Saturday, July 26, 2008

“What about him?” attitude - Pitfall #5

Click here for the introduction of this blog series.

Pitfall #5: We do not understand the Lord’s discipline.
“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Hebrews 12:6). If you are in difficult trials, it’s not because God hates you or is being mean to you. He actually loves you dearly. If you are a believer, you are His child and He will discipline you. God’s goal in disciplining us is to destroy the sin in our lives and “that we may share his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11). So, don’t look around at others and get discouraged because you don’t see them being disciplined as you are. Look to Jesus…You’re becoming more like Him!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

“What about him?” attitude - Pitfall #3 & 4

Click here for the introduction of this blog series.

Pitfall #3: We do not understand how God’s strength is displayed.
God’s power is more evident in our weaknesses. An example of this is in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. To keep Apostle Paul from becoming conceited, he was given a thorn in the flesh. He pleaded with the Lord 3 times for it to be taken away. The Lord didn’t take it away because he said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Paul didn’t respond by saying, “NO FAIR, YOU TOOK THAT GUY’S THORN AWAY!” He actually said, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” May we find strength in our weaknesses as we hold tight to God’s all-powerful hand.

Pitfall #4: We are only focusing on what we don’t have.
God told Adam that he could eat from every tree of the garden, but not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good & evil (Genesis 2:16-17). Adam & Eve were supposed to follow this command. However, Satan tempted them and they disobeyed God (Genesis 3:1-6). Many of us do the same thing. Even though God “richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17), we desire other things. We tend to be content with what we have as long as we don’t see anything “better”. Then all of a sudden, what we have looks plain, boring, out of date, unappealing, unsatisfying, etc. God knows that we need. The Word says to, “…be content with what you have…” (Hebrews 13:5b). Apostle Paul also talked about this subject in 2 Timothy 6:6-8, “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” Are you content today?

Monday, July 21, 2008

My Baby Girl is Walking!!!

Walking is such a gift from God. Many of us take it for granted. Until now, I didn't know what it was like to have a child that didn't need 2 years of therapy to learn how to walk. Thank you Jesus for yet another gift of grace.

Friday, July 18, 2008

“What about him?” attitude - Pitfall #2

Scroll below for the introduction of this blog series.

Pitfall #2: We are not focusing on what God called us to do.
God has given each believer spiritual gifts (I Peter 4:10). These gifts are used for the common good of the body of Christ and to care for one another (I Cor. 12:7, 25). If we are concerned with what other’s have and are doing, we miss out on allowing God to use us mightily through the gifts that He’s given us. No one (or gift) is greater than another, we NEED each other. If there is any jealousy or covetousness in your heart, you need to confess it, repent of it, and ask God to help you live victoriously in the gifting that He graced upon you.
(I’m currently in a Bible study on spiritual gifts; so if you like to know of some resources let me know.)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

“What about him?”

After Jesus was raised from the dead, He appeared to the disciples on a few occasions. After breakfast on one of those days, Jesus and Peter had an interesting conversation (John 21:15-22). Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him 3 times. Each time, Peter immediately answered, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love you.” After Peter’s response, Jesus gave him ways that Peter’s love should be lived out (ie. “Feed My lambs, Tend My sheep, Feed My sheep”).
Then, however, Jesus totally changes the conversation and gives an explanation of how Peter would be martyred. Jesus concludes with, “Follow Me.”
You would think that the same disciple who had been following Jesus all this time, witnessing miracles, observed his death & resurrection would whole heartedly say, “I’ll DEFINITELY follow you.” But no, he looked around and saw John walking by and said, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”
When I first read this, I was so convicted because I am so much like Peter.
God has given me my own ways that I must suffer for His glory and I have to constantly fight to not have a, “But what about him” attitude.
So, over the next few blogs, I will try to write about the 10 pitfalls of having a “What about him” attitude. The first one is below.

Pitfall #1: We take our eyes off our Savior.
Hebrews 12:2 tells us to, “Look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.” Once we start looking around, our focus gets off Jesus and we start focusing on our trials & on others. Peter had total trust in the Lord to step out of a boat and walk on water to get to Jesus (Matthew 14:28-31). However, as soon as Peter took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the wind, he was afraid and began to sink. Jesus then told him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Only looking toward Jesus will we find the strength, hope, & peace to follow Him and trust Him beyond our difficult circumstances.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Day I Stopped Being Happy

In Webster’s New World Compact Dictionary of American English, it is no coincidence that the word “happen” comes before “happy”. Happiness is associated with what happens. A beautiful sunny day, a birth of a baby, a raise on a job, a family vacation, all these things and much more makes people happy. But what happens when it’s been raining and overcast for a week, or the baby is born with a disability, or you lose your job, or the family vacation ends in a tragedy. Many believers have experienced one or more of these things. So, don’t they have a right not to be happy? They sure do! God doesn’t require us to be happy. But, He does require us to be joyful. Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” However, it’s definitely a fight for joy in the midst of unhappy circumstances.

February 10, 2003 marks the day of my personal death to happiness. Before then a lot made me happy…my family, my husband, my home, my job, etc. I was one happy girl! Then God wrecked my little happy life for my good & His glory. He allowed my son to be born extremely premature and have a syndrome that severely affects his well being. At 6:38 AM that day, I gave birth to my son, but little did I know, God was bringing forth a new birth of joy within my soul. My Lord replaced my temporary, conditional happiness with all satisfying, lasting joy. Below are 3 ways that God is helping me to stay joyful.

How a Believer Can Have Lasting Joy

Joy comes from following God’s commandments & abiding in His love.
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:10-11

Joy comes from putting your trust in the God of hope.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

Joy comes from offering up sacrifices of praise to the Lord.
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Hebrews 13:15-16
My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed. Psalm 71:23

Although people and circumstances will continue to change, we shouldn't fear, but continue to trust in the Lord (Psalm 112:7). Our joy must come from Jesus, the One who NEVER changes (Hebrews 13:8).
May the Joy of the Lord be your strength today!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

What's Yours???

Ephesians 2:1-10
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

We ALL have a testimony!
If you briefly wrote it on a cardboard, what would it say?
Mine would say:
Before: Prideful, Fornicator, Popularity-seeker
Now: Humbly striving to deny myself, pick up my cross daily, & follow Jesus!
Praise God for His Amazing Grace!
And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her."And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more." John 8:7-11