faith, freedom, food

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Interpreting the Bible: Have You Ever Wondered…

Interpreting the Bible: Have You Ever Wondered…

This semester, I have been fortunate enough to take Biblical Greek with one of the greatest professors I have ever had.  The following is part of my final assignment for this class, and I wanted to share it here, because I am truly blown away […]

A Letter to My Best Friend on Her 21st Birthday

Dear Maddie, You’ve heard it before. But when I met you, literally from the moment I saw you, I remember thinking, consciously, “I want to be that girl’s friend.” Little did I know, less than a week later, I would share more of my soul […]

The Winter Blues

The Winter Blues

Does winter get anyone else down in the dumps?
I’m not trying to blame my attitude on the cold, because I know that owning my attitude is always my responsibility. But man… I really, really hate the cold. 

It is one sensation I can think of that makes me truly ANGRY.

It makes every activity more difficult. Like today, thinking about leaving the house for the different things on my agenda, from a meeting at my pastors’ house with their kids, which is one my favourite parts of my week, to a coffee and study date with beautiful Mary, to shopping, all things I love and have a generally positive attitude about– the cold weather can literally be enough to almost keep me inside.

Always “almost”… it’s never actually kept me inside, that I can recall.

But the severity of my disliking toward cold weather makes me wonder why we have it in the first place.

And then it makes me reflect why we have much bigger, truly problematic situations present in the world, hardships and fighting and poverty and greed.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

Now, I am a baby and out of line to liken dealing with the cold as a very privileged Western person as “suffering.” But my internal and external struggles with it reminded me of the promise of this verse in Romans. Suffering, hardships, difficult times, and struggles… they are part of the Gospel. They themselves produce endurance, which produces character, which produces hope in God’s love, NO MATTER WHAT.

So, to my friend struggling… with ANYTHING…

God knows you. Inside and out. And He hears your silent prayer. Bring it to Him, for real, and entrust it to Him. Know that He has deeper plans for every trial, and that an attitude that says, “This hardship will produce endurance, which will produce character, which will produce hope in the ONE THING that will never fail” is one God calls you to. 

Don’t judge me, but I’m still gonna go into the cold with an attitude that says that God is gonna use the chill in my bones to produce endurance, character, and hope… and honestly, He does. He uses everything. 

One Major vs. Two: Is a Double Major the Way To Go?

One Major vs. Two: Is a Double Major the Way To Go?

Today’s post is all about double majoring. Why did I decide to complete my undergrad as a double Major? What are the pros and cons of this? Who I recommend it to? My application story: I cannot recall ever being stressed about post-secondary, having doubts, […]

I Believe Research Episode 4: Do I Have to Fast Food?

I Believe Research Episode 4: Do I Have to Fast Food?

Welcome to the blog, and welcome to the fourth instalment of my research for the Bible Study I am launching in March 2019! I am so excited to be sharing the official graphic for the study, credited to my wonderful and compassion friend, Sam Stuckless. […]

Money, Money, Money: How I Went From Being a Self-Serving “Hyper-Saver” to Finding Balance with my Finances

Money.
It’s one of those things I was always taught not to talk about. I learned in childhood not to disclose how much of it I had, not to talk about my savings– and to save as much as possible.

Proverbs 13:11

Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.

Proverbs 10:4

Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.

These two proverbs are I think important when considering the use of money and, actually, the importance of saving it and “being smart” with it.
However, one could easily go to far with this, and save money with only his/herself and his own life in mind.

1 Timothy 6:10

The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

When I was in this hyper-saving, can’t-spend-a-penny-outside-my-budget mindset, I thought I was pretty awesome. I thought the amount I had in my savings was a virtuous thing. I thought I was better off than someone who spent a ton of money. Now, I didn’t think these things consciously, but they were definitely beliefs in my subconscious.
Now, reflecting on what I actually believe to be true, and praying about it, I have learned a few things.
Budgeting is important, but it’s not everything. As those proverbs state, wisdom with money is certainly important, because I don’t want to spend it all on myself. A lack of a plan with money is not what I’m called to. But an inability to go out with a friend for coffee who is having a really hard time because I “went over my coffee” budget is not necessary. If that friend really wants Starbucks, I can afford a couple dollars for a coffee– and even think about treating her of course! If this becomes excessive, I may think about inviting that friend for at-home coffee instead, but it doesn’t need to be so wound up in “my budget.” That is where I’m convinced of my conviction that it becomes selfless saving.
It is always better to give than to receive. Jesus Himself says this. And a giver is who Jesus is. And since really recognizing this is as Truth, this importance of giving– I’ve experienced such freedom with money.
Obviously, I’m not going to give all of my money away! Part of the calling I have with money in the society we live is to look after myself, paying bills, and even understanding when I’m meant to bless myself with that money. But knowing that I am blessing myself because I’m honouring God when I bless others with money– also recognizing the privilege it is, but that it’s not everything, is man-made, and temporary– is important.
All things belong to God– including “my” money. It isn’t really mine if everything under Heaven is God’s.
There is a common saying along the lines of “you earned it!” But I would urge you to think critically about everything you hear. As a Christian, I think about this in light of Scripture. My life story, actually, is that I am undeserving of any of the blessings graciously bestowed upon me– it is entirely because of Jesus that I have this life. This is my core belief. And so, when I work, and receive money for that work, I didn’t “earn” it or deserve it as much as I was given it as part of duty: working for the glory of God. And so, I come under Him with my money.
I had an experience in church a few months ago in which I heard God’s voice so clearly.
I don’t experience His audible voice very often, but He was incredibly clear to me about an amount of money I had in my bag that I was called to give to the church that day.
I was tight for money for the month based on the arbitrary budget I had in my head, and going over that budget would usually cause me stress.
Rather, I was overcome by Jesus’ love and very easily gave that money up. I have already watched Him tangibly bless and multiply it, as He promises to.
Since then, I have learned that it’s ok for me to like budgeting. It’s actually a blessing that I enjoy saving. But the Holy Spirit will always speak about generosity, and when He does, it’s always for all good that I listen.
There is also always room, and in Christ, I am literally, actually, truly free from the law. I have learned my fair share about the destruction strict rules can wreak on a person.

