Friday, March 30, 2012

My March Madness List!

It's that time of the month again!!  Today I have found all of my favorite links from around the web and compiled them into one MUST-SEE list for you to check out this weekend!  In honor of March Madness, I thought I would throw in a cutsie title to get your attention. ;) Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments too! :)

10Interview with an Athiest Video

9. One of the top posts you all pulled up from my archives: Let God Give Your Heart Away (still a great article apparently!)

8. Of course GWP would be on here again!  This post comes from a very honest place in a man's heart.  Very inspiring.  What a Man Wants From a Woman

7. New MUSIC you need to buy/download: The Torwalt's!! In my post Welcome the Holy SpiritI shared with you a video from Bryan and Katie Torwalt. After stalking them on YouTube, I'm convinced you need to buy the whole album: Here on Earth.

6. If you love arts and crafts--and Jesus journals as much as I do, you'll love this blog and post about creating a Spring Art Journal!  (Psstt...this is a hint of things to come on Divine Dating.)

5.  Exceptional weather?  No, I say an exceptional God!  Great perspective from a southern Oklahoman here!

4. If you haven't already, you need to go see the movie OCTOBER BABY!! (Review to come...)

3. As God has been speaking to me about "seasons" of life, this post fit perfectly into my heart this month.  Seasonal, by Seek First.

2. SARCASM.  The killer of closeness.  This is definitely a must read article by Donald Miller.  Everyone should take his challenge too!

1.  And the number one pick for March comes with an odd name but a mouthful of truth to chew on: Love is not a Hamburger, by Sweetness Itself.  This article covers all sorts of relevant topics in the Christian walk.  It is obvious to see that this girl is very passionate about what she writes.  Read it now!

Hope you enjoyed this month's countdown!  Leave some love below!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spiritual Gift Testimonies: Exhortation

As we continue our journey through spiritual gifts, today's post features a wonderful woman whom I respect very much.  Much like me, she has a heart for women and spreading the gospel.  She lives in a gorgeous home with a wonderful husband and several joyful children who love her dearly!  For more about today's author, check out her blog, A Heart Consumed.

"Exhortation & faith run hand in hand for me as far as spiritual gifts go. To be quite honest how could they not, in my opinion. I discovered these gifts became more & more present when I began to seek the Lord with my whole heart. Sorta like the by-product of my relationship with Him. The more I sought the Lord the more I felt compelled to exhort & I had the faith as well to do this no matter the situation.

 I realize now after several years of operating in God’s truth that the ability to “come along side”  someone with with words of encouragement and counsel to help them be all God wants them to be is a gift (Romans 12:8) and so was the ability to believe God was capable.(faith).

 The Greek word for exhortation is paraklesis or the calling to one’s side. I enjoy this gift & have learned the importance of keeping it in balance. When you are gifted with exhortation it is easy to get sucked into the chaos of others. I say this out of love. 

There are times when you offer yourself so much to others that you may be out of balance with the most important God-given relationships such as a spouse & children if you are married or a parent. Possibly with your parents or even closest friends.

 It is important to exhort where God leads you, to be realistic when you see that the receiver is beginning to turn to you as their source instead of them seeking God for themselves. Always gently remind those you are exhorting that Jesus death on the Cross bought them all that they would ever need in life to live victoriously. We are simply allowing God to use as His vessels when we utilize our giftings!"

If you think Exhortation may be one of your main spiritual gifts, check out this website for more details:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spiritual Gift Testimonies: Servanthood

Today's post starts our examination of each individual gift.  This post is from a wonderful woman I have always admired in the faith.  She is a 23 year old from a very, very small town in southwestern Oklahoma.  She is very involved with her campus ministry, leading bible studies and discipling young college girls.  She also has volunteered her summer break the past few years to serve at a evangelical camp for youth students.

Ann's gift is servanthood.  Here is how she explains it:

"Servanthood--- To me this is the willingness and the desire to serve, to meet, the physical, emotional, mental and most of all spiritual needs of others. This is not a task that one can do on their own. This can only be done by the power of God.

Everyone is called to serve in one way or another, but when this ability is something that comes natural or comes without even thinking about it, it is then that I see it as a gift from God.

Daily there are things that need to be done in the lives of others, but it is being able to discern what those things are and seeing the tools you have been equipped with to accomplish those task that need to occur.

