Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Losing my moody selfish self to Christ... and it is wonderful!

A man teaching a time-management seminar pulled out a wide-mouthed gallon jar from under the counter that served as his podium. He picked up some fist-sized rocks and put them in the jar until they reached the top. Then he looked out at the class and asked, "is the jar full?" Some of the students, not knowing where he was going, blurted out, "Yes." The teacher laughed gently and said, "No, it's not." He pulled out a bucket of pea gravel and began to pour it in the jar. The pea gravel filtered down between the rocks, filling the spaces until it reached the top. "The jar must be full now, right?" Without waiting for the classes response, the man poured a bucket of sand into the jar. He shook the jar to allow the sand to settle and then added more sand until it reached the lip of the jar. "Now, is it full?"  "Probably not" they answered. He then took a pitcher of water and slowly poured the water into the jar until it began to over flow. "Now, is it full?"  "We believe it is!" He then asked, "What was this visual aid showing?" One student answered, "No matter how busy you are, there is always room for more!" The teacher said, "No, the lesson is, if you don't put the big rocks in first you'll never get them in later!"

So what does this have to do with the Bible and with God?.... Just something God has taught me in the last two weeks :) First let me show you a verse that goes along with the story above and then I'll tell you my story.

Matthew 6:33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

The last two weeks of my life can be described as a dark and crazy whirlwind. I went from working two days a week to 5 and a half. I wasn't prepared and so I was freaking out about grocery shopping and cleaning and cooking etc. etc. etc. I'm one of those people that needs at least one whole day to myself to get stuff done. An hour here or there just doesn't cut it. And as stuff piles up I tend to get stressed out. With all my responsibilities begging for attention one very important aspect of my life was being put on the shelf.... My relationship with Christ. I read my Bible here and there and prayed quick little prayers, but I wasn't digging into His word like I was before. I was doing it more out of obligation than out of love and excitement. I kept telling myself, "I'll do it tomorrow!" Or "Monday will be a better day!" But like the time management teacher said, "If you don't put the big rocks in first (God) you'll never get them in later." And if you don't get the "big" rocks in everything else tends to shift and move and just go crazy!!

I noticed I was worrying about everything and trying to get it all done on my timer and through my plan. I was stressed from the moment I woke up, until the time I finally fell asleep. I was getting irritable with my husband again, and found myself getting hurt or upset about things that really didn't matter. I wanted to pick fights with people, even people at Walmart! I found myself falling back into the person I once was. Selfish, manipulative, moody, and just over all not fun to be with. I kept begging God to help me. I constantly thought to myself, "People do this all the time, I should be able to get by! Why are things so crazy?" But then as I read my Bible study and talked to a few people I realized, DUH! It's because I'm worrying so much about all the little things in life instead of focusing on God and giving Him my day to do with whatever He needed to do. God didn't come first in those crazy weeks. I was worrying about "food and cloths" even though God specifically says do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. (Matt. 6:25-31) God knows what He we need. We don't have to worry about them.  We then get back to Matthew 6:33 where it says, seek first the kingdom of God, then the other things will fall into place.

I guess the one good thing that came from not doing my devotions and spending quiet time with my sweet Lord was that I realized how much I had changed!! Just by reading God's word and learning a bit about who He is and seeing what He's done has taught me to trust in Him and to see things through His eyes rather than my own.

I've always been bad about sticking with things, diets, exercise, you name it and I've probably quit it after about a week. I've always wanted direct results from what I was doing. Riding an exercise bike only gives you a result after a LONG time of riding! But within a few weeks I had noticed changes in my life when following after God and surrendering to His plan. And now I'm seeing just how extreme those results were! My husband even told me he had noticed quite the difference! It's awesome! And  I can honestly tell you that I'm getting back into it. Why wouldn't I want to spend time with our Awesome God who is changing me into a better person! Just imagine how different I can be if I spend the rest of my life doing this! So exciting!!! Not I, but Christ within me :)

Thank you Jesus for showing me that if You are the focal point of my day, of my life, all the other pieces of my life will fall into place. Maybe things wont turn out the way I wanted them too, but by trusting in You and following You, You have taught me to trust Your will and to see that it is the best way! The fact that You are with me makes every moment of my life meaningful. I thank You for all these wonderful truths that You have been revealing to me. I love You sweet king! Amen

With love,

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Passion; the antonym of Apathy

Guys, I just had an AWESOME experience!!! My heart is singing, and my hands are shaking and I just want to cry tears of Joy! What did I do? Well I went to a play silly! :)

Tonight I went to watch my bestest friend in the whole wide world in her church's Passion Play. I went into it thinking, "This will be good. It'll be fun to see how they tell the story." etc etc etc. What I didn't expect was to come away from it with an all new perspective and a heart that is literally leaping out of my chest in song!

As I watched the story unfold I really admired the guy playing Jesus. He was a talented actor and did a really good job. But what I noticed was his portrayal of Jesus was this kind, loving, smiling teacher that spoke with excitement and extreme joy. Unfortunately I've always pictured Jesus as this Very solemn and straight to the point kind of guy. My minds eye tended to forget all that stuff about Him being kind and loving. But as I watched this actor say the words that Jesus said in a all new way to me I realized, Jesus Had to have some character! People Had to like Him! Why else would ordinary people that couldn't really relate to the super serious professor type go to Him? Why would people go to Him before they even really knew who He was? I personally don't like to hang out with the super intellectual people that are too smart to smile or feel emotion... and Jesus came for ordinary people like me, not just for the people that study and study theology. Ah! It was such a freeing moment to realize Jesus Was a lovable and Wonderful man, not just based on what He did, but How He did it- with Love. 

