Friday, April 30, 2010

Allegiance to God

I am currently doing a study on prayer, the Lord’s Prayer to be exact.

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

The second sentence: “Thy kingdom come” has never made much sense to me. I just assumed that it went along with the next sentence: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

However, I am learning that “Your kingdom come” really is a confirmation in prayer of our allegiance to the sovereign rule of the kingdom of God above all else – of our desire for God’s visible rule upon the earth.

Kay Arthur, the author of Lord Teach me to Pray, goes on to point out that “Instead of living in total obedience, unwavering allegiance to His kingdom and His reign as King in our lives, we are double minded, desiring the best of both worlds, forgetting that “our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20).

How convicted I am!

Again and again I find that my allegiance is to the furtherance of my ambitions, my welfare, my comforts, my likes and dislikes…

It is easy for me to find time to do the things I want to do, things that I like to do. Yet, I forget to read the Word and spend time with God. Worse yet, I decide that I am going to do the things I want to do first and if there is enough time, I will read a little bit of the Bible. Making the decision to read the Bible later has caused me to be behind on my prayer study (3 days behind).

I think it is time to change the routine and create a priority list.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Knowing God by Name

The bible mentions God by many different names, depending on the specific aspects of His character.

Since I was very young, I enjoyed learning the different names of God - but I didn't really know what they meant.

While doing the study Lord Teach Me to Pray by Kay Arthur I found a list of the names of God and I have gone back to that list many times since I first read this book a year ago.

Check this out!

  • Elohim Genesis 1:1 Creator
  • El Elyon Genesis 14:18-20 The Most High (Sovereign)
  • Jehovah-Tsidkenu Jeremiah 23:6 The Lord our Righteousness
  • Jehovah-Jirah Genesis 22:14 The Lord with provide
  • Jehovah-Roi Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my Shepherd
  • Jehovah-Shalom Judges 6:24 The Lord is peace
  • Jehovah-Nissi Exodus 17:15 The Lord is my Banner
  • Jehovah-Rophe Exodus 15:26 The Lord who heals
  • Jehovah-Shammah Ezekiel 48:35 The Lord is there
  • Jehovah-Sabaoth I Samuel 1:3-11 The Lord of hosts

The Bible tells us "The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe." Proverbs 18:10

Which name from the chart deals with where you are today?

For me, the Lord is my peace (Jehovah-Shalom).

Monday, April 26, 2010

Family Time

This weekend I got to take pictures of a beautiful family - I think I could have photographed them all day. However, the little man did not share these same feelings.

Taking pictures of babies is quite different in the sense that they are not going to smile because you asked them to, they don't really care if you get a good photo and they are more worried about their nap time than anything else. This was my first experience taking family photos and I can't wait to do it again!

I learned a lot about having to take as many pictures as possible, as fast as possible. But I am quite excited about some photos and I can't wait to see this family change over the years.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hungry All the Time

John and I have been working on our eating habits.

It is not that we eat too much fast food or anything like that. In fact, we rarely eat out. I cook all our meals and John is a great helper in the kitchen. Cooking together is something we do to reconnect after a day away from each other.

However, since we have not been disciplined about exercising, we decided to start eating smaller portions. I am also making lighter meals so we cut back on carbohydrates.

As a result, I am hungry all the time.

Yesterday we had a bowl of delicious butternut squash soup. Two hours later I felt just as hungry as I was before eating the soup.

We headed out to Home Group (a church bible study) and ate some yummy cold pasta - a treat from one of the Home Group's members. The problem was that one little bowl of pasta didn't seem enough. While John went back for seconds, I tried to resist the temptation and stop myself. But in reality, I didn't want to stop myself and seeing John eat the delicious pasta made me frustrated because I wanted some too, but I didn't want to break the plan.

This situation lead to a good conversation on our way home. I was still hungry and annoyed that I was hungry. John was hungry too - but at least he had enjoyed more pasta than me. In the middle of this frustration I shared with him that I need support in order to stick to the plan. I can't count on myself to be self controlled all the time - at least not in these beginning stages of change. We agreed that we would both work harder to encourage each other and lead by example. I am so glad we can work on this together!

We got home, worked a little bit and got ready to go to sleep. As we laid in bed we both commented that we were hungry. Eventually we fell asleep.

I woke up this morning and the firs thing I heard was my stomach. Seriously!

This goal of eating less is going to be interesting...but at least it is a challenge we get to face as a team.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Already Behind

I am trying to get back into the routine of reading the Bible daily. I recently posted about how I want to do this and I definitely need it.

Well, I am going to be honest with you and confess that it is week one and I am already behind.

I don't want to be behind and I think about it ALL the time. Literally.

But I already have some catching up to do. However, I do not want to get discouraged about my lack of discipline.

