Sunday, March 23, 2014

It's about Him

Tonight I opened my Bible (this particular time I was reading the Message) to Matthew 6 and I read verses 19-34. The section is titled "A Life of God-Worship".

Sometimes I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere, and I can get discouraged; when I think like this I'm missing the point - it's not about me, its about Him! I've been discouraged lately, it's been a lot of things really, but we all have our times when we feel like this. Sometimes I just sit there, feeling pity for myself, my situation, moping in my discouragement. But that's not what God wants us to do when we feel discouraged! He wants us to rely on Him, to look to Him for our satisfaction, our meaning, our encouragement. 

Matthew 6:19-34 talks about looking to God at all times, because he cares for us, if we look around to the things that take us away from spending time with God, we get distracted. We can easily forget how much God cares for us. When you focus on God, it allows you to truly forget the things that are bothering you. It's like getting a lollipop in exchange for $1, before you bought the lollipop you were burning with the desire to spend it on anything, but now that you have it, you are completely satisfied and you are enjoying that treat without a care in the world. God is like that, he wants us to enjoy him and to focus on him. Matthew 6:34 says "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." I really like the way this verse is worded in the Message, it really speaks to how I'm feeling right now. This verse reminds me that God's got everything in control, my life may feel in limbo, but I know that God's got some good stuff planned for me real soon. 

I've also learned that doing what God asks you isn't always easy, or fun. But its about serving God with to the best of your ability. Serving God is about giving up your time, making a sacrifice to do what God is asking you. But when you follow God, and look toward him you will be blessed - and maybe you'll need some extra encouragement, but God's got that waiting for you in the Bible. 

Sometimes life leaves me feeling down, but I know that as long as I am following God, I know that I am, where God wants me. I may not enjoy the confusion or discouragement, but in this time I can only look to God who will give me the guidance I am looking for. I look to Him through his word, I open my Bible and read; and God never fails to speak to me. 

It's not about what I'm doing, its about what God's doing. God bless!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Pinterest Free

Lent is the time of year when some Christians choose to give something up for the 40 weekdays leading up to Easter. We do this in preparation for Easter, but also to commemorate how Christ fasted 40 days in the desert. This is first year giving something up for Lent. Normally I never gave something up for 40 days because I didn't think I had anything to give up. But this year its a tough one. I'm giving up Pinterest. 

So maybe it sounds like no big deal - at least I thought so. I figured it was no big deal - I'm not addicted to Pinterest, right? Wrong. It hasn't even been a week and I have been fighting the urge to go on Pinterest ever since Wednesday. Its tough giving up something that takes over your life. But that's exactly the problem - its taking over my life, getting in the way of my studies; its distracting me. I never realized how much I would be fighting the temptation, but I am.

I am doing this to remember Christ's struggles as he fasted for 40 days. Just because he was God's son, doesn't mean he didn't feel hunger, nor does it mean he contemplated quitting. The Bible says that he was human in every way (Hebrews 4:15). If Jesus could do it, then so can I. But why am I doing this? Because God has called me to. I asked God what I should take away and he showed me that Pinterest was getting in my way on a daily basis. But I know that I am not doing this alone - he is walking with me every step of the way. Deuteronomy 5:33a says 'You shall walk in all the way that the Lord has commanded you.' This is what I aim to do in the next 35 weekdays. I know that the Lord is there to give me strength (Isaiah 41:10), he is there to encourage me (Philippians 4:13), and he will teach me to walk in his truth (Psalm 27:11).

I am excited to see how God will use this experience to teach me something in my life; because he has brought me to it, he will bring me through it. God is stronger than my temptations. Join me in my journey as I have faith and trust in God! 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Peace in God

John 14:27 says "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."

This is a verse that I came across tonight as I was talking to a friend about something that was concerning me. If we trust God, he promises us peace so we don't have to worry about the things that concern us. I can be quite the worrier when it comes to certain situations – and worry can leave me feeling sick. Yet, the more I get to know God, the more I read my Bible, the more time I spend in prayer, the less worry I feel. God is the only one who can give you true peace – a peaceful life that will leave you with greater happiness. 

I know what it's like not to have peace when you go to bed at night. Here's the scenario: You lie down in bed at night thinking about your day and you can't sleep, something doesn't feel right, you question all your actions that you did throughout the day, and somehow you wish you didn't live out today in the way you did, but you just had fun right? Why don't you feel satisfied at the end of the day when you go to bed? Nothing went wrong, nothing messed up. But at night you feel sick with your day; you lack peace in your life. That is what I used to feel like, I'd go to bed and I didn't want to look back at my day - something about it didn't feel right, I didn't feel comfortable in my own skin at the end of the day. 

There was a time in my life when I didn't feel like this, but at times it came and went. I remember thinking about why I felt this way, and I knew the answer but I didn't want to admit it to myself. Things had changed that year in school for me, I was extremely self-conscious - so maybe that's why I was feeling unsatisfied? But no. Something in my life was not giving me peace.  

I realized that summer what I had been missing. It was God. That year had been a rough one for me, I did things I had never done before, and yet I had fun with some new found friends - what could be wrong in that? In the process of having fun and trying new things, I forgot about God. I left him behind thinking that I could enjoy myself without having to worry about feeling bad about my foolish decisions and my declining grades. But the fact was that my soul missed God, my soul was what needed Him in my life. So that summer at camp, I found that complete peace in God I hadn't realized I was missing. The saying is true 'you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone' - I had forgotten that I used to go to bed feeling calm, not sick with worry or displeased with my life.

I now know that God is the only one who can give me complete peace. Ever since that point where I began trusting God once again, I have never felt the same way. I look forward to new things knowing that God is helping me through each day. I asked for peace, and God gave it to me. I still worry, but I pray too - and in that God answers my prayers, I know he will never leave me, so I don't have to be troubled, nor do I have to fear anything. 

The cool thing is that God wants us to have his peace! He wants us to be fulfilled with our lives, not to worry about the little things, but to be able to lie down at night and sleep peacefully. John 14:27 is a wonderful reminder of the peace God gives each and every one of us to asks him. 

Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart (Colossians 3:15) God bless!