Friday, March 30, 2007
Irises are among my very favorite flowers (lilies and roses rounding out the very top, just for the record). I don't know how or when that iris was planted, but it was an unexpected blessing from God. He, of course, knows how much I love flowers--and the best time to get flowers is when it's unexpected!
This iris is a reminder to me that God is able to bring blessings seemingly out of nowhere, when we least expect them. How awesome He is!
This Psalm was part of my devotional reading this morning:
What mighty praise, O God, belongs to you in Zion.
We will fulfill our vows to you, for you answer our prayers, and to you all people will come.
Though our hearts are filled with sins, you forgive them all.
What joy for those you choose to bring near, those who live in your holy courts. What joys await us inside your holy Temple.
You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas.
You formed the mountains by your power and armed yourself with mighty strength.
You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves and silenced the shouting of the nations.
Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy.
You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile. The rivers of God will not run dry; they provide a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so.
You drench the plowed ground with rain, melting the clods and leveling the ridges. You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops.
You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.
The wilderness becomes a lush pasture, and the hillsides blossom with joy.
The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep, and the valleys are carpeted with grain. They all shout and sing for joy! (Psalm 65)
Hope your day is filled with the abundance of God's blessings!
Thursday, March 29, 2007
"I had a hard day at work, so I deserve to eat a hot fudge sundae/go shoe shopping/spend hours on my Playstation/fill in the blank..."
Or maybe we excuse our inaction: "I had to stay up late last night, so I'm sleeping in and skipping Sunday school. I deserve a full night's sleep."
Many times we treat other people in the way that we feel they deserve: "She's always short with me, so I'm not going to go out of my way to be polite. She deserves to have a taste of her own medicine." Or we treat them a certain way because we feel they we deserve to be treated better: "He doesn't call me when he says he's going to. I deserve better than that."
Sometimes people who feel they aren't getting the treatment they "deserve" choose to end the relationship or friendship. If their mate or friend isn't living up to their standard of how they want to be treated, they take it as a sign to get out of Dodge and find someone who will treat them how they "deserve".
We even plead our case before God, trying to convince Him to give us what we think we deserve (which is always something BETTER--a better job, a better spouse, better friends, better finances, etc.).
But who are we to judge who deserves what kind of treatment? The truth is, if we were treated by God the way we truly deserved, we would have absolutely no hope.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. (Psalm 103:8-10)
Not only is God so merciful in withholding the punishment that we so richly deserve, but He also graciously gives us far more than we could ask or imagine. I certainly did not deserve to be born to Christian parents, raised in a loving Christian home, in a nation where we are allowed to worship God openly. I do not deserve to have all the luxuries that I have, nor do I deserve the great friendships and relationships I've experienced throughout my life.
Instead of focusing on the treatment or tangible things that we feel that we "deserve", spend time today rejoicing in God's mercy and grace in your life. Then commit to treat others around you far better than THEY deserve--and watch God's grace continue to flow in and through your life in new ways.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Monday, March 26, 2007
I love reading stories from the Bible that demonstrate God's willingness to fight for and protect His people. Stories like that of the flood, the ten plagues, the battle of Jericho, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace--these all speak to me of God's love for His people and His desire to work on their behalf.
But as much as I love reading narratives like those, I find myself particularly drawn to passages that are of a much more intimate nature. Those that demonstrate God's love, not just for His people, but for ME. Those that relay His desire to work on MY behalf.
Passages like that of Psalm 56:8 blow me away. First of all, it's a great visual image to have, imaginging a gigantic bottle filled with my tears. Beyond the imagery, the idea that not only has God seen my tears, but has saved them and recorded each tearful incident, is incredibly touching to me. Of course He does not need to record our sorrows--His memory doesn't get rusty. He doesn't need reminders.
He records our tears because it's a sign that He cares about us, each of us, on a very personal level. Just think, the Creator of the universe, the Savior of the world, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Alpha and the Omega, cares about ME. He seeks a personal relationship with ME! Wow.
