6 Reasons to Share Your Story (even if it seems boring!)

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I love hearing testimonies in church. Stories of how God has completely changed a person’s life around.

These stories are such an encouragement, and they really do strengthen my faith. But sometimes it seems churches only want to share the most dramatic stories.Stories of the people who once were drug dealers or suicidal criminals who God dragged from the pits of hell, and wrapped into his arms.From darkness to light; from broken to complete.

While these stories are great sometimes it can make people like me, and I imagine many people reading this, feel as though our stories are not worth sharing.

This is not truth, it’s a lie many have come to believe, and even an excuse many have used.

But we do not need to believe this lie, our stories are worth sharing for so many reasons.

Sharing your testimony acknowledges God as Lord over your life. I would not be where I am today without Jesus. I don’t know where I would be, but I know my weaknesses, the sins I am most often drawn too, so I can sort of begin to imagine. If I do not share my testimony it would be like me saying I could have got to this point on my own. Continue reading

The Power of Hope

When we hear people mention the word hope we often think of some thing vague, something weak, something which is there to  lean on in times of trouble.

As if hope is the easy option. Except it’s not.

Hope isn’t just about hoping for nice weather or that the dress you really want is on sale. Hope is so much more, hope is about action, actually doing something. It’s about having faith, even when it seems impossible

Patrick Reagan puts it like this  in his book No Ceiling to Hope: “Hope is the refusal to accept a situation as it is.” That kind of hope is not definitely not easy. It takes courage and strength.

It’s hard when you’re waiting for a break through, when you can see so much potential in someone, but they just don’t seem to get it.

It’s hard every time you turn on the TV and see children dying, and leaders lying and people hurting other people. You wonder how there can be any hope in this situation.

It’s hard when everyone else has given up, when you’re the only one holding on.

Hoping in these situations can make you want to cry, it can make you want to break down and give up. But rrue hope holds on, even when it seems impossible, even when the wall of faith seems insurmountable.

What seems impossible it can only be made possible through Christ. The only way we can ever hope to hope is through him.

This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. (Hebrews 6:19)

Without him we have no hope, we are adrift at sea.

Without him we are hope-less.

But through Christ we can hold on to hope.

A hope that anchors and grounds us, a hope that leads us into a deeper knowledge of him. A hope that refuses to give up, refuses to accept the situation as it is. A hope that has the power to change the world.

Hope is not for wimps, hope is hard. But through Christ it is possible to have hope in all situations.

How NOT to Read the Bible

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Reading the bible is, in fact, really simple. But I am just so good at making it complicated! Here are just a few of the ways I have managed to do that.

Thinking I need all the right equipment. Bible journaling seems to be the real in thing at the moment. All the cool kids on Instagram are doing it. (If you don’t know what it is search bible journaling on Pinterest, it’s definitely worth a look) Of course I you can’t possibly do this until you have the perfect new bible with the extra wide margins; a full range of colouring pencils and sharpies; some of that ridiculously overpriced patterned sello-tape and maybe some stickers, glitter and a set of stamps.

Now I really think this is a great idea, one that I want to try my very un-artistic hand at, and one that I believe really will help people engage in reading the bible. But do we really need all that stuff to be able to read the bible. Can’t we just pick it up and read? After all, to read the bible, all we really need is the bible!

Sticking with a bible reading plan or devotional book, just because I feel bad for quitting. How many times have I done this one! And then just end up getting bored and wanting to give up. News flash! Reading the bible should be fun! Do it how you want to do it. One reading plan or devo might work for a while. But then it just becomes samey. Don’t be afraid to try something new, or even do something different each day of the week. Maybe one day use a devotional, one day go back over a favourite bible verse and the next write out a passage. Just make sure you choose to do it in a way that you find interesting.

Leaving reading the bible until last thing at night. (And then just reading a Psalm so I can tick it of my list.) Oh this is a bad idea, a bad, bad idea. But this is probably the one I am the most guilty of. somehow reading the bible gets pushed to the last thing at night, when I’m too tired to even watch telly. I know I can’t get much out of reading it at that time of day, when I am at my least productive, but yet I still do it!

Why don’t I realise that forcing myself to read the bible when my eyes are shutting just makes it more difficult? I don’t think I’m ever going to be someone who can get up and do it first thing in the morning. But I really do need to find a better time to do it, give it the attention that it deserves. to give God the attention he deserves.

