First Love, First Deeds: Coffee with Brenna

Have you struggled to feel God’s presence, especially during this challenging time? Did you once have strong feelings of love toward Him, only to have them wane?

Then today’s video is for you!

Revelation 2:2-7

First, remember.
Second, repent.
Third, return.

For me, first deeds:
Bible reading
Scripture memorization
Christian fellowship – lots of it – what should this look like now?
Healing – counseling, conferences, books, resources
Willingness to be open to different things
Worship ie singing – privately and corporately
Songwriting (the original song I mentioned)
Prayer

2 Chronicles 35:3
Revelation 8:4
Psalm 22:3

My Instagram

Day 41: Awe for Jesus

Saturdays are hard. I work very early in the morning (6 AM arrival) and don’t feel as if getting up an extra 30 minutes earlier will be beneficial. After work, I grocery shop, come home, have lunch and then I’m exhausted! So getting my Bible reading, etc. in is difficult.

I switched my material for daily reading today. I had been reading the book called “Sugar Fast.” Even though I am not fasting from sugar, I found it extremely helpful and relevant. Since it’s been 40 days, the book is finished! I’ve moved on to the classic, “My Utmost for His Highest.”

From today’s reading in 2 Corinthians 11:1-3

I hope you will be patient with me as I keep on talking like a fool. Do bear with me and let me say what is on my heart.I am anxious for you with the deep concern of God himself—anxious that your love should be for Christ alone, just as a pure maiden saves her love for one man only, for the one who will be her husband. But I am frightened, fearing that in some way you will be led away from your pure and simple devotion to our Lord, just as Eve was deceived by Satan in the Garden of Eden.”

The middle of this passage especially struck me. I want my love for Christ, my longing for Him alone, my heart’s devotion for my Savior to be as pure as a virgin waiting for her husband on her wedding night. As Leeland sang, “He’s coming for a pure bride.” Eve was deceived not only by Satan but by the beauty of the fruit itself.

“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.” Genesis 3:6

Ugh, I don’t want to be swept up in the beauty and allure of food calling my name. I want to swept up in awe for my Savior who gave His everything for me, who spared no expense, who held nothing back.

Oh, my beautiful Lord Jesus, food calls my name loudly and often. It’s almost impossible to hear Your still small voice. Tune my heart to listen, Lord. I turn my eyes to You. You will win my heart.

Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 11
Prayer Cards Prayed: Check
Food Tracked: Check
Activity: Check
Daily Reading: Check
Worship in Song: Check
Choosing to Trust: Check

Day 36: Future Victory

I was not very focused last week. I checked all the things off the list, but my heart wasn’t really in it. And as a result, I ate more than I should.

The sermon at church yesterday was called “Engage God’s Slow Growth.” I’ve definitely felt the weight of that in these 5 weeks of breaking up with food. Some days it seems easier to stay on track. Some days are a big struggle.

I am viewing this as a journey, not a destination. As a process of being pruned and refined, or stumbling and falling at times, but then getting up and following through with this commitment I made.

I read in 1 Corinthians 15 on Saturday that future victory is sure, so we should “be strong and steady, always abounding in the Lord’s work” (v. 58).

Lord, help me to continue to trudge forward, to choose You, to cling to You and abound in whatever work You have for me.

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 16, 2 Corinthians 1 (Sunday), 2 Corinthians 2-3 (Monday)
Prayer Cards Prayed: Check
Food Tracked: Check
Activity: Check
Daily Reading: Check
Worship in Song: Check
Choosing to Trust: Check

Day 31: Disappointment

Today stunk.

I am flooded, positively drowning, in disappointment.

Is it OK for me to say that?

I should be excited – THRILLED – to have finished a full month of breaking up with food.

I should be on my knees, praising God!

Instead, I find myself angry, wondering how God could allow certain things to happen.

This is why I eat. I HATE these feelings. I don’t want to have them. I don’t want to think about situations I can’t change nor can I remove myself from them. I want to eat and eat and stuff them down so I don’t have to feel them or think about them.

I want to eat everything.

No matter what I eat, I will track it. But right now, I hate today.

