Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Our Daily Bread

"....Give us today our daily bread....." Most of us know this very familiar passage as a part of the Lord's Prayer from Matthew 6:11. Also, those of us with Christian backgrounds probably recognize that this term 'daily bread' represents more than physical food, but spiritual nourishment as well. So today, I would like to share with you two of my favorite scriptures from today's quiet time.
"Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel." Philippians 1:12
Why do I love this verse so much? Because it is a reminder that what we experience in life is not always our own. It is for sharing. Isn't it better to know that when we struggle, we do not struggle in vain? To know that the trials, tribulations and blessings of life can serve to further the gospel of and HOLY name of Jesus Christ?!!! This makes me happy! So, share your woes, without grumbling or complaining (Philippians 2:14) of course, in order that the gospel may be advanced. It is one way we fulfill the Great Commission!

"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear of you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel." Philippians 1:27
I love this verse because I am using it as my personal challenge for the week. Or should I say FOR LIFE?! Two very powerful words 'WHATEVER happens' requiring me to always behave in a way that would glorify Christ and only draw people to him rather than create a foul taste in their mouths for his Holy name! O God, I am so guilty of not doing this. Forgive me! You see, it is true that for some, I am the only Jesus they see in a day. There is only one Jesus and I should show them the true Savior, not my own twisted version. Remember the old DC Talk album, Jesus Freak? It was in one of the speaking parts the voice says, "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians confessing Jesus with their lips but denying him with their lifestyles." Lord forgive us!

Monday, September 21, 2009

You know that feeling you get when....

.....things feel as if they are falling into place? I happen to really love that feeling! I happen to be experiencing that feeling right now in life, at least at this moment. We all know how that feeling can be fleeting. Praise God my salvation and his love are not based on feelings, am I right? Somebody say AMEN!!! But seriously, I do feel as if things are going really well for us. Do we still have daily struggles, ABSOLUTELY! But, I feel that God is leading us and I can face the struggles so much easier knowing that. I am excited that we have been attending a church regularly and though I would like my husband to be here before we make the official decision that this is OUR church, I am already beginning to feel as if that is the correct answer!! The church is called Crossroads Church and you can check it out at the website http://www.2thecrossroads.com/.
Currently Pastor Glen is preaching/teaching a four part series on parenting. Can I get a HALLELUJAH?!? Yesterday was the first sermon in the series and the base text was Deut. 6:1-9. Now, I have to tell you that I know in my head and heart that the Word of God is living and active, sharper than a two-edged sword, dividing spirit and soul (Heb. 4:12) but I gotta tell you, it is so exciting when it really happens, when the Word that is being teached or spoken directly applies to your current situation. When Pastor Glen was reading Deut. 6:2 I had a, well I suppose you would say a breakthrough! Read with me: "so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life."
When I read that scripture there was one great phrase that stuck out to me: enjoy long life. Now anyone that truly knows me knows why that struck a chord deep within me. About ninety percent of the time, I do not enjoy my life as a parent. I have said it aloud, I have written blog posts about it, I have confessed it to God. But I realized that I am not spending enough time as a parent pointing my two beautiful children to God. And as was pointed out in yesterday's sermon, that is our number one priority as a Godly parent, that above feeding, clothing, and sheltering your children. I like the way that Pastor Glen put it: "Our number one priority as parents is to gradually transfer our childrens' dependence away from us and other things and on to God". I am failing at this and that causes a lack of joy in my life and in theirs.
I know that this seems like such a juvenile observation, but for me, it was earth shattering. If I am not daily pointing my children to God, no wonder I have loathed being a parent so. I was letting my number one priority slip. So now my prayer is this that God would repay us the years that (I have allowed) the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25) and show me what it looks like for me (us) to train our children in the way they should go so that when they are old, they will not depart from it (Prov. 22:6). I am full aware that this will require a lot on my part. But I am willing, for the sake of my children, for the sake of my Christ! Just look at these two beautiful reasons: