Saturday, August 29, 2009

Humility vs. Pride

1 Peter 5:5, "...God resists the proud and giveth grace to the humble."

I'll never forget the way that I saw this verse illustrated at one time. One person was walking toward, trying to get up close, to someone, and that person had their hand up, holding them back, so that they couldn't get near them. They were resisting their attempts to draw near to them. Pride is a horrible thing that everyone struggles with. But, I sure don't want the pride in my life to be keeping God away from me. It is a serious thing to distance ourselves from God and His grace. I used to have a real problem with people who I thought were proud or arrogant. I had a hard time liking them and listening to leaders who appeared this way. But then I heard someone teach that if we knew someone who was proud, we better pray hard for them, because their pride is causing God to resist them. They are placing themselves outside of the protection or grace of God that comes from being humble. It's a very scary place to be in.
Pride can express itself in a lot of ways that we don't even recognize. Often, we use the excuse that we are just shy (my excuse), But really, this just means that we are worried about what people are going to think about us, which is pride. This so much of the time, keeps us from being obedient to what God is telling us to do. We are often so self conscious, that we worry more about what others think of us than of what God thinks of us. We fail to obey and truly worship God our Saviour, because we are are afraid of how we will appear to others. Can you imagine? After all He's done for us and the humility He suffered for us.
My Bibles definition for humility is, "an attitude of mind that realizes that one is without any reason for distinction in Gods sight." I like this definition. We (I) need to remember that in Gods eyes, I am no better than anyone else, or any lower. Who cares what people think of me as long as I am doing what is pleasing to God. I need His nearness and His grace.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Minister Grace?

Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."

I read across this scripture the other day, and the words "minister grace" lept out at me. Hmmm, what does that mean? Okay, I know that we should watch our mouths (tons of scriptures about that), and not say mean things to people, we shouldn't gossip, tear down, be dishonest, etc. But..., not only are we supposed to be watching the bad that comes out of our mouth, but, we are supposed to replace those words with words that edify, or build up others. We need to be using words that benefit and instruct in the knowledge of Christ. And not only to people who are easy to be nice to, but to those who don't necessarily deserve it. I've always been taught that grace meant "unmerited favor". Grace is an act of mercy, love, kindness, helpfulness, compassion, that is undeserved. Honestly, it's not always easy to give a kind word to someone who hasn't been kind. It's not easy to give a helpful word to someone who has done us wrong or irritates us. But, this is exactly what we are told to do. Say something that edifies, builds them up. Some people are just not easy to love, and it's easier to just ignore them than to try to help them or be nice to them. But, this is what God wants of us; at church, at the store, and even at home. Often, home is the hardest place of all to put this into practice. When my husband is rude to me, I don't exactly think of sweet things to say in reply. In fact, my natural reaction (besides saying mean things) is to "minister" to my own hurt feelings. Or, to clam up and not talk at all. But, I don't think that's what this verse is saying to do. Ugh. Do I really have to do this? I think I may need to ask for some help from above (unmerited). Who knows what a difference this could make in someones life, our marriage, our home!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Few More Thoughts on Acting Like A Kid

I can just hear some of you ladies who read my post yesterday saying, "If I didn't have so much work to do, I could go outside and act like a kid." Yes, I know we can't neglect our responsibilities, but we can make them a little more fun and physical. While you're in the house, turn on the music and move. I'm sure there are some women out there, like myself, who were taught that dancing is wrong. Well, I'm sure it's okay to dance with a broom, especially to Jesus music! Dance through the house while you're working, race your kids to the car, see who can finish their chores the fastest, grab a kid (or your husband) as they walk through the room and do a little waltz with them (my kids thought I was losing my mind half the time). Oh, and sing, sing, sing! This is good lung exercise. Not long ago, I was taking a little boy to church with me (he's around 8). I had the radio on in the car and was singing away. He looked at me and asked, "Are you an adult or a teenager?" (he was serious). When I told him I was a grandma he had a hard time believing me. My sister was talking to an elderly lady on the phone recently. The 80 something year old woman told her that when she looked in the mirror she noticed she was putting on a few pounds. She said she had started putting in her Gaither music video and moving to the music. I would love to see this.
So, try adding some movement to your chores, put a little bounce in your step. Show your kids that work can be fun. You may end up finishing your work faster and actually have time to go outside and play together after all!

