Thursday, April 1, 2010

Obedience- Changes Lives

Hey Girls,

Ok, this is kinda an eye opening subject for today or at least I think it is. My mom told me a story yesterday that she got in an email and I'm going to repeat it for you here, well to the best of my remembering ability.

Eh em...

There was a man who had a ton of trouble at work because of his horrible boss. Just the worse type of boss really, arrogant, demanding, made the workplace unbearable. Anyway, this man's son received an school assignment for his  psychology class where he had to pass on kind words. (like the movie pay it forward). The son had to say something kind to someone else, who in turn, had to pass a kind word on to another person, so on and so forth. So the son told his father about the assignment and passed on the responsibility to his dad next. So off his father goes to work, thinking about who to compliment when he feels God nudge him to compliment his boss. The man tries really hard to think of something nice to say to his boss and finally comes up with it. He goes to his boss and explains his son's assignment, telling him 'I think you're a creative genius'. So now the boss goes home and has to keep the kindness going. For some reason, he doesn't compliment his wife but seeks out his own son. He tells the boy that he loves him or that he's talented (something uplifting like that). The boy starts to bawl his eyes out, crying and crying. Finally he confesses to his father that there is a note upstairs waiting for him and his mother to read. It's a suicide note. The boy was going to kill himself that day because he felt so depressed that he was worthless and unloved by his parents. 

Good story eh? As soon as I heard it, it hit me, it's all about obedience. If that father did not follow God's nudging to speak to his boss, he may never of connected with his son and the boy could have taken his own life. I don't know about you, but this strikes me as a major responsibility we have. We don't know the impact of the little things we do. When God tells us something, when we feel a nudge inside, I don't think we often consider what major impact our obedience can have. Think about it, when we feel nudged to do for others, do we do it? Or do we doubt God's voice? Do we make up excuses? Or simply let ourselves forget? 

Sometimes people wonder why bad things happen to them, why God doesn't step in and help. Well, consider this, maybe he did, maybe he told someone to go walk that girl home but maybe that person didn't listen. Imagine all the consequences that can occur because one person is not obedient, because they say no. How many times have we said no? How much are we responsible for?

Okay, now it's very important to remember the extent of God's grace and forgiveness. Above all else, he understands. He knows if our motives for saying no to his nudge are selfish, fear based, forgetfulness.. etc. He knows our hearts. I don't think anyone can say that they've listened to every single thing God said and did every single thing he says. We're not perfect and God loves us all the same. He forgives us for not listening to him. After all, God can work everything bad to turn good and he has the master plan so we should not despair of our own shortcomings. 

Yet, we have to be ready and realize that God will ask things of us. Sometimes they may have a big impact and other times they may be as small as emptying the dishwasher so someone else can have a break. Truth is, we don't know what impact our actions or words may have. We just have to be aware, listening. So when God presents us with an opportunity to help, will we be obedient or not?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bible- What does it mean to you?

Hi Girls,

Ever had someone say to you that they don't think the Bible is relevant? Like, because it was written way back, it was all about that culture and society and doesn't have anything to say for ours? It's dated?

Well, anyone who has studied history before can tell you that societies don't change much over time, all go through cycles of boom and decay. All experience sin in some form, all have the choice to choose God or not.

Hebrews 13:8 says "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." And, if that's not clear enough, there is Numbers 23:19, which states "God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind..." So the words God revealed to people to record in the Bible have relevance today, just as they did in the past and just as they will tomorrow because God never changes. He is always the same God. The Holy Spirit continually reveals these words to our hearts, fills them with life and makes them relevant to us because God infuses his spirit into all that he does.

Okay, so what if someone says to you that just because the Bible says God never changes, doesn't mean they believe what the Bible says. How do you prove the Bible is truth? I like to leave this one up to God because he can speak to every heart. But there are books out there that detail the truth of the Bible through historical record. There is evidence that the people, places, and events of the Bible all exsisted. Generally the recorded history of the Bible is easier for people to believe than the fact of God ordering history and of Jesus Christ being his son. That's what people have trouble accepting. Or if they accept that, they have trouble accepting their need to follow the life rules God gives.

I believe the Bible is truth, today and always. What I find is sometimes difficult to discuss with people is the various interpretations of the word. People see verses differently, see interpretations differently. This is a sticky subject. Although, if individuals are really listening to what the Holy Spirit has to say, rather than trying to disect the Bible word for word, they will get the proper interpretations. After all, unless you're educated in the original languages of the Bible, you can't really give a word for word interpretation. I mean, look at all the different versions we have, from The Message to the King James. Some do have more word for word accuracy because the translators strove for that while others replicate main ideas well. In order to understand the Bible, we need the Holy Spirit, because God will reveal the truth to our hearts. I believe the Bible is divinely inspired but it is recorded by people (hence the different interpretations about Jesus's ministry from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). So sometimes what we read is a result of the writer's own style and interpretation. Yet it all speaks the truth. And that's what's important.

