Tuesday, March 29, 2011

While I'm Waiting

"Why God? What are you doing to me? I don't understand!"

 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
   neither are your ways my ways,”
            declares the LORD.
 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
   and my thoughts than your thoughts."
-Isaiah 55:8-9

Patience is not my favorite virtue. Probably my least favorite actually. I have everything figured out, I know what I want to do and how I want to do it, and God's job is to make sure it happens and everything goes perfectly. Right? wrong. 

Who are we to think that we are smarter than God? His plans for us are so much better than our plans! How many times have we wondered what our Heavenly Father is doing to us, just to realize later that it was exactly what we needed at the time? But sometimes it's hard. SO hard to just trust Him. To just give it all up. Every part of our flesh is screaming "NO! You can't have my life! You can't have my plans and my dreams! They're mine!" 

Recently Jesus has been prying from my fingers parts of my life that I had tucked away in the "MINE" section of my heart. And it's been painful. More painful than I ever could have imagined it could be. But it's growing pains, because through the past couple months Jesus has drawn me closer to Him than I have ever, ever been before! And His love, faithfulness, forgiveness and Patience with me have been so incredible!

Surrender to Jesus is sweet, is it not? Hard, painful sometimes, but like healing salve to the broken heart of someone who has been carrying a heavy burden!

But there are still areas of my life that I simply have no idea about. I've given them up to Jesus time and time again, but He is still asking me to wait and to trust him. Ouch. I still have to wait? But I gave it to you Lord, now you're supposed to fix it! 

No, not yet. Trust me. Obey me.  Time and time again He says to me. I'll take care of it, but you have to let me use it!

Trust and Obey. Trust and Obey. Trust and Obey! It's been my motto for the past few weeks. A mental phrase that I have said to myself countless times recently. Through Tears, through anger, through pain, through joy. Striving to serve my savior even when it's hard! Even when it hurts! Even when I don't want to! Even when I'm impatient! Even when I don't understand! Oh Jesus help me to wait! 

I will serve you while I wait. I will give it to you, again and again and again! I surrender. Take me and use me the way YOU want to! 

I will serve you while I wait! 

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Isaiah 40:28-31
28 Do you not know?
   Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
   the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
   and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
   and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
   and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fair-weather friends? Back-stabbers?

.....Or simply human?

They say that the ones that you love the most, can hurt you the most. Sounds about right doesn't it?

Your expectations for your close friends and family are going to be a lot higher than your expectations of someone that you barely know. You won't expect the person who drives the garbage truck to be there as a shoulder to cry on, but you will expect your best friend to be there. If someone in passing at the grocery store insults you, you won't be as hurt as you would have been if someone close to you had said it. We depend on those that know us the most, love us the most, and are there for us the most to support us in just about everything. We count on our friends to lift us up, not tear us down. To brighten our day, not make it worse. We count on our friends to be looking out for us over themselves, and we try to do the same. 

I am describing a perfect friendship aren't I? Let's face it, we all know that our friends will let us down. We have all experienced it. And it hurts. Your closest friend(s) can sometimes hurt you more than anyone else ever could. 

If you happen to have amazing friends that love you and care about you a lot and strive to be the best friends they can be (I know I do!) then my earlier description of a best friend comes awfully close to the ones that you have. 

But even though your friends may be absolutely without a doubt the most awesome friends you could ever have, truth is, they are going to hurt you. They will disappoint you, shame you, put you down and hurt your feelings at one time or another. In fact some of my most painful experiences have been because of what a close friend (or family member) did or said to me. Don't get me wrong, I love my friends and family more than anything else in this world and they are awesome, amazing people! But I have come to realize that their not perfect. And I know that I most definitely am not a perfect friend and that I have hurt my friends in big ways before (intentionally or unintentionally).

NEWSFLASH: People are not perfect. 

Nobody is. Except for Jesus Christ! As a Christian I struggle big time with putting my friends on the same level as Jesus. But we can't do that! As soon as you put anything on the same level (or higher) with Jesus you will have a wonderful demonstration of why he is the only one that can satisfy you! Nobody else can live up to our perfect expectations! I'm not saying that Jesus is going to fill our expectations perfectly, because as itty-bitty sinful human beings our expectations are often faulty. What I am saying is that Jesus will never ever let you down. Whether you think he has or not, he hasn't. He is the perfect friend. He always does what is best for us (even when it's painful) and he is always there! People will let you down, but Jesus won't! 

What am I saying? To not trust anyone? No! But what I am saying, is to keep your high hopes in Jesus, to let him guard your heart! If your friends are Christians, then they will be striving to follow Christ's example of what a friend should be. But they are going to mess up, just like you do! If they are not Christian's you cannot expect them to follow Christ example because they are not in tune to His word. Either way, you still need to let Christ be your first and foremost "BFF" (best friend forever) because everyone else will let you down. 

You can still love them, they can still love you. You can (and most certainly should) forgive them, and they can forgive you. You can still be close and know each other better than any other person does. You can still have mentors and people that you look up to. We can still learn from our brothers and sisters in Christ, and Jesus can most certainly use them to teach us things and to show us some of his characteristics. But when you idolize someone or expect them to fill the shoes of Christ in your life, they Will let you down. 

Just remember, Jesus knows your best friend/mentor/family member better than you do. Jesus knows you better than your best friend/mentor/family member does. He is never ever going to say or do something that isn't for your very best. And He loves you more than anybody, I repeat, anybody does, can, or ever will.
Let him be your rock in the storm, he is the only solid thing out there. And he can guard your heart and hold you close faithfully every day if you let him.

Psalm 33:4
 For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.

