Have you had those times in your life that you are okay with just being okay in your spiritual life?
The coasting though, without self reflection, is a comfortable place to be. You look around at others and you feel that you’re doing better than that person. Not in judgement ( of course ) but in facts. Well, maybe in your observation? Crap that is judgment. As you see I am not doing as well in my walk as I had hoped I was? I am passing judgment without notice. I don’t know everyone’s story or why they do the things they do. So why do I act like I have a clue?
I have been involved in different activities the last few weeks and listened to sermons that made me believe that I was a little more on track than I had given myself credit for. I was feeling pretty proud of myself.
Yikes Pride! See, again God was working on me and I didn’t know. Now came the day that Sergio and I had to make up the first lesson of a new bible study. Did you get that? We missed the first day. To make up the leader dropped off the material at our home. We decided we needed to honor the commitment, sat down on the couch to begin our lesson. Oh God why do you test me so?
This lesson is called Gods at War. I had no idea what I was in for when we pressed the play button on the DVD and nor did I know that my pen would be forced to to write so many things that are my gods. Yes me the one that was proud of herself for being a little better than that guy. I had written several thing that I need to personally work on. This first study opened with asking what gods do you serve? Gods of pleasure, of love, of money, of power, of yourself? Ouch, ouch and ouch!
As I examined myself I realized that I had a lot of work to do. I watched Sergio writing away and thought to myself, yeah Sergio I bet your list is long. Oh my goodness here I was again in judgment. Maybe my list is longer? Maybe I should stay out of Sergio and God’s relationship?
This study included daily lessons throughout the week. This proved to be a struggle as well. The more I wrote the more I realized that God placed me in this bible study for a reason. I was in need of spiritual growth. It was terrible that I had allowed myself to think that being just okay in my spiritual walk was okay. It’s not!
Today I challenge you examine what gods you are serving.
What has left you the most disappointed?
What do you sacrifice your time and money on?
What do you worry the most about?
Where do you go for comfort?
What makes you angry?
What do you dream of?
Are any of the above placed above God?
Some of the above are hidden in the world of “I am doing okay in my spiritual walk.” In the world of” I am doing better than that guy.”
Check out the study Gods at War or take time to examine the gods you may be serving. Dig deep, you’ll be surprised. I have been.
Share your thoughts with me, I’d love to hear from you. Keep rolling on!
I was blessed to have the oppturnity to teach with Sergio and Ashley in the montains at a youth retreat. This was the first time I would serve for three days and hours from home. I was excited and anxious all at the same time. I wasn’t sure what I would teach and how to approach a room full of teen girls in a manner that would keep them engaged. As I pondered I knew that I wanted the girls to be connected with me enough that would feel safe to relax and take me in as one of their own.
After prayer and a little research I came across some old journaling I had done years ago. I realized how much I enjoyed reading entries from the different chapters in my life. I smiled and even cried at some of the written goals I has set for myself and met. Some of these entries I couldn’t recall even writing. This is my handwriting so it had to of been me behind the pen. It was such a soothing moment when I realized that God guided me to my journals. I searched more and more and read more and more out of different journals and came across my first prayer journal.
Thanks God. This is one of the subjects He wanted me to teach the girls. He wanted me to share with them how vital a personal relationship with Christ is, how we need to communicate through prayer, and how we can implement a prayer journal. In teaching the girls I wanted them the know how journaling is not just a way to communicate but also a way to reflect. I shared how going back through our journals will help us see the answered prayers, even when the answer may have been no. How we can go back and look at the struggles we have overcame and see then ones that we still need to work on. How we can go back on a bad day and read about the days that we could clearly see Gods blessing to help us get on the track of counting blessings again. As Ashley and I stared to pass out supplies the girls quickly started to design and cerate their prayer journal. Their body language started to relax and this allowed God to guide them. I could sense they were already thinking of the first words they would write. My heart began to fill at the thought.
In taking the time to teach about comunitacaton and journaling it made me long to stay this connect to not only to my heavenly father but to these girls. In taking time to share my feelings I had when I read my journaling it made want to read more of my writing. To go back to revisit the victories and to regroup to conquer the struggles that are alive on the pages. The pages of communication with my Maker and friend.
