Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Made to Worship

The word worship can mean so many different things. It can be used as a noun, an adjective, a verb it is an all encompassing word that has so many meanings. I just love the word worship for that reason.

When we give ourselves to God we are called to worship him, you and I were Made to Worship . God wants us to worship, but he doesn't force us to. It is a choice that we make. As we come to know the Lord in a personal way, it is impossible not to worship his splendor and give him the glory that is his due.

It is so great that the Lord allows us to come to that place of surrender on our own without pushing us. It would be so much easier for him if he had just compelled us all to worship him. But if he had done that we wouldn't be able to see the freedom in the forgiveness that he offers. It is only through our own human fallibility that we can see his omnipotence. It is so much more meaningful to us this way.

It is also through our relationship with him that our worship leads us to the reason that we are here. For each of us that reason is different. He has a plan for each of us. It is only through personal one on one time that we spend worshipping him that we are able to pick up on the subtle clues that lead us in the direction that he would have us to go.

What an amazing, awesome God we have. He made us to worship him but he also gave us free will in order that we could come to him on our own and bow at his feet and freely give ourselves over to his direction. I am eternally grateful to him for his gift. I intend to do as he has called me; to worship him forever.

Passage 1 Chronicles 16:29:
29 ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
Passage Psalm 95:6:
6 Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
Passage Matthew 2:2:2and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
Passage John 4:24:24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
Passage Romans 12:1:
Romans 12
Living Sacrifices
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship

Sunday, January 27, 2008

How should we live our lives?

When we come to the end of our lives, or just the end of the day, for that matter, it really doesn't matter what chores we accomplished. It also doesn't matter if we are famous or just a regular Jane. What does matter is the relationships that we have and how we nourished those relationships. How we treat others is a testament to our relationship with God. When we accept the free gift of salvation we aren't required to do anything beyond that. The bible tells us that in John 3:16. It is not our works that get us into heaven. But if we are believers, it behoves us to also become followers. That is what leads others to Christ. Our example is what sets us apart from the rest of the world. It's not who you knew. It's not what you did. It's how you lived (and treated others) that matters in the end.

How You Live - Point of Grace (watch the video)

Passage Hebrews 6:10:
10God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

Passage Romans 13:8-10:
8Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 10Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Passage Matthew 5:13-16:
13"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Grace and Mercy

Grace and mercy have really been on my mind these last couple of days. When I stop and look back on my life I can see so many times when grace was extended to me. There were so many instances when God showed me his mercy. Why? Why me? I can see in the lives of others that they have suffered much more for their bad decisions that I have. Why? Why not me?

These are unanswerable, rhetorical questions of course. Who can know the mind of God? I just know that it is what it is. For some reason God said "I have other plans for your life, I am not going to let you screw it up irreparably". That is what grace and mercy are, after all, giving me something I don't deserve. A free gift.

What good does it do to go through hard times and to be given grace if we don't use our life for his purpose? I can see that I can use my life as a testimony to him. This is my desire - to be used by him. In whatever way he chooses to use me. Be it great or small I am ready for God to challenge me to move forward into the ministry he has chosen for me.

To do this I must lay it all down and empty myself so that he can fill me with his power. This song (click on it, it's great) really speaks the words that I am offering to the Lord. He extended the grace and showed me mercy, now it is time for me to use my life for his glory.
My Desire by Jeremy Camp

Psalm 51:1-2:
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

2 Corinthians 6:1-2:
1As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. 2For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.

Romans 3:21-24:
21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The first will be last...

The concept of Christ's humility is a hard one to grasp. Why would he make himself nothing and take on the nature of a servant? He is God after all, he didn't have to do it. But he chose to be a servant so that I would see that it is in the humility of servitude that I find my joy.

When I serve others I am not only ministering to others, I am also worshiping. It is the act itself that is my sacrifice and my offering to the Lord. God doesn't require that I do these things in repayment for Jesus' sacrifice for me. That was a free gift, a selfless act of grace and mercy. But knowing that he did give his life for me spurs me on. I can't just rest on my laurels. I must serve, and it must be a free gift with no strings attached to the person I am serving. In order to do that I have to surrender to Him, otherwise my human nature takes over and I start to feel unappreciated. I have to remember it's not about the acknowledgements, it is a bout the sacrifice and offering to God.

I Surrender to You - Jeremy Camp

Philippians 2:6-7:
6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Matthew 20:25-28:
25Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Ephesians 6:7:
7Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men,

Friday, January 18, 2008

I want to be like you, Jesus

One of my favorite songs right now is My Jesus by Todd Agnew. It is such a powerful song about who Jesus really was and how I am supposed to act in the world as I imitate him.

