Tag Archive | Christ

Being More And My One Word

I follow a fun, quirky, insanely intelligent woman, Sandi Krakowski.  I stumbled upon her due to my involvement in direct sales, as she is one of the many gurus in the business.  I actually found her because her picture appeared in comments or some such thing on another expert I follow.  I was drawn to her first because of her crazy hair.  It is Neapolitan!  Being one that likes wearing pink in my hair, especially my bangs, I had to check her out.  I have struggled at times with just being me and let the folks who take time to know me make their own determination about me that isn’t based on hair.  But just seeing her encouraged me to continue on being me and let the chips of judgement fall where they may.

Sandi has recently begun hash tagging the word combo, BEMORE.  As in Be More.  At first I thought it was cute, but it wasn’t long before it started to really hit me just how powerful that is to BEMORE.

BEMORE loving toward my enemies.  (1 Peter 3:8-12)

8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, becourteous;[a] 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For

“He who would love life
And see good days,
Let him refrain his tongue from evil,
And his lips from speaking deceit.
11 Let him turn away from evil and do good;
Let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers;
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”[b]

It is a pretty tall order really.  That alone could take me years to achieve but I’m to lean on Christ to help me BEMORE because on my own I cannot do this.

BEMORE diligent to spend time in prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:14-18)

14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. 15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Darn, there is that evil for evil thing again too, but then praying without ceasing could be the way to do this.

The list will go on and on through the year of 2014 as I set out to focus on my One Word, BEMORE.

Thanks, Sandi Krakowski, the Lord has used you to help me find my “word” for 2014.

My One Word – Narrowing It Down

myonewordI have participated in a growing movement to forget about New Year’s resolutions, and instead pick one word that will be the focus of my year.  The idea being that focusing on that area will bring about good things in all areas as it spreads.  I picked SEEK the year before last, then JOY this past year.  SEEK God was the focus, then finding the JOY in all things.

I was going about it just fine but this year decided to not only check out the website but to also read the book.  It has been a life changer already and it is only the 3rd of January.

My word was harder to pick, as there are so many areas of my life that need change, improvement or just to find a way out of the door of my life altogether.  The book has been very helpful in narrowing things down.  I was down to just 4 words, all of these words would have an impact on my life if they were chosen as my ONE WORD for 2013:

KNOW – as in really get to know my Savior through God’s Word in extensive study.

REFLECT – as in reflecting Christ in my life every day as if I am the mirror that reflects Him to the world around me.

APPLY – apply the Word of God in all areas of my life.

SURRENDER – as in yielding, surrendering all areas of my life to Christ.  While I do not care for the whole “WWJD”, maybe more in line of what would Christ have me to do.  Based on scripture and not my ‘gut’ feel.  And praying through things before making choices and decisions.  Surrender my thoughts, actions, Sunday mornings…everything to the Lord.  This word will encompass the others as time goes on, so it was the clear choice.

sur·ren·der

[suh-ren-der]

verb (used with object)

1. to yield (something) to the possession or power of another; deliver up possession of on demand or under duress: to surrender the fort to the enemy; to surrender the stolen goods to the police.

2. to give (oneself) up, as to the police.

3. to give (oneself) up to some influence, course, emotion, etc.: He surrendered himself to a life of hardship.

4. to give up, abandon, or relinquish (comfort, hope, etc.).

5. to yield or resign (an office, privilege, etc.) in favor of another.

verb (used without object)

6. to give oneself up, as into the power of another; submit or yield.

The word will be in front of me all year…taped to my dashboard, as my bookmark in my bible (maybe several as I’m all over in there), anywhere I might come across it or the need for it, I will have it in front of me to remind me to focus on that word and what it entails.  It will set the tone for my year, be at the heart of much of my writing for this blog this year, but more importantly it will help me to grow in my walk and faith with my Savior, Jesus Christ.

In addition, I’ve taken the “30 day challenge” I’ve heard on K-LOVE, and I am listening to only Christian music for this month.  Again, it is already impacting my thoughts and mood.  Guess that whole “garbage in (to the brain) = garbage out” could be true.  I catch myself  little more when using less than appropriate language, when a negative or unkind thought goes through my brain, etc.  The music and songs may lack sound theology, but they are positive and encouraging, as K-LOVE often uses as their slogan.

Lessons In Brokenness

angels-falling-broken-feathersToday was the first Sunday of December, which means at church it was the day to celebrate the Lord’s supper, communion.

I had gone over the things from Pastor’s email, and spent time praying during the service, and there were things I needed to confess.

In my heart I carry a root of bitterness toward my soon to be former sister-in-law.  I won’t go into details other than to say that I see her as a very evil, manipulative person.  But the Lord put it on my heart while praying about things I needed to confess, that I need to forgive her for  the perceived wrongs toward me, and pray for her daily.

