Monday, October 31, 2011

Confession 207: Pray With

My husband just finished a message series called "The Prayer Project".  I have to confess that prayer is probably the weakest part of my daily walk with God.  This series has challenged me to be more intentional in my prayer, to communicate throughout the day with God, to praise God and to surrender myself to his will through prayer.  Yesterday, Chris finished up the series with a sermon titled "Pray With".  The basic message was that, as Christians, we are called to pray with and not just for other people.  It's one thing to tell someone that you'll pray for them.  It is another, riskier, more meaningful act to stop what you're doing and pray with them on the spot.  I, and others in the congregation, resolved to be more intentional about praying with others.  However, God wasn't done.

That evening, I went with some friends to a Brandon Heath/Brit Nicole concert.  During her performance, Brit Nicole spoke of the power of fear in our lives to keep us from doing God's will.  She said that just that day she had been out shopping and felt God calling her to pray with a woman in a store.  And yet, her fear prevented her from doing what she felt God calling her to do.  Remembering Chris' sermon, my friends and I exchanged meaningful looks and laughed at God's ability to continually weave messages into our lives.  And yet, God still wasn't finished!

After the concert we stopped at a Taco Bell for a belated dinner.  While we were eating we entered into a conversation with a woman working at the restaurant.  She shared with us her struggles of being a single mom, working 7 days a week and barely making ends meet.  As many look forward to the upcoming holiday season, she is dreading it because she doesn't have enough money to do much for her three children.  She shared with us that last Christmas, in fact, their dinner consisted of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with macaroni and cheese.  My friends and I looked at each other.  We knew what we needed to do.  At 10 P.M. in Taco Bell, we stopped and prayed with this young woman.  We got her contact information to see what we could do to make this Christmas better for her family.  As we were leaving one of my friends made the comment that this woman was an angel sent by God to test us and see if we were listening to his words.  I think that instead, God was giving us a gift.

Blessings and Peace,

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Confession 206: Made For More

I recently started reading the book Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst.  It's a non-diet book that seeks to battle weight loss by replacing desire for food with a desire for God.  One of the things that has impacted me the most is Terkeurst;s assertion that we were made for more than this.  In the book, the this refers to the negative eating cycle many women find themselves revolving through.  Yet as I read that statement, I realized it applies to more than my bad eating habits.  It applies to my life.  Looking around at my life, I am forced to acknowledge that I am, indeed, made for more than this.

Let me qualify the this.  I'm not talking about my family, or my bank account, or my town.  I have a beautiful family, live in a wonderful community, and God is making sure our bills get paid mostly on time.  The this I am referring to is my self-centered, self-indulgent nature that leads me into discontentment.  The this is my aimlessness that comes when my purposes for the day revolve around a bottom line rather than around God's kingdom.  I am, indeed, made for more than this.

So, what am I made for?  First and foremost, I was made to love God.  What is the greatest command?  According to Scripture it is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. Deut. 6:5  When we love God with all of our being, our focus is completely on him.  And what would he have us do with this love?  Jesus tells us, "My command is this: love each other, as I have loved you." John 15:12  The apostle Paul goes so far as to say the entire law is summed up in the command to love others!! (Galatians 5:14)  God wants us to have an abundant life, but that abundance only comes when we let go of ourselves and seek after God.  And it is a spiritual abundance, not material.  If we seek after material abundance we're going right back to the this of which we were made for more.  Which I do, too often.

Therefore, I am recommitting myself once again to living the life I was made for.  I will endeavor to give God my first-fruits.  I will seek him in the morning and I will follow him throughout my day. I will work to use the gifts and talents God has given me for his kingdom purposes, not my own.  I will attempt to live into this prayer:

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee, or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee, or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to they pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on Earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen
(John Wesley, 1780)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Confession 205: Change of Plans

I've been out of my daily devotional for a week or so, and boy did God have a message for me when I picked it back up!!  The focus this day was on Acts 16:9-15 and the conversion of Lydia.  Prior to Paul and his companions entering into Phillipi, God had told them they could not continue on into Asia.  While they were figuring out where to go, Paul had a vision of a man in Macedonia begging him to come and help them.  So, they went--immediately.  And who was the first person they encountered?  A Gentile businesswoman named Lydia.  Not only did Lydia accept God into her heart, but also into her home.  All of the members of her household were baptized and Paul and his companions were invited to stay in Lydia's home for as long as they needed.  Instead of going into Asia, Paul and his companions took the gospel message to Europe.  As Moore writes, God didn't just open a door for them, he opened a whole other continent!

Yet, here's what sticks with me most this morning.  Both Paul and Lydia made themselves available to God.  AND, they were willing to let God change their plans.

Which makes me wonder: Am I willing to allow God to change my plans today?  Are you?  Will we allow God to send us somewhere today we had no intention of going?  Will we allow God to direct our resources somewhere other than where we had planned?  Will the money we've saved for our own purposes today be spent on someone else?  Will we allow God to open a door of communication to someone we had no plans to communicate with?  So what's your plan today? 

I'm excited to see where God leads us!!  If you commit to allowing God to change your plans today, let me know where you go.  I want to hear your stories of God bridging new continents today!!

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." John 10:27

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Confession 204: I AM

Almost four months after becoming a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant, I am finally getting around to attending New Consultant Training.  Better late than never, I guess! :-)  Last night, we talked once again about the importance of creating affirmations.

Affirmations are an "I am" statement that reflects what you want to accomplish.  I am a 4 quarter STAR, I am a Red Jacket, I am a Team Leader.  The idea is that anything you say to yourself over and over will come to be.  Subconsciously, you are training your mind to accept something as reality which you wish to achieve.  The science is actually very sound on this.  I remember going to a writing conference and listening to a writer talk about using this process to help her on her way to publication.  Before falling asleep each night she would lay in bed and write in the air, "I am a writer.  As human beings, our mind is our most powerful resource. The converse can be true too.  If you look in the mirror each morning and tell yourself, "I am worthless", you're going to believe it.

What struck me most last night, however, was when my sales director made the comment that the phrase "I am" is the most powerful phrase in the English language.  My mind immediately jumped to Exodus 3:14 when God says to Moses' inquiry of who God is:

"I AM WHO I AM.  This is what you are to say to the Israelites, "I AM has sent me to you."
In this moment, God could have called out any number of phrases to identify himself: the Redeemer of Israel, the Creator of the Universe, the Author of Life, the Healer, the Rock, the Refuge.... Yet instead, God answers Moses' question with the most powerful phrase in probably any language--the ultimate affirmation--I AM.  It is the answer to any question we might have, the end to any argument we may give, the hope in any circumstance we may find ourselves in.  

"God, how am I going to get around this mountain?"  God answers: "I AM!"
"God, how am I going to keep going after this setback?"  God answers: "I AM!"
"God, where am I going to find an answer to this problem?  God answers, "I AM!"
"God, where am I going to turn when this relationship, job, home, body I've put my faith in falls apart?"
God answers, "I AM!"

In Revelation 1:8 God puts the ultimate cap on his affirmation to Moses:

"I am the Alpha and the Omega...who was, and who is, and who is to come, the Almighty."

Do you need an affirmation today?  Tell yourself this: "I am a beloved child of the great I AM!!"
Blessings and Peace,

My Family

My Family

My Family 2

My Family 2