Saturday, September 24, 2011

Confession 203: Being a Faith Warrior

Together (we) will be like mighty warriors in battle
trampling (our) enemy into the mud of the streets.
(We) will fight because the Lord is with (us),
and (we) will put the Enemy to shame.  Zechariah 10:5

Growing up, my Grandpa always told me I would make a good soldier.  Why, I have no idea, but it's something he told me over and over.  And while I am stubborn, persistent, and more inclined to fight than flee, I don't like being told what to do, I need to know the reason for doing something before I begin, and if someone is pointing a gun in my general direction I am going to run the other way!!  I've never seen myself as a warrior.  And yet, in the above Scripture that is precisely what we are called to be!

One look at our society and it becomes clear that we are indeed mighty warriors in battle!  The Enemy surrounds us and his weapons are powerful and destructive, breaking us down from within through fear, despair, self-loathing, hopelessness, temptation, guilt, anger, selfishness, materialism and pride.  But we, as followers of Christ, have something even more powerful than these weapons of mass destruction.  The Lord is with us!!  And he carries in his arsenal not weapons with which to destroy, but tools with which to build.  The Lord brings hope, salvation, grace, mercy, forgiveness, redemption, restoration, healing, peace, goodness, power, strength, faith, compassion perseverance, and love.  

As followers of Christ, we will put the Enemy to shame with these tools the Lord provides.  We will put the Enemy to shame when we choose to forgive rather than hold a grudge.  We will put the Enemy to shame when we offer a place of healing in our churches to those who have suffered from addiction.  We will put the Enemy to shame when we go out to serve others with love and compassion in the face of despair, disaster, and poverty.  We will put the Enemy to shame when we persevere through the trials and obstacles in our lives and in our congregations to continue the work God has given us to do.  We will put the Enemy to shame when we speak to others with love and grace, focusing on the positive instead of dwelling on the negative.  We will put the Enemy to shame when we encourage others in their walk, strengthen others in their faith, support others on their journey of healing, restoration and redemption.  In essence, we will put the Enemy to shame when we LOVE!!

O, Lord, I want to be a WARRIOR today!!

Blessings and Peace,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Confession 202: Pray!

Is anyone among you in trouble?  Let them pray!  Is anyone happy?  Let them sing songs of praise!  Is anyone among you sick?  Let them call the elders of the church to PRAY over them....Therefore, confess your sins to each other and PRAY for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person is POWERFUL and EFFECTIVE!!  James 5:13-16

This Sunday, my husband began a new sermon series focusing on prayer.  For too many of us, prayer takes a backseat to the other events/happenings in our lives.  We bark orders at God or give a compulsory thanks before dinner, but we don't really spend time in conversation with the one who created us and knows us better than we know ourselves.
Did you know that psychologists have found that the healthiest relationships are the ones in which people engage in communication with one another at least 4 hours a day?  Don't worry, texting counts!!  Think for a minute about the person you communicate most with throughout the day.  Now, think about how much time you spend communicating with God throughout the day.  Am I the only one whose numbers don't add up?

Communication is essential to a healthy relationship, and prayer in its most basic essence is communication.  We go to God and talk and listen.  It's a two-way conversation, even if we're not face-to-face.  Yet even more importantly, prayer is our time to surrender ourselves to God.  It is our time to go to God and tell him that we're ready for him in our lives--for his forgiveness, his love, his grace, his mercy, his peace, his strength, his guidance, his power, his freedom--that we are ready for him.

So, in the words of Nike and my husband, "Just do it!"  In our society, we over complicate things.  We make excuses to justify our lack of commitment to God and others.  The solution to this is simple.  As Chris said, "If you don't feel like you pray enough, then pray!  If you don't feel like you read your Bible enough, read your Bible!  If you feel guilty because you don't go to church enough, go to church!  If you feel bad because you don't talk to your mom enough, call your mom!"  Just pray.



Blessings and Peace,

Linking up with Michelle at Graceful today!! 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Confession 201: Nonconformist

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.  
Romans 12:2

Having a very active imagination, my mind wanders a lot.  Often when I'm cleaning or driving or trying to fall asleep, I make up stories in my head--little movies I can watch while I'm busy doing other things.  Had I written them all down over the years, I would have filled hundreds of books! :-)  When I'm not making up stories I will probably never write, I am thinking about ways to expand my business or running through a to-do list or worrying about the kids, Chris or money.  I'm not sure I would call any of the above renewing my mind.

Too often, I ask God for help, advice, guidance and direction, yet I do not clear my mind of other things to allow God's help, advice, guidance and direction to come through.  Romans 12:2 tells us that it is in the renewing of our minds that we will be able to discern God's will.  Yet, how do we renew our minds?

First, I think we have to clear them.  We have to stop thinking and daydreaming and worrying and allow stillness to permeate our being.

Next, when our minds are clear and still, we need to go to God's Word.  We need to pour over Scripture, letting the words imprint themselves on our newly cleared minds.  We need to soak in the Word of God, whether a chapter or two or just one verse.

Then, we need to ponder.  We need to re-read our Scripture passage or verse.  We need to read the commentaries about it, gather information around it, think about what it means in our own lives.  We need to ask God for clarity about his Word.

Finally, we need to pay attention to Scripture lived out in our lives.  Where is our passage meeting us throughout the day?  Where are we living out the Word we have received?  How is God illuminating it for us throughout our day?

It is then that we will be able to experience the renewing of our minds that will allow us to test and approve God's good, pleasing and perfect will.

Blessings and Peace,

My Family

My Family

My Family 2

My Family 2