Monday, February 27, 2012

Why I Write


Sometimes, I feel I owe the few people that take the time to read this blog an explanation - so here goes.

I write because it's cathartic; writing is the way I express myself the best. Unfortunately, recently I can't seem to find the time to write on a consistent basis - hence my lack of blog posts.

I write because it's soothing.

I write because I love it.

I write because it makes me smile.

I write because when I look back and see where I was to where I am now, hopefully I see growth.

I write to encourage others and myself.

I write because reflection is important and since I value growth - reflection and introspection allow me to do so.

I could write about many inane (to me) topics - but I write about the things I do, because they make me think, and I'd like to think make me a better person.

I write because I'm a voracious reader of all genres - and I gain nuggets of wisdom from many sources.

Sometimes I write at night, or through tears, or when I'm happy. When inspiration hits me, I try to respond.

I write to show the relevance of scripture to our modern fast-paced world.

Sometimes, I am challenged as I write - perhaps I think an area is too personal or difficult to share, or a topic too touchy.  I pray over everything I write, but in these instances, I specifically ask God - "Should I write this?" If the answer is yes, my next question is "How?" When I look back, it is only the Hand of God that has allowed to write what I wrote.



This is my year of MORE. One way of being MORE purposeful is by using the gifts I have (writing), to be a blessing.

Therefore I also write as a ministry - to encourage you, to let you know that you're not in this alone, to serve you, and to pray with you.

As this year goes on, I'm challenged to write MORE. I want to write about: Little known People of the Bible, Balaam, The Ass and Church (those 3 go together); Why is it so hard to find a Church; are Christians powerful; Crazy Marriages that Work; When your child appears to be two different  people.  This is just a sample of some of the things I hope to eventually share with you

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10


Have you identified your gifts and talents? How do you use them? Do you wish you had more time to use them?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I'm A Good Person!

Today, you hear the expression "I'm a good person" so often, one would think that this should be the pinnacle of our existence.  Oftentimes this statement is said with awe, deep respect, reverence and most recently as a means of self-justification.

Many may wonder:

  • I'm a good person - isn't that good enough?
  • Don't good people go to heaven?
  • Why isn't it sufficient to be good, why do I have to believe in God and commit to Him?


Doing good does not relieve you of your need for God.  Our good works don't save us; they don't equate to salvation - 1 John 1:8-10

If going to heaven matters to you - your goodness will not get you there - Romans 3:23.

Many who call themselves good are not good all the time, but are well-intentioned.  They mean well - they have some sort of scale where they think that if their good deeds outweigh the bad then they're good! Unfortunately, according to the Bible it does not work this way. If this were the case, everyone who leaves this life and moves on to the next would be going one place - heaven, and there would be no need for the other place - hell.

These are some verses that outline how salvation works:
1 John 5:11-12, Romans 5:8, Titus 3: 5-7.

Heaven is reserved for believers - those who believe in Christ,and acknowledge Him as Lord. What happens next is up to the individual. If you wish to live the way Christ intended you spend alot of time reading the Bible for instruction and guidance, you pray because the Holy Spirit is now in you and you can commune with God, and with God's help you try to do what he wants. Even though you may fail, it starts with the heart. The Bible tells each of us to work out our own salvation - Philippians 2: 12,13.

I recently saw the movie Courageous. There's a scene in this movie that provides a great explanation of why our good deeds won't get us in to heaven while providing a succinct explanation of salvation.


I am not a good person, but God has redeemed me and now I am brand new. If you're relying solely on your good deeds to redeem you, you are hanging on to a fallacy.  I choose to believe the Bible and this is what it says.

What about you - are you a good person? Do you want to know a better way?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A MORE Excellent Way


This is the last line uttered in 1 Corinthians 12,  the precursor to 1 Corinthians 13, widely known as the love chapter. In Chapter 12, Paul speaks of various spiritual gifts in the body (i.e. the Church) and how even though we are different we all need each other to function properly. There are many gifts but they are all given by the same Spirit. He uses the analogy of the body to demonstrate how we all work together. At the end of the chapter he tells the Corinthians to covet earnestly the best gifts - a more excellent way.  In a spiritual sense, the thing that binds us together is love; this love is generated through His Spirit.

What Paul is saying is that love, true love in all its facets is greater than all the many things that we are each gifted with.  Our gifts mean nothing without love. Love emanates from the heart, it's a conscious decision; its not always easy but we know love works, love covers a multitude of sins, love heals, love sacrifices. Without love we are nothing.






Love is a More Excellent Way

Verse 1 
I could speak with the tongue of men and angels 
Love is the more excellent way 
But if I don't have love, I'm just a clanging cymbal 
Love is the more excellent way 
I could have the faith to remove the mountains 
Love is the more excellent way 
But if I don't have love then I have nothing 
Love is the more excellent way 

Chorus 
Love is patient, Love is kind 
Love is Humble, all of the time 
Not easily angered, enduring the test 
So never forget 
Love is the more excellent way (unison) 

Verse 2 
I could have the gift of prophecy 
Love is the more excellent way 
But if I don't have love, does it profit me? 
Love is the more excellent way 
I could understand all my mystery 
Love is the more excellent way 
But if I don't have love it's not enough you see 
Love is the more excellent way 

(Chorus) 

Verse 3 
I could throw my body into the flames 
Love is the more excellent way 
But if I don't have love, I don't have anything 
Love is the more excellent way 
I could give to the poor everything I own 
Love is the more excellent way 
But a heart without love is just a heart of stone 
Love is the more excellent way



Let's strive to be loving in every area of our lives - at work with our grumpy coworkers, at home with our spouses and children, within God's family at church, or wherever we may be, so that the world can know we are different by the love we show.

Love is a MORE excellent way.Strive for excellence. Have you experienced this love?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

MORE

Here's what I'm realizing: I have compartmentalized my life and have not totally given over everything to the Lord.  There's a fear in me that's holding me back.  I only realized this after reviewing a dead end career path within the last four years; I've taken the safe route even though its not fulfilling. I've rationalized the safe route by  telling myself "it's OK, or who needs to be happy in their job or it's just a job", and other such things to make myself feel good. Ultimately these rationalizations made me realize that I'm not doing what I'm called to do.

I've been playing small, when God is so much bigger than my perceptions of Him.

I'm learning that I need to take leaps of faith; not blind and willy nilly leaps, but God inspired leaps of faith.

I'm learning that the only way to build up my faith is to saturate myself with Him by spending time meditating on His word.  What does meditating look like? For me sometimes its looks like I'm doing nothing, but I'm pondering and chewing over something I've read earlier. I'm having quiet conversation with God.  This happens many times in the quiet hours of the morning or while behind the wheel.

My year of MORE is not self seeking so that at the end I have more things; it's truly about wanting MORE of God to be evident in every aspect of my life.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalms 51:10

Do you compartmentalize God? Is there an area of your life that you need to turn over to God?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Smile!

Ever wonder if you're children will get a long and treat each other as friends?

Here's a recent exchange that made me smile and tickled my fancy:



Don't give up. Despite all the fighting, bickering, rivalry that occurs with siblings as a parent, keep parenting.
Follow the scriptures and, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.

Continually teach the word of God - “We will not hide them [instructions and history] from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” Psalm 78:4

Model it by living it out; p
ray often; pray over them and pray for them.


As you can tell they all have different personality traits and as a parent that's sometimes the toughest part - bringing out the best in each child while not making anyone feel less than.

Don't give up and trust God.

Do your older children get along with each other?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Marriage - What Shaped Your Views?

I heard a very interesting question this morning that made me think. The question was,  "As a single person, what influenced your views of marriage - your parents, church, or the larger culture (i.e. hollywood, movies, music, etc.)?"

As I pondered my response to the question, several things came to my mind. When I was single (which was a long time ago) I don't remember feeling like how so many singles feel today. I didn't have a sense of desperation about me, I didn't make lists and I wasn't looking for someone to complete me. I simply lived and enjoyed my life, and even back then I was considered a bit odd. At some point I caved in, because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I learned that if boyfriends aren't Christians and take their walk seriously like I was trying to do, then it wouldn't work. I also realized that if I wanted to keep myself pure, this was going to require major time and effort. Ultimately, I didn't feel very special and wondered what the big deal was, until I met my husband.

For me, my influences would break out like this:


My parents modeled commitment; they didn't always seem happy but they were together and making sure we understood sacrifice.  Partly because of my parents I initially never wanted to get married - they never seem to have any fun; but I guess they did, but I couldn't see it at the time.

I've been a church girl all my life and it has had a strong influence on me. I saw the benefit of doing it God's way and somehow that became integral to who I was.  I saw young and old couples in church and I also saw what happened to people who chose to do things differently.

I read a lot - we couldn't listen to "tuck" (that's what my father called secular music) on the radio and we didn't go to the movies, so reading it was; and I read everything.  So I also learned about life, love and marriage from books and magazines. I felt a bit savvy because of the information I learned from reading.

I'm thankful for Godly parents that modeled marriage and Christianity and were intent on keeping us from being influenced by the world. I'm also grateful for  positive, strong, church families as they fill a gap that's sometimes missing from our biological families and when done right provide you with the tools you need to navigate the culture of the day.

What shaped your views of marriage? Was it parents, church, culture or something else? As a parent, are you cognizant of how you model marriage to your children?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

My Brother's Keeper


Last week a prominent person committed suicide and many were shocked and saddened by it, probably because of his age and his method of dying. Suicide happens; it's not the wisest choice, but an individual chooses this path.
Have you ever felt like you didn't matter? Like no one would care if you weren't here? That God doesn't love you or cares about what's happening to you? Have you ever felt so sad, that it feels like an ache that won't go away? Have you ever wondered if you're a victim of your circumstance? I have felt some of these feelings - but what I know today is that these are all lies. You matter - to others and to God. If you read the Bible you will know that Satan is the father of lies. John 8: 42-44.

Christians suffer with these feelings also - David, Elijah, Job, and Jeremiah are some people mentioned in the Bible who struggled with feelings of unworthiness and wanted to die.

But I want to flip this around and challenge you to be a good friend to the people in your life. Don't categorize your friends and call some of them acquaintances, or associates, or whatever name you give to people that you regularly interact with.
I'm challenging you to consider them all as friends. Get to know them - call them, chat with them, eat with them,  hang out with them.
Don't be a friend that neglects. I know life happens.  One of the saddest things about the recent suicide was a friend on the news saying he wished he had checked in more; as a friend, he had no idea what was going on.

Oftentimes when you're feeling down, just knowing that someone cares can make all the difference in the world. That's what helped me when I was in that place - knowing that someone cares but more importantly recognizing that God cares and I was not in this life alone.

Remember, a friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

In this year of MORE, I'm challenging myself to being a better friend to the people in my life.

Are you a good friend? Are any of your friends hurting? What are you doing to help them?