Saturday, August 29, 2009

When Anyone Looks at Me

This is another favorite song of mine. Another one of those that I know from a long time ago, but have no clue who was the original artist. I can't find the lyrics online, so I'm just assuming I still know them correctly. Enjoy.

When anyone looks at me
let them see Jesus.
Let them see a reflection
of His love and mercy to me.

When they start to read
my life story.
I want it to bring my Savior glory.
When anyone looks at me
let them see Him.

Verse 1:
I'm not looking for fortune,
and I'm not seeking fame.
I'm not so concerned,
that all the world knows my name.

But I am consumed with one passion,
to share what the Lord's done for me.
And I want my life
to shine with His light,
So all those around me can see!

When anyone looks at me
let them see Jesus.
Let them see a reflection
of His love and mercy to me.

When they start to read
my life story.
I want it to bring my Savior glory.
When anyone looks at me
let them see Him.

Every good and perfect gift that I possess
was sent from the Father above.
And thanks for the way
that I've truly been blessed.
I open my heart
And give to the world His Love.

When anyone looks at me
let them see Jesus.
Let them see a reflection
of His love and mercy to me.

When they start to read
my life story.
I want it to bring my Savior glory.
When anyone looks at me
let them see Him.

I just found a group singing it on youtube!!! Yeahhhh

When Anyone Looks at Me

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Are You Teachable?

I read this a while back and thought it was very good. So good in fact that I typed this out, just so you could read it. :o) I want to be teachable; how about you?

Excerpt from Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World:
"Receiving Rebuke -
What happens when we refuse to listen to God and act on what he says?

The Bible is clear that God, like a loving parent, will administer the appropriate correction in our lives. “For whom the LORD loves He reproves,” states Proverbs 3:12,even as a father, the son in whom he delights” (NASB).

The level of the discipline we receive depends mostly on the level of our teachability. When my mother was small, all her father had to do was look disappointed with her and she’d be in his arms, melting with tears, begging for his forgiveness. Suffice it to say, it required a little more force on my dad’s part when it came to his eldest child. I was not only well raised, I was also well “reared”. And quite often, come to think of it.

Spiritually, the same is true. If we are teachable, we come around quickly to obedience. As a consequence, the level of discipline is fairly minor, sometimes even painless. But if we are unteachable, if we refuse God’s rebuke, the level of discipline increases in severity, just like my “rearing” did. Not because God is ruthless, but because our hearts are rebellious. Our loving Father will do whatever it takes to break that rebellion before that rebellion breaks us. Even if it means giving us a time-out (like having to wait for something we’ve wanted), taking away our toys (like the new computer that just crashed), or allowing some affliction to come our way.

“Before I was afflicted I went astray,” the psalmist writes, “but now I obey your word” (Psalm 119:67). Before you think God cruel, read on. This is no trembling, abused child. This is a chastened son, who like me, can look back and say to his Father with full assurance: “You are good, and what you do is good: teach me your decrees” (119:68).

Jesus was direct in his rebuke of Martha. His words were gentle, but they pierced straight to the heart of her shortcomings. And Martha paid attention. She was teachable. All it took was a tender rebuke from the one she loved. Jesus didn’t have to convince her. She didn’t launch into a debate. She simply accepted his words, though I’m sure they were painful to hear.

Martha knew the secret every child who has even been lovingly disciplined eventually learns. You shouldn’t run away from your daddy. Though correction hurts and rebukes sting, at the end of the pain, there is great reward. Hebrews 12:11 tells us, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

"Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:" - Job 5:17

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Complacency - Condition #1

Complacency - "self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies"
(Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

I believe the church of today's greatest enemy is a spirit of complacency. It's like a sickness trying to suck the life out of saints, affecting individuals in two different ways: One in causing them to gradually drift further and further from God, while not even realizing it. The second, if they aren't drifting, in causing them to be content with whatever state or condition they are in, instead of continuing to move closer to God and whatever calling He might have for their life.

Revelation 3:15-17 says:
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Many of my close friends and myself have been blessed to have been raised in The Church by godly parents, having a sheltered home life. In most ways, this is a blessing, but in one way, if one isn't careful, it can be a curse. When people have not been brought up around something, or came face to face with a certain issue before, they might tend to think they are immune to being tempted by it. Examples of this could be drugs, alcohol, sexual immorality, lying, perverse language, etc (aka: any sin).