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 12
Prayer Cards Prayed: Check
Food Tracked: Check
Activity: Check
Daily Reading: Check
Worship in Song: Check
Choosing to Trust: Check

“Born Again This Way” Book Review

“Born Again This Way” by Rachel Gilson is book #15 of 2020.

This was a fantastic book about Rachel’s journey of coming out as gay, coming to know Jesus Christ as her Savior, and how those two things impact her life today. I read a lot of books in this topic, and appreciated how many new and fresh ideas she brought to the conversation. She also brings a theological depth that other books lack, but she writes in a way that makes those concepts accessible to anyone.

A couple concerns brought up and several addressed:

Conversion Therapy

She speaks against conversion therapy without ever thoroughly defining it (to the best of my recollection, she only gives a general idea on pg. 83). Why is this concerning? When conversion therapy is not defined, many things are lumped into that term that don’t even resemble therapy or conversion. Many in the type of ministry I do are accused of doing “conversion therapy.” Recently, when Massachusetts proposed a ban on conversion therapy to minors, there was not a single Massachusetts resident testifying who actually had undergone conversion therapy (the ban passed). So I am VERY leary of this catch-all term, which feels like a red herring in the conversation for me.

Transformation

A concern I heard from others is that Rachel does not believe in transformation (i.e that God is able to change one’s sexual attractions if He so chooses). Because I heard this concern prior to reading the book, I kept my eyes open to what she did – and didn’t – say. On this point, the overarching theme of the book is 0n obedience, not sexual orientation change. I actually commend her for this. I have seen WAY too many people give up this fight because God did not take away their struggle. As I state in my book #learningtowalkinfreedom, same-sex attraction (SSA) is a form of temptation. If we expect to live a life free of temptation, then we expect to be more free than Jesus. So I actually appreciate very much her focus on obedience rather than sexual attraction change. She does share a story from a woman who was same-sex attracted and is now opposite-sex attracted. I also do not recall her speaking against transformation. I actually write in my book that if we focus only on sexual attraction change, we are missing the point (freedom step one).

On-Going Same-Sex Attraction

Another concern was that Rachel wears her on-going SSA as a “badge of honor.” I did not give this one much weight, and here’s why. I speak openly about my on-going SSA. I share about the presence of on-going temptation in my life because I feel it’s important. Church leaders need to know that someone who experiences SSA is just as free and healed and changed as the person who know claims a heterosexual identity. I state that I “experience” SSA rather than I “struggle” with it – because it’s no longer a struggle. Rachel and I also agree that calling oneself a “gay Christian” is problematic. Here is my post explaining why.

I highly, highly recommend this book, despite a few concerns. It’s one of the best I’ve read in a while.

Buy “Born Again This Way” here.

Coffee with Brenna: So You Want to be Healed?

You asked, and here it is! Coffee with Brenna talks about my 2 experiences being miraculously healed, hindrances to healing, and why God sometimes doesn’t heal. Grab a cup of something, and enjoy!

Does Healing Still Happen?
Matthew 15:29-31
John 14:12-14

My Two Stories of Healing
Back, chest, wrist and elbow healing
IBS healing

Are there hindrances to healing?
“Before you can heal, you need to ask yourself if you’re willing to give up the things that are making you sick.” https://www.instagram.com/p/BxuTfkiFpZV/
Joyce Meyer: Pray for healing but also pray if there’s something I could be doing.
1 Corinthians 3:16
Romans 12:1
1 Corinthians 10:31  

Why doesn’t God heal?
“Faith is trusting in the character of God when life gives you reasons not to.” Corrie Ten Boom
Jesus Heals the Paralyzed Man (Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12)
Ask God what you can do.
Was I going to trust God in the meantime?
James 5:14: prayer for the sick
John 9:2: man born blind
John 15:15: Jesus calls us friend

Books Referenced
Learning to Walk in Freedom: Kindle: http://amzn.to/19kbG6t Paperback: http://www.learningtowalkinfreedom.co…
Quest Bible: https://amzn.to/37orRBl


Read about my affiliate links here.

Welcome to Living Unveiled, the blog of Brenna Kate Simonds, Author of “Learning to Walk in Freedom”

Featured

Welcome to the blog of Brenna Kate Simonds, author of Learning to Walk in Freedom.

