Sunday, December 5, 2010

Strengthened by Shattering

Wednesday Pastor preached part 2 of God in search of man, a series I am personally enjoying. God is using it to grow me and challenge me. I have loved every second. We all broke off into our groups and had some wonderful discussions between each other. My table got into the topic of reasons, is there really a reason for everything or does God give everything a reason?

Pastor Sam covered the famous David and Bathsheba account in the bible. A time that brought David to some huge mistakes all because of his thoughts and where they dwelt. My table agreed that David's first sin was allowing himself to dwell on the woman and to entertain the inappropriate thoughts which led him to act accordingly. We came to Psalms 51:16-17. I asked my table why God desires a broken spirit. We all gave incredible insight to this question. Basically, when something is broken, such a glass cup, or a vase, it shatters, there is no longer a place to put something inside. It is all laying out for all to see, for the one who can pick up the pieces to see where the weak spots are and how to make the vase stronger and resilient. The reason God wants us broken, isn't to see us in pain, but because when we are broken we need someone to mend, we are no longer hiding anything. Sometimes, it takes not just being honest with God, but ourselves to see any real healing and growth.

My prayer is that you would be honest with yourself and evaluate how often you allow God into your daily life and that you find the true strength that comes with being broken.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Where do we draw the line?

Last night I logged onto facebook only find something that greatly disturbed me. I looked as women who claimed to love God posted phrases similar to, "I like it on the counter" or "I like it on the bed" etc. It was to raise awareness for breast cancer. I am all for raising breast cancer awareness. We should participate in breast cancer, and all other serious cancer causes. However, where do we draw the line at inappropriate? What does a phrase that gives the image of a person having sex in a random place have to do with cancer awareness? It might as well be to raise awareness for STD's. The bible constantly talks about how Christians are to be in the world and not of the world.
All of this brought on the thought, "what am I portraying on my facebook?" Do I think it's ok to play games and participate in phrase-games that cause others to think of me having sex in the back seat of my car because that is where I throw my purse? Am I honestly giving a pure image of myself when I make it sound like I am having sex on the kitchen table? I am being serious. Am I showing God's love when I put up swear words in my status because it is socially acceptable? Facebook has become a place where Christians no longer follow God. It's ok because it's just facebook. I thought Christ was involved with every aspect of our lives? I guess He isn't allowed on Facebook, I mean why stop at banning Him from schools? Let's ban Him from our internet lingo, too.
When will we draw the line at what is pure and acceptable? I know I may get called a "prude" or even an "idiot" for writing this. However, I guess it's true when Christ said they will mock us. "You can't even play a simple game, Mary?" my answer, no way, especially if it will depict me in a vulgar way. I will not conform to this world. Not even the simplest little things. We need to protect our integrity and the purity of the church. I know God has made me pure once again, why would I trash the forgiveness for a game on facebook? What I really want people to get from this blog is, where are you drawing the line and telling God, "you can't pass this,".


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Some Lessons from Hosea

"'In that day,' declares the Lord, 'you will call me 'my husband'; you will no longer call me 'my master.'" (Hosea 2:16). God is so much more intimate - wants to be so much more intimate - with us than we know. He is not simply a master who cares for his servants. No - he loves us forgivingly and intimately and he knows us intimately like an earthly spouse.

"'I will say to those called 'Not my people,' 'You are my people'; and they will say, 'You are my God.'" (Hosea 2:23b). Even when we are not acting like God's people, He still claims us and loves us.

Father, I pray that we will remember you in every moment of every day. Help us to fulfill the promises we make to you and honor the revelations you've given us.

I also just want to share this from a book I'm reading called Spiritual Slavery to Spiritual Sonship by Jack Frost. In it, he quotes a man named Jack Winter:

"When you focus your life on being a leader, it becomes very easy to become controlling or authoritarian. ...Instead, why don't we all start focusing on being a son or daughter who seeks to do only what the Father does, and lives to serve, honor, and bless others?"

Just something to chew on.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hidden in the Heart...

Hey guys, so I posted this blog on my own this morning and felt I should it add it to this one. This is not an easy one to share so I hope it blesses and speaks to you.

Many people know my story. They know my struggles I have overcome with Christ. They know my Egypt. The thing about Egypt is that those who walked out of it had experienced so much pain, they doubted God would follow through. They complained and demanded the moment something went wrong. They didn't know how to trust in God because their past had hurt them and blinded them to the love and mercy of God. I think about my own life, my own heart, my trust and my faith. Recently old memories came to my mind, things I have done, the choices I made and I didn't feel like it was me who did them. Someone from my past has been stuck in my brain, I don't know why. I haven't talked to this person in so long that I am not sure if they know how much I have changed or where my life is now. Last night I asked God why this person keeps coming up in my mind. This person was one who I had hurt so many times very deeply and they hurt me just as much. I had dream with this person. It wasn't anything big, and too much to explain. I woke up and mulled the dream over in my mind and prayed about it. Then I realized, there was some hurts in my heart and I never realized it. There was some old wounds that I hadn't let go of. I am working on it. I need to go to that secret quiet place and let God create and remove, and restore that area. This person, someone I haven't seen or talked to in two years, still had a hold. Isn't amazing that the last couple weeks I couldn't hear or feel God? And it turns out there is an area of my heart kept from Him? I see how the old hurt and pain surfaced when my current life started to get shaky. Our past can't follow into our present. We wander, some for days or weeks, others for decades like the Israelites and Moses. Do I want to keep any part of my heart from God? NO WAY!

Today, look into your heart and determine what has to go, from your past and today that hinders you. That causes you to doubt God. You can't keep going when you have held onto something. We do, we keep things locked in our hearts and sometimes don't even know it. Let's be free. Let God be the Healer and Redeemer. Give up the things that hold you down and grab onto Him and don't let go.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Roman Invasion!!!! (kinda...)

