Friday, May 29, 2015

Self Awareness and Overactive Conscious

"The hallmark of growth in a Christian's life is self-awareness. Not the kind of awareness where we vaguely acknowledge that we sometimes sin, but the ability to take a soul inventory with a view toward growth."

I picked up a book by Mary DeMuth called "Everything." In it there is a section about self awareness. I believe the best way to take a soul inventory is to ask the Holy Spirit to search us, try us, see if there is any offensive way in us like scripture says.

However, Mary also offers a practical guide to self awareness with this 5 question method called EXAMEN. I thought it was wonderful and wanted to post it! 


She also says, "when others come alongside you and you humbly welcome feedback, your growth multiplies."

I pray I can be a person of humility who asks God to show me where I need to be more like Him and can welcome others feedback.

Mary continues on the topic of self awareness speaking to something she calls an "overactive conscious." And I sooo see myself in this picture! She says overactive conscious becomes so aware of faults that it analyzes and dissects them, obsessed over them and then deem oneself worthless. 

Mary says three things that have helped her with this are to: 


When I am filled with Jesus, I am humble. I am not thinking too much of myself, I am wanting to serve. I am not letting the voice of condemnation control my thoughts. I am free...

Thank you Mary DeMuth for your wise words on self awareness.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

He will finish what He has started...

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Ephesians 2:10

We are God's masterpiece. The definition of masterpiece* is a person's greatest work. I don't know about you but I don't always feel like a masterpiece. A lot of times I feel lost or like a failure. I know God has a plan and a purpose for my life but I get confused on what that means I am supposed to be doing today....or..... I completely blow it, yell at my kids, zone out and feel like the day is a waste. 

However, no matter what yesterday looked like, the truth of the verse holds true for my life and for yours. I am God's masterpiece. Long ago, before time began, He saw my life. He created and crafted me just the way I am so that I could use what He gave me to bring Him glory. He planned good things for me to do for Him and others in my lifetime.

I don't have to have it all figured out today. I can just hold on to the truth that, "He who began a good work in my will complete it."* I can rest in the fact that, "God is working in me, giving me the desire and the power to do what pleases Him"* today if I want Him to.

I'm so thankful that all He asks us to do is Abide* in Him. He knows we couldn't handle seeing into the future. He simply wants us to trust Him, listening to His voice and believing in His promises for us are true. 


*dictionary.com*Phil 1:6 *Phil 2:10 *John 15:4

Thursday, May 21, 2015

No Pain Ever Goes to Waste With God.


'
Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.”  But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.'
Job 2:9-10

Job statement here is profound. He basically says, “I do not understand what the heck is going on but I know God has His reasons.” 

I thought about these verses and tried to find application today: If I love God only when He gives me good things, I'm not really loving God. I'm loving the good life He has given me. Loving God is believing the truth about Him and trusting Him even when my life's circumstances don't look good. 

In Job's case we see that one of the reasons God allowed Job's testing was to prove Job loved Him, in the good and the bad, in the times of abundance and in the times of loss.

Job said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and I will be taken naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord." 
Job 1:21

Another reason it seems God allowed this testing was that through it, Job displays the glory of God. His satisfaction and faith in God through unbearable pain and loss prove that God is what He claims to be. Oh how my heart desires to love God for who He is and not just what He gives me and how I long to glorify Him with my life.


I have been thinking on some of my deepest times of pain, remembering scripture was the only thing that seemed to soothe the pain. I'm not in a deep place of pain right now but I know those who are. I typically shy away from saying anything that could come across "trite" to those in pain but today my heart so badly wants to help in some way. So, I thought on what truth meant the most to me in my pain:


1) God loves you. He never overlooks or diminishes pain.

Psalm 56:8 says "God keeps track of all our sorrows. He collects all our tears in His bottle. Each one has been recorded in your book." When you feel like no one sees you, no one truly understands, everyone has forgotten you are hurting, remember God hasn't. I picture Him crying with those hurting, weeping with them, caring enough to take each tear and put it in a bottle.


2) He has a plan to use this pain.

Romans 8:28 makes the promise that "God will work all things together for the good of Him who love Him." This means even if the pain you are feeling is partially because of your sin, if you love Jesus, He will use it for good and for His glory. And if your pain feels pointless and your asking why? Even this pain He promises to use. No pain ever goes to waste with God. 



