Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Contented Dreams...

I always write from what I am going through and God really impressed this on me one night while I was sleeping.  For those of you that know me personally, you know I am pretty straight-forward. For you that don't know me... please keep in mind, many times what I write is so hard for me... God is working on me through all of this too! It is probably more for me than you, but I hope you can get something out of it as well.
What is the difference between dreaming and a dream??? Is there a difference? Is one done with discontentment and the other done already being content??? I was wondering, if we are not content in the life God has given us now, will He put a dream in front of us??? For instance, if we are not living our life to the fullest with the way it is right now… will God give us more?  Is a grateful heart the difference between dreaming and a dream??? I can dream that one day my prince will come and sweep me off my feet, yet if I show no appreciation for my husband, no matter how flawed he may be now, will my marriage ever get any better? 

“Now godliness with contentment is great gain.” I Timothy 6:6

We think when we are children and maybe even as adults… dreams are some sort of “magic.” Have you heard people say that their life is so much better when they are dreaming?  Dreaming is not real life… dreaming will never be reality as long as we never start really living in our own life… nothing will ever change!

So lets ask ourselves… “Am I content with my life?”  For myself, I have a great husband… a beautiful home… wonderful friends… a loving family… and best of all an unbelievable relationship with God!  What more could I want?  I am not saying my life is perfect, by any means… it can be a day to day battle that takes real effort to live a contented life.  Not always easy to do!

My hubby and I have really been stretched in our faith and obedience in the last 6 months.  I was thinking about that and asking God to show me why this is all happening to us… I feel so undeserving of all He is pouring out on me. As I looked back over all He has been doing I could see that there was a time when I believe God said, “Okay, it is time to step it up a little.”  A couple years ago God gave me this passage in 2 Kings 4:8-17… I knew part of what it meant in my life at the time, but more and more He is showing me that being contented with the life He has given me is another part of it too.

If you are not familiar with this story it is about a Shunammite woman, the Bible actually calls her “great woman.”  She was called to feed Elisha, the prophet, as he passed by her home. She and her husband even made him a room to stay in whenever he came by their place.  She took good care of God’s prophet. One day she was called before Elisha and he told her that her faithfulness would be rewarded.  All the kindness she had shown Elisha was not for reward, but because she knew he was a man of God.  Elisha told her what her reward would be and she did not believe him because she thought it was impossible.  But just like Elisha had spoken it to her, it happened at the appointed time.

I have failed God so many times. Every day I try to remain faithful even when I am angry and don’t understand what He is doing.  I search in His Word to find exactly what He has for me for that day… on the days I do not take that time… my day is usually a flop until I seek God’s face.  I know that being renewed through His faithfulness makes it easier for me to be faithful to Him.  I find it is impossible to be content unless I am trusting Him.  If I can’t trust Him to meet my daily needs or to fulfill His promises I will never be content.  

Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

Okay, so here is the question… Are you living a contented life? It has nothing to do with circumstances, finances or what you don’t have… it has only to do with who you are allowing God to be in your life as your life is right now.  It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to do better… it just means every step we take forward needs to be done with contentment. Choose to live a life of gratefulness, even when you don’t see all the good!  Contentment, faithfulness, trust will lead to God’s path with the big dreams He has for you!

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5

Praise Him for His loving kindness!

Rejoicing in Truth!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Showing Love...

How do we as humans show love to others? Do we try to do things that make them happy? Do we try to be respectful of their feelings and their likes and dislikes? Or do we do the opposite of what we know they would want? Is that how to show someone love? I am not saying you wouldn’t still love a person that disappointed you or purposely did things that they knew would hurt you. What I guess I am wondering is… how do you express the love you feel inside for someone???

When my hubby and I were first married, I thought the way to show love was through food. I liked to cook and he loved to cook. Needless to say I think we both put ten pounds on in our first year of marriage! Yep, not the healthiest way to show love!

But real love from the heart has to be done with a death to selfishness. Death… selfish… those aren’t very pretty words!  Yes, we are still human so selfishness will still rear its ugly head from time to time… I just don’t believe that is ever the intention of real love.

As Believers we are to live by Christ’s example… right? Ephesians 5:2 says, “Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” Was there ever a time Christ was selfish? Was there ever a time He was disobedient? Even when His Father told Him He would die a horrible death on the cross… He was obedient! Selfless obedience! Wow, that just really struck my heart… how many times has God asked me to do something small and yet I have drug my feet to do it or did not do it at all? I am not meaning this in a condemning way… this is a wake-up call to my selfishness! It is not about me… it is all about Him… that is what it has to be about! I believe that every opportunity God puts before me is not only to grow my relationship with Him, but even more importantly it is to bring others into a relationship with Him. I am not talking about good deeds to win God’s love… I am talking about being selfless to win others to Him because I love God. It is a beautiful circle… if I am willing to help complete it!

I know for myself I have spent a lot of time comparing how I am or what I do to others. I would think, if so and so isn’t doing it why should I have to? I know I wasted many opportunities squabbling in my head and heart about the things God wanted me to do. Nothing like a good wrestling match with God! I was making it all about me and how I would look or how uncomfortable I would be… and using other people as my excuse not to! God has shown me that what He is asking me to do is for me to do… He is asking me, not so and so! Why am I so stubborn sometimes? Flesh vs. Spirit… that great battle I fight daily!

Do you know, showing kindness… speaking truth… encouraging someone with a smile… those are small things that we can do that could change someone’s perspective. I may not be the one who prays the prayer of salvation with that person, but obedience in those small gestures could be what points them in the right direction.

When I sat down to write this, the verse that got me started thinking was… “If the death of His Son restored our relationship with God while we were still His enemies, we are even more certain that, because of this restored relationship, the life His Son lived will save us.” Romans 5:10  You are probably wondering how this verse ties into what I just wrote… what it boils down to for me is there can never be life (restoration) without the death of something… self… pride… ideas! How bad do I want it? Am I willing to let these things die to achieve it? The Great Love that God gave me through His Son is enough reason for me to put aside my selfish agenda. God has just been stretching me so much in the area of obedience and I wrote this and I’m sharing it with you… in obedience! God, shine the light on those selfish areas in my life, in Jesus’ name.

Rejoicing in Truth!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Here It... Do It!

“But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” - James 1:22

Are you a doer or a hearer only?  Even though I might read God’s Word every day, many times I know I don’t do it. I was thinking how it is like sitting down at a beautifully set table to have a fabulous meal… you know, where all the forks, spoons and knives are in their proper place… shiny, polished crystal glassware… heirloom china… oh, and cloth napkins, of course. You are seated in your chair ready to take that first bite of a scrumptious meal… you place that bite in your mouth and chew it and chew it and chew it, but then instead of swallowing it you spit it out. Do you ever get the nutrition you need from that food? It might have satisfied your taste-buds, but it will never fill your belly!

Our physical bodies need food as fuel to keep us going… just like our spiritual bodies need nourishment from God’s Word to keep us on His path. We might open our Bible and read the precious words on the page… we can read it and read it and read it, but if we don’t ingest it and do it… we never will receive the “nutrition” we need from it.

I have really been challenging myself a lot for the last few months to be a doer and not just a hearer. I know I have lived so much of my life looking “good” on the outside, but my motives have not always been what they should have been… living and doing things in a prideful way. I have to daily check my motives… is it to honor and glorify God first and foremost??? Don't misunderstand... I am not saying you need to always be doing. What I am saying is we need to live out what we are gleaning from God's Word. Hear It and do It... let that be my passion! Will you join me in this challenge?

Rejoicing in Truth!