Intentional Pilgrimage

I titled this section “Pilgrimage to Easter”, because that is precisely what it is. Often times, I am not prepared for Easter. My spirit is far from prepared for the glory of Easter and all that it encompasses. Lent, for me, is a pilgrimage. It is a gradual approach to Easter, that requires diligence that God deserves – to ensure I am ready for Easter.

During the course of the next several weeks, I will post in this specific category. It may regarding Lent itself, or involve sharing my Lent reading plan… It will be about this pilgrimage to “Jerusalem”.

For those who desire to go on a similar walk, consider joining me. It is about setting our eyes on this pilgrimage. It is about seeking God intentionally.

Lent needs to be a deliberate act to be intentional in seeking God’s face, pursuing things that draw us nearer to Him and removing things that hinder His voice. Not just for a season, but for good…

As we seek intentional living, we are reminded how Jesus is intentional in saving and loving us regardless of how foolish we may have acted.

Psalm 84:5 says:

“What joy for those whose strength comes
from the LORD, who have set their minds
on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.”

Reflection Questions:

  1. Are you participating in the season of preparing your spirit for Easter?
  2. Are you ready for the joy that awaits you?
  3. Are you ready for the spiritual growth and excitement that awaits your spirit?

Hebrews 12:2

 “… [L]ooking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of
our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured
the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”


Intensely Longing

Sunday School: 12//14/14
Psalm 27:1-6

The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? When evil people come to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.

The one thing I ask of the Lordthe thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music.”

We all are dependent on someone for something. David faced many battles, yet still relied on God.

  • “My heart shall not far…, yet I will be confident.” (See 27:3)
  • “He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.
    His heart is steady: he will not be afraid.” -Psalm 112:6-7a

How does confidence in God giving you salvation, help you in facing every day issues? If God loves me enough to save me, He will stay with me with all the stuff…even when others walk out. For David, he is intensely longing: this is all I want: To dwell in the house of the Lord.

David’s seeking of God is deliberate, just as God’s pursuing us is very deliberate. Can we say our seeking God is deliberate and something we strive for?

Enjoy the Hard Times

One thing about having a chronic illness is the fear that the good day (or moment) of little to no symptoms will soon end. I mean after all, good things must end at some point… Right? My nemesis is generalized weakness. I get weak. I mean I literally just have to stand, and symptoms come on.

I have a new friend today. It “came” to the rescue. G2 (low calorie/sugar Gatorade) is my new friend. God totally provided for me today! It is wonderful. It’s amazing how much better the human body can feel when it is properly hydrated and given sodium and potassium.

It is just wonderful.

While in my down time, I was trying to just focus on the fact that God has compassion on the weak. The Bible has much to say to us, no matter what we are facing.

We have to hold onto the hope we have in Christ Jesus. We have to hold onto Him. He knows what we will be facing later today, tomorrow, and 20 years from now (if we are still roaming the earth). The fear of becoming weak again is very real! I know I am not the only one who battles it. But, I guess all we can do is: prepare for the bad days, enjoy the good, and celebrate wherever God has placed us. In the book of James, we are taught to enjoy the trials we face.

Did James actually use the word “enjoy”? Not exactly, he told us to consider it pure joy. We should refer to our suffering with pure joy. That can be very difficult in the midst of a trial… But, we need to celebrate that God is doing something wonderful in the midst of the pain and suffering that we are facing. The suffering is all we can see, but there is so much more going on. God will give us the wisdom during the hard times, just as He will the good times. The question is: Are we seeking His wisdom?

When I had my bout of bad weakness today, my focus wasn’t on the Scriptures. When I get symptomatic, that’s not exactly where my focus goes. My focus tends to go on what I am facing. By the grace of God when I crawled into bed during this weakness episode, I went to His Word. I listened to James 1 on my ipod. If nothing else was accomplished today, that is big. To put myself in a position to hear the Word of God. It is one of the best decisions I could have made in a time of struggle between my flesh and spirit.

During hard times, how do we enjoy what God is teaching us? For me, I know I need to be more inviting to seek God during those hard times and trust that He is working everything out- even when I don’t see it. Clinging to Him, because that is when I need Him the most!


