Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
We, as the body of believers he leaves behind, must be gracious senders. We must graciously send him to those God is preparing to change through him. Although he will be greatly missed, we must not let our hearts falter because God is still at work in our midst. After all, it is not about us, but about the father. In all things, we must be just as Jesus was, about our fathers business.
Often "the church", the body of Christ, gets off track and thinks of what they want and not what God wants. Today as our Tuesday morning women’s group discussed session 10 of "Experiencing God", we came to a few conclusions I would like to share with you.
We as the body must always keep in mind who the head is.
The head is the one in charge, the one who directs the entire body. Jesus being the head of the church is the one that directs us as the body. He directs the body as a whole and also each church individually.
It is Jesus we should be seeking our direction from as a body of believers. It is His will that we should seek through prayer, the word, circumstance and other believers. Once we as a body know His will, we then should begin to join Him in His work.
As we embark on the transition of finding a new Pastor to lead our congregation, we must remember that Jesus is still in charge. How ever long it takes and how ever difficult it may become, we must stay focused on His will, not our own. If we look for His direction and then follow where He directs, it will keep us from falling prey to the enemies tactics.
At a time like this, where transition in leadership is taking place, is when Satan loves to do damage to the body of Christ. We as the people of Christ must be aware of his ploys and stay focused and directed by Jesus to ward off the attacks likely to come our way.
We as the body of believers must strive to stay unified.
We must stay focused on being directed by the head - Jesus Christ. Often churches can settle for majority rule in times of transitions because they don't want to wait for the head to unify the entire body. God is the one that builds His church. Each person is in the body and brought to the congregation by God. Jesus prayed for unity in the church (John 17) so the world would believe in him. We should have a similar burden for unity.
We as believers can build up or tear down. During this time of transition, we must be mindful of our responsibility to one another. It is our responsibility to urge each other to unity and not division.
We have a responsibility to help the church accomplish Gods purpose through it.
Each one of us has a responsibility to further the purpose of God. Our church body was established by God for the purpose of furthering the kingdom and bringing Him glory. This purpose can not be fulfilled unless we each take our responsibility to do our part to accomplish it.
You may wonder what that responsibility looks like. I believe it looks like this:
*Each of us must take responsibility for our own attitudes and actions.
We must come together with the attitude of Samuel in 1 Samuel 3:10. Eli told Samuel the go lie down and when the Lord called him to say "Speak Lord, your servant hears." So when the Lord called Samuel he said "Speak Lord, your servant hears."
Samuel didn't argue or resist the Lord. Instead, he came with a humble, compliant, open heart. He came with an open heart to hear what ever it was the Lord had to say.
We too must come to this transition that the Lord has set before us with a humble, compliant, open heart. Our heart and attitude must be one like Samuels, "speak Lord, your servant hears." It doesn't matter who the speaker is on Sunday morning, God speaks when His word is being proclaimed. If we come each Sunday with an open heart we will continue to hear from the Lord no matter who is at the pulpit.
*Each of us also has a responsibility to be our brother’s keeper.
During this time, if we see a brother going in the wrong direction or bringing disharmony to the body, we have the responsibility to reach out in love. We must be advocates for the body and its unity.
If we see others that are unhappy or tearing down instead of building up, we must gently remind them the purpose of the church. It is for Gods glory, we come together. It is His church, in which He graciously allows us to serve.
Friday, June 19, 2009
I know that I must go to the next level, or my walk will suffer. I know that He wants to change this part of me but I am struggling with it.
I have always struggled with having the will power to stay away from things I really wanted. Even if it was bad for me and I knew it, I still was powerless to overcome my thoughts.
I have come a long way in this struggle to gain self control in my life, God has taken many bad behaviors and addictions out of my life. The last one is my issue with weight. Four years ago when I stopped smoking, I instantly began to gain weight. I now need to loss over 50 pounds and live a more healthy life. I know I must learn to live better but I like bad foods.
The truth is, I haven't really wanted to give up my way of living and eating. I know God is requiring it but I still love my sin.
Please give me the heart that wants to change. Give me a heart that hates my sin.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with all the other souls.
Before each of us laid our lives like the squares of a quilt in many piles; an angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life..
But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in every day life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all.
I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened. My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air.
Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light, the scrutiny of truth. The others rose; each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been.
My angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise. My gaze dropped to the ground in shame.
I hadn't had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness, and wealth, and false accusations that took from me my world, as I knew it. I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully, each time offering it up to the Father in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me.
And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was. I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light. An awe-filled gasp filled the air.
I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes. Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image, the face of Christ.
Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes.. He said, 'Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles. Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you.'
May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ to shine through!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
God is calling. It seems to be falling on deaf ears here in America. We have gotten so comfortable, that even some that serve Christ are ignoring His call.
