Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Friendship

friend

/frend/
Noun
A person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.

I have been thinking a lot lately about friends and friendship. A subject that seems to be close to my heart lately.  I look back over the years at the friends that have came and went.  Some I was sad to see go some not so much.  I find it strange how in such a short amount of time the circles we travel in change so much.  The decisions we make or other people make alter those circles, sometimes to the ending of certain friendships.  Yet I know there was a purpose in all of these friendships.

I like to think of the friendship of David and Jonathan.  It's actually one of my favorite passages in the bible.  True friendship that endured test and time.  Check in out starting in 1 Samuel 18. 

My friend Teri has been my friend for ohhh going on 15 or 16 years.  Her youngest daughter was a bitty baby.  I know she was a God send to my life.  If not for her so many times and in so many circumstances, not sure where I would be now or where my sanity would be now.  God used her in a mighty way at a time in my life where God was the last person I would listen to.  We are still friends to this day and she loves me just as much, if not more, not being a basket case as she did when I was one.  Now she doesn't always have to take care of me.  I let God do that now. I'm not sure where Teri stands with the Lord, that's between them, but I have made sure to tell her how much He loves her and how much He has done in my life, and how I know He orchestrated our frienship.  I pray for her and her family (my family) everyday.  I want her to see heaven with me and share the love of Christ that I now know so well.  Somehow I know she will always be part of me and my life. :) Thank you Lord for Teri.

Then there are new friendships.  I rededicated my life to the Lord almost 3 years ago.  Since then old frienships aren't what they used to be and some of the new ones are what they could have been, and now just aren't.  Then there are those that you just know the Lord put there and will always be a part of you because they have changed and influenced you and encouraged you in the Lord (Thanks Kevin, Janece, Frank, Amelia, Bev, all my Church 4:18 family) or maybe you did them. I have some of those people in my life these days.  That makes me happy.  I have a whole family I never thought I would have! 

I have a new friend Lisa.  Strange the friends we make and how we make them, but I feel like the Lord has spoke longevity into this friendship as well.  He knows what we need when we need it. Looking forward to see where the Lord leads us.

I want to be a good friend to those God has put in my life.  I feel like I'm suppose to be an encourager to those who need it.  Somehow to be that friend in waiting when someone needs one.  I think that is something the Lord wants us all to be, but I feel like this is one of His gifts for me. 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

Think about your friendships today, but most of all think about your friendship with the Lord.  He should be our number one friend.

Psalm 73:26 NLT
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.

Matthew 22:36-4 NIV

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Again the definition of Friend:
 

friend

/frend/
Noun
A person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.

MUTUAL AFFECTION!  I want to have mutual affection with the Lord so I can have a mutual affection with those he puts in my life.

Thank you Lord today for all those you put in my path.  Help me to be the friend, the sister you have called me to be. Amen.





 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

O-B-E-Y

ACK! A four letter word!  Well for some of us I guess it is.  Such a short word that has so much impact.

Obey - /ōˈbā/

  1. Comply with the command, direction, or request of (a person or a law); submit to the authority of.
  2. Carry out (a command or instruction)
 
"Submit to the authority of " seems to be the part of the definition that most of us fail in.  I know I do.
 
For me when I read my bible, this word always jumps off the page as if it's the key to so much.  I believe it is. 
 
Reading in Jeremiah and Hebrews today. I'm just confounded by the Isrealites sometimes.  How they saw the awesome miracles of God, but could yet turn their back on Him.  TIME and TIME again!  But then I start to think in terms of myself.  Well...*looking down at my feet in shame* I'm just not much better sometimes.  I guess I have been judgemental about the Israelites in the Old Testament.  These scriptures struck a cord in me today.
 
Jer 7:22 NLT - When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them.
Jer 7:23 NLT - This is what I told them: 'Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!'

Jer 7:24 NLT - "But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward.
Jer 7:25 NLT - From the day your ancestors left Egypt until now, I have continued to send my servants, the prophets--day in and day out.
Jer 7:26 NLT - But my people have not listened to me or even tried to hear. They have been stubborn and sinful--even worse than their ancestors.
Jer 7:27 NLT - "Tell them all this, but do not expect them to listen. Shout out your warnings, but do not expect them to respond.
Jer 7:28 NLT - Say to them, 'This is the nation whose people will not obey the LORD their God and who refuse to be taught. Truth has vanished from among them; it is no longer heard on their lips.
Jer 7:29 NLT - Shave your head in mourning, and weep alone on the mountains. For the LORD has rejected and forsaken this generation that has provoked his fury.'
 