I am sure it is going to be work, but it is worth it!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Communion with God

My last post was all about how I am not very disciplined.

Well, I am taking some steps to work on that area of my life - and I am starting with prayer.

I decided last week that I should reread the book "Lord Teach me to Pray" by Kay Arthur. I read this book last year and I was fascinated by the things I was learning. However, I am still not disciplined to pray continuously and be in communion with God. So, it is time to read it again.

The author writes this in the introduction:

"In any given day you can find yourself concerned about any or all of the following: yourself, your husband (having one, not having one), children (wishing, wanting, having, wishing you didn't), your friends, your finances, the future, the past, the present.

What are you going to do?
How are you going to make it?
Where are you going to turn?

Your answer is found in the Word of God and in prayer, in casting all your cares on Him because He cares for you. That is what this study is all about, beloved: learning to pray God's way, according to His word. It is about learning how to talk to God about anything and everything."

This is something I need.
This is something I want.

I will keep you posted on the new things that I learn, but before I go, here are a couple of tips on prayer from James McDonald.

" If you've ever struggled to know what to pray for or how to pray, this list, based on Psalm 25:16-21 will help you focus on some of the most important aspects of prayer:

Honesty — Reread Psalm 25:16: "Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted." Who says in our world, "I'm lonely"? No one wants to admit they're lonely! But you can tell God. You can open your heart. You can share with Him your deepest secrets.

Petition — Verse 17 reads, "The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses." Tell God exactly what you want. Does God always do what I ask Him to do? No. But I don't need to hold back in prayer, fearful that I'll ask the wrong things. My kids never held back when petitioning me: "Can I have this? Can I have that?" My response was often "No," but they kept asking. Just tell God what you want because sometimes He will say, "Yes. Tomorrow. Soon."

Confession — As you petition God, you will often begin to think, "Boy, I really don't deserve to ask for anything." Correct! So you might want to deal with your sin. Confession is a huge part of prayer. Verse 18 says, "Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins."

Circumstances — Tell God what's happening. You're thinking, "He already knows." I know. But if you tell Him, then you'll know that He knows. When David said, "Consider how many are my foes" (v.19), he was actually asking God to count his enemies. Prayer is an awesome outlet. No one listens more attentively than God. No one is more worthy to unburden your heart to.

Faith — "Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in You," reads verse 20. That's faith. "You're going to do it, God. You're going to work this out." Express your faith to God and feel it grow.

Dedication — Before you end your prayer, commit yourself to God. "May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you" (v.21). David is not saying where he is spiritually, but where he longs to be. He's recommitting himself: "God, my dedication to doing what pleases You is going to have to sustain me here while I'm waiting for You to do the things that I'm trusting You to do."

I hope this is helpful and encouraging!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Discipline is Tough Work

Having the discipline to spend daily time in the Word has always been challenging for me, especially when I am not following a planned out curriculum of some kind. When left to plan my own reading, I end up reading a chapter or two, here and there – without digging in and reflecting on what I am reading.

The book The Pursuit of Holiness is challenging me once again to take my commitment to God to a deeper level.

In I Corinthians, Paul says that we are to train or discipline ourselves to be godly.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” I Corinthians 9:24-27

I don’t know about you, but when I read these verses I do not feel like my daily actions have been full of strict training. Instead of running the race to win the prize, I see myself taking a stroll while enjoying the view.

I am not saying this because I think God is not pleased when we are enjoying life. His desire is for us to enjoy what he has given us. However, often I forget that I am running a race. I lose sight of the prize and I get lost and start walking around in circles (so to speak).

To keep my eyes on the prize, I need to create a habit of consuming a healthy diet of the Word of God. I need a planned time each day for reading and studying the bible.

Often I get up in the morning with the intention to read and study but soon enough I get distracted by the things that ‘need’ to be done and before I realize it, I am going to bed.
I want to change this bad habit and I want to become more disciplined in spending time with God.

My plan is to start doing a bible study that is broken down into the different days of the week. I need to go back to that planned out curriculum so I can get in the habit of reading, studying, memorizing and meditating on the Word of God. It is time to start that strict training!

Feel free to ask me how I am coming along with my goal.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Yesterday was a fun day.

The weather was crazy and indecisive, but I got to spend time with a friend I have not seen in quite a while. I also got to meet her baby.

This little boy is a fountain of joy! He cannot stop laughing and giggling and clapping his hands.

What a blessing it was to spend part of my day with this precious baby and his gorgeous mommy!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tulip World

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Taming the Tongue

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18

Is this verse speaking to you today?

This verse captured my attention years ago, when I first found it in the bible. However, more recently I have been thinking about its meaning: words have power.

