“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2
Instead of the million other things I try to do and to be, this is what I’m going for this week (and hopefully many more weeks). Forget the rest. I want to live as a dearly love child of God who tries her best to love like Jesus and live like her Father wants her to. Simple, incredibly difficult, and humbling words are all wrapped in one little sentence, and the directive is so clear. Help me Lord, to be more like you want me to be, to love people like you do, and to live as your child.
*image from brewright.blogspot.com
I am the vine and you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
This morning one of the pastors at our church shared about the difference between trying to make a name for ourselves, and God making a name for us. He shared the passages in Genesis 11 and 12 that showed the fate of the builders of the tower of Babel as apposed to that of Abram/Abraham. The builders tried to reach God through their own work, while Abram believed God and trusted Him. How different those 2 approaches to life are, but they make all the difference. I think I struggle between the 2 on a daily basis. I really want to trust God with my whole life, but sometimes it is so hard to get over the fact that I don’t know best and what I think is good for me is not the BEST that God has for me. I’ve learned that the good I want for my self is often the enemy that gets in the way of the best that God has planned.
Do you struggle with trusting God with anything in your life?
We sang this hymn at church this morning, and it made me think about what my salvation was worth to God. I’m so thankful that He brought me out of the pit that I had dug for myself and gave me a whole new life, made me a new creation.
How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He would give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon a cross
My guilt upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no powr’s, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
“For you know it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” 1 Peter 1:18-19
“Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.”
I have a pile of books on my side table that looks a lot like this. Next week I have to take a graduate seminary class for Young Life, and my attitude about it has not been good. Young Life staff are required to take these continuing education classes every so often, and it is never convenient timing for everything else I have going in my life and job. However, I always learn a lot. The Lord always uses the time to teach me, and I’m trying to remember that now as I plod through the reading. This month I’m reading Proverbs, and I came across this verse the other day. It is my prayer that my heart and ears will be open to learning whatever God has to teach me through this class and through life in general. Hopefully my attitude can reflect the joy of serving Him throughout the classes and when I play catch up afterwards.
What is the Lord teaching you right now?
*Image from www.palatepress.com
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“Devote yourselves to prayer,
being watchful and thankful.”
What does it mean to devote myself to prayer? I picture cloistered monks praying the hours locked away on a mountain somewhere. Though I would love to have a weekend away on a mountain to pray, that is not the reality of my daily life. How do I devote myself to something that can sometimes feel empty and repetitive? I think it has to do with getting over myself and knowing that prayer is the way for me to speak to and with my creator God. He wants me to know Him better, and to do that I must spend time with Him. It shouldn’t be an after thought or an in case of emergency call. Prayer should be a part of the daily fabric of my life, just like eating, sleeping, and checking my email. I hope to make prayer so much a part of my life that I don’t have to remember to do it, I just do it.
Do you pray?
How do make it a part of your life?
Today at church, our pastor shared one of my favorite sermons he has ever preached. It was simple and straightforward and he had us stop to pray several times in the middle. He spoke about a Barna survey on Christians today and how the results of the survey should challenge us. I won’t give you the full run down, but will share just what I got out of it. I haven’t taken the time to write down my other goals for the year yet, but these will be the most important.
– Read the Bible, every day.
– Listen to what it is saying to me.
– Let it shape my life.
– Make a difference in the lives of others.
This may sound overly simple, but based on my past experience they are in fact huge goals. I hope to focus on these and not let busyness run my life. I’m hoping for joy, peace, and contentment this year for our family, and for yours.
What is your spiritual goal this year?
If I could sum up my job for you, and why I do it in ten minutes or less, this would be it. If you have ever wondered about Young Life, check it out. If you are a current or former YL leader, watch it and be encouraged.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.”
Jesus came to give us life, real life, full life, and deliverance from the evil one who wants to destroy us completely. Before I started following Jesus, I tried to fill my life with alcohol, drugs, boys, and drama. Thankfully He grabbed ahold of my heart and I have never been the same. One thing I love the most about my job is that I get to tell kids about Jesus, and how He offers real life. The world wants to capture their hearts with things thatwill leave their lives empty and take away their hope. We want them to know that Jesus can offer them real life. My sweet middle school girls bring so much joy to my life, and I hope to shine Light into theirs. Pictured above are Alison, Hutton, Molly, Lauren, Sophie, and Neali.
Who are you shining your light on?
“Come, follow me, ” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed Him.
I went back to work last Thursday after 2 months fo sabbatical. The time off was wonderful and much needed, and going back has been difficult. I have been playing catch over the last week, and I have this feeling I will never get there. This verse reminds me of my calling and keeps my mind on Jesus, instead of on my frustrations. I am called to follow Him, and He has made me a fisher of me, teenagers in particular. I trust Him, and follow Him into the sea of the middle and high schools, until He calls me elsewhere.
What has the Lord called you to?