Sunday, February 27, 2011

Let it Stick

This morning I decided to go through my notes and look up the Scriptures given us during church last night. I've been going to do this, yet never really did. But this morning was led to it.

Many things have happened/changed in the past few weeks. I don't know how to put it into words, but the Lord has a hold of me in a major way. Praise the Lord! Since then, things keep coming that continues to teach.

1 Timothy 6:17-19

17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,
19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

18 Is a Life Lesson in the "Life Principles Bible, by Charles F. Stanley." This is what he has to say:

God blesses us financially not simply so that we can spend His blessings on ourselves, but so that we can use the resources he gives us to help others and to expand the kingdom of God.

This really hit home! We aren't rich by any means, but we do well. We do try to give as much as possible and bless those that are less fortunate, but I realized that if I change my ways, we can probably do more.

I had a spending problem and have gotten much better about it. A person diagnosed with bi-polar; one of the symptoms is spending excessively. It hadn't gotten that bad, thanks heavens, but was close enough.

When looking back I realized that I took the way we grew up to the extremes. Because I was teased constantly, told we were poor people and I wouldn't amount to anything, I would stress over what we didn't have according to the "rich city kids" that seemed to have it all.

I so wanted to dress like them thinking it would make a difference. Therefore, jealousy took control of me.

Song of Solomon 8:6
...Jealousy as cruel as the grave; it's flames are of fire, a most vehement flame.

Ouch! If only I had known the depths of my feelings back then. Once I started working, I bought what I could, always broke shortly after pay day. I made sure I paid my car payment, but would run short of gas, and felt lucky that my parents owned a store with a gas station. I would write down what I pumped, but wouldn't necessarily pay it.

The funny thing is, even though I was getting the clothes and accessories I wanted, it didn't make me more popular, I still was teased and put down. I resorted to drinking and other things thinking that would help me fit in. Instead, I was mocked all the more.

If only I had really known the Lord then. I went to church every weekend with my grandmother. I received my first communion, went through confirmation, but still did not know what it was like to know the Lord. (I was Catholic at the time).

Now I realize that it wouldn't have mattered what I did outside of becoming a "jock" or "cheerleader" (which I did try out for), but couldn't do that stuff, as I just wasn't cut out for sports. I was clumsy. Taller than most, skinny and a klutz! But more than that, I was dealing with prideful people that came from prideful families. If only...

Proverbs 13: 10
By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom.

Proverbs 16:18
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

I carried that out through my adult life, looking for acceptance. Wanted to feel wanted and needed. I joined the Air Force wanting to do a job that helped people. I needed that feeling of being needed. I became a firefighter. I loved my job despite having to prove myself.

Now what was the difference? I went through school trying to prove myself and hated it. But now I was enjoying the challenge? The difference was I was out to prove that women had what it took to be in a mans world. It was a huge challenge, and it was a challenge I wanted to take head on. It took work, but some of us persevered!

I had friends, but not necessarily in the manner one should have friends. I was still spending to try to keep up with the crowd. I would fall short every two weeks and would not have money to eat, and ended up borrowing. It never set in. I was embarrassed with having to borrow from my supervisors, but none-the-less, still had to try and be popular.

Then I met my husband. I got pregnant, and got out of the military as he too was a fire fighter. Two in the F.D. raising a family just wasn't a good mix. I wanted to make sure our kids had the best of everything. But with one income, it just wasn't happening. I would get depressed and go shopping.

Eventually, my husband was tired of fighting me over money and sent the kids and I packing. We got back together in a couple of weeks after a friend shared a book with him on spending. It said what he felt.

I tried, but because there was a lot missing in life (to me) I would get depressed and spend. I was jealous of my husband, had very little self respect, had great friends, but didn't realize it as I was so insecure.

Proverbs 13:5
...But a wicked man is loathsome and comes to shame.

I loathed my life, and loathed those that looked down on me. I became an alcoholic looking for something more in life. Always looking in areas that didn't have the answers. Not seeking where I needed to go. On occasion I would think I need to go back to church, the kids need it too. We would go on time and then stop. The reason being is I was so lost and thought people were mocking me.