Fisher of People

Far too often, we let our emotions stop us from things. As an introvert, I have developed this “protective layer”. A lot of times when I speak, the words don’t come out right. They fumble out. I wonder if I was understood. In times of anxiety, many words begin popping out as I try to explain more and more…and it’s things that don’t need any additional explanations. It is just learning to accept and take social interaction as it comes. From my own experience, that “protective layer” of fear has stayed for far too long. Fear of rejection. Fear of miscommunication. Fear of being misunderstood. Those fears are big enough all on their own.

For five days, I spent my days at a friend’s house on a ‘staycation’. I spent my time spending time  with my Creator, sorting through my thoughts, processing my identity, and the frustrations of my identity- the very thing that is part of how God created me. I am wired differently. God made me who I am with a great purpose in mind. I am coming more to a place of trading the lies and guilt of who I am not, for the truth of who I am.

I am an introvert. Others may have their own opinion about me. I am someone who faces chronic illness. Others may have their own opinion about me. But, their opinion is not that of God. God loves me. I am accepted in His eyes. I am chosen by God. God has redeemed me, through the blood and resurrection of His son Jesus Christ!

Fisher of Men

“Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”

Now as a Christian, I want to see others come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I want them to experience the eternal joy and peace that only He can give them. I want them to know how He can satisfy their aching, longing hearts. I genuinely want this. I want to learn to love my neighbors and be a witness- to how God’s love and compassion for me can change everything when I came to Him.

Part of the transformation process:

I am learning to overcome anxiety.
It’s ridiculously easy to let anxiety or fear play the center part.
And, I hate conflict.
Conflict happens.
We live in a fallen world.
I believe I want to guard myself from that however possible.
But, I do not need to fear conflict or anything else.

My own questions

Is the anxiety, fear, and other things greater than my desire to see others come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and see His freedom and abundant life in their own lives? I don’t believe so. I know the passion I have to see others come  to know Christ and all He has to offer is greater!

How can I, an introvert, love others, bless others, minister to others, and share the Gospel in everyday life with others? What gifts can I be utilizing that I am keeping to myself?

How can I pursue deep fellowship and community? How could I be more about looking for opportunities to disciple others- teaching others God’s truth? How could I be more about pursuing God’s Kingdom?

All of this is something to pray on, because I know God has already equipped me for this. He has made my personality and all my traits as it is for a reason, for His purposes, to bring glory to Himself! He will use me to help others know more about Him, as long as I remain willing.


Be Thankful in Every Circumstance

thankfulThis can seem like a really serious verse if you or someone you love has an illness of some sort. Depression is common with most illnesses. It can be very difficult to have thankfulness in hard times. When we are thankful in difficult circumstances, we have more room to praise Him. Depression operates as a road block. When I am more thankful, there is a huge lifted burdened. My spirit doesn’t feel as heavy. I can look at life differently than when I am dealing with depression or discouragement.

When we are thankful, we are less likely to complain, let the illness get the worse of us, or drift away from God. We will either be thankful or complain. Maybe, we may vary from day to day due to symptoms. Today, I am thankful for my bed. Another day, I will struggle with being restricted to my bed. Lacking thankfulness or complaining doesn’t get us very far. It sends us the wrong direction than we actually want to go. We may not mean to be unthankful, but it happens. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds us of this significant truth: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

In this verse, what sticks out is “this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. God wants us to be happy, feel His joy, and be able to have thanksgiving in everything. Prayer is essential in giving thanks. God wants us to not be depressed. He wants to help us to look at life with joy and thankfulness. Our lives (and the things in them) are not meant to be a punishment, but it is to be a blessing. God has not only given us life, but with it He has given us purpose! Developing a closer walk with the Lord is essential in helping me to keep my joy. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, so in order to have joy I need to stay close to my Jesus- developing a closer relationship with Him! I try to do this by listening to praise music, talking to the Lord, reading books about the Lord, engaging in Bible Study, and by talking with like-minded people who are seeking a closer walk with the Lord. Asking for prayer is one of these ways as well.

If we aren’t feeling the joy or thankfulness, we can bring that before the Lord, talk to Him about how we are really feeling, and seeking His help. One of the deepest promises God gives me is that He will never leave me. God is never going to abandon us. We can come to Him with anything. He is always there for us no matter what! He knows what I am facing, and He still stays by my side, helping me through each moment and day, and talking with me! <3 And best part: He can flood our hearts like nothing else can. He can give us a joy and peace that we have never experienced before!