Ultimately you are not doing the work, it is God doing the work through you. Listening to someone can be an act of service to someone in need of a listening ear.

We all serve but it is when service is done with the sole purpose of glorifying God and the desire to truly help someone that it is servanthood."

Do you think this might be your main gift?  Check out this guide to studying servanthood:

Friday, March 23, 2012

For Women Only in the Workplace: Book Review

Ladies, do you ever wonder why your boss just can’t seem to understand you? Are you frustrated with being cut down from all the male ego floating around the work place? Well perhaps the problem does not lie solely in their hands, and neither does it in yours. But the solution can!

In For Women Only: In the Workplace, a knowledgeable book by Shaunti Feldhahn, the male brain and its processes are broken down into female-friendly language. Feldhahn graciously shows us women what happens between the communication processes with our male counterparts. From the male’s need to respect and achieve, to the woman’s desire to control and explain, Feldhahn explains how neither side is wrong, they are just different. And it is that difference that makes all the commotion in the workplace.

Successful author of many books, Feldhahn’s “ONLY” series includes several interesting titles such as: For Parents Only, For Young Women Only, and For Men Only. Many of her books have hit the one million mark in sales, and she doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.

An interesting fact about For Women Only in the Workplace, is that the book originally came out on the general market titled as The Male Factor. This book was released on The Today Show in 2010.
It is no wonder the book has done well enough to sell under two separate titles. Cover to cover, the book is filled with facts, figures, and charts that back up the years worth of research Feldhahn spent cracking this communication code.

The hard data filling this book comes naturally for Feldhahn, an ex-analyst of Wall Street, and former student of the financial arena at Capitol Hill. She holds a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University, and a Bachelor’s in Government and Economics from the College of William and Mary. Shaunti and her husband Jeff live in the Atlanta area with their young children, where they continue to excitingly juggle two booming businesses, life, and family together.

Now for the criticism, if you are looking at this book in hopes of receiving a spiritual awakening or conviction, I would say you might want to try a different book. Although it is marketed in the Christian world, and is targeted at Christians, this book is actually very neutral in terms of theology and faith. In fact, to be terribly honest, the only place I found biblical reference was the last chapter, (which was purposely added for Christian audiences.)

There is nothing wrong with having a spiritually neutral book; it was just not what I had expected. From what I can tell the difference between the general-market edition and the Christian edition comes down to a few interviews with ministers and Christian men. This is helpful for Christians who are reading the book, and I did find the information quite useful.

However because of my expectations, chapter 9 (the last chapter), was  my favorite part. In this chapter, Feldhahn shares Christian advice from many women she has encountered throughout her research. The women advise the readers in how to apply this book and use it biblically. This was very insightful, and I enjoyed receiving the advice. Also in this chapter, Feldhahn makes several references to the scriptural importance of applying these principles to our personal work worlds.

To sum it all up, here are the top three things I took away from this book:
     1) Men need respect. Think about this when you are asking your boss why he does things a certain way, or telling your male colleagues they need to stop doing this and that. Find a creative way to get your message across without being disrespectful.
     2) Dress as modest as possible at work. Often times women think they are dressing cute to make a statement, when in fact, they are distracting men from what they are professionally saying — thus hurting both themselves and the integrity of these men.
     3) The book does not tell us to give up every form of femininity we have. It is simply biblical to respect each other in the best way we know how. Romans 12:18 says it is our duty to be at peace with all people if we can. This book shows you how.

I highly recommend this book to any woman entering or currently in the working world. In fact, I have already passed this copy along to my friend who is an aspiring lawyer working in the state capitol right now. This book will definitely give women insight to use for success, understanding, and better communication in their careers.

For more about the book and the author, check out: the author's websitethe book's site, and The Life Ready Woman.

Article first published as Book Review: For Women Only: In the Workplace on Blogcritics.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spiritual Gifts 101.2

As I said in my post, Eagerly Desire the Greater Gifts:

"The way I understand it, each member of the body of Christ is given a special gift from the Holy Spirit.  The gift is not just for the individual to soak up in their own life, but to be shared with others members of the body.  In this way, if every member is living out fully what they were called to be--obeying and trusting God with every spiritual move--then the entire church would be functioning as a body!  

If those who were called to evangelize would go and evangelize, and those who were called to pray would pray without ceasing, while those who are called to teach would teach faithfully, I think every member in the body would benefit from unity, working together, and therefore grow closer to Christ in love (Ephesians 4:16.)"

