Saturday, October 30, 2010

Another interuption

So I know it has been some time again. We have had so much happening. My uncle passed of prostate cancer and I had to spend time with my family.
God seems to call me often to speak truth to people. To point out ways that they are not following His word. This is such a challenge to me- who is SO not perfect. I feel so judging even though it is not my judgement or words. This, I believe, is God's way of making sure I will follow Him even though it is not comfortable.

The big issue that I see lately is the disconnect between the church in America today and the bible. Our view of Jesus has changed from who he was. We water it down, make him "Buddy Jesus" and allow ourselves to justify our deviations from his word. I am not saying that we won't mess up, but we excuse our sin and justify that we are human in an attempt to make ourselves feel better for living in a worldly way. We, as Christians, need to be living differently. Not just avoiding drunkenness, sexual frivolousness, or drug use and cussing, but all things that are worldly. Our purchases- cars, clothes, homes, we spend money the way the world says we should. God doesn't want you to just tithe. If He has blessed you with income, we need to give until it hurts. Explain your multiple homes to a sister in Asia who cannot even worship without threat of losing their life, their job, etc. Being a follower should not be comfortable. We should give until it hurts.

Divorce in the church is the same rate as out of the church. That is a staggering fact that is sad. We in the church, who know the truth of God, excuse our choices by our comfort and our own dissatisfaction in life. I am not saying that if you have already divorced that you cannot be covered in grace, but you must truly repent to be covered. We cannot sin and live in sin and say, it's OK I will be covered by Grace. That is abuse. Romans 6:1-23 talks against this very thing. Now I myself struggle with choosing God over myself. I have to die everyday to my will. Sometimes I die with a gracious love and sometimes I die struggling the whole time.

Television is another area that we tend to fit in with the world. Think about the tv shows or movies that you watch. Are they pleasing to God? Are they raunchy? Are they bloody or gory? Are they something that you could invite Jesus over to watch with you? If you did- would he stay?? The term garbage in and garbage out fits here.

These are SOME of the areas that many Christians today seem to be missing. We need to take a long hard look. When Jesus invited people to follow him he didn't make it easy. He told them to not say goodbye to their families, not to go to their fathers' funerals, to sell EVERYTHING and give it to the poor. He didn't water things down to get people to follow him. He made following him HARD. He made it hurt, he twisted people's brains in an effort to get only hardcore lovers
of Christ in his "church".

Take a look at the things in your life. Is there an area God is calling you to dump? It may be hard. It may be "too much". That will be the determining factor in whether you choose him or the world. What Jesus are you following? The one who is in the bible? Or the one who looks like you???

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Backseat Driver

So I know that I am a control freak. Shocker of the century I know, but it's true. It is the area that I have the biggest issue that I have in my walk with God. I have doubt when I don't see two feet in front of me let alone a mile. I tend to question everything, which is good in somethings, but not when it comes to trusting God.

My whole walk with God, I have sat there and told Him when to turn, when to stop, when to put the blinker on, how to do every move that is being made. The funny thing is I am not that bad when an actual passenger- as long as I am in the front seat!!! But in my spiritual life I cannot seem to sit back and allow God to take control.

There are times when I pray that God will give me an answer, if I don't think it is the answer that I thought it should be, I will be rifled with stress. I know that is not God's intent, but it is my sinful desire to control every part of my life. Jesus said, he who give his life will live- that is the hardest part of the walk with Christ, daily dying. Sometimes that dying is harder than other times. Sometimes it means persecution, other times it means waiting on God's timing. God's timing is much slower than mine. Where I live people call slowness "working on White Mountain time". I am convinced that God is working on White Mountain time!!!

This morning I couldn't see how God was working in my life. I was beginning to doubt that what I thought he had brought us here for was not happening. I doubted my own belief in God's direction. However, I spent the last couple days praying- not even remotely about what the answer was, but I prayed. The answer was surprising- it was an answer to a prayer that I had prayed months ago. I am learning that my time is not God's. I am learning to sit back and enjoy the ride. But boy those bumps can hurt!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Words that Hurt

Psalm 19:14 says "May the words of mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, Oh Lord my Rock, my Redeemer,"(NIV version). We are so careful, most of the times with the words of our mouths. We watch our words most days, and maybe not as much other days! And are careful not to hurt others with our mouths or to make Christ look bad because of our language. This may be less true the closer we are to people, and worst of all to ourselves.