Take the time to start your own prayer journal. It’s amazing what you can find out about yourself if you write it down. It is amazing the relationship you can grow with God if you write down your prayers. You can decorate it like we did at the youth retreat, or you can buy one and simply fill the pages with your words. We have even created a page you can print off as many times as you’d like to write on. Start off small, print off one page and write on it, see how you feel and then print off another and continue to write. Don’t forget that prayers are not always for asking, they can be for praising, or even just telling God what’s on your mind. Enter your e-mail address below to get the Prayer Journal print outs.
When serving others you gain so much. You dig into places you may not of ventured down in awhile. When opening up to others you see the deeper parts of yourself that perhaps you hadn’t seen for some time. Share ways that you serve others and how that helps you stay connected.
Keep Rolling On. Keep Writing On. Keep Praying On!
I started to feel that the everyday steps I make, in my life, are not made because of joy or passion anymore. My steps were not guided by love. Instead my steps were taken because of need and obligation and clouded by worldly things. Why do I need material stuff to make me feel whole? Are the idols I have put into my life consuming me? Have I traded what sustains me from the inside for what the world says I need to sustain me from the outside? Is this why we tend to live out of our means? Has this taken control of our lives to a point that we start to forget what is important?
God, family, and relationships are what should be important. They are at the core of what will give us joy, and what gives us the full sensation in our hearts. It is only found when God, family and our relationships are part of our lives. Without them we are lost and empty. We search for false idols to fill in the gap and the emptiness in our hearts.
It’s not hard to find, most times it’s right in front of us. But because we’re so busy with our lives we don’t make time to seek it out. We can’t take a minute out of our day to glance at our surrounding and see what we are missing. When the last time you enjoyed the beauty of a sunrise, or you offered a warm hug to someone, just because? God never wanted us to be empty or alone in this big world. That is why he made a man and a woman, as well as animals, and the earth to live on. That full sensation we feel in our hearts is his spirit living inside us. The Holy Spirit. We can easily forget that He’s waiting for the day when we open our eyes and heart.
If God were to come up to you in the streets and ask you, do you love me, how would you answer? Would you say. “Of course I love you God, I go to church every Sunday, I pray every night, and I tithe. Doesn’t those actions show you that I love you?
God would say “No this doesn’t show me you love me, it shows the world.” God wants a relationship with you. He wants you to lay down your life, and to follow what He has commanded, so He can fill the emptiness in your life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believeth in him would not perish, but have everlasting life” John 3:16
“God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us then we do about ourselves” 1 John 3:20
This year I celebrated 20 years of marriage with my wife. We have created many memories together that show our love for each other. But there’s one memory that stands out to represent her love for me. One day out of the blue she asked me if there was anything she did that bothered me. I had to pause for a minute to make sure it wasn’t a trap. Once I knew it wasn’t a trap and she really wanted to know, I told her a few things that bothered me. Afterwards I felt obligated to ask if there was anything that bothered her about me. She handed me her list that was ten pages long, front to back.
I felt weird after telling her that there are things that bothered me about her, it’s not something I would normally share because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. However, something amazing started to happen, she was trying to not do the things that bothered me anymore.
Why would she do this? It was because she loved me, loved me so much that she wanted to correct her actions. She was willing to change herself for me. When you love someone you change a few habits to show your love and that you’re committed to the relationship. I believe this is what God wants to see in us. Would you be willing to change your life because you know it bothered Him? Can you love Him with all of your heart? Could you give up the worldly stuff, addictions, and your pride?
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” Matthew 16:26
We need to start living our lives, acting like God could walk up to us on the street at any time and ask us do you love me. We need to love our families in the same way. What a beautiful thing this would be for our children to see us love in this way. To see our children mimic how we love would be a start at changing the world. God wants us to be in relationship with each other. Let’s not let the world cloud our eyes with false joy and love that is found in possessions, status, or in any of the idols that we place in front of God’s love. His love is unconditional, unlimited, and complete.
“Your name is permanently engraved in the palms of his hands and no man shall pluck them out” Isaiah 49:16, John 10:28
Remember you can’t worship the Lord if you’re still in love with the world! Remember to Keep Rolling On
It’s a question I often ask myself. Not that my self worth relies in how people see me but in how they see Him in me. I leave work, meetings, church, or social events hoping I have shown that God’s guidance has been whispering in my ear. In places where tension lives I wonder what others see in me? What lasting impression have I left?
