To Be A Witness For Christ Or Not

“To be a witness for Christ or not” is a question that many of us Christians ponder. We’re placed in situations where we see someone struggling and we just “know that we know” Jesus is the answer, yet something holds us back from speaking God into someone’s life.

We don’t want to feel judged for talking about God to someone who might not believe. We worry that someone will be confrontational and we’ll end up in a debate situation defending our faith. We don’t have time.  These are just some of the reasons I’ve played in my mind.

This happened to me yesterday as I was getting my teeth cleaned. The hygienist began telling me of her life challenges. Her mother had fallen and broke her neck leaving her with irreparable brain damage. She fell in love with a man that had severe mental issues and was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown. She went on to tell me how she loved her lost boyfriend but also hated him, how she missed him but couldn’t stand certain aspects of him.

I began thinking about my life and how I had experienced similar difficulties, yet made it through all of them with the power of prayer. Then I felt a tug on my heart from God, telling me to minister to her and tell my story.

Have you ever felt that nudge to be a witness for God,  but then felt awkward because the timing or situation didn’t seem right? ….. That was me!!! …. I had JUST met this gal, had no idea if she was a Christian, AND she had sharp metal tools in my mouth!!

Despite my reservations, I kept getting that nudge from God and I wanted to be faithful.

I began to tell my hygienist how God has a plan for each of us.   I acknowledged her sorrow and explained that God would introduce her to a wonderful man, in His timing.

Then I shared about my period of loneliness and how I finally met my husband. It wasn’t through a friend, a chance meeting in the grocery store, or by “trying” to find one. It was through a specific  prayer, long waiting, and trusting that God was orchestrating a perfect plan.

For TWO long years I prayed this prayer:

“Heavenly Father, you know my heart and you know I am lonely. I know I’m not ready for a healthy relationship right now, but God I am asking you to help me BE ready. Prepare my mind and heart. And prepare the mind and heart of the man you have waiting for me. God I trust Your will in my life and if I have to be lonely for a longer period, I will wait because I know your plan is perfect………….”

Long story short, my prayer was finally answered and God brought me a man that was exactly what I prayed for. It didn’t happen over night though. I prayed and waited. I cried. Sometimes I felt hopeless. But the more I leaned on God for the things I needed (companionship, guidance, wisdom), the more healthy I became. I learned patience. I learned to trust in God’s almighty plan.  And I learned to love myself.

I was telling her this story because I wanted her to know that God would bring just the right man into her life when she was “ready” ……. and that maybe her plans didn’t work out because God had a better, more divine plan for her life. I suggested she pray for guidance, for truth and understanding, and then trust God to do the rest.

My decision to minister to her was confirmed as the right decision when she looked at me and said, “you know, that is exactly what my mom told me before her brain injury”. She told me that her mother could no longer carry on conversations like that with her and my words (from God) were just what she needed to hear. With a tear in her eye, she thanked me and then gave me a hug.

To be a witness for Christ or not?  Absolutely!!

God will put us in situations to minister to people, to be the answer to someone’s prayer, to speak words of love/faith/compassion to someone hurting. All we need to do is have a willing heart to be God’s vessel.

We need to press beyond those thoughts  telling us the timing isn’t right or those fears telling us we will be judged. People are hurting and we may be the only person in someone’s life to speak Godly wisdom.

(I wonder how many opportunities I’ve missed, to be a witness for Christ because I was afraid of what someone might think?)

Psalm 96:3 Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples!

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

Please comment below how you’ve been able to witness to the people around you (I would LOVE to hear your stories!)

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Faith During Trials

Welcome to Faith, Farm & Family Table!!

First let me say thank you to all my readers who stuck around during my blogging hiatus. I am slowly working my way back into a routine (and having faith during trials) after dealing with some crazy things in my life.

About two months ago my computer had some major problems, then one thing after another, things went array.  As the saying goes, “when it rains it pours” ….. and it poured!!!

Before the computer crash, I believed I was doing what God had called me to do with my blog. I was enjoying the time I spent writing and sharing. I felt I was making a positive difference in some people’s lives.

In fact, the week I had computer problems, I was nominated for a Bloggers Award and some of my posts had been featured on other websites. I felt accomplished and full of joy.

Unfortunately, all the stress with my computer caused me to question whether I should continue my blog. What if this happens again? Maybe I’m NOT making a difference? Maybe there is something else I should be doing with my time?

As I contemplated whether I should continue with my writing, this scripture came to my heart.

John 10:10 The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Then it dawned on me!!

