Well now, it's been a while since I've posted anything here. Things have been hectic and tiring...and even discouraging at times since we last talked. Family members (including myself) have been sick and some even requiring surgery. People I held close and dear to my heart hurt me through words and actions (yes, sticks and stones may break my bones and words can hurt bad, too!). Through all this, I made one mistake - I forgot to ask God for help!
I let it all just eat me up and I never asked God to help take away my problems...BIG mistake! I asked Him every night to watch over my family, to help me be the best mom and daughter to my family. I asked him to help me pass a test. I asked for a whole bunch of "stuff" to happen, but never for Him to reach into my life and pull out the weeds as you would a garden! That is, until this morning.
Funny thing happened on the way to waking up this morning...my bed broke! About 2 weeks ago I got a new bed from my grandparets. Alright, it's not new...it was my mother's growing up. It's a full size (I was sleeping on a twin) and I have always loved the headboard. But I noticed something as we were putting it together...the base is made of old 2x4's! besides the little hooks that attach the side rail supports to the head and foot boards, the whole thing was made of wood! And I noticed something else...there was a lot of give in these old boards. But, my grandfather had used the bed for the last 12 months, and it was my mother's bed when she was in college, so I thought nothing of it (besides, what do I know about bed construction?).
Well, this morning, the little hook thing at the head of the bed, on the side my alarm clock is on...it ripped right out of the railing! Of course, this didn't just happen...it happened as I was reaching to turn off the alarm clock...so down I went, grabbing on to what ever I could (which happened to be a glass of tea from last night). Tea went EVERYWHERE, my heart was pounding harder than it ever has, and I was suddenly afraid to move for fear something else could happen.
As soon as I realized all was ok, I wasn't hurt, the pets weren't under my bed at the time (that's their new hiding place...), i calmed down and immediatly stoped to Thank God! I thanked Him that it happened when my daughter wasn't sitting on my bed. I thanked Him for not allowing anything or anyone to become any more damaged than what had happened. And then the epipahny moment came...I thanked Him for the wonderful life He gave me and all the challenges He has presented to me. Then I finally
asked Him to help me get through these challenges, that I realized I can not
do it on my own!
See, our relationship with God has some give like those old boards. You can bend it here and there a little bit, but not too much becuase when you do, it stresses out the joints and the little hooks that link us to God begin to break. Keep it up for too long and SNAP! Those joints break and your support fails and down you go. I'm not saying God won't pick up back up...but you have to be ready
. You have to ask for His help sometimes.
Just a few minutes ago, my dad and I found the parts to my parent's old bed and decided to use them to build the bed back up to and make it strong again. These supports are metal and are much, much stonger. There is little give, if any, and I doubt I'll be waking up, falling through these! And, I've still got the old head and foot boards.
That's what happens when you ask God for help. Your supports get stronger and He lends you His strength to get you through. So take a moment now and ask God for help in getting you through the tough stuff going on in your life. Let him take the weak supports out and put in His much stronger ones!
Hey guys!! I am so sorry the "break" has been this long. We're getting better, but I'm still sick. I appreciate everyone's well wishes!
Today's entry comes from the Heartlight.org series "What Jesus Did!". It's titled Proof Positive
Jesus told them, "Go back to John and tell him about what you have heard and seen -- the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor."-- Matthew 11:4-5 (NLT)
John the Baptist had preached about a fiery judgment on the enemies of God's people and a mighty Messiah who would bring deliverance for God's people. His confusion about Jesus' role as Messiah was natural. Like
everyone in Matthew who chooses a one-dimensional view of the Messiah, he will miss Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah. Jesus reaches into the prophet Isaiah's promises about the Messiah and identifies himself. The
background of the prophet's expectation is both judgment and mercy: defeat for the evil ones and deliverance for God's people. The great reminder to us is that a simple, single-sided view of Jesus as Messiah will be lacking. Our hearts must be open to God's plan for the Messiah and not our own sense of what he should do. As we come to know Jesus as both Lord and Christ, we understand that he fulfills the expectations of the prophets for the Messiah, but he is also Sovereign. We do not write the definition; we follow obediently the one who fulfills all God's promises.
Almighty God -- who spoke and the universe was hung in the great expanse, who promised through your prophets and it was so -- please give me a heart full of faith to follow and see in Jesus the fulfillment of all your promises. I don't want to fashion Jesus into my idea of a Messiah, but I want him to be my Lord and Christ. It is through his holy name I pray. Amen.
I am so sorry for not posting anything in the last week or so! as I stated in the last post, the sinus infection fairy hit us hard last week - first my 8 month old, and then me! While my daughter is feeling much better (yay! for me, nothing's worse than your child being sick), I continue to get worse! A whole week of sniffling, sneezing, coughing and stuffiness culminated today with an early morning trip to the ER for an ear infection. I hate going to the doctor, so you know I was feeling horrible if I took myself to the ER! The doctor's were awesome and are doing their best to get me well, although I still can't hear much of anything.
I am hoping and praying that I will soon start to feel better and be able to start posting again. I hope you all can understand about the delay - it's so hard to do the topics justice when I feel so sick!