Psalm 119:11 "I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you..." Knowing what the Bible has to say to us is important for life, for pure living, being near to God. Yet it's about a heart relationship, not a head intellectual knowledge. God's word is in our hearts, meaning, we have the truth inside. We don't need to knit pick every detail, trying on our own strength to reveal the Bible but just trust in God to show us the truth in the Bible, and to show it to those who don't believe. Then we need to carry that truth with us, strengthening our faith.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Say Thank You

Hi Girls,

I hope you are all feeling good, free, relaxed and unstressing (if not, go read yesterday's post..haha). Today is about thankfulness, saying thank you to God. Maybe you are already ahead of me and do that everyday, if so, good for you. I think it's sometimes so easy to concentrate on what we don't have and forget about all that we do.

I can tell you a few things that I'm thankful for today: that my family is healthy- even pup is on the mend, that the baby rabbits are doing well, that God is always with me, that I have all my needs met and then I'm blessed even more than that because I have fun things to do and the time to do them. What about you?

1 Chronicles 29: 12-14 says  "Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name."But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.'"

Now, all that we have is from God. Everything. So we must thank him for it and that also means, that when we give something away, we aren't really giving away 'our stuff' because it's God's anyway. This is good to keep in mind when we feel like being stingy instead of generous- God is generous to us so we must act that way to others for there is blessing in giving. We are only stewards anyway since God owns everything so if he calls us to generosity, which he does, than we have no choice but to obey like in Deuteronomy 16:17 "All must give as they are able, according to the blessings given to them by the Lord your God."

So, we must be thankful to God for the generosity he has treated us with and follow his example with others. This can be tough sometimes, especially when finances are tight- but I guess we have to remind ourselves that they are God's finances anyway and he can do with them what he likes, same with our time. So let's all say thank you today to God and try to recognize even the little tiny blessings he gives us throughout the day as a way of showing his love for us.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Do you feel the stress??

Greetings Girls,

Happy Monday!! So, check the stress 'o' meter this morning and tell me, are you stressed? It's hard not to be sometimes with so many different pressures on our lives, and not just work related. Personal stress is very difficult to deal with too and often overflows into other areas of our lives.

Phil. 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
1 Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
Matthew 11:28-30 "Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take."

Ok, so these verses are pretty clear. Not much commentary needed. And yet, we have soo much trouble following their drection. Don't be anxious, give God your burdens, trust God...It sounds so simple so why is it so hard to do? Why do we take all these worries and issues upon ourselves? Sometimes we do it because we want to control the situation. If we're truly honest, we'll admit that we don't actually trust God to take care of it and think that we can do a better job- do we? If the level of stress is any indication, the answer is no. What gives us the idea that the God who made the entire world, each one of us, cannot handle something so small as our troubles?

Then again, sometimes we do surrender. We pray to God that he will take our burdens, control our day and we'll just walk in trust. Does that last throughout the entire day? Come on, you have to admit sometimes we pray those things in the morning but by the afternoon we're stressing again. We just let it get to us. We let the doubt creep in and we can't do that. Sometimes surrendering to God has to be a constant throughout the day. God says if we pray our requests to him with thankfulness than he will give us peace and guard our hearts in Jesus. That sounds pretty comforting to me. So I need to believe that once I ask God to take control, than I need to believe that he will do it and send me peace, keeping me with Jesus. So even though it's close to lunch now, let's all do that and let God control the remainder of the day.

And- if the worry or stress is beyond today, not to be resolved than definately get rid of it. Matthew 6:34 says "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." So, don't overwhelm yourself with stuff! God's got everything under control. Let that comfort you no matter what it is that you are dealing with- big or little things. He'll take care of it.

Just imagine how much more free and easy going you will be now. I wish everybody did this, than there'd be no freaking out. Walk in that burden free, light stepping feeling, knowing that your Daddy is taking care of everything so you just have faith, follow him and have fun!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day of Rest

Hi Girls,

Have a good morning so far? Resting? Relaxing. I hope so. God designed it so that we work for 6 days and rest on the 7th. I hope that while you rest, you give glory to God in it all. Take time today to relax and allow others to relax around you, such as, cancel that shopping trip and just stay home. Take time to prepare for what you know is coming next week by getting in a good mental space to deal with it. Let go of the week past, of the problems and troubles that really, you can't fix and let God take care of it. Maybe there are things you can't avoid doing today- that absolutely have to get done- like studying for a final exam tomorrow or preparing something for work but still, try to squeeze in a little time for you and God. It will be worth it. Just to sit, to think, to rest and surrender to him. I know our lives can become busy and stressed so try to let go of it today. God knew we needed a day to restore ourselves, to allow him to restore us. Make sure you take advantage of it. Maybe you're doing shift work and you have to work today- than keep this stuff in mind for your day off! Take one day each week for resting- you need it.