No Ordinary Stories

No Ordinary Stories by guest blogger, Farah J.

No Ordinary Stories by Farah
Written by guest blogger, Farah, from Rising with the Son

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! (Ephesians 3:20 MSG)

I love reading. I’m especially keen for books whose authors find new and appealing ways to tell their stories, stories that capture my attention and have me reading for hours. But the moment I pick up a book that has an ordinary and expected story line, I’m just as eager to put it back on the shelf.

What kind of story is your life telling? Is it an exciting and exceptional story, or a boring and ordinary one? We all have a story to tell and good readers can tell who the author of our story is.

People who have the same story line as everyone else around them, are often the ones who are writing their own stories. These are the stories that, sad to say, I’m done reading. They’re just ordinary and boring. I know how they all end. But people whose stories are being written by God, now these are stories that get me excited and curious. I want to know how they end.

God is a great writer. Just read the Bible and you’ll see for yourself. Its ancient stories have been reread and retold for many generations simply because their author is God.

Who isn’t curious to find out what happens to Abraham as he lays Isaac on the altar, or Daniel as he is thrown in the lion’s den? Not to mention the encouragement and inspiration we get from reading these stories. And mind you, they’re not a bunch of fairy tales, they’re real stories, written by a real God.

God would love to write your life story, so that it can do the same for others. Please give Him the pen back and let Him write a great story that everyone would want to read.

No Ordinary Stories by Farah J.I’m an empty page/I’m an open book/Write Your story on my heart/Come on and make Your mark/Author of my hope/Maker of the stars/Let me be Your work of art/Won’t You write Your story on my heart –Francesca Battistelli, “Write Your Story”

Love in Waiting welcomes guest bloggers to come, write, and share! If you would like to write for my blog or invite me to speak at your event, email GospelNewMedia@gmail.com.

Encouragement | How to Get Over a Crush

Encouragement | How to Get Over a Crush…for the Spirit filled Christian Woman

Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. (Proverbs 4:26 ESV)

 

Developing a crush on someone is not something that only unbelievers do.

I frequently receive emails requesting prayer and advice asking how to get over a crush. Some crushes are minor and insignificant while others are indeed crushing to the heart.

getting over a crushThe pain can be unbearable and the answers on how to overcome seem so far away.

One could list hundreds of ways on how to get over a crush. But the remedy for Christian women in relationship with God differs from secular solutions.

There are hundreds of articles and YouTube videos giving advice on how to get the man you’re crushing on. You’ll find advice on how to make him notice you and how to get him to start chasing after you.

However, as daughters of God, our heavenly Father is very active in writing your love story.

The Lord can see through the shell of a man to know if he is the right one for you. If you desire marriage, God wants you to have a blessed one. So His perfect will and insight must be considered before we assign our affections to another.

Nevertheless, we like what we like. And although we wait on God, the new guy that joined your Bible study group has you smitten.

In my early twenties I was infatuated with a certain young man…for several years. So speaking from experience, I wish that I had not let my crush linger on for as long as it did.

When it was forced to end because he married another woman, I felt cheated. I know. I know. He did not belong to me. But sometimes the heart turns a deaf ear to reason.

I promised myself that I would never again invest my heart in love that is unsure. I established emotional and physical boundaries when I found myself attracted to someone and I kept that vow.

A crush can contribute to having a false sense of Christian hope. Instead of searching for spiritual understanding our hearts wonder aimlessly with fingers crossed and wishing with uncertainty.   

Because God is unfailing, we can trust that He will bring the right person and a right relationship into our lives. God can see beyond what is impressive to you and lead you to the man He has kept just for you.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. (Jeremiah 17:7 ESV)

Having a crush on someone is a stumbling block that hinders many of God’s desires for His people.

God wants for you…

…a peaceful and grateful heart

…to fully trust Him for all things

…to be anxious for nothing

…to have a temperate spirit

…to rejoice always

…to be fully available to His plan

…to walk by faith and not live in fear

…to come to the knowledge of truth

…to have life more abundantly

Even though it was apparent that the man I was crushing on had no romantic interest in me, I held on. As much as it hurt to see him or hear his voice, I held on. I couldn’t understand it but my heart did not want to let go.

Perhaps as much as having a crush hurt me, it was a crutch for my singleness.

Remember, for many years I was not a “healthy” single person. I was limping through life depending on the love of a man to keep me from falling.

See, I wanted to be married more than anything. Allowing my affection to grow for this man, gave me a sense of hope. But the hope was not from God.

There was a sense of comfort in daydreaming about him and merging him into my yearning for marriage. A false hope generated in my heart and it replaced true Christian hope.

