Learning to Wait

Bible Thought Thursday

 

How long, O LORD- Will you forget me

 

I almost giggled at this verse. It seems melodramatic. it sounds like my preschoolers in the midst of a tantrum.

 

I’m going to my room and I’m not coming out FOREVER!

 

And yet, this was David, a man after God’s own heart, and here he was, like a child demanding what he wanted from God – Now!

How often do we as adults find it difficult to wait on things – the cashier at the market, your child getting dressed on a busy morning, a red light at an intersection.  We live in a world of instant gratification and we expect God to work the same way.

We ask, he gives, life is good. But we see the now, and he sees the full picture. And yet, we feel as though we have been forgotten, unloved, when he does not give into our desires the instant we express them.

Patience is not an easy thing to learn.  Not with traffic, in lines, with (or for) our children, or even with God.

God’s plans are so much greater than our desires. And when we trust in his goodness and love and wait on him, we will see the blessings of God.  Maybe not in the way we desire, but so much more than we could have ever imagined.

That is the thing, what we thin we need now, God knows if we get it we will miss something greater later on.  He shows us great love in not giving into our demands, but holding out for what is best for us.

 

 

But I trust in your unfailing

 

 

 

Lord;

I thank you that you do not give me all I desire, but you do give me all that I need. I will trust in your providence – take hope in your mercy – and find peace in your unfailing love.

~ Amen

 

 

Have you ever experienced God’s love in his silence?

 

Please share by leaving a comment

 

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Christians Being Real

Bible Thought Thursday

 


 

 

Hypocrite

a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.

It is a word often used to describe Christians.  It is the reason many claim to not attend church. Many say Christians act like they believe they are better than others; as if they are without sin.

The big problem is that Christians are not being real.  We talk about the need to admit our sins and accept salvation, and then we hide behind a facade of perfection.  Our pride takes over and we hide our struggles from others (including our church family).  Even during the best times in our lives we still have struggles, challenges and temptations.

A Christian is not sinless

They are just forgiven

Life doesn’t become perfect after we seek God’s forgiveness

We still live in a fallen and sinful world with pain and struggles.

To sit in church each week and pretend life is perfect and then go home and be short and impatient with your family because of stress or other concerns and holding it all in is wrong.

First, the church is not a building but the body of believers.  God calls us to fellowship together to support and encourage one another, to join in praise of our LORD and Savior.

Second, hiding our struggles, claiming we are fine and acting out of stress instead of love does not reflect Christ.  We are called as Christians to be imitators of Christ. So that the world may see the love of God.

 

 

 

Two qualities that defined Jesus were compassion and vulnerability.

Compassion

John 8:2-11

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

 

“A woman caught in adultery” — How did they know?  Most likely she supported herself through prostitution.  Everyone knew, no one spoke of it.  She was the perfect scapegoat to trap Jesus with.  Adultery is a sin, a sin punishable by death through stoning. She is brought to the feet of Jesus.  The religious leaders question Jesus… How will he respond… Can they trap him? Can they accuse of him of being a heretic?

Jesus does not courtesy them with a response.  Instead he begins to write in the sand. Many speculate he is writing the names of religious leaders and town officials who have used this woman’s services and therefore are guilty of the same sin.

And the crowd began to walk away, leaving Jesus standing their and the woman at his feet.  He asks the woman if there is anyone left to condemn her, she replied, “no”.  And then he told her that he did not condemn her either.

This isn’t saying that Jesus thought she wasn’t guilty, he knew she was. But her life (which is coming death would save) was more important than her guilt.

Vulnerability

This is probably the most difficult for us to practice, but Jesus understood the need for transparency.

 

Matthew 26:38-42

Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

 

Jesus knew that he would die soon. He knew it was something he couldn’t avoid, and that it was God’s will.  He saw the big picture, what his death would mean for past, present and future generations,  Yet he was so stressed that he sweat blood (Hematohidrosis). I’m not sure if Jesus feared death, but the coming events brought severe stress, and before God he shared this, and asked if there was any way other than death for God’s will to be fulfilled.

