Tag Archive | bible

Where I Am Spiritually, Next Time Ask ME

iStock_000019755169SmallMy church just finished up a series called, “Oh The Wonders I’ve Seen”.  It was a really good series, and I’m glad I was there for each message.  But one message really stood out to me, so much so that I got a copy of the message and I am listening to it in my car.  I’ve gone back and watched it online as well.

In the message pastor Tome talked about how we have not because we ask not.  The bible spells that out for us.  And that God always answers prayers, be it yes, no or maybe, they do not go unanswered.  He also touched on the fact that motives behind our prayers might be why we aren’t getting what we want if we do ask.  He talked of a recent trip to a 3rd world country and the miracle that was the answer to prayer there for a little boy.  But he went on that the greater wonder, the bigger miracle was not the healing of the child, but that this little one’s father came to Christ.  That the greatest wonder on all the earth is when a heart is turned to Jesus.  Because on our own we would never do that!

Over the past week my son experienced an in your face reality check about our mortality.  His wife’s cousin died in a freak accident at the age of 42.  It was heartbreaking to say the least. The family is all very close.  Because of complex connections I won’t go into here, many from my previous church family were in attendance at the funeral.

During that event a number of the past spiritual family approached my son expressing how good it was to see him, and how they had been thinking about his parents and wondering how they are and praying for them.  Funny, if you wonder how I am, why not just call me yourself and ask?  Praying for me? For what exactly, as you know nothing of my life or where I am at this time.  One even expressed a bit of surprise when my son mentioned at a gathering after the funeral that he needed to get back home as I was watching his kids and needed to be at church the next morning where I volunteer.  Surprise in that this person wasn’t sure of my spiritual status, per said person.

Seriously, if you are at all concerned with the eternal status of my soul, and you should be about anyone who has professed Christ, why have you not made it  your business to find out?  I honestly, and perhaps wrongly, believe that it is because I do not attend your church that you find there to be cause for concern.

So let me assure you all, my soul is fine.  It is a soul that has repented, been redeemed, saved by grace and through nothing of my own.  It is strictly on the merits of Christ and His shed blood that I will stand one day before the judgement throne and hear “well done”.  Any good I have done once the gold is refined will have been in Christ and not of my own flesh.  I am a sinner, through and through.  I am saved by the blood of my Savior, through and by Christ alone, and I am now a daughter of the Most High God, a daughter of the King.  Outside of Christ I am completely imperfect and worthless.  Thankfully I am IN Christ and therefore priceless.  My name is written on His hands.  And because of where I have come from and where I fell too before taking my prodigal self back to Him, my desire is to serve Him, to go where He wants me to go.  Oops, for those stickler types, allow me to qualify that:  I was drawn by God back to Him, I didn’t do it myself.

The next question I want to answer is the one I have heard regarding where I now worship each week.  “Do you know what they teach there????”  well GASP!!! YES!  I know because I attend there.  Do YOU, dear concerned one, have a clue what is taught there or do you assume that because they have free coffee and soda, and don’t teach the same way you do, that ohmygoshtheycantbesaved?  Yes, they do have free coffee and soda, which serves to help in encouraging fellowship!  People actually smile, say hello, welcome you and talk to you there.  They make a joyful noise unto the Lord each week with a band.  You have an organ and piano, we have drums and guitars.  You sing hymns, and so do we.  You are taught verse by verse from scripture.  We are taught topically from scripture.  Each week I leave there, feeling full in the tummy of my soul, and challenged in my daily walk with the Lord.

I attend with someone who would have turned tail and ran from your church because she’d have been judged harshly for her tattoos and piercings (yes, she would have I’ve been there and been judged too, many times for less).  She not only gets up and goes when she is exhausted, but listens, learns, soaks it up and has a bible now that she is reading.  She came for the free coffee, but comes back now every week because piece by piece her soul is being excavated and she is hungry for more.  Free coffee, soda, bibles if you want one, and CDs of sermons from previous weeks.  FREE.  It’s a very different take on church, but from what I have read in the bible, way more in line with the early church as far as the hospitality, fellowship and JOY in the worship time.  And the teaching, as stated, is topical and from scripture.  They don’t expect everyone who comes in the door to believe as they do, or for that matter to even believe there is a God.  They do expect you come with an open mind, open to learning about God and Jesus.  They expect if you do stick around that you are growing as you receive the Word of God and teaching.  Trust me there is nothing that tickles the ear, but plenty that convicts and then nourishes the soul.  Then I end up frequently going to lunch with one or both of my kids and their families, talking about the message, and through the week even further discussing it.

Where is Marti spiritually?  Where God wants her.  Following Christ, reading the Word, and prayerfully trying to follow and imitate Christ, ever so imperfectly but with a strong heart’s desire to do so perfectly.

A sister in Christ who moved to Tennessee stays in touch, holds me accountable and when she wonders how my walk is going, she reaches out to ask!  She gently but firmly called me out on an area of sin she saw in my life that convicted me much and through a desire to walk the walk, I removed that sin from my life.  I love her deep love for the Lord and willingness to love me and share this journey with me.