At the end of the day, we just need to be reading the bible, lets not over complicate something so simple. Lets not make something that should be fun into a chore. And lets not be made to feel guilty if our way is different to any one else’s.

 

 

The Lie I Believed for nearly 15 Years

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When I was about thirteen years old one of my “friends” told me that I should never wear my hair pulled back from my face. She told me that it didn’t suit me because I had a massive forehead.

Despite no one else ever commenting on the size of my forehead, or ever being concerned about it myself, I decided I believed her. And until recently, never wore my hair pulled straight back from my face.

Isn’t it amazing how those few little words impacted me. Of course I wouldn’t go as far as to say that they changed my life, but they did change the way I wore my hair for nearly fifteen years.

Our words can make a big impact on people’s lives. Whether we realise it or not the words we speak can bring healing or death.

We need to be careful of this and we need to responsible for this. I think this is especially true if you work with children or have them. The words that you say to them can and will shape their futures.

We also need to show some caution in accepting the words other people say about us. Not everything other people say about us is true! (I know, shocking, right?) They have their own agendas and insecurities which impact the words that they say. Who knows, the thirteen year old style expert who thought she could tell me how to wear my hair maybe had forehead issues of her own?

I personally think that if one person says something about your character that you don’t think is true, you can pretty safely set it aside and ignore it. But if multiple people say the same thing about you then maybe you should start to pay attention.

Literally everyone I have known well enough to invite into my home/ room / has seen my desk at work  would say I’m messy. So think that “Alice is messy” is probably a pretty safe assessment of my personality. But one person telling me I have a huge forehead is maybe one I should have ignored a long time ago.

The other lies we can safely ignore are the ones that go against what it says in the bible.

Maybe multiple people may have said you are useless or worthless. You can ignore them. They are liars.

God says you are precious, and that you are worth dying for. I know that’s the truth because God’s word doesn’t lie.

 

How to Find Freedom from Worry

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How often we can get tied up, worried about what going to happen in the future.  We become consumed by the thing we are worried about, it takes over our thoughts and our emotions.We feel overwhelmed; as if we have no control over our lives.

The thing is, the bible he tells us not to worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will bring more than enough worries of its own.

I know this is certainly a difficcult one for me, I always like to know what going on. As a little girl I can remember jumping into bed with my parents first thing in the morning and begging them to tell me what we were going to be doing for the rest of the day.

Now I don’t only like to know what’s going to happen today,  but what’s going to happen years in the future. The thing is that’s impossible know,  and I really need to learn that its alright not know everything. It can be so hard to let go of that need for control, but if we want to find true peace, it’s something that we need to do.

At the end of the day I know whats going to happen at the very end of my days, I’m just not sure how I’m going to get there.

Sometimes we can only take the next right step, and that’s okay. That’s all that God wants from us. (And that’s a thought that has truly liberated me.) As long as we are seeking him every second of today, we have nothing to worry about for tomorrow.

Worrying cant add another second to out life. (Or another pound to our bank account!)

It does nothing good for us, it steals the joy from our days and the sleep from our nights. It makes us irritable and unable to make rational decisions.

Instead of worrying learn to hand things over to God. I know that’s never the easy thing to do, and to be honest it takes a lot of practice, I know I’ve definitely not cracked it. But it’s worth it, it brings freedom and peace.

The days I have felt the least worried are the days I have begun on my knees. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

 

 

Don’t Read This if You Want to Feel Comfortable

You see that same woman standing there, outside the shopping centre, handing out her old fashioned bible tracts. You cringe. What is she thinking? This isn’t the way you share the message in this day and age.

There’s that man who stands near the train station, yelling and shouting about the riches of heaven, working up such a frenzy. people walk past and laugh. Is this what they think of Christians? They must think we’re nuts.

 

If only there were more nutters out there. More people who weren’t worried about making a fool of themselves for Christ.

People who will go out there, instead of sittling inside discussing stratergy.

People who don’t mind getting laughed at and mocked.

 

Yes, there is a time for being gentle about our faith. But is that just an excuse for never really sharing it? Meeting friends for coffee with the intention of talking about the real things, “One day I’ll tell them about Jesus, but I’m not sure if they’re ready yet..” So instead we talk about X Factor; and The Great British Bake Off; and Jennifers new haircut and Anything Else.

