Thursday, May 15, 2014

Galatians 5

I've been taking part in Kristin Schmucker's 31 days of scripture challenge. From the moment I committed to this, God has reminded me to stick to it! I committed to setting my alarm for 6:45am every morning so that I can hopefully spend 30 minutes in solitaire before my little man wakes up. Let me tell you… on the days I didn't set my alarm, I was wide awake at 6:50am. No matter what. God definitely wanted me to dig in and use that time alone in the morning to do it. I chose to read Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and 1 and 2 Thessalonians. One chapter a day, digging into the words of truth.

Galatians chapter 5 was one that I could not stop writing in my prayer journal about. There was so much truth a goodness that Paul was speaking to these people and those same truths still hold true in our spiritual lives today. I think I copied half the verses down. Here's some that stood out to me:

"Stand fim, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1
This was my reminder that it was always God's intention for us to be free in Christ. That's why he sent his only Son to die a horrific death on the cross for the people he loved. He wanted us to be free. Don't let sin make you a slave. Sin can become chains that imprison you and hold you back from freedom. Break every chain and stand firm so that you are not burdened by sin. Verse 13 also talked about how we are called to be free. And in the notes there it says, "True Christian liberty is not license to sin but freedom to serve God and one another in love."

"In Christ, neither circumcision or uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." Galatians 5:6
Back in this day, many people believed that following the law was above all else. But the problem was that many people who followed the law were not right with God in their heart. They thought if they followed the rules then they were fine. Not so… it's a matter of the heart and how we love one another. The notes in my Bible say "Faith is a living trust in God's grace that expresses itself in acts of love." 

"You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?" Galatians 5:7
I could probably write a whole post on this. It's so good. Paul says, "You guys… you were doing great in your spiritual life with Christ. You were believing, trusting, hoping, and loving Him. You were running a good race. What happened? Who jumped in front of you and made you stray? Who has caused you to disobey?" I pictured myself running a race, knowing why I was running and who I was running for. Then someone cuts right in front of me and starts telling me all the reasons I shouldn't be running, making me questions why I'm running, making me doubt the truths I have known. My friends… has something or someone cut in front of your spiritual run with Christ? What has caused you to disobey or question the God you're running for?

"Love your neighbor as yourself. If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you'll be destroyed by each other." Galatians 5:14-15
Whoo… there's a warning. The command says to love your neighbor as yourself. That means selfless, servant, love. If we continue to tear each other down, be disrespectful to one another, and compete against one another… they we will be destroyed by one another.

"Live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desire what is contrary to the spirit and the spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature." Galatians 5:16
When we choose to live our lives according to the Spirit of Christ and His commands then we are not satisfying our sinful nature, or Satan's desire for us. Our sinful nature is completely on opposite spectrums than the Spirit. When you choose to sin, you choose to disobey God. When you choose to obey God, you defy the Devil. Living by the promptings and power of the Spirit is the key to conquering sinful desires.

And finally… the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

God's Plans far Exceed the Circumstances of the Day

Have you ever heard someone say that the enemy always attacks harder on this things we are working on?

This has been such a reality for me over the past week or so! Going through the study Unglued I have been trying to grasp how I react in certain situations, those unglued moments. And as I have been working through these moments it seems the enemy is just trying to make it even harder on me.

This happens all the time. Not just with me but with everyone. You start trying to work on things in your life and it seems to get harder with every step you make. This is the enemy. He wants us to feel alone and uncomfortable and sad and worn out. 

The reality is though that God is making head way in our lives. Chiseling away the yuck for us to become even better and more like him! 

He has such great plans for us. This is one of my favorite verses because it applies to every area of life and my boyfriend lovingly reminded me of it yesterday.

