Falling in Love With Jesus

Fall In Love with Jesus

 

As a mere human and follower of Christ, my relationship with Him takes many forms. It looks and feels different to me at various times in my life. Sometimes I feel distant from Him, other times extremely close. Sometimes I barely talk to Him. Other times I am in constant communication.

In my heart, I know that regardless of how I feel or act towards Him, He is always right here with me Whether times are good or bad (happy or sad), He will never forsake me.  That is a comforting feeling.  But I long for more. I long for a continual connection that I feel on my end.

A few years ago when I was going through some various struggles, I watched the movie, Son of God (from The Bible series).  It was during the season of lent. And for some reason, at that point in time, the revelation and the depiction of Christ’s love for us really touched me. It really felt that for the first time in my Christian walk,  I was falling in love with Jesus. I was fervently reading the Word and searching out scriptures and trying to get to know Him more. I felt this amazing connection that lasted for a while, but gradually dissipated as time went on.

It bothered me that I know longer felt that “connection”.  Looking back ,I feel that it was my complacency that caused the fading affection. While I know in my heart, He is right here with me and loves me always, I am not seeking Him like I did before.  You know when you first fall in love with someone? That feeling you get when you just can’t be around them enough, talk to them enough, be close to them enough?  It lasts for a while, then usually fades.

But why does it fade? It is likely because we no longer seem interested in getting to know the person whom we were so enamored with just a short while ago. All the novelty has worn off. We get bored and we give up trying. The thing with Jesus is, we can never know all of Him in this lifetime. We can continually try seek Him and get to know Him. That is joy of it. We should never get bored. Yet we as human beings do. We come to think of His interventions in our lives as expected and not appreciated. We literally begin to take God and all His goodness for granted.

Have you ever done that? I know I have. At this point I am longing for a new spark on my end of the relationship. And I know it is up to me. Jesus loves me with a never-ending, all consuming love. That hasn’t changed. I think I have just taken it for granted.

A song I heard a couple of years ago as part of a medley on the 2017 Stellar awards show, was by Jonathan Butler, called “Falling in Love with Jesus”.  When I first heard that song, it moved me so much. I’d like to share it with you.  I hope the following bless you as much as they have blessed me.

Below is a fabulous medley featuring Travis Green, Jonathan Reynolds, Jonathan Butler and Israel Houghton.

 

Below is the song Falling in Love with Jesus in it’s entirety.

A Time for Reflection. What Are You Thankful For?

give thanks

With Thanksgiving Day arriving, I am focused on being grateful for everything good in my life. While things are far from perfect, I am taking time to truly reflect on those things which I am grateful for.

I am so very thankful for:

  • God. For saving me, loving me and never forsaking me. If I had nothing else to be thankful for, that in and of itself would be enough.
  • My husband. We have been such a strong support for one another over the many years of marriage, but even more so over the last couple of difficult years. When I am weak, he is strong and vice versa.
  • My children. Though they can be a source of tremendous stress and worry, I am so grateful for both of them. Their kindness, their love and their smiling faces. It amazes me how quickly they have grown. I am thankful I can be here to watch them grow up.
  • My extended family who I know would be there for me if I needed them.
  • My job, that I get to go to each day. My house to come home to each evening. My car, to be able to get where I need to go. Enough money to pay my bills on time (mostly).  Enough food to eat each day.
  • My health.
  • My peace.
  • Most of all, I am thankful for being able to recognize the handiwork of God in my daily life. The small things that may go unnoticed by others.

I actually saw the handiwork of God in my life just the other day. I live on the east coast and we had some icy/wintry weather the recently. My usual vehicle is terrible when roads are slick. I have a back up vehicle that is an older SUV that I drive occasionally and especially in bad weather. I drove the SUV that day to and from work. I had no trouble at all.  I was actually thinking and said out loud to my husband, how grateful I was for that vehicle. Our Winter Rat, as we call it.

About an hour later, I had to go out to the store. As I started the vehicle and applied pressure to the break, I realized my foot was going all the way to the floor. There seemed to be no brake.  I thought maybe the line was frozen or something. I tried pumping the brakes. Nothing. I was able to put the car in reverse and back up some, but had to put my foot all the way to the floor, hard, to stop the car.  I had little to no brakes. Long story short, my brake line had a leak in it and all the surrounding parts were rusted out. This car was NOT safe to drive. No brakes!

As we contemplated what to do about the situation, either repair a costly problem on this old SUV or possibly look into buying another car (which I had been already considering), I realized how blessed I had been. How lucky was it that the brake failure occurred before I got on the road to go anywhere? How blessed was I that this didn’t happen earlier in the day, like on my way to work or on the way back home?  The roads were already a slippery mess. I can’t fathom what would have happened if the brakes went out while I was driving!  God’s provision and protection?

Taking Notice

When things like this happen in my life, I try to be fully aware of God’s presence. To be grateful and not take it for granted.  I smile to myself and at least internally, acknowledge God.

Imagine of all the times God has protected us. Without us even realizing it. Back in the early 80’s I used to listen to a song by Christian artist, Amy Grant. The title is, Angels.  Take a glance at the 2nd verse from this song.