That brings me to my point. We might watch our words, but do we watch the meditations of our heart? Maybe we are careful not to say the words that hurt, but do we allow our minds to sit there and think them? Especially when the negative and hurtful words are about ourselves.

I know, myself as a woman, tend to think so negatively about myself. I compare myself to others and rarely do I stack up. If I make a mistake I am the first to condemn myself. But condemnation is not from God. Condemnation is not a place God wants us to be. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, the scriptures say, so we must give thanks to God for every situation. If we are falling short of the mark, we must be quick to repent and forgive ourselves. If the negative talk is about a physical characteristic, we have to remember that God designed us before we were born and He knew what He wanted us to be, we have to be thankful for every gift we have.

If our meditations take us to think negatively on someone else we have to remember that we are to love our neighbor. That each person who wrongs us, (truly wrongs us or imagined wrongs) is a creation of God and someone who God loves. We don't know what God is doing in their lives.

The key is to replace the negative meditations with positive ones. We have to get rid of the negative track playing in our mind and fix our thoughts on the positive things. If we are angered, pray for peace and the person who wronged you. This is a difficult sin to overcome, but I pray that the meditations of your mind are pleasing to God!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Only One We Need To Impress....God

So I have really had a rough couple of weeks emotionally. I have struggled so much with what others are thinking about me. It just seems like every time I turn around there is another person weighing in their two cents about my life- my clothes, my house, my manners, my hair, whatever. It started to really weigh me down.

It got to the point at one time I started to forget who I am. I am a child of GOD!!!! I am a uniquely and wonderfully made daughter of the king. There are days that I don't feel that way. There are days that I feel like the chamber maid of the King (for those of you who are not into history the chamber maid was the one who used to get the chamber pot -otherwise known as the pee pee pot- in the morning from the bedrooms pre-plumbing. They were the ones who had to go and dump out the morning's urine. )

I often forget that I am a vessel that was created for noble use and that looks different on me that it does on everyone else. It doesn't make me worse or better- just different. And ask Arby's, "Different is good!". I know that I have things that I need to work on about myself, but so does everyone living on this Earth. The thing that I have to remember, that we all have to remember, is that we won't be perfected until Christ returns or we are caught up into Heaven.

The difficult thing is that others seem to expect perfection from us. I know they seem to expect it from me. They can be cruel when perfection is not met. Sometimes the people who are supposed to love and accept you the most are the ones who are the most critical of you. They, quite frankly, do not matter. Not in the scheme of reality. I mean they are important and we have to love them, but it is not their opinion that is important. It is God's. When we fall short, when we don't do things the way that they would want us to, it doesn't really matter as long as we are doing things the way God wants us to.

Each of us is made uniquely. We are all rough around the edges, it is through our trials that we get refined. As we grow and are challenged, we become more like Christ. That is not an overnight process. That is not an instantaneous thing. We slowly mold into "little Christs" or "Christians" (little Christ is what Christian means). When someone picks at a personality flaw, sometimes it is a character defect that God is working on. We can take that and pray about it and allow God to create in us a more refined person. Sometimes that is just a part of our personality that God has made us to be. Just because someone else is annoyed by your shyness, your outgoing personality, your sense of humor or lack there of, doesn't make it wrong or a bad thing. Their dislike is their issue. Who are they to question the way God has made you?
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful and I know that full well. Psalm 139:14. We are created just the way God wants us to be. That is what matters. He designed each of us perfectly. And when you are going about your day and someone criticizes you, ask yourself- "Is what I am doing pleasing to God?" If the answer is no- take steps to correct the action. If the answer is yes- then forget what they think and care what God thinks.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Quiet Time

So I have to admit, I struggle with my own quiet time with the Lord. I let life get in the way and I allow myself to be distracted more than I should. I want to be better about it; I often try to do bible studies to get myself in the habit of reading and praying daily. I still struggle.

I hope that one day I can say that I am so in the habit that it became second nature. That probably won't be for some time. I have also find that there is no shame in reading the bible in the bathroom when you are a mother to small children especially. It is the rare time when I am alone and things are quiet. I also find that a lot of my prayer time happens in the car on the way to the grocery store or to the bank or church.

