Friday, November 30, 2012

Single and NOT So Ready to Mingle

After the recent (and continuous trials) with my ex, a romantic relationship should be the last thing on my mind, but I constantly dream about companionship.  A good friend pointed out to me that my love for Christ must first be my all and all.  That being single is a part of the preparation for whatever he has for me.  This morning I read the following verse:
“That you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (Deuteronomy 30:20 NIV)

So many phrases jump out at me in this verse:
“love the Lord your God”  “listen to His voice”  “hold fast to Him” “For the Lord is your life”.  These are all reminders of the life I should be living. A life that demonstrates a sincere love for God, not only hearing his voice but listening to it and being obedient (I struggle with this so much. If it’s not Satan tempting me then it is my old nature rebelling).  In my life I should be clinging to God and never separating from His ways so that the relationship we have established together can be strengthened.  My life is in Christ. The center of my joy should be Jesus.  Christ must be my king and I must be content with my relationship with Him before I can be blessed with romantic companionship. 

Rick Warren writes that “You must choose to love God; he won’t force you to love him (Deuteronomy 30:20). You can thumb your nose at God and go a totally different way. You can destroy your life if you choose to do that. God still won’t force you to love him, because he knows love can’t be forced.”

I cannot force love—not between myself and another human being nor can I force myself to love God with all my heart, mind, and soul.  That must be developed.  I am ashamed to say that I am pretty far off from 100% loving God throughout my heart, mind, and soul.  But I do not want to stay here. I pray to God that He will reveal what stands in the way of my total commitment to loving Him.  I ask that God will use my single status and these trials I face to develop a passionate love for Him.   May I come to see and remember how great thou art, how much HE truly loves me so that I can willingly repay Him with the same love represented in my living.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Loving Through the Hurt

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”—John 13:34

When I am hurt, loving is the last thing I want to do.  My mind has a tendency to stay stuck on the hurt. It replays over and over in my head giving birth to resentment, bitterness, disdain, contempt---every other emotion except for love. 
But, it seems that love is pretty important to Jesus.  I cannot count the number of times he highlights love as the greatest behavior or form of worship we can display.  Still, while love is an action word, it must be developed from within, for as Christ taught “…out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). 
I wish that I could say that my immediate response to being hurt is to brush it off my soldiers, turn to God, and ask him to help heal my heart so that I can show His love to others.  Unfortunately, I have been known to withdraw from God as a response to my pain and as a result, I let the thinking of the old nature take lead: resentment, bitterness, and anger--- all the things I’m called to do away with (Ephesians 4:31).  I am currently in a season of learning to accept and extend forgiveness and learning to love others who have hurt me directly or indirectly.  What I realize about love is that it is a much better feeling to harbor than anger.  In addition, when I remember how awesome it feels to be loved by God I truly want to share that love with others.  So I’m praying for myself.  I’m praying that I can obey the commandment to love others, just as Christ Jesus has loved me (unconditionally, freely, passionately) even in the midst of painful situations.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

One Day....

I’ll write a children’s book
I’ll get use to waking at the butt-crack of dawn 5:00am
I’ll take a missionary trip to a poor developing country
I’ll visit France
I’ll learn to speak another language
I’ll wear my “real” hair :)
I’ll learn to play the guitar
I’ll visit Great Britain
I’ll move out of this one bedroom apartment
I’ll make a guest appearance on the Today show
I’ll stop freaking out about being 30
I’ll study the planets and learn constellations
I’ll have another child (hopefully a son!)
I’ll put worries and fears to rest
I’ll have more patience
I’ll rise above the clouds to meet my Creator
I’ll get over past hurts
I’ll stay outta God’s way
I’ll walk down a grassy aisle, friends and family on either side, and embrace my prince waiting "to have and to hold" [ME]

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Package Deal

So I thought I'd share with you some thoughts about my daily weekly bi weekly (keep it realz), bible reading of the book of John.  Saturday I read John 12:37-43 concerning people not believing in Jesus.  I wondered 'What is it that they do not believe in?'  As I read on, I came across this verse:

Jesus said: "When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me" 
John 12:44

Hmm, so the peole essentially do not believe that He is the Son of God, thus nor do they believe in the One who sent Him---God.
This got me to thinking about how people may say with their mouths they believe in God, BUT--as the verse clearly implies--- if they don't accept Jesus it is also a rejection of God. 
The truth of this understanding echoed even louder during a conversation with a customer at my part time gig yesterday.  It all started when she commented that these dog-like creatures (Komainu) she was purchasing were intended to ward off evil spirits.  This led to an explanation of her decorating her home with Buddhist symbols, which prompted my question of whether or not she practiced Buddhism? Here are some higlights from our conversation (not in any particular order):

Customer: We're not practicing Buddhists, but we try to live by those principles.
Customer: I was actually raised Baptist.
Me: Really? Well what got you interested in Buddhism?
Customer: My husband has such a free spirit. I just feel that if you do good to others it will come back to you.
Me: Yep, Christian scripture says, you reap what you sew and to love your neighbor as yourself...
Customer: I still read some Bible scriptures when I'm going through tough times.  
Customer: Even though I live by Buddhist principles, when I pray, it's still to God....
Me: Well, although you draw from many religions as you may recall, from your Baptist upbringing, the Christian belief says there is only one way to God--I am the way the truth and the life...
Customer: I feel that if you find something that works for you then stick with it. I don't judge others for having different beliefs than mine
Me: Nor do I... :)

What I didn't get to tell the customer explicitly is that the Father and the Son are a package deal.  They belong together like peanut butter and jelly and then some!  The two are one (John 10:30) and can never be separated.  This understanding requires us all to check our faith.  Having no double talk. Having no partial beliefs.  
Who do you know that says "yes" to God but "no" to Jesus?  Be on the look out, and share John 12:44 with them.

*P.S. I have been praying for this customer to be become reconnected with the Truth and to have no other gods before Thee.