Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Learning to Submit Control

God has been continually showing me so much about myself lately. It seems to all go back to this one thing. To be blunt, I am a control freak and it is a horrible thing.

I seem to quickly acquire this mindset of doing things "my way and in my time" whenever something goes wrong or whenever something needs done. Add to that my somewhat obsessive personality of setting my mind to something and needing to see it through, and you see how horrible of a thing this can be. I seem to neglect the things that are really important because my mind is consumed with less important, sometimes worthless, things that I seem to think I need control over. And I wonder why I can't make simple decisions very quickly...

Perhaps the underlying problem of all of these "little" problems is my control. And that is exactly the problem - "my" control. The truth is, I have no control. I have no control over my next breath, let alone changing the world.

It is true that I have high dreams and aspirations, but if I am unwilling to yield control over to God (or better said, let Him have the control He already has as God) then those dreams and those plans will never come to be in God's way. I want God's dreams for my life and I want those dreams to be carried out God's way. So if I really want this, then why is it so hard for me to let go of "my" control?

God has been reminding me through this of the correlation between Christ and the Church and the husband and wife relationship. If I cannot submit to God in the little things now, then how am I ever going to submit to my future husband? Just because I make a committment to a man does not mean that all of my control problems will go away. If anything, they could become even bigger if I don't cultivate a submissive heart in myself... beginning now.

Behind all of this is a fear - a fear of submitting control and not knowing what will happen as a result. It is a fear that can easily entangle minds and hearts and leave people living less-than-holy lives as they live them their way, in their time. It is sometimes not until something happens in our lives that is truly not in our control that we realize we really have control over nothing when it comes right down to it. And sometimes, we never learn.

I want to be one who not only learns of my problem with control, but learns how to deal with it. And I don't want to just learn how to deal with it, but I want to learn how to cultivate a submissive heart. I think that one of the most beautiful things is a woman with a willingly submissive heart. No, not one who lets anyone and everyone walk all over her. Not one who offers submission blindly and not one who silently suffers an abusive relationship.

God's Word does not view submission as a weakness, yet rather as the divine plan of God.

"Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless."
-Ephesians 5:24-27

My little sister asked me today who President Obama is. After telling her that he is the leader of our country, she sincerely said, "I thought God was". What a lesson to learn from a child and how right she is! Now if only I would allow Him to be the leader of my life... and in every area cultivating a submissive heart in the right way, beginning now.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Life - Beautiful or a Huge Mistake?

Life is definitely a special gift that God has given each and every one of us. He has also given us the bittersweet gift of freewill along with the gift of life. Bitter, because we often make choices that dishonor our Holy God. Sweet, because we have the ability to choose between right and wrong.

Life is such an unpredictable reality. It is something that a lot of times we do not know how to use properly. It is something that we sometimes wonder the purpose of. It is something that can end at any given time. And it is something beautiful that was given to us by the Holy, Almighty God.

"...the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."
-Genesis 2:7

We only have life because God breathed it into the first man!

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."
-Genesis 1:27

We are created in the image of God!

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
-Psalm 139:13-14

God created us and knit us in our mother's womb. And He did not just throw something together and call it "good enough". He carefully shaped and knit us into wonderful creations, created in His very image.

We are sinners before birth, yet Jesus died for us so that during this lifetime we can accept His free gift of Salvation. Because of His life, we have a Perfect example. Because of His death, we are offered Salvation. Because of His Resurrection, we have hope in a beautiful eternity with Him.

Yes, we are dirty, detestable people because we are all sinners, no matter what we have or have not done. Yes, we deserve unquenchable wrath and destruction. We were born enemies of God. However, we have hope:

"...God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time."
-1 Timothy 2:3b-6

God desires that we all are saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. Jesus is the mediator between God and us so that we do not have to experience eternal damnation and wrath for our sins. It was all poured on Jesus Christ so that those who accept Him and ask Him for forgiveness will be able to be seen as righteous before God, through Jesus Christ.

What a beautiful, beautiful portrayal of Love. And what an incredible reason to live this life for the glory of the One who lived and died for me and for all of us.