I don't believe most sincere Christians consciously conspire to commit a sin; I believe most of them are right smack in the middle of it or have already done it, when they realize what has happened. Most true Christian's greatest failure is not the committing of a sin, but the allowance of complacency into their hearts. The definition above refers to complacency involving an "unwareness of actual dangers and deficiencies". A Christian who has lived his or her life faithfully and rarely fallen is apt to look at a verse like Proverbs 4:15 and think it's a good verse, but not one they need to worry about too much. I mean, after all, don't they live a good and holy life? Temptation rarely comes their way anyway....

.....And gradually the guards start coming down. This is when the devil smiles and begins planning.

When a Christian begins to think this way, he does to himself what God did to Job; he takes down his own hedge. This is a very dangerous way to live. And, according to Revelation 3:15-17, God is not at all ok with this.

A few months back I was helping babysit my twin niece and nephew; at the time they were only about 10 months old. As I was watching them stand, holding onto the coffee table for balance, one of them reached over to the other and grabbed the other's hair...for absolutely no reason. The other in turn wacked the perpetrator on the head. 10 months old. Can't walk; hardly can talk---but that sinful nature is already evident. Don't get me wrong; I personally think they are angels..But God says that we are all born sinners. (Psalms 51:5)

Having been born sinners we must NEVER let our own hedge down. satan will grasp at any opportunity to catch us with our guard down. And sometimes it's not satan, it's man's own carnality, but satan is given the credit as a way of bypassing personal fault.

In my opinion, the root cause of complacency is no doubt usually pride and/ or ignorance. Pride, as in thinking one is above and personally stronger than any situation one may face, and ignorance, as in not using prudence in deciphering whether one should even place oneself in said situation in the first place. Separately these are dangerous, but together, they can make for a very deadly combination.

This said, no matter how close a Christian may feel to God, how many hours a day they pray, how many souls they've won, how many solos they've sung, etc..., they must never allow themselves to think they are above reproach. Plan ahead, if you know sin will be present or possible, "Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away." Don't go to that party, have that conversation, be alone with that person, go in that store, watch that movie, listen to that song,...the list could go on forever. But also, in case you find yourself in a situation that you can't get out of, you need to have decided ahead of time how you are going to face it in a godly manner, and make a promise to God that that's exactly what you'll do.

I Corinthians 9:27:
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

James 5:12 says:
But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation

II Peter 3:17:
Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness

Psalms 73:2-3, 17:
But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked....Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.

If you have read all this and are thinking "That's great...but what if it would have done me more good too have read this (insert whatever amount of time) ago, before I found myself in such and such situation?" Well, a friend and I read a quote recently and decided that we liked it very much: "Mistakes are lessons that you need to learn."...ok, now read it again, but slowly. I know, you were probably expecting something more deep, but still, this statement is so true. If you make a mistake: repent, learn from it, & don't do it again. If you learn the lesson well the first time, you might well become an even better person because of it.

Guard your thoughts, they become words. Guard your words, they become actions. Guard your actions, they form habits. Guard your habits, they form your character. Guard your character, it determines where you spend your destiny.

Listen to this song:
Slow Fade
Slow Fade Lyrics

Monday, August 17, 2009

Be Kind...

...for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle. - Plato

I read this quote for the first time a few years back...and you know what I've discovered? That it's true. No matter how perfect someone's life looks, under the surface, there is almost always, if not always, a battle they are fighting. This battle may be circumstantial, or it may be a battle of the mind, visible to no one, but overwelming to them. But one thing is certain: a battle is just as real whether others know about it or not.

Working in the hotel industry, as a CSR, I try to keep this quote in mind at all times...I never know when someone randomly is going to go off cussing at me because something is wrong with their room,etc or just be completely rude for "no reason". Now, on rare occasions, people are rude just because that's how they are. When I suspect that is the case, I endure, standing up to them if necessary though, and then thank God later that I'm not one of the people who have to live with them. One night of dealing with someone is nothing compared to a life time!

Most of the time though, I know, that person has probably just had a bad day...bad year..maybe a bad life. They are feeling callused and thinking only of themselves by this point and no one else. This is not a good excuse for treating someone bad; however, if you are the one dealing with them, this is a healthy way to view the situation, so their bad day doesn't become yours. It might even be a chance to help turn their bad day around!