Matthew 6:21

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Above all, I pray my treasure is in Jesus Christ, and that my heart, then, is fixed on serving Him.

I Believe Research Episode 3: Commentaries on the Importance of Fasting

I Believe Research Episode 3: Commentaries on the Importance of Fasting

Happy Monday friends! Today, I am so excited to share some of the prayer and research I’ve been up to in preparing for the interactive Bible Study I’m releasing in March 2019. The research Im releasing will be extensive in its range of sources, all […]

Fall Favourites 2018

Fall Favourites 2018

It is mid-November. I am mid-way through the first semester of my last year of my undergrad. Can anyone in the same place– or who’s been there– vouch for the insanity? Yeah. Breaks in order to carry out passions are necessary, I have found.  That is why […]

“I Believe” Bible Study Research Episode Two: It Starts with Believing

“I Believe” Bible Study Research Episode Two: It Starts with Believing

Happy Monday!!
Welcome to the second installment of the research and info accompanying the I Believe Bible Study I am launching, as part of my fulfillment of my Christian Studies degree.
To learn all the details about the Bible Study, and how to sign up, head here: Announcing the I Believe Bible Study
To get caught up on the research, head here: Research Episode One
Today’s research focuses on the title of the Bible Study: what does believing in God entail?
There is a reason I titled a Bible Study about fasting as “I Believe.” And that reason is simple and primary and the first step: if God isn’t God, and He isn’t who He says He is, there is certainly no point in fasting to spend more time with Him.
However, in thinking about who this study is for, I do not intend to limit it to being for people who are confident in their faith, and believe fully in/have a relationship with Jesus. If you are in a place of being curious about faith in God; have many questions; want “help with your unbelief” (Mark 9:23-25), even skeptical, this is for you, too.
And I do believe that spending time in prayer and asking of God, the mighty One Himself will answer your prayers (though often not how you think), guide you, and intercede for you.

Drawing on a sermon preached by Pastor Mike Rutledge at my church, Risen City, if we believe in the God of freedom, Jesus Christ, we believe in a God who absolutely is who He says He is. And if He IS the Prince of Peace, the Light of the World, Creator and Friend, then a life lived for Him is going to radically change us. His Holy Spirit promises to intercede for us (Romans 8:26), making us more others focused people.
In this sermon, Pastor Mike talked about the first of the Ten Commandments given in the Old Testament of the Bible.
He explained that, at the time these Commandments were given, the people took them very seriously, as strict rules that, if broken, threatened their relationship with God.

And God spoke<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-2053B" data-link="(B)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top”> all these words:<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-2053C" data-link="(C)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top”>

“I am the Lord your God,<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-2054D" data-link="(D)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top”> who brought you out<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-2054E" data-link="(E)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top”> of Egypt,<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-2054F" data-link="(F)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top”> out of the land of slavery.<sup class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-2054G" data-link="(G)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top”>

“You shall have no other gods before<sup class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NIV-2055a" data-link="[a]” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top”>[a] me. Exodus 20:1-3

But when God came to us in the form of Jesus, He came to set us free from the Law. This doesn’t mean that this Law isn’t for our good, or that these Commandments are not things we should adhere to. They should absolutely be adhered to. But it means that love wins, and that we now have the Holy Spirit to help us, because God knows we can’t live out these Commandments ourselves.

It is truly a fairytale. We have an ever-present help.

And the more time we’re spending with that ever-present help, the more we will grow in and with Him. The less we will desire anything but life with and for Him.

This world doesn’t need a bunch of rule keepers. It needs reformed hearts. –Mike Rutledge, Ten Commandments Sermon 1, https://www.risencitychurch.com/messages/

And where do such reformed hearts come from?

Jesus. Relationship with Him.

Whether you’ve had faith in Him for years and years, you are so full of questions you don’t know where to start, or your heart is stirring for more, this Bible Study is for you.

Feel free to comment, connect with me via email, or send me a personal message for more info about the study. I am always happy to answer any questions.

Banana Almond Oat Cookies

Three of my favourite words! Banana, Nut Butter, Oatmeal. Put them all together to make one delicious, healthy dessert? Heck yes! Banana Almond Oat Cookes (This recipe was good for just me, or about 4 ball shaped cookies!) Ingredients 1 Tbsp almond butter 2 Tbsp […]