I guess the value of life all depends on our perspectives - we either view ourselves as being born as mistakes or we acknowledge the fact that we were born beautiful creations of the Almighty. And that perspective, along with whether or not we have accepted His gift of Salvation, greatly effects the way that we live our lives. And all because of One, we have hope.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Learning More & More Every Day...

Well, I have been learning quite a lot lately. God taught me some more about perseverance over the weekend... and not just perseverance, but perseverance with the right attitude. I seem to miss that part sometimes! He also taught me the value of family and spending time with them. Sunday was my little sister's birthday and I am just so thankful to God for her!

In Sunday School my teacher is using material from "Way of the Master" from Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron as the material for the class. Sunday morning my eyes were opened to quite a lot. Charles E. Hackett says, "A soul at the altar does not generate much excitement in some circles because we realize approximately ninety-five out of every hundred will not become integrated into the church. In face, most of them will not return for a second visit." Why is this? A huge reason is because they are receiving the wrong Gospel. A lot of them receive the Gospel message of "Accept Christ and your life will be filled with love, joy, peace, and lasting fulfillment!" And then when they face trials and hardships, they "throw off" their faith because it is not what they were told it was or what they expected it to be. The truth is, God offers us Salvation because of His perfect Sacrifice on the Cross - Jesus Christ. We have broken His law, and therefore we should be condemned. However, through Jesus Christ, we can be saved from the wrath that we deserve and restore our friendship with the Almighty. What an amazing truth! It is so sad that people are teaching and being taught a thwarted Gospel. It is our job as followers of Christ to obey Him and teach others the true message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20).

My pastor's sermon was on Truth and more specifically, on absolute truth. He elaborated on twelve points of absolute truth in this culture today (despite its claim of relative truth) that were eye-opening:

-You can't know what is just unless you know what is unjust.
-We know intuitively that some things and people are better than others.
-We treasure progress and say that some things are getting better. How do we know what is "better" if we have no absolutes and no standards?
-Everything can't be relative. We'd have no standard or reference point.
-Moral disputes demand an objective standard outside of the dispute. There must be a moral objective standard. We don't invent laws (scientific, mathematical, spiritual, etc.); we discover them.
-Universal moral guilt shows that there's truth in a universal moral law.
-Why do we choose duty over instinct if there are no moral absolutes?
-Why do we all find some things evil?
-The same basic moral codes are found all over the world.
-Truth transcends culture.
-Beliefs cannot change a fact, no matter how sincere. You can be sincerely wrong.
-Being raised in a given culture or belief system doesn't make those beliefs true.

It is obvious that Truth does exist. To say, "Everything is relative" is contradictory. Whoever made that statement is implying that they believe in absolutes; they have stated an "absolute" statement. Our world today may claim to believe in relative truth ("what you believe is true for you, but not for me") but it lives as though it believes in absolute truth. It is contradictory and makes it even more clear that Truth does exist.

As my pastor said, "We're not here to wrap the culture around Jesus. We're here to wrap Jesus around the culture and change it for His glory."

Tonight I lead Bible Study on identity. I challenged myself and the girls to think about where we place our identities and then to imagine that thing being stripped away from us. Where does that leave us then? If our identity is in anything but God, it is fleeting. God is the only One who does not change and who will never be taken away from us if we have accepted Him as our Savior. So, who am I?

Am I:
What I do? What happens when I fail or when what I am striving to accomplish does not work out the way that I had anticipated?
What I look like? Beauty is fleeting; what then?
Who I know? What happens when they move on or when they let me down?
The fleeting pleasures of this world? How long will those "pleasures" last and do they offer anything more than temporary satisfaction?

We will live according to where we have placed our identities.

We will:
~Strive after it
~Live for it
~Pursue it
~Be passionate about it
~Consume our minds and lives with it

Why wouldn't we? It is our identity! Exodus 20:3 tells us to have no other gods before God. Have I created other "gods" in my life that I place my trust and my identity in? They will only fail me. There is only one God. And when I place my identity and my trust in Christ and in Christ alone, I will find true life.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
-John 10:10

Satan is our identity thief. Jesus is our Life Giver. And Jesus has come that we may have life, and have it to the full!

After honestly asking myself this question, I realized that I have placed my identity in things that I would have never thought that I would. After honestly searching my heart, I realize that I have placed my identity in the wrong things without even realizing it.

Only God can give Life. And He is the only one who will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6)!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Living Life in the Hands of THE Life

Well, I didn't post last night, but yesterday, once again, I learned some things from Life Action. Ryan Loveing was talking about how the future of our nation and the future of our churches are in the hands of my generation. He had all of the youth in the congregation stand up to emphasize the truth that the future is in our hands. That definitely made me think about what I am doing while I am here to further God's Kingdom and what kind of legacy I am leaving behind. Do I truly realize the impact that I have - either good or bad - on humanity? I may be a single life, but a single life - when serving and following and obeying God - can and will go a long way.

Wesley was talking a lot about forgiveness to the youth last night. He was saying that forgiveness is a choice, not an emotion... And that is why we can forgive in spite of it hurting us and in spite of any emotions we may feel. He was saying that we can never be more like Jesus when we choose to forgive and we can never be less like Jesus when we choose not to forgive.

"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.'"
-Matthew 18:21,22

Jesus doesn't say: "Forgive, except for this..." or "Forgive, but if she does this...". Jesus says to forgive much! How willing am I to forgive someone who has hurt me in a huge way? How willing am I to confront someone to sincerely ask for forgiveness? How willing am I to push past my pride of worrying about them thinking that I am admitting to being right when they are "obviously wrong"? The truth is, it doesn't matter if they are 99% in the wrong! Jesus cares about my 1% and I must choose to humbly seek reconciliation and forgiveness.

Today was their last day here, so tonight some of us and some of them got to spend time together before they left. It is sad to see them go, but it was great to have them back again!

It seems that today I learned how to live out some of the things that God has been teaching me lately. I had a really great day and I am excited to be living life knowing THE Life... and to be living it in His Hands.

"...to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen."
-Romans 16:27

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Learning the True Gift of Singleness

Tonight at Life Action the guys and girls split up. The guys stayed with Wesley to talk about Biblical Masculinity and the girls went with Margo and Sarah to talk about purity. It was really encouraging to be able to talk with them. They brought in a dozen roses and with one of them Sarah tore the petals off one by one as we listed off different ways that we can give pieces of our heart away or that can mess with our emotions. Flirting, Facebook, texting, our thoughts, fantasizing, movies, music, holding hands... The list can go on and on because for one girl certain love songs can cause her to fantasize while another girl can listen to them and not be effected at all. It all depends on the girl and we know what causes us to stumble. As the rose began to lose most of its petals, Sarah asked us the question, "On your wedding day, do you want to give your husband something that looks like this? Or do you want to give him a full, beautiful rose?" I loved how they made the correlation between the rose and my heart.

Margo talked a lot about how the single years should not be taken for granted, because I will never get them back. I should set goals for my single years because I am more free to serve God in these years than I will be if I get married. My ministry will be totally different and my life will change in marriage. These single years bring great opportunities and I can't wait to see what God has in store.

I think the biggest thing that I learned tonight was something that was very freeing to me. Margo was talking about making up a list of the qualities that we want in our future husbands. She suggested that we make up a list of everything - physical traits, personality, qualities, what kinds of things you would want to do together one day, etc. Now this is something that I have been skeptical about. There are people who say that I can't do that, I'm looking for a perfect guy, I'll never find him, You can't give pieces of your heart away - the Bible doesn't talk about that, Your standards are too high... I began to believe those words. It wasn't until many reflections back on those conversations and many talks with God that I realized how wrong those words were. If a guy comes along and tells me that I should lower my standards because they are too unrealistic, then that guy does not respect me. I am free to be the young woman that God has created me to be. I am not living for guys - I am living for God. I am not even living for my future husband... There may not even be one in store for me. If God blesses me with one, then great! And if not, then I know that He will have other great things in store for me.

God has placed such an excitement and a joy and a peace in my heart that I cannot explain or contain. HE is the greatest lover of the universe. HE should be my focus. HE is all that I will ever need. A marriage relationship is a reflection of the relationship between the Bride (God's people) and God Himself. The purpose of marriage is to reflect that relationship and to serve one other. My single years are a great gift to be used for His glory - not to seek out or be anxious about guys.