I am blessed to have quite a few people that I consider "best friends". Most of them do not live in the same place as me, but are people that I have been blessed to get to know through going to college with them, or through them having lived/ spent time where I am from, then having moved elsewhere. They are all very special, amazing people. All very different and all fighting their own battles. Sometimes I might lose touch with one..or only talk via text here and there and from "surface talk" everything seems perfect. Then we actually talk on the phone and often I realize that they are in a battle. I'm then glad they told me so I can help them fight it, in prayer. Friends should never have to fight anything alone.

When that person on the street flips you off, don't let your temper rage and lower yourself to their level. Brush it off. When you feel you have been falsely judged, hold your head up high and continue living your life as you know you should, and pray that God will reveal to the accuser(s) their wrong. No doubt, they too are in a battle as well. Battle grounds aren't a place where most people feel opportunity to kneel and pray before attacking. They tend to attack first and think later.

I could go on and on with scenarios, but the point is: "...we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places". (Ephesians 6:12) That stranger, that friend, that acquaintance.... you have no idea what they may be facing. Don't write them off or snap back too quickly. You have two options: to be the tool God may use to heal them or to be the tool satan may use to hurt them. The phrase "kill them with kindness" has always seemed like an oxymoron, but I think there's more to it...sometimes you really can "kill" the negatives, by being positive. I am often amazed at work at how someone can come to the desk acting foul, and if I ignore their attitude and go above and beyond to treat them great, they often walk away smiling. Not only have I made their day better, but my day is made better as well.

And, guess what...there's good news for all ya'll out there fighting battles:
If you'll let Him, God will fight them for you!

Exodus 14:13-15
And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, >that they go forward:

Exodus 15:3
The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name

Exodus 14:15
And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward

The battlefield can be used as a time to draw closer to God..a chance to become stronger in Him, IF you are spending time with Him..."going forward in Him"

Job 17:9
The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger

Psalm 84:7
They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God

This blog I read while researching this subject. While I don't agree with all of it, nor know the background of the person that wrote it, I believe it says some good, strong things, and deals with the very important, yet taboo, subject regarding the fine line between reproof and treating people wrongly. I recommend anyone, especially those in leadership, read it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Waiting Room

Lately I have been thinking a lot about God's timing, and decisions such as when to move and when to stand still. I feel like I'm in a waiting room and I'm not completely sure what I'm waiting for. I could be chilled out, relaxing, while listening to the radio, napping, or watching a movie...but instead I'm sitting on the edge of my seat, twiddling my thumbs, staring at the door. When that door opens I'll jump up, grab my bag and take off...but, for now...I am waiting. I hate waiting. Today I stumbled onto a few interesting websites dealing with this subject. I don't necessarily agree with everything stated, but to the most part, they are enlightening and definately worth the read:

Waiting 1

Waiting 2

Isaiah 40:31 - But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40:27-31 (The Message)
Why would you ever complain, O Jacob,
or, whine, Israel, saying,
"God has lost track of me.
He doesn't care what happens to me"?
Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening?
God doesn't come and go. God lasts.
He's Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don't get tired,
they walk and don't lag behind.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The People God Writes About

I LOVE roadtrips. If I'm with friends, I love them because it makes for a fun trip. If I'm not, I love them because they are usually very inspirational times for me. I usually take a bunch of sermon cds, some of my favorite Christian cds, and have one very long devotional time with God. On the trip I took this last weekend I listened to a lot of great messages..Bro. Jason Sisco..messages from the Passing the Mantle Conference '08..and a message Bro. Stoddard preached at my church a few years ago. I had already listened to all of these at least once before, but still found myself gleaning something new from each of them. The message Bro. Stoddard preached: "The People God Writes About" is one of the best messages I have ever heard. I wish that every person serving God, who has served God, or has even thought about serving God could hear it.

The passage of scripture he references is Hebrews 11. The minister spoke about how all these men and women of God are not only mentioned in the past in the Bible..but mentioned yet again, for their faith, in what's pretty much a Bible "Hall of Fame". The author of Hebrews goes as far as to say that the world was not worthy of them....

YET...would not most "Christians" have been quick to write these people off? In this "Hall of Fame" is represented almost every sin under the sun. Yet God didn't write these people off. Not only did He not write them off, He chose to use them in amazing ways that we still read about and learn from even today.

