April 20, 2011 § 4 Comments
God has given us all missions. Jesus sent us all to make disciples. God has a mission for you – a mission to bring Him glory and honor.
Things to know about your mission…
1. God-given missions never contradict God’s word
2. God-given missions are beyond your abilities that is why you have God and why they are God-given.
3. God has gifted, shaped, and directed your life (sin, painful, dark times and all) to prepare you for your mission.
4. You have a mission now. God wants to use you as a kid, a mother of young kids, a grandparent, a barren woman, a single man, a married couple, a senior adult, etc. Your mission never ends and it begins the moment you accept Jesus as your savior. From then on you are His and you are on mission for Him.
Jesus had a mission too. This holy week, I want you to think about His mission. Born to die for our sins that we may live with Him in eternity. What a SAVIOR!
Now I have a mission for you as well…If you choose to accept it. 😉 My new blog is ready for prime time…YEA!!!!!!! The kicker? Even if you subscribe to this blog, I need you to sign up again on my new blog. I tried to import you all, but feedburner would not let me do it. So kindly meet me over there and tomorrow (Good Friday) there will be a give away for the official opening day of Rethinking My Thinking’s new blog! Click on over here and join me at my new home!!!
April 1, 2011 § 2 Comments
My blood pressure sky rockets as I say the same sentence for what feels like the millionth time. My words are unheeded. Water continues to fill the cup held by a small hand. The cup overflows. My floor is wet.
He didn’t pay attention.
As a rule we all need to pay attention or life can pass us by. One second we are sitting in high school waiting for life to begin and the next we are laying in a hospital bed wondering what happened in between.
As believers in Jesus, the God-man, the Word made flesh, our Passover Lamb, we are to pay attention as well. Hebrews 2:1 says, “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” Hebrews chapter one is all about who Jesus is. That He is the God-man, not an angel, but fully God and fully man. Already there were people who were trying misrepresent Jesus. They were trying to say He wasn’t God.
So the writer of Hebrews tells us to pay attention. He doesn’t say pay attention to all these great thinkers. These men who have wonderful ideas that “feel” right or fit your idea of how God would do things. No this writer tells us don’t focus on all the counterfeit arguments. Focus on what is real. The people who received this letter did not have a Bible like we do today. Most likely many couldn’t read, instead they heard the epistles (that fancy word for letters) and the gospels read aloud. Some of these ancient readers or listeners may have even known some of the disciples or apostles personally. So this writer is telling these people to pay attention to the truth.
Today we have God’s word bound in leather, cardboard, paper, or even unbound (electronically). So we need to pay attention to what we have heard in God’s word. Not some fancy speaker’s amazingly crafted speech or a pastor’s wonderfully worded book. No we need to pay MORE CAREFUL ATTENTION to God’s word. Why? So we don’t drift away. So we aren’t led astray. So we build our faith on true knowledge, on the truth of God’s word.
Are you distracted from God’s word? Are you focused on thoughts, ideas, figuring out God’s plan and redemption in your human mind? How do you think you can refocus on God’s word?
Are you paying attention to God’s word? What are you doing to “pay more careful attention” to His word? What can you do to help your attention span?
I can’t wait to hear from you all! Join in, comment, become a facebook fan, consider getting e-mail updates. Thanks for stopping by!
March 16, 2011 § 8 Comments
Someone asked me knowing what I know now what I would tell my sixteen-year-old self if I could go back in time.
Sixteen…Driving…High School…After school job…Kansas Bible Camp…Debate/Forensics (speaking tournaments not CSI type stuff)…Youth Group…
I was the “good little Christian girl.” I carried my Bible to school. I helped lead a Bible Study (held off campus on Thursday nights). I spent summers working at Kansas Bible Camp. I went to church every Sunday and since my church was too small for a youth group I went to Topeka Bible Church on Sunday nights for youth stuff. I prayed at See ya at the Pole events.
I looked great on the outside. Oh, but I missed out on something. Somehow I thought I was smart enough to figure out that I needed God. Everyone who hadn’t figured out they needed Jesus were less intelligent than me.
I stood in judgment of those who were not following Jesus. Instead of extending grace, I looked down. Instead of considering someone’s story, held them accountable for what I had experienced. Surely everyone heard of Jesus, surely they should know. I did not realize the depth of my need. Instead I decided who was worthy of God’s love.
