August 11, 2016

A Relationship with Benefits - Verse of the Week

Benefit :: an advantage or profit gained from something

About 6 months after I arrived overseas, I got my first job here in Sydney. It was as a primary tutor  at a tutoring centre down the street from where I lived. 

I hit the jackpot with this job. Not only did the job pay more per hour than my job of teaching back in the states, but my boss was a former employee of Hillsong Church and more than willing to work with what can be a very crazy schedule. 

One day she pulled me into her office and asked me what Super I had decided on. I tried to play it off for as long as I could like I knew what the heck she was talking about, but that lasted all of two seconds before I politely told her I was absolutely lost. She told me that as an employee, even though I was only working 8 hours a week, I was entitled to superannuation - or the equivalent of a retirement fund. 

I was taken back by this. You mean I work here for 8 hours a week and you want to pay me retirement? Like as in you aren't just taking this out of my hourly wages you are actually paying this into an account on top of what I am already earning? Where do I sign up?

My boss explained to me that this was a normal benefit of any type of employment within Australia. 

Holy Spirit arrested my heart a few weeks back with these verses in Psalm 103. The part that really grabbed me was the bit that says: "and forget not all his benefits."Benefits...those things that come free with the contract of salvation, much like the superannuation with my now job.

You see it grabbed me because in this moment I was up to my eyeballs in health struggles and was just over all that I was having to deal with because of it. I was suppose to be here at school soaking in all I could and putting my hand to the plow, so to speak, within church life and college. Yet, I was finding myself so exhausted that I would take up to three naps a day. I was frustrated that I was doing all the right things, eating right and exercising, yet my body was chronically inflamed and it left me feeling self conscious and unable to button my pants half the days.

Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the fact that while I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is real and that He is in personal relationship with the sinful person typing on the other end of this computer, yet, I do not fully know his benefits. I forgot the benafits to this covenant of life with Jesus. 

I had a revelation. I recognized that I do not fully know the words I read every morning in the word of God because they have simply been a textbook in my life and not a map. 

What I mean is I was using the wonders, the miracles, the revelations in the Word of God as knowledge, when God meant them to be a map. Because you see a map gives you a route to somewhere so that you can have an experience when you get there. A map is not the experience in and of itself. The map simply points you in a direction to have and create your own experience within the place it is pointing you to. 

Benefits of a crucified and resurrected King are not read in the pages of a textbook. They are experienced in the lives of the people who are bold enough to say "Jesus, that was great that you healed that lame man, but I want to see you heal me in my sickness. Because I know you are no respecter of persons and the same benefits that were extended to people 2,000 years ago are mine too if I will just step into them. Jesus I want to experience your benefits." 

I don't normally end posts with prayers, but I feel lead to today. So if you know you are a child of the most high God, if you know that the same God who performed signs and wonders years ago is the same God who is living and active today, and if you believe that His heart is for you then I encourage you to pray this simple prayer.

Daddy, I love you. I love that you are a good father to me. Thank you that your thoughts towards me are for good and not evil. Thank you that you desire to bring my life into prosperity and not destruction. Thank you that you are a good father who gives good gifts. Forgive me for not laying hold of all that you sent your son to die for so that I may receive. Today I lay hold of the benefits I receive as being a daughter of the Most High God. Thank you for the healing that is mine. Thank you for the forgiveness that is mine. Thank you for the redeeming grace that crowns my life. Thank you for your compassion and your good will for my life. Today, I live my life freely and willingly receiving the benefits that are mine through the name of Jesus. Amen.

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August 8, 2016

Bali Part II

Are you ready for the Bali recap part II? I didn't get to share all of the pictures in Bali part I because it would have been a bit of overload, but I still have to share them, right? So here are some more pictures from the waterfall, monkey temple, and rice terrace.

That sign to the left says "don't worry be sexy". How great is that?

These are some of the world's greatest guys and deserve their own little picture in this blog post as a shoutout. 

Can this baby monkey be any cuter? I wasn't super excited to hold a monkey but this one I would have happily held!

I got cut out of the picture but it's too fun not to post. The monkeys loved Jimmy,

Our new friend.

This is the picture you post on Social Media.

But this is the picture that shows how much I was actually freaking out.

The day after our excursions it was raining so we decided to hire a driver and have a girl's day.

This was our driver Pandi.

We went to a salon and had these fish eat the dead skin off our feet. It was one of those things you had to try. Those little suckers did great! They ate off all my dead skin and even made a callous that has been on my pinky toe for years go away! 

It felt so funny. It didn't hurt, but it was like little bubbles all over your feet.

We also had massages after this that were less than stellar. Then again, it was only 10 dollars for an hour so who can complain?

Sunday was sports day. We went parasailing, tubing, and scuba diving. The view while we were parasailing was pretty incredible. The ocean we were at was more than a little gross though. There was trash everywhere, but I didn't take a picture of that to share so let's just pretend it was as amazing as the beach the first day.

Flexing, to prove how brave and strong we all are...or just acting like lunatics.

This is the only picture I have scuba diving, but you will have to stay tuned for part III for just why that is...

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