"For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future."   Jeremiah 29:11

And sometimes those plans are a little scary but Yahweh knows far more than we do and he has a reason and a plan for everything that goes on in our lives. After all the struggles are done we will look back and see some of the amazing work he does through us even in the midst of hardship. We have such a loving, merciful Lord! Let us praise him for the good and the hard because no matter what He's got our backs!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Our Relationship With Love

"...there is no real reality, no full life, outside of the relationship with Love,
because God Himself wraps Himself eternally in relationship; God the 
Father, God the Son, and God the Goly Spirit existing in relationship, an 
encircling dance of communion sweetest.  
God is love - everywhere! everything! - and He can only be love
because He exists in triune relationship...
I can't simply ignore His serenade because I'm unsure, uncomfortable, 
uninterested, thinking I've claimed Christ as my Savior already anyways.
God is relationship and He woos us to relationship and there is nothing
with God if there is no relationship."

Ann Voskamp, 1,000 Gifts

Happy Friday all!  I am just wrapping up Ann Voskamp's book, 1,000 Gifts, and it has been soooo good!  It has brought so much perspective to me on faith and thankfulness and intimate relationship with my Savior.  The quote above struck me because so many times I've believed the lie that "I've claimed Christ as my Savior anyway" and forgotten that I have nothing that really fulfills me outside of real and intimate relationship with Him.  Lord how I've failed to wrap myself up in you even though you constantly pursue me!

Forget about the rules, the traditions, the ideas of how things should be for a moment.  Put aside judgments of what a real Christ follower should look like or sound like or act like for a moment and just BE with the Lover of Your Soul!  Find your peace and your joy in relationship with your Father.  Nurture your relationship with Him like you would with a boyfriend or husband or child.  Spend time getting to know Him.  What is His personality like?  How does He really feel about you?  He will meet you right where you are at and He will fill you like no other on Earth can!  I promise you if you take the time to find your identity in real relationship with the One who created you, your life will change.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

How to make time for God when you don't have time

I have a kinda embarrassing confession to make. I guess I always try to lie to myself, but lately, even if the truth hurts I've been searching my own heart and admitting my faults.

I'm terrible at following through with some commitments. I would definitely rather now commit to anything so I didn't have to cancel anything. For example, if I commit to going to my bible study then I don't have time for the homework most days. But, at least I showed up right? Who can blame me? I'm a busy mom, trying to run multiple business and writing on 4+ blogs. It's hard to juggle all those things. Things in which I say "yes" to  way more than I should. I guess I'm not great at time managment either so I rush around last minute to get things done too if I can muster up enough energy to get them done. 5 hour energy shots are a must for me. I'm running on an empty tank lately. Just plain exhausted. So where do I have time for God if I don't even have time for myself? Let alone time for a shower.

Post it notes are perfect for writing scriptures on and spiritual reminders on them. Place them on the mirror so when you are getting ready you can read them. Especially when blow drying your hair!

Make small prayer lists like things and people to pray for.
Scriptures, quotes & anything uplifting.

I personally have a post it note on the dash of my car by the volume knob that says "PRAY."
Everytime I look at it, it reminds me to talk to God. Praise Him, pray in the spirit, thank Him, prayer over circumstances and declare victories!

Seriously ladies, the Bible app is amazing for busy days. Read the daily verse and when you have a minute, grab your phone and read some more. Anytime you have a second meditate on the daily verse!

I use the YouVersion Bible App.

After you put the kids in bed, find an awesome sermon on youtube and lay in bed or take a bubble bath!
You can also read a daily devotional or your bible! If you get the kids on a nightly routine then it is a lot easier to have a few minutes to yourself at night to spend with God.

Remember, He is #1 in our lives! So let's make Him a priority in our busy lives!

Monday, May 5, 2014

craving grace: restoration

For the last few weeks I have been walking through Ruthie Delk's book, Craving Grace.

Now on to restoration. Being restored, restored into the person God intends for you to be. 

We sin. We repent. Then we let God cover us in His grace to restore us. I think this might be the most difficult part. At least for me personally. 

Sinning seems to be the easiest part. When we don't abide in God's way but our own. We then recognize our sin and repent and turn away. Then we look to Jesus to wash that blood stain away and cleanse us white as snow. 