Next time you wonder how I am? Pick up your phone and call, text or email me.  I would believe you really are concerned if you did that much.

By the way, it’s REALLY good coffee!  😉

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November Goals

I joined this Linky Party on my Marvi Marti blog as well.  Different set of goals but LOVE putting it all in writing and making myself a tad more accountable!

My November Spiritual Journey Goals

  1. Read my Bible daily!  Follow the Facebook group Romans study and do it, daily!
  2. Ladies Bible Study – go every Friday, no excuses!
  3. Church on Sunday mornings – no excuses. A cold? Great, sit alone and don’t breath on anyone but go!
  4. Prayer time, daily!
  5. Catch up on the home group reading – and GO to the home group night!
  6. Write at least 3 times a week on this blog page!
  7. Finish memorizing Psalm 103.
  8. Memorize Psalm 121.

There we go, good start!

Bible Study With 167 Facebook Folks

I love technology.

I love my church family.

I love my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I love studying God’s word.

Now, combine all that, through the brilliant idea of a college student and friend and you have a Bible study with 168 people (and growing) through a Facebook group for encountering Proverbs 27:17.

Proverbs 27:17

New King James Version (NKJV)

17 As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

I was SO excited to be invited into this!  We are spending now through 2/23/13 studying through the book of Romans.  One chapter a week.  Not hard at all.  And interacting on the group. You cannot begin to imagine how sweet this is for me!  Some are folks I know, some are strangers, all are of a common interest and desire.

Thank you Jessie, this is a FANTASTIC group!

 

Me, Heaven, & Righteousness

I recently began a fantastic bible study written by Kay Arthur, Lord, Only You Can Change Me.

I picked this study because it is one of Kay’s studies, and ALL over her books, studies, etc. are outstanding.  Another reason is because I’ve been trying to get myself back to the right path in my life.  One that is Christ honoring and not so self centered.

One of the first things this study does is to take the reader through the Sermon On The Mount, reading all of Matthew chapters 5-7.  Then going back and marking each reference to ‘heaven’ and ‘righteousness’ throughout those passages.  Next, going through and listing the verse reference and what it says about heaven, then the same for righteousness.  If you are having any doubts  about your own position in on your journey toward the pearly gates, this is a good place to start.  It is an eye opener.

Here are some of the things I learned about heaven:

It belongs to the  poor inspirit.

It belongs to those persecuted for righteousness.

Our Father is there.

Until it passes away none of the law will pass away.

Unless our righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees we won’t enter the kingdom of Heaven.

Our Father there is perfect and we are to be perfect.

God’s will is done there.

Not all who call out “Lord, Lord” will enter there.

Only those who do God’s will can enter.

Our forgiveness from our Father hinges upon our forgiveness of others.

There were many other things, if you mark the word ‘heaven’ then go back and list everything these chapters say about it, but that gives you an idea.

The list for righteousness was a real eye opener as well.  One of the biggest being we must SEEK it.  That was my “one word” last year.  I fell rather short on SEEKING most anything I needed when it came to my journey.  Praise the Lord for His forgiveness.

While going through these passages for this study I did note that I have the following passage highlighted in every bible I own, and I had underlined verse 44 in addition to the highlights.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[b] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren[c] only, what do you do more than others?Do not even the tax collectors[d] do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

For the record, the red highlight above (my doing) is the verse I underlined.  This one is a place I fall very short.

I wonder about where my heart might be today had I stayed more grounded in the Word of God and not allowed myself to move away from what I knew deep down was right.  Would I still be married? Or how much faster would I have healed (still in that process) if I had clung to God’s Word when going through the divorce and afterward?  I can honestly say I did NOT love my ex-husband through that time, certainly did not bless him or do good by him.  For the first time in our history I said unkind things.  Throughout our marriage, when outside of our home, I never spoke ill of the man.  But once he sought a divorce and I had moved out, I let it fly with both  barrels in my other blog and to anyone that listened.  I turned my hurt into hate.  And because I could not begin to pray good things for him, I simply didn’t pray at all.  No, not blaming him for my failure to live a Christ like life, that is all on me.  I’m not responsible for his actions, only my own.

Another section that really bothers me when I read it, is Matthew 5:31-32.

31 “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality[a] causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.

I don’t know where to go with this one.  I struggled with it when my first marriage ended, and even more so now.  Not having been the one that ended the marriage, where does it leave me?  Per the passage it causes me to commit adultery because he divorced me.  Does this mean that blame, that sin, is on his head and not mine?  And what of a future marriage…if I marry again it causes someone to commit adultery.  It is a messy business, this whole matter of divorce.  I understand now why the bible says that God hates divorce.  It causes ripples of pain, confusion and further sins in the lives not only of the one wanting out, but for the one left behind too. (For more about this topic see Matthew 19:3-9)

I’m a long way from that place, but I have a long way to go.  I’m past the meanness in my heart and soul, the hate, but the pain is still there, my heart very raw.  But I will be applying scripture to my life in this and every other area, and praying for ME to be the one changed.