 

Jesus was vulnerable, open and honest about his struggles. We need to show being a Christian is not about perfection, but about honest obedience to God’s will and the struggles that come with this calling.  We need to be compassionate more than judgmental, vulnerable more than proud.  If we can do this, then we can show the world, Christians and Non-Christians alike, the true character of God.

 

 

 

“…in view of God’s mercy…”

Bible Thought Thursday

 

Romans 12:1-2

This is my life verse.

What do I mean by that?

This describes what I believe God is calling my life to be.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy. to offer yourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the patterns 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.

I want to break these two verses down.

Verse 1 —

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer yourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.

…In view of God’s mercy…

What is mercy?

Mercy is described (dictionary.com) as compassionate treatment, clemency, a disposition to be kind and forgiving, a blessing.

 

What mercy did God show us?

greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

John 15:13

God came to Earth as Jesus [John 1:1,14] – He paid the price for our sins.  He forgives us of our sins, the very definition of clemency.  God’s mercy is that we do not pay the price for our sins

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our LORD.

Romans 6:23

So now, because of God’s mercy, because he came and paid the price for our sins we are to:

…offer yourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God…

A sacrifice is something offered to a deity to appease or pay homage, a forfeiture of something highly valued for the sake of one considered to have greater value or claim.

As living sacrifices that mean we are to live our lives in a way that honors God, pleases God, reflects who God is because he now lives in us. Our spiritual journey does not begin at death, but at the point we turn our lives over to God and allow him to lead us.

 

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? you are not your own, you were bought at a price.  Therefore, honor God with your bodies.

~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

… this is your true and proper worship.

We were created to worship.  You see it at sporting events and concerts.  We love our stars, our athletes, our musicians.  God created us with a spirit of worship.  But his intention was for us to worship him, not just in words and song, but in actions.  In how we live our lives.

Does my choice please God?

Does my choice bring honor to God?

Does my choice show others the love of God?

If you can answer “no” to any of these, the choice that has been made is not an act of worship, it is not an act of one who is living as a living sacrifice.

 

Verse 2 —

Do not conform to the patterns 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.

Do not conform to the patterns of this world…

To conform is to act in accordance or harmony, to comply, to become similar in form, nature, or character.

We are called to be set apart.  To be different than what others see in the world around them.  We are to be a reflection of who God is, not a reflection of the sinful world we live in.

What are some of the patterns of this world?

1.) A lack of respect for ones body.  Wearing immodest clothing  — Just because you can [ie. you have the body for it], doesn’t mean you should.

2.) A lack of respect from our nations youth.  One does not automatically deserve respect, respect is earned by acting respectfully to other. If you are rude to someone, then count yourself lucky when they’re not rude back to you.

3.) Expecting others to cheer on sin and support decisions they believe are erroneous. Tolerance does not mean accepting another’s believes or decisions. Tolerance is treating other kindly even when you disagree with them.  Just because they don’t agree, doesn’t mean they hate.  Disagree and hate are very different.

…but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

To be transformed is to be changed in form, appearance and / or character.

Following God should change you.  As you learn more about the one who created you, it is hard to stay the same.  As one allows God to guide them, characteristic of their leader [God] should be evident in their lives.

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

It is hard for me to believe that I will ever understand God’s will.  That I would ever be worthy to “test” God’s will.  But as I grow closer to him I have learned that I have a better instinct about the choices He would want me to make [based on what I have read in the Bible].

This last part of this verse doesn’t seem so intimidating when I realize that my relationship with God is bringing me to the point where I do not have to question what God wants of me.

 

 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy. to offer yourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the patterns 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.

 

Do you have a live verse? What does it mean to you?

Share in the comments if you do

 

 

The Empty Tomb

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chiefpriests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to theGentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”

~Mark 10:33-34~

Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey. His entry signified him as a man of importance, a king.  But using a donkey instead of a horse meant that he came in peace.  He was not there to overthrow the government.  He was not there to fight at all.

 

 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

~Mark 10:45~

Jesus came to serve.  He further showed this at the Passover meal when he washed the feet of his disciples.  Feet were dirty, nasty things in those days because of the literal crap on the street.  Washing feet was necessary, but normally reserved for the servants. Jesus washed the feet of the disciples in an act of servitude and love.