Psalm 89:8
O LORD God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you.

Phil 4:19
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A bit of Perspective

Distractions are.....well, distracting. 

And they seem to come at us from all directions. How easily do our thoughts get "detoured" away from Jesus? 

Sometimes distractions come in the small form of a "bad morning". 
...You slept through your alarm clock and are running late for an event. You don't have time for your morning devotions or coffee (let alone breakfast) and you realize that the load of laundry that contained what you were planning on wearing never got put in the dryer. 
(if you happen to live on a farm)..... The goat got loose and the dog is chasing her around the yard. You can't catch either of them. Its pouring rain and you slip and fall in the mud. You knock over the milk pail or grain bucket and it seems like EVERY single animal is out of water on the one day that you are running late. 

Any of this sound familiar? Maybe slightly.

You start off the day on the wrong foot and because of your bad mood you don't really feel like talking to Jesus. Things go downhill from there. Because you aren't in tune with the Lord at the moment, it's easy for your mind to wander, worry and stumble its way through the day. What happened to letting Jesus lead? Oops. Left him at home with the laundry that never got put in the dryer. 

What is wrong with us? Did we forget that circumstances do not have to control our relationship with Christ? That God has our day planned out from step one and that no matter how hard we try we CAN'T mess up his plans? Sorry guys, we aren't big enough for that. It's like an ant trying to mess up the plans of an eighteen wheeler. The only thing that gets messed up is the ant.

We can't control our circumstances, but we can control how we handle them. Have you ever seen someone going through a really tough time, and praising Jesus with a passion so strong that you wonder what's wrong with you, instead of feeling sorry about what’s wrong for them? I have. And you immediately feel guilty! Here you are, griping about spilling coffee on your jeans and sleeping through your alarm clock, while a brother or sister in Christ is struggling through everyday because of a physical ailment, praising Jesus because of it! 

But maybe you distractions aren't so small, or physical. Maybe you got through the day, did you devotions, laughed at the stupid goat and dog and arrived fashionably late at the event. But because of an area in your life that you won't surrender to Jesus, your spiritual walk is faltering. Jealousy, anger, bitterness, insecurity, loneliness, the special someone you don't have yet. Everyone has a distraction that they struggle with. Most people have different ones than others. 

The devil knows your distraction. He knows how to hit you where it hurts. He tempts you, taunts you, and ultimately, he distracts you. 

It's incredibly easy to lose sight of the big picture! To forget that we are Children of God. To forget that we are in a spiritual battle. To forget that we are going to spend eternity with the King of Kings! Cling to the promises of Jesus! Surrender your weaknesses to Jesus and let Him deal with them. It's painfully hard! I know! But you have to let go. If you don't, Satan has a mighty big foothold in your life. 

Don't  loose your perspective! Remember that the circumstances that you are in or the struggle you are facing is nothing in the shadow of the cross!

Philippians 4:8 
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

....Out of Darkness, Out of Shame!

Set Apart. Called Out. Not of this world. Different. 

Nobody likes to be the oddball out. In the world today, blending in is a whole lot simpler and easier than going against the flow. Pleasing the crowd, tagging along with "everyone else", imitating the "cool people". Everyone does it, it's no big deal! 
It's awfully intimidating to stand up and say NO when everyone else is saying YES. Sometimes you have to wonder, is it worth it? Why try?

As a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ and a Child of the Living God, I am held to a higher standard than the majority of the people in this world. If you are also a Christian, you are held to the same standard. 
As Christians we are Different. We do not follow the ways of this world. Our sights are set on a higher calling, and we see a bigger picture! But we are in the minority. While many people profess to be "Christian" or "Believe in God", very few live their lives following Christ, very few live by the Word of God. 

How am I different? Well.....
I believe the Bible to be completely and totally true. I believe that it is the Holy Word of God. A love letter from Jesus to his Children. I believe that there is more to life then this seemingly endless cycle of death and pain, everyone trying to find happiness, but looking in all the wrong places. I believe that there is a spiritual battle. Right now, right here. I believe that there is  Heaven and a Hell. I believe that there is a divine all knowing, all powerful Creator that desires to have a personal relationship with every single person on this earth. I believe that he loves you so much that he died, taking your sin on Himself. So that you, by receiving him as Savior and taking the free gift he has to offer will be able to live with him forever in Heaven, and be able to cherish the love, the joy, and the ultimate peace that comes from knowing Jesus. 

I believe that I am set apart. I was once dead in my sin, but Jesus made me alive! I was once wandering in the Darkness, but Jesus brought me out of darkness and into glorious light! I no longer belong to this world, or the Prince of this world (the devil)! I am a daughter of the King, a Child of the Creator, a Sinner saved by Grace! 

Look at the people around you! Is that what you see? I see deep pain. False fronts. Darkness and sin. A suffocating atmosphere of death! It's well hidden. Satan is the father of lies, telling them that the "stuff" and the happiness and the comforts of today will fill them up! But the truth is, everything of this world will fade away, everything that they are chasing after will grow old and will not last! 

I am striving to be Different.

I have seen the truth of Christ, I have experienced his Love, his Joy, and his Peace! I have a higher calling! I have gone running Into Marvelous Light, Out of Darkness, Out of Shame! Away from who I once was, and striving to be more and more like Christ! 

I am praying that he will use me to show you a glimpse of Jesus, his light, his truth, and his love! 

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, Remember who you are! Remember who you were! We are set apart, we are different, we are called out! 

Diving into the world of blogging to bring more Glory and Honor to my King!

Mathew 4:16
"The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”

John 1:5
"The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it."

Ephesians 2:1-10