Nehemiah 8:10, "for the joy of the Lord is your strength."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Want to Lose Weight? Act Like a Child!

Yesterday, posted about her goal to lose weight and has invited others to join her. She inspired this post. Okay, weight is not really an issue for me, but, exercising is. I need to exercise, because I want to stay healthy, but I hate the very word, exercise. Lately, I've been working on just doing something physical everyday, even if it's just for a few minutes. Sometimes it's floor exercises. Some days it's this exercise machine I have (I don't know what it's called). This weekend I got a chance to go swimming. I wanted to just sit by the pool and read really, but, I made myself swim around for a while. I read a book once about a lady who lost a lot of weight by trying to spend some time doing the things she did as a kid. Watch a child for a while. They never quit moving. A lot of times even when they're watching TV they're moving back and forth. This lady took some time off, went to the country and lived that time like she did as a kid. She went from horseback riding, to swimming, to something else. She stayed outside and played all day. She ended up losing a lot of weight. Apparently, exercise is another thing we adults tend to complicate and make work. Why can't we just play like we did as a kid?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20, "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."

Friday, August 7, 2009

Put Yourself First

Doesn't the title of this post sound like such a worldly way of thinking? Does it go against the grain of everything you believe? Me too, but, there are times to put yourself first. What are some instances in which we should put our self first?
1. Our spiritual lives-I've been reading the book "The Gentle Ways of the Beautiful Woman" a practical guide to Spiritual Beauty by Anne Ortlund. Today the exercise at the end of the chapter was to write down all the things you do with your time, and in prayer, give each area to God to do with as He wants, and also, to write down all the bad circumstances in your life and thank Him for each one(1 Thess. 5:18), and turn each one over to Him asking Him to heal your thought life concerning your worry, resentment, control, etc. over each one. As I did this and was praying, I thought about how important this was that I was praying these prayers for myself. Before I try to help anyone else or pray for anyone else, it's important that my own heart is right. I need to make sure my own ways please the Lord before I start trying to help someone else,otherwise, I just end up stressed, resentful, and wondering if this is the way the christian life is really supposed to be.Sometimes, especially as moms, we spend so much time trying to teach our children to live right, and praying for them, that we neglect our own personal prayer, study, learning time, which should be foundational. "The more of us is invisible, hidden from the world in quiet, in study, in planning, and in prayer, the more effective our visible life will be" (Catherine Marshall, Adventures in Prayer). How can we be effective in leading even our own families to the Lord, if we haven't first, prepared ourselves, and laid our own hearts open before God.
#2 Our health-My mom told me recently, "If you don't take care of yourself, no one else will." This is true. And, how can we take care of our families if we ourselves are weak and sick. Besides, our example speaks louder than anything to our kids.
#3 Our appearance-I don't know about you, but, my natural tendency has always been to get up and start getting everything else rolling before I take too much thought to what I look like. But, ladies, time to make ourselves look at least worth looking at, needs to come pretty high on our list of priorities in the mornings. Who wants to wake up to a mom that looks like she would love to be in bed herself? And, when your husband goes off to work, he doesn't need to go from someone who is not very appealing to look at and whose breath is repulsive, to a place where the women are pleasing to look at, smell nice, and carry on pleasant, lively conversations. He is human.
Putting ourselves first is not always a selfish thing. It can actually give us the peace, joy, and strength that we need, to then give ourselves to others.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

What Do You Need?

