Friday, October 30, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Remember me sharing how God was teaching me about how to listen to others, encourage them, and not be so self-centered... Well this is what I am talking about when I say God is using my church to gently correct my view of encouragement. Here is a list of three ways God has used his body to change my view on encouragement:
1. I saw encouragement played out in a biblical way.. An amazing lady in my care group shared with me a verse that she felt could really encourage me. "he (Jesus) learned obedience through what he suffered...(there is more obviously)" God is showing me that although I am suffering, and it is hard, real hard, God is so graciously teaching me, equipping and training me in righteousness, holiness. He is refining me into an image more like Christ's.
2. I was taught about encouragement... My church service was on encouragement. "Biblical encouragement is imparting and instilling courage to others for the fight of faith...It is Christ centered and embedded with Scripture." Ok, so what I am leaning about myself is that I view encouragement as me telling people what I have done (i.e. shared Jesus with three girls, had an amazing quiet time, etc...)and them being encouraged by my act of obedience. What I am finding is that while our works can be encouraging, for us to share about ourselves to encourage others is man-centered and laboriously vain. To encourage someone is to point out the Spirit's work in their life. Biblical encouragement is not false praise given selfishly to gain something in return. Sometimes, I think if I can conjure up something nice to say, or something complimentative, I will make Christ proud which will in turn place me in good standing with Him. What I view as encouragement is both shallow and flatter and has an outcome which causes people to fall. "A man who flatters his neighbors spreads a net for his feet." What is the outcome of biblical encouragement? "...only what is helpful for building others up...that it may benefit them..." We can either help to build up or tear down.
3. I actually tried encouraging someone... After the service, he asked everyone to put into practice what they had heard, so afterward, you can imagine what it was like... All across the church people were going to each other and encouraging one another. Well, I went to my husband, or should I say, he came to me first, said something about my life that encouraged him, and then... it was my turn... I must admit, it was really weird, even with my husband, the person who knows everything about me, my soul, my fears, etc... it was so weird to sit with him and pull out of his life works that I have seen from the Spirit that I have been so encouraged by... It was not that I didn't know what to say, I definitely had plenty to tell him, it was just that I am not used to encouraging people with their own life... I have always been me centered. I must say that encouragement is a discipline, and I do want to grow in it!!! I am so glad God is rooting out selfishness in my life!
Monday, October 19, 2009
I am thinking writing and attempting to pen
this beautiful place I find my heart in.
Struggling, weak, hurting in pain
what I'm learning though is that its all gain.
Through treacherous terrain I am attacking my path
through fear and sin my heart doth grasp,
The truth so freeing, so strong indeed,
all I can do is fall to my knees.
When its tough and I feel this deep so dark,
I look at you, for you are the mark.
Sometimes I admit, I can't feel ease.
in this constant abyss that won't release,
Does it ever end, are you really there?
I have all these feelings I am very aware.
Is it true that in weakness you are strong,
Have you really been there all along.
In the deepest pit my heart does go,
Lord, I can't imagine the thought of growth.
My heart dissolves in your presence alas,
for Christ I see you more than a task.
God so merciful, so gracious indeed,
praise you O Lord, for you have set my soul free!
Pierced Crushed Wounded this perfect God,
In my place, to the pits of hell he trod.
This thought of Christ makes me unashamed,
makes me see this struggle my highest gain!
I do see Christ revealing his love to me,
these chains I once saw are setting me free!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Last night, I was hanging out with some family, and I noticed that as soon as someone mentioned something, I want to relate to them. I told them a story about myself. Although relating is great, and there is a place for that, I think people desire something more than that. More than relating and understanding who I am, people want to be heard and understood.
So I propose, and make it my aim to conquer my vanity and grow my listening skills. And, when someone starts up a conversation with me, I am going to first ask them more questions about what they said, instead of saying, "Oh, yes, I know what you mean, I..."
Monday, October 12, 2009
The opposite of covetousness is contentment in God. When contentment in God decreases, covetousness for gain increases. That’s why Paul says in Colossians 3:5 that covetousness is idolatry. “Put to death what is earthly in you: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness which is idolatry.” It’s idolatry because the contentment that the heart should be getting from God it starts to get from something else.
So covetousness is desiring something so much that you lose your contentment in God. Or: losing your contentment in God so that you start to seek it elsewhere.
Have you ever considered that the Ten Commandments begin and end with virtually the same commandment? “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3) and “You shall not covet” (Exodus 20:17) are almost equivalent commands. Coveting is desiring anything other than God in a way that betrays a loss of contentment and satisfaction in him. Covetousness is a heart divided between two gods. So Paul calls it idolatry.
Here is another on contentment by Lydia Brownback from my dear friend Megan:
Whatever we long for but lack is an area in which God will reveal himself to be adequate for us. Since that is true, the source of our misery is not that we lack the thing we long for; our misery comes from wanting that thing so much that we are not open to recognizing or receiving any alternative. Contentment comes as we wait on God's timetable and as we trust that what he provides in the midst of our lack is really all we need until he provides something else...obsessin
Monday, October 5, 2009
I did have so much fun shopping, but more than that, I had much needed time with my mom!!! I hadn't seen her in forever! Boy did we have some fun. We both said it was like a little vacay for us!!!
I'd like to share with you a strong and encouraging woman! Joyce Hensley, David's grandmother. She recently passed away on Sunday the 27th of September. She had been living in a nursing home for about a year, as we slowly watched her mortal body decline, and in the later quickly. I want to share her with you, because she really encouraged my heart. Although she was not all there, she was the sweetest woman. I know some older women tend to get grumpy and agitated with age, this woman only got sweeter with age! I remember one time I told her, even though she probable had no idea who I was, "I love you", and she told me "Nuh uh, I love you because I am bigger."
They say she was such a godly woman, and that she was such a giving and thankful woman throughout her life. Her life displayed Christ even unto her death. It was sad to see her body go, but how excited I am for her that she is with Jesus now! I just wonder what her eyes are gazing upon! Death is gain!
Today is her birthday, and I want to celebrate her life!!!