Monday, September 1, 2014

Finding Satisfaction in Christ

How do we find satisfaction in Christ? When we lose something important to us or feel like we have to have something God has not given to us, what do we do then?

I can definitely relate to those questions. I found myself in the same situation recently, wondering what to do next. I felt that a sure answer to my problems was for God to give me what I wanted if I just prayed to Him. Here are the conclusions that I came to after a time of fasting and praying:

First of all, we need to realize that God may not give us what we want. Yes, He has the ability to give us what we want (I'm speaking of desires that are not evil within themselves), but it's not always in our best interest for Him to do so. After all, we cannot see what the future holds. Only God can, and He knows what is truly best for us. Sometimes He chooses to give us the desires of our heart, and other times He does not.

After realizing this, we need to be willing to submit to His decision, even if the outcome is not the one we want. A tender, submissive, and obedient heart are exactly what God wants from us. We aren't of any use to God when we come to Him with unreasonable demands. Do we really think God will answer us when we treat Him like a cosmic genie? God uses those who are willing to be used. He works in the lives of those who are completely surrendered to His will. Choosing to surrender to God's will even if the outcome is not the one we want is not necessarily a feeling. It's an action. Sometimes we get caught up in thinking you have to feel happy in order to surrender, but that's not always the case. We may be very unhappy about doing so, but as long as we make the commitment to surrender and stick to it, we need not worry coming sorrowfully to the throne of Grace. God will give us the joy we lack when we surrender. It may not be instantaneous. It may be gradual, but it will come, just be willing to submit!

In order to be satisfied in Christ, He needs to be our number one priority. We will always be dissatisfied in life when things don't go our way if we constantly look to those things to make us happy. When we take our eyes off of Christ and focus on the things before us, we lose sight of what real satisfaction looks like. So how does He become our number one priority?

Through increasing your time in prayer and reading The Word. If you're spending 15 minutes a day in reading The Word and 5 minutes in prayer, think about the percentage of time you spend with God on a daily basis. Is that even 10% of your daily time, what is normally required when giving? No. It comes very close to only being 1% of your time. Think about that. You are giving God 1% of your daily time. Does that sound like God is your priority? Now think about all the time you spend eating, sleeping, working, and doing anything else such as hobbies. The percentages of those are probably significantly higher. Now you see why satisfaction cannot occur in Christ when we spend the majority of our time doing other things. I would encourage you to constantly increase your time alone with God. If you read and pray 15 minutes a day, why not turn that into 20 minutes a day this week? And in a month why not turn that into 30 minutes a day? And continue increasing it on a consistent basis. When we increase our time with God, we will find ourselves enjoying God more than before, and thus our focus will be filled with such delight in God that we will find ourselves still happy even when things don't go our way.

Satisfaction in Christ is a very hard thing to learn and put into practice, but when we apply these steps to our lives, we begin to realize that the sacrificing of our time and desires is worth it!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Amazing Salvation Testimonials

I'm not sure if any of y'all have actually seen these salvation testimonials all organized by Billy Graham, but if you haven't, take the time to. They are incredible! I cried watching them just in awe of how great our God is, how kind, and how loving!

I do want to say that before you watch these, I am not exactly an advocate of all that Billy Graham stands for, and I do not agree with the easy believism he advocates at the very end. Aside from that his message intertwined with salvation testimonials was amazing. If you like this on, find his other video on Youtube with three more amazing testimonials!

Oh, and if you like these as much as I did, you can sign up on Billy Graham's website to receive the full video for free to share with someone else!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Where are the Christians?

The new trend these days is Random Acts of Kindness- spreading kindness to others in the hopes that it comes back to you- aka Karma. That's how the world perceives it at least. Just google the word or the acronym RAK and you will find a website dedicated to it, blogposts, and youtube videos about it as well. It's the latest and greatest trend.

The problem with this new trend is not necessarily the fact that its roots are based off of Karma, because we all expect that out of an unbeliever, it's the fact that it seems this trend is done 99% of the time by unbelievers. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but if you go to youtube and look at all the Random Acts of Kindness videos, not many will say they give because of Christ.

So where are the believers? I mean, if you and I call ourselves Christians, why didn't we start this trend? Why didn't we jump on the bandwagon and turn it into Christ-centered acts of kindness. Aren't believers the ones who are supposed to be kind at all times, especially when others are mean, but also when all is at peace? Why is it that non-believers are taking credit for these nice gestures and called the "good people" of the world? What happened to the Christians being the "good people" (good in the sense of the world's goodness, not the Bible's) of the world? Why are we being replaced by those who should not even be thinking about being kind for no good reason?