God is all that I need and I am free to be who He has made me to be! What a freeing and exciting thought with great possibilities behind it!

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
-Proverbs 4:23

Monday, May 11, 2009

Learning to Live... Knowing The Life!

Well, Life Action seems to again be proving challenging for a lot of people at my church, including me. I know that there are things that I need to change in my life. Being around different people who have the same goal and are serving and worshiping God with their lives is such an encouragement. It pushes me to want to get out of the routine that I can so easily fall into and serve God in ways that I've never done before.

Wesley was talking a lot about relationships tonight. Something he said that caught my attention was the phrase that if I am not content being single, then I am never going to be content with a boyfriend or a husband. I will always have that discontent and then look to other things to try to make me content. Being a single young woman, this phrase grabbed my attention. Am I truly content with being single right now? If I am not content with where God has me in the different seasons of this life that God has given me, then I will not be content somewhere else. Maybe for a little while, but it won't last. I will only find true fulfillment and satisfaction in life when I am living it for God - when I am following His plans and His dreams for my life and not my own.

He also brought up the point that I must be the kind of girl that the kind of guy that I want will want to pursue. In other words, am I the kind of girl that a Godly guy will one day want to pursue and value? I cannot ask of a guy what I am not willing to give in return. Relationships are not 50-50. They are 100%. There is no meeting halfway. I must take care of my part (which is 100%), even if it costs me my "rights", which I do not have anyway.

Life living in His hands definitely brings great joy. Yeah, there is a cost. No, it's not always easy. It's hard sometimes. Yet I know the Way - why would I ever try to find Someone or something else? I know the Truth - why would I ever want to walk away from Him? I know Life! And I don't deserve Him!

It is a great honor, really, for the Holy Spirit to convict me of things in my life that need to be changed. God does not just let me "sit on a shelf" or "discard" of me after I make mistakes. He lovingly and sometimes persistently knocks at my heart and reveals to me what I need to change. It is a painful process sometimes, but the end result is indescribable. God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, the Greatest Lover of the universe, the Holy One... wants to change me.

Am I resisting it? Or am I willingly and obediently responding to the Lord's prompting on my heart to change what needs to be changed?

"But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don't worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ."
-1 Peter 3:14-16

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Well, I learned a lot today. A group called Life Action is back at our church for four days this week. They came last year and I was so challenged by their messages. This morning Ryan Loveing was talking about the legacy that we are going to leave behind. All of us are going to leave a legacy - but what kind? I want to leave a legacy of love. I don't want to be remembered for myself and everything that I have done. Rather, I want to be remembered as someone that Christ shone through and who showed His love to everyone. I want my life to be used for His glory. I want to "live a life that will be missed"; yet not for me, only for God. I don't want to live a life speaking one thing yet living another way. Am I living a life before God and others that speaks His Name? What kind of a legacy am I leaving?

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever."
-1 Corinthians 9:24,25

Wesley Chambers, the youth leader, was talking about a lot of different things this morning and tonight. A few things really grabbed my attention and made me think. One of those things was value. What do I value? The things that I value will take my time, my energy, and my efforts. I will give my love to those things which I value most. Am I allowing anything in my life to be of greater value to me than God and my relationship with Him? It is a painful thought when I answer it honestly.

Something else that stuck out to me was "big cost vs. complete loss". Following Jesus does cost a lot and He tells us to count the cost (Luke 14:28-33) before we choose to follow Him. He wants our all and He wants us to give up everything (Luke 14:33) so that He can give us the best life that He has for us (John 10:10).

"Then he said to them all: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.'"
-Luke 9:23,24

"What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?"
-Mark 8:36

Am I willing to give up everything so that I don't lose even more - my soul? It is either a big cost or a complete loss and it is my choice. It all comes down to life vs. death. And whether I know it or not, I choose either one of them by the way that I live. There is no way around it because eternity is a reality.

