Imagination – August 23, 2015

Most currently I have been reading a book called “Celebration of Discipline” by Richard Foster.  I was meeting with the head chaplain two weeks ago and we were talking about spiritual growth, other religions, careers and whatever else that we felt led to talk about.  It was a wonderful meeting as usual.  He recommended me to read “The Shack”, which the experience could produce many wonderful blogs.

However, he had mentioned to me the “Celebration of Discipline” was his favorite spiritual growth book of all time.  As I am reading it, I understand why.  The author talks about living a disciplined Christian life and the different disciplines, that us Christians should make a part of our daily lives.  Eventually these disciplines will become a natural part of you and eventually will be as easy as breathing.  Now he is not talking about laws or rules.  He is talking about how to walk intimately and grow with God.  How to build your relationship with God.  Let him control your life.

So far I have read the disciplines of Meditation, Prayer and Fasting.  This is not a book you speed through.  This is a book that you must take your time and start to practice these disciplines. I am going to talk about the Discipline of Prayer.

I was lying here, listening to Christian music and it hit me.  Before I started listening to music I prayed.  I thought about something my sister, Sam, asked me while she was down here visiting.  I had asked about her and her boyfriend’s best friend, who is going through a difficult situation.  Afterwards I said, “I will continue to pray for him.”  And my sister said, “How do you remember what all to pray for?”  And I said, “I just say a general prayer for all of the family and friends.  If I named everyone individually and prayed for them then I would be praying for a long time.”  At the time I didn’t think anything of it, other than well, God knows their needs and I don’t have to go into detail or anything.

As I was reading Foster’s book, I realized this was not cool.  Foster talks about how we need to use our imagination when we pray.  He goes on to use an example.  When he was at the hospital with a very sick infant, and the family had a 4 year old son who was very sad about his baby sister.  She was very ill!  So he asked the little boy to pray with him.  Before the prayed, Foster told the boy to imagine that Jesus was sitting on the chair in the corner and when we put our hands on your baby sister, Jesus is going to walk over and lay his hands on ours and we are going to ask for your baby sister to be healed, feel better.  The little boy said, “ok.”  They both imagined this happening and they prayed while imagining Jesus was right beside them with his hands on theirs.

The next day, the family called Foster, their pastor, and the baby was healed.  They used their imagination and believed with all their heart that Jesus was present with them.  He goes on in the book and says that we should pray for people’s situations the same way, spend time on their prayer request.  All day we should be praying for people; not just one day but every day.

It made me think to myself, “Are God and other people’s souls worth 3 minutes of my time, or are they worth more than that?”  I have decided that God and people’s souls, prayer requests, are worth ALL of my time.  I believe that if we don’t give God our whole heart and love people more than ourselves, what good are our prayers in the end?  I encourage you to spend more time praying and believing that your prayers will be answered.

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Visit with PA Family – August 16, 2015

Yesterday, my Mom, Mark, Sam and Colin came to visit me from Pennsylvania!  I had a visit in the morning and one in the afternoon!  It was awesome to see them!  It was great to hug them and talk to them in person.

We talked about a lot of things and even got to put a face to the name for my friend, Jason.  Jason, I asked for everyone to pray for him a couple months back.  Well please continue praying for him.  He has really gotten depressed and hardly talks to anyone, sometimes doesn’t show up for chow and doesn’t do any religious activities any more.  So please pray for him.

During the visit, my Mom only cried a couple of times.  2nd visit she was a lot better.  I will have to say that one of the best parts of the visit was talking about the closeness, the deeper, stronger relationships that have come out of this situation.  I never realized how distant I was to my family all over.  From my family in Missouri to my Dad, Step-Mom and sister in Greenville, SC and to my family in Pennsylvania.  We talked about this near the end of the visit.  We have grown closer and stronger over the past year and a half and it is awesome!

I have seen and communicated more with my family in the last year and a half than I did in the 11 years before then.  I realized that I missed out on so much of their lives.  Time I can’t get back.  Memories that were never created.  Now, letting go of all my failures, shortcomings of the past, I must… WE must push on toward the future.