I'm pretty good at asking God for whatever I need, whether it's a lost shoe or money for the electric bill. Some people shy away from asking God for anything and everything, not wanting to treat Him like a genie in a bottle, but He wants us to ask. He just enjoys that we're talking to Him. Anytime we're talking to Him we're building a relationship. And, when He answers my prayer, oh boy, I get really excited. The scripture, John 16:24, "...ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." is really true. I am so filled with joy just to know that God heard and answered my prayer. It strengthens my faith in Him and makes my love for Him even stronger. Just imagine, He cares about ME! He cares about what is important to ME. No matter how small and insignificant my need may seem, if it's important to me, it's important to God. Sometimes He may delay the answer, because He wants us to keep coming back to Him. He desires our fellowship. He wants a relationship with us. One day I lost a very important financial paper. I searched and searched. Finally, I stopped and called a friend to help me pray that I would find it. After we prayed, I went right to where it was! I called me friend, praising God, to tell her I had found it. She rejoiced with me and then laughingly told me that when she told her teenage daughter why I had called, her daughter said, "You women, always losing your stuff and then bugging God about it.". We laughed, then I said, "Yes, but God always loves it when we stop and recognize He is our source and turn our focus on Him." God is good. He always wants us to ask Him for what we need. I feel the same way with my children. I love to feel like I'm still needed in their lives. God wants us to bring our needs to Him. He delights in giving to His children. What do you need to ask your Father today?

1 John 5:15 " And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

For Such a Time

God made me the way I am for a purpose! I don't know why I have been thinking about this lately, but actually, it's very humbling. Just consider, every asset, ability, character trait, talent, everything about you, God gave to you to bring glory to Himself. Maybe, it's physical beauty, poise, wit, wisdom, compassion, a certain talent, or even a spiritual gift. Maybe, you're a good speaker, good communicator, a good listener. Maybe , when people compliment you or mention these things, you can't help but feel a little proud. But consider, there's a responsibility that comes with these things. There's a reason God made you this way, to be able to accomplish something for Him. When I think about this, I am so humbled at the responsibility that comes with this. For each and every time God chooses to use me, my heart must be prepared. Whether it's in the everyday occurrences of life that I'm not even aware of, or like Esther, for a specific time and purpose, I must be walking in obedience and humility.
Parents, I believe it is important to teach this to our children, especially in areas that would cause pride. Teach them the responsibility that comes with the blessings of God. What He has blessed them with are not just their own accomplishments, but God has made them this way for a purpose.
We should all say like Paul, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." Galatians 6:14.

Esther 4:14 "... who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this."

Psalm 139:14 "I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made..."

Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew the..."

Monday, August 3, 2009

You Have a Treasure! Guard It!

2 Corinthians 4:7 "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."

This is the scripture I have been thinking about this morning. I want to guard this great treasure. I don't want to allow other things to come in and crowd Him out. I want to be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19). God is trying to teach me more and more all the time, that my life is not my own. My time is not my own. For instance, I knew that my husband was going to be working all Saturday evening, so I went to the library and checked out a christian novel. I love to read a good christian novel occasionally. I mean, love. Well, wouldn't you know, I was asked to lead the devotional time for prayer meeting Sunday morning. This was going to take some prayer and preparation for me. I battled with that book. Every time I walked past it, it called out to me. But, I knew, to really get the mind of God for this prayer time, I didn't need my mind being distracted elsewhere. I needed to spend time in prayer and listening for what He wanted for this prayer time. So, I didn't get to spend my evening the way I had originally planned, but making time with God was so much more rewarding in the long run. God has been speaking so many things to me as a result of that time spent in prayer and in His word.
Guard your prayer life. Make your time with God a priority. 1 Thess. 5:17 say, "Pray without ceasing". If things are coming into our mind that make it hard to be in a mindset of prayer, we need to not allow those things in. 1 Corinthians 6:20, "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." I know, the majority the of the things on TV, leave me in a less than prayerful mood. If I let myself watch these things, I feel like I've allowed a crack in this jar of clay for His spirit to seep out. It takes effort to get back into an attitude of being worshipful and prayerful. I want to be able to say, like Paul in Phillipians 3, that anything that I have to suffer or give up for Christ, is worth it, just to get to know Him.

Phillippians 3:10 "That I may know Him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto His death."