Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sharing what you're thankful for on Thanksgiving Day is not new, I know. I didn't plan on writing this post, but as I sat slurping my coffee and going back and forth on Facebook with family and friends, it just felt right. I thank God all the time for the awesome people He's put in my life, and want to make sure they know just how much I appreciate them.

My husband is awesome. He has mad DMR skills, and he knows how to get the Christmas decorations hung up just right. I enjoy spending time with him, which is a pretty big deal. He also likes to cook. Hello!

My give you a taste as to why I'm thankful for her, she recently instituted the "Stress-Free Zone." A few days ago, I was busy, busy, busy, and she came up to give me a hug. She declared that I was not allowed to think of anything I had to do that day while in this "zone." Not that my daughter is responsible for keeping me at peace (I am!), but her timely gesture made me laugh, and we all know that laughter is good medicine!

My dad is one of those rare people who believe in doing a job well, and doing it on time. I'm thankful that I had that example in my life as I grew up. He also saves me his Coke reward points.

My mom is always supportive, and always encouraging. I love her weird jokes. I remember her singing songs to my brother and I while putting on her own mini-plays to accompany them. I also remember laughing so hard I couldn't move while she chased us up the steps with an Animal puppet (of Muppets fame!). And she bought me coconut cream pie.

Kath is my best friend in this world besides my husband. She knows me pretty well, and yet she always takes my calls! She's my "combat buddy" and I just know that she' got my back, no matter what.

Tim is Kath's husband. He likes to post funny/interesting/educational/gross things on my Facebook wall. He picks on me. He makes me laugh. And, if a zombie apocalypse ever does go down and I find myself unprepared, it's not because Tim didn't try to prepare me!

Everyone! If you're reading this, then in some way you are a part of my life. I am thankful for you. I'm not just saying this to be nice and to keep people from feeling like they've been left out. For every phone call, email, and post -- thank you! You make me think and continually put a smile on my face. I only hope that I am as much of a blessing as you are to me!

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Most Annoying Sound in the World

There's a scene in the movie Dumb and Dumber that always makes me giggle...

As entertaining as that moment has been in my life, Lloyd Christmas was entirely wrong.

The most annoying sound in the world is, in fact, Sally slurping her tongue over and over, for no apparent reason, while all else is quiet and I'm trying to FOCUS.

(Nothing stuck in her apparent issues with her teeth. As far as I can tell, she's doing it just to do it...and she mostly does it as she's dozing off to sleep. Most dogs turn themselves around a few times and plop down wherever they're going to nap.)

To what can I liken the sound? Shall it be a partially dampened sponge being smeared in short strokes over a rubber glove coated in Vaseline? Or a shoe on which an errant wad of chewed gum has been smooshed and is now walking across a slightly dusty basketball court?

I allow frustration to build. And, feeling the need for something or someone else to blame for my desk's state of chaos other than myself, I turn toward the source of the obnoxious noise, and ask...

"Really, Sally?"

She turns her adorable snout toward me...

And slurps again...

What? So I had stuffed pumpkin fuzz on my tongue. Is that so wrong?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lies You Might Have Heard – Part Two

   If you missed the first post in this series, click here!

 Lie #2 – “I’m just a sorry old sinner saved by grace!”  


Now bear with me if you're getting offended because you say this exact thing, or something similar. I used to say it too, so I'm not here to judge, but to show you what God has shown me. 

The sneaky thing about this statement is that the person saying it believes they are being humble. Being humble is most definitely a good thing, but talking and acting like we’re mere worms is not what God wants from us. In fact, statements like that make God look like He’s some sort of cruel slave owner. If a person has been born again, then they are no longer a sinner, but righteous.
The Greek word used in the New Testament for “sinner” means “devoted to sin, not free from sin, pre-eminently sinful, especially wicked.” Christian, that is not you! The Bible says that you have been set free from slavery to sin (Romans 6:6, 22) and you’re now part of His kingdom.

And let me clarify for a moment here…

Just because a Christian sins, does not mean they are a sinner. We still mess up. I’ve messed up today. But, you have to realize that you are made up of three parts – you are a spirit, that has a soul (mind, will, and emotions), and you live in a physical body. 

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23

When you were “born again” it was your spirit that was regenerated and made new. Your mind was still full of junk, which is why God told us we need to “renew” our minds by reading His Word (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 5:26). And this physical body of ours is still corruptible. Only when the “last trumpet” sounds (1 Corinthians 15:52) will our physical bodies be made incorruptible as Jesus’ was. (Read the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 15. It’s good stuff, and there’s even a verse there that talks about how if Christ hasn’t risen, we’re still in our sins…which brings us back to our topic!)

