Challenge Your Spirit!!! – One Week Prayer Challenge

Aah, I love challenges. The first week is always the best.. until it gets a bit too real. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever started a challenge – be it spiritual, fitness, or other types – and you were hyped for the first few days. Then everything starts getting boring. Maybe you didn’t take it seriously enough?

Maybe you didn’t see just how important it is to challenge yourself once and a while. How important is your spirit to you? Very important. It’s all you’ve got when your body deteriorates away. Chances are, since you’re on my blog, you’ve already got interests in God and Christianity. You know that there is a life after death; there is a heaven and hell. You want to go to Heaven. So, how about a simple challenge to help you get there? Is that serious enough for you?

I found a Prayer Challenge on Pinterest. I couldn’t resist – I have to share it. I’m currently doing a Daniel Fast so this will come just in handy! Join me? Pretty pweaasseee? 🙂

 

 

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ImageJoin me in this prayer challenge and/or one week fast as I seek God, asking Him for guidance, protection, prosperity and His Will. 

But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul – Deuteronomy 4:29

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. – Lamentations 3:25

My Future Good Habits

If you start reading below and have no clue what I’m talking about then click this link first.
 
WOO-HOO! I’m really pumped about this new challenge we’re doing. Seriously. It’s unhealthy how excited I am. Pretty sure I’m at risk to get a hernia from extreme excitement!
 
Enough kidding. Happy Sunday, everyone! Hope you all enjoyed it. Hope you had a good rest, spent some time with the Lord, and got in a good meal. You all are in my prayers (one of my new habits is to pray more for those I don’t know).
 
Below is my list of new habits I want to acquire by the end of these 3 weeks. When I think about how it would change my whole persona, perspective, personality and everything else, I get jitters. I’m sure God will be pleased by the change.
 
Here is my list:
 
– Prayer time with God every morning for about 10 minutes (just talking and listening)
– Watch a sermon every morning after prayer time
– Drink water after awakening (I hear it works wonders for your health!)
– Workout 5x a week, before school
– ACTUALLY stick to my study schedule
– Facebook only between 6pm and 10pm. (It’s an addiction…)
– *Have a “date night” with Jesus once per week
– Write in my journal nightly
 
I may add on to this depending on how the day goes. I’m very hopeful about this; I can’t wait to gain some new healthy habits!!! Amen?
 
Be sure to follow my other blog on which I will post about my daily habit-makings during this 3 week challenge!
 
*Date night with Jesus is spending quality time with Him – almost like a date. I have never tried this before but I’ve heard good things about it so I will be sure to post about it this weekend!
 
God bless and good night!

Happy Habits – 3 Week Challenge

It’s the busy season for me – FINALS.

Finals are coming up in the first week of December and everything’s boiling down. I have papers, projects, tests, homework and more that will be due in two weeks then around the corner is a group of exams that will knock my socks off! But, hey, I’ve got a God who’s looking out so He showed me some things, whispered some things in my ear.

One word: HABITS.

Two: Good Habits.

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The Bible does not speak about “habits” per se but it does speak about repetitively doing good things, which in itself is the creation of a good habit. In order for us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2) we need to repetitively renew our minds. Sounds simple, right? Surely, it is… and certainly, it’s not. Bad habits are hard to break, and the implementation of good habits takes a considerable amount of time. It takes about 25 to 30 days to form a good habit, and another month to make it become a part of you – your third, very productive arm. So what does this have to do with Christianity?

How many bad habits do you have? From small fingernail biting to a callous temper these habits affect your daily Christian life. They become hindrances, slowly but surely. You may say, “fingernail biting isn’t a big thing.. how could that affect anyone, really?” It may seem small but nail biting can drastically affect your health by making your cuticles more susceptible to infections and can cause dental issues. Your body is a temple, stop gnawing on your pews.