Am I a servant of Christ or a slave of my desires? Am I a willing servant of Christ and an obedient, willing slave of righteousness (Romans 6:16)? Or am I a slave of my desires, which lead me into bondage and death? It is my choice...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Learning to Have One Focus

Today God taught me something that He has been trying to teach me for a long time. I hope that I get it this time. I learned today that a lot of times I fill my life with things that are not important, that are unnecessary, and that take my focus off of the things that are the most important. This, too, goes along with everything else that God has been teaching me lately.

The "things" in my life can keep me from serving God and others, from loving Him and others genuinely, from tapping into the power of the Holy Spirit to do great things for God, and from persevering toward the things that God has for me. A lot of times I miss what He has for me because I am too busy looking for it.

Today I realized, once again, that I need to re-prioritize my life and let God be number one again. In the midst of trying to serve Him with all of these "things", I have neglected my relationship with Him. It has caused me to become stressed, exhausted, and burnt out. Only in Jesus Christ can I be refreshed. And oh, how grateful I am for that!

I need to learn to place my focus in the right place: on the One who lived and died to reconcile me to the Father. And I need to learn to keep it there.

My time, my energy, my emotions, my spiritual gifts, my talents, and my relationships should all be used for God's glory. If I am filling my life up with things that "hinder" my relationship with God and everything that He has for me to do on this earth, then I am wasting my life.

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."
-Acts 20:24

My life is not even my own (1 Corinthians 6:19). Why try to live like it is?

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
-Hebrews 12:1

If I focus on Christ, everything else will fall into place as I wait on Him and actively seek His will. This may mean I must give up some things that seem "important" to me or move on from something good to pursue what is best. However, I know that it will be worth it. A life focused on the Father is never a wasted life.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Learning to Persevere

Today God taught me a lot about perseverance....

"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised."
-Hebrews 10:36

This goes along with everything else that God has been teaching me - the immeasurable power of the Holy Spirit inside of me to accomplish the impossible, how to serve Him and others even when I don't feel like it, and how to love Him and others genuinely.

1 Corinthians 13:7 says of love, "It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. "

This journey with Christ is worth every step. Persevere! He is all that I have and all that I need when it comes right down to it... and when challenges and discouragements come, I need to persevere with His strength. It is all for the Kingdom of God and for His glory!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Learning to Serve

I learned today that serving Christ is often done through the "little" things that often get overlooked - like spending time with family, going out of your way to do things that no one else will know about, investing your time, energy, and emotions in the lives of friends and family, doing things for others that you don't necessarily "feel" like doing, etc. These things don't go unnoticed because God knows about them and that is more than enough. I have to ask myself what my motives truly are when I do something for somebody; am I motivated out of selfish ambition or a love for others and for God? Do I live to serve and please the Father? And an even harder question than that is do I live to please God, while still a little part of me lives to please others? If so, then I really should evaluate my heart's motives and intentions. If I am doing anything out of selfish ambition - whether I am "serving God" or not - then how can it please Him?

"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven."
-Matthew 6:1

God is also teaching me that if He is calling me to serve Him in a certain area, then I am not too young or too unqualified to serve Him in that area. Philippians 4:13 says that, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." That "Him" is the Holy Spirit who is "able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20).

Charles Stanley's devotion actually reminded me of this, at a time when I really needed to hear it today:

What is God calling you to do that is "far more abundantly" beyond all that you think you can achieve? Stop making excuses and get to work! Within you lies untapped potential--not your own strength and abilities, but the Holy Spirit's unlimited might. His power will be unleashed in response to your acting on faith.

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."
-Ephesians 3:20,21

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Who is HE?

So, what have I learned today? One thing I've learned is the discouragement from the Enemy that seems to always come when you are willing to obey and learn from Christ. It seems to never fail - yet neither does Christ's love. That is one of the most comforting and humbling truths! I am so forever grateful that God's love never fails me. First Corinthians 13:8 says that "love never fails". God is love and God never fails.

"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him."
-1 John 4:16

"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
-1 John 4:8

Those verses just make me think "wow"... And God is not only love, but He is holy. His holiness encompasses every attribute of Him. His love is a Holy Love. He is so perfect and awesome!

