Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The thought...Wait...

This past Sunday during Sunday school class, Mary made a statement that has really got me thinking about my lack of faith. Her statement was "I trust God completely with my soul...that when He saved me, I am going to Heaven...why can't I trust Him with the other things...the little things in my life." As soon as she spoke with both Kat and I got the conviction look on our faces and made smart comments, but now that I have thought about it the past few days...I have seen my lack of faith.

On the way to class I thought about Abraham. God promised Abraham a seed between him and Sarah. Abraham was 75 at the time of this promise. Now...Abraham tries to "help" God with this seed by going to Hagar and having Ishmael. 25 years later after the promise of the "seed," Abraham is welcoming Isaac "The Promised One." 25 years. How long is it that we need to wait on God for the answers we have...or for promises we believe? How long is it that we need to wait on God to work His plan? Is there a time we need to "step" in and "help" God? The answer I have found in Scripture comes from Psalm 27:14 "Wait on the LORD, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." The context of this Scripture is not about our life decisions, but I think an application about our life decisions can be made from it. Just because I'm waiting does not mean I'm not doing anything. I need to be looking for His appearing and speaking the gospel to people I come into contact. Is it hard waiting on God? Simply answer is yes, but think of the benefits of waiting for His perfect plan, as opposed to his permissive plan.

Steven Curtis Chapman recorded a song entitled "Wait" from the CD "Real Life Conversations". This song's chorus is simply put, "Wait...wait...wait on the Lord, you will understand in time why you must wait. The bridge of the song uses the word in Isaiah 40:31 "And He wants you to know that, They that wait on the Lord, Shall renew their strength; They will rise up with wings as eagles, They will run, not get weary. They will walk and not faint; That’s a promise to us when we (wait)." I love this thought...but it's not always the easiest to live.

Until next time...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How beautiful...

"How beautiful the radiant bride...who waits for her Groom with His light in her eyes." Tonight's message was on the third church in Revelation. This church was rebuked for allowing false teachers to hang out with them. Pastor brought out a definition of worldiness, and I have been thinking about that definition since I've heard it.

Worldliness - any pre-occupation with or has the interest in the temporal system of life that places antyhing perishible before eternal things.

Well...when it's put that way...I think, myself included, that Christians may all have a little worldliness in them. I thought about my weekend for example. After work, I went to class (at a Bible school). After class I met up with some girlfriends to see a movie. Not a bad thing seeing a movie, but how many times can we get wrapped up into a movie or television show and forget about what is imporant...getting the gospel to others...spending time with Jesus...showing the love of Jesus to a dying world.

One of pastor's points was our marriage to Christ. He began illustrating how we need to protect this marriage, just as we would a marriage to another person...in fact this marriage needs to be protected to help us in our daily lives. We, Christians, are called the bride of Christ. How special a name to be called! I have said a few years ago, that Jesus would be the only husband I would have probably. Not being "super spiritual", but seriously thinking this world will come to an end, and I believe that Jesus will come back for His bride, before I meet a husband with skin on. But I know that I fail miserably with my relationship with THE BEST Husband. I know that I don't spend enough time with Him. Sometimes, I will go and think about Him quite often, while other days can attract my attention. Those days when I'm thinking of Him...are usually my best days. I love to think of Jesus actually with me (maybe watching something on TV with me, or going to the movies...I remember a couple of times I made sure my front seat was cleaned out so that He would be able to sit in my car without having stuff in His seat...days when I'm hurting and crying, I imagine myself laying in His lap, and His arms wrapping around me to comfort me)...yes those are my best days. But worldliness seems to attract my attention, and at times I will be distracted and not think of Jesus for a few hours.

During my Friday night pyschology class we had a teaching tape on "Truth." It was from a Christian perspective. I'm so glad that when I decided to go back to school that I chose a Christian college. I don't think I could survive a secular school. Anyway...the statement was asked during our truth quiz "Any religion is fine as long as it works for you." We were to answer either "strongly agree", "somewhat agree", "Don't Know", "Disagree", or "Strongly disagree". It would have been interesting to see the answers for a place that wasn't a Bible College. This statement "any religion is fine as long as it works for you" is not what the Bible states. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father, but by me." If you don't include Jesus in "religion" all you have is works and a bunch of words that WILL NOT get you to Heaven in the end. The gospel is a simple one, but so many people don't get it. Jesus came to earth, He lived, and then took our punishment for our sins upon Him, He died, but PRAISE THE LORD, He rose again! Hallelujah! He lives in Heaven with God the Father...seated at His right hand.