I am learning that quiet times with God depend on your stage of life. When I was younger, it was easier for me to take time and just be with God. I could take a hike to the top of a mountain and sit and pray with ease. Now I have 1 husband, three children, two dogs, a few friends, and church obligations that seem to demand so much of my time- especially since God has called our family to home-school- talk about no time for myself! But I am learning to adjust to this stage of my life. There are days that my hands barely touch the bible, except to pick it up out of a milk spill or save it from my toddler's crayons. There are days when I get two hours to sit and read (albeit very very rarely!). I am trying to give myself grace on this and remember that God understands the circumstances of my life. But also not letting myself off the hook. So I am finding the times when it is possible for me and God to have alone time- whenever or wherever that may be!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Growing Pains

I remember when I was a teenager and my body was growing so fast that my bones ached. I remember I would cry at night to my mother telling her how much it hurt. "It's growing pains," she would tell me. I never understood why it hurt so much to grow.

Well now I am an adult and I am not getting taller anymore, but I am growing still. The growth I have is the same as all adults, it is internal. This pain hurts too. Some growth hurts more than others, it depends on the nature of the growth and how deeply it is ingrained into your life.

Maybe you decide you want to eat healthier; to stop drinking soda, start cooking homemade food, eating out less, more fruits and vegetables. That can be difficult, especially if you have a big junk food habit. Or maybe you want to be more financially responsible. It takes discipline to follow a budget and make the right financial choices. Those are both difficult things to do and it takes some pain involved with the learning process.

The most painful, however, is when it is something that is woven into your character for years that you have lived with and developed over the majority of your life. That is the most difficult and painful kind of growing pains. That is especially true if it is not your decision to change, but when you have been disciplined by God about that character flaw. When God has to "break us" to show us our sin, to show us how prideful we have been in our own strength, that is REAL growing pains. Those are growing pains that may last for days.

I have found that along with the pain comes a beautiful healing power. The grace that can wash over us after we have been broken is sweet and refreshing. It is redeeming and better than any spa treatment known to man. I have found out something about myself, in this as well. I have never had an easy time fasting- it seems the days that I decide to do it I become extra hungry. But when I am in the grace and going through the brokenness of the growing pains I find that fasting comes naturally. I find my body unable to eat because I am so meditative in prayer. That, for me has been such a beautiful place to understand fasting. I know so many people that can summon that ability easily. I am not one of those people. But I am so appreciative of what I have experienced in the growing pains.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Why Here, God?

So when we first moved up here to the White Mountain area, when we agreed to live 30 minutes from nowhere in the Petrified Forest with our closest neighbors being jackrabbits that have declared war on my summer garden, we knew that it was for a reason. We knew God had a purpose for moving us here, more than just the prospect of saving money and getting rid of some debt. When I explained this to my mother- who is a Christian- she sounded doubtful. But I knew there was a deeper meaning behind this upheaval of our lives.

As we have been trying to find a place up here for our families in the last 8 and 1/2 months, it is becoming clearer and clearer that I was correct in my assumption. There is such a need for people who are passionate about their faith. There are others out here, but the atmosphere of the mountains is so empty of God. The christian radio stations are few and far between, so many of the churches appear half asleep making the good ones so precious. As I have been living up here we have found a terrific church family that we have come to truly love! I have become a part of the worship team and I will soon be starting to help lead. I have also stepped into a place in the youth group. There is a terrific group of teen girls that are ready for some deep discipleship. I am excited to watch them grow and become beautiful women of God and lead their community one step closer to God.

I am not pretending to be the only one up here fighting the spiritual battle that is being waged in this beautiful place, but I am so glad to be a part of it. I am excited to see what God is going to do here. I feel the spirit gaining momentum and can see things at work. It will be such a joy to be involved in this journey!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hello Again

I just noticed that it has been almost a year since I have actually published anything. It has been a busy 9-10 months! God called us to move 4 hours away to the Petrified Forest National Park- yes we live in a National Park, that is our backyard. We live 25 minutes from the nearest town and it is a bit of isolation. We have had to try to figure out why God called us here, which has been challenging but I think we are getting here.

Also in that time we have had to figure out our new schooling routine as well as my loving hubby's new work schedule. All in all it has been a time of serious adjustment in our lives. At this point things seem to be getting into a routine of sorts and we are adjusting.

I have noticed that this year has been a year of growth and change. I have noticed that my children have grown not only physically but emotionally and spiritually. My oldest has asked that she be baptized and we are going through the meaning of that with her before proceeding, but it has been very exciting. My middle child has started initiating prayer with our family and it has been a beautiful thing to watch.

I know that God is moving in our family and we are going to see some amazing things in the future. I am very excited about the things we can watch happen.