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Reaping What We Sow

Today was the perfect day for me to return to my church home.  Not because it is just a beautiful day weather wise, or because I was awake before the alarm clock sounded.  Not even because, though I was blocked in I managed to get out of the driveway.  This day was perfect because God is perfect and so many things fell into place that I am confident today was meant to be my once again return to church.

It actually began last night when I was listening to some messages online from another church I had been considering trying out for a home place to worship.  The messages are in a series titled, “Unpopular”.  I totally understand why that is too, because there is nothing warm and fuzzy about the messages that were preached over the summer at White Water Christian Church.

The first message was about how it isn’t all about me.  The second on sexual morality.  Mind you I know this, but it was still a bit of a sting.  In choosing a place to return too for worship and being fed I’ve been more concerned about me and far less about doctrine and teaching, and that Christ is glorified above all else.  My heart attitude has been pretty selfish.  I want what I want as far as music for the services, attitudes in others toward me, church on my terms.  Well that isn’t how it works if I want to be taught something solid.  We’re to be imitators of Christ, and that means it cannot be all about me.

In my life I have spent many years justifying things.  First through the swinger years but that is another post, then through being single and feeling that it was okay to have sex with the guys I was dating.  I heard my own words echo back in the sermon message last night, “I know it’s wrong but what am I supposed to do, deny myself????”  Well yes, yes that is exactly what I am to do. Christ denied Himself, came to earth as a man and died.  We are in fact to deny ourselves, imitate Christ, pick up our crosses and walk.  God’s word is not known for its grey areas.  Certainly there are things it does not address, but it isn’t hard to figure out what the right answers would be in relation to God’s word.  Sex outside of marriage isn’t a grey area.  Adultery is pretty specific too.

If it’s about Christ, as my life should be, then it isn’t about me.

If He is in control, I’m not.

If He is God, I am not.

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” ~ Jim Elliot

“Attitude reflects leadership” – Remember The Titans

What does my attitude say about who leads my life?

I went out of here ready for church, with my car blocked in by my niece.  My fault, I didn’t think of it last night so I could get my car in last or put it on the street.  So, determined that I was going, I drove through the lawn to the neighbor’s driveway to leave.    Sunday school was in the book of Judges.  While it spoke to me, and was good for me to hear, it was more about what was to come.  The service really got under  my skin and down into my heart.  From the  opening chorus, then hymn, the reception of a new member (mostly her testimony), the scripture reading  which was Psalm 1 (below) and then the hymn, When Trials Come which is SO good that I’m including the video from Youtube and you should watch and listen, the beat picks up and it’s a beautiful hymn, and  then finally the message from Pastor.  His message was from Galatians 6:7-8.  This was entirely too timely given the messages I heard last night.

Galatians 6:7-8

New King James Version (NKJV)

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

WOW do I know the truth of that passage.  For years was a lifestyle that sowed seeds of sin with each fantasy, encounter, etc. and we reaped sin in return.  The final reaping being the end of the marriage.  The consequences were high.  When we attended church we were a better couple, when we started sowing seeds of wrong doing in a sinful field, we fell apart.  That lifestyle was all about self, desires, appetite and little or no thought for God.  The end result was corruption.

But now, my desire is to sow not to my flesh but to the Spirit.  Good seeds so what grows in my life is good.  Not an easy task but then in Christ I can do anything.

I had someone recently tell me basically good luck finding a man, even a professing believer, willing to wait til marriage for sex.   My thought…if he IS a believer he will desire to wait as well.  If not then obviously he is not the one for me.  If I never find him, then I was meant for single life.  There is no grey area.

Psalm 1

New King James Version (NKJV)

The Way of the Righteous and the End of the Ungodly

1 Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

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Once Again…Coincidence?

This morning was not a good one. I did not want to get up for anything, but I did.  Again I pulled myself out of my bed and went to Sunday School and church, and again the Lord showed me He is with me.

