Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Routines

What’s your morning routine? Here is mine for weekdays.
First alarm goes off. Turn it off. Second alarm goes off. Hit snooze.
Husband says goodbye and leaves for work.
Second alarm goes off again. Hit snooze.
Second alarm goes off again. Turn it off, and get up.
Weigh, Shower, Brush Teeth, and put on moisturizer.
Time with God: Read Bible, Journal, Pray.
Towel dry and comb out hair, Put in contacts, Put on makeup, Dry hair.
Finish makeup, Flat iron hair, Get dressed for work, Deodorant and Perfume, Jewelry.
Pack snacks or lunch for work. Daily Facebook posting. Put on shoes, Leave for work.
Adjustments I need to make: Less alarm snoozes, add exercise, more time with God!
                Routines are predictable. Sometimes it’s good to be predictable, but sometimes we need to shake things up so we don’t become stagnant or too predictable. The habits I have developed for getting ready in the morning are good habits because I do things in the most efficient manner in order to maximize my time. But I don’t want my time with God to become efficient. I want it to be effective. I want it to be life changing.
                What do you need to add or remove from your morning routine? What ideas do you have for making time with God effective and life changing rather than efficient and routine?
“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35 ESV).

Monday, July 22, 2013

Loving God


What does it mean to love God? I recently completed a discipleship course at our church. One of our assignments was to tell God we loved Him three times per day. It was strange when I realized I don’t normally tell God that I love Him. I wondered why. Of course, I love God, so why was this not a normal practice?
I thought about the discussions on love that my husband and I had before getting married. We talked about how the infatuation of new love wears off (of course, it hasn’t yet after 11 years of marriage). We talked about how we believed that loving someone is a choice.
I choose to love my husband. On the days when things don’t go right and he might do something that irritates me (although this has never happened), I still love him. If he stopped loving me and no longer showed love for me, I would have a choice to make. Do I love my husband because of what he does for me and how he treats me? Or do I love my husband because I have made a choice and a commitment to love him?
Scripture says, “We love Him because He first loved us.” This doesn’t mean we love God because He is good or shows us love, but it means that God has made it possible for us to love at all because of His love for us.
When we fall in love, all we think about is the one we are in love with. When my husband and I were dating, we stayed up late at night talking on the phone. Many nights we sacrificed our sleep in order to hear each other’s voice. When we first got married we did everything together.  I went to the hardware store with him, and he went to the shoe store with me.
We always wanted to be together. We put the other one’s wishes above our own. We desired each other’s presence and to hear their voice.
When was the last time I missed sleep so that I could stay up and spend time with God? Do I think about God incessantly? Do I desire His presence and long to hear His voice?
What sacrifices am I willing to make for God in comparison to the sacrifices I have or will make for my family because I love them?
Do I really love God? Do you?

Monday, July 15, 2013

What Have You Done for Me Lately?


Each week our adult Bible study (small group) meets together to fellowship, study scripture, and share prayer requests and answers to prayer. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to set aside a specific time for sharing what God has done for us individually that week, what He has shown us from His Word, or how He has worked in our lives. It would have to be limited to two or three people because if everyone shared, there wouldn’t be time for our study. It would be encouraging to watch as each person sat in anticipation of the joy of sharing. But that isn’t the case. 
We don’t set aside a time like this, probably because most of us don’t come prepared to share how God is working in our lives. It’s embarrassing when no one has anything to share. Could it be that God isn’t working in our lives? Could it be He hasn’t done anything for us or shown us anything? Or could it be He is working, but we haven’t noticed? Or maybe we haven’t spent time with Him other than to recite our list of needs and wants?
I challenge you to look at what your response would be. This is a challenge for me as well. What has God done for you lately?

 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Become a Cult Leader

                 The other night at dinner, we were talking about how a record number of church-going people brought up in conventional denominations leave their churches to become part of a cult. What is a cult? The actual definition of the term “cult” is a system of religious beliefs or rituals. According to Wikipedia it’s a term for a new religious movement or other group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre by the larger society. Hmmm, now that I think about it, Christianity might be headed that way.
                Mainstream churches consider other groups to be cults based on deviations from the central doctrines of Christianity. Several groups claim to be Christian, but because of their doctrinal differences, they are considered cults.
                Why do people leave conventional church denominations to join a cult? Many groups offer free acceptance, love, and care for those that don’t feel they fit in elsewhere. But I believe the main reason people leave our churches today is that they see others who appear to have something they want – sincere devotion and discipline. Just as a child needs and desires discipline, as adults we also need and desire discipline in our lives.
                Most cult members are completely dedicated to their beliefs regardless of what others think. People are looking for something to believe in that is real, and cult members are devoted and disciplined in their beliefs and actions. They are passionate about what they believe. They walk their talk, many at all costs. What group comes to mind when you think of a cult? Are they committed? Are they disciplined? Can you tell they believe what they say?
                The term “Christian” means follower of Christ. The majority of Christians today might say they follow Christ, but do their co-workers and friends and family see it and believe them?
                I believe as Christians we should all become cult leaders by living what we claim to believe, so others will see our lives radically devoted to God as Christ followers. We should all be cult leaders – Committed Unique Leaders of Truth.
                I want to be as dedicated and disciplined in my faith in Christ as others are in heretical teachings that lead people away from the one true God of the Bible. I want to be a CULT leader, a Committed Unique Leader of Truth – the truth of God’s Word.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Politically Correct Bible

In light of the recent Facebook banning of Fox News and Commentary host, Todd Starnes, after his remarks about being politically incorrect, I decided to look up what it really means to be politically correct. There is so much hype and there are so many jokes about what is and isn’t politically correct, and I wanted to get it right. What I discovered surprised me.
I looked at definitions according to several dictionary sources and whatever else I could find through the internet. We all know the internet only posts the truth, but I tried to avoid articles and opinions written from one faction or another. Here is what I found.
Political correctness minimizes the alienation and discrimination of political, social, or economically disadvantaged groups, most prominently those defined by gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disability. In a nutshell, political correctness can be described as inclusiveness. It is keeping others from feeling devalued or excluded.
The light bulb turned on as I realized we have a politically correct Bible. Who knew? The Bible talks about equality for everyone. Instead of providing several paths to God depending on who you are or where you are from, God has outlined one path for all of us through Jesus Christ. There are no exceptions for any political, social, or economically disadvantaged group. There are no extra requirements or discriminations based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.
No matter how good we are, none of us is good enough to get to heaven on our own. There is none good but God. We are all sinners. God loves each of us the same, and Jesus died for each of us the same. The Bible is inclusive. No one is excluded. One path to one God through His son, Jesus Christ.
I take comfort in the fact that while we are all different, we are all loved the same by God. Every thou shalt and thou shalt not was written to each of us the same without exception. No one is excluded from God’s love or His righteous plan for our lives.
Thank you, God, for loving me.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).