Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Being Mostly Good

Its been one month today since I had my little girl.  I knew that having a new baby and finding a new normal would take up a lot of my time and summer for that matter.  What I didn't expect or prepare for was how rebellious I would and could become in just 4 weeks.

I quickly learned at the beginning of this refining that I needed to lay down ground rules for myself.  I am a very disciplined person in life so I knew that if I didn't have certain standards in what I allow in my brain and heart then I would fail this whole process.

I call things I shouldn't be watching, seeing, reading, doing, and etc "red flags".  Red flags because I just picture a big stop sign or really big flapping flag in my face saying "NO!'' ''STOP!''

Here are just a few ground rules I have established this last year. (I say shows but I also mean movies, books, and anything with this as the entertainment)

1. Shows with extramarital affairs as the backbone

2. Shows with nudity and lots of graphic sex in them

3. Shows that promote premarital sex and teen shows that go out of their way to show teens having sex together and all that jazz.

4.  Shows that promote any dangerous sexualized thinking. (Fifty Shades of Grey for example)

5. Shows with actors that I find really good looking. (like for example I avoid all movies with Zac Efron in them because I crush way too hard on him)

6. Not watching trailers that are red flag movies/shows.

So that's just some of them. This all started with my struggles with Fifty Shades of Grey so this last year being that the movie came out and it seemed to be everywhere I made guide lines to avoid commercials while the trailer showed, avoided movie theaters entirely, and avoiding clicking anything about it online.

So with these guide lines or personal refinement rules I really stuck to them. I was a good girl. A good Christian as some would describe. I fleed from so much sexual sin.

But. Then. Summer. Happened.

And my bible study was done till September.

And I just had a baby and needed something to watch/read/enterain me while she nursed at night (or day even when Jim was idol).

And I was so tired physically and mentally (from again learning my new normal with two kids)that I deserved some flexibility.

And I had been so good for 12 months and summer is all about a break right?

And I was WAS NOT watching 602 shows (OK not really that much but close lol) because of this refining process why can't I watch one or read one book this summer that maybe wasn't in my guide lines?

Damn you dumb guide lines!!!!!! (sorry for the curse word, felt needed to prove my frustration)


Oh sweet summer time.

I love summer time. But what is it about summer that makes me want to be extra rebellious and free?

As a teen it was finding a guy to have a fling with or 'summer love'.

In college it was having the break from school and staying out super late and doing things that I shouldn't be doing.

Before kids as a young adult it was having girls nights and complaining about our boyfriends/new husbands/work and drinking margs at the local Mexican restaurant.

With kids and married it has been coveting freedom or that precious alone time.  Both are not bad in context but can be quite ruthless if your not on guard as a Christian.

So this summer I had a baby the first of June and pretty much chalked up my summer as being all about my new baby, balancing my two year old, and finding date nights with my hubby. I didnt expect myself to rebel against this process.

Am I rebelling you say against my guidelines and this process?

Yes. kindof. I think?

Thats my answer for you.

Ok. Yes. I am.

I guess.

See even now I'm being rebellious.

So I was not going to write this till I gave up my rebellion. Whats my rebellion you say?

No its not an affair.
No its not me reading the last Fifty Shades of Grey.
No its not me texting someone I should not.
No its not me lusting after a certain movie I can't see.

No its something else. Its a tv show.

And I'm still watching it. Yes you see I wasn't going to write this blog till I gave it up and then tell you how I learned to be obedient and all the blessings that came from it.

No I'm writing now just because I'm an honest person I like to think and I want you to know that I am being rebellious and not listening mostly.


That word. Mostly is where I'm at this summer.

I'm mostly being good this summer. 

Here is the definition of Mostly: In large part; mainly or chiefly; usually; as a rule

So I am mostly good in this process. I am only watching one show that I consider a red flag. Its has sex in it. Not an affair but the lady has two different husbands at different times but its complicated. It has nudity in it major (but its not the kind that bothers me per say) and it really has a hot hot guy as the main character that I adore.

that paragraph ^^^ right up there. RED FLAGS. RED FLAGS. RED FLAGS. NO NO NO. STOP STOP STOP.

