Are We Quiet Quitting Our Faith?

Quiet quitting refers to doing the minimum requirements of one’s job and putting in no more time, effort, or enthusiasm than is absolutely necessary. The employee doesn’t actually quit and still collects their salary.

I wonder if this is true as well when it comes to our faith. Do we put in just what is required to be called a Christian? Do we attend church and pray every now and then, yet consider ourselves true Christians?

I know I am different than many people because I read or study something about Christianity every day. I set aside at least one hour to watch a sermon, read the Bible, or research something I don’t understand about Christianity. Honestly, I could spend all day studying and still not scratch the surface of what I need to know.

I am surprised that 8 out of 10 people I ask the question, “How often do you read the Bible? The response is, “A few times a year,” or “Not at all.” I know the Bible can be difficult to understand, especially the King James version with all the “thees” and “thous.” I think people forget many versions of the Bible are easier to read. I have recommended many times that people start with a daily devotional that will give a Bible scripture and narrative of how to apply the Scripture to one’s life. It’s much easier and palatable to do one verse at a time. This is an example of the easiness of reading a devotional tied to a Bible verse.

Matthew 4:4 ESV But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

People often tell me, “I don’t have good reading comprehension, so I just can’t read and focus on what I am reading.” That’s fine; many videos are out there to help us visual learners. I first started out watching short sermons. I would pick a topic or book in the Bible, maybe James. I would look up sermons that were around 30 minutes in the book of James and watch one a day. I have journals I would take notes in. I am one of those people that can forget something quickly after learning it if I don’t write it down. I would watch a different pastor for 3-4 days speaking on the same passages in James. This simple practice helped me better understand the meaning and theology of the Bible. I would put a Bible chapter tab at the beginning of my notes, in this case, a tab that says James, so I could easily find my notes.

2 Timothy 3:15 ESV And how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Over the past four and a half years, I have compiled about ten journals with my notes in them. I love it because I teach many classes and have my own references.

I have another way of learning that help me learn verse by verse: watching Pastor Gary Hamrick of Cornerstone Chapel. He has put together a complete teaching library on the Cornerstone Chapel website that teaches each book of the Bible verse by verse. Go to http://www.cornerstonechapel.net and click on TEACHINGS.

Romans 10:17 ESV
So faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.

Something new I started this year was to have a faith partner. I bought two writing journals that were handcrafted in India and were offered through a fairtrade company. These journals were very unique, and there were carvings in the leather. They also have a long tie to wrap around to close the journal.

I gave one of the journals to my good friend, Tunya, who wanted to take this journey with me. She would write in her journal, and I would write in mine. We would trade the journals weekly and read the other person’s writing. The only stipulations were we had to do this for one full year and write about an experience or time in each day when we felt God’s presence. It could be a Bible verse we read and expanded our thoughts on it or possibly a random act of kindness we witnessed. This was a growth opportunity for each of us in our faith. We would be bearing our hearts and our relationship with God to another person. This will draw us together as friends and closer to God.

The last thing I personally do is every day, I try to expand my prayer life. For years I have set my alarm to wake me at 5:30 am just so I can lay in bed and pray. I always say, “Good morning, Father. Good morning, Jesus, my Lord and Savior. Good morning, Holy Spirit.” and begin my conversation and prayers. I always start my day in gratitude, thanking God for the opportunities He will present to me that day. Gratitude changes my prayers and my heart.

I often feel that I may be starting to “quiet quit” my faith. I may skip church. I may not pick up my Bible for a few days. I may speed through my prayers instead of breathing and reflecting on what I need to pray about. I don’t want to just do what I need to and just get by in my faith. I want to exude God’s love when others see me. I want people to say they want to know the blessing of having the Holy Spirit within them like I do.

If we all would make one extra effort to be a better Christian, I feel the world would be a much better place. Are you “quiet quitting” on God? I pray not. My love and gratitude-LoLo

I Am Digging A Well

I recently heard the phrase “digging a well.” The person speaking said they would dig a well in the New Year. I thought this meant an actual well for the purpose of irrigation until I thought deeper.

A well, in most instances, is dug to provide a water source for a community. The process includes digging deep into the ground until a water source appears. Water is necessary for survival, and most of us have access to it simply by turning on our faucets. I learned this in fourth grade. I am learning today the importance of digging a well in our life. Jesus is the Living Water, and He is a freely available source to us. I changed my outlook on digging a well.

In the Bible, we read many stories of people being at a well, digging a well, and the significance of a well. The first story I think of is with Hagar. If you don’t know the story of Hagar, she was an Egyptian maidservant of Abraham and Sarah. Sarah was barren, so she took Hagar to Abraham to conceive a child. This was very much against God’s Will. Hagar conceived a son and soon treated Sarah very poorly and unkindly. Sarah then began mistreating and abusing Hagar, so Hagar fled to the wilderness.

