Saturday, October 13, 2012

Are you headed for divorce?

Calvin and I were at Applebee’s for dinner one evening last week. There was a girl who was close to our table, talking to another diner. She told him, “I’m married now. I was the best girlfriend ever. But, I’m not the best wife.” She said it multiple times. It really got under my skin. Why in the world would you not put effort into being the best wife that you could be? And, even if you knew you weren’t all you could be, why would you admit that to a random person? Although I did not say this to her, she went on in her conversation to say, “It doesn’t matter. I’ve got him now.” She must not know the current divorce rate in the United States. I can’t imagine promising my husband, God, and witnesses that I would love my husband forever and then not put every effort into nurturing that relationship.
Then, tonight in my prayer time, that scenario came across my mind again. I began to wonder, is that the way that we as Christians treat our bridegroom? I’ve heard it said time and again that the key to a successful relationship is communication. We pray and worship Christ to get close to him at the beginning of the relationship. We know that we need to spend time and effort to make sure that Jesus is in our hearts. But, then as soon as we’re sure we’ve got him, do we fail to do anything to develop an intimate relationship with him? Think about it this way: if Christ was your groom in the flesh, would you be headed for divorce? Need help to know how to speak to him? Set aside five minutes each day to pray. You will be amazed how quickly your relationship with him begins to flourish. Don’t get a divorce; renew your vows.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How Delightful!

“Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 NIV. This is one of my favorite verses. I found this story online: If you take delight in the Lord (and that’s easy to do!), He will tend to the desires of your heart. So, does that mean He’ll give us everything we ask for in prayer? Not necessarily. The scripture doesn’t promise that He’ll give us everything we ask for, but it does say that He will tend to the desires of our heart. Recently, a lady called in to a local Christian radio station to share about how she had prayed for a couple of years about her family’s finances, their car problems, bills they had to pay, and things her family needed. She became frustrated when she didn’t feel that her prayers were being answered, and she found herself upset with God. While sharing her frustrations in prayer, she felt God asking her what she truly desired in life. She answered that her true desires were for her children-that they would be healthy and do well in life. As she responded, she realized that God had known what truly mattered to her and had indeed been looking after her children. She was quite moved by this experience, especially since it was the first time she felt God personally in her life.
This experience changed her heart and her outlook. She began praising God as she saw the many ways He’d been blessing her. She’d been too focused on the negatives to see the positives. And then an amazing thing happened. As she began trusting God with her deepest desires, He began to help her in other areas of her life. Their financial situation has now greatly improved, as she has continued to praise and trust Him, He has blessed her in many other ways too.
In my life, I’ve recently received a blessing that I didn’t even ask for. I had started a Couch to 5K program. I began running so that I can pass the PT for promotion at work. I always do better when I have someone to workout with me who will motivate and push me to do give it my all. But, with my odd schedule of working mostly evening/night hours, it is hard to find a workout buddy who is available when I am. But, a Facebook friend posted that she was looking for a workout buddy to run/walk with. So, I sent her a message, and we’ve been running 4 times in the past week. Today, while we were running, she mentioned that we should come up with Scriptures of the week to memorize as we run. How wonderful is it that God reunited me with a Christian runner. I didn't even know to ask for it when I prayed. But, God knew what my heart’s desire would be. Remember, put your trust in God in the big things and the little things. He cares about it all, and He knows us better than we know ourselves.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Free?! I'll take two!

One of my favorite pastimes is shopping, even if it’s just window shopping. Actually, window shopping may be my favorite kind of shopping because it’s the least expensive. Often times when I shop for groceries, I buy the store brand instead of the national brands. The more expensive, national brands are replaceable. You can substitute the store brand, and it usually is just as good. But, in this life, there is one thing that there is no substitute for:  the precious blood of Jesus. You see, He has already purchased our redemption with His own blood. 
A song says, “No other blood can heal my broken body, and no other blood could save my sin-sick soul. No other blood could conquer death and win the victory. No other blood but the blood Jesus shed for me.” He has already paid the ultimate price and has given each of us the best gift of all. If there was something in a store that was guaranteed to make your life happier, more peaceful, more lively would you not want to buy it? Then, what if you found out that it was free? Would you just leave it in the store’s window? No way! Why do we do that with the wonderful gifts that God has given? It begins with redemption. But, it does not end there. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV says, “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.” You may say, “But, I’ll have to change my life to live in that redemption.” Yes, your life will change. But, that’s the best part!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Her price is far above rubies

As we near Mother's Day this year, think about the precious impact Godly mothers have on the lives of their children. I am reminded of the verse, “Her children shall rise and call her blessed.” I grew up in the lap of luxury-not the type of luxury that most people consider. Instead, I was surrounded by the luxury of a Godly heritage. For generations, my family has followed Christ. I don’t take that lightly. I know what a true blessing it has been. My mom reminds me of the scripture in Proverbs 31:10, "Who can find a virtuous woman for her worth is far above rubies." I am completely spoiled by the "above-ruby" mother that I am accustomed to. Mother’s Day is a special day to me because I believe that I had the best mother you could imagine. Growing up, our home was like a greenhouse-a place where we children learned character, values, and integrity. For Mom, loving God was a passionate pursuit and a way of life-not just going to church (although, we were always faithful). She taught us to seek the Lord for everything. She also reminded us that God doesn’t often speak to us in loud booms. More often, he speaks in a still small voice. So, she taught us to be prepared to respond when that still, small voice pricks our hearts. It doesn’t seem to say enough, but “thank you” to the mothers who make sure their children are capable of carrying on the sweet heritage of a Godly lineage.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Hospital for Sinners

At church Sunday night, we had a wonderful service. The teenagers had just returned from Winter Renewal, and they were on fire! One of the teenagers, Caleb, testified. While he was speaking, he said that we need to reach out for sinners and welcome them into church-after all, isn’t that who needs it most? This reminded me of an Abigail Van Buren quote: “A church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.” We have all been in need of God’s grace at one point or another. Jesus was criticized for eating with tax collectors and sinners. But, in Matthew 9:12-13 NLT he tells his critics, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor-sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” I was reminded of a song by the David Crowder Band called “How He Loves”. One of the verses says, "We are His portion and He is our prize, Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes. If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking." That is immeasurable grace and love. According to an online dictionary, grace is defined as “the free and unmerited favor of God.” How much must God love us to offer such grace! To comprehend God’s love for us, do we not have to love others? And, to serve Christ, we must serve others. David McCasland said it well: "When we reach out to people in need, we are able to extend to others the grace of God-guiding them to His healing touch." What kind of touch do you extend?