Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In the Ocean

A lovely friend of mine told me about her blog tonight and it reminded me for the first time in months, that I also have a blog! :)

Right now, I feel like I am in the middle of the ocean. There is no land in sight. All I can see is my little row boat being tossed upon the waves and I have no idea where I am going.

When I choose to see my true reality, the Creator of the universe is rowing my little boat and I am more secure than I can even imagine. Just as I can try to find my own understanding in our current circumstances, I can sit in my boat and search and search for land, but it will not bring me any closer. My Creator tells me not to lean on my own understanding, but in all of my ways acknowlegde Him and He will direct my path. He is not only directing. He is steering, holding, loving, providing, correcting and so much more that I don't have a sophisticated enough vocabulary to describe.

At this moment, unlike most of my moments lately, I choose to rest in Him while He directs our lives. Actively rest as He works through my life at His will.

Thank you, Lord, for the points in my journey where I cannot see land. You are better than my understanding. You are everything.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 08, 2010

2 Timothy Continued

I realized tonight while driving that I brought up a question in my last blog that I never answered!

2 Timothy 2:15 "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth."

Question: Does this means that our approval from God is dependent on our behavior?

We answered, "No, our approval from God is based on the finished work of Christ in the Spirit of the believer." However, 2 Timothy is very clear about what works (fruits) will be evident when, as believers, we are walking out a life dependent on the Holy Spirit. This life of faith is a life approved. Our approval from Him is based on our identity, but there may also be "life approval" in which our choices are approved. "For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin." Romans 14:23 When we turn away from the flesh-life (sin) and turn toward the truth of who Jesus is in us and who we are in Him, we are "accurately handling the word of truth" and we are ready for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:17)

I can definitely see that when turned toward my flesh, I am a vessel not ready for the work He has set aside for me. When I choose faith in His sufficiency, I prepare myself for the Holy Spirit's work through me.

Although, there is no amount of approval or love I can earn from God, I am definitely ready to choose the life He has set aside for me. This means a choice to turn my back on the life of flesh and independence I am often tempted by. The choice to turn toward truth isn't always easy. It is a choice to surrender much of what we have held on to and depended on for years.

I am thankful for the grace He pours out on us and the incredible gift of the Holy Spirit that even makes the choice possible.


Friday, November 05, 2010

2 Timothy

We have started our new Post Be Transformed Fellowship Group! On Thursday evenings, anyone who has finished Be Transformed with us is invited to meet and talk through scripture and how the entire Bible speaks to the Truth of Christ's work on the cross and what that means for us here and now.

So far the group has been small, but very rich! We have met twice and I have felt the encouragement of our discussion in the following days/weeks!

On our first Thursday we discussed 2 Timothy 2. Our question about this passage came in verse 15. "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth."

Question: Does this means that our approval from God is dependent on our behavior? It can certainly sound that way!

As The Holy Spirit was leading our discussion, it started with a look back to 2 Timothy 1 and Ephesians. Timothy is Paul's spiritual son who is pastoring the church in Ephesus. In the book of Ephesians and in 2 Timothy 1, Paul made very clear who we are in Christ as believers and laid the ground work in identity for his later teachings on behavior. He taught that we are new creations, holy and blameless before God. We have been made one with Christ and His nature is our new nature. The power of sin and flesh has been completely defeated and broken and we are now free to walk a victorious life in Christ as He lives His great life through us in this world.

The teaching in 2 Timothy 2 is a practical walking out of those truths. All of us as believers at one time or another have felt the incredible frustration that Paul describes in Romans 7:15 "For that which I am doing, I do not understand for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate." We desire the life of godliness that the Bible teaches, yet our actions show the very opposite. We know more than anyone that we cannot be holy and blameless before God. Our thoughts our sinful, our actions selfish, our entire lives at times feel enslaved to the flesh! I have in the past said, "There must be more to the Christian life than trying and failing, trying and failing, trying and failing." At times it felt like an endless cycle that was destroying me emotionally! The great news is this. There is so much more! Jesus sent the incredible gift of the Holy Spirit to live in us and give us this abundant life beyond our capability!