Do you understand what this means?  You were given a specific role to play in this great big story about God and his love for creation.  He CHOSE you to play out a distinct part in His grand scheme!  

What are you gonna do about that??

Well, as Paul puts it, "...If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging. let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully." --Romans 12:6-8

In other words: GO DO IT!!  Let the love and grace of Christ bubble up in you so much that it has to flow out of you all over the place, or else you are going to explode!  As a true believer in Christ, you should desire to do this already!  Yes, sin gets us off course from these desires, but if you truly understand grace you will come back to your senses, crave God, and serve him.

That's the trick.  If you aren't fully sold out to God, you aren't going to want to use your spiritual gift all the time, because you will be operating out of your own strength, which is an instant fail.

In fact, the one rule we are given in exercising these gifts is this: It must be done with love.  1 Corinthians 13:4-7 tells us that exercising our gifts and preaching and teaching and everything else is absolutely WORTHLESS, have we not love.  

And 1 John 4 tells us that God is love, and therefore we must put him first and foremost before everything else.  Matthew 16:33, 27:39-40.  

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spiritual Gifts 101

So in last two posts I really focused on painting a picture of who the Holy Spirit actually is.  I feel like this is foundational to understanding spiritual gifts.  As the name suggests, spiritual gifts are given to us by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7.)  It is a unique "gift" that each of us receive when we make the choice to allow God and his spirit authority in our life.  

Their are several different spiritual gifts, although most theologians have differentiating views on which are truly on "the list" of biblical gifts.  From personal Bible study, here are the gifts I have found in scripture:

  • wisdom
  • knowledge
  • faith
  • healing
  • miraculous powers
  • prophecy
  • discernment of spirits
  • tongues
  • interpretation of tongues
  • apostleship 
  • teaching
  • helps
  • administration
  • serving
  • encouraging
  • leadership
  • mercy
  • pastors
The first set of gifts (in black) comes from 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.  Although some of the gifts in black are repeated throughout the other passages, I highlighted those that were in addition to the 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 gifts.  Therefore the purple gifts come from 1 Corinthians 4:27-30, the red gifts come from Romans 12:6-8, and the blue from Ephesians 4:7-13.

Again, out of this whole list, many are repeated several different times throughout the different passages, I just highlighted them to help you differentiate a little.

So here is my Bible-based list of gifts we may receive from the Holy Spirit.  These are each wonderful and amazing gifts within themselves, and I plan on exploring them individually at a later date.

Now because of several different reasons, I believe that we can have a mixture of all the different gifts.  Many of the actions reflecting these gifts, come purely out of a heart that knows and loves God, and thus bears fruit (Ephesians 5:22, John 15.)

I also believe that we can pray and ask God for strength in different gifts, so we can better glorify him (1 Corinthians 14:1, Psalm 37:4, Matthew 7:7.)  

However, I also believe that God has specifically given each of us one very distinct gift, to which he bases our works and duties around (Ephesians 2:10, 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12.)

As 1 Corinthians 12 describes, we are each given one particular role to play in the whole body of the church.  This is the coolest and most exciting part!

Did you know you had a role to play?  How does that make you feel?
What does it make you want to do?
Do you know what your spiritual gift is?

Friday, March 16, 2012

POP Quiz Today!!

It's Friday!!  And if you are a student of any sort, you know what that means--POP QUIZ!!  Gotta love the teachers who always pulled those stunts...tisk, tisk, tisk.

Anyhow, I really do have a quiz for you all, but it is fun and will produce spiritual/individual growth for you I promise!

As I mentioned, and have been mentioning...the next series of blog posts will be heavily focused on the spiritual gifts.  Because I don't want you to be left out, I think it would be really awesome if you took some time and figured out what your main spiritual gifts are, at least so you can compare them to the posts and see what you think.  As I mentioned in last Saturday's post, you can use this to contribute to my blog, but that is entirely up to you. 

I just think this is a great exercise for any believer.  Anyhow, here are the links once again:

     Here's a short one:

     Medium length:

     and here's a longer one:

You can do whichever ones you want! The long one is my favorite, but it does take a while to complete.  After completing your assessment, I then want you to pray and examine your life.  

Monday we will get started on this exciting series!!  See you then :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Welcome the Holy Spirit

Throughout all that God has taught me about the Holy Spirit, he has also laid a song deeply on my heart for this time of learning in my life.  I first heard the song played by The Cody Dunbar Band, but below I have attached the song by the original artist.

Here are the lyrics:

There is nothing worth more
That will ever come close
Nothing can compare
You're our Living Hope
Your Presence

I've tasted and I've seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone

Your presence Lord.

Holy Spirit you are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
to be overcome by your presence Lord.

Your presence Lord

There is nothing worth more
That will ever come close
You are our Living Hope

Your presence Lord.

I've tasted and I've seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart is set free
And my shame is undone

Holy Spirit you are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
to be overcome by your presence Lord.

Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness.


Holy Spirit you are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
to be overcome by your presence Lord.

Here's the video:

I hope you sat with eyes closed and heart open as you worshiped the God who inspired this song, and if not, I challenge you to play it again, but this time with a receptive heart.  
The lyrics to this song are so simple, yet so incredibly powerful.  To welcome the Holy Spirit is a huge step, yet it can be one of the most amazing steps you ever take.

Have you ever actively sought out the Holy Spirit?  Do you think the Spirit feels welcome in your presence, or do you constantly shut it out with all the "stuff" of life?
How can you be more open and receptive to the Spirit of God?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Semester Reflections: The Holy Spirit

As I am approaching the half-way mark of my semester, my bloggings will start to include an increasing amount of reflection posts from this side of the half.  I have noticed three huge themes God has used in my walk with him this semester:  wisdom, the holy spirit, and the poor.

Although those are in the order of significance, my posts will not be.  I'm starting off by expanding on what God has taught me about the Holy Spirit, which will lead into a series of posts about the "greater gifts" of the holy spirit (as mentioned in last Friday's post,) and then I will present a series of posts featuring Spiritual Gifts, and what these look like in our every day lives.

As I said, for now I would like to share with you what God has taught me in regards to the Holy Spirit.  Throughout this journey, he lead me to several different passages that teach us more about the Holy Spirit, and who he is.  The book I just reviewed, Dream Language, also pointed me to the dig further into specific scriptures that dealt with the Holy Spirit.

First, a little introduction of "The H.S."  If you have studied the Bible at all, you know that our sin eternally separated us from fellowship or communion with God, but because of his infinite love for us, he sent his Son to come live with us, teaching us and instructing us in the ways of God, then ultimately giving his life up for us, thus restoring our connection and relationship with the God of all creation.

It was for this reason, that Jesus' disciples worried about how they would communicate with God when Jesus arose back into heaven (John 16.)  Of course, as always happens when we are worried, Jesus assured the disciples that this communication method had already been worked out and blessed far beyond our understanding.  "But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away.  Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you." (John 16:7)

Therefore, the Holy Spirit's language is even greater for us, that the words coming from Jesus' physical mouth.  Not only that, but it is only through the Holy Spirit that we can reread the words of Jesus' physical mouth and fully understand them.  How great is our God to bless us above our own imaginations!

The Spirit gives us access to a secret language between our spirit and God's.  In 2 Corinthians 2:6-8 we are told that the language that comes from walking with Christ is quite different from the language of the world.  The Bible says it is "a message of wisdom among the mature...a secret wisdom that God destined for our glory before time began."  How cool is that?

The idea of a "secret language" between our hearts and God's makes me think of my elementary school days when Pig Latin and Ong language were cool.  My friends and I would speak these silly dialects all day long, laughing and enjoying the fact that no one else knew what we were saying.  It was our own secret language.

Until of course, everyone else discovered it...

The thing about the Holy Spirit is that it is closed to those who are not believers.  Verse eight says, "None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."  Did you get that, none of the rulers.  That means the rich and famous people we look up too on earth--they don't understand this secret language because they are still living in the world, not turning away from it and walking with Christ.

A life given fully to God is a hard and painful one, but the blessing of the Holy Spirit is one reward for choosing this difficult journey.

Verses 10-12 really taught me something insightful.  Only the Spirit knows both the depths of our heart, as well as the depths of God's.  How beautiful.  The Word of God says it is only through the help of the Holy Spirit that we are able to heal and understand the depths of our souls, and with that, we are able to hear God's spirit too.  His spirit.  The depths of his heart that are so rarely searched out.  This is where the Spirit soars and longs to take us.

