Wednesday, October 31, 2007

1 Corinthians 1:1-2 Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

This is just one of the many places in scripture that explains that each of us are "called" for a purpose by the will of God. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, it is because the Holy Spirit has been working on our heart. God has been calling us - chosing us. It is nothing of ourselves. Do not think more highly of yourself because you are a Christian against someone who is not.
Once you have become a Christian, seek to know God's calling or will for your life. What is it that He wants to accomplish through you? Do not be afraid to ask Him what it is and after He tells you, do not be afraid to do it. You will enjoy abundant life when following God's perfect calling and will.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I was discussing purity of our words with some friends. The Bible speaks alot about controlling our tongue. This is a great struggle for me. Most of the time, my mouth seems to run faster than my brain. I have spent many conversations with my foot in my mouth. As I have tried to do better at controlling my tongue, I have found that it is easier with others than with my husband. My gossiping and discouraging tongue was getting better while with my friends, but I was still going home to "let it all out" to my husband. I couldn't stand not telling someone! This is not right either! My desire to know all and tell all is very frustrating to me. I decided to memorize scripture that I could think on when the urge hits me to open my mouth.
Romans 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Battle for Integrity

Monday, October 29, 2007
A Battle for Integrity
Charles R. Swindoll
I must tell you that I have been troubled regarding the face of things in our country and within the family of God. My major battle has had to do with one word, one concept. My battle has to do with integrity.
In our nation--and in the church--there has been a falling away, a breakdown, and a compromise in integrity. Recent headlines have taught us that the boom of the 1990s was built on a foundation devoid of integrity. But compromise isn't limited to CEOs who greedily sell out their employees or to pork-happy politicians. All too often we find a moral laxity behind our pews and, even worse, behind the pulpit.
Let me define what I mean by integrity. Webster's tells us integrity means "an unimpaired condition."1 It means to be sound. The Hebrew word for integrity, tom, also means to be complete or solid.
So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them with his skillful hands. (Psalm 78:72)
Integrity is completeness or soundness. You have integrity if you complete a job even when no one is looking. You have integrity if you keep your word even when no one checks up on you. You have integrity if you keep your promises. Integrity means the absence of duplicity and is the opposite of hypocrisy. If you are a person of integrity, you will do what you say. What you declare, you will do your best to be. Integrity also includes financial accountability, personal reliability, and private purity. A person with integrity does not manipulate others. He or she is not prone to arrogance or self-praise. Integrity even invites constructive and necessary criticism because it applauds accountability. It's sound. It's solid. It's complete.
Integrity is rock-like. It won't crack when it has to stand alone, and it won't crumble though the pressure mounts. Integrity keeps one from fearing the white light of examination or resisting the exacting demands of close scrutiny. It's honesty at all costs.
The words of Louis Adamic seem fitting, "There is a certain blend of courage, integrity, character and principle which has no satisfactory dictionary name but has been called different things at different times in different countries. Our American name for it is 'guts.'"2
I like that. Integrity is having the guts to tell the truth, even if it may hurt to do so. Integrity is having the guts to be honest, even though cheating may bring about a better grade. Integrity is having the guts to quote sources rather than to plagiarize.
But there are some things integrity is not. It is not sinless perfection. A person with integrity does not live a life absolutely free of sin. No one does. But one with integrity quickly acknowledges his failures and doesn't hide the wrong.
Now, in addressing this crucial mark of character, I could come across as the "white knight," but you know me better than that. I fail like everyone else. The sooner you remember that, the better we'll get along. But concerning the issue of integrity, I give you my word. You will know if I have failed or if Insight for Living has failed in some way. I will tell you. I will not lead you to believe something is true if it is false. That is the least I can do as a minister of the Gospel.
Integrity is essential in the church, in the marketplace, and especially in the home. When you walk in integrity, you leave it as a legacy for your children to follow (Proverbs 20:7). It's what I call the father's thumbprint. Blessed are you if you had a father with integrity and a mother with guts.
When you work with integrity, you honor the Lord. Regardless of your profession, your character and conduct are methods of ministry. Over 50 years ago, Elton Trueblood wrote,
It is hard to think of any job in which the moral element is lacking. The skill of the dentist is wholly irrelevant if he is unprincipled and irresponsible. There is little, in that case, to keep him from extracting teeth unnecessarily, because the patient is usually in a helpless situation. It is easy to see the harm that can be done by an unprincipled lawyer. Indeed, such a man is far more dangerous if he is skilled than if he is not skilled.3
Do you put wire in walls? Do you repair cars? Do you work with numbers? Do you sell clothes? Perhaps you practice law or medicine. The important thing is not what work you do, but whether you do your work with integrity. Perhaps you labor behind the scenes, and your only thanks is the inner satisfaction of a job done right. Do you cheat on your exams? Are you cheating on your mate? Some have the audacity to do such things and call themselves Christians. No wonder the world is confused!
You want to shock the world? Start here--demonstrating the guts to do what's right when no one is looking. It takes real guts to stand strong with integrity in a culture weakened by hypocrisy. Start today.
Taken from Charles R. Swindoll, "A Battle for Integrity," Insights (March 2003): 1-2. Copyright © 2003, Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used with permission.
Last year, I attended a conference and heard Elizabeth George speak on Titus 2. It was very impactful and is something laid heavy on my heart ever since. Here's verses 2-8: Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love in perseverance. Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, to that the word of God will not be dishonored. Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, having nothing bad to say about us.
I took what it said about the younger women to heart and began to make adjustments in my life to obey but wasn't too concerned about the older woman part thinking that didn't pertain to me. I have recently attended a Bible study called Apples of Gold which is a 6 week mentoring program based on Titus 2:3-5. It has amazed me the impact these women and the lessons have had on my life. The last 6 weeks have changed who I am. This has shown me just how truly important mentoring is.
The more I thought about it, when the scripture says older and younger women, this could also be maturity in Christ not necessarily age. I, even being a younger woman by age can mentor others by what God has taught me in my walk with Him. I just don't want you to think that you cannot mentor others because of your age. By telling others and setting an example with your life - you are mentoring, no matter how old you are.

