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Hello 2016-A Quick Note

I have been gone a while in the blog sphere. I didn’t realize that I have not written anything since June 2015. I only meant to take a short break from writing. During that time God is and has brought me through a lot. I hope to write at least twice a month if not more, but no guarantees.

I pray that you enjoy the writing that is to come and be blessed by them.

-Crystal N Livingston

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Faithfulness of God-

As I’m going deeper in my 30’s I usually take the time out to reflect on what God has done. This year the faithfulness of God.

I didn’t have friends when I was a kid, I didn’t play with any kids all I had were my cousins until they moved away. For example on my 10th birthday party after my brother was arrested for bank robbery. I had invited my entire 4th grade class but what did they do, they threw the invites right in the trash. The teacher made them take them out and give to their parents. Only two people showed up. My cousins were there of course and my mom who got a clown and balloons got kids from the neighborhood to come. One of the gifts I got was from the clown who forgot to bring my gift from the place, went and bought me a bear that said I love you this much with a big heart.

My mom always made my birthday special to make up for the lack of friends.

When I hit college I didn’t know who to trust. I wanted friends who I can trust who I could share my life with. That year 2002, I asked God that any person(s) who I hung around with if they were true would celebrate my birthday, and two people did (Michelle and Hannah). Every year since 2002 I make it an aim to celebrate my birthday with friends whom I may see all the time and those who I don’t get to see all the time. The ones who help me celebrate I tend to see them more as a true friend, even though I may not see a friend in long time. I especially count the ones who make me celebrate when I don’t even want too.

Therefore each time I get to celebrate with friend or friends I am reminded of the faithfulness of God, how he answered my prayers for friends, how he protected me and kept me alive.

What are you asking God for?

Are you asking for a husband/wife? Are you asking for salvation for a family member? Are you asking for a healing in your body? Are you asking for a child?

Whatever you are asking for, believe that you have received it, because God will do it.

 

A Callout

I Timothy 2:1-3: I urge, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-for kings, and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior.

 

This morning and for the last couple of weeks God truly has pressed this issue in my spirit, politics and our reaction to it. I normally keep things I see about politics to myself, why, because it is a dividing issue. Yet God is calling on His bride (the church) to come back together in unity. He is tired of seeing the division of those who truly acknowledge Him. He has had enough.

This morning God asked me these four questions:

1. Why are my children bolder in sharing their political beliefs than sharing me to someone who does not know me?

2. Why are my children attacking leaders in the nation more instead of praying for them?

3. Why are my children rejoicing more over missteps of a leader instead of rejoicing and worshiping me?

4. Why are my children more interested in serving a political party instead of serving me through the church and serving the poor in a true loving manner instead of a judging manner?

 

Can you tell how much God is frustrated with his children over this matter? Why is he? Doesn’t He have the right to be frustrated with us over this?

Yes he does because we have gotten away from his instructions regarding leaders. Throughout the bible we see how God deals with leaders. He holds leaders more accountable, He allows good leaders and bad leaders, He allow leaders to have flaws. Wait there is no perfect leader, no perfect human leaders. God knows because of sin the leaders won’t be perfect even those who worships Him (David, Hezekiah just to mentioned a few). Yet we children of God are demanding that our leaders bow down to our will and to the “vision” of God has for this nation.

 

Vision for the nation:

I have heard it said that God’s vision for this nation is to be a true Christian nation where everyone is worshiping God and there is no ungodliness. Can someone please show me in the bible where this is said? God vision is not for a “Christian” nation, God vision is that everyone will hear the true gospel and worship him. Because of sin there will always be ungodliness. People hearts are stubborn there will be many who will reject the message of Christ and do their own thing. Again we see this attitude throughout the Bible. Not even God’s chosen people the Israelites was immune to this, how many times do we see them punish because of their disbelief and turning to idols, it even gotten to a point where their religious practice became so restricted (I don’t think God liked that one bit).

