Bag of Bagels

I’m going to be honest. I have been super excited about a bag of bagels. First off, I craved them and they certainly have hit the spot. Blueberry ones to be exact. And let’s face it, we all know what’s it like to crave something and be disappointed once we get it.

Secondly, I had 7 bagels in a bag that was only supposed to have 6. Yeah, I know. It’s kind of like… cool..? Even I laugh at myself when I think of how excited I have been about it. But I can’t help but see an underlying message somewhere in it all.

I told my cousin the Lord really is blessing me because I had that extra bagel. And he just looked at me and said, “Really, Chanel?” And instead of thinking it was ridiculous, I said, “Actually, yeah. Because if I wanted a 7th bagel I would have had to buy another bag for that one extra (which, if I’m being really honest I can’t afford to do anyway).”

The Bible says in everything give thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:18). And in my lesson of joy, I think God was saying you can be happy about an extra bagel. Because if you can be that excited about something so simple then wait until you can see what I can really do.

Could I be reading too far into this? Yes. But I most certainly would rather be joyful in small things than joyless altogether. God, send healing, send the perfect job, send financial blessings, but even if you just send an extra bagel, I’m good with that too.

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It Can All Be So Simple

Why do we complicate what He made simple? That question has been plaguing me lately. Why are there so many questions about what’s right and wrong when Jesus came and simply told us right from wrong?

Is there any question why people don’t come to the church? We have made a simple message extremely complex. We’ve created gray areas where there is only black and white. Heaven or Hell. Yes or no.

Jesus had some simple messages. Yes, I believe that as you grow in Him you are able to see how in depth those messages really are, but for the most part, simplicity was key. So I wonder, why do we make worship so complicated? Why do we make scripture complicated? Isn’t there a reason Paul said he made his message simple, and the Holy Spirit did the rest?

1 Corinthians 2:4-5

And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.

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Why Marriage?

Why get married? That’s been the question. If you can have a support system and companionship without sexual immorality, why get married?

To me, it’s obvious that God created marriage for more than just the right to have sex. In fact, I believe that if He didn’t create marriage for more than that, we wouldn’t see so many failed marriages. Satan attacks marriages and families because they are the most powerful foundational relationships God created between human beings.

But, in response to the original question, I have a question. What if we aren’t living up to our potential to know why God has given some of us a spouse? The Bible says that a wife of noble character will help her husband (Proverbs 31:12, NLT). But, what if he’s not living up to his full potential to know why he needs the help a virtuous wife? Perhaps that’s the real question we need to ask.

I don’t believe that people have to get married, but I do believe that there is a purpose behind marriage. Married couples are supposed to build one another up in their walk with God. And if spouses aren’t living up to their full potential, then it’s easy to wonder what the purpose of your marriage is. When you’re not in a situation or position where you need the support that only a marital spouse can provide, it’s easy to believe that any support would do.

If God blesses you with marriage, great. If He blesses you with singleness, just as good (1 Corinthians 7:7).  Whatever He blesses you with, just know that if you’re not operating out of your full God-given potential, it can easily seem like a curse.

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Change in Relationships Bible Study

Embracing Changes for Good in Relationships: T.I.C.S.

Relationships are important. Relationships are good (Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). And even though they are important and good, there are still times when we don’t want to embrace the new things that come with them. Is it fear? Do we not want to change? Is it the fear of change? Tonight, we will discuss a few components that have to take place in true relationships.

  1. Trust – “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”—Stephen Covey
  • Why is it hard to trust?
  • Trust equals vulnerability, we don’t like to be vulnerable.
  • Read Proverbs 3:5-6: If your trust is in the Lord, He will give you the ability to wisely trust others.
  1. Identity – “The value of identity of course is that so often with it comes purpose.”—Richard Grant
  • We don’t like to change who we are, no matter how much we need to, but why?
  • Galatians 3:26; Romans 8:14-16 – I am a child of God.
  • Your most important part of your identity never changes.
  • You don’t know who you are until you know Whose you are. —Ronnie Williams
  1. Compromise – “Let no one think that flexibility and a predisposition to compromise is a sign of weakness or a sell-out.”—Paul Kagame
  • Why not compromise?
  • I have to give of myself and trust you will do the same (thus leaving me vulnerable) …
  • Read Philippians 2:3-4: Show others that they matter.

Note: John 14:15: Compromise anywhere you can, but certainly not your beliefs.

  1. Sacrifice – “The most sublime act is to set another before you.” —William Blake
  • We don’t like or want to give up anything (especially if we don’t like to compromise).
  • Read John 15:13 – If giving up my life is great love, why can’t I give up my time, money, pride, etc.?

How can we cope with change?

Reprogram from society’s thinking: Have to v. Get to Mindset

  • We get to grow in these areas.

Question of the Day: If we struggle with these changes, and we are meant to be agents of change what are the steps that we are taking to build relationships with those in our communities who will struggle with the same things?

Beauty and the Beast – The transition of a flourishing relationship when one learns to trust, compromise, and sacrifice to become a better person.

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The Void

God’s Word belongs in our heart. Most people say that they have a void that needs to be filled. That void usually is something they feel in their heart or life. The Bible says God’s Word will not return back void (Isaiah 55:11).

Why would we not believe that a void in our life is not meant to be filled with the one thing that never returns void and is meant to do just that? To fill voids.

Every answer is right there. In God’s Word we have our answers, our needs, and our purpose. If we would only look at it and live it, that void would be filled.

I’ve struggled these past couple of months. And every day I felt God saying spend more time with me. Once I did, it was as if His words were even more obvious and applicable to my life than they already are. It’s like everything I thought I was longing for was a lie, because the real longing was for Him.

It’s amazing how much I was asking God and how much He was taking away in a sense, to fill it with himself and opportunities to grow. It’s funny, we feel like God has left us when some things are removed from our lives, when really He’s making more room for Himself.

The void will always be too big for that job, or man, or paycheck, etc. when only God is meant to fill it.

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Sharing is Caring

What makes being in a relationship hard? I think an underlying problem is having to share. I’ve been trying to figure out what makes it so hard to wrap my brain around marriage. The obvious is true, simply put, it’s a HUGE change. But when I sat and thought about it, God boiled it down to even simpler terms.

We have never truly learned how to share. And sharing has never seemed quite as fun as having it all for yourself. Sharing is scary. We have to trust someone with our stuff! We have to believe they will take care of it or that they’ll appreciate our sacrifice in offering it.

And since we never really learned to share, it’s hard to wrap our mind around sharing in marriage. Sharing money? Sharing my space? Sharing my feelings? Sharing is too vulnerable and we would rather voluntarily suffer than have to share.

But what about the other end of the spectrum? When we move from “I have to” to “I get to” it doesn’t seem so bad. And I can’t help but believe that we need to change our perspective about love, things, and money. Media paints a pretty ugly picture of marriage. It’s all about what you have to do. While that is a part of marriage it’s not all of marriage.

The movie “What Love Is,” explains this idea so great. A single friend is trying to convince his married buddy about how “whipped” he is in marriage. The married friend goes on to say it’s all about perspective. “You see it as I have to pick up my wife from the airport. I see it as I get to pick up my wife from the airport.”

I understand marriage will certainly not always be rainbows and roses. But I pray to understand it won’t be all hailstorms and thorns either. It’s the second biggest decision you can make (salvation being the first). It’s so big because it’s so good. And it will be a lot of work, but who wouldn’t want to work hard at something that’s worth it?

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