In the wilderness, Hagar encountered God at a well. The angel of the LORD appeared to her by a spring (well) and instructed her to “Return to your mistress and submit to her.”

Genesis 16:9 The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.”

The conversation between God and Hagar took place at a place of water. The well, figuratively, is a place where God will draw close to you and heal your pain. Hagar had no right to her baby or her life as a maidservant, yet God spoke to her and comforted her in her suffering. God is always with us, He is an untapped source of grace. The well in the story is an actual place, yet in our lives, it is in our hearts. It’s knowing that God sees us when we suffer.

Genesis 16:13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

I also think of the Samaritan woman at the well. This story tells of a woman that had been married multiple times and lived a life of shame. She went to the well at the hottest point of the day because she was an outcast. It would have been the heat of the day, and most people would have rested during that time. Most women would come early in the morning or late in the evening to collect water in groups. She went when she would have to see no one, yet Jesus was at the well on one particular day.

Jesus asks the woman for a drink of water, and she questions why he would talk to her? She was a woman that was looked down on as having multiple marriages and unrepented sins. She was also a Samaritan, and He was a Jew. The hatred between Jews and Samaritans was fierce. She didn’t understand.

That day, Jesus was at the well to show her He is the Living Water.

John 4:10-14 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as also did his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

This well of Living Water never runs dry. Jesus replenishes us every time we become parched. The well is a promise of God’s Love for us.

A well in the Bible represents supply. God is Our Provider, His supply never ends. Just like when you look down the depth of a well, you only see the top of the water. You have no idea how much water there is or if other sources of water are connected to it. It’s unknown. God as Our Provider is known and faithful. This well is always flourishing, in the past, today, and in the future.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

A well that has been used before, even when it has been filled up, can be accessed again. Deep underground, a supply of water continues to exist. This is the same as God. You may have dried up in your faith, but you can be dug up again and replenished anew. He is the Healer, the Redeemer, the Advocate, and so much more.

2 Chronicles 15:4 But in their distress, they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and they sought Him, and He let them find Him.

Allow God to be your well. Dig your well in 2023 if your well has run dry. Trust Him in all things, allow Him to quench your thirsts, and pour the Living Water over you. I pray for each of you and offer you my gratitude for reading my blog-LoLo

My Prayer for 2023 and You

Heavenly Father,

I come to you in gratitude for all You have done for me. I give thanks and praise for my trials and blessings in 2022. As I prayerfully come to You, I have many requests.

First, I would like to pray in advance for all the people that will be diagnosed with a new illness this year. My family has been through multiple cancer diagnoses for the past six years. Father, I know these unexpected medical trials puts such stress and worry on families. I pray, Father, for Your peace and strength in all these families. May they feel Your presence and comfort on every telemedicine call, office visit, lab blood draw, and imaging or scan, and You comfort my family.

Next, Father, I would like to pray for all who may see relationships fall apart. I hope they will always turn to You for the light that You provide in dark times. Just as I walked through my divorce constantly praying to You for answers, I pray these people also do the same. I ask, Father, that You strengthen their hearts for the difficult conversations with children on separation, their feelings of failure and inadequacy, and when they sit in the mediation rooms.

Father, many struggle with mental unwellness. For those with anxiety, depression, bipolar illness, panic attacks, ADHD, or any other struggle with their mind, I ask for balance and peace. These conditions are each an illness that works daily against the mind. My prayer for these struggling is healing and contentment. As I struggled, Lord, with severe anxiety, I called Your name, and you calmed my mind. Please offer this calmness to them as well.

I also know God, that many will lose a loved one this upcoming year, maybe expected, maybe not. Still grieving the loss of my own father, I know the pain death will bring. May I pray that these people have a strong relationship with You and faith in You to have peace in a difficult walk? I also pray, Father, that they know and understand the realm of Heaven and the beauty You have promised us in eternal life. May they know Your promise of reuniting us with our loved ones and the gift of salvation. I know my father is with You, waiting for my arrival one day, which offers me the HOPE I need to stay here on this earth.

Father, there are people I know personally struggling with secrets they have hidden and now have come to light in society. Secrets of hidden homosexuality, adultery, lying and cheating, coveting improper images and pornography, some that have denounced You and walked away. I pray that these people will repent and return to You. May they see the forgiveness You offer and recognize that they can and will be forgiven when they ask You. Shame is a worldly emotion Father that only You can wipe away and make white again. May their temptation and downfall be their revival and testimony.

My final prayer is for myself. I feel You holding me tight right now, pulling me into You. I see a deeper relationship with You and intense service in Your name in 2023. I pray, Father, that I hear your words in my heart and mind to fulfill every opportunity You have planned for me. May I not feel fear, but only the call to be Your servant. I love You, Father, and in Jesus’ holy and precious name, I offer this prayer. Amen

God says, “Girl, shut your mouth!”

