“…What I mean is that each of you says,’I follow Paul,’ or ‘I follow Apollos’, or ‘I follow Cephas’, or ‘I follow Christ’. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?…”
~1 Corinthians 1:12-13
We know that the Bible says that we are to have God first and not bow down to idols. But in the United States it’s rare to see someone bowing down to an actual idol made of silver or gold. However we still struggle with idol worship today–just in different ways.
Sometimes idols can be as simple as a good thing put in the wrong place. For example it has been my goal for about a year to open my own little online shop selling my pictures on different products. I finally got the account set up and began to figure out the next steps. I would work on this project for hours each day. As time went on I began to feel cruddy, tired, grumpy, and stressed. I thought that I was really stressed about getting everything set up. So, I kept plugging away thinking that when everything was done I would feel better.
Once I launched everything I still felt down and I couldn’t figure out why. Upon further investigation I realized that in my desire to get everything set up and going I began to idolize the business and blog. These were both good things that can make an impact for the kingdom of God. However put in the wrong place they can wreck havoc on my relationship with Jesus.
We can also idolize other people, T.V. shows, music or anything else that we put above God. The good thing is that when we mess up and put God on the back burner for a season He always welcomes us back home with open arms and love and grace.
Don’t believe me? The book of Exodus records the Jews’ journey from Egypt into the land that God had promised them. In chapter 32 while Moses was up on the mountain the people got impatient waiting for him to return. At Aaron’s suggestion they gave him their gold jewelry and he made them a golden calf. Aaron told them that this golden calf had been the god that had led them out of Egypt. Even though the people messed up and disobeyed God (and they had to pay the consequences for their sin); God still loved them and led them to the land that He promised to give them.
So, next time you mess up; don’t beat yourself up. Realize that you messed up, ask God for forgiveness, learn from your mistake, and rest in His great grace.
Until next time,
“Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.”
The past couple of days I’ve been reading from the book of Psalms. As I was reading today I noticed something that I’d like to share with you.
Now, I want you to know that I am by no means a Bible Scholar; just a girl sharing her thoughts. I realized that a lot of the Psalms I have been reading appear to be David’s prayers to God. I found encouragement in the fact that these prayers weren’t perfect. They weren’t all smiles,they were David’s thoughts.
David knew that He could pour his heart out to God and that God understood him and was strong enough to handle every one of his worries. He didn’t worry about making sure the prayer sounded eloquent enough; he just told God what was on his heart.
I don’t know about you; but often times I feel like my prayers aren’t good enough. I didn’t thank God enough or word that request just right. What I forget is the simple truth that God already knows. Psalm 139:2 tells us that God knows when we sit and stand and He knows our every thought. He knows what we need before we do (Matthew 6:8).
If God already knows our thoughts why is that we feel the need to be perfect before speaking with Him? Sometimes I want to pray but don’t always know what to say or how to say it. No, worries, Romans 8:26-27 tells us that the Spirit helps us when we are weak and intercedes for us.
“You do not have, because you do not ask…”
So go ahead and pray. Tell God what’s on your mind. Don’t worry about making it sound just right–just pray. Pour out your heart and wait expectantly for God to move. Keep your eyes open, He may just go above and beyond your original request (See Ephesians 3:20).
Until next time,
This morning was hard. I woke up feeling like I wasn’t ready to start the day despite what the sky and clock said. The day started with a not-so-great attitude and I reaped the consequences. I ended up making a big mistake. I was selfish, rude, inconsiderate, and disrespectful. The really sad thing was that it took over an hour of discussions in order for me to see and accept the wrong that I had committed.
“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins. Put Me in remembrance; Let us contend together; State your case, that you may be acquitted.”
By this point it was already past noon and I didn’t have a lot done. I knew that if I didn’t do something fast my attitude was going to rule the day and I wouldn’t get anything done. So I decided to change things up. I mentally hit the reset button. I decided that I wasn’t going to let what happened this morning ruin the rest of my day.
I ate a good lunch and then exercised while watching one of my favorite movies to help clear my head. Then I was able to begin my day again. Starting over and beginning to get some things done.
“Don’t put it off; do it now! Don’t rest until you do.”
Just because we mess up doesn’t mean we need to wait until the next day to start over. We can start over right then. We can ask for forgiveness and begin again. Right here. Right now.
Until next time,
I have a confession to make: I’m not good at prioritizing. I know what needs to be done but I don’t complete the tasks in the best way. The things that are harder or that I just loathe doing are often times the very last things to get done. If they get done at all.
I didn’t realize how big of a problem this had become until recently. As I’m working to move foward with a couple of projects I realized that I had negelected a couple of very important things. This got me thinking a lot about how I prioritize my days and what’s really first in my life.