Sorry to do this again, but it seems the sinus infection fairy hit our house again! My daughter and I are both sick (a great thing when finals are coming up!), so I'm going to have to take a few days off till we're all better.
Today's entry is titled "Forgiveness: Extending Mercy to Others" and is found in my The Woman's Study Bible. Forgiveness is something I have noticed is a big theme throughout some journals I read, including my own.
When someone comes seeking your forgiveness, you have an obligation to grant forgiveness and extend mercy - even if the person has sinned against you repeatedly and regardless of how severe the sin may have been (Matt. 18:21-22; Luke 17:4; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:12-13). Your forgiveness of others is a prerequesite for your receiving God's forgiveness (Ps. 32:1-5, 103:12, 130:3-4; Is 43:25; Jer. 31:34; Eph. 1:7; Col 1:14, 2:13). We forgive others, if we do not want to disobey God and break our fellowship with Him (Matt. 6:14-15; Mark 11:25-26; Luke 17:3-4). No less important is the willingness for one who blames God for wrongs experienced to remember that the Lord does not direct evil against us, though He may choose to allow us to go through a trial resulting from our own sinful choices or from the sinfulness of the world in which we live (Gen 50:20; Deut 32:4; Rom 8:28, 38-39). Finally, we must be wiling to forgive ourselves since we are finite beings and since our failures often opent he door for His glory and provide the environment for our own growth (Phil 3:12-14).
Love is the prime ingredient in forgiveness (Prov 10:12). Often the one wounded must forgive with an act of the will, giving time for working through feelings and experiencing healing. Forgiveness comes with the removal of past offenses fromt he mind (Phil 3:13), followed by meditation upon Scripture (Ps 119:157-160), giving over to God our hurts (1 Peter 2:21-23), praying for the offender (1 Sam 12:23; Matt 5:44), and serving as a willing channel for God's grace. God has promised that He will take care of all judgment so that revenge is not an option (Rom 12:19-21).
Meaningful forgiveness demands thought and planning. Forgiveness is the willingness to search for new solutions. Forgiveness insists on a new way - neither yours nor theirs but one mutually acceptable with seeking forgiveness only for your wrong (Ps 51:1-4). You must remember that a forgiving attitude does not excuse self (Gen 3:12), defend self (Gen 3:10), or accuse another (Gen 3:13).
Seeking forgiveness frees you to receive God's mercy (Prov 28:13). Showing mercy by a forgiving spirit brings blessing from God and gratitude from the one forgiven. A forgiving spirit brings good to yourself (Prov 11:17) and to others (15:23).
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified
The Bible shows us that self-control is the crowning Fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). Without this Fruit, a believer has little chance to really experience the blessings of God. But this Fruit doesn’t just appear as a natural trait. Devine discipline requires a purposeful action to receive the Holy Spirit’s power.
This discipline must be applied to both our outward behaviors and inward feelings. Psalms 19:24 says our words and actions as well as thoughts and passions must be acceptable to God. A believer’s disciplined life involves a genuine, personal commitment to obey God’s laws. This life frequently requires lifestyle changes.
A big help for me in obtaining self-control has been my accountability partner. She and I are honest with each other, as we should be with God, about our temptations and feelings. When we feel we might be doing something God would not approve of, we call the other one and talk about it. And, every so often, we ask each other how our struggle with that temptation or problem is going. I know that, even if I have faltered on that temptation, I can tell her. She accepts that I am human and will not always make the best choices, but she also knows one way to keep me from those mistakes is to pray for me and have unconditional love for me as God would. Just because I don’t keep away from unacceptable things 100% of the time doesn’t mean she will give up on me and quit loving me. As Christians, we should always be there to support each other with acceptance, affirmation and accountability to help other believers grow.
You have also given me the shield of Your salvation;
Your right hand has held me up,
Your gentleness has made me great.
You enlarged my path under me,
So my feet did not slip.
Gentleness is a hallmark necessary for Christian unity. Gentleness is the opposite of pride. It refers to a humble, submissive attitude. Gentleness is not weakness, but strength submitted to God and channeled into service to others.
God is characterized as gentle in the Old Testament (2 Samuel 22:36; Psalm 18:35), while Jesus was characterized as “gentle and lowly in heart” in the New Testament (Matthew 11:29, 2 Corinthians 10:1).
This Godly gentle spirit is considered precious to Him when it is found in a believer. Believers are charged to pursue gentleness (1 Timothy 6:11). And once found, we are to wear it like a garment (Colosians 3:12).
Growing up, I wasn’t very pretty. I was really overweight and kind of nerdy (ok, really nerdy). I can remember no one asking me to my 8th grade Valentines dance and how much it devastated me. I also remember my best friend telling me that sometimes there are things we cannot control (such as our physical features), but we can control our “inside beauty”. She told me to make the most of what God has given me.
Some of the greatest attributes of “inside beauty” are gentleness and kindness towards others. Going along with the old adage “you win more flies with honey…”, you can win more people into friendship with gentleness than with a rude demeanor.
