Tuesday, November 6, 2012

No longer a "Law-Man"...

I am a bit behind in my on-line bible study and so tonight rather than watch all the news coverage I stayed in my room with the bible open, pencil sharpened and highlighter ready and dug in!  (Another night like this and I will be completely caught up!)

 I am studying Paul's Life and Journey.  While reading in Galatians Chapter 2 Paul was accepted by the Apostles, not because of who he was but what God had done in his life.  Paul called Peter out when he was swayed and failed to follow God's Plan, even pulling Barnabas into swaying.  The laws are good but they aren't what make us acceptable to God.  We are justified by Christ's death and resurrection.  There is nothing we can do that will make God love us more.  Yet all to often I fall into  the same trap as Peter.  I am swayed by the crowd, or I am afraid to stand out or stand up to those that are not following God's truth.  The rules/laws were written for us to follow before Christ came to show us the way.  Now I am a rule follower by nature!  I like rules, order, structure.  So sometimes I struggle with God's amazing grace, that it comes with out a price (at least for me) with out some stipulation that I must follow first.  God knows this about me and helps me to see that I don't have a list of do's and don'ts to follow instead He says when you Believed you received the Holy Spirit!  There isn't any list of things that I can check off that once completed I am justified, instead it's only through Christ's death and resurrection.  

My Prayer is that I will take Paul's words (The Message Version) from Galatians 2 19-21 and make them my prayer/petition before God.  That I will no longer try to please the world and live by the worlds way of thinking but instead remember Christ's Life was given for me so that I wouldn't have to.  
Galatians 2:19-21(The Message)  

What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a loving relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

It is my hope that I will no longer be a "law-man" but instead be a woman after God's heart.  A woman who is completely free from the laws, ways of this world!  

I know that God knows what He is doing in my life and even though I can't see the end result I am satisfied to know He is with me right here and now. That my life is lived for God and not the world!  That I am not alone.  


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Stirring the Embers...

While studying to teach the Sunday School Lesson tomorrow, I came across this : 

A bundle of small twigs can start an enormous fire. But left alone, a blazing ember from the fire will quickly burn out. The same can be said for us as Christians. In order to experience authentic community hearts and minds must come together-we cannot go it alone. When we come together we need to stir the embers, adding to the warmth of our community.

I want to be a part of stirring the embers so that I may experience this true community, togetherness with other believers.  I don't want to feel like we are going it alone.  Instead I want to be a part of something bigger than me, something only God can stir up in me and others around me.  

So How do we fan the flames or stir the embers to experience this true community?  I think Romans 12 is a pretty good example! 

Romans 12: 9-21 (Message Version) 
9-10 Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.   

I so want to be more like this Love deeply and put others needs above my own, I don't do this enough!

11-13 Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

Being in the word each day is one way I can keep myself fueled and aflame.  I fail at this, then wonder where is God, why isn't He keeping the fire going when it's me who has doused the flame.  

14-16 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.

17-19 Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”

Don't hit back!  (wow, needed that conviction!) I think it's somewhat human to "hit back" especially when we feel we have done nothing wrong to deserve being "hit" or treated in an unfair way.  I do try to see the beauty in each person, trying to remember that each of us was created in God's image His likeness and when I am not seeing the beauty in that then I need to get my eyes checked.  (Usually its a heart check that I need) 

20-21 Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

Doing good even when it's hard, or maybe especially when it's hardest would be the better way to say this.  

I know God's not through with me yet, so I need to keep my eye's alert for Hid beauty in each person I come in contact with , I need to dig into His word so that I may know and grow in Him more, and I need to allow Him complete control over my life.  Until I can do this I am like the ember that just burns out.  I wan to be more than that burning out ember. I want to be a part of something bigger, a raging fire burning for the Lord.  SO that's my prayer tonight that whatever God has for us, where ever He sends us that we will be more than a spark/ember that burns on our own and burns out but a part of a raging fire shining God's light, love for the world to see.  


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Our inner attitudes do not have to reflect out outward circumstances...

Today I stayed home with both kiddo's they weren't feeling well and we all needed a day of rest.  During this  time of rest i continued my efforts to declutter the house.  While cleaning out a closet and the dresser in the living room I came across a notebook with sermon notes from November of 2008.  I did get both things cleaned out but also got some encouragement.  I thought I'd share with you today:

Being Thankful in Difficult Times:

Philippians 4:6-8

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

1.) Worry about Nothing
v. 6 Don't be anxious about anything.  40% of what we worry about never even happens.  Worry can not change the past or control the future it only messes up your life today.  

Matthew 6: 25-34 tells us not to worry about what you will eat or drink, about your body, or what you will wear.  v 27  reminds us worrying does nothing for us! Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

2.) Pray about Everything
v.6 but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. 

God is concerned about everything--
1 Peter 5:7  Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 
Matthew 11:28 Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  

Pray with out ceasing! 

3.) Thank God in All Things

People who are thankful are happier and more joyful.  
1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus.  

God has a purpose bigger than my problems.  God will give me what I need in that problem.

4.) Think about the Right Things

v.8 Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.  

5.) Experience Peace of Mind
v. 9 And the God of Peace will be with you-- will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus

Our inner attitudes do not have to reflect  out outward circumstances.  

Wow this last statement about our attitudes  not reflecting our outward circumstances really struck me today.  You see yesterday at work first thing some one gave me attitude about something I did trying to be nice for them, now I could have just brushed it off but I didn't instead I allowed it to color my attitude for the whole day.  Let's just say as the day went on it seemed to get worse. I allowed my inner attitude (especially the negativity that I had experienced during the day) to be affected by my outward circumstances.  I could have stewed on it today and repeated it constantly in my head but instead after finding this I an encouraged to allow God to work on my inner attitude!  To allow His truths to penetrate my heart and not to focus on my outward circumstances.