Although there is a danger that we can become too casual with God and not reverence Him, I think that many times we err on the side of being too formal with Him, and not letting Him relate to us in a personal way. There are times when I feel a pull to talk to Him, but start to think that what I have to say isn't important, compared to all the other stuff going on in the world right now. Of course, that's a lie that Satan is selling. He doesn't want me to draw near to God. He wants me to keep God in a box on a shelf, bringing Him out only on special occasions--not experiencing an intimate relationship with Him every day.
When I'm hurting, I like to imagine myself crawling up into God's lap, laying my head on His shoulder and letting the tears flow. That image (which I must admit I've had to use many, many times lately) gives me such comfort. It also helps me relate to Him more personally, and when I read passages like that above I'm reminded that He cares about every little tear that falls.
Are you able to relate to God on a personal level? If so, what has helped you experience that intimacy?
Of course, I'd like to see Georgetown win on Saturday, if for no other reason than it would be a good feel-good story. Call me sentimental.
Another reason to look forward to Heaven: no allergies! My eyes are red and puffy this morning, the consequences of spending part of the weekend doing yardwork. Until I get to Heaven, Claritin will have to suffice...
Another reason to love Publix--all of their stores will be closed on Easter Sunday. A couple of weeks ago, the ladies in my Bible study were discussing how so many stores stay open on Sundays these days, even on major holidays. It's refreshing to see major retailers closing up shop on what should be a day of rest and worship for all of us. If you live in an area serviced by Publix, be sure to thank their management for the decision to take Easter off--and be sure to do your grocery shopping the day before Easter!
Sunday, March 25, 2007
If I'm initiating the change, that's a-ok by me. But it's much harder for me to adjust when change is forced upon me. It's fun to try a new lipstick color--but not so fun when I'm forced to try a new color because my old standby has been discontinued.
On a much deeper level, it's difficult for me to adjust when relationships and friendships change--or, in some cases, end altogether. One minute everything seems to be fine and normal and going well; the next minute, everything's falling apart.
Of course, as much as I'd like to keep things the same, that's impossible. People, by nature, change over time. Relationships change. Life changes.
I've had to adjust to a major change in my life over the past few months, and it's been extremely difficult. Still is. But I know that God is bringing about significant changes in me, in my attitude, my confidence, my trust. And I realize that if it were up to me to make those changes, they probably wouldn't happen. Sure, I can make some superficial changes in myself, but major transformation only God can accomplish. And He tends to bring about the biggest and best changes in me when I didn't necessarily ask for them.
I can't say with 100% enthusiasm that I'm happy about the situation that brought about these internal changes, but I am thankful that God is hard at work on me, and that transformation is taking place.
So what about you--do you embrace change easily, or do you struggle with it like I do at times?
Saturday, March 24, 2007
That's a good dilemma to have!
Friday, March 23, 2007
Here are some of today's blessings:
-Got to spend time at The Waters on a gorgeous sunny day (it was work-related, I promise!)
-Got my Target shopping done after work so I don't have to run errands tomorrow
-Enjoyed a delicious sushi dinner with one of my best friends
-Received a new book in the mail today
-Received an encouraging email from one of my friends
I'm sure I'll think of more as the evening progresses. Hope you have a great night and that you spend time counting your own blessings!
Maybe I'll have something original to share with you later today, but in the meantime, check out Carolyn's post. She shares some excerpts from the book Relationships: A Mess Worth Making. I think she's just about convinced me that I need to buy the book.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
But I am trying to fight against my natural leanings and strive to follow in whatever Christ calls me to do. I'll confess, it's not easy, and I fail and give in to my flesh many, many times. I suppose the key word here is that I'm trying and not giving up.
This morning on my way to work I prayed that I would make myself available to serve God however He wanted me to do so today. Sure enough, He gave me plenty of opportunities to act on that. I was able to help a co-worker with some of her work, which she is neck-deep in right now.
Later, I was asked to create a poster and flyers to promote an upcoming event at our church. Thankfully I had some free time tonight to work on those so they'll be on display come Sunday.
When I got home from work, a little white dog (named Cotton, according to his tag) wandered into my backyard. I tried calling the phone number on his tag, and when no one answered, I drove him to the address listed. His owner was grateful to get him back, and I was thankful to have been able to bring the reunion about. I know I'd be frantic with worry if my dog went AWOL, so it was a blessing to be able to bring Cotton home.
I mention these incidents not to brag on myself by any means, but rather to say that when I pray for God to use me in some way, it never fails that He provides me with the opportunity. Do I always take advantage of the opportunity to serve? Sadly, no. But I am finding that when I do make myself available, God not only uses me to bless others, but I myself am blessed as well.
My challenge to you today: Commit to God that you will make yourself available for serving Him today, and ask Him to open your eyes to the opportunities that He gives you. Don't be afraid of giving up time, money or energy in your service--trust the Giver of all things to richly bless you as you serve Him.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
I've wondered quite often what it means to guard my heart. Does that mean I should guard it with everyone, even those I'm closest to?
When we've been hurt by someone, it is natural to erect boundaries. But at what point does guarding our heart cross the line from healthy boundaries to unhealthy barriers or walls that shut people out altogether?
What's the happy medium here?
Monday, March 19, 2007
Four Answers To Prayer
I have been thinking a great deal about four answers to prayer that Ed Young, Sr. suggested:
1) “I can’t hear you”
Expanding these is a meaningful exercise.
Many times in the scripture, both old and new testaments, God tells an individual “I won’t hear you because of your sin and disobedience.”
God says “no” to our self-indulgent prayers… particularly when what we want is contrary to the way that He wants to develop us. For example, He said “no” to the Apostle Paul when he asked to have the thorn removed. I realized that I had been praying for something that seems to contravene what He is doing in my life.
I have been asking for feelings about things that are facts, not feelings. Faith comes by hearing, not by feeling.
When He tells us “wait” He is talking about an active process in which we exercise faith and obedience. Abraham went for thirteen years without hearing from God and He told him in his waiting “the promise still holds.”
Sometimes it is impossible for us to accurate identify when the answer is “yes.” It is often wrapped up in circumstances we do not see fitting together. It may be sometime before we can look back and see His “yes.”
The reaction to all these answers must come in His sovereignty, His love and His involvement in our lives. Christ did this in Gethsemane when He said, “Thy Will Be Done……not mine.” This should always be our attitude toward God.
It is dangerous to nag God as we try to get our will, not His. We remember the scripture, “He gave them their desire, but with it leanness of soul.”
Think about this:
1) Where is God saying “wait” to me?
2) How does prayer change me?
3) What is my current heart condition before God?
Sunday, March 18, 2007
words by Mark Hall/music by Mark Hall and Bernie Herms
I was sure by now,
that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it's still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God
who gives and takes away.
And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm.
I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You
and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone
how can I carry on
if I can't find You
and as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God
who gives and takes away
I lift my eyes unto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes unto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth
Saturday, March 17, 2007
1 I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
2 My soul will boast in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
3 Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.
4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
8 Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
9 Fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
16 the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
19 A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;
20 he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.
21 Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
22 The LORD redeems his servants;
no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Worse than that, my perennial Final Four pick, Duke, lost yesterday. In the FIRST round. To VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH. I'm sad.
Sigh. Got a lot of work to do on my bracket this weekend. Have to find a new favorite to root for. I suppose I should go with Florida--an obvious choice, and at least they're in the SEC.
But I can tell already that this is not going to be one of my favorite tournament years.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
What about when we're at the grocery store or other public areas--how can we demonstrate our faith there, with people who we may spend only a few seconds with and never see again?
How do you share your faith, at work and/or in public? Do you try to interject some sort of reference to God or His blessings into every conversation? Do you struggle, like me, to share your faith outside of the church building walls?
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Perhaps the two most powerful words in the English language are "I'm sorry." Surely the three most powerful words are "I love you". In my opinion, the four most powerful words are "I'm praying for you."
