Friday, February 28, 2014

Making it Too Hard

Ok, so the evidence is obvious that I have been doing a pretty crummy job of getting into God's Word lately.  Its been evident in my attitude (sadly) and on here since I never take the time to journal about what I have been reading even when I pick up my Bible.

Last night at my Bible Study while reading in Ephesian 6 about putting on God's armor, however, God spoke to me.  Why do we think reading His Word is so hard?  Why do I think that I don't have time for it?  But yet, I have time to do pointless reading on my phone or Facebook or all those other things I consider "easy reading".  It is obvious in these verses that a huge part of God armor is knowing what He teaches us through His Word.

I talk myself out of reading my Bible because I think it is going to take a lot of effort, a lot of thinking and processing, and a lot of time.  But all of these things do not have to be true.  We were discussing these excuses last night as a group of women and the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart to stop thinking these things.  Even if I only have 5 minutes, if I stop to read in my Bible instead of on my phone, computer or that fiction book I started, God will use that time to help me.  I can treat it as "mindless" reading, but God can still use that time to teach me, to show me His ways, to encourage me. 

And, heck, if I start it off as an easy 5 minute read and get dug in for 20 with so much insight I can't help but journal about it, Glory to Him!  That is how He will choose to use that time with me. 

Five minutes of "mindless" reading in my Bible has got to benefit me a whole lot more than five minutes of reading junk on Facebook!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Disciples vs. Christians

Well, I have finally returned.  Things have been crazy here with building and subbing and trying to survive in my in-law's basement.  I haven't been totally ignoring God's Word.  I really have been reading quite frequently in the past month, but just normally during a break while subbing on my phone app or in the car as I wait for the kids to get out of school, so the blogging and journaling part has lacked. 

So, I am just going to pick up from where I am today and keep moving forward.

The hubs and I started attending a Sunday School class at our church last fall.  This January we started a new series called "Christian: Its Not What You Think" by Andy Stanley and it is amazing and challenging and I can't wait every week for the next lesson. 

The first week talked about what the title/label/word "Christian" means.  And frankly, no one really knows.  If you asked 20 different people you would get 20 different answers.  He clued me into the fact that the word "Christian" is only used 3 times in the Bible and it is used only then as a derogatory label given from outsiders to the group of people who were spreading the news of Jesus after His death.  The followers of Christ called themselves "Disciples."  He goes on to say how using the word disciples is so scary because it is so clearly defined as a follower of Christ.  Using the word Christian is so much easier because you can use whatever definition fits you the best.  A disciple can't be construed as anything less.

Then, Stanley goes on to share Jesus' last command to his apostles.  Some of His last words to them while He was with them, tells them exactly how to behave as His followers, "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.  Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35 NLT)

Love is how we show the world that we are His followers.  Love is how we teach them about Him.  Love is how we bring them in.  Love above all else.

So, my word for 2014 is Love.

I have been doing some searching for all of God's words on love.  Of course I started off in the obvious 1 Corinthians 13 and God really showed me some new things as I took these well-known verses one by one.  He even showed me some very specific things that I am dealing with right now as we build our house. 

Today I read 1 Corinthians 14:1a "Love will be your highest goal." I love this since it is my New Year's "Goal" for the year.  Above everything else I hope to accomplish, above anything else I want to do, love comes first. 

It looks so easy written on a page, but our sinful nature makes it so much harder.  So I am journeying on.  Trying to find any way I can make the choice to love above all else.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bringing Home the "Bacon"

I was blessed enough to be able to attend MomCon 2013 this past weekend which is a 3 day conference for MOPS (Mothers Of Preschoolers) Leaders.  What an amazing experience it was, and not only because the keynote speakers included my favorite author of all time, Jen Hatmaker as well as Lysa Terkeurst, Beth Moore and a former 20 year CEO of MOPS, Elisa Morgan.  We were surrounded by women who fear the Lord and wanted so badly to serve other moms in their communities and become better mothers.  I mean, really?  Is there a better group of people to be with?

So, I was inundated with so much inspiring and challenging information from amazing Christian leaders and I just kept thinking, "How in the world am I going to bring home, share and use all of this material with our group?"  I tell you, I was overwhelmed with so much "meaty" information, talks that left you inspired, ideas that make you want to jump out of your chair and ways that I want to change the world that my head was spinning!  I. Don't. Know. Where. To. Start!

I have been praying for God to show me how to do it; how to pick the pieces that need to be used first, from the ideas I need to store away for later.  Praying that He would help me remember all of the information and not just let it get tucked somewhere in my brain as a great weekend.  I do not want to forget any piece of what I learned at this conference.  I took notes incessantly.  I want to share what He showed me and what the speakers had to say.  Oh, how I am praying that it will all stay fresh in my mind until He reveals to me what to do with it all.  I want Him to show me how to bring this knowledge home with me to use in my community.

And then, I finally took time to open my Bible this week (it has been a little crazy 'round here... bad excuse I know, but such is my life) and this is what I found.  Proverbs 5:1-2 "My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen carefully to my wise counsel.  Then you will show discernment, and your lips will express what you've learned." I have been praying for this exact thing this week and He tells me in His Word that He will do it for me.  I just have to listen.

Such a direct answer to my prayer.  "I will do it for you," is what He is telling me.  "Spend time with me.  Talk to me.  Listen." 