Friday, October 26, 2007

In one of our Bible studies we are reading The Purpose Driven Life again. One sentence from the book that really impacted me was "You are as close to God as you choose to be." How true - so many of us say that we want to know God more, we want to know what the Bible says, we want to hear from God, we want to know our purpose in life, but do we want it enough to do something about it? Or do we just want it all to come easy? Do you want it enough to make sacrifices in your life to get it? Do you want it enough to get up early or stay up late? Do you want it enough to do things that you don't necessarily want to do in your spare time? In order to become closer to God each day, you must be intentionally seeking Him. Study the Bible, pray small, one word or one sentence prayers throughout your day, spend quiet time praying and listening to God, look for ways that God is working in your life, look for ways that you can help others, focus on positives in your life that God has blessed you with. Intimate friendship with God is a choice, not an accident.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

What types of feelings does you home give to others? Warm, cold, friendly, sterile, spontaneous, structured, organized, disarray. Being hospitable is a requirement of God. By making your home welcoming to others, it will make your hospitality much easier. Make small changes to your home and life that will give you more opportunities to use your home to be a blessing to others.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Matthew 25:35-40 "For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? The King will answer and say to them, "Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me."

Wow! What more needs to be said. Are you open and willing to fulfill needs of others? Each act of kindness you do for others, you do to Jesus. Sweet and simple

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

In my Bible study for this week, we are studying purity. One particular topic is flirting. One question that was asked - is there such a thing as innocent flirting when you are married? To me, the answer is no. I don't believe that flirting with another man besides your husband is innocent. The reason that we flirt is because we like the attention we receive because of it. This attention should be sought by our spouse and no one else. If you think that flirting is innocent, think about how you would feel if you knew that your spouse was flirting with someone else. You should treat every man you meet the way you would like other women to treat your husband.