Those without the Spirit do not understand the Spirit.  Verse 14 says, "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."  How much the unbeliever misses.

I promise you readers, if you had a taste of the heart and Spirit of God--you would never in a million years turn it down again.  In fact, you would spend the rest of your life trying to fill that craving with a new taste of his oh-so-filling Spirit.  Think about that for a minute...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Want to Contribute to My Next Series?

This past week in the Divine Dating world we have really focused on dreams and the Holy Spirit.  This has lead me to do a complete series on Spiritual Gifts and what they look like in our every day life.  There is a dilemma though.  I don't have every single spiritual gift in a huge capacity!  That's where you come in!  I need your help and insight in describing your main spiritual gift.

What's it look like?  How did you discover it?  How does God use it in you daily?  How does it effect others in your life?

We all have a main spiritual gift, and several others.  I'm interested in hearing about your main spiritual gift!  First things first, if you haven't taken one recently, I need you to take a spiritual gifts assessment test, and figure out what your main one is.  I say recently because our gifts change and shift as we grow.  Below are several different tests I recommend.

Here's a short one:

Medium length:

and here's a longer one:

You can do whichever ones you want! The long one is my favorite, but it does take a while to complete.  After completing your assessment, I then want you to pray and examine your life.  Look at the questions I asked at the beginning of this post.  Once you have answered them, type up a 300-500 word post about your main gift and send it to me at  

Don't worry about the formatting, pictures, or font...I'll take care of all that fancy stuff, I just want your insight!  

I hope you all are as excited as I am.  I can't wait to see what you all come up with! 
 Deadline for submissions is Friday, March 16.

Friday, March 9, 2012

"Eagerly Desire the Greater Gifts"

A verse I found through reading Dream Language, was 1 Corinthians 14:1.  It says, "Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy."

Wow, what a bold verse!  As I stated in my earlier "How Dreams Fell Into My Lap", I have a friend with the gift of prophecy--two actually, because we just discovered another who has this special gift.  I also have a friend who has been prophecied into by a preacher he did not know.  I watched this calling drastically change his life.

Other than these few instances, I have not ever heard about this gift, nor studied it, nor seen it in all my twenty years of church, retreat, and evangelism services.  And yet, here I am studying the Word of God in which I am told to "eagerly desire" this gift of prophecy!

How does this all work out?  If this is such an important spiritual gift, why do I not actively see it in our churches, and why does the body of believers not regularly pray for such bestowing of the Holy Spirit?

If I haven't stepped on your toes already, I'll take it a step farther.  Once--in all my years with churches and ministries--only once have I studied the spiritual gifts, and even that was briefly.

Thankfully, that one study last year led me on to dive much, much deeper into the study of spiritual gifts; what they look like, how they are given, and what God uses them for.

The way I understand it, each member of the body of Christ is given a special gift from the Holy Spirit.  The gift is not just for the individual to soak up in their own life, but to be shared with others members of the body.  In this way, if every member is living out fully what they were called to be--obeying and trusting God with every spiritual move--then the entire church would be functioning as a body!  

If those who were called to evangelize would go and evangelize, and those who were called to pray would pray without ceasing, while those who are called to teach would teach faithfully, I think every member in the body would benefit from unity, working together, and therefore grow closer to Christ in love (Ephesians 4:16.)

One of my friends lately keeps telling us that we have put God "in a box."  
I'm really starting to see her point.  If the churches aren't teaching us about our spiritual gifts, who will?  If the arms aren't moving then how will the moving feet be any good?

I think we often see the greater gifts (tongues & prophecy) as over-spiritual, too mystical, or far beyond our denomination's beliefs.  But by taking these things out of the church, not only are we limiting God, but we are going against his will and disobeying him as our Father.

When the Word of God says eagerly desire the greater gifts, especially prophecy, you best believe I'll be  on my knees begging God to use me in this special way.  The question is, will you join me?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dream Language: What the book is all about

James W. and Michal Ann Goll have a long history of studying and interpreting God’s secret  language of dreams with mankind.  Co-founders of Encounters Network, Michal and James teamed together to write an insightful book called Dream Language.  

As described in his book, James spent his entire life receiving and interpreting dreams from the Lord.  Michal Ann joined him on this journey in young adulthood, when they were married. The two of them were members of the Harvest International Ministries Apostolic Team, until 2008 when Michal Ann went on to be with the Lord.

