Thursday, June 23, 2011

How does God Build your Faith? Part 2: Discovering your Dream...

Greetings all!!! I figure I must post part 2 before we get to part 3 tonight! LOL  Again, these are notes that I took in Bible study on last week.  Just a recap: God puts us through a faith growing process that has 5 phases: Dream, Decision, Delay, Difficulty and Deliverance! (I went in detail, two posts ago) On Wed.of last week, Pastor Van (The Worship Center Birmingham, AL)  focused on the first phase of the process… THE DREAM!! I don’t know about yall, but sometimes I struggle with deciphering between MY dream and the Dream that God has for me. It’s HARD on your feelings when the two does not align! So any guidance that will help me to instantly know the difference is needed! Here goes…

How to discover God’s Dream for you…

Step 1)  Dedicate your entire life to GOD!! This is the first obstacle!! Your Dream determines your destiny, disposition and attitude. God needs to know that you are all in and he will not reveal his entire vision (the BIG picture) to you until YOU dedicate your time, talent, treasures, past, present and future to him. (Straddling the fence is no fun!)

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer yourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the standards of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able know what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will”  Rom. 12:1-2

Pastor Van put it to us like this, either you will choose the American Dream or God’s Dream: I mean… the American dream is almost non-existent these days and at the very least God’s dream has no ceilings!

He also stressed that God created each of us personally and positively. Meaning that we are not cookie cutter and the plan he has set for our life was/is designed uniquely for us.  A lot of times people miss their dream by focusing on somebody else’s.

“Let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back…and run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.” Heb. 12:1
Step 2) Reserve time to spend alone with God!!!ßVery Important
Most times you have to be quiet to hear him speak. We should embrace solitude, most of man’s problems come because we don’t sit still.
 SN: I always ask God for signs and then I look for him to hit me with the obvious ones! You know the LOUD thunder or the book falling from the bookshelf out of nowhere. LOL  I struggle with staying consistent with my morning devotion…
“Pause a moment and listen! Consider the wonderful things God Does.” Job 37:14
Step 3) Evaluate your Abilities- Take a look and see what you’re good at and how you can use these gifts and talents for the glory of God. As I mentioned before God pre-designed a set plan for your life. Your personal experiences, skills, gifts, etc. comes together for what he wants you to accomplish. Don’t use your gifts in the wrong place. They  are meant for Serving / WORKing  the WORD that you have and Blessing – Blessing others with your talents. There are levels that you won’t reach if you neglect to use your gifts for his kingdom.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ to devote ourselves to the good deeds for which God has designed us.” Eph. 2:10
“We are to use our different gifts in accordance with the grace that God has given us.” Rom 12:6
Step 4) Associate with Godly dreamers!! –Continue to take inventory on the people you have in your life. Some folks are not necessarily bad people, sometimes they are just NOT NECESSARY!!! (Things that make you go HMMMMMM)
Two things that are contagious , Discouragement and Dreams! Your friends will either help or hinder you, there is no such thing as a neutral friend. When you surround yourself with other dreamers, you can’t help but to dream!  (I can vouch for this. My friends and family dream so big that I feel left out!! LOL God recently began showing me bits of my dreams and it is contagious! Everyone in my circle now seems to be on the quest to find their “Happy place” as well. )
                “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Prov. 27:17
Step 5) Make your dream public- Announce your dream because it is a demonstration of your FAITH! Three things happen when you verbalize:
1)      It gets you started
   -Accountability gets you moving
2)      Rallies Support
3)      Releases God’s power
- God’s power will keep you floating when  you do as Peter and step out into the water!
“What is Faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead.” Heb 11:1 (LB)
I hope this finds a spot in your spirit as it did mine!
Keep Dreaming,
E. Louise

Monday, June 13, 2011

Having the AdVINTage...







Greetings Yall!!!
To know me, you know I like to be different! If I see someone else wearing something that I have, more than likely, It will go to storage or WAY in the back of the closet! LOL Silly I know, and trust me I understand that they didn't stop making the clothes when they made mine but still...#ican't.




One time I bought a green polka dot shirt with a thick white belt that went with it, wore it out and I'll be da*ned if 3 other girls didn't have on the same thing!!!! From then on I began shopping in the winter for summer things and vice versa! Haven't had that issue again over the last 7 years! The begining of this year I began browsing thrift stores and consignment shoppes and ended up LUVin it!!! I find myself on a continuous hunt for vintage items that I can "Modernize." I call it having the "AdVINTage"!! This is another way that I insure that I am dressed like no one else!



Take a look at pictures of some things that I grabbed up so far. Not to mention that they all fit in my budget! Check it out and let me know what you think!


Sincerely,

E. Louise

Thursday, June 9, 2011

How Does God build Your Faith? (Part one of the series)

What I learned at Bible study last night was so on point and I HAD to share it with you!! Pastor Van of TWC located here in Birmingham, is beginning a series about God’s Faith building Process!!! For me this message couldn’t be more on point and again I had to take the time!




There are different levels of Faith that we have, Example: We have enough faith to pray to him, to actually show up to church and to worship him, but do we have enough faith to believe that he will bring us through our situation? (This hit home for me)


Phase 1- He gives us a Dream! God Always starts with a dream! No matter what age or stage you are in life, you should have a dream. If you don’t that means that you have gotten comfortable/complacent!!! (THIS) If you are not sure whether you have a dream or not pray to God and ask him to provide you with his vision for you and your life. God wants us to continue to elevate and to give him the GLORY!



Ephesians 3:20 “Now glory be to God who by His mighty power at work within us is able to do far more that we would ever dare to ask or even dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes!”

Also, if you are wondering if the dream you have aligns with the plan God has for you …. Know that the vision from God will be so big that you will not be able to accomplish it on your on! He wants you to need him and in turn he gets ALL the GLORY!!!!



Phase 2- Decision – You have to make the unwavering decision to act on the dream he has given you. Faith is a VERB! It’s something that you do! James 1:6,8 “ You must believe and not doubt… a double minded man is unstable in all he does”

You will have to Invest- Time, Money, Reputation, and Energy

You will have to let go of: Security (This hit home as well)



Phase 3: DELAY (THIS) – Count on a waiting period between that time that God gives us the dream and the time that he bring it to past!!!! Reasons that God makes us wait include TRUST (building our trust in him) , Timing (he is always on time) and Development (making sure that we are ready). Patience is better that pride and a delay does not equal a denial!

Habakkuk 2:3 (LB) God says, “These things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient!



Phase 4: Difficulty – There will be problems while you wait. Usually in the form of 1) Circumstances and 2) CRITICS! Expect this but keep the faith! This is also the refining process, filtering all things that cause you to doubt him!

1 Peter 1:6-7 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.



Phase 5: (my all time favorite): Dead End (we’ve all been here) this is the rock bottom phase; you get here after you have exhausted all resources! This is when you begin to question God to see if you may have gotten something wrong or thinking maybe that you may have missed a turn somewhere!! This is where Pastor Van offers CONGRATULATIONS!! The end is near!!! The question here is, do you still have expectations that God will move?

2 Corinthians 1:10 “ He has delivered and he will deliver us again!”



Phase 6: DELIVERANCE – This is the breakthrough! The moment where we realize that it was nobody but God, and again he gets the Glory!



You will repeat this cycle throughout life, BUT GOD!!! I’m just glad to know that there is a light at the end of every tunnel! I hope you guys appreciate this as much as I did!!!



Have a happy Thursday!!!
Keep Dreaming,
E. Louise

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