Monday, October 22, 2007

2 Peter 1:4-9 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificient promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.

Peter lists several of faith's actions: learning to know God better, striving for excellence, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness, and love. These are not optional. They also do not come easilty. Some of these are more difficult for some than others but God gives each of us the empowerment and ability to do them all. But we have to make the effort - He will not force us. Do not be surprised at or resentful of the learning and refining process.

Friday, October 19, 2007

When Jesus was being tempted by satan in the wilderness, He was able to respond to each temptation with quoting scripture. What an example for us. Think about a temptation in your life that is particularly difficult for you to overcome - find a Bible verse that applies to it and memorize it. Learn to recite it each morning and then again each time you are tempted. It will amaze you at the strength you will gain from standing on His word.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Do not consider your circumstances - rejoice because you are a daughter of the King! You need to nip a "bad day attitude" in the bud immediately and determine that with the help of God you will guard your heart. If you give satan a toehold, he has your thoughts; if you give him a foothold, he has your attitudes; if you give him a stronghold, he has your way of life. Choose to rejoice today!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I was so excited to tell you about a revelation God gave me yesterday and then when I attempted to get online, my internet was down. Bummer. But I'm back and am ready to share. I was on my morning walk yesterday and I noticed a man in his yard with two small dogs. When the dogs spotted me, they immediately began barking and running toward me. Their owner called their names and they instantly stopped, turned around, and returned to his side. I realized that this is exactly how I should be with God. No matter where my tunnel vision is leading me, I should always have my ears open to my Master's voice. When I hear Him telling me that whatever it is that I want or am doing is not what He wants, I should immediately stop and ask Him what He does want. I have failed at this so many times in the past - sometimes, I get so involved in serving God the way I think I should, I don't listen to what it is that He really wants.

Monday, October 15, 2007

We're back and ready to tackle the week. I always seem refreshed after camping, that is until I notice the huge pile of laundry waiting for me. Oh well, it is all worth it. Yesterday, my daughter asked me about Hebrews 4:15 (For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.) She was confused as to what it meant. I explained to her that before Jesus died on the cross and rose again, people had to go through the high priest in order to ask God for forgiveness from their sins. But after Jesus, we can go to God anytime - we now can have a personal, intimate relationship with Him through Jesus. But the cool thing about this verse is that it goes on to explain that Jesus can sympathize with us when we are tempted to sin! He has been through it all Himself. The difference is that He did not fall to the temptations and we do. But it was a good reminder to me, that when I think that no one else could ever understand what I am going through, that He can. He's been there, done that. Just another assurance that I am never alone.

Friday, October 12, 2007

My family and I are packing up for our last camping trip of the year. Camping is very fun for our whole family and our last trip always makes me sad. But I now that in just a few months when winter is over, we can venture out again. I love to soak in all of God's creation. There is just something about being outside that brings me closer to Him. The things He has created never ceases to amaze me. Think about things like water and fire - no man could ever "invent" such a thing. It gives me peace to know that God can do anything and yet, He still choses to love me! Humbling to say the least. I also will be taking a big step this weekend - I will be going camping, technology free. I know, this may seem pretty normal to most people, but for me it is a great sacrifice. I want to totally be focused on God and my family without distractions. Be praying that the withdrawl won't be too bad. :)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