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Seeking Wisdom

Proverbs 4:7 says "Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do."  Seems pretty simple and redundant, yes?  But I am a firm believer that if God repeats Himself, we had better listen.  Of course, He seems to repeat Himself quite frequently to me on certain topics that I have a hard time getting through my thick skull.  He finds many ways to do so as well, Bible verses I read, a sermon at church, a devotional that comes in my email or Facebook.  So many ways to reach me, and yet it doesn't always sink in.

So, reading on to gain this wisdom to make me wise I am realizing He tells me to seek this and not that, to live this way and not that, but "surprisingly" the direct wisdom I seek, such as how to organize my life when I am living out of boxes in a basement or how to discipline my almost 4-year-old who can't seem to listen to "No" or "Stop" without a huge drama production aren't written in there.  Big surprise, right?

But, God knows that is not what we need.  We don't need the "easy button."  If we had it, we wouldn't need Him.

I often find myself thinking, "I really need to get in touch with so-and-so because I know she has all this discipline stuff down," or "I need to call this person for advice on how to live in your in-laws basement because she had to do it too," instead of falling on my knees and seeking the true wisdom I need.

Now, God does give us mentors and friends with advice and experience to help pass on His wisdom, no doubt, and they are invaluable.  But, if I find myself seeking these resources above wisdom from Him, I am starting in the wrong place.   God may not give me direct answers or suggestions like my friends can, but God knows my child.  He knows my situation and can lead me to what is best for my family.  All my friends can do is share their advice and experiences which will definitely vary from mine, so I will need to adjust for my specific situation.

I guess the wisdom I gained today reminds me to seek Him first, not after the fact.  Ask Him to show me the answer or the way to go when I initially face the situation and then if that means turning to a friend or mentor for advice as well, that is where I go.

That being said, if anyone has any advice to pass on concerning the aforementioned issues, I am more than open to take them.  I have been praying about them (especially the discipline) for quite some time and still have yet to figure it out. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

What Home, Mommy?

I knew God was leading me to the right book for this period in my life when I started reading Proverbs.  Like I stated before, we are currently in a season where everything we once knew is in complete upheaval.  Thankfully, nothing drastic or traumatic, just a time of transition and changes for the better.

We sold the only home our children have ever known and are currently living in the basement of my husband's parents and today on our way home from preschool, I told my youngest daughter we would each lunch at home.  She asked, "What home, Mommy?"  Now, I don't think she was saying this as we have no home, but more asking which house is home.  I can completely see how she is confused.  We have the "old" house, grandma and grandpa's house, and the "new" house (the one we are building).  I have to keep reminding the kids that, right now, our home is grandma and grandpa's house.

Upheaval and confusion.

So, the words of wisdom and reassurance in Proverbs are such a foothold for me right now.  A reminder that my true home is always with Christ.  That if I seek Him and His wisdom I will always be headed the correct way.  3:23-26a "They [common sense and discernment] will keep you safe on your way and your feet will not stumble.  You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly.... for the Lord is your security."

The Lord is my SECURITY.  The LORD is my security.  All the consistency I need in a life of changes and new surroundings and situations.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Relating to Thousands of Years Ago

I have a lot of "Bible Study" books on my plate right now.  One of them is "Known and Loved" by Caryn Rivadeneira.  It is a devotional through the Psalms and is quite fabulous.  I am reading it with my MOPS Steering Team.  

The opening is something I have thought many times as I read through the Bible, really anywhere, but I loved how well she put it into words.  

"Whether you've read through the Bible many times, never picked it up before, or anywhere in between, you'll find that spending time in the psalms always nourishes us, feeds us.  Sometimes in clear-cut, obvious ways, sometimes through the totally unexpected.  Especially since these words were written three thousand years ago by people whose lives looked little like our own.  And yet, the aches, the longings, the questions, and the worship - all the human experience - remain the same.  Remarkable, really."

I find it amazing, really, how much we can actually relate to the people who lived when these God-inspired words were penned.  Their lives looked nothing like ours today, but how we feel and experience it, the struggles and joys, remain the same.  

It challenges me to look at what I am reading in a different light.  To not see the exact scenario, but to think about how I experience something similar in current times.  To think more about their thoughts and feelings over the actual events.  Its all about what God has to teach me through the lessons learned and feeling felt and how I can relate to the person involved.

And really, this is applicable for the entire Bible, not just the psalms.

Good things to remember.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lifelong Journey

I am finding there is so much to learn on the topic of wisdom itself even before you start gaining more wisdom on other things. 

Proverbs is chop full of wisdom, of course, and I am working my way through the 2nd Chapter.  Not only have I seen that wisdom is something that I can't just gain, I must continually seek it (vs. 4).  It is a gift from God that should be valued as a treasure and will bring me joy (vs. 6, 10).  It will save me from evil (vs. 12).

There is so much to learn.

But today what struck me through many of these verses is that I will never arrive.  I will never have all the wisdom I could ever gain.  There is never an end to this search.  I must seek it continually.  I must keep checking to make sure I am on the path (vs. 20) to grow in it.  I must remain in it (vs. 21) and not be lead astray.

Now, one could find this discouraging, to never have an end to the goal.  But I find it exciting.  There is always more to learn; always a way to grow.  More to find and more to seek.  I will never have all the wisdom God has for me to gain, but I can try continually each and every day to get just a little bit closer.  I will never run out of things to learn.  He will never have a point where He doesn't have something to teach me. 

So many new and exciting things wait for me each and every day if I just continue to seek it out through the eyes and the knowledge of the One who created it all.