Through my blog, I was working for the Kingdom of God, connecting with other Christians, sharing God’s word and sharing how He has worked in my life. I was making a difference. What does the enemy do when he feels threatened by our good works? He tries to steal our peace, causing us to question our purpose. He tries to do ANY thing that will take our minds off Jesus Christ.

Some stressful situations were presented into my life and the enemy just swooped right in whispering negativity into my life. One day I was blogging and believing God for amazing things. The next day I was worried about all the “what if’s” and filled with doubts. I had slipped away from trusting God and having faith during trials.

So today I took a serious look at my life – my crazy, blessed, chaotic life. I decided that I was NOT going to let the enemy steal my peace (or my blog!).

This is where I was two days ago. The temperature was 110 degrees. I sat on the patio and enjoyed this lovely view while I had my morning coffee. The baby quail feeding on berries, the hummingbirds sipping sugar-water, the baby bunnies bouncing in the rocks.

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This is where I am today. The temperature is 45 degrees. My jacket is in our condo 3 hours away and I don’t have any of my winter cloths here. BUT, I have a pot of coffee, a thick bathrobe and a new pair of warm slippers.

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And this is where I will be sometime next year (maybe).

Front yard

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Our cute little farm-house and garden. This is where I will grow fresh food for my family (hence, the reason for Faith, FARM, Family Table), breath in fresh air,  and watch wildlife passing through our yard.

Do you ever those days when you are “here” one minute, “there” the next, and then not sure where you will be tomorrow?

This is my life today! But through it all, I’ve been reminded of a few things.

God is faithful. He has brought me out of hundreds of trials in my life time with His unfailing love. Some of them HUGE. If He could pick me up out of drug addiction (over 10 years now!) and mend my life, surely He can handle anything.

When life becomes overwhelming,  all I need to do is stay connected with God. Regularly (daily, hourly, sometimes minute-by-minute) fill my spirit with the word of God. When the enemy comes to steal my peace, I need to stand strong with God and keep my faith. Turn off the computer, television, and phone. Open my bible and read, pray, then trust God has it all worked out.

He is my rock, my peace and  my wisdom.

The bible says God is strength in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) and peace in my confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). He is the helper and upholder of my life (Psalm 54:4) and the provider of ALL my needs (Philippians 4:19).

God IS amazing!

How do you stay connected with God when life throws all its challenges your way?

Chasing The Wind

Ecclesiastes 1:14 I have seen all the works that are under the sun, and behold, all is vanity, a chasing of the wind.

My car was a brand new Honda Accord Coupe and it was the first new car I had ever owned. I had struggled for years to pay off bad debts and increase my credit score. I guess you could say my car was the trophy for all my efforts.

After my car was a few months old, I found myself in a financial bind with the new car payment, rent and raising two children on a single income. Turns out my trophy was more of a bad decision, a burden on my already tight finances.

The days were becoming stressful, yet I was reading more scripture and trying to rely on God’s faithfulness. The more difficult life became, the more I delve into my bible, trying to find words from God that would give me hope and strength.

That’s when the book of Ecclesiastes came to my heart. The story of a king who had everything he could ever want (money, women, power and every pleasure known to man), yet he had an unexplainable void in his life.

In Ecclesiastes 2:17-18 the king says, “So I hated life because what is done under the son was grievous to me; for all is vanity and a striving after the wind and feeding on it….”

Two days after I read this book, I left my evening shift at work to find someone had slammed into my brand new car and drove away. They didn’t leave a note, just a huge dent on the side of my car.

I filed a police report and went home sobbing. My prayers to God that evening were prayers of frustration and anger.

“Why God? After all the trouble I went through to pay off my debts and buy something nice for myself – how could you let this happen?”

The next day I called the insurance company to report the hit-and-run. They sent out a claims advisor to do an appraisal on the repair. When all the paperwork was done, he said that the amount insurance would pay me was $1300. The damage to my vehicle was $1800 but I had a $500 deductible!

Again, I called out to God, “WHY??”

I couldn’t even afford to pay my rent, how was I going to come up with the money to get my car fixed.

With a subtle voice, God reminded me of the book of Ecclesiastes – a king searching for fulfillment in worldly things and never being satisfied. Then he showed me how I had allowed my car to become more important to me that it should have been – my image, my material things.

Three days later, I received the $1300 check from insurance. It was then that I realized God had turned a bad situation into a blessing in my life. When I didn’t have enough money to pay my bills, he provided. With the check, I was able to pay my rent, pay my utilities AND buy groceries for my children!!

