26 January 2010

Being A Resident In The City Of Pessimism...

Being a resident in the city of Pessimism has its challenges!  At first glance, pessimism seems like an easy way of life, but I'm here to tell you it is not!  Negativity, hopelessness, and acedia are serious conditions led on by spiritual warfare.  I don't know about you, but to me negativity comes effortlessly.  Why?  For me, it's a means of self-protection.  

I haven't heard God's voice, but I have heard Satan's (negative voice) and it sounds a lot like my own voice!  I realize I must choose to not listen to that voice but have an awareness of what God is saying (because He is speaking to me) by the way He moves within me (through my heart) and for me, that equates to a feeling deep inside- nothing audible.  I must say, "hearing" speaks louder than "feeling".

Thankfully, the fruit of the Spirit is a free gift to us - those who have accepted Christ as their Savior.  And part of that fruit is joy - God's joy!  Joy can't live in the city of Pessimism because it is a polar opposite of God goodness, therefore we must fight and not give in to Satan's ploys to strip us of that joy.

On occasion I find myself not choosing joy because I don't want to get hurt!  I know I'm wrongfully equating my circumstances with whether or not I am joyful.  Why can't my eternal salvation be the focus of all my circumstances and thus be filled with joy?  I speak to God about this particular struggle and pray for a new mindset when it comes to the topic of joy.

20 January 2010

Mammoth Retreat '10

I was so excited for this year's winter retreat with The Gathering... back out to Mammoth for the second year in a row (and for those that know me - I don't get excited easily, in fact that feeling is almost unrecognizable in my life). I had my bags packed the Monday before we left (and we left on Friday)! Last year I didn't really have the winter necessities (clothing & shoes) that would enhance me wanting to be in the cold and snow. But this year, I was prepared to thoroughly enjoy the cold (either buying or borrowing goodies). For the first time ever I thought to myself, I could live in a place that had snow (I'm not so sure about driving in it though)! The beauty of God's creation was so humbling and inspirational that I didn't want to leave. And due to the big snow storm coming in we had to leave a day early. I was sooooo bummed!

This year's topic for the winter retreat was FAITH (Faith That Can Move Mammoth Mountains)! The first night was about "mustard seed sized faith". Learning that

  1. My faith results in obedience.
  2. My faith results in trusting God's faithfulness. ==> not trusting in myself, but in a Great God
  3. My faith results in eternity with God.
Faith is equated with trust and belief.

The second night I was challenged to believe "Did God Really Say...?"

The lesson brought to my mind Beth Moore's, "Believing God" Bible study I did a year ago (or so). Believing God for what He says and for who He is, not just believing in God (His existence). Even Satan believes in God and it's our sin that tells us that God isn't enough, which is what Satan is hoping for because he wants to steal our lives away from God and rob us of the fullness of life that God gives to us. Being totally honest with myself, there are areas in my life where I struggle to believe God - it's usually in 'fear-based' areas where this struggle occurs.

This year I want to get real with God and myself and break free from these fears and begin exercising more faith-based actions and decisions.