Tag Archives: Gifts

To Dream or Not To Dream

 

to dream or not to dream

Allow me to introduce myself. I am originally from Northern California. I was raised in a single-family home with just my brother and myself. The environment around me pretty much crushed any possible dreaming that could have come from a young girl’s heart. I grew up in a toxic home. Perhaps you can relate? My mother was an alcoholic, and although no one ever said dreams are for fools, it was much implied. Life felt heavy, and my goal was to survive and get out of the house. Not sure that classified as a dream.

To read the full article, go to God-Sized Dreams…

Church- It’s Not Just About Me

Good ShepherdPhoto credit: @Good Shepherd Community Church

Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. Acts 20:28

This past weekend was 4th of July weekend. We went out to South Padre Island to spend time with family and watch the fireworks. We talked, we ate S’mores, some of the cousins played kickball, we prayed together, and then we were prayed for. I love our family and the way we all love each other. They prayed for us, as we are about to start Kids Camp tomorrow. There were some words spoken over our family and for the future of Big Red Ministries. It was refreshing and uplifting. We needed it. Then we drove home- it normally takes about 45 minutes to get home, but because of the holiday traffic it took 2 hours! I know. I know.

We got in around 1:30am and we were all so very tired on Sunday morning. I knew that I was going to need to wake my kids up in order to make it to church on time (on time for us). There was a struggle in my body that morning. Yes, the struggle was real. I was just exhausted. I knew I could just stay home with the kids and we could read the Bible together and the Lord would still love me. 😉 But something in me felt like I needed to be there. I can’t explain it other than the Holy Spirit. I made a decision that we were going to church, regardless of my tired man inside.

I woke the kids up and of course there was some resistance. My daughter said, “Mom, we’re all tired, right?” “Let’s just stay home today.” And thankfully I had already made up my mind or I would have been easily swayed. “Nope, we’re going,” I said.

I was running late but I learned a long time ago that God’s timing is perfect- as it was perfect on this particular morning. We rushed in, and thankfully I didn’t rush in too quick, as a woman was standing off to the left, next to the coffee, and she looked intently at me. “Celeste, right?” she said nervously.

She pulled me aside and we talked for a while. She was really struggling and I was able to speak into that thing and then pray over her. I felt His presence as we prayed. I quickly realized that this was exactly why I was supposed to be there and that this was why the enemy was trying to keep me from going to church. Which by the way, the enemy is really good at using our feelings to deceive us (just a side note).

The Lord spoke to my heart and reminded me that when I come to church it’s for me, but it’s not just for me. He has a plan that is so far beyond us just hearing hearing a good sermon (although we do get to hear some great messages). Sometimes people church hop because they’re looking for the perfect church that will meet their every need (by the way, only God does that). Some people want to sit in the pew, hear a feel good sermon, and then move on. Church is messy, imperfect, and beautiful.

If we’re only going to see what we can get out of it, then we are totally missing what church was meant to be.

And yes, I know, we are the church.

He rocked me yesterday morning, realizing that I am guilty of this very thing- sometimes I just want to get in and out. And what’s for lunch? Lord, forgive me. The very thing that the church is meant to be, connection with God and connection with others, and learning to use our gifts to serve, is exactly what we miss when we’re so focused on us and how we’re feeling.

I want to challenge you today, as I was challenged, to go to church not only to learn and grow, but with intention. Ask the Lord to lead you to someone that might need prayer, even if you are not comfortable praying with people (He will give you the words). Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to someone that just might need a hug or an encouraging word.

We need each other.

May we not be so focused on the next thing that we miss the main thing! Amen! (click to tweet)

 

What Holds Us Back From Our Dreams Part 2

Celeste-podcastcelestebarnard.com

In this podcast I continue talking about those things that hold us back from our dreams. The ‘what-ifs’, our negative thoughts, and our past. In this podcast I also share some of own my personal testimony. The enemy does not want us to dream because when God gives us a dream, and we step out, He gets all the glory and lives are changed. May God speak to you this week about some things He’s asking you to step out into.

Romans 8:28 (NASB)- And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Don’t Forget

 

James 1:17a (KJV)- Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.

Isolated beautiful woman has forget an appointment

I’ve had this 50% off discount on my Starbucks card app. for a few weeks now. It was for fresh brewed coffee, which I‘ve already stopped in and ordered a few this week. So this morning as I was driving home with my fresh brewed coffee in hand I realized, I didn’t use my discount (again). It’s not that I wouldn’t have loved to get ½ off, it’s just that I forgot! As I was driving home, feeling a bit ripped off for yet again not using my discount code, the Lord showed me something about His gifts.

He has gifts that are here for us everyday. They are right here, within our reach. We just need to access them and use them (like redeeming a coupon). But sometimes we forget, don’t we? We go about our day completely forgetting that God has freely given us gifts (that don’t expire btw). They are gifts for us to use so that we can do more than just survive from day to day, but so that we can have an abundant life. John 10:10 (ESV)- The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. Let me tell you, the enemy loves it when we forget our ‘spiritual’ coupons!

How many times do we run to other people with our stuff before ever pulling out the Word of God and seeing what He has to say about our situation? How many times does He offer joy in His Word, but we don’t even think to access those scriptures and ask Him for joy daily in our lives? We forget. We are a forgetful people. Like Author Ann Voskamp says, we sometimes get spiritual amnesia. And we go through life feeling life we got jipped, when really, we just didn’t take full access of what the Lord has already given us (the coupons are in our pocket!). He offers wisdom and understanding. It is right here for the asking.

Now do we pursue a relationship with God just for His gifts? I sure hope not. Just like I don’t go to Starbucks and use my Starbucks card just in hopes that I’ll get a good discount one day (although it’s nice), I go because I enjoy my coffee. I go to God because I enjoy Him and love Him. But guess what? He also enjoys us and loves us and wants to lavish us with extravagant gifts- not because He has to, but because He wants to.

So if you’re like me and get spiritual amnesia, ask the Lord today to help you remember His gifts. Pray and ask for these gifts each morning, so that you may be fully equipped and effective to be all that God has called you to be and start living an abundant life. It has nothing to do with if you think you deserve it or not, it is only because He is good and desires to give us good gifts. Matthew 7:11 (NLT)- So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are some of the many gifts the Lord offers us. It you feel like you’re lacking in any of these areas, look up the scriptures and write them out on an index card and repeat them throughout the day.

The Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13, Act 8:20)

Grace (Psalms 84:11, James 4:6)

Wisdom (Proverbs 2:6, James 1:5)

Faith (Ephesians 2:8, Philippians 1:29)

Righteousness (Romans 5:16-17)

Strength & Power (Psalms 68:35)

A New Heart (Ezekiel 11:19)

Peace (Psalms 29:11)

Rest (Matthew 11:28, 2 Thessalonians 1:7)

Glory (Psalms 84:11, John 17:22)

Eternal Life (Romans 6:23)

 Lord, I will be the first to admit, I get spiritual amnesia and often forget that I have been freely given so many gifts from You. And all I have to do is ask and then believe in faith that Your Word is true. Forgive me for often running to everyone else first and then running to You. I want to start going to You and Your Word first and then seeking wise counsel from others. Thank You that you are the giver of good gifts and that you want us to live abundantly, even when we’re walking through storms, You give us the strength and peace to walk through it. Praying today for every good and perfect gift that You have for me. Not because I’m entitled or deserve it, but just because I am Your child. Amen.

2 Peter 1:3-4 (MSG)- 3-Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.