How many good habits do you have? Furthermore, how many more good habits do you want to have? Make a list and join this challenge. No, seriously, get a pen and paper (I’ll snack on an apple while I wait). Write at least 7 good habits you want to have (at most 12). For three weeks starting November 11th, 2013 to December 2nd, 2013 your aim is to do those things listed. Remember, these aren’t goals, these are habits-in-the-making. I predict that by the end of the first week you’ll notice a big improvement in your life!

Psst. Make sure to include some Holy Habits. For example, how nice would it be to create the habit of waking up and having a bible study/ watching a sermon first thing in the am?! That’s definitely a habit I want!

Hey, you won’t be doing this alone. I’ll do it with you. Starting on DAY 1 I will post on my personal blog (it’s new, I couldn’t help it, sue me) recaps on how each “habit day” went. I’m sure the first few days will seem a bit hard, then it will get easier.

Follow this blog as well as my second for motivation.. and possibly some not-funny jokes.

See you soon!

God Bless,

Philly

Father, You’re Testing My Patience!

Everyone, every Christian, will have their own personal storm(s). I’m going through my own right now! In these times, we need to lean on God more and strap ourselves tightly around him like a child holding his mother’s leg for security. Get your umbrella, it’s about to get rainy.

 

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

This is easier said than done. I’m sure you’ve had your moments when you’ve read scriptures, believed them, said a “hallelujah!” but when the time came to live it you flunked. This scripture is definitely one of them. Tell God your problems – that’s the easy part. Feeling more secure afterwards is the hard part. I know God loves me, He wants my worries, He wants my love, He wants to provide for me and take care of me. I know. But that’s easier to know than believe in times of trials. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – 2 Philippians 4: 6-7 Okay, Paul, I got you. The answer is prayer. Ceaseless thanksgiving and prayer. 

In times of trial become a supreme Prayer Warrior.

 

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13

God is here right now; He is with you. Sometimes we don’t realize it, but He’s always strengthening us. We are made in His image, and let’s be real, God is not a punk so neither are we! Those who hope in Him will renew their strength! And soar like eagles! (Isiah 40:31) God gives us the strength to wake up in the morning and head to bed at night. Even though in troubling times we may want to lay down more often (just to get away from the troubles momentarily) we are soldiers. We are fighting for the winning side!

He’s working alongside me, so I will endure with a smile!

 

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

I really love this verse from John. The great God who created Heaven and Earth lives within me, when I have peace it comes from Him. Any fruits from the Holy Spirit when exemplified from me, comes from Him. We fight against the world. But, remember, we’re on the winning side. Christ has already overcome the world – through Him we are already champions! So, a little trial here and there won’t stop us from keeping our heads held high! Whatever you’re going through, whenever you’re going through it, remember God is a conqueror! He has conquered and we conquer with Him! Go in PEACE, remember that the God in you wants to be peaceful, joyful, loving, caring, kind, faithful, good, gentle, with self-control.

In these times, let the God in you shine brighter than before and let the Holy Spirit take control of your body.

 

For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1: 3-4

I like to think that we should rejoice in times of trial not only because it will condition us, but also because God sees you as someone who can endure it. He thinks highly of you! Remember Job? Satan had to go to God to seek permission to tempt Job. It’s that way for us as well. Satan had to go to God to get the okay to tempt you temptation, after temptation because you are God’s property. God had to say yes for your trial to begin – because He believes you can handle it. This is a huge compliment from the ALMIGHTY! Rejoice! In these times you will be made complete.

This is your conditioning period. Make the most of it.

A few more words: At the age of 19, I’ve realized that we truly need to surround ourselves with Godliness during harsh times. It will strengthen us. If you need to spend less time with other people and more time with God, do so. Usually, we know what we need to we just don’t do it. This is your test, your heavenly compliment, show God that you can endure it without turning your back on Him no matter how hard it gets. When the going gets tough God gets going… and running, straight to our hearts to soothe us and strengthen us.

