Friday, April 24, 2015

Shining Like Stars

“….work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among who you shine like stars in the world, holding fast the word of life….” 

Philippians 2:12b-16a

5 “Musts" from Philippians 2:12b-16a

We Must:

1 - Put forth my best effort (vs 12)

Simply meaning we must follow Him- read the bible, seek Him, spend time with Him, ask Him how to spend each day, listen in church and listen to the Holy Spirit in quiet time with Him and actually apply what I feel like He is telling me to do. 

Like James says, we must be a hearers and then a doers of the word, not a hearers and then forgetters. 

2 - Leave it all up to God (vs 13)

After putting forth our best effort to follow Him; we can trust He knows what He is doing with our lives. It is never our strength that makes things happen; it is His power; He is in control. We cannot be and will not be perfect; we will all fail. We trust that as many times as we fall; he will, that many times, pick us up again, dust us off, encourage us to continue in this walk of faith. We believe He will never stop “completing the good work He has started in me.”

3 - Choose to live a Thankful and Contented Life (vs 14)

Contentment is a choice. And a hard one sometimes, especially as women. I find no matter what we have, somehow we find we want more or what we have is not good enough. Just like Paul says in Phil 4, He learned to be content, we must do the same. We must beg God to help us live with a thankful heart for all He has given us and a content and peaceful heart with where we are in life right now. 

4 - Be an example (vs 15)

People should be able to look into our lives and tell we are different from the world. We must have different longings; we must be unmixed with sin. We are to be like the bright stars that shine at night in the dark sky. It should be evident that are not living for this world alone. Our lives should show all around us how to follow Jesus, not only with words, but also actions. 

5 - Cling to the Word (vs 16)

God’s word is everything. We must love the word of God. We must spend time reading it, meditating on it, memorizing it. He promises to move through His word but He cannot if we are not in it. Clinging to His word gives us peace; it gives us hope, comfort, and perspective. We must value the word of God. 


None of these "musts" are possible without our complete surrender to Him and His power working in and through us. We are His hands and feet on this earth and this life chance to give Him glory. May our lives, may my life give Him the utmost glory. 


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Shameless


Shame can exist in two forms. Well-placed shame and misplaced shame.* Well-placed shame is a result of sin. It is good to feel shame for sin committed; it can draw us to genuine repentance. Misplaced shame is shame thrown onto a person who doesn't deserve to feel shameful. Either type of shame can be paralyzing.

Unfortunately, I have experienced both well-placed shame and misplaced shame. I have written here that I experienced a dark season of sin when my second child was just born. It was a selfish season. It was a season full of depression and disbelief that God could see me and knew my situation.  I jumped into sin that to this day I sometimes feel shame over. The issue with this shame now is that I have repented; God has forgiven me; I have done my best to make peace with all involved. Therefore, if I allow myself to think on this shame instead of the truth that I am free, I will become paralyzed. I will convince myself that God cannot use me because of my sin. (BTW, When did this ever happen in the bible? Moses? nope. David? Nope. Rahab? Nope.)

Being a victim of sexual abuse, I have also suffered misplaced shame. Feelings of wanting to stay in my house and never ever come out again. Or just simply crying out to God asking Him why in the world He made me to sing on a stage in front of lots of people when people looking has at times made me feel unbearable shame which too is paralyzing.

I don't want to live in shame. Either kind. I don't want to live paralyzed, not able (or willing) to move toward God's will for my life.

I WANT TO LIVE FREE. 

This is why, Galatians 5:1 has such a special place in my heart. "For Freedom Christ has Set us Free."

I can live free.

I can "forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead." I can fix my mind on what is true, right, noble. (No one really cares that much about me, every one is thinking about themselves anyway. :) )

I lead a song this past week at church called "Lamb of God" by Vertical Church Band and it's all about the gospel of Christ but the part of the song that grabbed me this week was:

"My name upon Your heart.
My shame upon your shoulders.
The power of sin undone
The cross for my salvation"

And another song, "The Stand" by Hillsong has similar lyrics:

"You stood before my failure,
You carried the Cross for my shame,
My sin weighed upon Your shoulders,
My soul now to stand.

So what can I say? What can I do? But offer this heart Oh God, completely to You."


Christ died for me and for my shame, whether because of my own sin or someone else's. He took it; I don't have to live with it. He doesn't want me to.

He died for me to be Free, 
for me to be Shameless.