But I have not. I keep saying to Jesus:

I'm being mostly good.

I have given up so much already.

The show doesnt really bother me usually.

It helps me stay awake during night feedings.

Keeps me going on boring stay at home mommy days.

I could go on and on with my bargains with Jesus and my mostly mentality.

You see summer brings out this rebellion in me to do what I want to. and mostly I want to watch this show. So I am.

I am surely missing so many blessings by not giving it up.  But I'm rebellious.

This blog post will be rough to read for those who think I'm perfect. But I'm not.

I know many now will be praying I can stop watching this show. And your prayers are much needed. Because me, I'm not praying I stop. Because Jesus tends to always answer my prayers and I really want to finish this show.

Gosh this is rough to write because I sound so rebellious.

But I felt the call to share in my rebellion with you. 

I'm struggling to keep with my guidelines and stay near Jesus this summer.

I know I cannot be alone as summer brings more idol time for many and alone time and personal time can be the worst for us adults.

I don't know how to end this blog today because usually my blogs end with good notes and blessings I have received but being I'm rebellious I have none to share.

So I'll share this.

Create in me a pure heart O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

I so need people to be praying that verse for me.


Rebellious Summer heart

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Just Because You Can, Doesn't Mean You Should.

11 months since Jesus took over my heart and started this painful/amazing refining process.

11 months and this last week I was ready to take gasoline and a match to it. Watch it burn and do what I want. DO WHAT I WANT.

Yes this last week I was full of rebellion. Why you ask?

Satan. and timing.

Satan is all about timing and he always is looking waiting for those moments. Those moments?

My bible study that runs from September to May ended and I had 7 days of no bible study. Well actually I have the solid summer of not having that bible study. It took 7 days for me to want to just run back and do WHAT I WANTED.


Its always 7 days it seems. Lots can happen in a week. So last week the week I was almost willing to take that can of gasoline and get a match and burn this process to was the week 'Fifty Shades of Grey' came out on dvd.

Never did I think it would affect me that the dvd release would bother me.

Satan was smarter though.

He saw me taking my 7 days and enjoying no bible study, not being in the word and was beyond thrilled to be there tempting me. "yes I have her right where I want her, lets let her see the posters everywhere and see the many dvds just laying beautifully on the shelves of the grocery store". "lets let her have lots of time while her kid naps and get her mind on how cute that actor is and how good that trailer is, its just the trailer, how could it really hurt". These are just some of what I'm sure he was thinking when he had his mind on me.

Yes you see Satan is Jesus' enemy. Its no joke. They are literally good vs. evil. They are the bed rock of every movie and book with the good vs. evil story complex. That is where the good vs. evil all came from. All of it. Satan hates HATES Jesus. He wants to be Him, to have His power. He can't though and I won't go into detail how Satan lost his role in heaven and all that goes with it. I'll just tell you he is on this earth and his purpose is to make this earth his and the people on it his followers.

Now if your a christian and you follow Jesus, well he doesn't like it. He hates it.

Making this personal just because I feel more comfortable making it personal instead of sounding like a preacher up on the stage, he wants to ruin me. This whole refining isn't what he wants for me.

He wants me to live in this world. The very world he was released in. He wants me to lust, have affairs, cheat, watch that movie, read that book, gossip, kill, hate, you name it.

The Bible describes Satan like this:

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  1 Peter 5:8

Devourto consume destructively, recklessly, or wantonly. 

He wants to destruct me. To make my mind reckless full of the world. 

11 months ago he was doing a great job of it. 

I was reading the 3rd book of the 50 Shade trilogy.   But Jesus had enough. He wasn't going to let me go down the worldly path anymore.  (if you are new to my blog please read the very first blog post because its about 50 Shades and how Jesus took over.)

Now 11 months later and I feel like a whole new person. Yes a whole new one. I cannot even dictate or describe how much Jesus has changed me. My heart, my brain, my being, my soul, my body, my walk is ALL DIFFERENT because I STOPPED DOING WHATEVER I WANTED. 

