Thursday, October 31, 2013

Christ Alone; Cornerstone

This has been playing in my head since Sunday morning when we sang it at church.  It's a powerful song. Click on the words to hear it!  But I also wondered a bit about what I was singing.  What is a cornerstone?  A cornerstone is a stone at the corner of a building uniting two intersecting walls.  Such a stone, often inscribed, laid at a ceremony marking the origin of a building.  It was very important in ancient days - being a large stone, the beginning of the structure, that held up the whole building.  So, that stone had utmost importance - everything else was dependent on it being correct and strong.

I love analogies/word pictures.  I love the picture of us (weak stones) held up and made strong by Jesus, who is of utmost importance, correct, strong, level, the origin of us.  The storm called life is blowing all around us, but that Cornerstone will support us.  We can completely depend on Him.  He is our Rock, our Love, our Shelter, our All.

Recently I, and many others, have noticed how 'under attack' Christianity and the church is.  Is the attack getting worse or are we getting worse?  Probably both.
Paul wrote, "There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” (2 Tim. 3:1-5)   
Paul also warned, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Tim. 4:3).
We are here for a short time.  Now is the time to link arms with our brothers and sisters in Christ, lay aside our emotions which can not be trusted, believe that Christ is our Cornerstone supporting us in the storm, and run this race together until the day of His return .
"Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord."  (Eph.2:20 NLT, bold type mine)
 "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Heb 10:23-25)
Image courtesy of George Stojkovic /

Monday, October 21, 2013

Enjoying This Moment He Gave Me

I've gone and done it again...  One day I will learn that not all 'good' activities are necessarily the 'best' for me to participate in!  Overwhelmed with the amount of entries on my calendar.  And reflecting on how the past six weeks or so have been a blur - what a waste!  Each day I wake and vow to 'get through' it, falling into bed exhausted each night.  For a few weeks I have repeated, 'something needs to change.'  And so now, after praying - "Lord, please help me to know what to prune, the activities that aren't necessary - and especially the ones that aren't pleasing to you." - I scaled back my commitments.

Am I a bad girl or a failure because I can't keep all the balls in the air that I'm trying to juggle?  No.  In fact, when I decided last week what needed to 'go' - a weight was lifted and I was lighter and freer and more at peace.  Ah!  Confirmation that this was okay with God - that this was pleasing to Him - even though it was a good-God-activity that I eliminated!

My friend Jenny sent me this that she wrote years ago:
Are you a “super server”?  Are you involved in any and every service you can find?  This is a good way to burn out on serving the Lord in any capacity.  Service looks like a good thing, and it can be, but if your hyper active system of serving God is simply for the sake of being involved and not for the purpose of furthering His purposes, then you’re in the wrong place.  He will accomplish his purposes, but he doesn’t need YOU to do it.  He LETS us be involved so we can get glimpses of who He is in the lives of others.  Do not be mistaken by thinking that you’re doing Him a favor.  It is so the other way around.  Before you do anything for God, pray earnestly about what his purposes for that activity are and how and if he wants you to be involved.  If he does, he’ll make the way clear and provide both the opportunity and the energy to do the task right.  
My overwhelming desire right now may sound corny to some, but it is truly my heart's desire.  It is to enjoy each moment.  To be thankful for each moment.  To not let life pass me by.  To not wake up each morning just hoping to get through the day.  To wake up expectantly looking for all the ways that God is blessing me each moment.  To thank God for the little things - the way the dust is glittering in the sunlight in the air in my living room right now.  Stuff that I don't notice when I'm on a dead run to get each thing done that I've signed up to do.  To have the time, or should I say, use the time in my day for purposeful, Kingdom things - to encourage my brothers and sisters and lift them up, to be the wife and mom I long to be, to be usable to my God.

God, what do you have for me today?  I need You.  Shape me, mold me, use me - for Your glory today and Your's alone.  Less of me - more of You.  Fill me right now with your unfailing love so that I might sing for joy today.  Help me to live in this moment, right now.  Lord, help me to come to You before I give a 'yes' and before my flesh cries out "I want to be a part of that activity!"  I give myself to You as a living sacrifice for You to use as You need to further Your Kingdom and to bring You glory.  Amen!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I am Not "All That"

Nothing like being humbled.  Being stopped in your tracks and shown that 'no, I am not all that and no, I do not have that mastered!'