I have heard much in the last year about America needing revival. Some say it is the only thing that will save our nation from falling into punishment.
We have less of a heart for Israel than ever before in history. Some predict with the current administration in the white house, we will no longer go to the defense of Israel like in past years. This is a scary commentary. Historically those nations that defended Israel were blessed by God and those that harmed her were cursed by God. So far we have been blessed as a nation because of our allegiance to Israel.
Because of our continuation of refusal to follow God's commands, we have begun to see the hand of blessing disappear. Will it disappear completely?
So we that know God want revival for our nation, right? Well, repentance must come before revival. What will it take for us to come to real repentance?
Joel 2:12-17 "Now therefore," says the Lord, turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning." So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness: and He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him-- A grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babies; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, weep between the porch and the alter; let them say, "Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, Where is their God?"
If we really want revival, it starts with a repentant heart and a repentant people. The Lord says "Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning." Can we truly say we have turned to Him with this kind of heart?
We must turn to Him with broken and repentant hearts, willing to put our own lives and agendas aside if we truly want revival for America. We must fast and call out for His spirit to fall on a nation that has turned away. Otherwise, we will see the other nations say "Where is their God?" as they mock us.
Friday, June 5, 2009
I remember a moment for me that happened several years ago. My husband and I were driving through the carwash, getting ready to leave town for a weekend of fun at the lake, when my cell phone rang. It was a police sergeant asking that I come to my mother’s house.
This was the day I found out my brother had committed suicide. My life as I knew it changed that day. Relating to my family changed and holidays would never be the same again. A day wouldn’t go by from that day on that I wouldn’t think of him.
You never know what is around the corner or what tomorrow will bring. Sometimes it’s a trial that leads to heartache, other times it’s a joy that makes your heart sore.
In the same week, last week, we were told that we had another grandchild on the way and that our Pastor of ten years is leaving. Joy filled my heart for the change and addition to the family while sadness overcame me to lose someone so important.
God is at work and sending our Pastor to the mission field to do mighty things. Here on the home front it will change, but is that all bad? I would say, not necessarily. Although change can be difficult to go through and sometimes even heartbreaking, if it’s creating in us the character of Christ we are better off in the long run.
I have seen sadness that brought me to my knees and I've also seen joy that made me sore to heights unknown. What I have learned is to hold all that I have loosely and find my happiness in what is to come.
In a world where everything can change and nothing is for certain, there is still one thing that never changes. Our God never changes and his promise of a future is assured. It is the one thing we can rest our hat on and know that will stand the test of time.
So, I say we put our trust where it belongs, in the one true God and look with hearts of hope to the day that is promised. I say we look forward to each day saying "Come Lord Jesus, Come!"
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Lift it up and pull it back..... A tuck here, nip there.....
There’s a craze that has invaded our society these days, it’s stay younger and defy gravity. In the pursuit of looking younger and more alluring we are making a new breed of doctors extremely wealth. The doctor I am referring to is the plastic surgeon.
Seems these days every woman has at least thought about the possibility of changing something about themselves with plastic surgery. I admit, I’ve thought about it. With a culture so focused on body image and looks, it’s hard not to buy into the quick and easy mentality.
We are hit with the concept, "have it our way fast and without any work", at every turn. The old saying "anything worth having doesn't come easy" has long been forgotten. We want happiness, but without any effort of our own. We want our cake and eat it too. If you put it on a stick so we can have it to go, its even better.
Maybe what we need instead of a quick fix or "lift" on our face is a change inside. What we really need is a faith lift.
Allot of churches in American have lost their faith. Not that some don't still believe and preach the gospel correctly. But where is the big God of the bible these days? You know, the God that does God-sized things?
Budgets are made, giving is recorded, but where is the step out into the unknown? Historically, when God wanted to do something to show himself, it required big faith of His people.
Moses stepped out in big faith and faced the Pharaoh of Egypt. Abraham followed God without knowing where he was going. Noah built an ark while everyone laughed and mocked. The disciples performed miracles that made many believe.
When people see God at work, they then believe. Where is God at work in our midst? Where are the God-sized events that show His greatness? Have we lost so much of our faith that we have reduced Him to a small insignificant God? Do we even care anymore? Having it our way is much more pleasing to our flesh, so why should we care?
If America is to survive and thrive as a "Christian nation" faith is essential. A faith lift is necessary if we are going to do things God's way and it starts with us.
Our nation was built on the belief in a God that is big enough to create a universe.
Faith and obedience in God’s ways is not always easy. If we are be what God asks us to be we must step out in faith when God urges us to do so. We must step out to do the impossible, believing God will accomplish His purposes.
Faith requires action. Our actions show our faith. When God calls do we obey? Do we step out and take the risk of looking like a fool? Do we sacrifice our comfort? Do we love Him enough to do that?