Sounds like a prison sentence you say? Who wants to not do what they want?

The world tells you to follow your heart. 
Do what you love.
Be who you want to be.
Do what makes you happy.
 on and on I could go.

The world is ruled by Satan. Whether your a believer or not. Doesn't matter what you believe. He is completely in this world. Don't forget that. 

Love this verse:

He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is NO truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the FATHER OF LIES. John 8:44

 Father of lies. Yes that means he started the whole lying process.

He lied to me for years and years. Telling me that shows and books and stuff with sex in it, the sleeping with Kyle before marriage was ok. 

It was okay to view that on HBO, that nudity. 
It was okay to read that book about a guy beating that girl and thinking its love.
Its okay to buy that dvd and view it several times. 

Do what you love right?

Satan has gotten away with so many lies with me. Just this last week he almost had me again. 

"get that dvd and watch it, its really not going to change you or the process"

"Its okay as a christian to watch that movie because you still love Jesus and your hubby"

"its okay to take breaks and DO WHAT YOU WANT, life is short"

Yes those thoughts intoxicated me when I was staring state at a dvd stand of 50 Shades. 

I didn't get the dvd. I didn't see it.    But again I almost did. 

I said it before if I would watch that movie or finish the 3rd book ( again read very first blog post to understand) I would be taking gasoline and a match to this process.

Why didn't I just burn it you say?


I really love Him. 

Just typing that "I really love Him" makes me cry.  

I love Him. 

He is worth all the sacrifices. He is worthy of my complete obedience. I so wish everyone could feel this love.

My complete obedience is fleeing from that dvd and not watching it or finishing book 3 this summer. Next time I go into that grocery store and see that dvd stand (I'm sure it will be there next week to) I'm going to quote scripture outloud. I don't care if people think I'm nuts. 

Jesus gave me the best scripture today that I plan on meditating this whole summer long.

Psalm 119 (The Message version)

Its super long so I'll just share snip its of it. Please take some time to read it this summer! And please read this below its truly the best stuff I've ever read in The Bible:

 You’re blessed when you follow his directions,
    doing your best to find him.
That’s right—you don’t go off on your own;
    you walk straight along the road he set.
You, God, prescribed the right way to live;
    now you expect us to live it.

 I’m single-minded in pursuit of you;
    don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.
I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart
    so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.

 My soul is starved and hungry, ravenous!—
    insatiable for your nourishing commands.
And those who think they know so much,
    ignoring everything you tell them—let them have it!

 Don’t ever deprive me of truth, not ever—
    your commandments are what I depend on.
Oh, I’ll guard with my life what you’ve revealed to me,
    guard it now, guard it ever;
And I’ll stride freely through wide open spaces
    as I look for your truth and your wisdom.

 Train me in good common sense;
    I’m thoroughly committed to living your way.
Before I learned to answer you, I wandered all over the place,
    but now I’m in step with your Word.
You are good, and the source of good;

 What you say goes, God,
    and stays, as permanent as the heavens.
Your truth never goes out of fashion;
    it’s as up-to-date as the earth when the sun comes up.

 Save me! I’m all yours.

Thank you Jesus for gifting me Psalm 119. I hope to have it on my heart all summer. 

Lastly I leave you this verse I also got from Jesus today. 

Its from Job 31:1-4 
But I will just share the last sentence:

Isn't God looking, observing how I live? Doesn't He mark every step I take?

If you love Jesus remember everything you think, view, read, do affects your relationship with Him. 

This summer be on guard against that lion that wants nothing but to ruin your summer!

Because of Christ.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Refinement Process: A little bit on Simon

Last year in the bible study I attend (Bible Study Fellowship) we studied Matthew and the story of Jesus, His birth, His life as a human, and His death.

I had never really studied deeply Jesus and His life. I was raised in a wonderful Christian home and new all about Jesus and His ministry and all He meant to this world. Or at least I thought I did.