He was then betrayed by one who had acted as his friend. Though this betrayal did not come as a surprise to him.

When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve.  And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”

~Matthew 26:20-21~

Jesus prayed. Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He prayed so hard that he sweat blood.  (This is a real condition and you can read about Hematohidrosis here.) He prayed asking God if there was any other way that God’s plan could be completed without him having to die.

And the he was arrested.

He was taken before Pontius Pilate who found no reason to have him executed.

He ordered a flogging, hoping that the severe beating would stop the uprising he feared.

Flogging was pretty nasty to begin with.  They used a whip with spikes of bone or metal and struck the person over and over again, ripping the flesh from the body with each strike.

He was mocked, he was tortured with a crown of thorns.

Pilate still had no reason to execute him, but the crowd (most likely temple workers, not those who cheered for his arrival) wanted him dead.

Pilate washed his hands of the situation and handed Jesus over the Jewish officials to do with what they wished.

They forced him to carry is own cross and then they nailed him to the cross.

He died there.

But he was pierced for our

He was wrapped and placed in the tomb.

On the third day when the women went to redress his burial linens and add spices they were surprised.

The tomb was empty.

Jesus appeared to his disciples and to those in the crowd. He was not dead he was alive.

At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Christ, At Easter we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The events of Easter give us hope.

Why?

Becuase….

God has power over death.  Death is not the end.  It shows us that there is so much more to life than how it will end here on Earth.

Easter is an amazing time, and it means so much more than chicken egg laying rabbits. It is hope, and love that his death demonstrates to us.

It is the hope of God’s forgiveness of our sins.

It is the love he showed us as he died on the cross.

It is the victory he showed over death.

Faith Is A Relationship

 

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

CURLY BRACKETS TO

I mention God often in my posts, but I realized recently that I never really share what my faith is all about.  I love my husband and my children, but i could not be the wife or parent that I am without my relationship with God. He is my rock, my comforter, my savior.

My faith is not just a list of do’s and don’ts.  Pray, go to church, read the Bible are all wonderful things, but they are merely aspects of my faith.  It is my relationship with my God and savior that defines my faith.

God is amazing, worth knowing, worth spending time with (ie. praying and reading the Bible).

As we get closer to Easter, I am reminded of the incredible love my God has for me.

He came into this world to live among us, to teach us, to guide us.

And He took my sins upon himself, died to take the price of everything I’ve done wrong.

But he was pierced for our

I know what God has done for me.  I love Him because of it, and I desire to know Him better.  Going to church doesn’t make me a christian anymore than sitting in the garage would make me a car.  I go to church, read the Bible, pray, because I’m a christian and want to know the God I love even more.

In the end, my faith, my “Christianity” is more like falling in love than something to believe in.  It’s not a crutch. It’s not a phase. It’s the core of who I am.

I talk about God for the same reason i talk about my kids and husband and friends and family… out of love.  I’m so happy they’re in my life, I feel the need to share my experiences.

What’s Keeping You From Church?

What excuses are you using to avoid church?

* I’m too tired

* Kids are acting unruly

* The streets are bad (hey it is winter in Northwestern PA)


* Kids are sick

* I have a headache

Excuses are easy to find and even easier to use to help rationalize why you shouldn’t be doing what you really should be doing.

I woke up this morning with a headache, and even after breakfast it hasn’t gone away.  So I thought, “eh…. we’ll just stay home”

Then I say this on my facebook feed…

My kids being sick would keep me from work and maybe the streets being super snowy and dangerous to drive on but nothing else on my excuse list would stop me.

If I were to wake up with a headache on a work day, I’d take an Ibuprofen and head to work anyways.

So…

I’ll see you all after church…

So what’s keeping you from church this morning?