Ephesians and 2 Timothy have offered great encouragement regarding this issue. 2 Timothy 2:15 again says, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth." In light of Paul's prior teachings, this verse is an encouragement to us to live the life we were created for. To look into the word for the truth of who He is, who we are, and adjust our lives accordingly. That is handling it accurately! We look into the word, read we are saints and united with Christ. A minute later we will turn away, speak a lie to ourselves: "I am a failure. I should be ashamed of myself for these choices I have made. I am so far from Christ and I will never figure this life out." Or maybe it sounds more like, "I will do better next time, so God will bless me and be pleased with me." We have just set our lives according to a lie, instead of to the truth of scripture. However, we have the option to turn around and say, "My behavior is not lining up with the truth of who I am in Christ. The truth is that I have no reason to be ashamed. My sin has been removed from me and I am a new creation. I have every spiritual blessing given to me for a life of godliness. Jesus, I trust you to live your life through me."

As we speak the truth of our identity, 2 Timothy brings to light the life of the Spirit that will be revealed as we walk by faith. We will avoid worldly and empty chatter that leads to further ungodliness. We will refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, we will be kind to all, able to teach. We will be patient when wronged. With gentleness, we will correct those who are in opposition. We will flee from lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace with others who call on the name of the Lord with a pure heart. This literally means that we will turn our backs to our flesh, turn toward the Spirit and take a step in faith. Pursuing righteousness, faith, love and peace is choosing the Holy Spirit and the life that He lives in us and through us. 2 Timothy describes a life that is completely impossible in our strength. We cannot read this and determine in our wills to exhibit these behaviors. It is like tying on fruit to an apple tree! This is THE life that the Holy Spirit will live through a surrendered believer!

His part is the life described above. Our part is faith in His sufficiency as we surrender our flesh, our will, our dreams, our rights, our sweat. Ha! :) He will accomplish this work in us and lead us to His abundant life that we cannot achieve. There is no amount of performance that can earn that life. It is a gift given from Him and lived through us BY HIM!

Thank you to our Thursday night group for such an incredible discussion. I think I will read this passage regularly now! It is a beautiful reminder of the Spirit-led life that He has given to us.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sweetest Cupcakes

My two older girls were cupcakes in a mini nutcracker recital. They had an awesome time!

I think my little one ends up eating more paint than she puts on the paper (or pumpkins). I hope the non-toxic label is truthful!!

How long?

Today I am feeling like an exceptionally slow learner. I continue day after day to live in the memory of my "old self." The person addicted to serving self and the person desperate for approval and acceptance from others. The person that can lash out in cruel ways toward people I feel hurt by. The control freak.

The Truth about me is that I am none of those things. I have been redeemed, made new, and my old self is dead. I am not selfish, but in Christ I am loving, I do not need approval or acceptance from others, because His love and acceptance are enough for my evey need. I am not cruel, I am full of love and kindness. I am not a control freak, I have surrendered control to the Perfect Creator. Each day I live a lie. I live in the memory of who I used to be instead of living out my true identity in the moment.

I ask you Lord to make the Truth of who I really am the reality for me today.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

It's Been Too Long!

I can't believe I haven't posted since May!

I am having an awesome semester-filled with ups and downs, but still great!

My oldest child started kindergarten and that has been a roller coaster for the whole family! The first two weeks she was back to temper tantrums like she used to have. Screaming, pounding, etc. It was hard to watch her go through such extreme negative experiences and also hard, because I didn't handle her outbursts like I should have. :( I had an awesome opportunity to minister to her when she needed me the most, but instead I got angry at her chosen device to express her sadness and anger. The awesome thing is that God redeems EVERYTHING! Even my parenting mistakes. I can see how through it all, we have grown closer and had many sweet moments together with God. A is a deeply emotional girl that thrives as she connects with people. Her teacher is somewhat cold and non-connected, so if you think of us, I would love to have your prayers for A's emotions while she is at school. The great thing is, she is getting connected to some of the girls in her class! Yay!

S and L have also started preschool classes on Tuesday and Thursday. They absolutely LOVE their classes and teachers! It's cute. Tonight on our way home from an outing, L was asking for Kakkies (Ms. Kathy) the whole way. She asks for her every day, which is comforting to know that she has such fond feelings for school and her teacher! They sing together a lot in class and do an art project almost every time she is there! It's awesome. S also looks forward to school and wishes she could go every day! :)

I get to be a part of two Be Transformed groups this semester and they have knocked my socks off! I don't think I have ever witnessed God at work in people lives like I have this semester. He is pursuing His children hard and they are responding! It's amazing to watch Him bring Truth and restoration-I love every minute of it!

So, one thing we have talked a lot about is whether as Christians we have one nature-made alive and righteous in Christ at salvation. Or two natures constantly at war within us. Sinful vs. Christ. What do you think? I'll post my opinion on that issue tomorrow...hopefully!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Little Dancer

Sophie had her first dance recital last weekend! She had so much fun, and we LOVED watching her! So cute!