When Jesus came he didn’t come to overtake the government or lead a rebellion like many hope. No Jesus came to spread the good news, to show people about God. He even told his followers give to Cesar what is Cesar and give to God what is God. Even after Peter told the collectors of the two-drachma tax that yes they will pay the temple tax. Jesus told Peter after asking him questions so that we may not offend them go fish and the fish will have the tax. We see by these two examples even though Jesus the Son of God respected the government the leaders. What Jesus attacked was the religious beliefs not the leaders only what they believe.

This truly shows me that God’s vision is for people to be reached with the gospel not to be reached for a political party.

 

Godly Leaders:

A woman once told me that God was taking out the ungodly people and putting his children in office. What I have seen those who truly follow God has a harder time in office. Why? They are sometimes stuck with a political party agenda. They get attacked more harshly in the media, fellow colleagues, and believers who say they are not Christian. We have to remember that a person is representing the needs of all and it is a burden. God does not like it when his children attack their brother or sisters in office by saying prove to me that you are a Christian by meeting my beliefs.

Because you know a person who is pro-choice is not a Christian, or a person who wants to help the poor by feeding them is not a Christian, a person who is for the death penalty is not a Christian. None of these beliefs makes a person a Christian. Jesus said that He is the way, truth and the life no one comes to the father but through me. Jesus did not say by believing and living every of those beliefs makes you a follower of Christ. It is believing that Jesus is the Son of God who died and rose again for our sins.

When Samuel went to anoint a son of Jessie, he kept looking at the tall and handsome boys but God said no. God told Samuel that people look on the outside but he sees the heart. We are not God we cannot judge by a person action what they believe. We can only go by what they say they believe. During the 2008 elections Rick Warren held a meeting invited both John McCain and Barack Obama. He asked both of them how do they know that they are saved. John McCain answered I go to church, I help people. Barack Obama said because Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins and rose from the grave. Yet even after that answer many are still saying that Barack Obama is not a Christian because his political beliefs do not match their own nor seem “Christian” enough. As well President G.W. Bush gave the same answer and many believed why because his political beliefs matched their own and seem “Christian.”

Does this seem right to you?

 

Praying for our leaders:

God calls us to pray for our leaders even when we do not like them. The verse in 1 Timothy 2:1-3 clearly says it. It does not say pray for Godly leaders so we can have a Godly nation. It says: first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-for kings, and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

It clearly does not say so we may live in a “Christian” nation but no that we may live peaceful and quiet lives. Are our lives right now peaceful and quiet? No it is not. We are fighting to even pray in our schools and work! We want to do it through the power of the politicians and not through the power of God!

We rejoice when a leader we do not like has a misstep. We want to flash, and blast it all over Facebook. I remember how God called me out on this. I was making fun of President G.W. Bush over a comment he made. I was saying how stupid it showed him, God said to me why are you making fun of a leader who I have in office, why don’t you pray for him instead of mocking him.

How many times is God seeing His children mock the leaders of this nation? Rejoicing more over their missteps than praising God not for their missteps, but just praising God for who He is. My mother told me of a conversation she had with a friend, where my mother was saying no matter who is in office she prays for them, and my mother’s friend replied you are much better woman than I am because I can’t.

Yes you can, pray for the leaders you disagree with, pray for their protection, pray that God will speak to them, pray for them to have wise counsel, pray that they have wisdom, pray for the burden that they carry to give it to Jesus, and pray that if they don’t know the Lord that they will hear the message of the true gospel. Do not pray for them to bend to your agenda, pray that they will do what is best for all people in this nation.

 

Dividing the Church:

We need to stop dividing the church over politics. I am not a big fan of speaking politically from the pulpit because it will divide the church and or turn non-believers away from God. Why do I say turn away non-believers? Who is shouting the loudest on TV? Christians who are set in their own agenda and not for God is shouting. Non-believers who are hearing this walks into a church where the pastor is bashing the leaders of the nations will put two and two together and hearts will harden will walk out before hearing the true gospel. Churches are pitting against one another because of the political stuff.