May I by Christ's power in me, live like it.



"Lamb of God" by Meredith Andrews

"The Stand" by Hillsong

"Battling the Unbelief of Misplaced Shame" by John Piper *

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My Only Hope is in You


I have become captivated by this song by Hillsong. Partly because the lyrics ring true in my heart. Also, because this group of girls and me are memorizing scripture together and these were my verses from last time:


Psalm 39:4-7


“Show me, Lord, my life’s end
    and the number of my days;
    let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
    the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
    even those who seem secure.
“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
    in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
    without knowing whose it will finally be.
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? 
My only hope is in you.



Don't you just love how God or the Holy Spirit impresses the same message a variety of ways on our hearts. My heart tends to try to find so many other things to cling to, so many ways to wander but my God loves me too much to let me leave. He continually draws my heart to Him.

This song: Anchor by Hillsong is amazingly powerful. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to lead it this week.

ANCHOR


I have this hope
As an anchor for my soul
Through every storm
I will hold to You

With endless love
All my fear is swept away
In everything
I will trust in You


There is hope in the promise of the cross
You gave everything to save the world You love
And this hope is an anchor for my soul
Our God will stand
Unshakeable


Unchanging One
You who was and is to come
Your promise sure
You will not let go


Your Name is higher
Your Name is greater
All my hope is in You

Your word unfailing
Your promise unshaken
All my hope is in You





{I will put the link to the service below when it is ready :) }
Here is a link to this week's worship:
The Orchard Fellowship  4/19/15

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Girl's Weekend!!





Star of the Week





Annabelle was Star of the Week last week! She was so pumped. I didn't realize she had this going on until Thursday of the week before and so with a jam packed weekend ahead, we ended up on the Walgreen floor making her poster while waiting for the pictures to print. Nonetheless, she loved it and it worked out great! Thankful for this little star! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Christ is All


John Piper always grabs my attention. Why? I believe he preaches sincerely with a unequalled passion for God's word. It is truly God and His word that speak to me but John Piper is God's means of communicating to me in ways sometimes I feel like no one else can.

This morning I listened to one of Piper's sermons. It was on the verses above and some others. I have always been captivated by these verses. I have longed to have a heart like this but sometimes the practical application is hard for me to find. John Piper gave it to me today.

What does, "everything I have gained I now consider loss" mean practically for the Christian:

John Piper says it means four things:
  1. It means that whenever I am called upon to choose between anything in this world and Christ, I choose Christ.
  2. It means that I will deal with the things of this world in ways that draw me nearer to Christ so that I gain more of Christ and enjoy more of him by the way I use the world.
  3. It means that I will always deal with the things of this world in ways that show that they are not my treasure, but rather show that Christ is my treasure.
  4. It means that if I lose any or all the things this world can offer, I will not lose my joy or my treasure or my life, because Christ is all.
 “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” 

Christ is all and all else is loss."

As I examined my heart this morning. I found places that I desperately need Him to come into. I thought back to times when I have chosen Christ over this world and how satisfied I truly felt in Him.  And I realized that being home, inside my "comfort zone" challenges me even more than being away in terms of my relationship with Christ. I have to constantly fight myself to choose Christ since times aren't quite as desperate. 

Some say, the harder headed you are, the more times you have to learn the same lesson. I hate to say it but I am pretty hard headed. I wonder sometimes if all of the heart ache I have been through has been because God could not teach me certain lessons otherwise. Regardless, looking back, I see those years of absolute desperation a gift. They were His ways of teaching me to treasure Him above all else.

I hate to say it but my heart sways a little more now.  Times are "lighter" and I rely on myself more than I should. Sometimes I treasure my free time or shopping more than I treasure Christ. But, the interesting thing about all of that is that I am never satisfied in those places. God continues to draw me back to Himself. Even in my faithlessness; He is continually faithful to show Himself to me, to grab my attention, to show me my need for Him. What a good God. 

Today I want these 4 applications from Phil 3 to be my prayer: 

1) Oh God, whenever I have to make a decision between you and the world, help me Father to choose you. 
2) God please help me to use the things of this world to draw me closer to you not make me farther away from you. Make my heart sensitive to things things and to you.
3) Father, satisfy my soul, making nothing else compare to knowing you.
4) Thank you for being all. Help me to see life through this lens. Desiring you above all else. 

Thank you Father that I know because these prayers are your will, you are working to answer them in my life. 

Amen.