have received. It may be for men too, I guess, but I feel most for the women, as I know that these complexities are ones most women face.

And now for vulnerability. I have never felt especially beautiful. Or pretty, or any other word that I have been told by my mother and the Bible and yet I have refused to believe because of the lies of the world. I thought in my head, "the world says this kind of girl is beautiful. That is not me. Therefore, I am not beautiful." Crazy, right? But SO MANY women struggle with this, and like me, may not be aware that you do, or feel that the solution to the problem is in you, not in Christ.

Anyway, we are not our own orchestrator's of our fate, praise God! These were LIES (it is important to identify that they are exactly that) that I had been believing since I can remember. These LIES, then, were a stronghold for Satan in my life, that he used to tempt me and pull me away, as in Hosea 2:
13 I will punish her for the days
she burned incense to the Baals;
she decked herself with rings and jewelry,
and went after her lovers,
but me she forgot,"
declares the LORD.

And that's what I did. However, the following verse proves truer:
14 "Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her.

Twice in the past semester God has told me POWERFULLY and without a doubt, that I am beautiful. And not with conditions, as in beautiful because of anything outward, he just said "You're Beautiful." And again, "Beautiful." TWICE; weeks apart. First, know that God has SOO much patience for you. It abounds! He IS the God of patience! I thought surely He had enough of me, but not only is that a LIE (again, every thought captive) He is leading and alluring us! I want to encourage any women that read my blog that YOU too are BEAUTIFUL in the Lord. And we know this because He tells us. Capture the lie of ugly, that goes against so much truth, and don't seek justification in this world, as I have done, as so many of us are prone to do. We have already been justified, and made beaufitul :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Encouragement to those in the Faith and pursuing His kingdom on Earth

This past Thursday was Treasure Hunting! whooo. It has consistently proved to be one of my favorite times of the week....that and the one time I meet with this wonderful woman of God once a week ;)

Pues, the purpose of this post is to share the encouraging moments of yesterday. We met, prayed, worshiped and called out and listened to God together, and before we left this guy Justin shared this Psalm and encouragement idea. I'm actually unsure which Psalm it was. Possibly Psalm 59:8 which reads:

"But You O Lord laugh at them"

or it could have been Psalm 2:4:

"The One enthroned in heaven laughs"

Either one, they both work. Well, he encouraged us to share some of our fears, the lies from the enemy that we shouldn't believe, but do, so that we can laugh at them. Which sounded silly, but it was such a source of joy let me tell you! Well, Earlier in the night this guy Royce said, "I'm gonna jut make a big plea God, don't let us encounter any hard hearts. I pray that everyone be open that we talk to." I shared that when I individually tried to pray that, I had admitted personally to myself that I had such little faith. That I couldn't believe it; the past two weeks I was punted and completely rebuked. (It was in those times my mom encouraged me, with "The world will hate you, but it is not you they hate but [Christ in us]," very encouraging). So I shared that, and how I was praying that I couldn't imagine: out of all the people we will talk to, how can not one get ignored or hated? We all had a good laugh at that disbelief and set out.

I got a chance to see the Holy Spirit move in amazing ways, and He blessed me by allowing me to see my part in His plan that night! For a long time, Satan had me fooled into believing 'coincidences' or even that I don't even hear the Spirit. And other such nonsense. Anyway, the Spirit gave me a very clear picture of a man I mistook for a friend of mine, so I assumed it was him. Anyway, I get discouraged so easily and I had thought surely he must be at Fuddrucker's. When he wasn't there, I believed more of Satan's lies, that I made this up. But I just kept praying His mercy for my unbelief, and prayed faith to believe His promises.

So me and Royce go to Petco, cause he the Lord told him turtles, fishes/fish tank and...something else.....anyway I can't remember. We go there, and there he is. However not chris, but the guy that I saw in my head that looked exactly like Chris. He was the guy we were supposed to talk to!! And the movement of the Spirit inside me was something like Joy, I remember. I felt justified against all those lies then. I hold this to myself, and we see him again, of course, by the turtles and this is when I tell Royce. He agrees. So we look for him and, of course, he's elbow deep in a fish tank.

The talk was great, he knew about Christ, but not WHO he is, like personally, or about His perfect Love. The sweet part was we talked to him for like 10 minutes, and it was as if he was waiting for us to talk to him. As if our visit was what the Spirit used as a catalyst. I knew this, because after we prayed for him, when we were wrapping things up, I thought in my head 'now would be a good time to extend an invitation' but the Spirit told me "I have already taken care of that. You do not need to worry about Him" Like, I felt the Spirit assuring me that He was already there! And the questions he asked! (He literally asked me, "so what turned you to Him?" awesome!)

At the end of the night, after everyone shared their testimonies, of course of course of course, NO ONE encountered a hard heart. All the hearts were open! He heard our big prayer and regardless of my little faith in praying it, He answered! He wants us only to ask, that is how I believe we demonstrate our faith. We have such a good Father :)

On top of this, be assured that movements of who the Holy Spirit is, that He lives in us, and fascination and the pursuit of God on earth that resides within us is evident in other churches. That is my real note of encouragement. That I have heard of pockets of believers from Grace, Community Church, even Church of Christ who are interested in KNOWING and MANIFESTING and WALKING in this Spirit. And this is an encouragement to those pursuing or have yet to, to continue on. He is at work in you and others.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Two tests and a paper ain't got nothin on me

I meet with Kayla soon ( I guess that constitutes a shout out?) anyway, just enough time for a blog update.....

I am constantly in awe of the movement of the Spirit. It's amazing to me considering the already high expectations I have of Him, that He STILL astounds me and my only reaction is praise. That so many areas of my life are focused on pursuing the Spirit, and knowing Him intimately that resides in me, and not only that, but that OTHER people as well are becoming aware and practicing walking in His Spirit daily, what is that??? The synchronic (not a word) movement of God. That's what it is. And it is SO COOL.

I am going to start reading Tozer's Leaning Into the Wind with Angela (second shout out?) and am flippin excited. For lack of a better phrase, but I think it gets my point across. We put a pause on pursuit of Holiness, which has singlehandedly caused so much journaling and writing in a book on my part it's ridiculous. But it is for purity we have been called, so that is what we are to strive after.

Sydney (three count) came and visited this past week and it was fun times 100 we shared a bed. Haha, which I won't even do with Jessica....(4th) She came with me to Treasure Hunters, and I again got a chance to enjoy that special joy that comes with sharing something you truly love with someone you truly love as well :) Also, I stole her toothpaste.