God doesn’t answer prayers the way we always want Him too, but he DOES answer prayers! When I received that check, I thought about the king again. How he chased after all those material things and was never satisfied. I became satisfied in God’s amazing wisdom and plan for my life.

The hit-and-run was over seven years ago. Since then, I’ve had plenty of financial opportunity to get the dent fixed, but chose not to. Every time I walk towards my car and see the dent, I am reminded of how faithful God is, how he took care of me when I couldn’t do it myself, how he turned a bad situation into a blessing.

What are some interesting and surprising ways God has worked in your life? Please comment below, I would love to hear some of your stories.

Thanks for stopping by, Rene’

God’s Sense of Humor

When I first became a Christian, someone told me to be careful what I pray for because for everything I wanted God to show  me, the enemy would be there to make it more challenging.

For example, if I pray to God for patience, the only way I will grow in that area is if I’m subjected to things that would normally cause me to be impatient. If I pray to be a lover of all people, I will be surrounded by unlovely people. We can’t be strengthened in an area where there are no challenges, right?

Well, this leads me to a rather embarrassing story about something I’ve prayed for. As I lay my life open here on the internet, I pray that you will see beyond the humor of what I am about to share and notice how God speaks.

If you’ve followed my earlier posts, you will notice a common thread. I’ve called all Christians to stop being judgmental or critical, and to start sharing random acts of kindness to a hurting world. I’ve prayed that I too, be less judgmental, because (let’s face it…) we all judge to some extent.

The more I pray to be loving and accepting of others, the more I am being challenged in this area.

A few weeks ago, at a Sunday church service I was sitting in front of a guy who was singing louder than me. His tone was WAY off and (despite the fact that my tone is ALSO way off), I thought, “geeez, does this guy HAVE to sing so loud?”

Stupid, right??

After about two songs, he coughed in my direction and the wind from his cough blew through my hair. I thought, “this is IT”. I grabbed my bag and moved to a different seat so that I could “enjoy” the service.

During the service, the Pastor made a request for the following weeks service. The church was having a Gospel Music celebration and he wanted to put together a choir to perform some gospel songs. I got excited and figured this would be a perfect opportunity for me to sing loudly and blend in with all the other singers. At the end of service, I met with the music director and volunteered.

Later in the week, he sent me a song list and some links to videos, “practice these songs ……… oh and this will be a mini-choir since we didn’t get many volunteers”.

I went to my husband and told him I couldn’t do it. He said, “so you’re gonna be a quitter?” He was challenging my integrity!!! Of course I won’t be a quitter. I will do this! I prayed all week, studied the songs, and felt confident. I was even proud of myself because I thought, “the enemy tried to make me quit but I am stronger than that!!” In a sense, I was laughing at the enemy because I figured I beat him at his own game.

Unknown to me, that was not God’s intentions for the lack of other singers. There was a completely different lesson to be learned.

When I got to church early for our practice, the music director came to me and gave me a microphone.

“What do I need this for, there are other people singing right?”

“Well, not really, you’re the only one who volunteered. So we have you and the 3 women who usually sing.”

So now I’m thinking I REALLY cant do this, but my husband’s words echoed in my head and I didn’t want to be a quitter. I asked the music director if he could just shut the sound off on my mic. He laughed and said NO!

There we were “the mini choir” with our own microphones, practicing the song list. I’m terrified that someone will actually hear my off-tune voice and think “how embarrassing”. At that moment, a gentleman walked up to our group and said, “wow, you ladies sound so lovely. Great job”.

THAT is when it hit me…..the lesson God intended I learn from this experience.

The man who walked up and told us how fabulous we sounded was the man who was sitting behind me in church the previous week!! He didn’t hear my out-of-tune voice, he heard songs of praise and worship. He heard past my actual voice and heard a joyful sound.

If you haven’t noticed from my past stories, God doesn’t whisper in my ear because I’m a bit stubborn and don’t hear it. He puts me in situations where I am practically hit over the head with what He wants me to hear.

God says, “you want to judge your fellow Christians, well lets put you up on a stage with a microphone so the WHOLE church can hear you sing”.

As I stood on the platform, I prayed. I repented. “Oh God, I am so sorry for judging that man, one of your children. Who am I that I would judge someone else for something I can’t even do myself.”

After the service, I had a laugh with God because He made such a strong point. He wanted me to stop judging others but the only way I was going to hear Him was to be put into a situation where I thought people would be judging me.

Isn’t God amazing and beautiful. He has a sense of humor and He loves us SO much.

The point of this story is this: Don’t judge others. Humble ourselves to hear correction from God. We each have our God given strengths and our weaknesses and none of us is perfect. But we are all Children of God.