In the second Act Jesus was of course crucified. The "Roman Officers" pushed and nudged and whipped the man playing Jesus down the aisles of the church. Whoever did the makeup did an Awesome job, because not only did they smear "blood" on his back, but they made it look like he had welts rising and it just looked so real and so painful. All I could think about was, "This Really happened! They really did this to Jesus! They did this to the guy that was so smiley and so loving!  They Did this to a Wonderful and innocent man!" They drug him up to the cross and nailed him to it. With each pound of the hammer you could hear his strained cries. (And to think those nails were pounded into Jesus' sweet, loving hands all because of my sin!) They then lifted up the cross and there he hung, broken, bruised and bleeding. For the first time in my life it was all so real. To physically see a portrayal of this happening opened my eyes in a way that no Sunday school drawing could ever do. I saw Jesus as a real living and breathing man, a man that was loving and gentle and just an awesome person to be around! And I saw Him murdered for my sins.  God wanted me to see this. I Needed to see this. I have a new love for my Glorious Saviour. I can't wait to get to Heaven and hug Him over and over again and just thank Him for all He did for me! He is truly remarkable!

Satan lost today friends. He tried with all his might to get me to just stay home and not go to this play. He hit me with insecurity, stress, and even physical pain twice! I could feel him trying to get me to just give up and not care. He knows I believe in Christ and that he's lost that battle. But he still wants to make this life as hard as possible and make me doubt God's love. He didn't want me to see this moving play and realize just how real it all is. He wanted instead for me to just go about my life and not really care. But tonight he failed! God reigns over all! Even the devil. And to that I say, AMEN!

Friday, April 1, 2011

It's another Hallelujah Friday People!!!

I love how Friday's are becoming my "AH HA!" days :) I rejoice in the fact that God has turned my dreary depressing Friday's into Hallelujah Fridays! He's literally turned my frown upside down :)

Well today is another Hallelujah Friday! God has once again shown me something that is worth singing about... but since I don't have a record deal or anything close I'll just blog about it :) :)

Today started out crappy. I woke up late for my once a month job, it was cloudy, and I just wasn't feeling like doing anything! Argh I hate moods like that! After my job I got home I ate some lunch, did pointless things like Facebook stalk my friends etc. etc. etc. (See I'm still learning to seek God for happiness instead of other things. So there, I'm not perfect and I don't always learn my lesson the first (or 500th) time.) Finally I decided enough was enough with this mood. I realized it was time to just dig into the word. I got a new Bible study called "Having a Mary heart, in a Martha World." Though I don't consider myself especially serving like Martha, I do consider myself being too "busy" for God. I felt that this was the exact study that God wanted me to do... and I was right. God pointed out something very special to me today, my personal relationship with Him. I have been struggling with it for the past week or so. I wanted a personal relationship with God SO Bad and I wanted to be able to just focus and pray to Him all the time, but I didn't know how. (That was the main reason for me picking up this Bible study.) But once again God didn't give me the answers I was necessarily looking for, instead He showed me what I needed to see.

In her book "Having a heart like Mary in a Martha world," Joanna Weaver said,

Jesus invites us to come and rest, to spend time with Him in this incredible intimacy. Intimacy that allows us to be honest in our complaints, bold in our approach, and lavish in our love. Intimacy that allows us to hear our Father's voice and discern our Father's will. Intimacy that so fills us with His love and His nature that it spills out to our dry world in service. It all begins down at His feet. 

As I read this I got a tingly feeling and thought, "YES! This is exactly what I want!!!.... Now how do I get that exactly?" I love what she says at the end, "It all begins down at His feet." This is where my Ah Ha moment comes in. You see I kept thinking that a personal relationship with Jesus was all up to how much I did. That I had to be the one that kept talking. I would kick myself every time I realized I hadn't prayed that day, or I would tell myself I needed to talk to God more about how my day is going. Don't get me wrong I still totally think we need to pray to God constantly and talk to Him openly. I recently read a book by Beth Moore called "Jesus, the One and Only." She said something that I absolutely loved, something to the effect of yes Jesus knows exactly what's going on in your life, but He still wants to hear you talk about it. Whether you're excited about something that happened to you or upset about something you did, Jesus wants to have a real relationship with you , not a stale "thank you for the sunshine, thanks for the flowers, oh and by the way I need a scholarship if I'm going to get into college. Amen." He wants to hear about your life and day, and He wants you to ask Him for things!

But what God has shown me today is that a relationship with Christ really starts with me bowing my knees and sitting at His feet to LEARN! It's not all about me. As I journaled my feelings about what I had just read I wrote this down, Learning from God+ Trust= a relationship and intimacy. It starts with God, not with me. If I sit down at His feet and learn from Him I will then gain this awesome intimacy that allows me to hear His voice and to start seeing His will more clearly, that will help me SO much in my prayer life and in my side of the relationship!!

What God has taught me today in a nut shell, A Real, intimate relationship with our loving Father starts with Him, not us. His word is to be the foundation of the relationship, not my complaints or praises, though those are Very important too! I wish I was better at words and could just express to you how I feel about all this! It's so amazing, and so Freeing to know that it's not just up to me to keep this relationship going, Jesus wants it too! He's not like some friends who drift away if you don't talk to them for a little bit. Instead He is always there, waiting for you to sit at His feet and listen. And after you listen, He wants nothing more than for you to respond and tell Him what's going on in your life :) We serve an Awesome God!

With Love,