Monday, December 31, 2007

I am THANKFUL for my new years eve alone!

I went home for Christmas with all these expectations. I felt like I was changed and I wanted everyone to see the difference. I tried to make all the gifts I was giving thoughtful and encouraging. I was scared, but I felt like God was directing me and whether I was comfortable or not, I had to obey. I did most of the time, but my faith was continually tested because I kept thinking “I hope I don’t offend anyone”. I had to remind myself “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” Romans 1:16 and “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2 Tim 1:7

But there was a time that I felt like the entire trip was a failure. I was my old self - but even worse. I felt like I had sprinted into temptation and the discouragement stayed with me for days. I knew that it was wrong. I knew I didn’t have to do it, but I just did it anyway. That’s why I am so upset by it because I know that God always makes a way for escape but I didn’t see it or if I did, even worse I ignored it!

Ever since I’ve been home I allowed the discouragement to be my primary emotion. All the while asking God why is this happening? Why do I feel like You are so far from me?

There have been a couple things that have happened to help me understand and bring perspective.

I know because I am changed, I am being attacked more relentlessly then ever. Satan is grasping at straws because he is losing his grip but I still show signs of weakness. I know that when the Holy Spirit speaks to me and I don’t listen that is going to pull me further from God, further from peace.

I almost didn’t go to church last Sunday because I wasn’t in a place where I thought I could go. But I was thankfully encouraged to go, so we went. It was a perfect surprise because it was NOT what I expected but EVERYTHING that I need. Isn’t it amazingly flawless how God work’s. Then today I got a call from someone who needed some encouragement and by me searching the bible to encourage her, I found what I needed.

1 Pet 4:12-13
12Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed
when his glory is revealed.


2 Cor 12:8-10
8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

It’s so important to have family (brothers and sisters) in Christ. I’ve always done things on my own and still do at times, but I’ve been encouraged. It’s essential to spend time daily with God and spend time with people in your life that encourage you.

I am THANKFUL for my new years eve alone! I pray that 2008 will be full of testing, growth and wisdom.

1 John 5:2-4
2This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

God has plans - Great Plans!

Guilt is such a hard thing to get away from. When I do something wrong or act in a way that people around me would be shocked to hear I am a Christian, I feel guilt and sadness. And sometimes let it get the better of me.

I sometimes feel guilty because I was raised in a “Christian Family”. I went to church regularly from birth until I was eighteen. I went on numerous mission trips to Mexico and even Bermuda. I should know better then to do things I have done and continue to do. I have to accept that I am a sinner and not hold myself to this unrealistic expectation that I have had, thinking I came from something that held me to a higher standard and always feeling like a failure. Because I felt like that, I allowed myself to be a failure.

I know I must QUICKLY turn God and admit my sin so it will not get in the way of our relationship. I know the more I do it the stronger our relationship gets and the less I am inclined to sin because I am filled with the Holy Spirit. Don’t get me wrong I will always sin, but the key is, to keep a close relationship with God and always listen.

God has plans, great plans! I am grateful that I know God and want my family and friends to know what I know. Some people I am confident have a living relationship with God, some people I see coming around and some I don’t know about and they are always on my mind.

I have had so much on my mind as far as what my witness. I was listening to a sermon the other day on the Bema Seat and have become very convicted but find that I am still trying to balance myself between God’s will and my obedience and what is acceptable by the worlds standards and people around me.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7

Sunday, December 16, 2007

At times I even felt jipped

Meaning is very important to me. If I can’t find meaning in things they become unimportant to me. This can sometimes make me seem mean or cold because someone else might find something meaningful and I don’t so I dismiss it as unimportant. I am working on that.

I went to a women’s retreat in 2002 and all of the women were given a bookmark with a verse on it. We were told that there was a group of women that had been praying for each of us individually and each of us got our own verse. This was something that made me feel very special I felt like I was getting something direct from God and that was something I always longed for but rarely if ever felt like I got.

My verse is Colossians 1:9-11. I read it over the years but didn’t really feel like it was for me. At times I even felt jipped. First off, it should have been verse 9-12, verse 11 just cut’s off in the middle and if it was from God he would have surely given me verse 12, and secondly I really felt like it could have been for anyone, it seemed kind of generic.

9For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully

Well, it only took me five years to finally get it. This wasn’t a block of text that was supposed to change my life, this was my starting place! I was given the beginning of the chapter and I never took the next step to keep reading the whole chapter and eventually the entire book. I read it a couple weeks ago and only took about 15 minutes. What followed was God speaking directly to me…again ;) At a time in my life when I’m really struggling between my life that I created which basically sucks and the life that God is trying to give me which is potentially amazing, I stumble upon “Rules for Holy Living” in chapter 3. Argggg…..sometimes I am so frustrated with myself.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Col 3:1-4