There are so many falsely pious people in the world who would tell me that in order to inherit the kingdom I should go to church every Sunday and act like I am better than everyone else. They would lead me to believe that I should judge everyone and condemn the sin of my fellow Christian. According to them there are sins in the world that are worse than others. There are degrees placed on sin by some. I believe that people do this in order to make themselves feel better about their own sin nature. It is too easy to say "Well, I may have ____ today, but at least I didn't do ____, boy, I feel sorry for her because she has to deal with that in her life!" These are all man made ideas of what sin is. Jesus placed no degrees on sin, he loved everyone. He made a point of spending time with those who were in sin because he knew that down through the ages there would be those who would feel superior to others for whatever reason. He wanted to show right off the bat that judgment was wrong.

If I am to live as Christ I am to follow his example. I am to walk in this world as an ambassador of his love. Jesus came into this world not to condemn, but to save.

It is my fervent prayer that as I go about my daily activities that I would draw others to me, not because I myself am something special, but because Christ lives in me. I hope that his light will shine through me, that others would see that there is something different about me. Maybe this can spark a conversation about Jesus and the person he was, is and always will be.

Colossians 2:6-10:

Freedom From Human Regulations Through Life With Christ

6So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
8See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
9For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My son is being tested for learning dissabilities.

My 10 year old son is one of the greatest kids you would ever want to meet. He is sweet, smart, sensitive and wickedly funny. He tries really hard to follow rules and be a good student. He doesn't like to fail though and if he doesn't think he can do something he just shuts down. I can see it in his eyes when this is happening.

I went to a meeting today with his teachers. He is in speech therapy for some minor articulation problems. Since speech therapy is under the special education umbrella, a full individual education plan (IEP) meeting has to be done. At the meeting his teacher expressed concerns that he is reading a full grade level below where he should be reading. Even at that level his comprehension is very low. She says that he tries hard in class and isn't lazy at all. I see this at home too. He is very conscientious with his work. He gets his homework done on time. He gets frustrated sometimes though because he doesn't understand the concepts. This is where the shut down happens.

The testing that they have done indicates that his performance does not meet up with his intelligence. This could be an indication of a slight learning disability. They are going to do further testing to determine what is going on in his learning process. Hopefully the school can make a few accomodations for him and all will be well.

It brings up memories for me of my own school career. When I was his age I was tested and my IQ was well above average, but I was barely passing the core subjects at school. I was labeled as unmotivated and lazy. My brother struggled all through school and ended up quitting school in the 12th grade. He is a very smart man and very talented too. I can almost bet that he had some sort of undiagnosed learning disability. I hope that we will be able to nip this in the bud at this stage so it doesn't blossom in to a full grown problem. I don't want him to grow to hate school. He still has a lot of years ahead of him in the classroom. I don't want to push him beyond his limit, but I do want him to push himself to be the best that he can be.

Monday, January 14, 2008

In the stillness is the voice of God.

I am embarking today on a 21 day complaint fast. I really do want to become a positive person. I don't like whiners and I fear I have become one. Last week I think I complained about everything that happened in my life. By the end of the week I felt truly disgusted with myself. I know that this is not Christlike behavior and will not draw anyone to me. It is repulsive and repellent. Yuck! Here I am complaining about complaining...Time to move on.

This is something that I can't do on my own. I need God's help. What I will do these next few days is to be still and know that He is God. To be still in his presence is an act of worship and sacrifice. I need to sacrifice myself to his will. If I truly stop and think about the complaints in my life they really aren't that big. They are life's little irritants, people not showing up on time, invasion of personal space, being tired, those are some of the things that I generally complain about. If I stop at the moment the complaint comes to my mind and dwell on God, I am sure he will have better things for me to spend my time thinking about. If I need to complain let it be about things that matter like injustice in the world, homelessness, the uninsured, illiteracy, just to name a few. Then when I am done complaining I need to see what he wants me to do about the situation. Yikes! There is a new thought... stop complaining and get off my butt and do something about it!

Psalm 46:10:
10 "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

Zechariah 2:13:13
Be still before the LORD, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling."

Video - Aaron Shust - Stillness

Sunday, January 6, 2008

I am not a mistake.