M2C – 1 Peter 5:7-8

This is Made to Crave online Bible study verse of the week for week 2

Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies

I read and reread the verse.  It’s powerful as it was but I felt as though something was missing and continued to read on.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

~1 Peter 5:7-9

 

As always I looked it up in other translations:

God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him. Be on you guard and stay awake (CEV)

Casting all your cares on Him, because he cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert (NASB)

Then I came to the Amplified Bible

Casting the whole of your care [all you anxiety, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares for you watchfully [Ps55:22]. Be well balanced [temperate, sober of mind], be vigilant and cautious at all time for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger] seeking someone to seize upon and devour. Withstand him, be firm in the faith against his onset – rooted, established, strong, immovable, determined] knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world.

I needed to go further so returning to my friend dictionary.com and looked up a few key words

Cast

  1. to throw, hurt, or fling
  2. to throw off or away
  3. to cause to fall upon something or in a certain direction

Cast your anxieties on him”

Do we hurt God with our “anxieties”? No, in fact definitions 2 & 3 are much better.  He wants us to throw them off, to be unburdened by them.  We are to let them fall to him.

Anxiety

  1. distress, uneasiness of mind caused by fear, danger or misgivings
  2. earnest but tense desire, eagerness

 

This gave me pause – look at the words that describe “anxiety” 

He wants the good WITH the bad.  Yes, we turn to him in fear and worry and let him take the burden, but we also need to turn to him with our desires and have faith that He will do in us what we can not do in ourselves.

Alert

  1. fully aware and attentive, wide awake
  2. an attitude of vigilance, readiness, or caution

We are to be vigilant, ready, acting in caution… for what? For the enemy, the temptations that plague us and threaten to destroy what we are working towards.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail

This was drilled into me as I studied to become a teacher, so much so that I’m a little obsessive about my lesson plans. But it’s the same with weight loss and the first part of our plan needs to be drawing closer to God and casting all our anxieties on Him.

Sober

  1. Quiet or sedate in demeanor
  2. free from exaggeration or speculation
    • Syn – serious, quiet, sedate, composed, collected, reasonable, sound

Sound

  1. free from injury, damage, defect, or disease
  2. in good condition, healthy, strong, robust
  3. competent, sensible
  4. having no defect as to truth, justice, wisdom, or reason

Sobriety is not just for alcoholics, it is the manner in which we conduct ourselves.  Are we free from exaggeration? Are we quiet and sedate? Are we composed, collected, and reasonable?

I’m a mother of a precocious four year old and active seven month old. Composed is not always a characteristic of my demeanor.  When I’ve spent the day cleaning only to find a booger on my daughter’s bedroom wall and my daughter is crying, “mommy don’t wash it off! It’s my pet ‘Fish Lips'”.  I don’t know if I should laugh, cry or give up entirely.

When i burn dinner because my son pooped while in his jumper and I forget about the food on the stove while I try to clean up the mess my son has created.  I am not calm or quiet.

If anyone throws up (ooh i can’t handle vomit); I am anything but “composed”.

But God wants this calmness in our lives and when we cast our cares on him this sober mind is what we get in return; it’s that sense of peace in the midst of a chaotic life that only God can give.

 

Lord,

Help me to throw all my concerns, fears, and desires to you. Help me to be vigilant of the things that tempt me and cautious of the one who tempts us.  Grand me your peace in this chaotic life so that I may have wisdom and reasonable judgement in my health, my relationships, and in all I do and say.

Amen

 

 

M2C — Determination!

For the past two weeks I have been participating in Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Study.

Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies

This study is on Lysa Terkeurst’s book Made to Crave

Each week we are given a word and a verse that personifies the week.

This week’s word was

Determination

I kept trying to think, does this word really mean anything to me?  If I had determination would i be in this weight loss struggle? Would I even be in this Bible Study?

I pondered this as I colored my “determination” poster that I had accidentally printed in black and white.

Then I thought,

What does it mean?

According to dictionary.com

Determination

* the act of coming to a decision or of fixing or settling on something

I had an epiphany. Determination is not a quality someone possesses, it is a choice a person makes.

A dear friend of mine, who I have known for twenty-five years (wow! that makes me feel old – love ya Pj) is going through the same struggle that I am.

Today a coworker brought doughnuts to the office.