I fear I pushed more away from God than towards Him. I behaved like a self-righteous Pharisee and I looked great on the outside, while on the inside I was a rotting corpse. I missed grace and mercy. I read James and didn’t apply verses like:
“Act and speak as those who will be judged by the law that gives freedom because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:12-13
I am grateful that God’s mercy extended to even me. I have since become aware that I am helpless and hopeless without Jesus. I am aware of the ugliness of my sin and my desperate need for grace and mercy. Since God has made me aware of this, I am more able to offer mercy and grace to others.
How about you? What would you tell your 16 year-old self?
March 12, 2011 § 21 Comments
Facebook status: “My last ultrasound showed my baby was small, next test scheduled on Tuesday.”
I commented: “Praying for you.”
Facebook status: “My husband is going on his 50th job interview over the last nine months. Pray he gets this one.”
Many comment: “Praying”
The question is what does “praying for you” really mean? Do we really pray right then as we send our comment into cyberspace? Are we adding these people to our prayer lists (if we have them)? Or are we holding up our Christian card and keeping up appearances?
Or is it possible that “praying for you” is only another way of saying “hugs” or “thinking about you?” It is a comfort term rather than something we are actually doing? Does that term make us sound good and holy when we are not even bringing the concern to the Throne of Grace? Have we gotten too comfortable with praying that we don’t even realize we are addressing the God who created all things, the all-powerful One?
I admit it is easy to say, “praying for you,” and not really mean it. I pray that I never say/write it without actually praying for that person right then…Most often when I say/write it I mean I have prayed for you and as God brings you to mind I will pray for you again. I am not a list maker or a prayer journal-er. I sometimes aspire to be, but it is not the way I am wired.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, most of my prayer time is the “pray continually” kind. As I am wiping noses, observing children, washing dishes, driving, I am praying. So I have my mental list and my mental list may not be as “good” as it used to be. I am becoming more and more forgetful. Ok I admitted it, I like to blame it on my kids. I mean I have more brain cells dedicated to different people now than ever before…My point is that I may only “pray” for a situation rather than truly “praying.” Does the comment “praying for you” hold water when I only pray once?
I know what I think, but I want to know what you think.
What do you mean when you say/write, “praying for you?” What do you think others mean when they say/write, “praying for you?”
Jump in and join the discussion… And thank you Justin Voris for the idea that prompted this post!
March 10, 2011 § 11 Comments
I am studying the book of Daniel in Bible Study. I struggle studying prophecy. I just don’t have pertinent historical facts filed away in my brain. Then there are about as many ways to interpret prophecy as there are people. So the prophetic portions of Daniel have taught me three things. God has a plan, His plan cannot be thwarted, and God wants us to be alert and ready for His return.
This week we studied Daniel chapter 9. Here is where God just got up in my grill. Like the baseball manager who presses his belly against the umpire’s chest protector and screams his displeasure. Only it was God voicing His displeasure with love, while I – the lowly manager of the time, talents, and resources He has given me – go all silent. Then I get the look. That sheepish one. You know that look of suddenly realizing you are in the wrong and how foolish you look.
Well there I was studying for Bible study, after I had read my quiet time passage, and written my blog post. I had done some pretty good time with God today. I was feeling pretty good about myself. Then I saw it…Daniel was reading his Bible too. The book of Jeremiah to be exact and when he got to a certain place, he did something. He put on sackcloth, sat in ashes, fasted, and prayed.
So backing up here, I had read my Bible, written a blog post to encourage others to be more Godly, and was studying my Bible, but God’s word hadn’t driven me to pray. I wasn’t moved in my emotions or my thinking. I was studiously checking things of my list. As if God cares about sacrifice. NO He cares about a broken and contrite spirit. He wants my faith, my time in the word to be translated into action. Specifically He wants me to pray for myself, for others, for our nation, for other nations.
I pray. I pray as I get up, as I wash dishes, I pray with each of my kids as they wake up and when they go to sleep. I pray on the fly, everywhere. But do I pray? Do I sit down without computer, phone, distraction and really pray? Do I come before God like Daniel did to confess sins, to ask for mercy. Do I sit still on my knees and pray? I confess not very often and by that I mean once a month would be stretching it.
Do I ever REALLY PRAY? Does God expect me to pray that way? I mean Him and me and nothing else…On my knees? Jesus prayed. He prayed for hours. Could it be that my bed bound grandmother is doing more kingdom work as she prays throughout her day than I do as I chase my kids, write, speak, teach Sunday School, and lead small groups?
