2 Corinthians 12:9-10

New International Version (NIV)

9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Selfish Wants

Walk of FameImage via Wikipedia
Do you ever wonder why doesn't God just give you what you want?  I do what I am supposed to do, why can't I just get what I want out of life?  Every body else does, why can't I?  Why does God allow me to suffer and others succeed? Why can't I have fame and fortune?  Well at least fortune, wouldn't really want fame. Why won't God help me, He seems to help everyone else?

It happens to the best of us.  We start to obsess over our own selfish wants and desires.  We think we know what is best for us  and we think that we can handle it.  But what if we can't? What if there is a reason why God doesn't give us exactly what we want? Maybe what we want isn't good for us. Maybe we have what we want and just can't see it. The problem is we can't see beyond our own selfish views to see the bigger picture.

God wants what is best for us, always, and once we choose to follow Him and surrender ourselves to Him, He will give us the wants and desires of our hearts.  We just have to trust that.  We have to put our faith in Him and only Him, and through Him all of our dreams can come true.

Sometimes we can get so caught up in worldly things that we lose sight of what matters most.  We get consumed with what others have that we don't and neglect the most important things in our lives.

Psalm 37:5-7 (NIV, ©2011) 5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: 6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. 7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What Goes Around, Comes Around

what goes around, comes aroundImage by galo/* via Flickr
Should we as "Christians" actually take comfort in that saying?  Should it make us feel better that someone that has wronged us will eventually "get theirs"?  Should we really be that vial and revengeful?  What is it about us human nature that makes us so fueled on "payback"?

I too often find myself feeling comforted with that idea with that saying, even going so far as to say it out loud. But today it actually struck a cord.  I caught myself, asking myself, should I really feel this way.  Should I really be that consumed with it?  Should I really be comforted by believing that?  And if I do,what kind of person does that make me?  Not any better then the person that I have ill feelings towards.

It is almost human nature for us to want someone who has wronged us to, have the same happen to them.  When someone is crude, rude, vengeful or just plain spiteful, we just can't help but feel that they deserve something bad to happen to them.  That they should get a dose of their own medicine, that they should get a taste of what they give.

Although there are scriptures, such as Isaiah 3:11 (KJV) "11Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him."   What Jesus really tries to teach us is compassion.  I know it is easier said then done, but taking the high road usually is.  We have treat people with compassion, even those that treat us unfairly.  Because it is only through that compassion that they may see a true reflection of God.

There is always a reason for people spiteful actions, but we as "Christians" have to look past that.  We have to see them with compassion, through God's eyes.

We shouldn't take comfort in knowing that they will "get theirs", only take comfort in knowing that God knows their true heart, as well as ours, because we are all stained and we all fall short.

Luke 6:27-36 (NIV, ©2010)


Love for Enemies


27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.


32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
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Friday, January 21, 2011

Could I Have Done More

A car accident in Tokyo, Japan.Image via Wikipedia
I witnessed a car accident today.  It wasn't a really bad one, but it did have me shocked for a bit.  The truth is I couldn't even tell you how it happened.  I was stopped at a red traffic light messing with the radio waiting for the light to turn green.   I looked up for a second and witnessed the impact, saw the airbags deploy.  Frozen for a moment unsure of what had just happened. 

After I saw that everyone was ok and a few people stopped to help, I drove away.  Now I used the excuse that the little one was with me so I couldn't really stop to help. The truth is I was in a hurry and trying to get to the store across the street.  So the question that I keep asking myself is "could I have done more?"  I went to call 911 when I saw someone else running to the scene on his phone.  I didn't want to bombard 911 with numerous calls so I hung up.  I didn't wait around, I didn't even know how the accident happened or who even was at fault to even give a statement.

If I was alone would I have stopped to help?  I hope I would have. 

I always try to go above and beyond, but sometimes like today, I walk away.  I make up excuses to hide the fact that I am just plain lazy or busy with something else.  But I don't want the question "could I have done more?" to haunt me, like it did today.  Even though my stopping may not have even mattered, it would have mattered to me.

How many times to we get so caught up in ourselves that stop wanting to help others.  We make excuses and put the burden on others.  I am not saying we need to consume ourselves with other peoples problems, but help as much as we can, when we can.

Jesus always went above and beyond, even when it wasn't convenient. He always made time and always did more, never questioning whether He did enough. My goal in life is to be just like Him. 

I don't want to be too busy or too lazy to do what is right.  And I don't want to keep asking myself, "could I have done more?"

Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV, ©2010) 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Luke 6:38 (NIV, ©2010) 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”


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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Son Is Always Shining

finally, as that blazing sun shone down upon u...Image by eioua via Flickr
Today just started out gloomy, literally.  When I got up this morning it was foggy, humid and completely overcast (typical Louisiana weather).  But as usual the weather just matched my mood.  So I went through my morning routine.  On my way to work, I was really feeling down in the dumps.  So many issues, personal, work, you name it.

As I was sitting in my car feeling sorry for myself,  "East to West" by Casting Crowns came on the radio and at that exact moment through the mist, a touch of sun made its way through the fog and gloomy weather directly on my face. As if God Himself were reminding me He was there.



God always has a way of reminding us He is there.  Even though we cannot see or hear Him,  He always has that way of giving us that reassurance.  He always has a way to give us that push we need to make it through another day.  A way that we can no longer deny His existence only embrace it.  A way to let us know that we are never alone that He is right there with us, always.

Needless to say that moment made my day that much better. 

You may call it coincidence that that happened at the exact time that I needed it to.  But I, I know better ;)

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV, ©2010) 10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
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Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Mother-In-Law

Portrait of artist's wife and mother-in-lawImage via Wikipedia
My mother-in-law and I have your classic text book relationship.  She can be somewhat overbearing, controlling and sometimes insulting. But there are those moments where I take a step back and realize how truly blessed I am to have her in my life.  Today was one of those days.

Today was my son's birthday party.  It was chaotic to say the least.  It was at the skating rink with eight other parties, seriously.  Lesson learned, never doing that again. In the midst of the insanity I kind of snapped at her a little.  You see sometimes she likes to run the show, and I like to run the show.  So you see my dilemma.  She thought that we should open presents and I wanted to sing "Happy Birthday", first.  It my party I wanted it my way.  You see my attitude, right? 

Well the staff wasn't very helpful and we had to track people down to get anything done.  We finally sang "Happy Birthday" and it was time to cut the cake.  Well I am cutting this cake with a plastic butter knife and trying to get it on the plates and passed around.  The staff at the place were no help.  In my moment of about to panic, my mother-in-law steps in and saves the day.  She was there getting her hands dirty with cake putting them on the plates and passing them around as I cut the cake with the plastic butter knife.  In that moment I realized that I really need to appreciate her more.  Even after snapping at her she still decided to help.  Anyone else may have left me to shear disaster.

Honoring our mother and father doesn't just apply to our own parents, it applies to other parents as well, especially our in-laws.  Yeah, sometimes you may not see eye to eye and other times totally disagree.  But they are there for the long haul.  And if you take the time to see they good that they do, you might not be so consumed by the rest.  And maybe just maybe next time hold your tongue.

Exodus 20:12 (NIV, ©2010)  12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

Ephesians 6:2 (NIV, ©2010) 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—










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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Gifts from God

I had a difficult time getting pregnant with my first child.  I went through the monthly ritual of getting excited and taking a test only for it to come out negative.  My doctor wanted me to try for a year or two and if I didn't have any success then he would start running tests.  After a year of disappointment I demanded that he run the test that he had mentioned prior.

The test were run and it turns out that my body didn't make enough of the hormone it needed for me to get pregnant. Another year of pills and disappointment followed.  I prayed and prayed that God would give me a child.  Night after night after night through my tears begging God to give me a child.  For two years I begged God for a child.  (I know that my two years is nothing compared to others that have had difficulty having children, but my two years seemed like an eternity.)

Month after month of heartbreak,  all of my friends were getting pregnant.  What was wrong with me? I eventually got to the point where I wondered if it were ever going to happen.  My husband and I started looking at other options like adoption.  My prayers started to change I no longer begged God for a child.  Instead I asked God for a child but also asked that if I were not to be a mother that he would at least give me the strength to accept it. 

About two months later I became pregnant with my first child.  The point is, that God answered my prayers.  When I decided to give it all to Him and surrender to His will, He gave me the ultimate gift.

Children are a gift from God, no matter how you get them.  Whether it is through childbirth, adoption or some other method,  life is never the same once they enter it.  My kids remind me that with all the wrong that I have done in my life, that I must have done something right to receive such a spectacular gift from God.