This went on for years. Finally after my husband left me for the last time, I really started to wake up. I wanted desperately to get past where I was. I wanted to believe in myself. At first, I went off the deep end. Wanted to end my life, but then I was given the picture of our kids and knew I couldn't do that to them. I poured myself into drinking my meals and became prideful in my job.

Psalms 73:6
Therefore pride serves as their necklace; violence covers them like a garment.

I walked so many wrong lines. Was out to destroy those that I thought were judging me and making my life miserable. But instead, I was the one judging them.

Matthew 7:1-5
"Judge not, that you be not judged.
2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
3 And why do you look to the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
4 Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck in your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye?
5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank form your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brothers eye."

I had to learn to give up spending for sure now, as I had two kids both with baby's on the way and needed to find a place to live. Our daughter was working, and was going to help out. Our son was going through a lot of mental disorders and wasn't able to hold a job for very long. I was scared.

Thankfully after a little over a year, my husband and I found our way back to another. We continued to pour our lives into alcohol thinking that was going to relieve us of our faults, mistakes and misery. Spending, eh, it wasn't nearly as bad, but now I had a grand children to spoil and a wedding to plan for my daughter. I tried to keep it as cheap as possible but wanted my daughter happy.

We got through it all, found a house after living in an apartment for three years. Thank heavens we moved, as we had a bar right behind us. Too convenient. We still kept drinking, with that and the cost of cigarettes, we went through a lot of money that could have been used for better things. Now we both wanted things nice and were spending, but hubby only really saw it as my problem.

Then our son led us to the Lord!!! That was the start of a brand new life. Life has been good since then, but I was still wanting to spoil the grand kids. Our daughter was struggling to make ends meet, so I wanted to "help."

But finally a break through! I was getting better with spending, but coming to this Scripture and the Life Lesson; Hallelujah, my eyes have been opened! As Pastor Krist said last night. I want to be a "giver" not a "taker". Amen!!!

There are so many ways to give. Not just through money, but through giving of yourself. I realize now that I don't have to spend money on my grand kids. I need to love on them, give them security. We've planted the seed, now we need to nurture it. Our grand kids are material kids; especially the youngest grand daughter "has to have" material things.

By using what I've learned, we can in turn share this information at their level of understanding. They love to give, so finding ways for them to give back to others will instill in them the importance of not "wanting" not being takers, but rather being givers. Imagine if we were "all" to find this answer and were to start giving in all ways we have to give, how much better our world would be.

I pray this reaches out to any others that may be struggling with spending, loathing, insecurities, etc. Find solace in the Lord your God. For there will you find real comfort and real leadership.

Remember also, that as you pray, He may not answer right away, as there is a reason. I'm thankful I went through those dark trials, as now I can share what I've learned and hopefully help others who are struggling. After all, He does use things in our lives to help others not just ourselves. Our testimonies are a testimony of His great love and His faithfulness. His timing is always perfect. We just need to learn to be patient and wait upon Him for only He knows when we are ready for the next step. In the meantime; stay in prayer and in the Word. Leave all your troubles to Him.

I was going to apologize for this being so long, but as I started typing, more and more came to me. It's a lengthy posting, but feel it's well worth it. God Bless each and everyone of you. Remember: Love yourself as He loves you, as then you can love on others as we have been called to do.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Why Some may not Believe

While writing up a Bible study for my family from Life Principles Bible by Dr. Charles F. Stanley, I came across the following:

Why do so many people not enjoy God's presence? Because they do not really know Him.

That made me realize that so many out there think that because He can not be seen or touched that He is not real. There are many other reasons used as well, but am thinking this is a big issue, as I've heard others state, "How can you believe in something you can not see?"

Good question. Until you have actually experienced the presence of God, you may never know. I pray for those that are afraid to trust in the unknown, will give God a chance. When you receive the Lord and start enjoying experiences with Him, you end up with no doubt in your mind that He is very much real. It's an experience like none other.

Is the walk always beautiful? No, due to His using difficult times to teaching us, drawing us nearer, and to keep us from taking a wrong path. I've personally experienced the presence of the Lord many, many times, in many various ways. From being saved from what should have been a deadly outcome, to visions, touches and hearing. He lets you know that He is there. You can feel His presence in so many ways.