After Rick Warren prayed over President Obama at his first inauguration other Christian who loved Warren’s book and his ministry started to attack him and say that he is not for Christ etc. Do you see the pattern here? Do you see the division? I was told that a prominent ministry during the last presidential election took off the definition of Mormonism as a cult because of Romany. When they were holding a revival many Christians didn’t want to do it because of what they did. Who knows who did not hear the gospel because they were mad at this ministry!

We are to love our brothers and sisters even when we disagree with them. In 1 John it says that anyone who says I love God but hates his brother he is a liar. If you love God you will love your brother and not attack him, because when you do you are attacking God. When you are attacking a pastor or a ministry that is truly following God you are hating your brother and dividing your family. God does not like this.

 

Final Thoughts:

The church is not defined by their political beliefs or defined by a political party; the church is defined by Jesus Christ. Not once in the bible do we see the church referred to religious party or a political party. The church is defined by Christ as the Bride of Christ.  We who are the bride need to stop our sinful actions when it comes to how we treat our leaders. God is getting tired of it. He is getting tired of the division. He is getting tired of the attitudes. He getting tired of the lack of empathy among his children. God is calling on His children to serve Him in this area to let go of the anger, maliciousness, hurt, confusion, and the urge to slander. He is calling on His children to pray for their leaders, to share the true gospel and not a political agenda, and stop attacking their brother and sisters in this area who disagrees with them.

Do not believe in the lie that there is power in politics; there is not power in politics only what God allows. The true power lays in prayer through the work of the Holy Spirit.

 

Action Point: If this has been your attitude to repent and start praying for the leaders in your country today.

A Good Gift!! What??

God did not give you a spirit of fear but the power of love and a sound mind 2Timothy 1:7

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Can I tell you how many times I have been rejected? I’ve been rejected by jobs (fired and never hired), rejected by my father (who now has accepted me), rejected by an ex-boyfriend (who cheated on me multiple times). Can you see the negative patterns? I have a fear of being rejected, yet God does not give us the spirit of fear but the power and love of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).  God doesn’t dole out fear but gifts, and love, and grace.

Three years ago I was let go from a job that I really did enjoy. I knew that the company finances were not looking good and because I didn’t have a car I knew it was a matter of time before they let me go. I was right they did let me go, but what I didn’t know that they had hired someone else to do what I was doing who had a car! I was hurt. I knew that God had something bigger and better in store for me. As I struggled to find employment I would go onto interviews make it to the last round then not get the job. I was discouraged, I had no hope, and I was depressed. I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel.

God took me on a journey where I had to trust him to rely on His strength and not my own. In fact in June 2012 I learned that the joy of the Lord is my strength, I went through the month learning to find joy in the Lord and I gained strength.

Finally in January 2012 a break through happened. I was hired by a great company and it was a whirlwind! I had applied for the job because I needed my quota for the week. I knew that I was qualified but I was sure I wouldn’t even get a call. A week later I get the phone interview with the recruiter, then the day after I had the phone interview with my boss (current), the next day we had the face-face interview, and by the end of the interview I had the job. My current job is perfect for me. It was like God created the job just for me. Every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17)

Despite of the fear, despite of what the Devil tried to steal from me God was working. He was preparing a place for me that He knew that would fit me and my skills. I had to be patient, I had to get out of my comfort zone, but most importantly I had to trust God.

To live life beyond the fear is to trust God and be strengthened by God. To trust God you must seek him out. To be strengthened by God you must find joy in what He is doing. You must allow him to work through you.

This is something I have to do on a consent basis, especially right now as I am entering into a new friendship and it scares me. I feel like I am in another whirlwind but then the doubt, when the fear rears it’s ugly head. I have to remember that my trust is in the Lord that He is allowing this new friendship and it’s a good thing whatever may happen.  Kind of  like with my job it is scary because it’s not fully secured or assured but I trust that God knows exactly what He is doing and it is a good thing.

What are you struggling with today? What fears and doubts are you plaguing you today? Turn to the Lord give it to him, and trust him.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I may not understand what is fully going on in my life right now. I have to admit that I am scared and unsure what steps I should take. I place my trust in you, I place my strength in you. I give to you my situation and let go. Fill me with your peace and love this day.

In Jesus Name Amen.

Answering the Call

There I was serving food to the poor, hungry, and homeless at the Northwest Life Church in Elma, WA. I look at a boy whom I just served food too. I felt a nudge in my spirit as I saw the boy eating alone, I’m looking around to see if any of the youth students who I was with would sit with him and talk to him. Finally I was released to get food and sit down. I sat down next to the boy I whom I was looking at. His name is Devin, he is 10 years old. From our conversation he loved Taylor Swift and soccer so I had invited him to the soccer camp that my youth group was leading. He did not show that day. He did show up the next day with his older brother in tow. His brother heard the gospel that day. The next day was the day we were planning to share the gospel boldly. I saw Devin again at the Northwest Life Church with more of his siblings and his sister Chole whom clung to me. She also showed up for soccer camp as well. Well that evening as we invited people to pray Devin was one who prayed to receive Christ and boy you could tell just a light in him. The next day his sister Chole received Christ. What would have happened if I didn’t listen to the Holy Spirit invitation to go and sit next to Devin?

A part of God’s plan in our life is that He invites us in to do something along side of him. Yes it can be scary but yet worth it. Peter Lord said this “The worst thing you can do the quickest way to become insensitive is to ignore an impression. So you must commit yourself to listening to your Lord for the purpose of responding to what He says and you must not allow yourself to hear without responding.” This is very true. How many times have opportunities been missed because of fear, because you can’t trust that feeling?

When you take the risk of responding it is amazing to see what can happen! I had a friend who had worked for a Christian organization. She was given the assignment to check out how people communicate on social media and one of the sites that they wanted her to check out was EHarmony. She bulked and laugh at that suggestion. After praying about it she felt God saying yes. She actually met her husband on EHarmony! Now she is about to have her 2nd child. What would have happened if she said no to the invitation?

There is a fear that I’m wrong, or the job is too hard. Or maybe you question God like this am I really ready to handle this, to take this on, why me LORD. In Ephesians 2:10 it says: For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good work which God prepared in advance for us to do.  That you are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good work that God prepared you for in advance! Isn’t that amazing that God does not throw you to the wolves that he takes his time in preparing you. He will let you know what you need to do.

I think about Mary mother of Jesus right here. Gabriel came and told her what was about to happen giving her the invitation. Mary reply was I am the LORD servant your will. God could have just sprung it on her she would woke up pregnant and then he could have said that’s my child! No he prepared her for what she was about to become and do.

God loves us He doesn’t scare us much except when He ask us to do things outside of our comfort zone. Yet when you say yes doesn’t the feeling of fear goes away and you have a sound mind.

God is an invitational voice; He is not going to give you more than what you can handle. The invitation will come just in time when you are ready to do the work, the task, the love, the serving whatever it is. It will come in God’s time. God will invite you into a relationship that will lead to marriage. God will invite you to apply to a specific job that you don’t think you are qualified for. God will invite you to speak with a friend about His son Jesus. God will invite. The question is will you say yes.

The prophet Isaiah wrote; that he heard the voice of the LORD saying Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? Now that is a huge invitation. Yet Isaiah replied Here I am send me! He was bold and humbled to accept and answer the invitation that God sent.

What is God inviting you to do today? Is God calling you to say yes to a certain relationship? Is God calling out to you today to reach   out to a friend that you haven’t seen in a long time? Is God calling you to serve in an area that you are not familiar with? Whatever He is calling you today, you can respond with yes Lord I will do.

Nicoya, Costa Rica

For this last week I was in Nicoya, Costa Rica with my church high school student group. I was nervous because leading up to the trip we was not gelling as a team. The adults complained that they didn’t know what their role was and who was the leader exactly. Both students and adults were nervous because we didn’t know what to expect. This was a foregin land. This was something new, we was not going down to build houses or just work with the kids. No this time we were handing out bibles and sharing the gospel (take a breath here).  This was a new experience for us all.

Yet from day one leaving Portland to go to Nicoya God already started to work. The first amazing thing was that we started to gel as a team! Yes God got us together so quick you couldn’t even blink. It was like a family traveling together. Then as the days passed we grew closer and closer together, even bringing in the staff on the base into our fold. Bringing the staff into our fold was not a surprise because we are really are friendly and open at church so it was natural. We worked side by side together it was great.

Then we saw the Holy Spirit moving not just in our lives but around us as we was handing out a bible to each home in Caimaital, Costa Rica. Each day that we was handing out a bible we had a local with us. One of the locals her name is Ella she is actually the pastor’s wife. I haven’t seen somebody so in tuned to the Holy Spirit in so long. She knew which houses we needed to stay, which ones we needed to leave, and who we needed to pray over. If we didn’t do something she did it! For me it was like my teaching gift was on the express lane! I felt words coming out of me that could be only describe as “did I actually say that!” I learned that I needed to surrender myself to his leading. We plan and plan things in advance there only to then have the Holy Spirit change our course. How often here do we shut down the Holy Spirit because it doesn’t fit into our plans. There I saw the Holy Spirit moving and I pray and hope now at home to continue to follow his leading even when it is not in my plan.

Speaking of the Holy Spirit moving; Diego and Sal Silvia. If they did not follow the Holy Spirit guidance to move from San Jose to Guanacaste aka Nicoya there would not have been a YWAM base. Sal on the first day was saying how she is becoming more of a resource person for Domestic Violence but somewhat a counselor. She was saying that in Costa Rica 8 in 10 women are abused in some way, that even girls and boys are molested at a young age, even more that girls are becoming more sexually active at a young age. That the government is not doing anything about it at this time. Wow but this is how God is working on the solution, He is sending people there to go to fight and pray with these women and children. He already sent Sal and I believe He is sending more. For me it’s funny because in my former job I had access to materials, and then also we somewhat involved in a Christian Ministry that helped deal with the aftermath of Domestic Violence. I pray that one day I get to go back and help in this area.  

God did a lot of amazing things there. I grew closer to Him. I had hope something else special that I was praying for to happen, it didn’t but I have comfort that God is in control in that area.  That’s it isn’t, it’s not about what I want, my plans, it’s about God’s will and His plan. If He sees it at it fits He will change our plans, our mind. We need to be like Mary, “For I am the Lord’s servant do as you will.”

Please pray I want to go back at the end of this year to “visit”. I need to see God opening doors. 

The Heart Matters

Paul writes in Romans 10:9 and Ephesians 2:8 that it is by faith we believe in God. Actually in Romans 10:9 he writes that not only confesses with the mouth but believe in the heart. Wait! Let’s stop again its faith in the heart. When Jesus spoke about faith in Mark he said whoever believes in his heart this will happen…. So why is faith and heart connected?

I believe it’s because the heart does not see its inside us. Whereas our eyes see what is going on and thus doubt sets in and we don’t believe. Yet there is still a part that holds onto what we believe and that is the heart.

Here is another question, we believe that Jesus died on the cross, we confess Him into our lives. Yet we do not see or know for sure, but in our hearts we believe. What about when God reveal something to us we have a hard time believing that it is Him speaking (that’s another issue for another time).

Faith is believing in your heart that what God said, do, or will become. Our eyes deceives us so much and that’s why Jesus and Paul said don’t believe your eyes. I mean look at Paul walking on water! He was doing fine until he saw what He was doing! I wonder if he truly listened to his heart aka Jesus then would he have begun sink.

For the last week I was in Nicoya, Costa Rica. I was out my comfort zone. I am handing out bibles and speaking with people about my faith! My faith that they cannot see with their eyes, I can walk it and talk it but they are not around me! Yet it is through my words that will penetrate their hearts to “see” the unseen through me. I had no clue what they might be going through, I had no clue if my story will relate to their story,  all I know that through faith I had spread the gospel. If I only allowed my eyes to do the talking then the gospel would not be preached. I believe in my heart that the words I am that I had said reached them.

Walk by faith not by sight.