After many days of disappointing encounters and tear filled nights, I reclaimed my heart. Overcoming did not come easy but I prayed for an increase in my faith. I then rested in Christian hope.

True Christian hope is based on God’s promises. His promises are true and always manifest in their time. 

Reclaim your hope in God today…hope for what He has in store for you.

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. (Romans 15:13 KJV)

Living Beyond Your Feelings: Controlling Emotions So They Don’t Control You
Enjoying Where You Are on the Way to Where You Are Going: Learning How to Live a Joyful Spirit-Led Life
Lost and Found: Finding Hope in the Detours of Life by Sarah Jakes

Your in Christ,
Candra Evans, 
Abundantly You for Christian Singles and More

 

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Christian Single Men, Abstinence, and God’s Grace

Christian Single MenHow many Christian single men are truly practicing abstinence? If there are little to none, is it okay with God?

These questions are often up for debate in the Christian single community. A facet of this issue is that if Christian men are unwilling to wait until marriage to have the cookie, than Christian women should not be expected to wait either.

Therefore if we’re okay with it as a “Christian” couple, God should be okay with it too.

Here is one reader’s response to my blog post, “The Christian Man and The Cookie”…

“I see articles like this and hear girls in church group talk about this all time. But none of them can name this plethora Christian men who really want to wait to have sex. They all speak hypothetically and theoretically, just like LoveinWaiting did. I know of soo sooo many happily Christian married couples who admittedly had sex with each other during their courtship. No one gets real about the facts of Christian dating.”

I left a reply for this reader but wanted to carry this conversation forward.

I was inspired to write my previous post because of men I know who are waiting until marriage for the cookie. I want to honor them because society tears them down and demeans their decision to walk upright before God.

If Christian men choose to wait until the wedding night for the cookie, God is more than able to deliver them and will bless them with the desires of their hearts.

The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. (Psalm 145:18-19 KJV)

To in fact get “real about the facts of Christian dating”, we have to look at all sides of the issue. We also have to throw out limited assumptions and generalizations. Every persons walk with God is unique and ultimately God is the righteous judge over our actions.

The reader’s response is correct in that not every professed Christian couple has waited until the wedding day for the cookie. Some couples are frank about their pre-marriage intimacies while others put on a pretense of piety.

In either case it would be presumptuous for me to say that because they are happily married now, that sex before marriage is God’s new approved plan for couples. Instead I would say that if these couples are happily married today, it is evidence of God’s grace and mercy.

We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But that does not mean that God will not forgive our sin and restore to us Grace for Christian SinglesHis joy if we repent and return to Him.

Because God has blessed and had favor on an individual who has sinned, does not make the sin an acceptable action for others to take part in. It means instead that God is gracious and willing to forgive.

But should we continue in sin so grace may abound? God forbid.

For some godless people have slipped in unnoticed among us, persons who distort the message about the grace of our God in order to excuse their immoral ways, and who reject Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord. Long ago the Scriptures predicted the condemnation they have received. (Jude 1:4 GNT)

In spite of the varied religious theories that are created in the minds of humanity, God’s Word will always prevail. You can close the scriptures and toss them in the deepest part of the ocean. God’s Word lives on beyond the printed pages.

Christian single men practicing abstinence is not a thing of the past. There is a remnant of men presenting their bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God. (Romans 12:1)

Satan would love for God’s children to believe that God’s Word is no longer relevant or worthy of regard. He would love for us to turn a blind eye to the damage that fornication has caused in the lives of so many.

The entertainment industry and mass media have changed the mind of many Christians when it comes to dating. But it hasn’t changed God’s mind.

In Old Testament times, Israel often found pleasure in hating righteousness. Then they believed that their outward piety and religious ceremonies would be enough to appease God.

God sent words of warning and promises from the prophets but they did not want to hear. They preferred doing what gave them immediate gratification.

Things have not changed much today. Today, people use the immorality of others to justify their own. They misjudge seasons of grace. When God responds with mercy instead of judgment, it is sadly mistaken for God’s approval.

The old adage “everybody’s doing it” is not enough to turn evil into good.

Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the Lord, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. (Amos 5:14 KJV)

~Candra E.

Love in Waiting welcomes guest bloggers to come, write, and share! If you would like to write for LIW or invite Candra to speak at your event, submit your information on our contact page.

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Emotional Eating | Turn To God First

Emotional Eating | Turn to God First

This girl here loves food. My relationship with food is on better terms now but when I was a little girl I developed a pattern of emotional eating.

Emotional eating is turning to food for comfort, safety, or happiness. On many occasions I gobbled down food to counteract boredom and loneliness.

My grandmothers and both parents have always been great cooks. So it was easy to connect good feelings with good food. Unless there were lima beans on my plate, I ate until I was beyond full.