Studying Matthew (with Mark, Luke, and John) I fell in love with Jesus. I have mentioned that before in one of my blogs that I fell for Him. Not in the romantic way but in my 'He saved me' way.  It was so indepth and just breaking down what He did on this earth while he was on it was awe inspiring.

I could go on and on about how awesome Jesus is, and its the perfect day to do that. Its Easter Sunday.  For those that believe in Jesus, this is the day we recognize as His resurrection day. The day he raised from the dead and changed everything. So yes its a good day for telling about Jesus.

But I'm going to talk about a guy named Simon.

Jesus got arrested-was questioned-stood trail for His life-was mocked and screamed at-beat to a bloody pulp-beaten some more-and was handed over by the people to be nailed to a cross and die.

So with that little snip it of info there was a man named Simon (from a place called Cyrene) was in the area when Christ was on His way to the cross. He was in the area because he was on a pilgrimage for the passover to Jerusalem like many Jews doing that at this time. He know he was Jewish and he had two sons named Alexander and Rufus (Mark 15:21 tells this).  So he probably knows there is this man that is causing lots of controversy and is going to die because he claims to be Christ, Messiah. Which if your Jewish (Jesus is Jewish) is blasphemy.  He may not have noticed or known anything though also. He could have just been out of the loop on what was going on in the city. Who knows.

But regardless what he knew he played a part in getting Jesus to that cross to be hung.

So he's walking or in a crowd, again does not say in the bible, and then all of a sudden here comes this man with these soldiers down the street. This man is bloody, and dragging a cross to his death.  This man could not carry his cross because he was so weak and beaten. And those crosses were heavy. So these soldiers just grab a guy from the side of the street and make him carry this cross for this man.

The guy chosen was Simon. The man was Jesus.

Simon before this event didn't have any regard for Jesus, He may not have even known about him. He probably didn't.  So being forced by soldiers to carry this heavy cross for this convicted felon was probably not high on his list of things to do.

But when a Roman solder tells you to do something, and your Jewish, you do it, Jews weren't highly regarded by Romans.  So Simon picks up this cross, drags it and I picture he probably walked in front of this man named Jesus as he was walking to the place where the crucifying happens.

Simon knew how gruesome these death sentences were. Crucifying was a very common practice among the Romans. So Simon knew this guy he was carrying this cross for was in for it.  I'm sure it was awkward for him. Awkward in the physical sense. He had this man slowly dragging behind him who was so beaten he was barely recognizable. and he was carrying this awkward big piece of wood for some distance. It was awkward in the mental sense to. I like to think he thought 'really?! I have the worse luck!' in regard for having to do this.  Who wants to be apart of a death sentence. I mean if I had to even witness a lethal injection I would be so faint and sad. Even if I knew the person getting the ax and knew he deserved it, man seeing death and gruesomeness isn't easy.

So with all that Simon carries that cross to the sight and drops that big piece of awkward wood and we don't know if he stays for the death or not.

So in Romans chapter 16 verse 13 Simon's son Rufus is described. He is described as being chosen for the Lord. His mother is mentioned to as 'being a mother to me'. Paul who wrote this scripture is stating that Rufus is apart of the early church and his mom was nice and helped him while he was in the area.

So that tells us that Rufus, son of this cross carrying Simon, believes in Jesus. So does his mom. They helped Paul who followed Jesus.

Okay so those are stated facts.

Simon, well we don't again know if he stayed for the death of this man Jesus. But I like to think he did. Many were crowded around the crucifying spot and I'm thinking Simon had to come all this way he might as well see it be finished. It wasn't uncommon for people to want to watch this kind of death.

Jesus is nailed to the cross-hangs there-at the sixth hour darkness came over the land.

Darkness. It was during the day. For three hours it was dark. I'm thinking Simon took notice to that know matter where he ended up.   When this man named Jesus did die finally the curtain in the temple tore in two at the same moment. Now I can most definitely assume being that Simon was Jewish learned of this. The temple and the the curtain that divided the Holy place from the Most Holy Place was super important to Jews. Like super important.

