Thursday, December 29, 2011

Heeding Discipline

Why is it that when it comes to everyone else, we can point and say, "well, only if they would _____, then they could _____; yet, we are in the "same" mirror staring at ourselves in the face.

We seem to be so quick to criticize and give advice, yet we don't heed to what we tell others, nor do we apply the knowledge of God's Word. We must know God's ways and keep His laws. In Proverbs 29:19 God's word says, "For a servant, mere words are not enough--discipline is needed. For the words may be understood, but they are not heeded." God is telling us that he can't merely tell us with His words, but that through correction and discipline we must learn the wisdom He wants us to learn.

As God sees that we need discipline, we too must discipline ourselves. It's not enough just understand, but we must apply the knowledge we have. For what good are we, if we have knowledge and don't apply it?

What good are a carpenter's skills, if he does not use them to build his own home? What good is a mathematical genius' mind when theories are never revealed; thus never making discoveries that could impact the world. What good are we to God, if we aren't setting an example to our future generations?

Learn from God's discipline. Stopping being foolish as if you were a child. For "folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him." (Proverbs 22:15) Heed discipline, you might be amazed what God can do through your obedience. Perhaps you need a career change? Discipline yourself to go back to school. Perhaps you need a car? a house? Discipline yourself to be a good steward of your finances. Take a course in money management. Maybe you need new friends, ask God to help you change yourself in ways that would reflect to type of friendships you need.

We must all learn to heed to God's discipline to truly be His servant.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Final Say

Everything in life has a place and a purpose. We can create and generate our elaborate, drawn out plans, but God has the final say.
These past two and a half weeks, I have made several plans to attend events and parties; on that I was particularly looking forward to. I invited several friends to attend. I followed up with them by texting, emailing, and calling them, making sure they knew the time, date, and place; however, God seemed to have different plans.

My health hadn’t been quite up to par that week and I felt like I had depleted all the ways that I knew I could help rejuvenate and energize my body. I rested most days and literally did almost nothing, but to perform my basic daily needs. My wonderful husband took on the responsibilities of our household and three year-old. I asked God for His daily strength and continued to pray over our upcoming event that I had so anxiously awaited to attend.

Even though I knew was tired and not feeling 100% I changed into my evening casual attire and got into the car and headed out the driveway, but at the last moment Aaron forgot an item inside the house and asked for Katie and I to wait in the car. With the engine still running, and our car halfway in the street and the driveway, both of our doors ajar and Katie still in the car; I too ran into the house because everything in me screamed, “No, you’re body isn’t ready for this! You aren’t well rested.” So I too ran into the house as Aaron graciously upheld my tired body and I told him that I just couldn’t make it. He walked me to the couch and told me to do “nothing and just rest!,” until he arrived home from dropping off materials at the event.

Needless to say I was quite disappointed; however, I learned what Proverbs 16:33 speaks of, “We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.”

Even though I was unable to attend I saw how the Lord impacted many women through that event. It brought together a community of believers and non-believers for God’s greater good. It helped build stronger relationships amongst friends. It helped others serve and pour out God’s generosity and love. Most of all, it allowed me to believe in the impact of prayer and regardless of my physical attendance, my spirit was there and God had the final say.

Remember “we can gather our thoughts, but the Lord gives the right answer.” (Proverbs 16:1) Whatever plans and decisions you make whether it be the mundane daily activities of life, conceiving a child, building a home, or making a career change; know that the Lord has the last say, but allow Him to guide you in your plans, for when you give them to Him, they will surely prosper.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Transient Shadows

We are but that. Humans that come and go in our undramatic dailiness. Our lives pass by like an eagle swooping down on its prey, it passes more swiftly than a runner (Job 9:25). There are days that we are joyful looking down from the highest mountain top and others where we have plummeted to the bottom of the valley and are in despair.

Over these past few years, during my times in the valley, I have learned to look higher past the peak of that mountaintop into God’s country. I have learned that I cannot do life in my own strength. I know I was formed by My creator’s hands to serve and honor Him despite my circumstances. Having breathed the breath of life in me—He has a purpose.

Our lives are transient shadows—here on moment and gone the next. Although we were born but yesterday and know so little in this life we must not let our shadow go unnoticed for the latter generations need to learn from their former ancestors.

My days here are like a transient shadow, as were Job’s, but his wisdom, strength, faithfulness, and integrity to God have had an everlasting shadow that I use to support me in the days that I am broken in spirit and in the days that I shine with joy; for God uses all things for His good and His glory!