Something else that made me think today is a devotion that I read from Charles Stanley. He was talking about how he used to consider the Holy Spirit an "it" - until a doctoral student at the seminary he was attending directed him towards verses in Scripture that made Charles Stanley realize how wrong his view had been. They also made me realize how irrelevant I have made the Holy Spirit - how I have reduced Him to an "it" and pushed Him to the side. I encourage you to read the following verses, as I did. They really changed my view...

"...but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God."
-1 Corinthians 2:10,11

And as Charles Stanley puts it, He "illuminates the truth for us."

"Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as He determines."
-1 Corinthians 12:7-11

The Holy Spirit determines the spiritual gifts that all saved people are given.

"I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me."
-Romans 15:3

Paul refers to the Holy Spirit's love in this verse.

"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."
-Ephesians 4:30

And he warns against grieving Him in this verse.

"And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you."
-John 14:16,17

"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."
-John 14:26

This same Holy Spirit comes to dwell inside each and every one of those who accepts Christ's gift of Salvation. He is a Counselor (John 14:16, 26), a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24), the Spirit of truth (John 14:17), One who loves (Romans 15:3), One not accepted or known by the world (John 14:17), One who is Holy (His Name!), One who knows the very thoughts of God (1 Corinthians 2:11). He is dwelling inside of me! Wow, what a realization! Sadly, I so often "dwarf" the Holy Spirit into an irrelevant "it" - when HE is so much more!

When God puts these things into perspective for me, I realize how so much I have... My fears and the Enemy's discouragement are nothing compared to what I have in Christ! I have the Holy Spirit, who is as much as a "He" as God the Father and Jesus Christ. He is part of the Trinity and very much a part of my life. I just need to allow Him to work in me and teach me and lead me.

Also - if the Holy Spirit is not known or accepted by this world and He lives inside of me, then it is only normal that I be not "known" or "accepted" by this world, is it not? Just something that made me think...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Learning to Love

Well, it has been quite a while since I have last posted on here! I have decided to start something new on here. It is my goal to learn something every day - whether it be something new or something that God has re-taught this stubborn heart. I thought that posting every day on here would be great for two reasons: It'll hold me more accountable and I can share what God is teaching me with all of you! I hope that you will follow along with me on this. I want you to know before I start that when I say that I want to learn something every day, I don't mean that I want to learn new things about God that no one else knows. God's Word holds all of the knowledge of God that we will receive and all that we need to know. If God "tells" anyone anything that is either contrary to God's Word or not recorded there, then I do not believe that it is from God. It is my desire that God will teach me things that are already in His Word. My heart is often stubborn and there is so much that I do not know and so much that I need to relearn... Feel free to comment and follow along with me...

To start, I thought I'd share with you all what God has been teaching me recently. He has been teaching me quite a lot. It seems that when you are open to His teaching, He just pours out His wisdom! A lot of times the things He teaches me are not always things that I want to learn, especially when they're about me and things that I know I need to change about myself. He seems to be doing that a lot lately.

-He has been teaching me a lot about love. He has been revealing to me that my love for Him is shallow at times. As my friend said, if I was really in love with God, I would want to be talking about Him all the time. She also brought up an interesting point: If a guy were to tell me that he would die for me, us girls would think that that is the most romantic thing ever. The truth is, Jesus has died for me. Why do I so often find this amazing truth irrelevant to my life - when really, it transforms every area of my life?

-God has been revealing to me that my love for others is often shallow as well. If I was really concerned about them and if I really loved them and cared about them, I would be alarmed and even horrified about their eternity. A while ago I read a letter from an atheist to Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron (http://www.wayofthemaster.com/) basically saying that if we Christians really believe that hell is a real place and that many, many people are going to perish there forever, why aren't we doing something more about it? He brings up a painful and convicting point: Why am I not doing something more? No, I cannot save anyone... but I can obey God's calling on mine and every Christ follower's life: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19,20)

These are things that the Holy Spirit has really been convicting me of lately. The Enemy knows this and has been attacking me with discouraging thoughts, but God is so much more powerful than any of the Enemy's schemes. It is my prayer that I will not let what God is teaching me to "sit on a shelf" but rather use it for His glory. That is the reason that we are here!

"Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God."
-1 Corinthians 8:1-3