I recently came across a Youtube video that was trending in popularity of a young man videoing himself giving away $1000 to a homeless man. This homeless man was so moved by this unbeliever's gesture that he cried and said nobody had ever treated him kindly like this young man had done. At that point I was upset. Why? Not because the young man was generating applause for himself by videotaping this act, rather I was upset that the homeless man had been sitting out there for weeks and no Christian took notice of him, rather an unbeliever did. No Christian had ever showed love to him, and that's wrong. We are NOT doing our job as Christians! It's time to wake up and realize that unbelievers are taking over our jobs, because we are too greedy, lazy, or selfish to do it.

So I bring a challenge to everyone reading, this month either give more of your money or time to others OR perform a random act of kindness for no other reason than that God has blessed you and you want to share to others about His love for us. Random acts of kindness can be used to present the gospel as well. Hand a tract with your gift to let them know why you are doing this, not because of karma, but because of God's great love for us!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Benefits of Singleness

I know quite a few people are unmarried, as I am, and they are in their mid to late twenties and still single. I understand how discouraging it can be to hear all the comments about young marriage being Biblical and so on and so forth. To say that young marriage is Biblical would be incorrect, because then everyone would be married young, as God intended, according to those who say so. But not everyone is. God sometimes doesn't bring along the right person for a very long time, and that's okay. So today I wanted to encourage everyone who is unmarried, because we get so little encouragement about being single in the latter years! So here is a list of benefits to later marriage that I came up with. (By the way, in no way am I demeaning or criticizing those who married young. This is solely to encourage the singles.)

1.) Your Viewpoint on Marriage Has Changed- Whether you noticed it or not, your viewpoint on marriage has probably changed for the best. All those hormones you had as a teen have calmed down,  your maturity level has gone up, and hopefully you have realized marriage isn't about the wedding day. It is so much more! When I was a teen, and even into my early twenties, I was excited about The Wedding Day. I wanted to get married for my happiness, to be loved, to experience falling in love, for me, me, me. It was all about me. Then something happened as I got older. I suddenly realized the point in marriage. It was as if one day God pulled the blinders off my eyes and showed me what marriage was for. Yes, we all know it is meant to glorify God, but those are just words. You could have said that all you wanted to me, and I would have nodded my head and agreed, but my actions showed I didn't fully understand. And I didn't until the day I realized, not with a head knowledge, but with a heart knowledge that this was a beautiful way to glorify God. Forever you would be able to tell others about the remarkable way you met, as only God could plan out, allowing the hearer, disappointed singles, and those in need of encouragement, to be able to hope and glorify God for His goodness to us when we least expect it, to be able to revel in the fact that God can do the impossible. This story glorifies God. And I have heard remarkable stories where God did the impossible for a single and their story is retold over and over, leaving others speechless, and amazed at the goodness of God. I realized I wanted my marriage to be like that- a God-centered testimony to others. And this I would have never have learned had I married young. I would have gone into marriage with the me, me, me mentality, the wrong perspective. I have God to thank for not being married when I was so immature in this respect!

2.) Your Viewpoint on Children Has Changed- Who doesn't melt at the sight of a cute baby? What girl doesn't enjoy looking at baby clothes at the story and thinking about how cute her baby will be dressed? Those are all enjoyable things, but for the longest time that was what I wanted children for, to dress them up in cute outfits and to name them. Sounds very silly, but that was my purpose for having children, not a mature or Godly one for sure! As I hit my twenties, I realized one day that was not the real purpose for having children. Children are hard work, require energy, patience, and decades of your nurturing affection. They are not simply objects to be entertained with; they are human beings with souls, impressionable and vulnerable. They are literal gifts given to glorify God with by raising them accordingly. It suddenly hit me that whatever children I have, I can raise them according to Biblical standards and ground them in the faith, cultivating them to live for God and work for His kingdom. What an impact just one child can have upon who knows how many people just because you trained them up in the knowledge of the Lord! Imagine if one of your children became the next David Livingstone or Amy Carmichael, what an impact your decades of service to God through raising children would have! All the hard work and decades you spent investing in their lives, all the times you wondered if it was worth it, what was your purpose in investing in them, would all be rewarded when they grew up into Godly adults making an impact on others. It was then I realized how having children could truly glorify God by investing in one life to invest in thousands of others. After that I started praying for these future human beings, to come to a knowledge of God someday and be faithful all their lives to Him. Whether they be adopted or not, I want children to be able to glorify God through them.

3.) You Have Been Able to Observe the Hardships of the Married- Had I married young, I would never have known that marriage isn't a bed of roses. You too have probably been able to observe the married couples around you, and if you have been around them long enough, you can figure out there is tension at times. I never thought about observing married couples for future reference, but it has been one of the best ways of preparing for marriage! More often than not though my observation entails what not to do. I have learned that we women love to nag, nag, nag, but we never realize we are doing it! It has helped me to become aware of potential nagging issues. I have also realized that although a newlywed may dote on her husband and talk about how wonderful he is, in reality, he isn't perfect. Just remember that. I remember one time feeling sad like I was missing out as I listened to this marvelous depiction of someone's husband, until later I saw an undesirable selfish character trait he exhibited. Reading books on marriage and listening to the trials of the married, has enabled me to appreciate and value singleness. It has also helped to fix current issues that could become a potential problem in a marriage. Yes, I encourage observation of couples. It will enable you to prepare for the future, so you can avoid certain issues. And you will be all the wiser for it when you are married.