Aren't we like that sometimes?? God gives us every opportunity to be obedient, yet we go on and do what we want to do, when we want to do it.  Giving NO thought to consulting the Lord and what His will in our lives is!  Yet we somehow convince ourselves that we are making a "sacrifice".  Well guess what....it's not sacrifice that He wants the most!
 

1Samuel 15:22 NLT - But Samuel replied, "What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.
 
We should be making sacrifice because we are being obedient.  Because we love the Lord and want to show Him our love through obedience and then the sacrifice.  To me the sacrifice is what comes AFTER you are obedient.  I for one do NOT want TRUTH to vanish from my life because of disobedience.  TRUTH = JESUS
 
Jhn 14:6 NLT - Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
 
Lord give me eyes to see and ears to hear!!  As I take in this *gulp* ominous 4 letter word, O-B-E-Y,  I start thinking about the ways I'm disobedient. I pray for forgiveness, repenting of my disobedience.  Praying for increased strength, increased faith, and wisdom.  LOTS OF WISDOM!
 
He was showing me in His word, by His word, that obedience is showing Him love.  His word truly sharper than any two edged sword. It is a powerful thing that gets deep into us.
No matter how much we try to hide behind our sacrifices, He knows our very heart. I KNOW without a doubt He sees the real me. The deep down me.
 
Hbr 4:12 NLT - For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
Hbr 4:13 NLT - Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. 





Jesus learned obedience.  Not that He was disobedient, but through walking as a man through suffering, He understood and was COMPLETELY submissive to the will of God.
 
Hbr 5:8 NLT - Even though Jesus was God's Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.
Did you notice the word COMPLETELY? Are we COMPLETELY submissive to the Lord's will in our lives or do we hold on that one thing?  Are we being spiritually dull?  Not hearing? Not obeying?
 
To move forward I think we have to look deep in ourselves. See ourselves the way God sees us. It's easy to blame Satan for the things that come up in life.  We face spiritual warfare on a daily basis, but yet we can cause some of our own troubles by our lack of obedience.  When I say "our" I mean "OUR".  However not condemned, I am convicted.  It's time to repent, shake it off, let the Lord mold and make me, for me to be an obedient servant.  To love Him with all of my heart, all of my mind, and all of my soul.  How much do you love Him? Enough to be COMPLETELY obedient?




Saturday, October 27, 2012

To Be or Not to Be a Servant

Or maybe I could call it "To Be or Not to Be a Follower of Christ"

So here is the modern definition of servant from an online dictionary:
ser·vant -One who expresses submission, recognizance, or debt to another: your obedient servant

Another definition:
serv'ant - A person, male or female, that attends another for the pupose of performing menial offices for him, ot who is employed by another for such offices or for other labor, and is subject to his command.

Definition of minister (verb):
minister - attend to the wants and needs of others

So you are probably wondering why I decided to have an english lesson with all these definitions.  As I am reading the book of Mark today, so much of it gets my study mind reeling.  However, one thing that really stuck out to me were the following scriptures:

Mark 10:43 NLT - But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,
Mark 10:44 NLT - and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.
Mark 10:45 NLT - For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many."
So profound!  So many times we have people who want to "minister" or be "ministers" be in "ministry", but are we going at it with a servant's heart and attitude?

Psalm 139:2 NLT - You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I'm far away.
Hebrews 4:12 NIV - For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Somehow, whether we realize it or not, I think that we look at being in ministry or being a minister as some kind of prestigous standing.  A sort of "look at me" thing without anyone knowing we want to be "looked at".  I'm not saying that to be critical.  What I'm saying as that as we minster I believe it is important to keep the heart of why and for whom we minister and what the true meaning and attitude of heart should be.

Ministry is NOT to win our way into heaven (Rom 10:9 NLT - If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.)

It is NOT to win favor among people (Gal 1:10 NLT - Obviously, I'm not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ's servant.)

It is NOT TO WIN a top spot of any kind or to be thought of as important. (Mar 10:31 NLT - But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.)

I believe to minister or to be a minister, is to spread the Good News of the Gospel, to show compassion and love the way Christ did.

1Thessalonians 1:6 NLT - So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord.
Mark 6:34 NLT - Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

It's time to put away our own agendas and to take up Christ's agenda.  To want to serve others as serving the Lord.  With a heart of love.  Not because we get something out of it, but because we love the Lord and want to share His love with others.
Mark 8:34 NLT - Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.