She put this sign outside of her office:

Click picture to visit Pj’s Instagram

She determined  that she would not break her diet, she made a plan, and she determined to follow through with her plan.

I love it!

I belong to a website called

If you join tell them rhiannon0207  sent you!

Sparkpeople is a free online diet and fitness plan that offers a variety of diet plans to fit your individual needs as well as a community or support and resources for various health and fitness issues.

One feature they have is something called “Streaks”.  A streak measures how long you keep with a short term goal.  You set a goal like “I will work out 10 minutes a day for the next 30 days”  each day you long if you did your work out and it will track your streak.  If you miss a day your streak resets.  If you want to see that number climb you need to keep with it.  You need to chose to not miss a day.

Determination is not a characteristic it is a choice

a choice to change

a choice to persevere

a choice to put God before all else

Let’s determine today that God is first!

Let’s determine today that food is fuel!

God gives life – Food helps us live that life!

Determination - It's a Choice!

Determination – It’s a Choice!

M2C Blog Hop — Psalm 84:2

 

It always amazes me when the same verse keeps popping up over and over again.

I first received this verse on Sunday, January 19th, with the start of the Made to Crave Online Bible Study, and was dealt it again at my Wednesday night Women’s Bible Study through my church.

I had trouble deciding what I would write for the blog hope until last night, God showed me that I need to open my eyes and see what is in this verse He keeps throwing in front of me.

First thing I did was to look it up in two other translations;

New King James

My soul longs, yes, even faints
For the courts of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

and

Contemporary English Version

Deep in my heart I long
for your temple,
and with all that I am
I sing joyful songs to you.

This is as far as I got before my Wednesday Bible Study, I hadn’t even analyzed the differences, and then the verse came up again in our monthly missions moment discussion.  We talked about “action words” found in the scripture.

 

My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.

 

Yearns 

1. to have an earnest or strong desire

2. to feel tenderness, be moved or attracted.

Synonyms: long, hanker, pine

 

I read this and it makes me wonder is this my heart? Do I really have a strong desire and attraction for the courts of my Lord or am I going through the motions?  Do I feel tenderness for the presence of God or do I turn away from it?

Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws,
    we wait for you;
your name and renown
    are the desire of our hearts.
My soul yearns for you in the night;
    in the morning my spirit longs for you…

~Isaiah 26:8-9 a~

The next action word is:

Cry out

  1. to utter inarticulate sounds, especially of lamentation, grief, or suffering, usually with tears.
  2. to weep; shed tears, with or without sound.
  3. to call loudly; shout; yell

 

I need this in my life.  I need to have a desire for my God so strong that it causes me to shout, yell or even weep for His presence. And this only comes from God being first in my life.  Above the hustle and bustle of life, above the temptations and vices that plague me.

He must be above all!

This Psalm was written in the first person, I didn’t need to personalize it, but I felt it needed to be my prayer, not just my verse.

 
Heavenly Father;
 
Draw me close to you! Make my soul yearn for your presence.  Make me desire your presence so intensely that I shout and weep for you.
 
~Amen 
 
 

 

You Are Invited!

Starting Sunday, January 19th, 2014; Proverbs 31 Ministries will begin their “Made to Crave” Online Bible Study.

 

Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies

 

I have the book.  I’ve even read it once.  It has some amazing, thought provoking information in it.  But I am excited to reread the book.  I am excited to talk to other women who are reading the book, to share our insights, learn from each other, and delve deeper into a book that is designed to encourage us to replace our dependency on food, with dependency on God.

 

Food is good.  Yes, it’s yummy, but it also fuels the body. That’s just it, I don’t always see food as fuel, i see it as comfort. An activity when I’m bored.  I know I crave food more than I crave God most days. That takes food out of the realm of life sustaining and into the realm of idolatry.

I want to feel like I am more than a number on a scale.  I want the first place I turn to after a hard day to be my Bible instead of the plate of fudge.

I joined this Bible study for a new perspective on everything I’ve been doing.  If you’d like to check it out, come along.  You can click the picture for P31 Online Bible Studies above and it will take you directly to the Online Bible Studies page.  We’d love to have you join the journey!

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