God only knows the times my life was threatened just today.
A reckless car ran out of gas before it ran my way.
Near misses all around me, accidents unknown,
Though I never see with human eyes the hands that lead me home.
But I know they’re all around me all day and through the night.
When the enemy is closing in, I know sometimes they fight
To keep my fight from falling, I’ll never turn away.
If you’re asking what’s protecting me then you’re gonna hear me say:
Got his angels watching over me, every move I make,
Angles watching over me!
Angels watching over me, every step I take,
Angels watching over me

Can you imagine all the times, all the ways in which God has provided and protected us and we never fully knew it? I want to take the time this Thanksgiving to thank God for all the times he has protected me and my loved ones. The times when just the right song came on the radio to minister to me. For all the blog posts, tweets, Facebook connections that have spoken just the right words at just the right time.

For the little times in life, when things go right and literally cause a smile to draw to my lips. For the times that things seem to have gone wrong but were actually a way of preventing me from encountering disaster up ahead.  A delay that was for my benefit.  A “no” when I wanted a “yes” and being able to recognize those times and how the seemingly negative things, were a blessing in disguise. Or how even in the difficulties of life, He was there holding me up or comforting me.

What about you? Looking back can you identify the times in your life that God has shown up and perhaps you didn’t even realize it? Take the time today to reflect and thank Him for all of the protection and provision, seen and unseen. And from now on, be on the lookout for God’s handiwork in your daily life.

This Thanksgiving, in the midst of all the dinners and the shopping, don’t lose sight of the One to whom we should all be thankful to. I hope each and every one of you have a blessed Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

Peace, Where Are You?

Where is My Peace?

Listening to the news or scrolling through my social media feed can often times be a drain on me emotionally. To constantly hear and see the barrage of negativity. The evil, the disastrous, the tragic.  Seeing and hearing these images over and over again invariably have a less that positive affect on me.  I am only human. I feel empathy for those who are hurting. I feel anger when seeing those who are mistreated. Constantly being in those emotions is just not a healthy place for me or anyone to be.

When I was heavily struggling with anxiety and panic, I couldn’t watch the news at all. The horror of it all was just too overwhelming for me to deal with. The peace I longed for was so far away. If you have never “lost your peace” I am truly happy for you. If you have, you know too well how difficult it is to live like that. To be longing for nothing more than peace. Peace within your soul.

peace

Peace, for me means having a sense of calm despite the circumstances around me. In our humanness, it is near impossible to find true and lasting peace because our contentment, our joy always seem to be wrapped up in what is going on around us. For me personally, I have only been able to know true peace through my relationship with Christ.  When peace was just something I longed for, I desperately sought it. I tried meditation, medication, prayer, music, exercise, etc. While these things did help a little to bring about an inner calm for a period, none was lasting.

 

Discovering My Peace

For months, all I prayed for was peace. I didn’t care about anything else. It is hard for anything to go right or feel right in your life if your peace isn’t there. Over time I could feel God’s presence and slowly, bit by bit, peace filled up the place where anxiety lived.

Does that mean I feel calm and peaceful all the time? No. Definitely not. But each day I can declare that no matter what goes on in the world, either my little world or the world at large, I don’t have to lose my peace. I claim it as my own. It is the Gift of God.

With that being said, I try to do things to safeguard my mind. Limit the news, limit social media. Read more scripture, pray more. Do things that I enjoy. Do things to help others.  All these things strengthen the soul and help to keep my mind in perfect peace.

PHILIPPIANS 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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Mental Health: A Crisis of Financial Proportions?

About Our Mental Health

Mental Health is a Hot Topic these days. More and more people are coming out and talking about their journeys with varying mental health issues. From depression and anxiety to bipolar and panic attacks, just to name a few.  While I am so grateful for the many public figures that are helping to destigmatize these issues, I feel there is so much more that needs to be done.  We often hear people say, “Seek help if you need it.” And at this point in time more people are recognizing that, yeah, perhaps I do have an issue and I really need to get some help.

Then a hurdle is placed in front of them. Where do we go to get help and how in the world do we to pay for it?  Most people start with their primary care doctor if they feel something isn’t quite right. If the scope of the person’s mental health issue is perhaps out of the doctor’s range, they will refer the patient to someone more specialized. A therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc.  Usually with these visits come costs. Unless you qualify for medicaid (because of low income, etc) you are likely to have a co-pay at the very least or a “no co-pay until your exuberant deductible is met” policy.  Typically you meet with a therapist a couple times a month. Maybe more, maybe less depending on your situation. So while you are trying your best to muster up the courage to even meet with this therapist or doctor, in the forefront of your mind you are stressing about how you are going to pay for it.

 

Getting Help Isn’t Always So Easy

Figuring out how to pay the bill, may cause some to abandon getting help at all.  My insurance for example, has a $4000 deductible. Which means I must incur $4000 worth of medical expenses before my insurance will cover most anything.  So that means if I want to see a therapist or psychiatrist, I’ll have to pay their fee upfront, anywhere from $90 to $120, which is typical in my area.  I may be able to swing that for a one time visit, but that isn’t usually how it works. I’d likely have to see them at least once a month.  And let’s say I need meds as well. Insurance may cover cost of some, but not always the case.

So what are we to do? We tell people with mental health issues to get help. But if they have no insurance or a high deductible insurance, how are they getting help if they don’t have the funds to pay for it? I think one way we can help our society as a whole is to figure out a way to pay for people to get the help they need, without being stigmatized. We would all benefit if those who needed help would have easy access to healthcare professionals without the fear or anxiety of how to pay the bill.

I urge all of us to lead the charge and encourage lawmakers to create some sort of universal policy for mental health coverage and access to local providers.  This issue not only affects us individually, but as a collective society. I think we are worth it.