Wow!! This verse sure hits me right between the eyes! Do nothing from selfishness - can you imagine how this world would change if no one was selfish. Even though this seems like an unattainable thing, if we each ask God for help and truly try - we can do a much better job of it. I will strive today to put others as more important than myself.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I am participating in a Bible study through my church called Apples of Gold. It's a program where the mature ladies of the church mentor the young women. It covers 6 themes of kindness, loving your husband, loving your children, submission, purity and hospitality. Each week, we have an hour of a cooking lesson, an hour of study, and an hour of fellowship over dinner. It has been such a great blessing to me. We have completed 3 of the 6 weeks and I am amazed at how much I have learned. I think the greatest blessing has been the wisdom of the mentors. It is so nice to know that they have encountered some of the same struggles as me and made it through! They are a great group of godly women and I hope that I can follow in their footsteps. I would highly recommend this program.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I've been thinking alot about how God works in every detail of our lives. This morning, I was reading John 4:1-26 about Jesus talking to a woman at the well. He was tired from traveling and when she approached the well, He asked her to give Him a drink. It made me think about all the people that I come into contact with each day. Due to having the issues of life on my mind, I probably miss alot of opportunities to help others. I want to do a better job of noticing the needs of others around me, even when they don't ask for help. You just never know how God can work through you in someone else's life.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Well, I'm back from Detroit and am so glad I went. God continues to show me how He wants to be involved in every detail of life - whether big or small. I knew that we would only have Saturday to look for a wedding dress with my sister so I had been praying that God would direct us to where we needed to go and to let everything happen smoothly so that it would be a very enjoyable experience. God was so good to us - we enjoyed our day, we had time to relax and visit and we found the perfect dress for a good price! God wants us to ask for His help! He wants us to realize we need Him for everything! He is so good!!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Today I'm going to Detroit to spend the weekend with my sister to look for her wedding dress. It's a very exciting time in her life. I told her she could just wear mine, but for some reason she didn't think she wanted to. Ha Ha! (I guess a 13 year old dress must be out of style!) She has been with her sweetheart since Jr High, so it's about time! She is the last of my brothers and sisters to get married which makes this time even more special. I guess because she is the baby of the family, I really feel like I want to help mentor her in every way. Marriage is such a huge thing because it is a permanent thing. I think too many people enter into marriage thinking that if things don't work out, they'll just divorce. It is a unity created by God to be until death. I will share with her what God has taught me over the last 16 years of being with Mike, but I know she'll have to learn most of it on her own. What God has joined together, let no man separate.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I read something this morning that really made sense to me that I wanted to share with you.
J - Jesus is #1
O - Others come next
Y - Yourself is last
We will not have true joy in our lives until we live them this way because it is God's perfect purpose for us.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Philippians 4:8 Finally brethern, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
If we dwell on all these things, how could we ever be negative about anyone or anything?!! Dwelling on these things could definitely change the way I act and speak. Think of a tube of toothpaste being your negative actions and thoughts. As you squeeze out the tube, you cannot get it all back in. Once you've done it, they cannot be undone. It's so important to watch you words and actions! Be careful today.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I received an email that I had sent, back from a friend this week. She explained to me that she didn't think that a few of the words I used were honoring to God. Words have got me in trouble my whole life! My mouth seems to usually run before my brain. When I was in school, my teachers would tell my parents that I talked too much. When I was older and was a beautician, conversation was great thing - but when I began working in a business office, I would often be too loud and chatty. I love to share what's happening in my life with everyone. As I have began a new study in God's Word, He is teaching me that it is not good to share everything. We are to focus on what is good and honorable to God, my words do not always abide. Gossipping, sharing "too much info", and speaking before I think, are not honoring to God. I have alot to learn about controlling my mouth, but God is faithful and will help me if I am willing.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

God works in all things - not just isolated incidents - for our good. This does not mean that all that happens to us is good. Evil is prevalent in our fallen world, but God is able to turn every circumstance around for our long-range good. God is not working to make us happy, but to fulfill His purpose. This promise is not for everybody. It can be claimed only by those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Those who are called are those the Holy Spirit convinces and enables to receive Christ. Such people have a new perspective, a new mindset on life. They trust in God, not life's treasures; they look for their security in heaven, not on earth; they learn to accept, not resent, pain and persecution because God is with them.

Are you looking for what God is teaching you or making good, in your current circumstance?