Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Strength, Endurance, Discipline, Self Control...

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20, ESV)

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. (Hebrews 12:12-13, ESV)

I have been very neglectful of my time in the Word. I'm still going to services, but I have really let my private study time and prayer time fall to the side. I fill my sight with the world and all of its distractions - TV, internet, endless hours of Candy's all crap, and I know it.

I'm in a rut right now, in every way possible. I'm not exercising. I'm only doing so-so on my dieting. I'm not doing my devotionals. I'm passively invested in services. Just spinning my wheels, hoping something will catch. The thing is, just like exercising or dieting, if I don't make prayer and devotional time a conscious, scheduled, no-excuses priority in my day to day life, I won't do it. And also, just like exercising and dieting, the longer I put it off, the harder it is to get back into it. And even more ironically, doing all three - studying God's Word, exercising, and eating a clean diet - all make me happy. So why am I so reluctant lately? Why is it so hard to be "good"?

A really good friend of mine once said, quite astutely, "I'd do anything to look like Beyonce...I mean, except eat right and exercise. I won't do that..but I'd do anything else."  That's how I've been feeling lately. I'd do anything, and I do everything...sort of. 

I'm sort of a good wife. I'm kind of a good mother. I usually eat healthfully. I think about exercising. 
But I usually lose my temper. I often give in to my frustration or depression. I frequently eat sweets. I never actually go to the gym. Still, I'd do anything to be a strong, Biblical woman - a Proverbs 31 wife, a homemaker, a caring mother. I'd do anything to be back in shape and a good fitness role model for my kids.

Anything, apparently, except actually getting up and doing those things.

I know the life that I want. I know the spiritual life that I want. I know the physical health that I want. I can picture in my head all of the details that escape me now. But the WORK that goes into getting that life...that's the challenge. That's the hurdle for me. I need to recapture the joy I had for the Lord, and I need to reawaken my passion for healthy exercise and clean eating.

I'm in need of prayers, my friends. I need prayer for strength and endurance to run this course. I need prayer for a reinvigorated spirit - renewed joy for the Lord. I need prayer for the pain and joint stiffness/swelling to be brought under control so that I feel comfortable dancing again.  I need prayer for self-control and discipline. I need prayer. And, I need to pray.

Heavenly Father, I know that without You, I can do nothing and through You, all things are done. Father, your love for us is awesome and unending and complete. You love us even to the death of Your own Son. We - who don't deserve it, who could never deserve it. God, what kind of love is that? I just don't know. I can only imagine. So, thank you God for Your amazing devotion and pure love. 

Father God, I pray tonight that you will fill me with your Spirit once more and give me the thirst I had for You and Your Son and Your Word. I pray for strength tonight Lord, and I pray that You will lead me back onto the path of righteousness.  Jesus, you are the Way, the Truth, and the Life - and I know that if I would only put it on, Your yoke would be easy and Your burden light. Please, Lord, give me the discipline to take up my cross and follow You. I pray all this in Jesus's name. Amen.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Cornerstone

This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven 
given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:11-12, ESV) 

Since my last post, I have contemplated deleting this blog. Not because of any negative confrontations with people over it though. I've just felt woefully inadequate to write. I am a beginner, a neophyte, and I'm feeling afraid that I will say something really stupid and dishonorable to God.

But after thinking about this for a few weeks, it occurred to me that that was exactly the point of this blog to begin with.
Therefore, I have uttered what I did not understand...

I'm just a person on her own walk with Christ, and this is only meant to chronicle my journey. 

That being said, I want to correct, or at least expand, on something that I may have implied in my post on Doubting Thomas.  My intent with that post was to try to explain that having doubts and wanting proof is a naturally occurring, human thing.  "Christianity is a fight of faith, no doubt about that," as my music minister affirmed for me.

However, what I want to be clear about is that I do not base my belief in God or His Son Jesus on a hunch or a feeling. I think that may not have been clear. 

To be sure, I feel moved by God. I feel a stirring in my soul when I listen to a particularly powerful sermon or sing a song of praise that resonates with me. But that's not the measure of my conviction.  My conviction is found in the many, many ways that God has intervened in my life and lead me to Him. I do not believe in coincidences any more. I do not believe that, for example, I could be struggling with feeling persecuted and then walk into a sermon on the persecuted church as I did today. I do not believe that I could have randomly been partnered with three different teachers in three different schools and ALL of them are strong, God-loving, faith-living Christians. I do not believe that after the endless parade of men I dated in my youth, the only two I ever came close to marrying are both fierce Christians. And I really don't believe that I just bumped into my future husband after literally crying out to God for help and forgiveness only three months earlier.

I could keep going. I could talk about how much more pliable my heart has become in this past year. I could talk about how I have learned to embrace my love of God, how I no longer feel ashamed for crying in service, praying on the alter, or raising my hands in worship. If you know me, you know how big of a step that is. It's one thing to profess my faith in this faceless .com domain; it's quite another to put your hand in the air, close your eyes, and weep as you sing with anyone...everyone...watching.

I'm starting to really dislike the word 'belief' because in today's world it implies subjectivity. My saying that I believe in God and His Son, Jesus is taken by some as opinion, but I do not consider it any more of an opinion than if I were to say that I believe in gravity. 

"Ah, but you can see the effects of gravity. Gravity can be demonstrated. Gravity is a force of nature."

Yes, I know. But I can see the effects of Christ. The power of God and His goodness are demonstrated in Christ's sacrificial death. They are re-lived and demonstrated in all who repent, believe, and take up their cross with Him. If gravity is a force of nature, God is the force of nature.

As C.S. Lewis, an atheist turned Christian, wrote: 
"A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic--on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg--or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us."

I do not "believe," but instead declare that Jesus is Lord. He is the Christ.