Being a servant/minister is about not what can you do for me, but what can I do for you attitude of heart.  It's putting others before yourself.

Rom 15:1 NLT - We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves.
Rom 15:2 NLT - We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord.
Rom 15:3 NLT - For even Christ didn't live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, "The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me."
Rom 15:4 NLT - Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God's promises to be fulfilled.

I know I have thrown a lot of scripture out here today, but it is however the Good News.  I really have a strong conviction about having a servant's heart.  That sometimes we get wrapped up in "doing" ministry that we aren't really being ministers/servants.  It's easy to develope an attitude and agenda outside of what ministry should be.  Trust me, I'm completely speaking from experience and a repentant heart.

I pray everday that the Lord give me a true servant's heart.  That my own agendas are sent aside.  Holy Spirit just fill me to overflowing so that there is nothing left but YOU.  I want to serve the Lord, which means serving others and showing then them the love and compassion that Christ has shown me.  No matter what that entails, I pray for an open and WILLING heart.  To be the hands and feet of Christ in every situation He calls me into, not the ones I pick and choose. 

To be a servant or not be a servant......

What's your answer?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Deep Cries Out

I'm sitting here and I can't get that song out of my head "Deep Cries Out". One of my faves.  But as I'm singing it in my head, trust me you don't want me singing it outloud, I start to wonder exactly what does the phrase "deep cries out " mean. 

Psalm 42:7 NKJV - Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me.

In this Psalm, the writer is going through things and is discouraged.  Wondering, at moments, where God is.  I think we all get that way when faced with things that we can't control and we CAN'T fix.  We wonder "God, why is this happening?"  If you read the whole psalm however, you will realize that the writer knew that God's love was unfailing.  That yes, the trouble was deep and he felt at moments that he was going to go under, but God was there to bring him through.  So why are we so downcast?

Deep cries out.....we cry out from the depths of our very souls for God to take control. From deep within we know that our only hope is God.  From the deepest oppession, depression, suppression, whatever it is ... GOD IS OUR ANSWER! A deep relationship with Christ.

My deep cries out for the Lord everyday, because without Him, I am nothing.  I can do nothing.   I can't live this life on my own.  He is my rock, my salvation, my very refuge.  DEEPLY planted in me is His word and His love.

Do you cry out to Him from your very depths?

"Deep cries out to, Deep cries out to, Deep cries out to You Jesus!"


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Searching The Heart

As I sit here today, so many thoughts running through my mind.  Trying to work and stay on task, while at the same time God is dealing with me and my heart.  Showing me some things.  My husband and I went to the CMA (Christian Motorcylists Association) Changing of the Colors Rally this weekend.  It was awesome. Maybe even life changing.  God started dealing with me in the 9am service. 

He kept telling me (well He has been telling me for a while, but I guess this is when I finally had my ear inclined to hear) I needed to examine my heart.  Closely examine it.  Over and over I kept remembering the story of David when God was about to anoint him as king.  How God referred to him as a "man after His own heart".  Could you imagine God referring to you as a man or woman after "His own heart"??? 

I started looking up the word "heart" in various study materials I have.  I never knew the word "heart" could have so many different meanings and uses. Anyway....

I wanted to know what it meant to have a heart of God.  I believe I found a two fold answer, sort of, to that question.  First the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5:

Mat 5:1 NLT - One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him,
Mat 5:2 NLT - and he began to teach them.
Mat 5:3 NLT - "God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
Mat 5:4 NLT - God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Mat 5:5 NLT - God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.
Mat 5:6 NLT - God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.
Mat 5:7 NLT - God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Mat 5:8 NLT - God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.
Mat 5:9 NLT - God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
Mat 5:10 NLT - God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
Mat 5:11 NLT - "God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.

I learned this when I was a Missionette!  But somehow now it is real and alive.  This is how you have the heart of GOD!!!!

Where does this start??? Sheer OBEDIENCE!!!!  When we are obedient and do what the Lord wants us to do.  That is having the heart of God.  But make no mistake, sometimes we fall and stumble.  As was seen in the life of David.  He was "a man after God's own heart", yet he sinned.  Read 1 Samuel.

I have come to the revelation that through having an obedient heart is how we obtain "the heart of God".  Jesus showed the heart of God in while in the wilderness Matthew chapter 4. 

Search your heart today.  What's in your heart?  Do you have the heart of God?