What would it look like if I would at least weekly spend 5, 10, 15 minutes on my knees literally?
So here it is…I commit to spend at least 15 minutes a week on my knees in intentional prayer time. This does not change my pray continually lifestyle that I am still working on. No, it just adds a new dimension.
Anyone care to join me? Let’s talk more about this subject of prayer. I can’t wait to hear what God is telling you! I hope you join me!
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March 9, 2011 § 4 Comments
I couldn’t understand what was happening.
None of it made sense.
It doesn’t happen this way.
Yet there I was, in less than six months my ability to conceive was stripped from me.
My tubes ruptured my womb empty, my heart grieving, my babies lost.
I had so many questions that didn’t have answers, at least not on this side of eternity.
I had to choose. I had to decide if I would cling to God despite the fact that He could have intervened, that He could have made my babies implant in the right place, He could have kept my tubes from rupturing. I had to choose to believe that either God was good and faithful all the time or He was bad and unfaithful.
So I chose. I chose to cling to my omnipotent, amazingly loving God. Oh, but I didn’t only cling. I wrestled. I brought to God my questions, my pain, my barren body. I asked why. I wrestled over how unfair it was that children were given to mothers and fathers who didn’t care or wouldn’t care or would abuse them. I wrestled with Him over whether fertility treatments were right for our family or not. I clung to Him as I begged for a miracle in my body.
In the wrestling, in the clinging I discovered something. When I wrestled with Him, I was close enough to hear Him speak. He spoke words of comfort, He spoke words of direction, He spoke words of healing. That healing often involved painful cleansings and death to myself, my desires, my way. Oh, but God is bigger than my doubts, bigger than my questions, bigger than my inability to conceive naturally. In the wrestling I grew closer to Him. In the wrestling God blessed me. In the wrestling I have been forever changed.
Are you facing a difficult time in your life? Have you decided to cling to God? If not what are you waiting for?
Are you wrestling with God? As you wrestle are you listening to Him? What is He telling you?
Consider reading Daniel 3:16-18 (Shadrach Meshach and Abednego had to choose whether to cling to God or not. Read their choice).
Then read Genesis 32:22-32 (Jacob wrestles with God and clings to Him until God blesses Him, but he walks away changed forever).
How do these passages shape your ideas of clinging to God and wrestling with Him?
I can’t wait to hear what you think.
March 3, 2011 § 8 Comments
I used to know a lot more than I do now.
I had the best opinions about everything. I knew how to solve complicated problems because I was right.
I was going to be President. It would be easy, I already had all the answers.
I didn’t have experience, but I didn’t need it. I had a great imagination and logic.
I was smart once, but I also missed out on some things.
I didn’t realize how much grace I really needed. I lost sight of mercy in the pride that I “figured out” that I needed Christ. Somehow I saw that I needed Christ “back then,” before I asked Him to be my Savior, but then I had it handled from there.
I would put on a self-righteous smug smile and say I loved the lost, but in reality I found them less intelligent than me.
I never stopped to consider their backgrounds and experiences that could drive them away from Christ. I never considered that grace was the answer. Instead I spewed judgment. I was right and they were wrong.
It took me many years to discover it wasn’t judgment that brings others to Christ it is grace. Romans 2:4 says, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”
Grace and kindness lead us to the cross. Getting a glimpse of the depth of God’s grace, the magnitude of His kindness draws me to Him. Swimming in the sea of His kindness and grace is where I find a deep and abiding love for Him.
The more I realize the depth of my need, the more His grace and kindness grow. The larger His grace and kindness, the larger my love for Him. The more I love Him the more I desire to obey His commands.
His ways are upside-down, inside-out and topsy-turvy in our society of personal rights. He even told us in 2 Cor 1:27 that, “…God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”
I was smart, once. Now I am a humbled, grace covered, child of God. I hope as I swim in God’s sea of grace, I fall more in love with Him and that my love with be contagious. I know I have said it before, but knowing I am in desperate need of graces frees me to extend grace to others. The more I swim in that ocean of God’s grace, the easier it is for me to live a life of grace.
Do you have a story to tell about how you used to be smart and God changed your brilliance to foolishness? I would love to hear your stories. The comment button is under the title of the post.
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