Don’t know where to start?

Read Brenna Kate’s story, straight from the back of Learning to Walk in Freedom.

Check out Brenna’s new series: Breaking Up with Food

Read Living Unveiled’s 3 most popular posts:
You Have Not Because You Ask Not
Do I Still Struggle With Same-Sex Attraction?
Remind God of His Promises

Check out Brenna Kate’s speaking page.

LTWIF.front.cover

Empty Shelf Challenge Book #6: “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day” by Mark Batterson

I finished my 6th book for the #EmptyShelf challenge.


In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive when Opportunity Roars by Mark Batterson

This book was a little different because I actually listened to the audio version. Every month, Christianaudio.com has a free download. All you have to do is sign up for their email newsletter, and they will let you know what the free download of the month is. You go to the site, enter your email, and it downloads. This month, the free download is When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert. I’ve downloaded in the past The Hiding PlaceGod’s SmugglerGod is in the Manger, and quite a few others. You can’t beat free!

That said, I’m not sure I absorb as much from audio books as I do from actual hold-in-your-hands books. I also don’t absorb as much when I read on Kindle. Perhaps it’s because a hardcopy of a book is more conducive to taking notes and jotting things down in your journal.

The book was inspired by the following passage of Scripture:
2 Samuel 23:20 (NIV): “Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion.”

Notice he followed the lion into the pit.

The book addressed regret and risk-taking. Most people, at the end of their lives, do not regret the risks they took. They regret playing it safe. The book addresses risk-taking and overcoming some of the challenges that come along with it, such as adversity, doubt, and fear. It also discusses how to seize opportunities and overcome your concern with looking foolish.

One main thing I took away from this book is that most people never feel 100% sure that the risk they are about to take is the right choice. In a study Batterson quoted, most people only feel about 50% sure they are doing the right thing. That made me feel better!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! If the concept sounds intriguing, you can download the series of messages that the book is based on here.

My books so far on the #EmptyShelf challenge:
           

Empty Shelf Challenge Book #5: It Starts With Food by Melissa & Dallas Hartwig

I finished my 5th book for the #EmptyShelf challenge.

It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig

This book is a little different than my usual fare 🙂 I mentioned in my last #EmptyShelf post that I struggle with overeating, and I was doing a modified fast with my church. The Whole30 program is based on this book, and so I borrowed it from the library.

I enjoyed the book. I can’t say I agreed with every conclusion. Some sections, I did not meticulously read word for word as I would other books. It’s not really that kind of book 🙂 I was interested in what it had to say about inflammation and some other health issues I face.

Well, the proof is in the pudding, right? Or lack of pudding, since pudding is definitely not allowed on Whole30 🙂 Now that I’m done with the fast/Whole30, I have noticed some changes. I do not crave sweets – at all. In fact, yesterday, I have some banana bread that I made, but that was the first time I had something that could be considered a “sweet.” I also notice less aches and pains post-exercise, but I’m still on a modified workout plan due to injury. I eat a pretty clean diet anyway (gluten-free, low grain, and mostly dairy-free, with lots of veggies and daily green smoothies), so the biggest change for me was not cutting out grains; it was eating so much fat.

All and all, it’s an interesting book/theory, and can be very helpful if you’re trying to clean up your diet. The program seems particularly helpful to those who have autoimmune disorders.

My books so far on the #EmptyShelf challenge:
           

#FreedomBook is Here!

It has been one challenge after another in getting my paperbacks of Learning to Walk in Freedom to actually arrive at my home. After a long string of issues, I was told my books would arrive Monday. When I checked the tracking Sunday, it said the book would arrive 1/28 (6 days prior). I called Monday, and the terminal was closed due to weather. They are supposed to call to schedule residential delivery, so when I hadn’t heard anything at noon Tuesday, I gave them another call. They said my books were out for delivery! I turned to tell my husband, and he said, “I think I hear a truck.” Don’t you know – it was my books!

IMG_7776

My 4 year-old JJ is guarding the goods.

IMG_7779small

IMG_7782small

Don’t worry. It wasn’t loaded.

18 boxes of #FreedomBook!

IMG_7789

Order your copy today!