Friday, April 15, 2016

Faith. Grab It.

"Why are you mad at God?" It was a question asked while I was going through a horrible night of seizure-like episodes which kept me from sleeping for more than five days in a row. Why would God let this happen? Doesn't He want me to be productive in the daytime? Does He need me to help other people? Doesn't He need me to take care of my family if they need me? Doesn't He?

Yes.

As I tried to make my way across the day's fatigue and exhaustion, I thought to myself, "Well, my body's gotta shut down sometime, right?" And it did for about four hours. But then it was back to zero sleep. I could've gotten angry at God again, but what exactly am I expecting my imperfect and vulnerable body to do? Are we meant to live in perfect health all the time with no aches, pains, ailments or issues? Are we supposed to float through life without problems and distress? So when they say, "If He brought you to it, He'll get you through it," -- they mean it. And by the way, I'm writing this sleep deprived.

But enough about my issues.

What about people who are so angry at God? "Why does God let these terrible things happen in the world?" Key word: "let". He "lets" terrible things happen because there's a perfect world waiting for us if we remain patient and faithful. It's up to us to either have faith in God's mysterious ways or to live a life complaining about our fragile bodies and the inability to do 'this' or to do 'that'.

"Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith in tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything." --James 1:2-4

We're not here to live a perfect life. Whether within your small world or out in the big world, trouble will make its way into your life regardless. Whether it's from war, arguments, illness, chronic pain or anxiety and depression, God is there walking alongside with you every step of the way. If you don't see Him there, then maybe your faith needs to be stronger. More faith, more God, more mountains moved.

In Matthew 17:20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

What is a "mountain" in a believer's life? The mountain is the PROBLEM in your life. The mountain is anything that is adverse or contrary to the Word of God for your life. A mountain is anything that is a barrier to you completing God's Will. A mountain is anything that is slowing down or impeding your progress in the Kingdom of God.

Ok, so back to my issues -- my "mountain" is my sleeping disorder and the fear of going out and fainting again from pure exhaustion. It takes away my ability to do what God has called me to do. It takes away any motivation to do what I need to do for myself. If I'm too tired or too scared to push forward, then I can't get anything done. And God doesn't want me to be unproductive.

I get a lot of signs from God. I talk to God. I have this amazing communication with Him. In fact, through my weakness (and exhaustion) is when He's the strongest. Instead of giving up on the day, He gives me this amazing energy as if I slept for eight hours the night before. And even when there are days when I can't make it out, I can work from home and still be productive and help others the best I can.

A friend of mine gave me a huge sign of what I was supposed to be doing in life. And after hearing from God Himself through scriptures saying, "Go back to what you started from the beginning," which was meant to say: help people across the nations. I don't travel, so I kinda brushed off the message. But I heard it again and the signs kept coming back to me. "Help those here and across the nations." It wasn't until a very long time until I figured out that I am helping people right from inside my home, over to the other end of the world. When you think about it -- it's just mind-blowing. The technology to reach out to people from any part of this world is just amazing.

So my friend's sign was this photo she put up for me.

Me.
This is a screenshot of the photo she pulled up for me. Opening to the light, inside and out (from home out into the world) and all at the same time. This little girl reminds me of myself. She has many issues that limits her ability to travel, yet she gets her message across the world. I have had so many people from all over the world email me just to say thank you. I have this really nice reader in Australia who periodically emails me right after she reads one of my articles. She's an atheist and yet she appreciates me sharing my faith and what I go through in life. She's an awesome woman who helps many people who suffer from debilitating depression. She saves many from taking their own lives. To have appreciation from beautiful people like that makes it all worth it. So Sue, if you're reading this, a big thank you!

In various parts of the Bible, it speaks just that -- about spreading God's message across the "land". This one write up was an eye-opener for me, with the leniency of levels of faith from each sector of Christianity.

God has been very clear in His Word that He wants us to go forth and spread the Word. As Christians, part of our duty is to try to reach as many people as possible in sharing the word of God. It is important for us to revisit the Bible regularly to reflect on key passages and rediscover our purpose.

