Tuesday, April 27, 2010

For the Good

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Why is this so hard to remember in times of trouble? Anger, bitterness, sadness, confusion all cloud our minds to the truth of God and we give into them so very easily. It doesn't matter what He has done for us in the past, how many times He has saved us from desperate situations, our emotions and our self worship blind us to the lessons we've learned time and again. As His children He will always bring us back, open our eyes to the truth, but for a little while we tend to forget. The only way to combat this emotional fog is to immerse ourselves into His word, to speak His truth, the truth, into our lives. The moment a bitter or angry thought threatens to govern us, our first reaction should be to speak His word. Hebrews 4:11 says, "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." It has power to bring about change in our lives as the Holy Spirit brings us to understand what the Father is saying, but we must use it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

At Any Cost

A prayer written by Betty Stam, missionary to China, beheaded in 1934 by Chinese communists:

"Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept they will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all, utterly to Thee to be Thine forever. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt, work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

To Glorify God and Enjoy Him Forever

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"For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him." Colossians 1:16

For years I have struggled with the idea that I might never get married. I've dealt with loneliness, the lie that there is something undesirable in my make up, with bitterness, even anger. There have been times were I've "decided" that I was meant to be abstinent, times when I've feared this may actually be the case, times when I've been content, times when I've been miserable. The last few years have been particularly difficult living alone and watching nearly all of my friends get married and have babies. I've wondered if I'm being punished, as silly as it sounds, for some sin I didn't know I was committing, I've wondered if peace would ever come, or if I just had to get to a certain level of holiness before God "let" me have some great kind of love. On the other hand, I've also dealt with fear of the very thing I so desperately want. I've never been in a relationship of that sort before and frankly the idea is a little scary.

But through all of this God has revealed to me a valuable truth. My purpose in this life is not to get a husband. Shocking isn't it? Growing up in a semi-southern state it almost seems as if lots of women go to college to get their MRS degree ("Mrs." for those of you have just gotten lunch and are feeling the desperate need for a nap). As I said before, nearly all of my friends (from college and high school) have gotten married and a few are having children, and while it is doubtful that any of them actually went to school to get married, those of us who did not ended up feeling left out and secretly (sometimes not so secretly) bitter. Moreover, almost every movie or TV show that comes out touts the idea that finding your "soul mate" is the most important thing. Even in action movies there is quite often some little romance going on. It's no wonder we single women believe the lie that the most important thing is to find romantic love and be loved in return (no offense to Mulan Rouge).

So what is our purpose in life? Colossians tells us pretty clearly. We were created to serve the God who created us! Now this may mean marriage for some. He may be the most glorified by two people coming together and creating a family... but He may not. This isn't just a lesson for women but men as well. If we are not doing what we are created to do, then no romance, not even a great one, will ever fill us up. Augustine said it best: "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you." Even as Christians we struggle with the restlessness. Let us seek satisfaction in our created purpose, only then will we find our rest.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14

Ever since I was a little kid I have enjoyed running. I distinctly remember going to the high school track with my dad and jogging around it just for fun and in the second grade I even won the high honor of beating everyone in the half mile race. Throughout Jr. High, High School, and College I continued to run off and on, sometimes favoring the machines at the gym, walking, or even jumping rope. In the end, I always returned to running. As much as I enjoy running, however, I have found that having a goal,whether big or small, helps to spur me on, especially when I'm not feeling like dragging myself out of bed. My current goal is to be able to run a half marathon, but having smaller goals helps me to eventually reach my 13.2 miles. One of the biggest mistakes new runners make is looking at the ground while they run. Instead, it's good to keep your eyes straight ahead, focusing on what is in front of you and how you are getting closer and closer to the finish line. The Christian life is no different. When we focus too much on the things around us, the little troubles and trials beneath our feet, we lose our stamina and lose focus on the most important thing. Christ has gone on ahead to prepare a place for us in His Father's house (John 14:2), and that is our destination. Moreover, once we enter into eternity, we enter into the perfection he has already achieved for us. Above all we should not be disheartened by the sins we struggle with and the trials we face now, rather, we should press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward.