Thursday, June 21, 2012

Do You Truly Love God?

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.--Mark 12:30

Do you truly love God? Do you think about Him regularly? Do you want to spend time with Him? Does it show that you love Him? Do you enjoy being with Him? Do you find satisfaction in obeying Him?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Not a Priority

I have a friend who shall remain nameless. We have been friends for years, but we don’t have a close friendship. She is a wonderful person and very sweet and charming. When we first met as adults, I thought that our relationship was a close relationship. We spent a lot of time together and shared a lot of things with each other. Then I moved back to my home in Missouri. I would write, email, and occasionally try to call her, but she very rarely responded to my overtures. I was the one who was doing most of the work in this relationship so I decided to let the relationship go. A few years later she came back into my life through my parents. She gave my mom her number and told her to have me call her. I have to admit that I didn’t call her, but I did go to church with my parents to see her again. She acted all happy to see me and said that we should have lunch together sometime, but she wouldn’t commit to a date or a time. A little later that day as I watched her set a date and a time to go to the movies with someone else I realized that our relationship, our friendship, had never been a priority for her.

Thinking about this relationship started me thinking about other relationships and how I have never really felt like a priority in anybody’s life. It seems like at times that I am more often than not the one that works to keep the relationship afloat in many of my relationships and I start to wonder why that is. Is it something about me? Am I doing something wrong in my relationships? I don’t know, but then I start to think about my relationship with Jesus.

There are times in my life where I don’t make my relationship with Jesus a priority. You can tell those times when you see me because I am stressed, depressed, and full of unrest. When I don’t make my relationship with Jesus a priority in my life, I begin to worry about the things of this world. I get focused on what I don’t have in my life and I what I want. I start worrying about what people think about me. I become lonely. I get angry and frustrated easily. I think only about myself and my problems.

On the other hand, when my relationship with Jesus is a priority, I am happier, no stress, and no unrest. I am focused on what He has provided for me. I am focused on what He wants for me. I am more caring and focused on others. I don’t angry or frustrated as easily. When I am focused on Jesus, I am more the person I want to be.  I don’t have to worry about tomorrow when I am focused on Jesus or worry about what I don’t have that I think I need. I just need to love Him and trust that He will provide what I need when I need it.

Challenge: Focus on your relationship with Jesus. Make Him the Priority.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Yard Sale

I haven't told any of you but I am currently unemployed. I quit my job last month and I have decided to change careers. Right now I am living on faith because when I quit my job I only had enough money to cover my expenses until now. Now I don't have any money at all.

I have been reading the story of the rich man who asked Jesus how he could get into heaven. Jesus answer was that he needed to sell everything give it to the poor and follow Him. Well, since I have read that story so many times lately, I decided to take it literally. I have started selling my things online at yardsellr and I have opened at store on Amazon.

This weekend I decided to have a yard sale at my home. I pulled a ton of stuff out of my house. I was just going through cabinets and taking the stuff outside to sell. I had big expectations about this sale because I really felt like God was calling me to do this. I was hugely disappointed. Not a lot of people came to my garage sale and the ones who did just wanted me to give them the stuff I had. At one point today I was very angry because I basically gave away a bunch of stuff to people who could easily go and buy it new. I felt like people were trying to take advantage of me. I spent a lot of the afternoon angry about it. Then I counted the money that I has earned today. I felt a little better because I knew that at least one of my bills that are due this week would be paid. Later my mom asked me how much money I had made, and as I was telling her about it, I realized that while the Lord did not supply what I wanted and expected He did supply exactly what I needed. In that second, I went from being angry and disappointed to being grateful and knowing that I can trust Him. He is looking out for me and supplying my needs, and His timing is perfect. :-)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Who Am I?

Jesus answered and said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”—Luke 5:31-32 

All weekend long something has been haunting me. It is the idea of how people see me or more specifically how one person sees me. I realized that I try to portray an image of perfection at times. I sound sympathetic and try to be understanding, but I don’t make myself vulnerable and show people that I really do get it. I really do understand. As a result, people don’t see me as I truly am.

 I don’t have it all together. My life is a mess. I screw up every single day of my life. I get angry and frustrated. As Paul said, I am the chief of sinners. I am a “nobody.” I struggle with feeling important in people’s lives and the belief that they actually care. I spend 80 to 90% of my time alone anymore. People rarely call me and usually only when they need something from me, but it is my fault because I don’t reach out to others either. I am an addict. I admit it. I’m addicted to romance novels. I know that many will laugh when they read that statement, but it is true and I have been since I was 12 years old. I’m a coward. I fear being rejected and because of that I don’t speak up when I know that I should. I have been fired from two of my last three jobs and was on the verge of being fired from the last one when I decided to quit. Despite knowing better and being raised differently I practically lived with a man for two months, meaning that he spent more nights at my house than he did in his own home. I have hated and wished people dead or at least gone from my life. This is who I am. This is me, me without Christ and the list could go on and on.