This in no way means that I will have it altogether when I get married, or I won't be a nagging wife, or that I have no selfish desires (I still struggle with selfish desires too), but it just means I am better prepared and have a God-focused perspective instead of a me-focused perspective, of which is still a struggle to maintain!

 But those are my top three benefits. Those are the unselfish reasons. I could speak of how wonderful it is to be able to do your own thing without consulting anyone else, hang out with friends any time you wish, not worry about running after children, but those are more of selfish benefits, rather than Godly benefits. Yes, enjoy those benefits to singleness too, but don't get so comfortable in them your are unwilling to marry or have children. Marriage and children have their own set of hardships and blessings, just as singleness does. Eventually you will be missing the single days or even regretting how you wasted the single days, instead of putting them to good use. I continue to remind myself about those things when I get lazy and sit around wasting my time doing nothing important. It is what helps to keep me focused on the importance of serving God doing what I am doing at this stage in life. So enjoy this stage of life, make the most of it, redeeming the time, because it certainly won't last long!

And post below if you have any other additions to my list! I would love to see your comments!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Common Sayings That are Not Acceptable

I wanted to write a list of "pet peeves" that aren't so much "pet peeves" rather than incorrect Doctrine being tossed around and over and over.

1.) Have you seen ____________ movie? - Movies are fine and good, if they're appropriate. Why are CHRISTIANS asking other Christians if they've seen a movie with nudity, sexual content, or cussing in it? They know better of all people. And I need to get this out- Les Miserables is not appropriate to be watching folks! You cannot justify the prostitution scene by saying, "Well, it showed how horrible sin was!" Does that mean we should go down to Vegas and see their shows to recognize how horrible sin is? Or how about going to an adult entertainment center to see how horrible sin is- is that acceptable? You would say "NO!" of course! Then how much more inappropriate content in a movie? Let's be mindful of what we watch. If you want to watch those movies, then please don't talk about it amongst other Christians.

2.) "I made this decision because I wanted to/I like  . . ."  - Does the Holy Spirit not work today? Is He broken and unusable? Why on earth would you make a big decision without involving God's direction? Yes, it's tempting to do what we want, but aren't you scared about the consequences? What if that happily ever after marriage you dreamed of is ruined because you never consulted God? What if you lose that job you got because the Lord was against you working there and you insisted on having your way? Christians don't live for themselves anymore. They live for God, and in every big decision they make- God needs to be in it. So please do not say you decided to become a lawyer because you wanted to. You will have plenty of trouble down the road if you base all your decisions on your own feelings and likes. Don't say that you are going into the ministry because you think it's a "neat" idea. The only ones are supposed to be in the ministry are the ones who are called. If you aren't called your teaching and preaching will be flavorless. You won't have that anointing of the Holy Spirit. And believe me, nobody wants anymore boring preachers!

3.) "Marrying ___________ was the happiest day of my life . . ." - I guess you are a Christian who never received the Lord? Shouldn't our salvation day be the happiest day of our lives? We've got our priorities all mixed up if the person of our dreams is the only thing that can make us happy. What happens when we become widows/widowers? What happens when he/she fails you or hurts you deeply? Take a step back, and remember who our greatest joy is- our great God!

4.) "You can't say he/she is not a Christian!" - So if Johnnie wants to do drugs and call himself a Christian we can't say otherwise, despite the fact that there is no fruit? Or what about Mary who made a profession of faith at seven and then falls into prostitution as a teenager- she is still a Christian? No way. You cannot associate any of those words with a Christian. You will know them by their fruits is what the Bible says. If they aren't bearing fruit, you have every legitimate reason to doubt their salvation. And what, if because you are so concerned for their soul, you lead them to repentance by telling them bluntly that one cannot be a Christian and continue in sin? Imagine how many other friends and family members are fooling them into thinking they are on their way to heaven just because of a prayer they prayed at seven. Be the mature Christian, confront them, and pray for them. And if they never turn from their sin, be relieved that they died knowing they were not saved and willingly refused to accept Christ, instead of falling into the pit of hell unexpectedly and surprisingly- not realizing everyone had fooled them their entire life!

