Friday, May 28, 2010

When God Says No

Hi There,

Has God ever told you no before? Well, recently I had a job interview and got offered the job at the end of the interview. It sounded like a really great opportunity and so my husband and I spent a few days praying about it but in the end, we just didn't feel like it was right. It was strange because both of us wanted to go but yet there wasn't peace about it in my heart. It didn't feel right to me. So I didn't take the job. It was disappointing. Yet I realize that the important thing about this whole situation is that we listened to the nudging of God. Just because we want something, doesn't make it right- doesn't make it God's will.

I've heard a bunch of times about unanswered prayers- that God doesn't answer all prayers. But sometimes I wonder if he has answered and it is 'no' or 'not yet' or 'wait'. All those things can be very hard to hear for us and sometimes we may not listen. After all, how often has it happened where something has come along your path that seemed just right for you and you went ahead and pursed it without consulting God about it? It's not easy to hear a no answer to something we want. It's disappointing and somewhat frustrating. But think about it, when God tells us 'no' to something (even something like dating that boy you have a crush on)- that is a perfect indication that he has a plan. He will tell us yes to something else.

After all, if we choose to follow God than we have to follow him wherever he leads and wherever he doesn't lead. I think sometimes there is such a huge focus on the going, on the yes answers and how to walk in obedience to that. Have you ever heard a sermon preached where the pastor talked about listening to God's no answers? I guess for me, it seems that I hear so often about the doing, the going- people talking about how to step out in faith and go where God calls. Well, what about stepping out in faith and listening when God tells us not to go somewhere? Listening to a no answer takes just as much faith as listening to a yes answer. Hearing a no means you may be left at square one again, you may still feel stuck in the same place, you may be confused, frustrated and wondering what in the world is going on- it takes faith to trust God that he has a plan in place.

So I encourage you today to consult with God about all your choices you have to make and then to have the courage and faith to accept his no (and the yes ones too, of course) answers, even when it is something you really want. God knows best. And we're following him and he's got the road map. So let's trust God for the plans for our lives and for each step we need or don't need to take.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

This is NOT a test

Hey All,

Ok, I was watching TV the other day and someone gave their opinion of what Christianity entailed, which was a test. I've often heard or read about the idea that God is testing someone, this is a test to see what they will do. Well I don't believe at all that the idea of Christianity is that there is a test where our life is based upon either good or bad things we do and that in the end we go to either Heaven or Hell based on how we were in life. In my opinion, that's honestly ridiculous. I've read the Bible cover to cover a few times and no where can I recall where it said that life is a test. It's not pass or fail. Not at all, rather it's believe or not. It's faith, not works.

Galatians 2:16 "Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law." 

Romans 6:11 "And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved"

So we are saved by faith alone. In the end, we go to Heaven to be with Jesus not because we did a whole bunch of good stuff in our lives but because we recognized Jesus as the son of God, that he came and died, and rose again, that he defeated death and saved us from our sins. We recognized and put our faith, our trust, our lives, in God's hands. 

Life is not test. Maybe you've felt before that God was testing you in a situation, that you felt as if you were under scrutiny for what you were doing. Well, God is a loving father. What loving parent (who loves perfectly, better than our earthly parents could ever be) would set up life as a series of tests to challenge their child and see if they're good enough or not? No parent would because any loving parent unconditionally accepts and treasures their child, believing in their worth and value that cannot be measured or tested. 

Sometimes we do encounter situations where we feel as if there is a choice or action to make. We may have to choose right from wrong. Well, not ever do we have to go it alone or rely on ourselves. In situations like that, just ask God to help you. For example, maybe you've been praying for patience and then all these situations seem to come along that act to 'test' your patience. Is God bringing you 'tests' because you asked for more patience? I don't think so. I think your eyes are on trying to be more patient so you recognize those situations more easily than you would if your focus was on something else, like resisting your temper. Situations can arise that call for patience, but God will help you to be patient- if it was a test, you'd be totally on your own. These situations may seem to come more frequently because God is helping you to build patience- look at it as a positive rather than a negative. It isn't- oh will she be patient or not? It is more like, it is time to try to be patient and God will help her to do that.

Christianity is all about God, following Christ, his love for us. It's believing that God sent his son Jesus in the world to die for us, and then who rose again to give us life forever. It's about creation, the fall and the resurrection. It's about life. It's about grace. We are saved by the grace of God. We go through life, the ups and downs, the mistakes and sorrows, the joys and triumphs but through it all, God redeemed us even though we don't deserve it and can never ever do anything to deserve being saved and forgiven ("We are all infected and impure with sin.When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags"- Isaiah 64:6). We can just rest in the assurance that we are forgiven, that God gave us grace- an undeserved gift- because he loves us.

John 3:16 "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Friends Forever

Hi Girls,

Aren't our friends great? It is just so much fun to be friends with someone, to have someone you can count on. So, think of this post today as an ode to friends. I think friendship is very important because it's a bond that bring people together, gets built over time or even very quickly- and it can last, even if you don't see someone for awhile. Friendships, like any relationship, also take a lot of work. Sometimes friends can grow apart, can disappoint, can fade but for that particular time in our life, they were there. Friends can come and go as life changes. Yet I think, as an individual, it's important that we always practice being a good friend. Our 'being a friend' ability can grow and develop as we meet and interact with more people, and learn how better to do that.

Think about your most important friendships in life, maybe with your family members or a significant other. After all, if you're married or in a serious relationship, your closest friend should be your husband/fiancé/boyfriend. They're the one that you're building your future with. It's important that you learn how to best be a friend to him and for him to learn how to be a friend to you. Best friends are a wonderful foundation for a life long love relationship. It provides the basic building blocks, the connections that keep you talking and having fun together. You have to be friends first, friends before lovers.

There are soo many friendship verses in the Bible, such as Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 or John 15:12-15. There are verses about how to be a good friend such as "Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses." Proverbs 27:5-6 New American Standard. Or, "If you find honey, eat just enough— too much of it, and you will vomit. Seldom set foot in your neighbor's house— too much of you, and he will hate you." Proverbs 25:16-17 New International Version. 

Yet, we can't forget our most important friend of all. "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother," (Proverbs 18:24 New International Version); Jesus, he is that friend. As people comes and go in our lives, Jesus will always be there- always be our friend. That never changes. 

So enjoy your long weekend, spend time being a friend as well as with your friends, and your friends who are your family.