What I Seek In A Church

I’m seeking a few things in a church that are musts.  Call me picky but I believe these are very important things.

Sinners – People who know that they are sinners, saved by grace, through nothing they did, it’s God’s gift, Christ’s work.  They are not holier than thou, looking down their nose with the “at least I never…” attitudes.  I am not seeking perfection in others, I’m seeking a body of believers that knows they fall short of the mark but know that because our Heavenly Father sees us through the blood of Christ, we are perfect.  Folks that don’t judge you, but grab you and give you a hand up back on the path, help brush you off, and wrap around you in love and support.

Bible – a church that teaches from it.  USES their bibles, applies the lessons right here where the rubber is meeting the road, but that the congregation members actually show up with their bible in hand and use it during services.  And that lessons are not based on a verse taken out of context but passages as a whole and some inductive study (associated passages) pulled together.  One verse sermons don’t cut it, I can prove Adam and Eve were blind if we are going to use a verse out of context (their eyes were opened blah blah blah).  I want to be with a congregation that can sit down, pull out their bibles and find those passages and discuss, apply, encourage and teach from God’s Word.  It’s fine to put it up on a screen for those that forgot, or don’t yet own a bible, but I don’t want to be where that is the only source of God’s Word being used by those listening is the words up on the screen and not in their laps.

Music – it can make or break worship.  I am all about music being joyful (make a joyful noise unto the Lord), rather than feeling I am sitting in a funeral.  Which, for my own way down the road, please make sure the music is upbeat! CELEBRATE my life don’t mourn it.  I love contemporary worship music, but I also love the hymns.  There is a lot of biblical truth in the hymns of old and they should not be forgotten but used each week along with more upbeat worship songs.

I have NO problem with a coffee bar or donut shop in the church building.  I love to see fellowship encouraged!  People actually sitting down talking and interacting with one another.  But I also want to see that the focus of that time together is a collective worship of the Lord, a time to be taught.

I don’t think I am asking too much.

This says it ALL as far as the music is concerned.

Blowing The Dust Off This Place

I have been negligent with this blog page, and for that I apologize.  I have neglected a lot of things really.

I stopped going to church after being judged a bit too much by people there.  I lost sight of the fact that they too are sinners and imperfect.  I got my feelings hurt and got all defensive and then just walked away.  I still pray, still try to be in the Word, but not in a church.  See, this was just so wrong on  my part. So, Sunday, being 1/1/2012…I am going back.  I’m not going to let it bother me when someone questions or judges me and my walk. The only one that matters is my Savior.  He knows my  heart, soul and mind, and I’m a detailed work in progress.  He and He alone knows the truth inside me.  Others will have to be patient as He works in me to make the changes that need to be made.

My journey back to God and church had been a difficult one for me.  My life path went places no one should ever go.

I also let hurts get to me.  I know now that I have a lot of unresolved pain still from my divorce, and that needs to be dealt with. Now.

I’ve started looking into DivorceCare groups in my area.  Meanwhile I’m getting the daily devotional email from them and I’ve bought Kay Arthur’s book, Lord Heal My Hurts.  I read it a long time ago but I needed a refresher.  The DivorceCare daily emails recommends it.  I love anything that woman writes so I’ll be starting that now.

This page is getting a make-over, I may even change the name.  Not sure yet what I will do.

2012 is ahead of me, and I am very excited.  I’ve put away the seeking for a relationship, I need to heal me, focus on me, grow me.  Heck FIND me.  I need to spend time on me and my walk, life etc, not on finding someone to fill my heart.  That void is best filled leading a godly life.

So, be patient while I rearrange, clean house, and get this page the way I want it for 2012.

In Christ,

Marti

Keep My Seat Warm…

Not  to worry, my dear sisters and brothers, I’ve not gone away again.  I’ve missed a number of Sundays but I’m okay, and I’ll be back.  Don’t stop praying, I’ve been struggling, but not with my faith.  My struggle  is  with me.

I  know where I belong, and know where I should turn when my heart and mind get all confused.  I’ve had too much on my plate, but nothing of substance  from the only food that  matters, God’s Word.  Yes, there is dust  building up a  bit on my bible again, but tonight I assure you all, I will have it cleaned off, in my hand and be in it again.  In fact I am seriously considering not going tonight to my district meeting and bingo for Avon, and  spending the time in quiet time.  One way or another, I will be  back on my knees again, and in the Word, tonight.  Someone feel free to hold me accountable there.

My time management has not been what it needs to be of late.  I’ve let all sense of structure vanish from my life and that includes my time at church.  But I am hungry, and I need to be there I know.  Call me, email me, text me…I need the encouragement, need to pull myself out of my funk and be there this Sunday.

Keep my seat warm…on the sheep side, right next to Jane…I’ll be there.