So there was this darkness. There was said to be storms and earth quakes in the area. The curtain ripped. He had to have known this man named Jesus was something.

I don't know if he walked away that day believing in Jesus as what Jesus claimed to be, but I know eventually the good news of Jesus got to his wife and son Rufus. They believed. Most likely Simon did believe. Maybe not that day, or maybe. Who knows. But his sons were both a huge part of the early church for Jesus Christ.

So when I was studying this last year and learned of Simon. I was struck by being like Simon.  At the time I was a believer, but I was not really living my life for Jesus. it was spring last year when I studied this part of scripture and the whole refining did not happen till June 25th, 2014.  But my heart burned reading about Simon being chosen or forced really to carry the cross.

My first thought was 'I want to carry that cross for Jesus, I wanted to be there and help in some way.' I knew my sins were the reason he was led and hung on that cross so I thought why not help Jesus carry that cross to atleast be some what helpful!

I imagine Simon after the event and again don't know the time frame but eventually realizing he carried Jesus cross. He carried the Messiah's cross!!!! I'm sure it was humbling, eye opening, and I can only bet Simon wish he would have said something sweet to his savior.

If I imagine myself Simon and carrying that cross, and unlike Simon at the time, knowing who Jesus really was, I would like to think I would tell him:

I love you Jesus, and wish you didn't have to die this way.
I don't deserve any of this.
I deserve to be beaten to a bloody pulp, mocked, and nailed to this cross.
Not you!
I would want to clean up His face with all the blood on it and take off the crown of thorns.
I would want to carry him somehow to the cross so He didn't have to drag himself.

But I wasn't there. I wasn't Simon. In fact I probably would have been one of the many who yelled "crucify him".  I have the bible now, and bible study, and the Holy spirit living in me, so its much easier to assume I would have said all those sweet things to Jesus on the way to the cross. But back then  I would have probably thought this human man who claims to come from heaven and be the one to save the world, well I would have thought he was nuts.

So I am thankful to be on the other side of the cross.

To have the actual Bible. To know the Good News of Jesus.

I think of this verse regarding Simon.

 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. Matthew 16:24-26

Right now in this refining that Jesus is doing to me I feel like most days I'm carrying that heavy, awkward cross. Lugging it around. Being convicted by the Holy Spirit several times a day. Wanting to empty myself of me and put on Christ. 

It is a sweet thing this year to restudy the part on Simon and be in a totally different spot for
Christ. Last year I just wanted to help. Jesus felt my heart burn and my want to carry my cross. And a few short months later He changed my heart in a radical way. He is so good with timing.

I feel like Simon now. I like to think he eventually believed in Jesus and just wanted to tell everyone of this man. This Saving One. The guy who rose again and is Christ the Lord. I many days want to just shake Jesus into people in my life. I want them to see what I see. Feel what I feel. 

Many think I look at Jesus and this process as a hobby. A phase. No! Jesus won't let go of me. I might  being carrying my own cross, but really He is carrying me the whole way. He is the only ONLY thing that truly matters in my life. He is my first love. My savior. 

I'm so jealous that Simon got to carry His cross. What a privilege to have been chosen to do that! 

But I'm just thankful Jesus chose me to believe. He chose me. I'm so awful and sinful. And my nasty sins that I commit day after day were and are the reason he was nailed to that cross. 

I'm thankful for this Easter Sunday. For the Cross. Its meaning. For Simon. And for this Refining.

Because of Christ,


Monday, March 23, 2015

The Refinement Process: a Snip and Slice

I had plans for spring break to watch the latest season of a very popular show. I loved the first two seasons and planned on watching the third during spring break. I felt it was the perfect time since I wouldn't have bible study to do and lots more free time.

This morning my hubby over breakfast said he was almost done with season two and that we could watch it together over break. This morning I smiled with those plans as I love watching shows with my hubby. 

I was getting ready after breakfast and felt this tug on my heart. I knew it was Jesus because He is always tugging at me, or pruning at me. I heard the sheers slicing through the air and knew what was coming. I closed my eyes and said "no Lord, let me have this show".

But like my previous blog post, you cannot hide from Him. Not even two days after writing that blog I was trying to hide from Him.

You see the show has sexual content in it that though doesn't appeal to me, it has perversion and elements of being uncomfortable for shock value. The show also encouraged in one episode abortion and having sex with multiple partners despite being married. An open marriage is the back bone of the show. To me watching the first two seasons, again I didn't feel too convicted watching it. Those story lines were just small snip its of the show and don't appeal to me. An open marriage for me? Never.

But regardless of how I felt then watching, this morning Jesus was telling me "no you can't watch this show".  It was the last thing I wanted to hear.  I ignored Him the rest of the day.

Despite my attempts at ignoring Him He still was pruning me. Cutting away branches. I felt the pain, the sadness. Ultimately this evening, yes this very evening, I listened and said "ok Jesus I won't watch it". 

I want to watch it. I want to see the latest story line. But I remember Balaam from my previous post and remember that my feet need to be on Jesus' foundation. I can't have one foot in the world and the other for Him. It doesn't work that way as a christian.


So I won't be watching this show.  I told my husband tonight that I won't watch it. He smiled knowing it was because of  Jesus and said he won't either. I already see blessings to the obedience.

I vowed in my marriage to only have eyes for Kyle. I don't know why exactly Jesus pruned those branches today from me, maybe this new season has something that would truly tempt me or maybe it again encourages open marriages, and Jesus doesn't want my very vulnerable heart to partake in that. 

Regardless the reasons, Jesus is altogether lovely. I want to be like Him and that means me being pruned even when it hurts or doesn't make sense. 

I love this verse that came to me tonight regarding this.

Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

What temptations are you facing today as Christians? What show, book, or movie is causing you to sin?

These are questions He asked me today.

I'm thankful I heard those sheers slicing through the air and His loving foot steps that guided me today. 

Thank you for the cut today Jesus.

Because of Christ,

Emily Rickey


Saturday, March 21, 2015


My dads yard is perfect. He has the best yard in all the neighborhoods he has ever lived in. I'm not bias because I'm his daughter, he really has the greenest grass, fullest bushes, and brightest flowers out there. People pass his yard and stop. Yes they stop and just stare. Some don't say anything and others just ask about 6 million questions on how they can attain such a yard as his. He is also the kindest man and will give advice to these people. I personally giggle when they ask for help because its my dad and his yard! You got to be Jim Bowman to have a yard like this! But these people want a good yard. They want the bright flowers, the green green grass and perfectly trimmed bushes. Its just most of them don't want to do the work to get their yard up to Jim Bowman standards.

I help my dad once a year with the pruning of the bushes in his yard.  Pruning sounds like nothing when you see it typed 'P-R-U-N-I-N-G' but its such hard work.  My dad again is a perfectionist and when we prune these bushes we not only trim them down short we have to pick up all the leaves, sticks, and debris that has fallen from them. My dad wants his bushes to be trimmed nice and neat and for nothing to be left over on the bush or near them.  My back actually aches by the end of the pruning process because of all the bending over to pick up and throw away those chopped up leaves and stems. My hands hurt as well with the sheers and the vibrating of the blade used to cut down these said bushes.  Its my least favorite yard work. I will point out I also am my dads right hand woman when it comes to mulching. That is a super hard task but I would still take it over pruning.

As spring is slowly starting to surface I start thinking about all the work the yards need for the spring and into the summer. I already know my dad will be asking me soon about the pruning and the mulching.  I will gladly help because its just a few hours of really hard work and breathing in the fresh air is good for my soul.  But I started thinking about this whole refinement process and how very much Jesus is pruning me.  Its been nearly 9 months since I started this process and He has been pruning me all this time.