But do you ever feel guilty? Like you are not good enough to be cleansed of your sins? I know I do. I struggle with this immensely. This is when you need to speak truth over yourself. Stop believing the lie the devil is putting in your head. 

Take that guilt to the Lord because loved one, you are worthy. Worthy of His grace. 

Let Him restore you. 

Restoration breeds hope, joy, and freedom. It's the promise that one day, in spite of my circumstances or my pain, God will make all things new. -- Ruthie Delk

Do not fear. Do not fret. You are good enough. He has redeemed you. 

Isaiah 43:18-19 -- Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!

You have repented, forget the former things that held you back. Do not dwell on your sin. But trust in God to let Him RESTORE you and do HIS NEW thing. 

What is holding you back from receiving His restoration?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

To Love, To Help, To Serve

Let me share something with you... maybe you can relate.

I don't like to do dishes. I don't like to sweep or mop. I don't like dusting. And I really don't like cleaning bathrooms. Laundry, vacuuming, picking up toys... I can handle.

I love preparing to get organized. Creating cleaning charts, keeping my calendar up to date, creating a home command center. But I don't always follow through. I have my organized piles. Most of the time I know where right where to find things. I have great motivation. But my actions aren't really intentional. My husband wishes I was a little more intentional in my actions and not just my the motivation in my head.

I am a "stay-at-home" mom. I use that term lightly because it just means that I don't have a full time job working for another company outside the home. I am a wife, a mom, a maid, a cook, a personal shopper, etc. But I am home almost all day. There are errands to run, grocery shopping to do, some yard work, laundry to start, continue, fold and put away, floors to sweep, mop, and vacuum, shelves to be dusted, bathrooms to clean, dishes to be done, meals to be prepared, a Thirty-One business to keep alive, and OH YEAH... and a year and a half old son to take care of, teach, play with, feed, and put to bed. A stay-at-home mommy is a busy, rewarding, hard job. It's hard to keep up with everything that is required - it's hard to do it with a right heart sometimes too. BUT - it's a privilege I (we) chose, and therefore I need to work my hardest at it.

My husband - wants, needs, and appreciates a clean house. After a long day at work, he wants to walk in the door and spend quality time with his family. Not quantities of time cleaning. It shows him that I respect him when our home is clean. And as much as I "get that"... I'm not very good at helping fulfill that area of our marriage. I argue with it, I give excuses. Yes, we can all be realistic and admit it's not always possible to walk into a clean house, especially when you have young kids at home. But I should still be trying my best, with a right heart and pure intentions, to be that helper for my man and meet his desires and love languages. Even if I don't understand them. Why... because I promised to love, cherish, and help him. Your relationship should be a priority above all others.

Here are some biblical principles for marriage:

  • God created wives to be helpers to our husbands (Genesis 2:18)
  • God commands wives to respect our husbands (Ephesians 5:33)
  • God commissions our husbands to be leaders of the home (Ephesians 5:22-24)
Sometimes these are tough truths to handle and it requires some humbling in our selfish, independent hearts. Sometimes we are so quick to lead our men, boss them, and criticize them. In Courtney Joseph's book, Women Living Well she writes, "God desires that they (our husbands) be servant leaders, but whether they are actually doing that should make no difference as to our attitude of being their helpers."

She suggests three simple concepts when it comes to helping your husband.
1. Know your husband. Know what he likes and what he doesn't. Help him when he asks, without questioning him. Always have an attitude of helpfulness. Look for ways to meet his needs.

2. Do not compare your husband to your friend's husband, your brother-in-law, or your pastor! Your husband is your husband and he is unique. Don't expect him to be anyone else besides who God has called him to be.

3. Do not wait for your husband to "deserve" to be helped. Do what is right no matter what he is saying or doing. Have the right heart and attitude.

So today I challenge you - wives - work hard at whatever you're doing with a humble, right heart. Whether you understand what your husband is asking of you or not, choose to love him for him and to show him you respect him.  Respect is an attitude of the heart that will be displayed in our actions. Be a servant leader, a support system, and a helper. Your marriage will be better for it and so will you.