Christ said that he did not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. That is me. I am a sinner, but I am a sinner saved by grace. I simply recognized my need for Him and asked Him to forgive and turned my life around. I strive everyday to keep my focus on Him so that I don’t become that person again. I can’t do it on my own. I have tried. I can only do it through His power and His strength. That is where grace comes in because even when I fail (and I do frequently) I know that He has forgiven me and I pull myself up and start over again.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Precious Gift

"For it is by grace you have been saved through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast."-- Ephesians 2:8-9

Salvation is a gift. There is nothing we can do to earn it. On our own we will never be good enough to get to heaven. That is why the Father sent the Son. He sent Him to take the punishment for our sins so that we might spend eternity with Him. All you have to do is accept the gift.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Missed Blessings

Some friends and I are working our way through Beth Moore's Breaking Free Bible study. As I was studying the final day's lesson for the week we are on, I read the following passage and I want to share it with you:

"Meditate on Jeremiah 29:11-13.
"I hope you noted that God is the One with the good plan! We don't have a clue where the paths we choose will ultimately lead. Walking with God in the pursuit of daily obedience is the sure means of fulfilling each of His wonderful plans. Imagine in heaven God lovingly shows you His plan for your earthly life. You see footprints walking through each day. On many of the days, two sets of footprints appear. You inquire: 'Father, are those my footprints every day, and is the second set of prints when You joined me?'
"He answers, 'No, My precious child. The consistent footprints are Mine. The second set of footprints are when you joined Me.'
"'Where were You going, Father?'
"'To the destiny I planned for you, hoping you'd follow.'
"But, Father, where are my footprints all those times.'
"'Sometimes you went back to look at old resentments and habits. Sometimes, you departed from My path and chose your own instead. Other times, your footprints can even be seen on another person's path because you like their plan better. At other times, you simply stopped because you would not let go of something you could not take with you.'
"'But even if I didn't walk with you everyday, we ended up OK, didn't we?'
"He holds you close and smiles, 'Yes, child, we ended up OK. But, you see, OK was never what I had in mind for you.'
"Father, what are those golden treasure boxes on certain days?'
"'Blessings, My child, I had for you along the way. Those that are open are those you received. Those still closed were days you did not walk with Me.'"

How many blessing have you and I missed because we stepped away from Christ's plan for us? My prayer for you today is that you join God and follow the path that He has laid out for you. I don't want you to miss out on any more of the blessings that He has in store for you.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

All I Need

I was obsessing over a guy last week. Not a big surprise. If there is a guy in my life, then I am usually obsessive about him. But this guy is different. This guy is one I fell in love with years ago and even though we haven't talked in a while I contacted him this past week. Well, some of you might think I'm crazy and at times during this past week I have wondered about it myself. I found myself doing things like posting more frequently on Facebook in order to try and get his attention because I realized that even after all this time I still love him, but as I was obsessing about it this week the Lord kept speaking to my heart. He kept asking me, "Aren't I enough?"

So I have been asking myself, "Is Jesus really enough? If I lost everything, would He still be enough?"
Well, as I have searched my heart this week and as I have sorted through all of the things that I have held onto for years including this guy, I realized that for me the answer is "Yes, Lord! You are enough. You are more than enough." I have learned in this past week that Jesus Christ is truly all I need and that my greatest desire is to glorify Him.


Have you ever been obsessed with something? You can't stop thinking about whatever it is that you are obsessed with. If it is a person you want to talk with and spend all your time with that person. If it is an object you are constantly taking care of that object, cleaning it, polishing it, & babying it. If it is an activity you spend all of your time working and practicing that activity. Your family and friends think you are crazy because your obsession is all you talk about.

Obsessions are not usually seen as good things because you are taking something to the extreme and usually leaving no room for anything else, but I am learning that is one thing or rather one Person in this world that it is actually good to be obsessed with and that person is Jesus Christ. When we are obsessed with Jesus and He is the center of our world then there is room for other things. In fact, the more obsessed we are with Him, the wider and more open our world becomes. As we open our hearts to Christ, we are better able to open our hearts to others. We want to spend more time with others, helping them and loving them. Being obsessed with Jesus expands our world instead of contracting it. I want to be obsessed with Jesus. Do you?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Who Am I Trying to Please?

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.—Galatians 1:10

I admit it. I am a people pleaser. Very few things in life give me greater joy than pleasing others whether with gifts or words or time or actions.  I just get happy pleasing others and a lot of times I seek to please others at great cost to myself. I will sacrifice my needs, my wants, my desires, and at times even my joy in order to please others. I don’t always speak the truth even when I know I should because I am afraid of displeasing or hurting people. Is this wrong? 

Yes. It is not wrong to do things for other people. It is wrong when we are doing to out of our selfish desires, fears or to please man. The Bible tells us to do nothing out of selfish ambition (Philippians 2:3). If we serve others and seek to please others out of our own selfish ambition, then we are doing it for the wrong reasons. You might ask, “But if I’m helping others how am I being selfish?” It turns into selfish ambition when we want other people to see what we are doing and praise us for our good works. I was dating someone who did that. He determined his self-worth by the praise that he received from others. I will confess that there are many times when I will help others out of selfish ambition because I am concerned about doing the right thing or because I am worried about what other people with think if I don’t. When we water down the truth or refuse to stand firm on issues that the Bible says are wrong, then we are seeking to please man. 

Who should we try to please? We should be seeking to please Christ (Galatians 1:10). We cannot call ourselves servants of Christ if we are seeking to please man over Christ. To be a servant of Christ means to stand firm on His foundation, to obey His Word, and to seek to live a life that is pleasing to Him, not man.  Our lives are meant to be a reflection of His light and His love. Yes, He loves everyone, but He didn’t back down on the issues. He stood firm. He didn’t change.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

How much?

How much do you love Jesus? Do you love Him enough to give up everything if that is what He asked you to do? Is your love for Him a radical life changing love or is it a comfortable love? Is your love for Him a lukewarm love or is it a fire burning in your veins?

Lately I have been studying the story of the rich man who asks Jesus what he must do to be saved. Jesus answered that He would have to sell everything he had and give it all to the poor. The rich man couldn't do it. He put too much store in earthly things. He was placing his security in the the things of this earth, but even more simply He didn't love Jesus enough to do what Jesus was asking him to do.

As I have been studying the story I have been asking myself if I could do it. Do I love Jesus enough that if He asked me to sell everything would I do it? Is my love for Him a radical life changing love or is it lukewarm and comfortable?

My challenge for today is for us to examine our hearts and be honest with ourselves. How much do we love Jesus?