One more thing: Smile, Satan hates that.

🙂

Jesus, calm the storm.

“You’re not CHRISTIAN enough,” says the liar.

I’ve had these thoughts in my head so many times I’ve lost count, and heard variations of these more than I’d want to.

It’s an insecurity problem. I asked God, “what should I write about today?” He said, “why not the main thing you struggle with.” You see, as confident as many people think I am – “Oh, Philly, you’re so head-strong with such a high self-esteem, people don’t get to you…” etc. This is only half-true. Sure, I don’t care what people think about me but I do care about how I’m representing God. It hurts to think I may mess up and bring shame to Our Community.

Now you know my biggest fear.

I understand that everyone is not perfect; we all sin, we all make mistakes, and we all fall short of God’s Glory. Is it wrong that I WANT to be perfect for Him, no pretending? (“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48) There’s a difference between pretending to be something you’re not and actually striving for an unattainable goal. But it’s a fine line to those who can only go by what they see, as they do not know your heart. It’s a risk you have to take when you profess your faith. All eyes will be on you – no pressure.

The Devil is a liar. He says that you must concentrate on these eyes, instead of keeping yours on Jesus. He wants you to think about the thoughts of others, instead of having thoughts about Jesus. He tells you that you must satisfy man and God, however, your goal is to satisfy only God. Such blatant lies He slithers into our heads!

The only way to illustrate my Christianity is not merely by my words, but by my actions. I want to be fruitful, possessing fruits of the Holy Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23) but I understand this will not happen overnight. It is a gradual process. Therefore, we also can not expect others to change so quickly and steadily. Sometimes we get distracted on our Walk and step off the path for a bit; the important thing is not how fast we walk, but remaining on that narrow road, returning if we do take a wrong turn. So, do not misunderstand a fellow Christian’s expectations and realities. Expectations lead to judgement, realities lead to the truth. 

Remember: we are not perfect, though we serve a perfect God. We strive for perfection for HIS GLORY, and to make Him proud. But we’re already making Him proud every day when we choose Him or this world, when we thank Him, look to Him, speak with Him, and accept Him. Nothing else matters but Him, no one else matters except Him. Just keep your eyes on Him, love Him as He loves you.

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AMEN.

The Septuagint

The Septuagint

Change up your Bible Study, not by modernization this time, but from a historical perspective!

This is a link to the Septuagint, a historical, pre-Christian translation of the Hebrew Bible for Jews who spoke Koine Greek. Sometimes referred to as the “Greek Old Testament” or “LXX” it comprises of only the Old Testament and some related works. The translation occurred between 300-200 BC. The authors of the New Testament referenced to the Septuagint (it’s non-apocryphal parts.)

Aside from the regular 39 books in the Old Testament there are apocryphal books (ancient Jewish writing). The apocryphal books include: Judith, Tobit, Baruch, Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus), the Wisdom of Solomon, First and Second Maccabees, the two Books of Esther, additions to the Book of Daniel, and the Prayer of Manasseh. Please note: These apocryphal books are not canonical, or inspired by Go.

For early Christians who seek understanding of the Bible, I recommend the New Living Translation. However, as for the rest, use the Septuagint alongside the King James Version. For everyone, I recommend doing an in-depth Bible study occasionally. Take your Bible Study from a historical point-of-view and also study evangelical/difficult questions. You will notice a difference on your Walk!

This link includes the PDF file as well as audio, both can be accessed from the internet or saved to your computer.

Sharing is caring! God Bless you in your studies!

Your Perspective Changes Everything!

Have you ever flipped a horrible situation and turned it around, or a great situation and made it seem bleak? We’ve all heard of the “glass is half full not empty” view on life. What about your view on God? Who (or what) is God to you? How do you view Our Creator? Believe it or not but your perspective on God will affect your Walk with Him; and for nonbelievers, it may be the prime reason why you don’t believe. Sometimes, we view God incorrectly.