I do not and will never know what every person sees in me when we have been in contact. I am certain that many have not seen Him in me and wonder when my horns will start to grow. At times I will forget to show God’s grace. This week I had the opportunity to hear from several people how they see something within me that they not only appreciate but do not understand. They wonder how I can handle myself with such compassion and passion. They ask how do I handle stressful situations with ease. The answer is that My Strength is in Him.
I end this week with a smile on my face because, I would consider this week to be weak in terms of growth for myself. This week has been a struggle! Accomplishing life’s many demands without feeling I was going to lose it was difficult. God showed me otherwise. For this week He said I got it right. At least for the ones that shared how they see this strength in me and how I touched them personally. For them I left a positive impression. I pray that I can continue this path next week.
Thank you for sharing how I have made your day better, for sharing your struggles and trusting me to pray for you. Thank you for sharing how you watch me in stressful situations and are amazed that I can keep a smile on my face. Thank you for going out of your way to encourage me by your willingness to share how I encourage you. This is what keeps me going, this is what drives me to work hard at whatever project I am currently working on. Giving you the glimpse of Him working in me and through me is my mission and purpose. I will not always get it right and I will stumble but if I can give you the desire to seek who drives me I have done what I was meant to do. For you to see Him even when you are not aware of it, is the greatest gift I can give.
Again I ask you, what do they see when they see you? What lasting impression do you leave? I hope that you simply leave grace.
I have a time or two in my life and when I come back to myself and find who I really am, I am always shocked to find how lost I was.
Losing yourself comes in small slow steps until one day you wake up and realize you are someone you never set out to be. You became the worst version of yourself and are very unsure of how to get yourself back.
I’ve woken up and forgotten who I was and tried to change my ways to be more of myself.
It is like living in a vacuum because I was aware of my not-so-me self, but I still continued to do the things that doesn’t make me, me. It is an out of body experience where the true you is trying to tell the lost you to stop, but the lost you forgot who she is and doesn’t remember how to get back.
I have a lot of these moments when I struggle to get back to the me I really am.
One day I went to church (which admittedly is not a place I attend regularly) and the old me found this other version of me.
Church starts out with worship music played live by the worship team comprised of bass, guitar, piano, drums and singers. There are two monitors to display the lyrics of the songs, allowing the congregation to sing along. But on this particular day when I remembered who I am the lyrics did not appear on the screen.
Some members of the congregation was lost without those lyrics, they could not sing the song if they didn’t know the words.
But not me!
I knew every single word to the song, and it made me remember who I was. I grew up in the church singing and Shout to the Lord was always one of my favorite songs. This part of me that I had lost for so long came rushing back.
Music has an indescribable impact on the human spirit. Part of me wonders if I would have felt so great if the lyrics were on the screen. The lack of the words made me dig deep to remember myself. The girl who loves to sing songs at church.
This is a moment that happened months ago, and I search for that moment when I know I need it. I make myself remember how I felt when I was singing that song, and what that song really means to me. I still struggle and I still don’t admittedly attend church every Sunday but it is something I know I need to work on.
Maybe I wrote this for myself, to remind me who I am and to remind me what being who I am feels like, but I do know that everyone has to feel this way at some point.
Go ahead and decorate your homes with fluffy bunnies, yellow chicks and baskets filled with eggs. Set aside your best clothes and prepare your ham to be ready by lunch. Eat the ears off the chocolate bunnies and enjoy the yucky peeps (sorry to my peep loving friends) choose whether to say Happy Easter or Happy Resurrection Sunday.
All I ask is that you will first prepare for this beautiful day by reflecting on why it is the most beautiful. Remember that God made the ultimate sacrifice for you. Yes you! He loved you so much that He was willing to feel pain that is unexplainable on Friday and on Sunday he rose, just as promised. He proved to you that you are worth it all. He paid for you with his blood. You have the opportunity to live with him freely once your time here on earth is over. Close your eyes and imagine eternity with him. Eternity is forever.
His resurrection proved that He is Messiah and that He has the victory over Satan, sin, and death. He has broken the chains that tried to keep you from having a future embraced by Him. Once his lifeless body rose our lives have been made complete. All the ugly sin and darkness over the world has no power over him. Death cannot hold him down. He is in fact Alive!
What are your plans for Resection Sunday? Share with me the special ways that you prepare. Are you a peeps eater?