I am a very opinionated person. I have always been this way. My opinions really were judgment calls. In fact, the dictionary defines an opinion as a belief or conclusion held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof. I see that definition of opinion as being a very weak view. I think of opinionated as extremely strong. I guess the definition is true; people cling to their opinions, whether substantiated or not.

I do a lot of research before I teach a class. I dig deep to know what I am teaching is a fact, not an opinion; if someone questions my subject, I can substantiate it. I never want to be questioned and have egg on my face. How, you may ask, does this have anything to do with God telling me to shut my mouth? Let me explain.

We are coming to the end of 2022, and many of us are reflecting on what changes we want to make in the New Year. I feel God telling me to quiet myself. You may think God always tells us to be silent and wait, but that’s not what I feel. I feel he really wants me to shut up for a bit. God is not that rough on me, but I need to consider His urging as abrupt. I need to zip it for a bit.

If you are a regular reader of my blog or watch my Youtube channel, you know I am very passionate about my love for God. My faith sometimes speaks freely without a filter. This faith ignites in me, especially when someone is misquoting the Bible. Let me give you some examples.

One day I was sitting with a group of people, and we began talking about Jesus. A man at the table said, “Jesus was just a man; don’t you think he had girlfriends and urges like I do?”. My head snapped around to see who could ask such a question. Who could be so stupid, I thought, then I breathed. “Jesus is God incarnate, He would never have girlfriends or your urges. When, and if He did have urges, He would resist temptation.”, I responded. How could this guy not know this? “Incarnate? What is that?”, he asked. I then realized that I was judging someone for what they didn’t know instead of educating him on Jesus. Girl, this would have been a good time to shut your mouth.

James 1:19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

I’ll give you another example. I was talking to a pastor at a local church that I had heard say the Bible is open for interpretation and is only a guide on how to live life. He felt it was inspired by God, but since it was recorded by man, there was room for much error. Ugh, my heart sank. I believe in the Bible 110%, whether the stories of the Old Testament are allegorical or true happenings. I trust the words and lessons revealed in those stories. I became more argumentative since I felt he should represent God’s Word correctly. Again, I’m sure God was shaking His head and thinking, “Girl, shut your mouth!”.

Proverbs 13:3 Those who guard their lips preserve their lives,
    but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.

When God strongly urges me to “shut” my mouth, He says to extend grace. I fail at giving grace when I become forceful or loud regarding my faith. These are opportunities to show who God is by listening and being silent. I feel Him gently saying, “Teach, don’t correct with frustration.” His gentleness is what I first felt when I was pulled to Him, and I should practice this gentleness. “Be humble, for you did not know until you studied.” Impactful.

As of last week, I have begun “shutting” my mouth when I would normally jump to my feet to let someone know they were wrong. I feel the Holy Spirit say over and over in my heart, “Grace, girl, grace.”. It calms me, and I recognize that it is more impactful to be silent after someone’s comment than to be right.

May God bless you and bless you each and every day. LoLo

Psalm 141:3 Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
    keep watch over the door of my lips.

God, why did you choose me?

Christmas is fast approaching, and as it does, I am reflecting on Mary and Joseph. I think about Mary being a young girl with an angel appearing and totally uprooting her life. Joseph was a man that thought everything was fine. He was betrothed to someone he loved, and an angel would appear to him too. They were chosen. Chosen in a way they never expected. I feel that way too.

Almost five years ago, I sat at the desk I am sitting at now, pecking at my keyboard and blogging for the first time. I am no wordsmith, nor did I know how to blog, but God chose me that day to start this ministry. I felt the conviction to write that first blog and trusted He would handle who would be the readers. I didn’t know what would become of it, but on March 12, 2018, I wrote that blog and sent it to the world.

I love to blog, even though my grammar is not very good. I am organic in my writing as it comes straight from my heart. I write anything that is on my mind and reveal everything. Though I love writing, God has placed emphasis in my ministry this Christmas on serving others. In the last 10 days, I have been all over our community serving others in HUGE ways that only God can facilitate.

Christmas 2020 was truly a turning point in my life. I had been asked to help out a victim of a very violent crime. I kept the letter I wrote her to encourage her. Though I don’t remember the specifics of her case, I remember God placing me in her path. I removed her name for her privacy. This is the letter.

Dear (Deleted),

I feel so blessed that (Deleted) and I are friends and have this opportunity to show you how special you are.