I was only a child so I never said, “Hmmm… I’m feeling sad today, let me eat ice cream.” I’m not sure if most people consciously plan to use food as an emotional outlet. For me, it just happened over time.

emotional eatingFood contented me and I felt satisfied. It was a temporary override to the aspect of me that was unhappy. After awhile it was automatic to crave certain foods when my soul felt empty.

I didn’t know then that there was a God that I could turn to meet my emotional needs.

In elementary school my cousins teased me about my belly. I had skinny arms, skinny legs and a swollen stomach. Not because of genetics or slow metabolism, I just loved to eat.

When I turned 12 my belly fat started to make its move to other parts of my body. I cared a little about being overweight, but not like I cared about food. They don’t call it “comfort food” for nothing. Food truly made me happy.

The glitch was that I had to keep eating to maintain contentment. This is not a good thing when sugar and fried foods are what satisfies you most.

I was an only child and didn’t have many friends. I felt lonely, but food was my escape. With money I saved, I visited the convenience store on my way home from school almost every day.

Then I’d plop on the sofa, watch television and indulge in barbecue chips, pecan rolls, Sugar Daddy caramels, and a giant pickle. That was my favorite combination of junk food bliss. I had it all consumed before my mom arrived home and still made room for dinner.

I signed up for the high school track team when I was in seventh grade and ran track and cross country until I graduated. Being an athlete helped me to lose weight. I exercised all the time but my emotional eating habits did not change.

This may sound ideal. Eat whatever you want and run laps to burn calories. But in short, I turned into a thin person who was unhealthy and still emotionally broken.

After high school I had an opportunity to be a walk on for the track team at my university, but I was not fast enough to be competitive. So, I hung up my running shoes and gained twenty pounds.

Emotional Eating vs. Prayer

By this time I had just begun my journey with God. I was new to the faith and knew very little scriptures. Prayer was something I only did on occasion because I wasn’t sure how to pray.

My habit of emotional eating was hard to break. Food was still the thing I turned to first for bits of satisfaction.

Then I reached a point in my life where food failed me. I looked to food to be my savior but there is only one.

I went through a deep depression and I wasn’t happy with myself. There wasn’t a 5 minutes of prayerpastry, pork chop or plate of macaroni and cheese that could deliver me.

I wasn’t that little girl restricted to a few dollars worth of junk food. I was making my own money, lived in my own apartment and could eat as much as I wanted.

However like everything else we put before God, emotional eating failed me. The stress in my life was too big for McDonald’s to handle. After a Big Mac (or two) my problems remained and I was still hurting.

Then the depression had a different effect on my mind. I became repulsed by the food that I once took comfort in. Feeling overwhelmed with hopelessness I turned my plate away.

My weight dropped so fast and I became so thin that some were concerned that I turned to anorexia to lose weight. I found no solace in loving food or hating it.

Emotional eating filled by belly but it did not satisfy my soul. I wanted cookies and cakes to be the glue to mend my broken heart, but it only added to my frustration. Food was a band aid for wounds that were too deep and wide.

Our emotional distress is often connected to a spiritual need. Life will always have its problems but we can find peace and the strength to stand by depending on the power of prayer. God must come first in all things. Even in our struggles, first seek the Kingdom of God.

Spiritual things strengthen our spirit.

When everything else failed, all I had left was prayer. It should not have been a surprise to me but prayer was enough to jump-start my joy. On my knees, bowed before God, I firmly put my trust in Him.

In that moment a wind of peace and safety blew over me. It was comfort food for my soul. God said all that I needed, He would supply.

After praying more than I ever had before my perspective on life and who I am as a woman of God changed. Talking with God and hearing His Word inspired me to transform my entire life from the inside out.

God broke the chain of emotional eating in my life.

I prayed more, controlled my food portions and stopped depending on food to comfort me. Prayer is where I find refuge in times of trouble.

We sometimes mistake spiritual hunger for something else. If we only reach to appease the appetite of our fleshly bodies, the essence of who we are remains hungry and thirsty for change. It is nothing short of trying to fill a bottomless bucket.

 “…but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life.” (John 4:14 ASV)

Do I enjoy food today? You better believe it! The right foods are gifts from God to give strength and wellness to live life abundantly.

There is nothing wrong with appreciating good food, but I keep food in its appropriate place. When I need emotional relief I first turn my heart to prayer and communion with God. Taste and see that the Lord is good!

 

Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

~Candra Evans

Join and conversation and comment below!

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A Praying Church by SECCNextGen

prayer without askingA Praying Church by SECCNextGen

As I step back and look at my life as well as the lives of others, I can write a list from here to the moon of things we need from God. There is so much that happens in life that falls beyond our control.