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
As we read the Bible we are reminded again and again that our realtionship with God needs to be our top priority. We are reminded of God’s great love for us; His jealously for us. “You must worship no other gods, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his realtionship with you.”–Exodus 34:14
“I have given you an example to follow, Do as I have done to you”
While Jesus was walking here on this earth He set us an example to follow. He showed us how to live, love, and die. As I read the stories of Jesus there’s always one thing that continues to stick out to me: His prayer life. Here’s what I mean. We see recorded in various places that Jesus went off by himself to pray (see Mark 1:35 & Luke 5:16). He took the time to seek God’s will before He tackled the day ahead.
I’m learning that one of the most important things that we can do each day is to start the day with God. If we follow Jesus’s example and seek Him first He’ll supply the rest. He’ll give us the widsom to conquer our tasks–even those we loathe.
Until next time,
“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.”
I’m sure that I’ve told ya’ll about our very muddy backyard. But, in case I haven’t let me refresh your memory: Winter in southern Ohio was very wet. We didn’t get much snow, but we got a LOT of rain. The way that our backyard is sloped along with having a very active dog and being outside more with a couple of extra chores means that there’s a lot of mud.
I have agreed to take on the responsibility of our family’s laundry for a while to help out. That means that I have had to spot every one of those muddy pieces of clothing. And let me tell you, that mud is a very persnickety stain. I found that I had to wash some of the clothing twice to be able to get all of the mud out. Because I was also using more soap in the form of spot cleaner I have also had to run an extra rinse cycle.
As I was spotting yet another mud-filled shirt I was reminded of our sin.
You see when we sin we get muddy in a spiritual sense. This mud separates us from God. We in our own power are not able to get clean (sort of how the muddy shirt can’t get clean without me applying soap and scrubbing). We get clean by the saving blood of Jesus.
Jesus blood is the “soap” that washes our sins away. The “scrubbing” can be compared to God working on us. He makes us continually more like Him each day. As He works to make us more like Him, it’s not always comfortable for us. He can unearth attitudes that we didn’t know we had and “scrub” them away as we continue to learn more about Who He is and who we are in Him.
So, what happens if we sin again? The same thing that happens to the shirt once it gets muddy again. We get washed once again by His blood. He died once and for all and gave us His Spirit to guide us day by day until one day we meet Him face to face in Heaven (See 1 Peter 3:18 & 2 Corinthians 1:22).
Until next time,
It seems to me that young children have a very special gift. Very few people are able to hold on to this gift as they age. But when people are able to keep a firm grip on this gift it can really change the world.
What’s this special gift? It’s the gift of seeing. I don’t mean seeing in a physical sense; but seeing in an emotional way. Children have the very unique ability to see life through another lens. I’ve always wondered how they were able to do this. As I’ve continued to think about this I’ve come up with three reasons why I think that children are able to see things in this life differently.
1) Children aren’t afraid of other’s opnions:
Young children are blessed with the ability to live life. They don’t have a care in the world; thery’re able to just play and learn. Children are able to think of sweet quick-witted responses that make many of us adults stop and chuckle or really think deep thoughts. Children don’t worry about being able to keep up with those next door, they are thankful for what they have and see it as a blessing. I am always amazed by how little children need to be entertained. If you just watch I think that you’d be equally impressed with what their little minds can come up with.
2) Children don’t see stero types they see people
We have gotten into a bit of a sticky situation as humans. We have gotten into the habit of rating sin and placing people in boxes; categorizing them based on their actions or physical apperance and then assuming that all the people in the catagory are like that. The truth is that all humans regardless of race or religion or background are all children of God (Galatians 3:26). We all have sin (Romans 3:23). The thing about sin is that in God’s eyes lying is the same as murder. He doesn’t see any difference. To Him sin is sin; it’s just committed in different ways. Children have the unique abllity to see people as people.
3) Children are able to love:
Because children don’t worry about what others think of them and they see people as simply people they are able to love more easily. They are able to love more fully. Jesus said that the second greatest command is to love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30-31). Children really seem to be able to truly love their neighbor.
“And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.'”
Until next time,
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” ~ Hebrews 4:16
Confidence is something that I have struggled with for years. I have often wondered if I am good enough or if I measure up to society’s standards. I spent years just trying to fit in and wanting so desperately to feel as though I belonged and had friends.
As I have grown as a Christian, I’ve discovered that confidence comes not from others opnions of me or even what I think of myself.
Confidence comes from God.
It comes from knowing Who He is and Whose I am. We as Christians are called to stand out; to be different than the world that we live in (Romans 12:2). And that’s okay. God has a special plan for each of us, there is a purpose for our pain (Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28).
I have also discoved the simple truth that we as Christians are part of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12). Because we are part of His body He has given us a special gift or talent, that He wants us to use to encourage others and glorify Him. Everyone has an important place in the body of Christ. WIthin His body there is no distinction, we are all ONE body, one family (Galatians 3:28,Glatians 4:4-7).