The pruning Jesus is doing for me isn't a few hours of hard work. Its life long. Its painful, sometimes unbearable.  It's me in this forest, a bush that's overgrown and messy. My leaves lack the bright green they need to be and my stems are growing every which way. And then there's foot steps and He's here in front of me, with His sheers and sharp blades cutting my branches one by one. Sometimes He cuts with loving care, slowly so I can mend quickly. Other times His footsteps are harder and faster coming at me running swinging and chopping at my branches with such strong force that all I can do is barely stand and just cry. and sometimes  I can't even stand. Then there are other times I'm screaming in that forest for Him to show up and cut of my branches that are overgrown. I outstretch them and close my eyes tight and hope its swift and clean. Regardless of this picture I've painted for you, Jesus never has left my side this whole process. He has been cutting and swinging at my branches throughout these 9 months. To the point I say enough, I've laid bare. What more can you cut? My branches are gone, or so I think, But Jesus still sees where my worldly branches grow. Depite me trying to hide them.

You see you can't hide from Him.

There is this guy in the Bible named Balaam. He's in the old testament and he is a small part of Mose and the Israelite peoples story.  He was known all around as the sorcerer of sorcerers. He was known for using sorcery and divination (divination is basically to proceed by reading signs, events, or omens, or through alleged contact with a supernatural agency.) to curse or bless people, cities, nations. Kings and princes would use him to curse or bless according to what their needs were. This was Balaam's career. As a diviner he got paid lots and lots of green to do this black magic.

Balak son of Zippor (whoever that is, doesn't matter for this blog) had all these 2 million plus Isrealite people just outside his city. He had heard all kinds of rumors about these people. The Israelite's had just battled many of the surrounding cities and won. So Balak was freaked out. He had know idea why they chose to camp right next to him but he knew with their sheer numbers and also that they had this 'God' with them, they would be impossible to conquer successfully.
So Balak sends his men with lots of cash to get Balaam so Balaam can use his black magic and curse these people.
So with Balaam being a diviner he also had some head knowledge of God. The same God the Israelite's followed. He would pray to God and communicated with God. Sounds like he is a believer of God right? At first glance, maybe even the 2nd, yes he does. He looks like he has this relationship with God. Before going to Balak he goes to God and gets God's opinion on if he should curse these people. God says no because they belong to Him and they are blessed. Balaam tells Balak that he can't curse them. He listens to God. Through quite the going back and forth between these two, Balaam is aloud to go to Balak but only to use words God has given him.
Balaam thinks because he knows this God, believes in this God, that he is overall good to go. After all he goes to God instead of just taking Balak's money and cursing those people, he totally could have done that. But no he gets to Balak and despite Balak trying to pursued him to curse these people of God, Balaam says he can't. That God won't let him and he won't resort to black magic to curse. He's obedient to God. So yes he seems like what we would today call a christian, a believer.
I really had a hard time studying Balaam. I saw the good in him but ultimately he wasn't really for God. You see when we see people, know people, heck even the way we view ourselves, we want to see the best of us. We want to remember the good things we have done, said, believed and forget the bad. Balaam did believe in God. But he also believed in sorcery which was against God. It was considered an idol and to God that was wrong. God didn't want Balaam to use his black magic or sorcery, he wanted him to go to Him for it all. God is a jealous God.

Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. Exodus 34:14

I'm not making that up, that verse says it all. God doesn't want Balaam's partial attention. He loved Balaam, he wanted Balaam to see that sorcery wasn't what was intended for his life. Balaam loved sinning.  He loved fortune telling, sex, cursing, blessing, scheming, getting away with things. He was very much human.
God saw Balaam's heart. Ugh. Yes God sees the Heart.
The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7
He saw Balaam for who he was. His greediness, his love for money, his love for sex and the world and knew that even despite Balaam knowing He was a god, He as in God knew that Balaam saw God as a god. Not God. And that's what this process comes down to.
Before I tie in myself to Balaam I'll tell you yes he listened to God and didn't curse those people. He listened to God in those moments with Balak and only used words from God. But you see his heart again wasn't completely for God. His feet weren't firmly planted on God's foundation. He had one foot on God's side and the other the worlds. He was a diviner and was divided in his thinking. He ultimately told Balak hey since I can't curse these people there is another way. Sex. He schemes with these Moabite women (a group of people not of God) to seduce the Israelite men into sex and their gods. And it worked. Yes he did not curse them but he swayed them into a life of sexual sin and worship of different gods. Balaam was more about himself then God. If he would have been founded in God he would never have schemed to have these men get seduced.
So here is the part about me. The tie in.  I related so much to Balaam. It shook me to my core. To relate to Balaam isn't a good thing I thought to myself. I see myself in him because I have my one foot founded in the world. And my other foot, yes it is on Gods side. And that foot is happy. That foot is blessed and at peace. But my worldly foot, yes worldly foot, is wild, ravenous, and irrational.
The Refinement process started because I was reading Fifty Shades of Grey. My worldly foot was actually feet. Plural.  I had my feet founded in the world. My thoughts were all based on worldly thinking. Everyone was reading that sex book. It was entertaining and Mr. Grey was sexy as all get out. There was no way I was missing out on that book. But Jesus on June 25 of 2014 took some of my branches and chopped them off. I know bushes don't bleed but picture an overgrown bush with blood pouring from its branches. He saw my heart. He saw I was too wrapped up in sex and the world and said "no daughter, not anymore!" and he used a sharp blade to cut that book out of my life. That very night he cut me down I threw those books in the trash and poured ketchup over them.
Like Balaam I still want to divide my time between God and between selfish desires. About two months ago now Fifty Shades of Grey the movie hit theaters.  Leading up to the weeks before I was strong. I wouldn't go near the TV or anything that showcased the movie. It was everywhere so you can imagine how Amish I became leading up to that movie. I had many amazing women praying for me during this time.  Like I told them and telling you now I wanted to see the trailer. I wanted to see the movie. The sex. The hotness of Mr.Grey. But again God had my feet firmly in Him. And that movie came out and I felt the power of Jesus. I felt the blessings that came with obedience. I felt Jesus in a way that can't be typed out in a blog. 
Then my worldly foot shook a bit the following week after the movie release.
15 seconds. all it took.
I was on Instagram and on the popular page there was a 15 second clip of Mr. Grey and the chick and their first kiss. In the book the first kiss in the elevator about did me in while just reading it. So seeing it visual was ground shaking. My worldly foot and my Godly foot completely crumbled and I watched that clip over and over again.
And the rest of the week despite not seeing anything else from the movie, I couldn't stop thinking about that scene. It's a hot scene. Any women would be enticed. It took me crawling to my mentor and we praying together to overcome that temptation to think about that movie, about that 15 SECOND clip, and all that comes with sexual temptation. She reminded me my ties need to be for my husband. And if I'm lusting after Mr. Grey kissing that girl in the elevator then my thoughts aren't for Kyle. She said our devotion is to our husbands. And she is right if your founded in Christ.
Like Balaam I struggle with worldly thinking and God thinking. I struggle with SELF. I want it my way. Even the way I approach God. I want to have Him on my side, like Balaam did. But also like Balaam I wanted to be apart of the world.
And simply as a christian you.can't.have.both.

love this verse

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life, your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2(The Message)

Jesus wants my undivided attention and he uses people like Balaam to help me see that. He pruned me a lot during my study of Balaam and I'm forever thankful for it. 

Are my feet both firmly on God's foundation today?

To answer that would be an hour by hour basis. But sadly most days my worldly foot stands on top of the crumbling ground that is the world and wins. But Jesus again is always cutting me down. And that is not a bad thing. 

When I feel the blades slicing through me I know He is making me more like Him and He's altogether lovely. The world be damned. I might struggle with this world, but I know that my obedience to Jesus is so worth it. He is so worthy of it. Stand ladies and let him cut you up. It's so freeing. 

Why does my dad prune those bushes anyways in his perfect yard?

To promote new growth. 

I love this verse my mom shared with me. 

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. John 15:2-6

Wow. Yes. Apart from Him you can do nothing. 

Jesus keep cutting me back, place my feet, yes both of them, firmly rooted in you.

Because of Christ,