During that time of prayer, thinking on the fact that Christ died for my sins…and then it hit me.  He died on that cross over 2000 years ago for my sins…sins that had yet to be committed!  Mine and everyone elses, yes, but MINE.  Sins of a woman that had never even been born!  Sins that would not be committed until nearly 2000 years later!  He died to cover the sins of all of His sheep, and those sins, so many were yet to be committed because those sinners were not even to be born for a long time to come.  How unimaginably incredible that weight must have been!  I cannot begin to wrap my head around this!

How could I not want to fall on my face and serve the Lord, the One who paid for my sins thousands of years before I’d ever walk this earth?  Sins I had not yet lived to commit?  The love the Lord Jesus has for His people is not something to be comprehended, that He was willing to die such a horrible death, suffering like we cannot begin to imagine under the weight of sins He knew would occur but were yet to happen?  It is beyond my ability to begin to understand.  Any parent understands they would take a bullet for a child…but can we imagine dying for a child or person who was thousands of years in the future???  No, we cannot.

While  in Sunday School, a passage came up that really made me think, especially during communion:

Isaiah 55

New King James Version (NKJV)

An Invitation to Abundant Life

55 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—

It really made me stop and think…What IS my focus on?  What is it I “buy” with my time and efforts?  It isn’t that it is wrong to work hard to achieve my goals, but which areas of my life are taking the priority?  My study in the Word of God? My walk with Christ?  Or is it still all about me, and things of this world that won’t last?  I need to prioritize my life, really focus on the things that last, delight in the Lord’s abundance first, then the rest of my life will take shape according to His plan for me.  I can pursue my dreams, but pray for what His will, for where I should go and trust that those paths will open up if they are His plan for my life and how I can best serve Him.

I’m thankful that I’m broken, or I’d never have returned to my Father in Heaven, the prodigal daughter, the broken angel in need of Him.

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!

 

I Am New And It Rocks!

*found this in the draft section of my dashboard here on the blog, not sure why I never posted it but seems appropriate to put up tonight as I’m in the Word of God preparing for the worship services tomorrow*

I LOVE THIS SONG!!!

Back when I first returned to church, I clung to it.  Now, all the more it is perfect for me.  The lyrics speak to me.

I am not the woman I was a few months ago, or a few years ago.  The worst things you can say about me and what I have done, I won’t deny them.  In fact I freely admit in my writings on both blogs where I have been and what I have done.

I am no longer ashamed of who I was or what I did or where I have come from.

But I’m not her anymore.  In Christ we are made new, and I’m being remade daily into who I should be.

I have a long way to go, I am a work in progress.

“I Am New”

Now I won’t deny
The worst you could say about me
But I’m not defined
By mistakes that I’ve made
Because God says of me
I am not who I was
I am being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy
And I’m dearly loved
I am newWho I thought I was
And who I thought I had to be
I had to give them both up
Cause neither were willing
To ever believe

I am not who I was
I am being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy
And I’m dearly loved
I am new

Too long I have lived
In the shadows of shame
Believing that there
Was no way I could change
But the one who is making everything new
Doesn’t see me the way that I do
He doesn’t see me the way that I do

I am not who I was
I am being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy
And I’m dearly loved
I am new

I am not who I was
I am being remade I am new
Dead to the old man,I’m coming alive
I am new

Forgiven beloved
Hidden in Christ
Made in the image of the Giver of Life
Righteous and holy
Reborn and remade
Accepted and worthy, this is our new name

This is who we are now…

By: Jason Gray, Joel Hanson

Coloring Outside The Lines ~ True Beauty

I spent many years with a very low self-esteem.  I’m no Barbie Doll, I’ve always been just a tiny bit curvy, and sometimes more than a tiny bit.  Some men in my life referred to it as pleasantly plump, as it wasn’t obese or even what they considered fat, just curvy.  They even felt I was very sexy.  There are some men who told me that I needed to gain weight, as they are into far heavier girls than myself, and then there were those like the ones I married who liked their women skinny.  I’ve never been skinny other than when I was very sick in high school.  But I would strive for perfection in other ways, with lots of make-up and the 80’s mega huge big hair.  I always longed to see myself through someone else’s eyes because no matter what I still never felt attractive.  Many things in life impacted my self-esteem from being  the picked on, bullied  kid in school to the unfaithfulness of spouses.  Those will leave a lot of scars on the self image.

Being sexual creatures we are drawn to physically attractive people.  Lust is a powerful force and can tempt even the most faithful, God-fearing men and women astray.  Even King David, described in the Bible as a man after God’s own heart, was led astray into deep sin by way of lust.  Few of us could claim a faith and walk as David’s so we ought to be very careful to guard against lust.  And images are one of those ways we can get caught up or catch someone else up in sexual sins.

As someone who has had a number of professional, nude photo shoots, I’m guilty of causing others to sin through lust.  My photos were published on a website that was free, but also on one that was a pay site.  And I loved the photos, not going to lie.  The photographer was a true artist and they were very classy photos.  I did them and the then husband found it very hot.  Other than the risks of people we knew finding out, he thought it even hotter that other men were lusting for what he had.  And lust they did, I had a number of fans that would email me via the photographer, and through other means.  It seemed so harmless at the time, and did my self esteem a world of good, but it was dead wrong.  Those photos are still floating around, and needless to say due to those I will not be running for any public office (though I’d run on a complete, open door platform and put those out there myself).  But every time someone sees one and lusts, I’ve led that person to sin.  That is now my prayer, that those images will vanish from cyberland, and for the heart and soul of anyone who sees them.  It is a heavy weight to carry knowing you’ve caused and continue to cause others to stumble by coloring outside of the lines.

Over time I’ve come to learn that true beauty is what you see when the lights are turned off.  It is what beauty looks like in the dark.  In the dark, or if unable to see a person physically, you focus on the inner portion, their heart.  The person who is truly beautiful is the one who is a beautiful soul on the inside.  I’ve met many very attractive people outwardly, but their hearts are full of strife, jealousy, bitterness, and hatred.  There is nothing at all appealing in those things.  Selfish and self centered, they may be pretty on the surface, but inside is one ugly individual.

Even now, as I’ve dated and been told over an over again that I am attractive, hot, sexy etc., it does my self esteem good.  But I’d rather be known for the inner beauty.  The true beauty of a heart and soul that puts Christ first, seeks to please Him, and is generous, kind and loving toward others.  It can take a lot of work to look pretty on the outside, but only God can make us beautiful on the inside, where it counts.

God’s Amazing Timing

For weeks I’ve felt a tug at this prodigal heart to return to church.  And not just any church but the church family I knew and loved in the past. The one that has prayed for me and my ex husband since we walked away years ago. The same loving faith family that welcomed me back almost 2 years ago, before I ran away again.  That same family that once again welcomes me with open arms and tears, and prayers.  Oh how they have been praying and waiting for God to bring me back on track.  Thankfully they never seem to give up.

I had started a Kay Arthur study a few weeks back, Lord, Only You Can Change Me, and also started reading again the book Dan gave me last time, The Way Back To God, Psalm 51 by Clarence Sexton.  Awesome stuff, both of them.  I actually considered working through 3 of Kay’s studies, the other two are Lord, Heal My Hurts and Lord, Give Me A Heart For You but I’m one  woman with a limited amount of hours in a day.  24, just like you.  So I figured it best to stick to those and get in them in depth and take my time chewing on each lesson.  I’m so glad I did, it’s been life changing stuff all over again. These helped me to open my heart again to focus on my faith.

Wednesday evening I went to the midweek service, which was the home groups that meet once a month.  They are starting a new book, Walking Like Jesus Did; Studies In The Character Of Christ.  I also attended the  women’s bible study Friday, and they are just kicking off, this time in Unit 3 of a great study called Gospel Transformation.  

Interesting to me how many new things are starting just as I return.  And all are things I NEED more than I ever realized.  God’s timing is so perfect.

During the past few weeks I’ve really struggled with ME.  My “it’s all about ME” attitude, the idea that my world revolves around me and “if you don’t like it take a hike” line of thinking.  PRIDE much? Yes, I know.  And then my prayer of late, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief”.  I heard that many times over in bible  study Friday, and it is nice to know that while I was away from being fed, my sisters in Christ all struggle daily with many of the same things I do.  When the ladies were doing a quick  review of the last unit and what had touched them in it and unit 1, something stuck out to me regarding the whole “ME” complex I have had.  Idolatry.

The book says, “An idol is anything we believe we need, apart from Jesus, to make us happy, satisfied, or fulfilled.  An idol arises when we desire something more than we desire Jesus; when we fear things rather than God; when we worship ourselves rather than Christ; when we put our trust in anything other than God; when we serve anything other than Jesus.”  The book provides some areas of fear, trust and desire that may be idols to us.  All I can say is wow.  SO many areas that I could check off either in a direct or indirect way.  It is suffice to say that ME has to get bumped aside.  I  know this, knew it weeks ago, and I have to do away with my self centered thinking.  But first comes the root of this ME idol.  That root would be pain.  The pain I still carry around and even cling too, of my divorce.  I am not so sure that I wanted to hurt, as that it is just familiar, like my teddy bear, so I can hold it.  Do I still feel I was wronged? Certainly. But what does it matter? It is done, over and I needed to let it go.  Forgiveness didn’t come easy, but in the past few weeks I truly was able to just let it go and accept the healing that comes from God and not anything of myself.

Before I made the journey back last week, I knew it was not about me anymore. It was about Christ and my walk with Him.  This time when I went it didn’t just feel like ‘home’, this time it felt like I had never left.  I realized at one point that I had to remind myself I had been away a long time, because it felt as if I had never left there and had just been there last week.  And while  kids have grown up and there are been changes to people, so much still felt the same, as if there had been no absence for me.  That was when I realized that I am right where I belong.  And as I sat there, taking it all in, wearing my Harley Davidson long sleeved, v-neck shirt and jeans, with my wild, bleached blond hair, I knew that I can still be me, who I am.  I don’t need to lose the person God created, that Marti is who she is because she was fearfully and wonderfully made.  God doesn’t want me to not be an individual, He wants me to be HIS individual.