If you have a grudge or feel distant from family, I challenge you to take a step to mend those broken relationships.  Don’t let it go too far, because you may lose relationships forever.  It is hard to mend the wounds, but with God’s help you can.  Trust in Him and He will guide you through the most difficult tines.  Thank you to everyone who has shown love and support to me through this period of my life.

I love you all!

Read Philippians 3: 13-14

Giving All Diligence – July 26, 2015

“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control, perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness, brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, love.”  –2 Peter 1: 5-7 (KJV)

When I read these verses, I reflected on them for quite some time.  At first it talks about “giving all diligence”, and I had to look up the definition of diligence.  I have been looking up words a lot, just to make sure I know the exact definition of the words.  So the definition of diligence is…

“1.  Hardworking.  2. Showing care and effort”

The word “diligent/diligence” comes from the French word “diligere”, which means love, esteem.  So if you read it, “giving all love,” giving all care and effort.”  It takes on a whole new meaning.  Putting your whole heart into what the rest of the verses say.  Then it is saying “Add to your faith.”  First, before you add anything to your faith, you must have faith in Jesus Christ.  Virtue, having moral excellence.  Then knowledge, knowledge of God’s word and commands.  Then self-control, the power to control your behavior and emotions.  Then perseverance, the power to continue steadfastly toward the goal.  Then godliness, devoted completely to God.

Then brotherly kindness, being able to love our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Then last but not least, LOVE, loving ALL mankind.  The beginning begins with Love and ends with Love.  These are all the things that God wants us to add to our faith.

First we need to love ourselves, and have a complete faith in Jesus Christ, and Love God with all our hearts.  These verses are very powerful, and I recommend reflecting on them yourself.

Sharknado 3 – July 25, 2015

So on Tuesday,  July 21st, I was talking to my Dad and mentioned Sharknado 3.  At work, we were talking about how we wanted to watch Sharknado 3.  So we were going to put a request in to watch it.   I thought of my Dad because he loves Sharknado and all the low budget Sci Fi movies.

Well , I never did put in the request, but someone must have put one in because they put it on the TV schedule for today.  I was super excited. I hadn’t seen the first two movies.  So I sit down and watch Sharknado 3, and I became a huge fan … hahaha… It was probably one of the most unrealistic, hilarious Sci Fi movies I have seen.  I loved it.

I laughed so hard at all the cheesy, unrealistic scenes.  No wonder this movie has become so popular.  It is good fun entertainment.  Then they announced a Sharknado 4.  I highly recommend watching the movie.  You will be laughing hard!

Visit with Vicki and Anne – July 18, 2015

I just got back from my first visit with Aunt Vicki and Anne.  Anne is Vicki’s good friend, who has been a really awesome friend to me too.  Her and her husband, Chuck, have been writing me and sending cards.  Now a visit!  Chuck and Randy (Vicki’s husband (my uncle) are going to make the trip next time.  Speaking of Randy, I got a Coke Zero last night, and you know how they have been putting names on the bottles.  They say “Share a Coke with Jeffrey”, or “Share a Coke with Julie,” and so on.  They have different names on the bottle.  Well my bottle said, “Share a Coke with Randy,” the day before I was getting a visit from Vicki and Anne!  Hahaha.  Anyway!  So I will admit that I was worried that I wasn’t going to have a visit because the minutes kept ticking by and my name wasn’t called…  I said, “Well, they have been planning this for a while.  They either got lost, had to go to WalMart because of the dress code or there was an emergency!  At 2:25 p.m. they called me for my visit.  I was super excited!

I was right with my second guess… They had to go to WalMart because of a sleeveless shirt that wasn’t revealing or inappropriate… Crazy!  It wasn’t their fault.  They are just strict here.  I was super excited to get to visit.  An hour is better than no visit.  We got to get our picture taken and had a good conversation.  It was so great to visit with them.

Over the last year and a half, we have grown closer than ever.  As is the same with all my family and friends I have met over the past year.

One last thing.  I came back to my room and realized I smell like a woman!  I believe one or both of their perfumes rubbed off on my shirt.  Haha  That’s okay because now they are with me longer.  Also, if you come to visit me or visit anyone in a prison, check all the rules of visitation, especially the dress code rule.  This happened to my other Aunt Tiff and my sister, Skye too.

I love you all!