There are times when we need comforting, and knowing that someone is interceding to God on our behalf is the most encouraging knowledge at that time. Sometimes we tell someone else that we're praying for them, mainly because we can't find the "right" words to say at that moment, but in reality, those are the most encouraging words they can hear.
Of course, we don't have to wait until a friend or family member is in a crisis or in need of some encouragement in order to pray for them. There are a few people who I pray for daily, people who are very dear to me. I often pray about their jobs, their families, finances, etc., but lately I've been challenged to go deeper in my prayers for them. I am trying to follow in the pattern of Paul's prayer for the church at Colossae:
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints-- the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. (Colossians 1:3-12)
Paul prayed that his fellow Christians would:
-be filled with the knowledge of God's will;
-please God in every way;
-bear fruit in every good work;
-grow in the knowledge of God;
-be strengthened with God's power, in order that they may have endurance and patience; and
-joyfully give thanks to the Father.
I am trying to spend more time praying over these aspects of my loved ones' lives. Of course, if my loved one is sick, I pray for healing, but I can also pray that, through their illness, they will grow in their knowledge of God. I can pray that they will get out of a hostile work environment, but also pray that if God wills that they remain in that workplace, that they will learn patient endurance through that trial.
Here are a couple of challenges for you:
First, try praying the prayer in Colossians for those you regularly pray for.
Second, if God has laid someone on your heart to pray for, be sure to do it, but also be sure to let that person know that you're praying for them. Send them a note, write the prayer out in an email, give them a call--you may not even know what to pray for or why God has laid this person on your heart. But He never calls us to do something--including praying for someone--without a reason for it, so trust that even if you do not know what this person's prayer needs are, God does.
Monday, March 12, 2007
Sometimes it takes losing something, even temporarily, to truly appreciate it. Whether it's a relationship, a job, a friendship, money, good health--all these things can be so easily neglected while we have them. We take it for granted that they will always be there. But God has not promised that our lives will remain the same. He does not guarantee that our relationship won't end, that we won't be fired, that our bank account will always be in the black.
While we should not rely on anything or anyone besides God, at the same time, we should be careful to enjoy who and what we have been given, for the time we've been given. Is there someone in your life right now who does not know what they mean to you? Is there an area of your life--your job, church, etc.--where your attitude is sucking the joy out of the experience? Are you neglecting to take care of your health, home or finances?
Ask God to reveal areas in which you are taking someone or some circumstance for granted. Let His Spirit guide you in cultivating a more grateful attitude in every area of your life.
Enjoy your day!
Saturday, March 10, 2007
-Do I live with the consicous realization that all my time belongs to God, or have I merely reserved a portion of my time for the "spiritual" category of my life?
-Am I living each day in the light of eternity?
-Am I purposeful and intentional in my use of time, seeking to invest the moments of my days in ways that will bring glory to God?
-Do I seek His direction as to how I should use my "free time"?
-Am I squandering time with meaningless, useless conversation or entertainment?
-Do I set apart time each day for worship, prayer, and personal devotion?
-Do I readily respond to opportunities to serve others, even if it means sacrificing "my" time?
-Do I become resentful or impatient when others interrupt my schedule or when I am faced with unplanned demands on my time?
-Do I view my job as an opportunity to serve Christ and bring glory to God?
-Have I considered any possible vocational change the Lord may want me to make to devote more time to the advancement of His kingdom?
I don't know about you, but I find these to be some hard-hitting questions, especially the one about spending time in meaningless conversation or entertainment. Honestly, I had never really considered how much time I waste in pointless conversation that does not serve to build relationships or edify others.
Anyone else struggle to devote their time to God in one way or another?
Friday, March 09, 2007
Thanks to all who prayed about the ever-stressful hiring process. I ask for your continued prayers as I step into a managerial role again, after a few years of only managing myself (and sometimes just barely, at that!). I know that God has placed me in a position of authority again for a reason, and I am trusting Him to fill me with wisdom for being a good manager.
Last night at Bible study, we talked about how we often feel much closer to God when we are going through a valley experience. Sometimes when we're experiencing a bit of a spiritual dry spell--nothing really "wrong", just somewhere between a valley low and mountaintop high--we struggle to feel God's presence and love.