The stories and understanding of Michal Ann and Jim naturally give them authority to write such a book as, Dream Language.  The book covers three fundamental ideas for receiving and understanding the dream language.  First, they lay out the framework for this idea: where do dreams come from, how is it biblical, how does it apply to us now.  These are all questions that the first part of the book explores through scripture, experience, and wisdom.  

Part two is entitled, “Learning the Vocabulary.”  In this section of the book readers learn about the diversity of dreams, the interpretation of dreams, and how to better understand these dreams.  Personally, this was my favorite section.

Finally, the reader will learn how to walk in wisdom with the gift of dreams.  Through this part we hear from Michal Ann’s personal dream journey, and are again reminded of the importance to write our dreams down immediately after awakening.  The Golls offer thousands of other insights and ideas throughout the book, each grounded deeply in biblical doctrine.

One thing I would have liked to see done differently, is more expansion on the dream categories themselves.  I wonder, “How do I categorize my dreams, and how do I determine the level of the dream itself?”  I love the organization Goll has laid out, but I would like to know how to utilize it more.  

Of course, the third part of the book really emphasizes turning to God for interpretation, and using the spirit as our main guide, I would just like to have seen the book expand in these areas more.

Overall, I found the book to be deeply spiritual and eye-opening to the encounters and words of God himself.  I told God this morning that I was still processing all the information I have received from that book. I feel like the aftermath of Dream Language will be more like a journey, and less like another book nestled on the shelf.

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a deeper level of intimacy with the Lord. The reading level is appropriate for all levels, and the content can help strengthen any one's faith.

Monday, March 5, 2012

How "Dreams" Fell Into my Lap

Throughout my entire life, I have always been a very active dreamer.  At least 2-3 times a week I wake up with the aftermath of a crazy dream in my head.  Most commonly I dream about people.  As you may know, most dreams leave us to awake with a deep emotion of some sort, and so normally I wake up and instantly feel burdened to pray for whoever showed up in my dream the night before.

I thought this was a great approach, considering my knowledge of dreams, and thus, I never put any more thought into it.  Quite often I would in fact share my dream with those involved, but after a few days the dream was out of my mind and gone forever.

Then, about a month ago, this idea of God speaking to us through dreams really became apparent in my life.  Everywhere I turned, “dreams” kept popping up.  It seemed like no matter who I had lunch with, they all had to start our conversation with, “I HAVE to tell you about this dream I had last night!  It was so crazy.”

I knew God was repeating this dream phenomenon for a reason.  So I prayed a little bit about what this all meant, and again waited patiently for God to explain.

Then one weekend I was in my zone at Barnes and Nobles, where I was searching up and down the Christian relationship section, looking for my next good read.  As I was heavily focused on all the dating and marriage books, I fumbled across a beautiful book called “Dream Language: The prophetic power of dreams, revelations, and the spirit of wisdom.”

Alas, fate was mine!  For one obvious reason, it was dreams.  But for another thing, I noticed the title contained the word “prophetic.”  You see, one of my dearest friends discovered this summer that she has the gift of prophecy.  Since then, her and I have been on a journey to better figure out what this looks like and how she can more effectively use the gift God has given her.  

So I grabbed the book and before I could turn to the back cover, I knew that God had laid this book in my path for a reason.  It wasn’t just for me, but Julie too.  Also, dreams hadn’t just been coming up in my life so that I could learn a lesson, but so Julie could understand too.

After thumbing through the book to make sure there were no “occultic practices” as we so often judge books with, I bought the book along with several others and left the store overly excited to start reading!

Julie and I talked about it, and we decided she was going to read the book first, and then I would receive it after her.  So I gave her the book, and began anxiously reading some other biblical book about marriage and relationships.

Here’s where a twist of God’s flavor comes in.  He didn’t want Julie to read the book first!  Over and over again, dreams kept coming up, both in my sleep, and in my conversations.  My friends were having visions, my family was dreaming revelations, and I was desperate to understand this language.

Fed up with waiting for my turn (it had only been a week,) I visited Julie and asked if I could read the book first instead.  She was more than happy, because she had since then started several book-based bible studies, and was completely overwhelmed with reading.

Yesss...I reclaimed my book and went home to instantly read the first third of the book.  How much I had to soak in!  There was such truth, and new insights, and deeper understandings.  I read the first third in one weekend, and then God told me to put the book down and cultivate the lessons learned over the course of the next week, so that’s what I did.  