I had to leave an exceedingly difficult marriage with my small daughter in tow.  My first husband abused alcohol and methamphetamine.  He quit working, never came home, and had several girlfriends.  I did not know God or Jesus then, so I struggled to figure everything out on my own.  I was able to free myself and my daughter, Lexie, from this horrible marriage, and together, she and I accepted Jesus as our Savior and was baptized and added God to our daily lives.  Fast forward to 2 ½ years ago when God stopped my day and placed my ministry in my heart.  A ministry to anchor people to God’s love by holding a gratitude heart and practicing gratitude every day.

I want you to know that before coming to Christ, I was buried in the world’s ways.  I spent every penny I made on material things.  I was not full (I thought) without showing wealth to others.  I was over $41,000 in debt on my credit cards, and I was drowning in debt.  A debt I hid from my current husband.  One day God laid it on my heart that I had to confess my sin of overspending to God Himself and to my husband.  I cried and prayed all day, and when my husband came home, I confessed my sin of overspending.  I expected him to leave me but instead, He offered me grace and said we would pay off the debt together and never speak of it again.  Then, I realized that grace was much more important than what I bought.

I want you to know that even though I don’t know you except that you are a single mom and your first name is (DELETED), I know you are beautiful and a child of God.  He specifically made you and loves you unconditionally.  He wants you to turn to Him in good times and in bad times for the guidance you seek.  I want you to know that God always stays with us through every walk and season and brings us out better if we can be patient and grateful for our blessings.  Walk through each season growing closer to God and trusting in your faith in Jesus.

The gifts and money you are receiving are from my friends and family.  We want you to know that even though we are strangers, we care about you and your children.  I know someday you will be doing the same for another single mom.  I know this because someone did this for me when I only had $37 to provide Christmas for Lexie.  Someone came forward and surprised me with kindness.  I want to bless you, too, with God’s love and human kindness.

I am praying daily for you.  I carry a small blue heart with your name, and I pray for you often.  I put a small blue heart in this envelope with my name on it so you can carry it and remember I am praying for you.

Please keep this Bible verse in your heart: Psalm 46:5 “God is within her; she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.”

    My love and gratitude to you, LoLo Christmas 2020

This simple, heartfelt letter and gifts transformed my heart and led me to follow God’s plan. This Christmas, just 2 years later, there were no anonymous letters to write but truly to be in the trenches because there was work to be done.

Just 10 days ago, I stood in our county courthouse with families that lost a loved one to violent crimes. Everyone in the room was in pain and grieving. I handed out tiny peace angels to each family member. I approached each family member gently and said to each of them, “I am so sorry to meet you here for this reason, but I want to gift you this peace angel. They are hand carved in Kenya, and I pray that you find peace when you hold it.” I gifted 65 that day. The one thing I noticed about each person receiving the peace angel was a small smile of HOPE in each of them.

                                                        

           

This emotional day was followed by gifting Christmas Blessings to fifteen families that were victims of violent crime in our community or had no HOPE of having a Christmas for their family this year. I reached out to my donors in the community with a very long list of items I needed to fulfill Christmas Blessings. It was a matter of a few days and my house was filling up with gifts donated by our community for these families. My husband joked that if I did this again next year, I would have to get a storage unit. There were bikes, clothes, games, toys, perfume, books, art supplies, shoes, coats, and so much more. I asked for laundry baskets filled with cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, tampons, laundry soap, dryer sheets, bars of soap, and other miscellaneous items. The families would be relieved of buying essential items for a few months with these baskets. Each family received gift cards for groceries and gasoline. I prayed over each bag of gifts for the families receiving them for a new start in the New Year.

Finally, two days ago, I was honored to be at an event to celebrate Christmas with the homeless. I had no idea how big this event would be, but when I looked at the temperature that morning, I knew it would be freezing cold. The temperature was 31 degrees here in Texas. I began layering on my clothing so I could keep warm. It would have been easy to call and say I couldn’t make it and stay warm, but I knew our homeless friends couldn’t do that.

When I arrived at the event, the wind blew, and I tried moving around to stay warm. As guests started arriving many were bundled in blankets to keep warm. One of the partner sponsors for the event brought a hot chocolate bar from a company called Lattes on Location. This was brilliant and extremely popular with our homeless friends. She also coordinated food from Olive Garden, which was very popular and filling. I always pick up the dirty dishes and sit with our homeless community. I want to hear their stories that I find are not the typical stories of addiction but stories of a twist of fate. Stories include a home that burned down without insurance, a divorce that pushed a mom and kids out of the family home, and someone being scammed out of their life savings. They are people just like you and me trying to bridge the gap.

The first two hours of the event went by very fast. I noticed that the wind had stopped blowing, the sun was shining brightly, and the temperature was now up to 50 degrees. It was such a beautiful day. Here are a few pictures.

I am humbled by the work God puts in my path and the people that help me do this work. Although I have no idea why he chose me, I am honored He did. I pray this holiday season, you feel God’s love and blessings. My gratitude to you-LoLo