Then we go home and feel proud. “I’ve done friendship evangelism.” And we tick that one of our list. But how can it be evangelism if we never speak about Jesus. “Actions speak louder than words.” Maybe, but sometimes we need to use words. “They will think I’m weird.” but if they’re your friend; really they won’t. And if you’re their friend you wont want them in hell.

“Don’t talk about hell that scares me, I don’t want to feel guilty.” That’s precisely the point, hell is scary. Would you want to go there? How can we keep on downplaying this, if we don’t share Jesus with our friends who will?

We will have their blood on our hands.

 

This scares me. I sit on my computer, typing about Jesus and hope and love and the consequences of sin. But it all seems so safe. I’m not being laughed at or spat on or ignored. I am sat at home, away from the mess,  just hoping that someone will read my words.

I couldn’t imagine my life without Christ, and yet I seem to think it’s okay for other people to live this way.

I Dare You: Guest Post by Emily Smith

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(Photo Credit)

Myself and Emily from fearfully wonderfully me have decided to swap blogs today! We both choose our own topics, but then something strange happened! We both wrote about the same thing! If that isn’t the Holy Spirit I don’t know what is! Heres Emily’s post. 

Have you ever taken one of those spiritual growth quizzes? I have, and it wasn’t as great as I thought it would be. It’s not that I did super poorly–I have things I did well on and things I need to work on like any of us would. However, I did grow weary at the list of suggestions to boost the points in my weaker categories, such as evangelism.

According to the packet, it seemed like as long as I passed out fifty Bible tracts and shared a written testimony with all my fellow unsaved peers, then I could become a great evangelizer! The only problem is, I tend to fail and beat myself up when I don’t meet bullet-point expectations like these. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one either.

One of the most difficult concepts I’ve ever had to grasp is the truth that God loves me no matter what. Another thing that’s hard to swallow is that all this running around trying to “be more spiritual” is probably one of the least of His concerns.

I found out recently that I actually started to share the Gospel with someone simply by listening to them, loving them, and being open to their ideas about God. This blew my mind! I didn’t have to hand out a single Bible tract or talk about my testimony at all.

Ladies, a lot of times we feel the pressure to measure up–whether it be the size of our bodies, the clothes we wear, or our relationship status. And guess what? Church is no different! Instead of a bunch of secular rules and expectations, we just come up with religious ones–it’s human nature.

And that’s exactly why we have so much burnout and stress even though we are supposed to be at rest (Matthew 11:30). You don’t have to work like crazy and try to save the world in order to make a difference.

You don’t have to constantly obsess over how spiritual you are (or aren’t) in order to please God. If this is hard for you to swallow, then that’s okay. It goes against my perfectionist nature as well.

And I love it. I love the rest that Jesus provides when we simply abide in Him.

 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV).

I love how I don’t have to work for God’s love–Jesus already did that on the cross. Anything extra I do is simply a thank you to my awesome Savior. 

So right now I dare you to stop obsessing over your spiritual growth. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about it, but maybe all you have to do is simply pray about it and spend more time with God (instead of reading nine books and taking ten quizzes when you should be sleeping).

I’m also daring you to step away from yourself. You can’t save the whole world–that’s God’s job. Not everyone was meant to be a large-scale missionary or worship leader (but if you are one, then that’s awesome too!). It’s okay to just sit down and eat a meal with a couple of people, asking them what they need, helping them, and truly loving them.

In fact, that sounds a lot like something Jesus would do. One of my new favorite Bible verses is from 1 Thessalonians 2:

So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us (1 Thessalonians 2:8 KJV).

When you take the time to reach individuals–a small-scale mission–you can still make a difference and really make a connection to their souls. 

We already have all of the love and acceptance we need from God. Now we can turn and give that love to others, along with a part of ourselves, knowing that we can always find rest in our Heavenly Father.

Love, Emily ❤

Emily is a college student, writer, and blogger at fearfullywonderfullyme.com. She is a proud Jesus Freak with a passion for people, yoga, and cats.  

Thanks for this encouraging message Emily! It’s been fun swapping blogs with you, if you are interested you can check out my post on her site!