Gentleness is also useful when winning unbelievers to Christ. 1 Peter 3:1-4 refers to how this Fruit can be more useful than outward beauty for a woman trying to persuade her unbelieving husband to Christianity.
Don't be afraid of what you are about to suffer. Look, the Devil is about to throw some of you into prison to test you, and you will have tribulation for 10 days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
God is extremely faithful (Lamentations 3:22-23). He is dedicated to all His children. God is praised throughout the Bible for His amazing faithfulness. But the Bible also challenges believers to develop faithfulness in our lives.
Faithfulness is a manifestation of the Fruits of the Spirit that encompasses loyalty and trustworthiness. We, as believers, are challenged to maintain steadfast trust in the Lord through everything. Unfailing faith of a follower of Christ will be rewarded for all eternity (Revelation 2:10).
But faithfulness is also extremely descriptive of God’s ongoing relationship to the world and believers’ desired relationship to God and others. There are four major references to believers’ faithfulness in the Bible:
Moses: The faith of Moses is recounted in Hebrews 11:23-29. This selection retells how Moses was protected by his parents’ faithful actions after his birth and how God protected both Moses and the Exiles through their struggles because of their faith.
Ruth: The faith of Ruth is recounted throughout the Book of Ruth, but is most strongly apparent in Ruth 1:16-17. She kept her faith through the huge loss of not only her husband, but also his father and brother. She took faith that God would protect her as she abandoned her heritage and went with her mother-in-law to Bethlehem. She knew this meant living the rest of her life as a foreigner, but had faith that God would protect her.
The early followers: The early church was also faithful through persecution. The faithfulness of God’s people is recounted in Acts 8 as Saul began his persecution of them.
Paul: Paul summed up his faithfulness in minister in 2 Timothy 4:6-8. Here, knowing that his death was near, he portrays his ministry as an offering to the Lord. He also describes his death as a final sacrifice that would be rewarded by God.
Faithfulness to ourselves results from faith in God and precedes faithfulness to others. Steadfast loyalty and unwavering trust are both considered essential for personal and spiritual growth.
In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
Goodness does not appear in a believer on it’s own. It is the natural result of love, joy, peace, longsuffering and kindness at work (Galatians 5:22-23). And don’t make the mistake of thinking true goodness is simply the absence of evil. It is much more than that. True goodness is righteousness along with acts of kindness.
As with all Fruits of the Spirit, God alone is truly good. His goodness is expressed to us through creation (Genesis 1:31) and experienced by us through salvation (Philippians 1:6). Psalms describes God’s goodness as great (Psalms 31:19) and eternal (Psalms 23:6, 52:1).
Even though God is the only One who is truly good, Scripture encourages believers to seek goodness by modeling our lived after Christ. True goodness is an inward change in a believer’s heart expressed outwardly. This change is the invisible power of a holy God overcoming the sinful nature that is in everyone.
It sounds easy to obtain goodness by just modeling our lives after Christ, but it’s not. Goodness manifests itself only in a life that has been totally committed to the Lord. It is also a requirement for an effective ministry. You can see the outward expression of this goodness of God working in a believer’s life through service to others (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12).
The epitome of goodness in a believer’s life comes from the life of Mother Theresa. At the age of 18, she joined the Sisters of Our Lady of Loreto, a Catholic charity order. 22 years later, she founded her own order to take care of those no one else was prepared to care for. She worked with the sick, homeless and poor in Calcutta, India, for many years. Also during this time, she taught school for 17 years. Her Society of Missionaries has spread worldwide where they now care for shut-ins, alcoholics, homeless and AIDS sufferers.
In her later years, she became famous for meeting with world leaders to promote charity and also for receiving the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize and the US Medal of Freedom in 1985. Along with the Nobel and the US Medal, she received dozens of other awards directed at her efforts to promote peace and wellbeing in the world.
Mother Theresa did not do her good works to receive these awards or acclamations. She did these good works to help those less fortunate and to minister to all about God – the true meaning of goodness.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God has forgiven you.
Kindness may be the easiest of all the Fruits of the Spirit to obtain. In it’s truest form, it is defined as a steadfast love expressed through actions. It is the basis of Godly love. God shows abundant kindness to us (2 Samuel 2:6, Nehemiah 9:17, Psalms 117:2) that is everlasting (Isaiah 54:10).
God wants us to be kind to one another (Ephesians 4:32). As with all Fruits, He expects us to express kindness no matter what circumstances we may be in (2 Corinthians 6:6).
But kindness is not a human reaction. It is a virtue to be added on to faith (2 Peter 1:5-7). It must be developed within us in order to minister in the name of an all-loving God.
You can show kindness in many ways, the simplest of these being a smile. But do not limit yourself to smiles! Look into every event of your everyday life for ways to express kindness. You could open doors, pick up dropped objects or even just pass up a parking space! At a leadership conference I attended, a speaker implored us to express kindness with every action we took. He shared with us that his favorite way to do this was just simply to pass up on that closest parking space. He said every action of kindness should be an effort to brighten someone’s day just a little. And think about the last time you got that closest space – it put a smile on your face, right? We should share that feeling with someone else – share our steadfast love for mankind through our actions.