Mark 16:15 NKJV “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.'”

In this passage, Jesus is talking to His disciples who had not believed Mary Magdalene when she proclaimed His resurrection. He instructs them to go forth, sharing the Word of God and baptizing believers. He elaborates on the power of belief by telling the disciples that believers will be able to cast out demons, speak in new tongues, be immune to poison and heal the sick. Belief is a powerful thing.

Matthew 24:14 NKJV “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

In Matthew 24, Jesus’ disciples ask Him for the signs of the “close of the age.”

Matthew 24:14 is significant for the end times because it tells us that the gospel will be spread throughout the world “and then the end will come.” This will be one last chance for non-believers to hear, believe and repent.

Psalms 96:3 NKJV “Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.”

Psalm 96:3 is part of a hymn lifting up the Lord and praising Him for all that he has done. Much like we are eager to tell people when we are in love, the same should be true of God. We are so filled with love for Him and the blessings of the Spirit that we cannot keep silent.

Revelation 14:6-7 NKJV “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.'” This end time’s revelation is another important step in the closing of the age. The angel will be proclaiming the gospel, just as God instructed his believers to share with every nation, tribe, language and people in the world.

Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

In these last two verses of Matthew, Jesus instructs His disciples to carry on the work He began in Israel. They are to go throughout the world, sharing the word of God to “all nations” and spreading the truth of His good works so that everyone may know. The last phrase, “I am with you always, to the end of the age,” can be tremendously comforting to God’s people. No matter where He leads us, we will never have to doubt that His presence is with us.

The above is just an example of how God speaks about spreading your faith -- spreading the word of God. And even if you're somebody who has a slightly different faith, it's more about sharing God's love (your love) because we all are made from the same Source.  For me, my faith is through Jesus Himself. But for others, they can have a different Source of faith, channel or derivative. And like I've said in many of my articles, for others, there can be other avenues to approach faith. God gave us free will and I respect that, as I respect those of different belief systems. This is just mine.

I hope you don't mind my strange turn of style of writing, but it's what I was doing when I first started this blog. I usually don't go too deep into my spirituality like this. I was afraid of other people's judgments. I remember someone telling me, "Why is 'Jen' posting up so many religious posts when she's such a mess?" And I just thought, "Wow I LOVE them! And thank God she's a mess like me!" And from there, I kind of strayed from talking about my faith in Jesus. I am the most imperfect person to talk about God -- but what better person to relay the message? I can relate to the struggles, instead of pretending that I'm some perfect Christian attending church every Sunday. I'm a complete mess and God still loves me. And God loves you too, messy and all.

Nothing can ever separate us from the love of God.

To conclude, the one thing I have learned about God and my relationship with Him is this: never feel too guilty to come to God because of your sins and human downfalls. That's the devil trying to make you think that you're unworthy. In fact, draw nearer to your faith and watch how God works in your life. You are perfectly made. You are wonderfully created without any mistakes. Nobody in human form can ever tell you that you were a mistake, or that your life is unworthy of being a Christian. Nobody. And those who do condemn you better take stock of their own moral inventory. Whether you are straight, gay, lesbian, transgender or struggling with addiction of any kind -- these aren't things that God will reject you over. The Bible is very clear about the differences between promiscuity and a loving relationship between two people. God understands the struggle of addiction and depression. God knows your heart.

We live messy lives -- that's never going to change. But if we rely on God and keep our faith strong, nothing can separate us from the love of God.

So instead of getting angry at God and the outcome of your life -- grab onto your faith and watch how things shift. People may judge you. That's inevitable. People may ridicule you for having faith in God or being "preachy". People will be...people. But God will always be God. All forgiving, all loving, all filled with wonderful compassion. Never be ashamed of your faith, and never be angry at God for your physical body not responding the way you need it to. One day, all of our bodies are going to shut down. Then what?

Faith. Grab it.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!