So as saved people of God, we pray.

We pray and ask God for all the things we need and desire. Over the years I have sometimes found myself on my knees giving God a laundry list of emergency requests… healing… finance… ministry… restored relationships… and so on.

But what if we expanded prayer time beyond 911 emergencies and meal time prayers of thanksgiving?

I was introduced to this video by a coworker, and the first time I watched my eyes filled with tears. My tears were bitter-sweet. I was excited about the changes this world could see because of a praying church. Then I was saddened because so many are far away from prayer like this.

What would happen if we not only prayed as individuals but formed a praying church in the earth? Not prayer out of urgency or obligation, but praying to touch and be touched by God.

What changes would we see in our churches, families and communities? How much more could we overcome temptations and minister to the spiritual needs of others?

I encourage you to watch this video from SECCNextGen all the way through to the end. I pray that the message speaks to you at it has spoken to me.

We wonder why God’s children are depressed, perplexed, slow-moving in spiritual things. The question to ask is, “Are you part of a praying church?” Is prayer an intricate part of who you are? Do you schedule prayer around life’s events or pray without ceasing?

 

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33 KJV)

 

“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul.” Mahatma Gandhi

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10 Reasons Why Feeling Sad Is Hard To Do | by Candra Evans

10 Reasons Why Feeling Sad Is Hard To Do | by Candra Evans

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. There is an appointed time for dancing and an appointed time for mourning.

I will not say that you should not have sad moments in your life. It happens to all of us. Even the most optimistic have their bouts with feeling sad. The loss of someone or something dear to us triggers this emotion easily.Feeling Sad Happiness Loading

Then there are times when feeling sad is based on perspective and how we perceive things to be. I don’t know about you but I’ve had many good cries on my pillow at night over issues that were not as bad as I thought.

If I had looked at my circumstance with eyes of faith, I would have had more restful nights. Often the bark of potential trouble is worse than its bite.

Every time I am overwhelmed by calamity, left alone, let down, or can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, I remember these 10 things. My perspective then changes. My vision is clearer. And my faith gives “feeling sad” a run for its money.

When it hurts, I bring back to my remembrance these 10 affirmations of my faith in God. And in the midst of my storm, I dance.

1. Jesus loves me both now and forever.

2. If God is for me who can prevail against me?

3. At the end of my journey is victory. It is not over until I win.

4. If what I am holding on to is only hurting me, I have the freedom to let it go.

5. For every friend that did not support me, God sent a stranger to help me. Then we became friends.

6. My heart has been broken before. I lived. I started over again. Life is better now. 

7. The size of my blessing is not predetermined by my bank account. God shall supply all of my needs according to “His” riches in glory.

8. Faith still works.

9. By His wounds, I am healed. #Jesus

10. “Then the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:17-18 ESV)

 

What affirmations or statements of faith strengthen your heart when you’re feeling sad?

Click here for more articles! The Best of the Abundantly You Blog!

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life

Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn’t Enough

Nourished: A Search for Health, Happiness, and a Full Night’s Sleep

Candra Evans Abundantly You Blog Christian WomenAbundantly You Inc welcomes guest bloggers to come, write, and share! If you would like to write for AU or invite Candra to speak at your event, submit your information on our contact page

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Hand Raising Worship by Comedian Tim Hawkins

Tim Hawkins Hand Raising Worship

I was introduced to Tim Hawkins during one of our weekly devotions at work. The coworker that shared this video was unsure about the group’s brand of humor, but everyone was laughing at the end.

This video is a humorous way to break the ice when it comes to expressing our adoration unto God. After the video, the group had a more serious and empowering discussion about worshiping God.

This clip is by no means intended to degrade or mock how anyone praises God. If I believed that this was the case I would never post it.

When it comes to praise, some are like David and some are like the woman with the Alabaster box. I am a mix of both. (Smile)

There is no single scripted way to praise and worship God.

We must also remember that our greatest worship is our obedience to God’s Word. Let our praise and worship come from the heart, and let it be pure and honest.

If you praise God standing still but would really like to raise your hands, there is nothing wrong with that.

Watch this comedic advice from Christian Comedian, Tim Hawkins. It just might help someone get over their shyness when it comes to hand raising worship.

If you are looking for something on a more serious note, check out my links below for resources on worship and praise.

Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice! (Psalm 141:2 ESV)

Have a beautiful and blessed Friday Women of God! I love you to life!

Abundantly You Inc welcomes guest bloggers to come, write, and share! If you would like to write for AU Inc submit your information on our contact page. If you would like to invite Candra to speak for your event, please submit a message on our contact page.

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