If one would sit back and think about different situations that should have turned out way different that was out of ones control, and pondered how it did not make any sense, the answer would be your loving Father saved you from that moment in your life.

I challenge you to pick up the Bible and start reading His promises for you. Start reading His love letters to you; as basically it's God telling you how much He loves you and wants to be a part of your life. God wants a personal relationship with you. After all, what do you have to lose?

I know I've said it before, but believe it is worth repeating. What do you have to lose by believing in the Lord your God? Absolutely nothing. If He's real and you believe and follow Him, you will live a wonderful life of eternity with Him. If you don't believe and He's real, you have everything to lose.

Personally, I choose to believe as I know in my heart He is very real. I challenge you to give Him a chance to prove to you that He is real. If you go into this challenge with an open mind and faith, you won't be disappointed. Then get yourself in a good "Faith-based" church that teaches the Holy Bible, not one that has been written to meet the needs of the church, and walk that beautiful walk.

My heart aches for those that are lost. I pray that you will find Salvation in Him and soon. You will not be disappointed. I'm sure glad I came back to Him. It's been a beautiful walk, even during all the trials and tribulations we have been through. I look forward with great joy to meeting more of those trials and tribulations, as each time I grow closer to Him and have a stronger understanding. Often times receiving correction on things I've been doing wrong at just the right time. For you see, God's timing is always perfect, and His love for us is perfect. Imagine having a Heavenly Father who loves you no matter what and never gives up on you. He waits for you with open arms always welcoming you.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Help in Finding Study Materials

While working on a Bible study program for hubs, son, and myself; I came across ideas for obtaining Bible reference materials. For those that can't afford these materials, there are ways of obtaining them free of charge.

There are many helpful sites on-line. Just google search Bible references or Bible study. Also check with your local library or church library if one is available. Another option is to check with your Pastor or church associate or even a friend to see if they have any materials you can borrow.

I hope this helps those that are struggling with finding much needed material in order to gain a better understanding of what the Bible says. If anyone has any other ways of obtaining these materials please share! :)

Thank you and God Bless! May the Lord shine down on you.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What Type of Christian Are You

I love hear the voice of the Lord. I love it when He feeds us such good thoughts. The message He gave me this morning while in my prayer closet really got me to thinking. What truly amazes me--but now as I'm typing this, He is revealing why it happens this way--is that our Pastor has spoke this very message, & it hit home, but now hearing it from the Lord, it has really hit me. He revealed to me just now that this happens as some times the foundation is laid and then when we are ready to really soak it in, He reminds us in another way. Thank You Lord!!!

So the question is, what type of Christian are you? Are you a:

Ritualistic Christian: The type that does things by the numbers. Has to pray at a certain time, read the Bible in a certain fashion, pray a certain way each time. Never letting the Holy Spirit guide you. Never allowing yourself to step out of that comfort zone.

Or a Part Time Christian that attends groups, goes to church and it ends there; or when someone calls upon you, you act out of obligation.

Or a Me Christian: One who does things your way, saying you are living the life the Lord has planned for you, but in the manner you see fit.

Or a Weekend Only Christian: The one who goes to church on the weekend, worships and prays and then walks out the door of the church and turns back to the ways of the world.

Or a When I Have Time To Be A Christian: The one who wants to be a Christian, but only takes the time when you can find the time in your busy schedule.

Or The Rush Through it Christian: Okay, I have time to get in a quick prayer, I'll try to read a little bit of the Bible now and hopefully find time to read some more later. Later comes and you find yourself saying, "I should have made time, but it's too late now, forgive me Father, You know my heart."

Or are you a Full Time Christian: The one who reads the Word, follows what is written, seeks all the time the Kingdom, works hard to be Christ like, to be the person God created you to be. Allows yourself to be led by the Holy Spirit, always seeking what He wants for you to do with each situation.

When this subject was presented to me this morning, I thought, "Oh oh, where have I been failing again Lord? I'm trying hard to be a better Christian, truly I am." But I knew what He was getting at. It saddens me that I haven't put up a bigger fight. That I haven't been more strict with myself. I'm one of those in-betweeners. But mostly that Rushed/Busy Christian.