It is so awesome to know that the Lord has made us in his image. Not only that but we are each unique and different in our own ways. I was created for this time in history because that was God's plan. I will never understand those who don't believe that there is order to the universe. How can they not believe that this place, and we, are divinely designed. Nothing else makes sense to me. When I held my babies after they were born, it made it all the more real to me. I did not create this life. Nature did not create this life. God created this life. For a reason. My job here on this earth is to seek his will and find that reason for myself and to guide my children to find their own path. There are so many naysayers in the world, telling me that I can't do certain things. That I'm not good enough, strong enough, smart enough, or whatever. They are right in a way. Only through Christ am I able to do what I do. That doesn't mean that I am weak or that I have low self esteem. It means that I am strong enough to yield to the God of the universe who knows infinitely more than I do how to get where I am going. I am reminded of a scripture in Psalms. It is one of my favorites. It is comforting to me to know that there is a master plan and that God holds the guide book (and me) in his hands.

Psalm 139:1-6:
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
5 You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

This is a poem that also touches my heart. It is by Russell Kelfer

You are who you are for a reason.
You are part of an intricate plan.
You're a precious and perfect unique design,
Called God's special woman or man.

You look like you do for a reason.
Our God made no mistake.
He knit you together within the womb,
You're just what he wanted to make.

The parents you had were the ones he chose,
And no matter how you may feel,
They were custom-designed with God's plan in mind,
And they bear the Master's seal.
No, that trauma you faced was not easy.
And God wept that it hurt you so;
But it was allowed to shape your heart
So that into his likeness you'd grow.

You are who you are for a reason,
You've been formed by the Master's rod.
You are who you are, beloved,
Because ther is a God!

This video from Casting Crowns (The Voice of Truth) reminds me to crowd out the world and the enemy's message that I'm not enough with the voice of truth that can only come from God. When I hide his word in my heart I am able to see the lies of the world for what they are and to hear His voice more clearly when he tells me to trust him. He made me for a reason. He knows the road I am supposed to take. He has it all mapped out. All I need to do is listen, to be still and to know that he is God.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

What's in a name, continued...

Yesterday I posted about the names of God. I left out the scripture that I intended to put with it. So I'm posting those scriptures now.

Acts 4:12:12
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

Romans 10:12-14:12
For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

Philippians 2:5-11:
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee
should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

What's in a name.

It's fun sometimes to see what our names mean. When we were searching for baby names before our kids were born we poured over the baby name books. Not only was the sound of the name important, but what it meant was also sometimes a factor in our final choices. Does the name that you were given really bestow the meaning on to you though? Because my name means "ruler and chief" does that mean I took on those characteristics? My daughters middle name means "of the heavens" it is such a beautiful thought. We just had to give her that name because we already thought of her that way, a little bit of heaven sent down to us. When it comes down to it though, we are who we are for a variety of reasons, very little of which has to do with the moniker that was assigned to us.

The only one who has power in his name is God. All the names that he is known by, Emmanuel - God with us, Jehovah Rafe - The God who heals, Abba - Father (daddy), Counsellor, Prince of Peace, Mighty Lamb, just to name a few. Nothing has the power like his name. When we call on his name miracles can and have happened. Maybe nothing as spectacular as seas parting, but miracles happen every day all around us. A parking spot opens up in the front of the building on a rainy day when you are late. You discover a forgotten 10 dollar bill in the bottom of you purse the day before payday. Your friend's son has outgrown his bicycle. It is just right for your son who really wanted a bike, but the funds just weren't there in your account. Coincidences? Perhaps they can be explained away as that. I believe that it is the power of His name!


Friday, January 4, 2008

Even when I don't know.

Some days it is hard for me to even articulate what I am feeling. How can I even pray if I can't find the words to express myself. This is how I have been feeling lately. I know that something is missing in the life of someone I love dearly, but I don't know what that is. It's not for me to say. But I feel it in the depths of my being. I am helpless to fix what I can not see or touch. I can pray though. I can also ask the Holy Spirit to intercede for him. To help him see that there is more to life than he has been living. It is not about the things, the chores, the money or the work. In the end it is all about the relationships that we create. These words from Romans help me to pray when I am at a loss for words as I am today.

Romans 8:26-27:
26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

My first blog post ever.

This is my first blog post. I am starting this blog because I enjoy writing. I also want a place that is just for me. I will be posting things about my life. The things that mean something to me, like my relationship with the Lord. It is an ever changing and evolving thing. It helps me to stay focused when I put my thoughts down on paper (well not exactly paper, but you get the idea). I am interested in environmental and sustainability issues. I will be posting things about that subject as well. I look forward to having this space be a little oasis for me, away from the craziness that is my life.