5.) "You have to say things in love . . ." - How come pastors can tell the truth bluntly and call sin sin? Are pastor's that much higher and holier than us that we can only let them do the confronting? Why is it that in order to confront Johnnie about his sin, I have to beat around the bush, tell him I am a sinner too, then explain that God still loves him but . . . . Isn't the fact that we are pointing out the sin in order for them to turn back to God showing love? Only a person who cares for another person will have the guts to confront sin, because they don't want that person to fall away. Saying the truth will hurt- that doesn't make it done out of meanness and hate. And yeah, the truth is harsh too at times, but Jesus never shied away from telling the Pharisees they were hypocrites, so we shouldn't shy away from confronting sin, as long as we are not in that sin as well.

6.) "Christian girls shouldn't expect to marry Adoniram Judson or Hudson Taylor- they need to be realistic and set standards accordingly" - So are you saying that the high standards I have are so unattainable, no man on earth can reach that and therefore I should lower them? What if I lower my standards to some disheveled young man who says he is a Christian, yet doesn't live like it. That's okay, as long as he calls himself a Christian? So the young man shouldn't be attaining a deeper spiritual walk because nobody does that these days? Really? The spiritual walk of a young man should be at the top of a young woman's list, after salvation. If he is not desiring to grow, then he should not even be considered. How about young women stop saying they can't court so-and-so because he doesn't have the same interests as them or he isn't handsome? Those are standards that should be lifted- not the spirituality of the young man.

7.) "I went 100/ _______ mph tonight!" We do not have the Audubon in the United States . . . and the highest mph you can go legally is in Texas, and that is 85 mph. So why are we boasting about breaking the laws? I understand nobody likes speed limits. I don't either, but that's beside the point. We are told to obey the laws set by the government. Shouldn't we be ashamed that we broke the law? And yes, at one point I actually thought it was okay to speed 5mph over the posted speed limit. Isn't that silly? But then I realized I was wrong, and it sure took a long time to accept that the posted speed limit was what I had to maintain. I still struggle with maintaining the speed limit, but let's not boast about committing a sin!

8.) "Don't Judge" - I saved the worst for the last. This one really crawls under my skin, because Christ told us to judge other believers except if we are committing the same sin or doing it in a mean and unkind way. How else will we be held accountable for the sins in our life? I don't know about you, but as a believer, I really would like people to point out my sin. Oh yes, I will be hurt and perhaps upset about being told that, but in the end, it's better to know than to continue on in sin never realizing I was in the wrong!

Please know that I am in no way saying I am perfect. I can tell you many times that I have be in the wrong for certain things I listed, and later realizing I needed to work on those issues. This is just to help remind fellow believers that our conduct affects our outward appearance to the world. Will they see Christ in me when I do these things?

Where's points 9 & 10? Well, you answer that and post in the comments below what are two of your "spiritual pet peeves."

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ordinary Christians

In all reality, I would say 90% of Christians are- ordinary Christians. Christians who like to watch movies with sexual immorality, cussing, and other inappropriate content, Christians who go home after church and forget what they have learned, Christians who pray for five minutes a day and read the Bible a mere fifteen minutes a day, Christians who go to a prayer meeting that lasts for five minutes because nobody wants to pray, Christians who love to be like the world and social drink, Christians who believe in having fun and doing as they please. These are ordinary Christians. And most of us are ordinary Christians. We have no idea that anything could be more meaningful. We have no sense of the enormity of our sin in acting like the world. We have no idea that we are far off from something even greater in our spiritual walk. We have absolutely no idea that going to church on Sunday, spending a few minutes with God on a daily basis, then going off and doing as we please for the rest of the day is sin. We have no idea that something is off balance. So how do I know? Not from experience, I can say that. From reading R.A. Torrey's book on prayer, from reading missionary biographies on the greats like David Brainerd. That is what it means to be a real Christian. None of this God on the side stuff. I would challenge everyone who doesn't understand what I mean by "more to the Christian life" to read a missionary biography and see if you don't get it then. When you come to the realization that there is something more to attain in the Christian life, you realize how petty and silly your life of having fun for the happiness of self is, you realize just how similar your life compares to the unbeliever, you realize how sinful you are, and you realize that you want that power of the Holy Spirit in your life.

I know I want it- I've seen what it can do from other's lives. But it's a hard road to achieve that higher place in the Christian walk. It can only come through a sincere desire to serve God even more than what is being done right now. It means sacrificing hours a day to the Word and in Prayer. It means directing your thoughts back to God day and night. It means living, eating, and breathing God. And I think that's something Americans don't want to do. It's too hard. It means making an effort. I want to challenge everyone this week to make a commitment to spend more time in the Word or in Prayer. I myself have made it a challenge to pray more and gradually increase the time spent in prayer. Knowing God in an intimate relationship means making the time for Him through sacrifice. So I challenge everyone to change something this week and make it a goal to know Him like the greats knew Him. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Winner of Giveaway . . .

is Esther! Congrats- your book will be shipped out immediately.

New post coming by tomorrow evening- so stay posted!