This is really hard to write, as it is embarrassing, but it is also an awakening that has been a long time coming. First the addiction, now this. I'm just thankful I'm able to hear the convictions and am able to heed them. Praise the Lord! I know I should not be embarrassed, as He uses us to learn and then help others. I pray that when this is read that it does help anyone else out there who may be struggling.

I don't know about you, but I definitely want to reach that Full Time Christian position.

Personally, I want to be that full time Christian, so why isn't it happening? It's because I let the ways of the world/flesh creep in all too easy. It's because I haven't "Disciplined" myself enough to be where I should be to know when the enemy is up to his old tricks, pulling me back in.

So I ask myself, "What is it going to take to stay in the Word, learn His commands, follow His promptings always, be the person I have been called to be?" The answer is simple. "Discipline, and handing ourselves completely over to Him." I know there have been times I "thought" I had done that. But then looking back, it was because I was listening to the lies. I was believing I was being whole hearted, when I wasn't keeping myself in check and waiting upon the Holy Spirit.

What now? It's time to take a stand and tell the enemy, "No More!" Get quiet with the Lord and let the Holy Spirit come and take control. No more--well this is another post, so wont go down that road yet. It's another lesson I heard a couple of days ago but didn't log. I will share that one tomorrow or Monday.

Meanwhile, take time to really do some soul searching. What type of Christian are you? God Bless You.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Desires of the World or the Lord

What do you pursue in life? Do you desire and work for things of the world? Is your focus on getting the things you want? Or do you follow with what the Lord has planned for you?

Here's a little food for thought:

1 John 2:15-17
15 Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.

16 For everything that belongs to the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one's lifestyle--is not from the Father, but is from the world.

17 And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God's will remains forever. (CSB)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Are You Like the Pharisee or the Tax Collector

I know I have talked about judgment before, but it is an ongoing struggle with many, to include myself. I found myself today asking, "Lord, am I the only one that struggles with not judging others? Am I the only one that has such a hard time controlling that sin?"

No, I'm not the only one and it is most unfortunate that we in the flesh find ourselves continuing to commit these sins. What can we do? Give ourselves fully to Him and go to Him with a repenting heart. All too often, I'll catch myself (especially while driving) chewing someone out for being an "idiot," or a "fool." Thankfully when my grandchildren hear me iterate those words, they correct me. I'm thankful they have listened to my telling them that calling others names is wrong. God is so good!

The problem being, I go to Him later to pray and have not asked for forgiveness. Most times I do automatically ask Him to forgive me when I've acted out foolishly. But on those times when we don't repent, we are going to Him with condemnation in our hearts.

While reading an article in the "In Touch" Feb. issue through In Touch Ministries, I read "The Prayer that God Hears" by Kevin Goins. In this issue he talked of the Pharisee and the tax collector.

Matthew 23:5 "They do everything to be observed by others;" (talking about the Pharisees).

Luke 18:10-1410 "Two men went up to the temple complex to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 the Pharisee took his stand and was praying like this: 'God I think You that I'm not like other people--greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get."
13 "But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, 'God, turn Your wrath from me--a sinner!' 14 I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather then the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."

Exalt from
1. to raise in rank, honor, power, character, quality, etc.; elevate: He was exalted
to the position of president.
2. to praise; extol: to exalt someone to the skies.
3. to stimulate, as the imagination: The lyrics of Shakespeare exalted the audience.
4. to intensify, as a color: complementary colors exalt each other.
5. Obsolete . to elate, as with pride or joy.

I use this reference of the Pharisee and the tax collector as it shows the Pharisee going with a heart of pride and condemnation. When we pray with that in our hearts, God will not listen to nor answer our prayers. Today I realized that there are areas where I have judged and not asked forgiveness, where I have not repented.

So when you pray, ask Him if there are areas in your life where you do not have a clear conscious and then when revealed, repent. Then and only then will He hear your prayers. I know I am so grateful for this time I've had to sit quietly, read, seek, listen and hear.

Thank You Lord for Your faithfulness. I pray that we may all come to You with a clear conscious, of a forgiving heart of love, with no pride or condemnation on our hearts. I pray that each person who reads this will receive blessings abundantly in peace, joy, prosperity and grace!