The music I chose to listen to as I tried so hard to focus my heart and ready it for worship, was the Fernando Ortega CD Jane gave me when I came back to church the first Sunday in December.  The song that I  got stuck in my head and heart while listening….was the song sung as service began, Fernando Ortega’s, sang by Cameron who I had no clue could sing until last week when he  and Jesse sang the song that I had been listening to at home.  Two Sundays in a row now the song I am listening too for quieting my heart and preparing for church, is the song sung AT church.  Nope, no coincidence at all!

Then, in Jeremiah 29, where Pastor  has been preaching, is one of my favorite passages, only today, my word for 2011 stuck out, bringing new life to verses  for me.

SO glad I went today!!!!

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (New American Standard Bible)

11‘For I know the (A)plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for (B)welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a (C)hope.

12‘Then you will (D)call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will (E)listen to you.

13‘You will (F)seek Me and find Me when you (G)search for Me with all your heart.

Funny thing, we use the New King James translation at church, but today I had my New American Standard.  I  WILL seek Him and FIND Him.

Here is the song:

Ever Seeking

Being sick derailed me a bit, I missed church 2 Sundays and a Wednesday thanks to the cold/sinus infection/flu bug…whatever that was.  But today I was there and SO thankful.  Great Sunday school lesson on eschatology and a great sermon on the two cups, one of God’s wrath and one of the blessings to the believer.  I was so thankful pastor opted to preach first today, and hold  communion until after the sermon.

I really needed to think hard about the wrath that was poured out on Christ for my sins, a cup He prayed and asked the Father if there be any other way at all to let it pass when in the garden the night before He was crucified.  God’s wrath toward our sin must be unimaginable.  Equally the cup of blessing to those that are redeemed by the blood that was spilled under that wrath, must be unimaginable.

The teaching time was very important to my considering if I take my sin too lightly.  The answer of course is yes.  I needed that  focus before  communion, to pray and refocus on my walk.  The more I seek God, the more I will see my sin for what it is and turn from it.  I will not do it perfectly.  I will slip, stumble and fall.  But I will keep brushing myself off, standing back up, and continuing to walk on the road less traveled.

Ever seeking.

I Am Wonderfully Made

There are times when I really can beat myself up like no one else could.  I am without a doubt my own worst critic and when I get on a roll it is so easy to rip myself apart  from one end  to the other, finding fault in everything I think,  say or do.  I’ve made  enough mistakes in my life that I have plenty of ammunition for the assault on myself, so I need no assistance from others.  Though often it is others that trigger it, and there is nothing that can get under my skin like someone finding fault with me.  I  spent a lot of years with self esteem that  was almost non-existent so it pains me a lot when someone dislikes me, especially when I don’t really understand why.

But then I remember that my worth is not in the minds of others around me.   My worth is not really even my own.  Any value is in Christ.  God sees me through the blood of His beloved Son, making me priceless, and whole, and perfect.  In Christ I am everything I should be, though that perfection won’t be seen this side of eternity, it is there.  And it is now how I try to steer my thinking about myself.  As my favorite Jason Gray song says, “I am not defined by mistakes that I’ve made”.  And I’m not. I’m defined by who I am now with renewed faith. 

Psalm 139 says that I am ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’.  WONDERFULLY made, and that God  knew everything about me down to how many days I will be on this earth, long before I ever was conceived.  I would say that makes me pretty darn spectacular, mistakes and all.  Jason’s song goes nicely with this Psalm, which is one of my very favorites!

Psalm 139 (New King James Version)

 

Psalm 139

For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

 1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
         You understand my thought afar off.
 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
         And are acquainted with all my ways.
 4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
         But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
 5 You have hedged me behind and before,
         And laid Your hand upon me.
 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
         It is high, I cannot attain it.
         
 7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
         Or where can I flee from Your presence?
 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
         If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
 9 If I take the wings of the morning,
         And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
 10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
         And Your right hand shall hold me.
 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall[a] on me,”
         Even the night shall be light about me;
 12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
         But the night shines as the day;
         The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
         
 13 For You formed my inward parts;
         You covered me in my mother’s womb.
 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[b]
         Marvelous are Your works,
         And that my soul knows very well.
 15 My frame was not hidden from You,
         When I was made in secret,
         And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
 16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
         And in Your book they all were written,
         The days fashioned for me,
         When as yet there were none of them.
         