At first I was very hesitant with every new idea the book presented.  Holy, uh...I’m Southern Baptist, and I don’t know how much of that I believe.  Prophecy huh?  Well...I’ll just have to check that out with scripture first.

Thank God for teaching me to test and discern every spirit before taking it in!  As I worked my way through the book, I carefully looked up each of the scriptures; testing them and studying them so I could get the full meaning.

Just as God intended, I grew and strengthened my faith with each new discovery.  Wow--why doesn’t our church do this?  It’s biblical!  Why haven’t I asked for dreams and revelations before?  Obviously God speaks through them!  How is it that an entire culture and generation of people has totally discredited God’s intimate communication with us through dreams?

Fortunately for me, God, James Goll, and the Holy Spirit are leading me through discovery of this beautiful process, and next time I will share with you a much shorter post, describing the book in its entirety.  

The next post will be my review of this interesting book.

How do you stumble across good reads? What makes you decide to pick up a book?
Do you ever feel like God literally places books in your hands?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Top Finds of February!

Happy Friday everyone!  Hope you are all having a wonderful morning to get your weekend started.  Today's post is actually a compilation of posts.  Forunately, I have been doing extensive blog reading, link searching, and Facebook posting throughout the month of February, and I thought it would be most appropriate to share these good finds with you.   Check out my top 10 finds for this month:

     10.  As I pointed  out  in Wednesday's post "Sacred Secrets of 'The Vow,'" I found this article from Fox News regarding "The Vow," and it has really changed my entire perspective on the plot line and film.  In this article the real life couple is interviewed.  Throughout the interview the couple mentions their reliance on God, and how their story would be nothing without him.  Check it out: Fox News Story: The Vow

     9.  One of my friends shared this link with me on Facebook early in February, and I absolutley loved it.  Mark Dricsoll never ceased to amaze me with the spiritual wisdom and truth that flows out of him.  This particular article speaks to the men, in regards to their finances.  Good stuff. Mark Driscoll: Finance Before Marriage?

     8.  Some of you may have noticed my lack of content during Valentine's week, (Note: It wasn't because I had a stream of endless dates with dreamy men.)  But fortunatley, some of you found my Valentine's Post from last year, which has quickly risen to the top of my "Popular Posts" list for this month, so in case you missed it: My Valentine's Gift From God (2011.)

     7. Several of my friends stumbled upon this video in February.  I think that is a good thing, because the message of this former Victoria's Secret Model needs to be heard.  I admire this woman and her husband.  Check it out: Victoria's Secret Model Quits.

     6. I have never watched "19 Kids and Counting," nor have I fallen into the fad of obsessively reading magazines about the Duggars, but somehow I fell upon this article that gave Michelle Duggar's Tips for a Healthy Marriage.  Surprisingly, I LOVED it!!  So much in fact, I found the whole Sermon Outline.  Check out her valuable message on marriage here.

     5.  Through twists and turns of virtual fate, I suppose, I found an inspiring young blogger, much like myself, who openly and honestly writes about her times with Jesus, adventures in learning about Church planting, and everything in between.  I have come to love her blog in a few short days.  Everyone, meet Breanna and her blog: A Day in the Life of a Crash Team Member.

    4. Although I haven't read the entire thing yet, my friend Andrea has persistently been talking to me about this innovative method for teaching biblical dating.  Obviously being a genius, Matt Lantz created a blook, which is a combined blog and book--I love it!  In his blook, Lantz gives A Method for Dating.

    3.  A brand new blog in the making, LeaNotonUrOwn, is an insightful blog featuring..well, only two posts, but there is sure to be more!  I fell in love with the article "Hands" and it's wisdom that is foundational to discovering truths.  Grab hold of it here.

     2. The Theology of Falling, by Sarah Cunningham, led me to a week-long reflection of my life.  Do I take enough risks?  Am I allowing God to surprise me with an adventuresome spirit?  This guest post on Donald Miller's blog is definitely worth reading.

   1.  With a name like "Just Marinating," you know this blog has to be good.  What a wonderful way to describe meditating on the word!  Derwin L. Gray's post from February 10th is a wonderful article about recognizing when you know you are ready to date.  How do you know..?

Hope you all enjoyed my countdown for this month!  Feel free to leave your own favorites in the comment section below! :)
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