The fear of the LORD leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

– Proverbs 19:23

Okay, okay! I’ll admit I once had the wrong view on God, my specs were dirty and scriptures like these made me both uncomfortable and confused. That word: FEAR is a different meaning to us. Am I supposed to quake and hide whenever I feel God’s Presence? NO. Definitely not. In fact, the word we used to translate the Bible into English holds different meaning – a different kind of “fear.” We are told to “fear God” at least 100 times in the Bible, yet when He has appeared in some shape or form to people what would He say – yes, “fear not.”

Here are four different CORRECT PERSPECTIVES of what it means to “fear” the Lord:

1. Have you ever been to Niagara Falls or climbed a mountain and when you reached to the top you are amazed by it’s beauty. You hear the roar of the water, or see how small everything else got when you looked down over the cliff of that mountain. You are in awe, but you’re also not going to hang over the safety rails or step too over the cliff out of fear. In this perspective, we are “fearing” God by being in AWE of His Magnificence, His Power, and all that He is!

2. If you’re familiar with the Book of Proverbs you can recall that the fear of God is connected to wisdom. (Proverbs 1:7) Some translations have “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” while some substitute “beginning” for “foundation.” The “knowledge” the Bible speaks of is not textbook knowledge, nor street know-how but rather wisdom. The foundation of a house determines its longevity; a house with a strong foundation can weather a storm. If wisdom is our foundation then our perspective on everything is changed, including God and the world.

3. Fear can also mean our ability to trust in and respect God. For some of us God is simply our Consultant, He “advises” us to do certain things and His Word is simply a Book of “advice” not commands, not instructions. In this case we’d only follow parts that we agree with, commands that personally doesn’t require us to give up much. God is NOT a Consultant, He IS Our God. Consequently, we must fear Him in His instructions and follow them, all of them. 

Continue to remind yourself who God is and what He has done for us. The future He holds for us is always bright, no matter what adversities may arise!

Sinclair Ferguson defines the fear of the Lord as,

“That indefinable mixture of reverence, fear, pleasure, joy, and awe which fills our hearts when we realize who God is and what He has done for us.”

What I’ve been up to lately

I feel the need to give you all an update on what’s been occurring in my life, hence why I haven’t been blogging much. 

For the past two weeks I’ve had so many strange feelings enter and exit my body along with the addition of a distant feeling from Our Creator. I had to focus more on Him and ask Him what was possibly going wrong with my life. Trust me, this was done more dramatically then it sounds. I had relationships to figure out, doubts that needed to be smashed to smithereens, people I needed to let go and habits that needed demolishing. Father, can you hear me?

Of course He can and has been intercepting when things seemed as if they would go wrong. It all started clearing up when I relied more on God and spoke to Him as if He’s my Creator AND Father instead of thinking I should try to fix everything myself. I was doing more bible studies, watching sermons, random internal prayers, social media fasts, and sometimes just aiming to enjoy the things I used to enjoy more as a kid (for e.g. Anime).

One evening as the sun was setting, I turned all the lamps off in my bedroom and let the orange-pink aura highlight my room. I sat on my bed and let everything out to God. From the smallest shred of doubt to the biggest, the littlest worry and fear to the most colossal. 

Not only did it feel great to let everything seep out of my system but I’m sure God was pleased in the growth of our relationship. The very next day I saw big changes. My mother got a job offer and it filled her with so much hope she sprung tears of thankfulness. I had (and still have) this new-found happiness, bubbliness, and joy that only could mean I am filled with the Holy Spirit. My mindset has changed drastically, discernment is now a quality I possess. God’s voice is much clearer and audible to me. I can differentiate from who speaks to me the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. It may sound crazy to many but this is very true: God speaks to us all the time. He told me what to do when I had no clue and no comprehension; I followed His voice and found happiness from being a servant and daughter of the Most High. This is freedom. This is a relationship with God, the Almighty. 