So, I hope by now you’re starting to see that you aren’t some low-life. Believe me; I know that without God we’d be hopeless and helpless. The very world was created by Him, the oxygen we breathe in…we would have nothing without Him. It is only because Jesus gave Himself up for us that we can even have right-standing with God. There’s no question there.

But, my brothers and sisters, would you want your children to throw themselves on the ground in front of you whenever you do something good for them and cry, “But we’re not worthy! We’re just worms at your feet!”? When I do something good for my child, I want her to get excited, not grovel and tell me why she’s not good enough to have it. It’s all about heart attitude. God knows those who cherish Him and those who don’t – you don’t need to grovel – just appreciate!

Now, part of true humility is not getting “too big for your britches.” 

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. Romans 12:3

It’s wrong to think you’re better than someone else. God doesn’t love your pastor more than you. He doesn’t love the Pope more than you (ducking!). The kind of house you live in, the car you drive, the store you buy your groceries at, and the amount of times you go to church a week do not make you better or worse than someone else in God’s eyes. We need to quit judging other folks, let them deal with their own stuff, and take a look at ourselves in the light of God’s Word. 

But here’s the thing – it’s not wrong for you to think of yourself as holy, royal, and righteous, because God has already said you are.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light… 1 Peter 2:9

Hello? Am I talking to anyone up in here?

Still need more? 

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

We are to approach God boldly! Not haughtily, but with the confidence that comes from knowing you are His child, that He loves you, and He wants you to come to Him.

Humility is all about who you exalt.  Do you brag about yourself, or God? Do you make a big show of yourself, or God? Do you rejoice with others when good things happen for them, or do you start talking about something that you have or that happened for you instead? Remember, it’s all about the heart attitude, folks.

 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 14:11
Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips. Proverbs 27:2

If your heart is inclined to give thanks to God and to build other people up, you’re good to go! So, the next time you’re talking to someone about your Father in heaven, say something that actually reflects the truth of what God has done for you. For example you could say, “Yeah, I was pretty messed up, but then I let God in, and He made everything new!”

Finally, I encourage you to get your Bible out, open up to the book of Galatians and start locating every verse that says “in Him” or “in Christ” and you will find who you are, and what you have in Christ. Keep on going through all of the letters to the churches. I’m telling you it will change your life!

See you next time!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Lies You Might Have Heard – Part One

I’m starting a series of posts that will shed Biblical light on a lot of untruths I’ve heard over the years. I believed the majority of them were true at one point or another, but found out later on that the Word of God says otherwise. The whole point of these posts is to help you be rid of the bondages that are created by the things men say and teach, by telling you what the Bible actually says.

 Lie #1 – You can’t know the will of God

This one is sometimes coupled with other statements like “His thoughts and ways are just so much higher than ours, we can’t know what His will is!” (Which is an attempt to quote Isaiah 55:9, but this verse never says we can’t know God’s will – we’ll cover that in another post!), and “You just never know what God is gonna do.”

Well, while we may not always know the exact ways in which God will bring His will to pass in our lives, we can and should know His will. (Example: we, as believers, know that God wants people to be born again. What we don’t know is exactly how He’s going to go about reaching out to each individual.) We have page upon page of God’s will available to us, and we’re not supposed to be living in some sort of weird guessing game filled with confusion and uncertainty.

But don’t take my word for it – taking another person’s word for it is what gets us into these messes!

Paul told the Ephesians to understand the will of God. Hello? He wouldn’t have told them to do that if it was impossible for them to do so.

Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:17

And in one of his letters to the Corinthians, Paul told them that the Holy Spirit (that now resides in every believer) reveals the will of God to us:

But as it is written:

      “ Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
      Nor have entered into the heart of man
      The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

BUT GOD HAS REVEALED them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 1 Corinthians 2:9-11 (emphasis mine)

Okay, so we can see from this scripture that we can, in fact, know the will of God – but how do we find out what the will of God is? Well, crack open your Bible. Read it. Look at everything Jesus did and said. Jesus said that He did what He saw the Father do. And what would the Father do? His own will. 

So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.” John 5:19 (NLT)

And if you read the Bible, you’ll see what Jesus did – He preached the kingdom of God and repentance, He healed the sick, He fed the multitudes, etc. That is the will of God, and it hasn’t changed (Hebrews 13:8, Malachi 3:6). 

And on another note, take a peek at Mark 16:17-18 if you don’t believe that all of those things are still His will today. 

See you next week!