I pray that in the days you feel like Job and say, “My days are over. My hopes have disappeared. My heart’s desires are broken” (Job 17:11) that you may look up God’s country and find the strength that I have found in my valley. Encourage others to do the same; allow your transient shadow to teach others to look to God for He is always faithful on the mountain top and in the valley. Make your “shadow” count in this life, for you may be the next Job to the upcoming generation.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Try, Try Again

Last week my independent three-year old put on her pajama bottoms quickly and easily; only to find that her button down top was a bit more challenging.

I have taught her to start buttoning from the bottom up—to avoid the notorious mismatched buttoning. She began with the bottom button, struggling a bit along the way up to the top button. When she reached the top button she tried and tried only to find herself in a very frustrated situation; the button wouldn’t pull through the top hole. See began crying and fussing saying she couldn’t do it, but then I brought her attention the other buttons and the progress she had already made. Not really sure what she was thinking, but I encouraged her, “You can do it, you can do it Katie—try, try again! Ask God to help you, you can do it.” She immediately asked God for help and within about thirty seconds she finally conquered her last and final button. She looked up at me with a sigh of relief, smiled, and said “I did it mommy!”

A couple of days later we were running late for school. I was in a hurry when we arrived, at the school, jumped into the back seat to unbuckle her car seat and for the life of me, it wouldn’t unbuckle. I pulled and pulled, each time getting more and more stressed and frustrated---then I heard my little girl’s voice saying, “Mommy, mommy you can do it. Try, try again.” I looked up at her and smiled and prayed Lord help me. Immediately I changed the position of my hand on the buckle, pushed it and it released. I smiled at her and thanked her for her encouragement, thanked God and told Katie see, “God can help you—you just have to try, try again.”
This last week has been a challenging week to say the least. I battled seizure after seizure and dodged the war against the enemies’ devious and fiery arrows and spearing self-defeating thoughts in my mind.

There have been moments where I have told myself, “I’m just tired of this—I don’t want to do it anymore.” But “the Lord answered [me] when [I] was in distress” (Psalm 20:1) I asked for His strength and joy. He granted my heart’s desire and held back nothing I requested. (Psalm 21:2) He also reminded me of my little girls’ words, “Mommy, mommy you can do it. Try, try again.”

In the moments you feel you can no longer move forward, allow God to give you His strength that you may be victorious in your battles. Encourage others to try, try again. I will leave you with this one final thought, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:36)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Mere Whisper

But where oh where will I find it?

I look to the oceans—it’s not there.

I look to the sea---nor is it there.

The miners have gone to the deepest darkest regions of the earth—it’s not here they say.

The falcons nor other birds of prey have observed it.

But where oh where will I find it?

The people overturn roots of mountains to discover precious stones—but its whereabouts are unknown.

Where oh where? I ask as I run faster and search wider and deeper to the ends of this earth.

This running and searching has exhausted me. With exhaustion and disappointment my breath says—“But where oh where will I find it?”

A mere whisper, I hear—“Only I know the way—I know the exact place to find it. I see everything. I hear everything. I command everything. The fear of ME—that’s true wisdom. “

As I sat from my exhaustive journey, with a great sigh, followed by a mere whisper, I said, “I finally found you."

---Inspired by Job 28

Friday, December 2, 2011

Weakest Link

We all have them. Whether it is the temptation of yummy food that lures us, the yearning of power or greed, saying “no” to compromises, allowing our anger to hurt others, pride, or like King Solomon, lustful desires.
All these weaknesses, if we are not careful and guarded, can lead us into temptation; that temptation can eventually lead to our downfall. No matter how strong our faith, our weak spots are where temptations usually come.
Solomon asked of God, “Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?” (1 Kings 1:9) God granted Solomon’s request and replied “…Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies— I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have!” (1 Kings 1:11-12)

Solomon was the wisest man on earth and remained that way for the remainder of his life; however, he didn’t always display his wisdom.

The Lord instructed him to never intermarry with foreign women because “they [would] turn [his] heart to their gods.’ Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway.” (1 Kings 11:2) God’s instructions were for Solomon’s good; ignoring God’s commands resulted in his downfall. As with us, God too knows our weakest link. No matter how long we have been following Christ, we all face temptations. We must rely on Him to guide us that we may grow stronger and smarter in our struggle against our weak spots.

Don’t think that you are immune to falling into the temptations of your sin. For even the wisest of kings did not protect himself against his weakest link. However, there is hope, for God’s words says in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.”

I pray today that you act upon the wisdom God has given you. Recognize your tendency toward sin, run away from the temptation, resist and strengthen your weakest link with God’s Word. Develop a Christian friendship, so you may call them when you feel you are being tempted. Also, help others in the areas of their struggles [unless, it too is your weak spot], then you should consider finding someone else. Keep them accountable for their actions or inactions.