3) He promises to make you stronger through it, keep clinging to Him. 

On days I felt like I couldn't even move, on days when I felt like I took one step back and was frustrated with my progress; this verse brought me comfort. "After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to be His child, who wants to spend an eternity in heaven with you, will Himself complete you, making you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen you and settle you." (1 Peter 5:10)




I know these truths do not take away one single ounce of pain. I know they don't..... but..... I pray today, these truths provide an once of comfort and hope in pain.  




Monday, May 18, 2015

FREEDOM

For Freedom Christ has Set Us Free! 
Stand Firm then, 
and do not let yourselves 
be burdened again by slavery. 
Galatians 5:1

Freedom, what an amazing word, a glorious feeling. Galatians 5:1 is one of my all time fave verses. I was looking at it with fresh eyes this am. God showed me some of the "YOKES" I tend to go back to and then I looked at what the opposites of those were-the "FREEDOMS" I want to choose to live in today by the power of His spirit.

YOKES --- FREEDOMS:

Yoke: Zoning out
Freedom: fully engaged, mind alert, standing firm 

Yoke: Bitterness/grudges
Freedom: forgiveness- I have been forgiven so much! 

Yoke: Despair
Freedom: Joy right now where I am today

Yoke: Sharp Tongue
Freedom: fruit of the spirit of self control and give life with my words



May I live, may we live as women who are FREE today! 

God, only by your power can we choose to Live Free! Please help us; we need your unending grace and strength. We love you. Amen.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Fully Committed



The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth and every inclination of the thoughts of the heart were evil all the time. And the Lord regretted that He had made man on the earth and it grieved Him at His heart. 

Genesis 6:5,6

The Lord regretted He made man. Now, that's a powerful statement. How sad. The same man that he had made in His image and that He said "was good." Man that had delighted His soul.

Adam and I watched the movie "Noah" the other night and it prompted me to go back and study the life of Noah again. I got to this verse this morning and just sat on it. My first thought being, "that's not me." My second thought being, "That could so be me." I know how wicked my heart can be and how fast it can get to a "bad" place.

I know the verses above are extreme circumstances but I still want to try to stay as far away from grieving God as I can. I want God to be ecstatic He made me. I want Him to be greatly pleased when looking at my life. How do I make sure this is the path I'm headed down instead of this wicked path? I believe today I can by the power of God's grace do three things that keep me headed toward the God is glad He made me place. I can:

1) Spend time with Him. 

Delighting in His presence, reading His word. Listening to Him, talking to Him, praising Him.

2) Repent often. 

When I find myself sinning, no matter how big or small in my eyes, repenting and ask God to forgive me.

3) Walk in Daily Obedience

Asking God to show me how He wants me to spend my time today. Taking one step at a time towards whatever He wants me to do, no matter how hard it may seem.

It says in 2 Chronicles 16:9, "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him." I want to be in this category today, fully committed, fixing my gaze on Him.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Obedience

I created this printable for the class I am helping my dad with on Sundays. It correlates with this post and so I wanted to post it. These questions have been so challenging for me. I pray if you spend time answering them, they will be for you as well. 
I'm remembering, today:
"It is God who is at work in us to accomplish His will" and He can do "infinity abundantly above all we ask or can even imagine...."

Walking in Obedience

“Work out your salvation,obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 
Philippians 2:12


What has God laid on my heart that I have not yet pursued?




What plans has God laid on my heart that I began to pursue but stopped and need to pick up again?




What steps can I take today in obedience to God?



What steps can I take in the next week to walk obediently to God in these things HE has called me to?



What steps do I need to take in the next month or year to walk obediently to God in the things He has called me to?



For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

22 But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth].
23 For if anyone only listens to the Word without obeying it and being a doer of it, he is like a man who looks carefully at his [own] natural face in a mirror;
24 For he thoughtfully observes himself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like.
25 But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience).
James 1:22-25


Is there anything in my life right now that God has asked me to “get rid of?” Is there anything that has been drawing my heart away from Him? Write out a prayer to God. 



What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us?
Romans 8:31a

 If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.
James 1:5



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.