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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August 3, 2016

DIY


Pinterest has turned me into a DIY fan. I love making things - wreaths, wall art, jewelry, you name it and I would probably be down to make it. There is something so fun about the process and the satisfaction that comes at the end knowing that you created this piece to put in your home or wherever.

I think Christians love DIY projects. Sadly, most of our projects turn out like the Pinterest fail pictures.  I am not talking about sharpie coffee mugs chalkboard painted wine bottles, or t-shirt makeovers. I am talking about the things we face in life. It could be the big stuff like your struggle with adultery and addiction or it may be as small as not being able to organize a system to get through the countless work emails you have to sift through every single morning. Wether you find the battle you face ahead of you massive or almost embarrassingly insignificant Holy Spirit wants to help you.

We are not meant to DIY when it comes to our struggles, worries, or fears. We are meant to do it with our helper.

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. - John 16:7
Holy Spirit longs to be your helper, your best friend, and your confidant. He longs to walk each day with you, hand-in-hand. He longs to speak to you; he longs to comfort you when the struggle is real. He longs to give you rest when you are weary. He longs to give you power and authority to claim what is rightfully yours through Jesus. He just longs to do this journey with you.
It breaks my heart when I think about the Church {:big 'C':} today and how comfortable we are with God and Jesus, but it's like people do not know what to make of Holy Spirit. So... they just shut Him out completely. It is as if Jesus went away so we could have the helper, a best friend, with us at all times who possesses all that Jesus possessed yet he is forced to sit in the corner because we don't talk to him. Like he is the unpopular kid of the Trinity. Instead, we choose to just struggle on through the valleys of life without Him and celebrate our triumphs with our real life besties when the one who gave us the victory is quietly waiting in the corner in hopes that you just might say hello today. 
Have you said hello to Holy Spirit today? He is in the room with you right now and He longs to carry the burdens of life with you and celebrate the triumphs. Will you let Him in? 
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August 1, 2016

Bali - Part I



Oh, Bali. Where do I begin? This trip was nothing short of spectacular - from old friends to new friends to sweet memories that will be forever. It was the best friend-cation this girl's heart could ask for!

We were there for 7 days and we filled a lot in those seven days. So  to recap the trip I had to split up the post into three parts. So stay tuned for part 2 and 3.

The picture above was us in pure excitement on our way to the airport {:ear piercing shrieks included:}. Mo├»se doesn't look so excited, but thats because he didn't get to come...but we let him drive all the ladies to the airport so he should have been way happier than this. Don't you think? 

Anyway, we boarded the plane on time but then ended up sitting on the plane for two hours before we actually took off. It was chilly and windy that day and therefore only one runway was open. So we not so patiently waited, but there were 8 of us on this flight so we got up, walked around, played musical chairs and just made the best of the delay and the 6 1/2 hour plane ride. 

We got to the villa later than anticipated because of the delay and then a second delay waiting on a terminal to unload at for another hour in Bali. When we got there we basically looked around our villa, said hello to our housemom, ordered food and crashed. 

The next day we ventured out to Padang Padang beach and did some paddle boarding while one of the guys went surfing.



The best part of the day might have been riding on the scooters. All the girls paired up with a guy and we had a blast {:well, some of us:} riding through the streets of Bali on the scooters. The road rules are basically all mild suggestions in Bali. Cars make their own lanes, drive on the other side of the road, and violate traffic lights on the regular...so it makes scootering there a bit more of an adventure.

As you may see in her face, Meg was one of the less excited scooter riders.



Our scooter parade

After a bite out for a late lunch we came back to hangout poolside at our villa. Not a bad gig if you ask me. Oh, and did I mention that our personal chef was in the kitchen cooking up a massive seafood feast while this shot was taken? Yea, we were living the dream!





There is no evidence of the calamari, fish, or massive amounts of shrimp that filled our long banquet table, and that is because we were all too busy devouring it. The cooks were also always so kind to me and would make me my own little plate each meal with meat that was prepared in a way I could eat it on my AIP diet and without seasoning.

Day 2 was our first excursion day. After the staff at the villa made us breakfast we had a party bus pick us up for a day of exploring. The first place we went to was the Tegenungan Waterfall. It was a hike down to it, but it was worth it and so fun because we got to walk behind the waterfall and even walk through it {:well, more like it shoots you through it because of the pressure:}

So much fun!
Our next stop was in Ubud - the monkey forest. This sounded better in my head than it actually played out. I thought it sounded like so much fun until monkeys were everywhere and jumping on you and grabbing on to your clothes in hopes of a banana. Nonetheless, it was still fun and we laughed until we cried at people's reactions when the monkeys would unexpectedly jump on their head. 


We made a few friends


Monkey Temple
Look at that cute baby!!

Stay tuned for part 2 and 3 of my Bali vacation.










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