Just as a shepherd carries a lame sheep until the sheep has healed enough to walk on its own, so our Father carries us close to Him in times when we don't have the strength to walk on our own accord. None of us enjoy going through the valley times, but we discussed how it is almost a bittersweet experience to come out of that valley, knowing that we're losing some of that closeness to God. Certainly God still leads us in every stage of life, but sometimes it seems that our times with Him are fresher and more intimate when we're in the valley.
My prayer for you today, regardless of whether you're in the valley, wandering through the dry desert, or on the mountaintop:
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
I started reading a book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss called (how appropriate) Surrender: The Heart God Controls. Today I read the following quote, attributed to Andrew Murray:
"If there is anything holding you back, or any sacrifice you are afraid of making, come to God and prove how gracious your God is. Never be afraid tht He will command from you what He will not bestow! God comes and offers to work this absolute surrender in you." (pg. 102)
I suppose that I've forgotten that God will not call me to do anything--including surrendering my will and desires to Him--that He does not equip me to do. Of course I cannot give up these desires on my own; it is only by God's Spirit at work in me that I can accomplish this.
That definitely brings me comfort--how about you?
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
How do you come to a point of total surrender? Does surrendering mean that you no longer have these desires, or is surrender possible in spite of still feeling the same desires?
Even when I pray that God will exchange my desires for His, my original desires linger, and I still struggle to let them go. It's very frustrating at times. So how do I completely let go and give it all over to God?
Lots of questions today, I know--feel free to offer any words of wisdom and insight!
Monday, March 05, 2007
Questions for today, for both you and me:
1. In what ways is God inviting me to talk with Him?
2. Is my heart willing and eager to communicate with Him today?
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Although I do not have children of my own, I've done my fair share of babysitting and teaching young'uns (most recently, 4 year-olds this past quarter), and I found myself nodding in agreement as Buddy discussed the lack of respect that is prevalent among children as well as adults today. In many cases, children are not to be blamed for their lack of respect toward their teachers and other authority figures; respect is something that they have to be taught, and too many adults are acting disrespectfully toward their own authority figures and giving youth a bad example.
In life group today I found myself pondering the authority figures in my life and questioning my level of respect for each. I feel like I am respectful toward my parents, my bosses, our church leaders.
Then it hit me--sometimes I really struggle to act respectfully toward God, particularly when it comes to submitting to His will for my life. As a single woman living on her own, I don't really have anyone to answer to. If I want to lay in bed all day, I can (although I wouldn't unless I was deathly ill). If I want to go shopping and buy 10 pairs of shoes, I can. I can watch whatever I want on TV. I can eat whatever I want to for dinner. I answer to myself. I am my own authority figure.
EXCEPT--when I became a Christian, I yielded my authority to God. He is now the Lord of my life. But there are times when I still act like I'm in charge. Times when I make up my mind to do something and charge full-speed ahead, without consulting Him first. Even when I find myself wanting to do good things, if I don't consult God first, I may ending up doing the right thing at the wrong time.
It's easy to show respect and submit to someone who you feel always treats you fairly and only makes your life easy and happy. It's much harder to be committed to submitting to someone who doesn't always make decision that you're happy about.
There are life lessons that my parents taught me as a child and teenager that I'm sure that I didn't appreciate at the time, particularly when it involved discipline of some kind. But I can look back now and be grateful for the lessons that they instilled in me, that have shaped me into the woman that I am. Likewise, I know that there are times that God calls me to submit to His authority and I'm not happy about it, but I know that in the long run it's for my own good.
I'm praying that God will reveal to me areas of my life in which I fail to show respect and submit to Him, and that He will exchange my selfish desires for a desire to follow Him no matter what.
Saturday, March 03, 2007
"Many of us come to Jesus today because we are holding onto our dream and we want Jesus to somehow help us get it. If we are honest, we would have to admit that this is all we really want from him. And if we don't get it, we are miserably disappointed.