🙂

A Dream worth Realizing.

When I was newly Saved and delving into the Word of God I had a dream that transcended into reality. It was absolutely wonderful! It was solely about God.

I urge you to read Psalm 91 before I retell my dream. Pay close attention to the imagery and metaphorical meanings in both my dream and Psalm 91.

It was June 27, 2012. I had devoted most of my summer to developing skills and interests, getting to know myself better, and most importantly, seeking God. I would be home most of the day, just me and my dog. I enjoyed my youth, played video games, watched anime, and had quality lazy time since school was closed. However, most of my days were spent with The Almighty. I had recently received a “New Believer’s Bible” from my (now, but not then) spiritual mentor (the date I received that Bible was June 2, 2012). The Bible has many Bible Study tools so I had spent a lot of time reading, praying and digesting on it. It was really just me and God. I’d see other life forms from time to time; but my summer was mostly spent looking at God’s Face.

On June 27, 2012 God delighted me with a dream. I can’t remember the exact time, but it was around 11 AM when I had started Bible Study on the ‘Cornerstone’ topic “What are angels?” in my new Bible. I was just finished reading another topic before that but I had only read the first sub-topic “Why Did God Create Angels?” before I got tired and took a nap. I don’t usually dream; most of the time when I do it’s very confusing and doesn’t make any sense. My dreams tend to shift venues, characters, worlds… it never was solid or remarkably profound. Until this dream.

First, I was a man. I was a man, in a creepy house walking up the stairs with my two friends on either side of me. We were all about to get something that seemed important, but from what I can sense was not praiseworthy. As we walked up the steps a glob of blackness appeared; it consumed everything. It had an eerie aura and my friends and I were very afraid. We ran as the thick black ink swallowed everything behind us. My two friends grew tired and the blackness gobbled them. I was alone.

But I remembered something. As I ran down the stairs and saw the blackness creep unto the railing, I suddenly was no longer a man. I became a visual representation of myself. I remembered that God is always with me. Suddenly I was in an empty room. I had praying hands. I can’t remember the exact words I had said in my dream (my lips were not moving though) it was something like “I am not alone, God is with me and He will protect me. Whom shall I fear?” I had also called on the Lord by name. Between my praying hands a Cross and blinding light appeared. I felt the blackness become shaken with fear. The blinding light (which I can still see clearly in my head) grew and grew until it filled the whole room. Then I awoke to a sunset, orange and pink streaked my room. There was no ounce of fear in me.

Surely, that was from God, I had thought. At the time I didn’t pay too much attention to it; though I was in awe, I had continued my Bible Studies from where I left off. I had finished Hebrews 1:4-14 my Bible read, “For the next note on “What Are Angels?” turn to p. 512.” This lead me to Psalm 91, a scripture that was new to me at the time. How would I had possibly known what it was about to dream about it? The scripture in Hebrews is not similar to Psalm 91, as well. This was an act of God.

The scripture mirrored my dream so closely, I was absolutely astonished. This was physical evidence that God is real, is working in my life, and wants me to know He will be my tower of refuge, protector, and Father. Nearly every verse was a close correlation to my dream. Here are a few:

**The scripture speaks about God being your place of refuge, that He will thwart the darkness and protect you from all evil. In my dream, I am in a house where God saves me from evil blackness.**

Verses 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9 illustrate the above.

Verse 8. ~> My friends beside me are captured by the darkness. Note: we were about to do something unjust.

Verse 14. ~> I called upon and trusted in God’s Name for His help.

Verse 15. ~> After the “call” God rescued me.

Verse 16. ~> The “reward” was “salvation” and “life,” my friends in the dream died, but I did not.

This dream was a Welcome from God. I could not have fabricated such a dream on my own, even so the mere fact that Psalm 91, out of all the other scriptures expressing different topics, was next for me to read is all from God. I hope this touched your heart greatly! God bless! 🙂