By faith, we believe the work Jesus did for us. By faith, we trust Him. By faith...

Are you living your life to please God, to protect this heavenly marriage, or with an absolute truth?

Make 2009 a year that you do. I have really enjoyed this year so far. I have grown and seen a lot of areas, where I fail. I know God is NOT finished with me yet. I want to be a vessel He can live through...a vessel that can be used of Him. How beautiful your life can be for His glory!

Until next time...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

God is in Control...

On the way home last night from church, I was praying about some situations around me. As I was praying the song "God is in Control" began to play from my ipod. As I sat there and just listened a line from the second verse just really hit me in a new way.

The second verse states:

History marches on There is a bottom line drawn across the ages Culture can make its plan Oh, but the line never changes No matter how the deception may fly There is one thing that has always been true It will be true forever God is in control...

What really hit me last night was "No matter how the deception may fly...there is one thing that has always been true." This world we live in today is a crazy one. Even in our Christian circle of friends it's crazy. This past year, I have heard news of Christian people...some I knew personally, others I just know by their work in Christian ministry...choosing sinful ways. Satan is called "The Deceiver." He will deceive us in our lives by allowing us to accept things that are not in accordance with God's Word. What's really scary about Satan trying to deceive Christians is that He knows the Bible...maybe better than most Christians. But no matter how the deception may fly...God is still in control!

That's a comforting thought...especially with the transition our country is facing. No matter if we voted for our future president or didn't vote for him...God is in control. We must now just trust God ... and we can face life.

Keep this thought in mind through this year of 2009...God is in control.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Lord, how is it between us?

This is a great question to ask yourself. Our relationship with Jesus is a personal one. It's the most important relationship we have. It's one that needs to be checked...possibly throughout the day - depending on your situation.

Sara Groves wrote a song several years ago, about this subject. The beginning of the song states, "Woke up on the wrong side of the bed, the wrong side of the room, the wrong side of the world. I can't put my finger on the mood, it's not melancholy, anger or the blues." I know there have been a few times that I have had to ask this question, because of some type of difficult mood. When I finally set down and asked that question...I realized it was me that had moved, gotten busy, didn't keep the communication line opened. It's not that God moved or had gotten busy with someone else's situation, He was waiting to hear from me. Waiting for me to talk to Him about my day...even if it was just to thank Him for the breath that He's given me to breathe.

This year of 2009...I want to be sure to keep this relationship with Jesus one with great communication lines. Never having to worry about sins that have been left unconfessed, or a busy day from me reading His word. Even if it's just a verse or two to reflect and meditate upon is better than not opening my Bible to hear Him speak. God's Word is special...This Word has been passed down from the Author to us in 2009. Does it sit on the shelf from Sunday to Wednesday to Sunday again...or is it opened and read waiting to give us fresh bread. God wants us to keep things line opened.

One of my favorite verses is in I Thess. 5:17, "Pray without ceasing." This verse is a command. Pray...without ceasing. Prayer is our communication with God. Basically it's talking with God as you would a friend with skin. Without ceasing is all the time. I love this idea because even when I'm having a busy day, talking to God is not a problem. Talking to God is something that can be done in thoughts (which is a lot of the way I pray during my work hours). I sometimes get emails or text messages asking for prayer, and I'm able to breathe a short sentence for that request. God will sometimes allow objects, people, or words to remind us to pray for people.

Praying and reading God's Word helps to keep that relationship in check. Some people do it as a way to put a check mark on some sort of checklist, but Jesus wants to hear from us, and He wants to speak to us ... by way of His Word. When we stop talking to him (pray) and stop reading His Word, we end up quenching that relationship. This is a living, real, relationship. How is between you and the Lord? Only you and God can judge where your relationship is. We may be able to fool those around us by putting on a mask, but God knows our heart. That's where His concern is.

So let me ask you..."How is it between you and God?" Take a look at that relationship...may God become real to you in 2009.

Monday, January 05, 2009

When did I lose my first love?

Revelation 2:1-7 speaks of a church that had lost their love for God. That love that is special and helps us to remember why we do what we do. That desire of wanting to be more like Jesus, or desire to reach others for the cause of Christ.

