Monday, March 28, 2011
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. (Romans 11:36)
There is no one like my God. He is everything to me. He is good when days are bad. He is there when I'm all alone. He provides when I have nothing. He catches me when I fall.
He is joy and peace and holiness. And He gives all that to me. I am blessed.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)
Finding salvation is a simple thing. Believe in your heart. Declare with your mouth. And find the gift of eternity for your soul. It is also the start of an incredible journey of life change. Learning how God wants me to live my life has been quite an education for me. There has been a lot about my life that God has changed. Well, maybe more than a lot. God has changed almost everything about how I live my life. He has given me abilities that I never dreamed I could do.
Me, the silent woman hiding in the back of the room. I now teach. I stand in front of a group of people and speak.
Me, the lonely woman isolating herself at home. I now lead a small group of women.
Me, the stubborn one who doesn't need a bunch of rules. I now study God's word to learn how to live.
Me, the person hoping to be ignored. I now am the lay leader for the Celebrate Recovery ministry at my church.
Me, the sad, unloveable one. I now live a life filled with joy and love because I have been saved!
Friday, March 25, 2011
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:5)
There's a lot of good stuff in the Romans chapter 8. We are saved and set free from bondage to the flesh. We are given hope and victory through our relationship with God. God loves us and there is nothing that can separate us from that love.
Been thinking this week about what real life change is. Life change is a battle. I sometimes find myself caught between what I want and what God desires. Caught up in this flesh, this earthly life, I think that I know exactly what I need to be happy and fulfilled. As I pray, I find myself presenting a list to God. "Here's what I need God. If you really love me, you'll give me all this."
I was reminded a few weeks ago that God's desire is not for me to be happy. No, God desires for me to be holy. He wants me to focus not on the physical but on the spiritual. And as my focus shifts from what I want to what God wants, I begin to change.
Change is odd. I know God has changed me over the past few years. I am not the person I was. I love what God has done with my life so far and I look forward to what He has planned for my tomorrows. But there have been moments when I have really questioned what God was doing to me. True life change can be difficult and painful. Letting go of old habits and thought patterns takes time and work.
Honestly, I've still got a lot of changing to do. I'm too full of myself when I should be overflowing with God. I am a work in progess. But I am learning how to live according to the Spirit and it is such a wonderful experience!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Joshua said to them, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight." (Joshua 10:25)
One of my favorite verses. Joshua is not telling the people what God has done in the past. He is not referring to what God is doing right then. Joshua is looking ahead to the future and what God is going to do. God knows that his people have some tough battles ahead of them. There is going to be a fight. There is a need for strength and courage.
We still have that need today. Our enemies are different than the ones that Joshua and the Israelites faced. Enemies like fear, apathy, and greed are real and they work to tear down our lives. The problems of life - sickness, stress, grief – these also can become real enemies. Days or weeks when it seems that everything is just going wrong can make surrender seem like an excellent idea.
God's word, sent through Joshua, still reaches out across the years - Do not be discouraged! I often yearn for God to just reach down and smooth out the road before me. For God to remove any challenges, roadblocks, or trials that he knows I am going to face.
But instead God promises to give me strength. And he fights for me in ways that I cannot always see and understand. At moments when I am tempted to be discouraged, God is there listening to me - asking me to not give up. And God has given me an army - mighty people who will pray for me and listen to me and just be there for me.
God does not promise us an easy life. Actually, He tells us that there will be trials and temptations. At times, we will be tempted to be discouraged. Life can become a challenge.
I know that some of you have also had a challenging week. But be strong! Keep reaching out to God. Hold on to the people He has placed in your life for support and encouragement. Do not let the enemy get to you. Be strong! Be courageous!
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. (1 Peter 4:7)
If I had to describe myself, the words clear minded and self-controlled would probably not make my top 10 list. These two attributes are things that I am still working on. I am a work-in-progess and proud of it!
Self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galations 5. I use to allow life and stuff to control me. I have learned though that I have a choice as to how I respond to life. That is self-control.
And it isn't always easy to do. A few days ago I encountered someone who was stressed out and irritated. She picked me as a target for her displeasure. Sadly my first response to her complaints was to say something that would not have been nice. But as that thought traveled from my brain to my mouth, I realized the best thing to do was to say nothing at all until she calmed down. So I bit my tongue and walked away from the situation for a bit. I calmed down - she calmed down and we were able to come back and calmly discuss the situation.
Learning to take a moment before I respond, especially in emotionally charge situations, has been a long hard lesson for me to learn. But in order for me to live more completely in God's will it is a necessary habit for me to develop.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Missed church service tonight, but did make it to the LifeCare meeting. God is really working on some good stuff. I love seeing how His plans unfold and how everything comes together for good.
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. (Numbers 6: 24-26)
Aaron and his sons were given the words above to use to bless the people of Israel. We don't really bless others these days. I suppose we have replaced blessings with prayers for one another. (I wonder what would be the differences between a blessing and a prayer. Will have to look that up one day.)
I like the part "the Lord give you peace." This is something I have prayed for myself. 'God, please give me peace.' So much of my past filled me with regret, guilt, and shame. I am very thankful for God's forgiveness. That forgiveness brought me peace. I never expected to live in peace with myself.
But God turned his face toward me and he gave me peace. A gift I shall always treasure.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. (1 Peter 2:15)
Free to be a servant. Sounds strange, doesn't it?
I once thought that the life of a Christian was tied down by a bunch of rules - do this, don't do that. But Peter points out that my thinking was wrong.
When I commit my life to God, I find salvation for my soul. My sins are forgiven, I am set free from the burden of sin, and my life is made new. It's a clean start!
God gives me the freedom to decide how I am going to live this new life. My way or His way. That was an easy choice for me. Living life my way created a mess out of my life. God's way had to be better. So I have chosen to live the rest of my life in service to God.
As a Christian, it is not just something I should do because I have to; I serve because I want to. And that is a big difference. God wants our worship, our time, our service to be given to him freely. A true servant's heart must be freely given.