I decided to write this post on my sons eighth birthday.  For he is my absolute proof of God's existence, and my ultimate proof of God's love.
3 Children are a heritage from the LORD,
offspring a reward from him.
4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Shame

ShameImage by Frederic Poirot via Flickr
I knew a girl once who went through a tough period in her life.  To most it was probably nothing new, but to her it tore her apart. She was with this guy who was abusive, belligerent and cruel.  She endured countless hours of his constant abuse. Although he never laid a hand on her, never hit her so to say, the scars that he left were internal, they took years to heal.  Some even still linger to today.

He ended it one night, out of the blue, he was finished with her.  Broken and bruised she thought that she would never recover.  She wanted to die from shame.  The shame that he caused her.  She felt that people could see right through her and see what he had done and blame her.  He stole her innocence, polluted her mind and broke her into a million pieces.  She went through her life a void, completely numb. 

It was a daily battle dealing with the scars that were left.  Who would have thought that one person could do so much damage?  Her tears could not save her, only God could and he did. 

She always knew of God, but never really knew Him.  She never thought that she was good enough.  One day she met Him, it was then that she really got to know Him.  As the months went by she got to know Him more and more.  She learned that no matter where she had been or what she had done,  He loved her anyway. 

It was months later when she realized that she was no longer burdened with the guilt or shame of her former life.  In fact she rarely thought about it anymore.  She found a happiness that she never knew existed, she found a life past the pain.

She learned that her Saviour bore her pain, He wore her shame and that was a burden that she no longer had to bear.  God saved her from herself and He still does daily.  He has shown her unconditional love even in the worst of circumstances.  It was only through Him that she found new life again.

John 1:29 (NIV, ©2010) 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV, ©2010) 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.


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Friday, January 7, 2011

Anger

A metaphorical visualization of the word Anger.Image via Wikipedia
Have you ever had someone do something to you that made you really angry? You spend countless hours obsessing over it only to find out that they are over it.  You put so much time and energy being angry that you eventually forget what it was that you were angry about in the first place.  All you remember is that you are angry.

Sometimes anger gets the best of us.  It is not to say that there aren't legitimate reasons to get angry.  But what do you do about the situation?  Do you let it consume you?  Do you keep obsessing about it?  Is it tearing your apart?  Anger can fester and explode.  Anger can twist us up inside and turn us into someone that we don't want to be. Anger can literally make us ill.  Not dealing with our anger can do a lot of damage.  It opens a door for the devil to enter making our situation even worse. At that point our anger can take on a life of its own.

So how do we not let our anger get the best of us?  That is a hard one, in fact I am still working on that one.  But I have found that the more that I am willing to let things go the better I feel.  When I release that burden of anger, because holding anger can be a great burden,  it is such a peaceful feeling.  I feel renewed. 

Anger itself is not the sin but when we let it consume us, when we become obsessed with it, it becomes a sin. God doesn't want us to carry that burden around.  He wants us to be happy, compassionate and forgiving.   A life full of anger is no life at all.  Only God can give us the strength we need to let things go, so that we are not angry anymore.

Ephesians 4:26-27, 31-32  (NIV) 26 “In your anger do not sin”[a]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Caught Up In The Moment

In the end, only kindness mattersImage by SweetOnVeg via Flickr
It is so easy to get caught up in the moment.  You know when something happens and you speak before you think.  You say something unkind under your breath, but loud enough for someone to hear.  Sometimes we get in our own way and we say something that we can't take back.  We do something that we can't undo.

It is not always easy to be kind.  Sometimes it is just plain difficult.  It is not always easy to grin and bear it.  For me that is the biggest challenge of them all.  I don't want someone thinking that they got the best of me or that they are superior to me. I get in my own way and I lose sight of my path.  I am one of the most stubborn people I know with the exception of my mom (sorry mom).  I hate to apologize and I don't like giving someone the upper hand.  I am strong willed and unwilling to back down.

But God has a way of changing people.  I know this first hand because He changed me.  Although I still have moments of weakness, for the most part I am much better then I used to be.  It is not to say that I still don't feel like saying or doing something in certain situations, just now I take a step back before I dig to deep of a hole. I am still a work in progress, but the point is there is progress. And sometimes, even I get caught in the moment where a certain situation gets the best of me.

It is a surrender of self and it is one of the hardest things that you will ever do.  Surrendering your will for God's.  Showing kindness to those who you think don't deserve it.  It is not to be inferior or humiliated,  it is to show the love of the Father who loves you.  So hopefully next time I get caught in the moment, I will make a better choice. 

Ephesians 4:32 (NIV, ©2010) 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
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