How many Christians are living with the loss of their first love? I know in my life I have lost my way a time or two. I hate to have to admit it, but it's the truth. Instead of remember why we do what we do for Christ, we can become too busy with the programs...we forget to see the people we are trying to reach.

Is there something you have allowed to take the place of that first love? With the coming of the New Year...it's a time not only of making "resolutions", but also a time of reflection. Remembering what has been in the past. There are times we need to forget the past, but a healthy remembrance of the past is good too.

My pastor preached from this passage on Sunday night, and my heart has been encouraged to remember the past. Why do we do the programs we do at the church? Why do we sing the songs before the message? Why do we create huge decorations for VBS? Why do we run a church van? Why do we read our Bible daily? Is it because we have a list of things we need to do ... or is it because of a special love of Christ and we want to read from His Word to hear from Him daily...is it because of a special love of Christ we want others to know about Him, and we try to different programs to reach them? What are the reasons we do the things we do in our life.

I recently went back to school. I'm so thankful for this decision. I'm a pretty busy person with church activities, but I wasn't really seeking God. Yes, I read my Bible, but what was the reason I was reading? It wasn't always to seek God in those passages...sometimes it was just to put that little checklist down.

Tonight I was reminded again...we are not saved by works. It's only by faith. Anything that I try to add as a requirement, takes away from the faith. It's not by my works, lest I should be able to boast. Christ did the work at the cross. That was enough to pay for my debt.

May God bring you back to Him if you have been one to lose their first love. For those of you who have that love...may God continue you help you grow in that first love...that you won't lose it.

The song "First Love" by Avalon has been going through my head since Sunday night. The prayer at the bridge is one that I've prayed.

"Father take me back, and let me start again, Lord I've failed and I've fallen in my pride, lead me back to You, where my life began, revive in me the yearning that has died..."

May you continue to grow in God's grace and knowledge of the word. May you continue to grow in your first love.

Here is the song by Avalon. Hope you enjoy...

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year - 2009

I know, I know...this blog is not the title of a song. What can I say??? I'm changing my ways in 2009. I guess I want to be unique and different this year.

Yesterday was a really cool and fun lazy day. I woke up to a Monk marathon. I watched several and finally came out to hang out with family for awhile. We had a good time. I didn't get out of my pajamas (even to go and get gas at the station down the road). I just really wanted to be lazy. It felt really good.

So far today has been good...very busy so far. I hope it goes by quickly, but that it's not crazy busy the second half of the day. My boss showed up today. *shocked look* I really wasn't expecting him to show up at all today.

As far as ending to the year...it was one of the best. I had some family surprise visit us...that was really fantastic! I also had a wonderful Christmas. The only thing I asked for was a Bible. The new ESV Study Bible. I got it...didn't get it until late Christmas Day, but it was fun getting it. I also got some tights, a pez despenser, and a penguin family statue.

My sister bought me a penguin pin on their day out shopping. Mom bought me a set of penguin placemats, and a penguin shaped cup w/lid and straw. I put my placemats on my desk. I actually cleaned it off. I hope to work on that this year...I think that is a resolution I have every year to do better about keeping my stuff cleaned and such. It's something to try to do again.

For New Year's eve...I went straight to church from work. I had picked up Ginger on my way to church. Her car is down for the count. We had a good time talking while I got the areas ready for church service. After church was over, Pastor was in cleaning mode. I had to finally tell him...I'll get it on Saturday, I'm ready to go home. I know he wants to get things back to normal, but I really wanted to go home and see some of my family again.

At home, my sister Leah and her family were there. The boys ended up spending the night with us. My sister Becky and her husband also spent the night with us. That was a lot of fun. Mike went to bed, and so did mom and dad. But Mary, Becky, Michael, Maddie, Marc, Nicholas, Jacob and Brock stayed up to watch the ball drop in NYC. We had some sparkling grape juice and toasted the new year. It was good to hang out with them. Of course, after we did that...I headed to bed...so did everyone else.

As I mentioned earlier, it was just a lazy day for me. I really enjoyed it.

Today was a sad beginning. It was time for my sister Mary and her family to go back to Nebraska. It was so good to have them...It would have been better to have Mickey with them. Maybe next time they surprise us, he will be able to be there too.

I'm excited to hear about their Christmas. They will be celebrating it tonight when they get home. It will be midnight our time though...I think.

Well...that's all for now. I hope 2009 will be a wonderful year to all who is reading this blog.

Until next time...