I hope sharing this story will help convince you to accept others (faults and all) …………. and if it hasn’t, I pray that you too, end up on a stage with a microphone in your hand (all your faults on display for the world to see)… Hahaha, really just kidding (and trying to make a point)

How does God get His point across to you when He needs you to hear?

Much love and blessings to all of you! Thank you so much for stopping by, Rene’

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The photo shared on this post came from this page. Thank you Filtered Flowers

Christians Are Like Vegetarians

Recently, my husband and I went into Cabela’s (a hunting/fishing/gaming store). When we walked in, I was shocked at all the taxidermy animals. Deer, beavers, bears, large birds and many other critters. All posed in life-like stances with a setting of trees and rocks. As we made it to the back of the store, I became fixated on a huge buffalo above my head. Frozen in my steps, I just looked into his eyes (well, the plastic ones) and imagined him out in nature living his life, minding his own business.

As I tend to do, my thoughts started to get away from me and I began to imagine him with his family. I wondered if he had little ones that were left behind when a hunter came along and took his life.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this post is not an anti-hunting PETA kind of post. I am just giving a little background on where this story is going. Please read on …..

My husband came to me and asked, “why the tears?” snapping me out of my thoughts.

We left the store and I couldn’t get the image of that buffalo out of my mind. I was flooded with memories of cute animals. A video where this guy was playing a trombone and all the cows came to listen……. Cows drawn to music!! Then another video of a cow playing with a ball. I felt very convicted, like I just couldn’t eat meat anymore.

So I stopped……. Just like that, I became a vegetarian.

After two weeks, I noticed that I began to feel healthier and I had even lost a couple pounds. And what do we do (those of us on Social Media) when we have exciting news? I posted it on Facebook!!

My first response was from my uncle who said, “SO, what will you do with all those left-over Beef Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini HAHAHA”

I also received a few private messages. One asked me how I would continue with the recipe part of my blog – would it become only vegetarian? Another person asked me how I (as a vegetarian) and my husband (a “carnivore”) could comfortably co-exist?

Without even thinking, these words came out, “it’s simple, being a vegetarian is kind of like being a Christian.”

“Hahahaha, ok???”

“Well, I have my faith and my religious beliefs but I don’t force them upon anyone, right? My eating habits are the same thing. I’ve made changes for myself and (just like my faith), I will share with others that want to listen, but I wont judge anyone that doesn’t agree.”

As Christians, we walk through our days in the presence of non-believers. Just as vegetarians walk in the presence of meat eaters. We co-exist with people different than us. We walk through life setting examples, hoping someone will want what we have.

Maybe someone will see me and think, “wow, her skin looks great” or “she’s lost weight, how did she do it”.. Then I can share my new lifestyle change and maybe someone will want to change their lifestyle because of the example I set.

Isn’t our Christian faith the same?

By our example we can bring others to Christianity. I’ve had people say to me, “you seem so peaceful and happy, what’s your secret?” I’ve been able to share my faith and talk about God. Telling people how He changed my life and how He brings peace to every situation because I know HE is in control.

What kind of examples are you setting in your life? Do people want what you have?

I saw an episode of “Wife Swap” (where two polar opposite wife’s are swapped for two weeks – in the hopes that each wife can teach another family a different way of doing things). Now I don’t watch television very often, but this one I had to watch. A Christian wife was swapped with an Atheist wife. Each wife tried to teach the other family a new way of doing things. By the end, a few minor things changed for each family, but neither had adopted a new way of living.

During the final interview when each spouse was confronted by the other family, the Atheist father had tears in his eyes and said, “you wanna know the hardest part of my lifestyle? It’s being faced with judgmental Christians who look down on me for not being like them. It hurts because I am a good hearted, hard working man”.

That moment was burned into my memory. I thought, “how can we bring people to Christianity if we are judging them for the lives they currently live?” Why would an Atheist want to be a Judgmental Christian? It made me sad.

Imagine if all the Atheist of the world were confronted with Christians that just loved them, cared for them, prayed for them (without rubbing their noses in it). What kind of an impact could we have if we just spread joy, kindness, an unconditional love (like Jesus shares with us).

We can’t force people to adopt our way of life. All we can do is live by example, by our actions, by our unconditional love – God will do the rest 🙂

Thanks for stopping by. See you soon, Rene’

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*by the way, if you are following for the great recipes, stay tuned for some amazing vegetarian surprises (I will still be posting meaty deliciousness as well – hubby still has to eat 🙂