"If we are living for earthly bread and see it as our source of life, we are going to be in big trouble when we don't have it. But if we are living for spiritual bread, for a deeper communion with Jesus Christ, then our lives (with all of their problems) become wonderful places to know and grow in fellowship with the One who is life. We will live out this pursuit of the true Bread in the bedrooms, kitchens, job sites, neighborhoods, and hallways of life. And this will have implications for our communication.
"When you have a community of people (family, friends, body of Christ) who are committed to Christ, long to know him better, and want their lives to express praise, worship, and glory to him, their talk will be affected. Their words will encourage and strengthen, and they will experience unity and an intimacy of fellowship that the world doesn't know. When we let go of our personal dreams and expectations, we can experience the unity of the Spirit we have been given as the children of God."
War of Words, pps. 95-96
Yesterday one of my co-workers and I were driving back to the office after lunch when he noticed that the minivan in front of us had a Jesus fish on the back of it. He began talking about how he dislikes it when people wear their religion on their sleeve (or, in this case, their car). He said he'd much rather know that they are Christians by the way that they act rather than putting some symbol on their clothes or vehicle.
Now, I don't have any beef with people adorning their car with a Jesus fish or wearing a cross necklace or Christian t-shirt or any other symbol of their faith. But I can see my co-worker's point.
I once dated a guy who said he didn't want to put a Jesus fish on his car, because if he got mad in traffic and wanted to give someone the bird, it would look hypocritical. While I'd like to think that having a Jesus fish on my car would make me think twice about flipping someone off in traffic (not that I would, although I've been sorely tempted!), I suppose in retrospect at least this guy was up front about not wanting to be hypocritical. Certainly hypocrisy is a huge turn-off to non-believers.
The other day, Mike Cope had a posting on his blog that, among other things, discussed the point that Christians have earned a reputation for being among the worst customers and tippers at restaurants on Sundays. Sadly, many of us leave the church service on Sunday and find our joyful, loving attitude dissapating fast in the face of traffic, long lines at the grocery store, and less than perfect service at a restaurant. I know I've been guilty of that, many times.
My co-worker does not attend church on a regular basis, and I've invited him to visit my church on several occasions. But I think that instead of trying harder to get him to come to church, I'm going to try harder to live an authentic, imperfect Christian life before him and my co-workers. Of course I'm going to mess up and act un-Christian, but I can 'fess up more readily and admit my sinful actions and attitudes. I have a feeling that will make more of an impact.
Friday, March 02, 2007
I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God's right hand in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 1:19-20)
Just think, the very same power that resurrected Jesus is available to work on our behalf!
How different would our lives be if we lived every day with the confidence of truly believing in those verses?
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Last night was my last night of teaching 4 year-olds at church for the quarter. For the most part I enjoyed our kids this quarter, but I'm looking forward to returning to the land of adults, where perhaps the whining, shoving and trips to the bathroom will be kept to a minimum.
Since our final lesson was about thankfulness, I thought I'd share some things that I am especially thankful for this week (in addition to being thankful for having survived a quarter of teaching 4 year-olds):
-I'm thankful for my mom's help in teaching this quarter. I couldn't have done it (and kept my sanity intact) without her!
-I'm thankful that I stayed awake (and, for the most part, quite coherent) during yesterday's early morning interview. Better yet, we really liked the person we interviewed, so it was definitely worth getting up early for! And I'm thankful that we have another interview today, so perhaps we'll be able to hire someone very SOON!
-I'm thankful for getting notes and emails of encouragement from friends this week.
-I'm thankful that I've had opportunities to pray for friends this week.
-I'm thankful for the pound I've lost over the past week.
-I'm thankful for no bills in yesterday's mail.
-I'm thankful for the opportunity to listen to some really powerful radio messages and podcasts this week.
-I'm thankful for getting a really good parking space at work.
-I'm thankful for having lots of opportunities to laugh this week, especially at work.
-I'm thankful that I could literally spend all day and night writing out every blessing God's given me, and still not scratch the surface. I am truly blessed and humbled by all that He has done and is doing in my life!
May you have a blessed day guided by a thankful heart!