Being more of an extrovert who thrives among people, I am a person of many words. I said my first word when I was only 9 months old. Since I was a child, I have had something to say or an opinion to share.

But I am learning to hold my tongue when I have nothing nice to say.

Looking back at my adolescent years, I remember using my words as a weapon. I knew just what to say to leave my parents angry and even speechless. I knew which words to use to put my brother down. I knew what to say to make my sister cry. I knew that when I wanted to hurt someone, I could use words.

As I began to know God in a more intimate way, I was convicted of this sinful pattern. I prayed that God would teach me to control my tongue. I didn’t want to lash out hurtful words when I felt hurt. I didn’t want to say things that I meant at that moment but didn’t really mean in my heart.

God has been faithful and the Holy Spirit is a wonderful guide, but I am still learning.

This process has been slow and hard. For many years I felt like I moved forward five steps only to move backwards three steps again. There is a battle within me and I know that only with God’s help I can be victorious against my sinful nature.

When I get in an argument I am still tempted to say the first thing that comes to my head. I still catch myself thinking some nasty things about the other person. I still want to defend myself no matter what.

But I am learning to turn to God before speaking.

Getting married has pushed me in this area of life because I do not want my reckless words to pierce a giant hole in my marriage.

When John and I cannot agree about something and I notice that a conversation is turning into an argument I stop talking and simply pray. I pray that God would give me his wisdom, love, patience and grace. I pray that he would mold my heart and alter my thoughts. I pray that he would transform me from the inside out.

This is a slow learning process, but I want to keep learning.

My desire is to use my words to the glory of God. I want to speak out of love. I want to have wise words that bring healing. I want my words to be a fountain of encouragement.

Beautifully Made by God

A friend and I had a hard time making plans to get these pictures taken. The weather was VERY indecisive and we spent part of our time together sitting in the car, hoping the clouds would move away eventually.

God granted our wish and we had a blast!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Better Together

I have been thinking about how much my life has changed since I got married – almost 2 years ago.

Before getting married, I was a pretty independent person. I never really liked asking for help (something that can definitely be a weakness) so I got used to figuring things out on my own.

Two years later…parts of me have not changed much. I still don’t like to ask for help.
However, I depend on John more and more for little things and big things as well.

Here is a silly but true example:

After a weekend of fun with friends, it was time to do some cleaning around the house. I plugged the vacuum cleaner in the bedroom, on the same outlet as the heater – not paying attention that the heater was on. Five minutes later, the lights go out and the vacuum stops working. I went to the circuit breaker box to fix the circuit that had stopped working.

The task seemed simple, but I couldn’t do it.

The little knob was stuck half way between on and off…and I was afraid of forcing it…and breaking it.

So, I decided to email John at work to ask for advice. I couldn’t turn on the computer because the plugs were not working. I called him, but he didn’t answer the phone.

I plugged the vacuum in the kitchen and continued to clean in the semidarkness.

But I had an appointment and I needed to get ready soon – and I didn’t know how I was going to get ready in the dark bathroom.

I thought about using a flashlight if all things failed.

To my relief, John called me and told me to push the button harder so it would be off and then I could turn it back on – and that I would not break it. He was right. The lights came back on and everything was fine.

While this is a very minor example, it made me realize that I have learned to depend on John and that I need him.

Sometimes I need him to tell me that I am beautiful. Sometimes I just need a John hug. Sometimes I need to feel loved by him and sometimes I just need to hear his voice.

This is exciting to me.

It fills me with joy to recognize that we have become one in so many ways.

Although we would have been just fine if we had never married each other, that would not be true today. Today I need him to be my friend, my husband, my partner, my companion. And I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He is Risen!

The Resurrection

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

"Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.' "

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.

Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.

Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."

After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

Mark 16

Friday, April 2, 2010

April Begins...

...with April fool’s day.

And I really dislike April fool’s jokes.

I know that some of you might think that I am a 'party pooper' with no sense of humor, and that may be true at times. However, when it comes to April fool’s jokes, that is not the case.

I don't dislike them because I don't think they are funny; some of them are hilarious. Instead, I don't like them because I never know which ones are jokes and which ones are truths.

Yesterday I opened my facebook to find ridiculous amounts of status updates and I couldn't figure out if people were being serious of if what they were saying was a joke. This causes me to be suspicious about everything. I just assume that everything is fake - and I should not give it any thought.

AND I really dislike wondering if people are being truthful or not. It is awful to assume that they are lying.

A friend announced that she is pregnant with twins.
What do I say about that?
Good one!

Another friend announced that she is getting married.
My first thought was:
“No you’re not!”
Later I felt bad for assuming it wasn’t true.

Because of instances like these, I dislike April fool’s jokes…

But I get to celebrate my grandma’s birthday on that same day – and that is a good thing!
Related Posts with Thumbnails