I do have these mastered.  #allthat
I like to think of myself as a humble person - since I think that does that make me not humble?  Anyway, I don't typically walk around saying 'Oh, I've got that mastered.  I'm a pro at that.'  Well, except when it comes to making chocolate chip cookies - I will say that I am very good at that!  I like the reminders that tell us to not brag about not sinning in certain areas because we are all human and can fall at any time in any way.  Don't put it past us to suddenly sin in a way that we never thought we would.  We are all human, sinful, deceitful, and fall short all the time.  That's why we need a Savior!!  Thankfully when we do mess up, Jesus is standing with His arms wide open waiting for us to admit our shortcomings and return to His arms.  And He always has a way out for us so that we can endure it.

Paul wrote to the church of Corinth in 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 , "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."

A sin is a sin is a sin in God's eyes, but humans tend to put a level of badness on our sins.  No, I have not killed anyone, but I have harbored bitterness and nasty thoughts toward others.  I am a sinner.  I am not homosexual, but I have committed sexual sins.  I am a sinner.  No one is any better than the next.  And for us to walk around and say, 'I can't believe her.  I haven't cheated on my husband and I NEVER would' (probably with a copy of  "Fifty Shades" in our hands) always waves a red flag to me.  Please don't say that.  First, it is up to God to judge and He will.  But second, you never know what may happen tomorrow and unfortunately we are all capable of horrible things.  Our attitude should be that of compassion - loving that person and accepting them while not approving of their sin.  It's hard though - I know!  But, I want to be treated that way!  I want my friends to love me even though I have sin issues with putting people before God and speaking hateful words to my family and having envious yet judgmental thoughts towards others.  I want them to help me through my sin, not excuse it.  Our attitude should also be that of humbleness - it is not past my sinful heart to entertain temptations which lead me to sin in ways I never would have guessed I would.

I am humbled each time the Spirit shows me another way that I'm far from God and not like Jesus.  He showed me a few weeks ago that I'm not bold and honest when I need to be - when it may be hard.  He showed me that I was still valuing man's opinion more than His.  It's not like I walk around thinking I'm all that, but I do tend to think that I'm 'good,' that I have things under control and figured out.

In September I joined Community Bible Study (CBS).  CBS is a group of all different aged women from churches all over the area who come together every Thursday morning to study a book of the Bible.  This year we're studying the book of John.  I've been placed in a Core group of ladies who are blessed with amazing insight to the Word of God.  And I've been completely humbled.  I thought I was really far along in my walk and pretty knowledgeable about the things and ways of God.  There are layers upon layers to the scriptures.  When I answer a question with the obvious sentence right out of the text there are usually so many other things that can be shown to us in those verses.  As I've spent the last month in my group not saying much, I am thinking back to eleven or so years ago when I got involved in my very first Bible Study at CFC, a Beth Moore Study - "Jesus, The One and Only."  There were so many ladies in that group that had so much to say and I was like a sponge, absorbing things from them - flat out amazed at what I was learning.  God spoke to me through that study as I sat back and 'didn't know much,' He taught me.  I'm so there again.

I have had to fight off some nasty self talk, and attacks that say - "Really, you don't know the tip of the iceberg, girl - What business do you have ministering to others!"  But then I remember the truth of the matter - we will not have 'arrived' until we are face to face with Jesus!  So, it is awesome that I'm continuing to learn.  None of us could learn as easily as we do if we didn't have those around us who are further along in their insights and understandings.  Praise God for how He places us in the communities that He does!

So, thank you Lord for reminding me that I have so far to go, but You are right here with me...that I am not 'all that' and am capable of sins beyond my belief.  Thank you that I can lean on You and the Holy Spirit to give me strength to resist temptations and that You give me a way out because You love me.  Thank you that I can be confident that You began a good work in me and will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phl 1:6)  Amen!