Tag Archive | God

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!  😉

Advertisements

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.

Praising God In The Hallway

Romans 5

New King James Version (NKJV)

Faith Triumphs in Trouble

5 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have[a] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 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.

One of the college students at my church started a Facebook group to bring a bunch of us together across the miles to read through the book of Romans together.  We post our thoughts and discuss it as we go along, following a week by week schedule.  It has already been a blessing to me as I needed the push to find a place to again begin the practice of daily reading my bible.

We’re in chapter 5 this week and as I was reading it yesterday I stopped dead at verses 1-5, especially verse 3, which I highlighted in pink above.

See, my week started off Sunday morning with trials and tribulations.   My car has been in the shop being fixed more than it has been driven this year.  I finally got it back Friday and was so excited to finally be able to get around independently again.  Sunday I get up, get ready for church, it is pouring down rain…and the car is messing up again.  I wanted to cry, instead I yelled.  No one heard me, but that wasn’t real productive.  It was not rejoicing either.  I was determined to go even if I had to walk to services.   The car eventually cooperated and I made it on time for Sunday School, but it was not the way to start the morning.

In hind sight I wonder, could I have handled it better? Certainly!  A stopping, regrouping, and praying would have been a better way to handle it.  Yelling didn’t do anything, I simply raised my blood pressure and stress level.  Instead I could have prayed for the Lord to help me.   I need to be more aware that when a bump in the road hits, I need to stop, breathe and pray.

I did get a lesson in faith though, during worship services.  I put the last bit of cash I had to my name in the offering plate, praying and trusting the Lord for what I needed this week in order to keep my Avon business running.  I did not get a huge influx of cash, but instead, after praying, received just enough to meet my needs.  🙂

My prayer of late has been, “help my unbelief”, and to continue to seek joy.  Only now I understand a bit better that even in the rough spots, I need to find the joy and rejoice, praising Him in the hallways of my life.

188799409349788530_chilTOTs_c

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.

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!