Even though at times it seems SO hard to accept or understand; I am begining to gain a sliver of understanding about the Holy, Loving God that we serve. He is holy and calls us to be holy as He is holy (Leviticus 20:26). The love that God has for us is truly undescrible. He loves us beyond measure and loves to bless us (Romans 5:6-8, 2 Corinthians 9:8)!
Another thing that I find SO hard to grasp is that He forgives us of our sin. All we have to do is repent of the sin and TRY to not commit this sin again (1 John 1:7,9) . He knows that we are human–that we mess up and that we sin (Psalm 103:14). But that didn’t stop Him from coming down to show us a better way. Jesus came down to earth to live a human life. He fully understands what living on earth is like and was tempted in every way that we are but He remained sinless (Hebrews 4:15). He offered Himself as a once for all sacrifice for our sin (Hebrews 10).
Confidence is something that doesn’t happen overnight.
It is a continual process of replacing the Devil’s doubts with the Truth found in God’s word. Remembering how it is that He sees me is SO different than the way that the world sees me. I hope that you are reminded of that today.
Until next time,
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
Something that I have noticed many times in reading the Bible is that God doesn’t leave out our mistakes. He redeems them. God uses EVERY ONE. He doesn’t pick and choose by society’s standards. He sees your heart and motives (see 1 Samuel 16:7 & Proverbs 16:7).
The Bible is full of messed up people that followed God’s plan for their lives. Following God is rarely a stright line. It’s a series of hills and valleys, twists and turns.
Moses was slow of speech (Exodus 4:10) and he led the Children of Israel to the Promised Land.
Rahab was a prostitute (Joshua 2 & Hebrews 11:31) and she was the Great Grandmother of David–one of the greatest kings in Bible.
David had an affair and killed her husband so that he could marry her (2 Samuel 11) and he’s still considered a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).
Paul; the man who wrote a majority of the New Testament; approved the killing of Stephen (Acts 8:1). And he even went around killing Jews (Acts 8:3). Paul is considered the “model Christian” if you will. He tells the church at Corinth to imitate him as he imitates Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).
I wanted to remind you that you are not alone in your struggles. Even when you want to do right but some how keep doing wrong remember that even Paul had that very same struggle (Romans 7:15-20).
Remember that God has and will continue to use all people; not just those whom the world believes are worthy. You are worthy because of who God says that you are. He says that you are made in His image and bought with His precious blood.
You are not a mistake.
You are His masterpiece.
Until next time,
“But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love that you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.” ~Revelation 2:4-5
Here lately I’ve been reminded that I need to go back in order to move foward. I’m finding that I keep trying to solve all of my problems without praying about them. I used to have a specific prayer time and would write out very specific requests andI kept seeing answers to even the smallest and somewhat insignificant prayers that I prayed.
Then life got really crazy and I fell off the wagon. I keep telling myself that I need to get back on but I keep failing to really set aside a time for prayer and Bible study. So, I am finally putting my foot down.
After doing a little research I decided that my current approach was too overwhelming; so I’m chaging things up a bit. I went to the store and bought a bigger notebook that is divided into sections. Each day I’ll pray about specific topics. Then if I think about something stressful or conserning throughout the day I’ll pray about that then.
Why wait when we have Jesus interceding for us up in Heaven (Hebrews 7:25, Romans 8:34)?
“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” ~1 John 5:14
Until next time,
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against authorites, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
In this life there are a lot of challenges. I think that most of the time we really like to blame the problem without realizing that it’s not the problem, it’s the “person” behind the problem. By saying this I want you to know that I don’t advocate blaming your spouse, children, parents or siblings when you seem to have a bad day. Stay with me for a minute and just keep reading.
We forget that we’re really at war… with the Devil on a daily basis. Each day he seeks to decieve the followers of Jesus. He wants us to doubt the plans that God has for us, and make us too discouraged, angry, hurt, etc. to keep pushing on. Remember that in the end if we perserve we will have a great reward… Heaven.
Each of the challenges that we go through really challenge us to develop more of the characteristics of Jesus. James 1;2-4 tells us to be joyful when we go through challenges because we know that it makes us more like Him. Being like Jesus is our true goal in this life.
Sometimes we get so discouraged that we aren’t just like Jesus. You know, we think “I’ve been a Christian for [instert years here] I really should know better. I still shouldn’t be doing this. I know better…” And yes, we do know better but we forget and mess up. Just like the Bible says in Romans 3:23. But today, I just wanted to remind you that it is enough to try to be LIKE Jesus.
“It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master.” ~Matthew 10:25a
So let’s quit beating ourselves up for failing. Let’s repent of our sin, ask for forgiveness, and rest in His grace. Knowing that we just need to keep trying to be like Him. Remember no human except Jesus was perfect.
Until next time,