As many of you know, I recently went to the UK on a family vacation. It was an amazing trip but my favorite place we went was Bath, England. Bath was originally settled by the Romans because it had natural hot springs bubbling up from below the surface of the earth. The locals and the Romans believed the hot springs were a gift from the goddess Sulis Minerva. So the Baths were built adjacent to a temple in her honor. They believed Sulis Minerva blessed the waters with healing properties.

Now, they did this thing where they would pay a scribe to write curses of very thin sheets of lead. If someone had stolen somthing or done them wrong, they would write it on this lead sheet. They would then fold the sheet and throw it in the hot bath so the goddess Minerva would read it. They often had a list of suspects on the sheet to help Minerva figure out who to curse. Theese "gods" were so not powerful! Why would you worship a god that was no better than a police officer?

It got me thinking right away. God is all seeing/knowing/powerful and He doesn't need our help for anything. He can do anything He wants but He chooses to use us to give us a sense of purpose because we are born with that desire. And He made us that way!

Mighty is our God! Powerful above any other!


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Your Hands Can't Handle the Sacrifice

Do you know the plans God has for your life? Jeremiah 29:11 says that God's plans are to prosper you, to give you hope and a future. How many of us truly seek after God's plan for us? Do we spend time asking God what He has for us? I believe we get so caught up in daily life and trying to figure out what we want to do, we forget that God has already paved a beautiful road full of grace and excitement. I wonder how many Daniels and Isaiah's, Davids and Samuel's have been lost in the corporate world. How many have been sucked into the money making scheme of get more and more. It is almost heartbreaking. So many people not living to their full potential. Romans 11:29 says God's calling and gifts are irrevocable. They remain. God remains and is constant so His will is constant. We try so hard to fill a void we created with the busyness of the world. We study, work, go to school, go to church, do some volunteer work, decide on a career, study and work more, go into our career, have families, etc. I am not saying any of this is bad, but have you ever wondered why sex is so prominent on television? Why alcoholism is on the rise? Why so many young people take their own lives every year? They're missing something! God has called each of us to Him, and we see so many people, even Christians, trying to be satisfied with the sloppiness and mediocre physical pleasures. The truth is, deep down they know they've left their first love. The One who created every cell of their body with extreme love and care.

When we aren't living what we were created to do, there is a void and so many seek to quench their thirst with sex, drugs, alcohol, and relationships with others. The truth is, none of that helps, it makes the void turn into pain. Now it's a double whammy. As lovers of Christ we need to be seeking after the truth of who we are and who we were created to be. That is the only true option we have. Don't conform to the world and take your life in your own hands, your hands can't handle the sacrifice. Put your life in the hands that are scarred, the hands that paid the price for you to live a life more abundant. To live a life of purpose and love.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Jerk. Twist. Jump

I am so excited about all I see God doing in my life, my family's life, the church, my friends, and our youth group. It is clear to me that God is calling and wanting to use young people to save this city. I want to jump up and down as I write this. I see young people stepping up and I am so luck to be a part of it.

On Sunday August 22, Pastor Sam met with a few of us college leaders and it was rad. He challenged us in a few ways. First to write down our standards, then to not tell one little lie or to exaggerate anything and if we do, apologize right away and set things right. When he said that, I wondered how many times I would fail! So, that night I prayed and ask God to help Him flow out of me. Help me to not exaggerate or tell little fibbers. Well, God is so faithful. He is so amazing. I only exaggerated twice! niiiice!

As God began to lay standards for me on my heart I wrote them down. God is challenging me to step up to the next level of obedience. Yes, faith and spiritual gifts is great. However, as we grow in our talents and gifts, I believe God calls us to live deeper and more intimate with Him. Sin has to go, so God begins to cut away the areas of our life that block Him. It can be painful, but the outcome is so exciting, so beautiful. I will never regret when it hurts to be closer to God, because His love never fails and His joy is perfect.

I found myself taking a walk this last Sunday. The pain of some old issues in my life had surfaced. Ones that were too much to handle. I felt like I would drown from the pain I felt. I turned on God. Told Him that I don't like the way things are playing out in His plan. That lasted five minutes before I was crying and apologizing and on my knees to have Him. I know I need Him so desperately. Well, I walked to the park and just laid on a bench and cried. I told God everything I was feeling and hurting. I needed Him so much and I knew He was with me.

As I lay there I felt the Holy Spirit stirring and moving. I felt God tell me, "Mary do you see the tree?"

"Yes, God, I see the tree."

"Mary, do you see the leaves on the tree?"

"Yes, God I see the tree, so yes, I see the leaves." (where is He going with this??)

"Do you see the wind blowing the trees?"

HUGE SIGH! "Yes, God, I see the wind blowing them."

"Now, watch one leaf, how the wind blows it."

I watched one leaf as the wind jerked it and twisted it and blew it. I wondered how it could even stay connected to the tree!

"Mary, I see every movement of that leaf and all the other leaves. I see you, I see where you are. I see every little jerk and twist in your life. I see you on this bench, and I see the pain inside. I am working everything out. Don't worry. I have you covered."

This produced even more tears. God loves us so much. We forget He does when life gets difficult. We assume God isn't paying attention. We think He is sitting on His huge throne eating bon-bons, but He is so close and so attentive to every detail. Let's remember He lives inside of us and goes with us, feels with us, and celebrates with us. We haven't been left alone, we have been given a friend that's closer than a brother. I am so amazed by how involved God really is. As I open my eyes I can see His fingerprints on different people. Let's draw closer, step up our obedience, and live like we believe God is here.