If you are a saint who has fallen, pick yourself up, God still has faith in you.

If you are a saint that is looking down or talking about someone who has fallen, the word "Christian" means Christ-like. Christ wouldn't do this; therefore, if you are acting this way you are not a Christian. Besides, how will God ever be able to use that person as they are meant to me used if the same people who ought to be standing by their side are the ones blocking their way to His Promise?

God didn't write about perfect people. There are no perfect people. That's why there was a Calvary. God wrote about people who had faith in Him and realized that this world was not their home. People, who, when they made a mistake,learned, dusted themselves off, and continued on their journey.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Order My Steps

It was Fall of '97 I believe, I was 16 and we were in Detroit for the Sr. Bible Quizzing Nationals and the UPCI General Conference. I had only been once, the year before, and ever since then had been looking forward to the next year. The mixture of reasons was great..a chance to spend a whole week with my closest friends, a chance to compete for the last time that year over the well over 500 verses from God's Word we'd memorized, a chance to see the latest crush (who, no doubt, I was probably too shy to talk to anyway), a chance to hear life changing devotion after devotion taught by some of the greatest youth speakers in the world, a chance to see over 10,000 of God's people joined together in one location, and a chance to see and visit the missions booths (still today, one of my favorite things about conference), looking at all the beautiful souvenirs and fellowshipping with some of the greatest people on the planet. Ahhh...General Conference. Quizzing Nationals. As far as I was concerned, it didn't get any better than that.

What I didn't expect was how drastically changed I would be when I returned from this God would not just speak to me, but speak to me in a way that would effect every decision I would ever make from that point on. That Friday, in the youth day service, God revealed to me His calling for my life. Something I never realized though, until this week, was that He also gave me my "life song" the same night...

The first and only time I have ever heard this song live was that night at the yearly quiz banquet...all the last year quizzers, many of whom I was very close to and knew I might never see again, sang it as a choir. I cried and cried...largely because I was going to miss my friends so much, but also because I realized that I had absolutely no clue what I was supposed to do with what God had showed me earlier that day and it scared me.

Thanks to modern technology, and a mom who recorded them singing it, I learned the song and very often find myself singing it, even now..12 years later. The same day God revealed to me His destiny for my life, was the same day He gave me a song that I would need in surviving it. God works in mysterious ways...apparently this was a Him knowing the "end from the beginning" moment. When I am feeling lost or confused, in prayer, I often find myself singing this song to God...often when I am overwelmed and at a loss for my own words...this is what I say. I hope these lyrics speak to you as they do to me.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Journey

Journey: an act or instance of traveling from one place to another
Pilgrim: one who journeys in foreign lands; one who travels to a holy place as a devotee

I am a pilgrim on a journey. Thanks to God fearing parents, I was born a pilgrim on a journey. I, of course, had to eventual choose this journey for myself, but I was blessed to be pointed down the right road from the start. My journey consists of two elements...the destination: Heaven...and a closer relationship with my Savior who created Heaven: Jesus.

Seeing as this is a journey I am on, I must never become content with my present "location", my present "location" is and will never be my destination. Until I stand face to face with the one who created me I should be constantly moving, changing, and growing. Life is a journey, not a destination.

In the same instance I find peace in this. Nothing that life sends my way is permanent, because life is not permanent. (James 4:14, psalms 90:12)

As a pilgrim, if I look around at my surroundings and am not touched and concerned with what I see, or perhaps even find myself taking part in it, I should question myself as to if I have begun to assimilate and quickly correct my focus. (Psalm 9:20)

I believe in God's divine will for every pilgrim's life. That means all pilgrims have the same destination, but different journeys to reach that destination. Every commandment and promise in the Bible applies to each of them the same, it's just that it's a big world, and there are different people whose paths God desires each pilgrim's life to cross, so that they too may have the chance to join the journey.

Also, we are all at different stages of our journey in drawing closer to Jesus, and this is ok, the important thing is that we are not sidetracked and still have our eyes on the right road. Don't look at the road God has assigned for your neighbor or the gifts and talents he may have given them that you may feel you are lacking in. Your journey is your journey, He knew what you would need for it before you even began it. (Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:13-16)

I am a pilgrim on a journey....a pilgrim hoping that sharing what God reveals to me on my journey will help in your journey as well.