 17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
         How great is the sum of them!
 18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
         When I awake, I am still with You.
         
 19 Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God!
         Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.
 20 For they speak against You wickedly;
         Your enemies take Your name in vain.[c]
 21 Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You?
         And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
 22 I hate them with perfect hatred;
         I count them my enemies.
         
 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
         Try me, and know my anxieties;
 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
         And lead me in the way everlasting. 

Diamond In The Making

James 1:2-4 (New King James Version)

 Profiting from Trials

   2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

James 1:2-4 (Amplified Bible)

2Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.

    3Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.

    4But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.

~*~*~*~

I could just let those verses be my post!  Patience…I  have next to none.  I want what I want,  when I want it, which would be now.  But good things take time.  Certainly the Lord could just touch me and make me patient, a quiet and gentle spirit, etc.  But what would I really gain from that?  I’d not see the blessings unfold one at a time as my dependence is more and more on Him and less and less on myself. I’d not need to cry out in my heart for strength to get through the hard times, or need to be in His Word to find encouragement and guidance.  Without the hardships, I’d not have anything to compare the good things too, which cause me to praise Him.  Every single thing we go through helps to strip away the bad and purify the good.  The dross floats to the surface and can be removed so we are refined like silver.  Trust me there is plenty of dross in this vessel, but I’m a work in progress.

 Diamonds are formed within the earth under extreme pressure and temperature.  Silver and gold are purified under extreme heat to cause impurities and dross to float to the surface, and faith is made strong through trials….the heat and pressure in our lives.  Not that we want to  pray for difficulties, but when pain and adversity do come along, it can be for our good, as it causes us to lean on the Lord, pray, and draw closer to Him.  More of Him, less of me = “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

 

Hanging On Tightly

With the honeymoon over now, in my renewed faith,  I know that my friends are correct, I need to be in the word and prayer daily.  I’ve been at a real loss has  to how to pray about my hurt over not being with my kids like I used too, and the bitterness I feel trying to creep in on me.  I’m thankful that when I have no expressible words, God knows my heart and  what is there and will hold me up.  I pray for strength to not let go of His hand, not stop turning to His word, and just hold on tightly.

I opened my bible to seek comfort there in the word and found it immediately:

Romans 5:1-5 (New King James Version)

Romans 5

Faith Triumphs in Trouble

1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have[a] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 5:1-5 (Amplified Bible)

Romans 5

1THEREFORE, SINCE we are justified ([a]acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to [b]enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

2Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God.

3Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance.

4And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of [c]character (approved faith and [d]tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] [e]joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.

5Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.

Praise the Lord!!!

Where Does My Help Come From?

This morning when I woke up the first thing I did was reached for my bible.  I was seeking comfort and assurance as I am wrestling internally over the news that my mother’s cancer has returned.   I hate the unknown, and I’m trying to keep my thoughts from going into a panic mode.   As a daughter of the Most High, naturally my comfort should be sought in Him and so I wanted to see what His  word would be today to hold me up.  Psalm 121 was what I came across, another one I need to memorize!   It did bring comfort to me, as well as the verse hanging on my wall, Isaiah 41:10.  These will be my strength verses to meditate on today.

Isaiah 41:10 (New King James Version)

10 Fear not, for I am with you;
      Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
      I will strengthen you,
      Yes, I will help you,
      I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Psalm 121

A Song of Ascents.

 1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
         From whence comes my help?
 2 My help comes from the LORD,
         Who made heaven and earth.
         
 3 He will not allow your foot to be moved;
         He who keeps you will not slumber.
 4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
         Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
         
 5 The LORD is your keeper;
         The LORD is your shade at your right hand.
 6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
         Nor the moon by night.
         
 7 The LORD shall preserve you from all evil;
         He shall preserve your soul.
 8 The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in
         From this time forth, and even forevermore.