We must assess our thoughts and beliefs and reckon whether they are moving us closer to conformity to Christ or farther away from it.
~ by John Ortberg ~
I've found that if I want to be more Christlike, then I must reject some other things in my life. Naturally, I need to do away with those things that are sinful. However, I've been realizing that I need to be more balanced in all the good areas of my life, too. Visiting Christian blogs, reading Christian books, listening to the Christian radio station are all very helpful as I grow closer to Christ. But, I have way too much that I want to do and read, and not enough time.
Pastor Rick got my attention when he preached on this topic at our church. He told us that all of these Christian materials are beneficial, but they don't replace reading the Bible and praying with the Lord. I wish that I had taken notes as he preached. I can't remember all of his points or the scriptures that he referenced. However, he got this one significant message through to me.
That sermon was so convicting and whenever I find myself running out of time at the end of the night, my conscience gets to me. I'll blog for hours - reading inspirational posts and worshiping with Christian YouTube videos. But if I haven't gotten to my Bible study or had some alone time talking with Jesus, I start to feel a prompting to do so. I don't want to just know about Jesus, I want to have a personal relationship with Him. That means that I must reject some of the other things that I want to do in order to spend time with Him.
Today, I'm going to stand up on my soapbox and write about something that has been affecting me. At first, I didn't think that there was anything spiritual about this topic. However, after I got writing, I was able to add in a spiritual message to this post after all.
I've been without a vehicle for the last 8 weeks. The hardest part has been having to shop at the nearby neighborhood grocery store. I'm very grateful to my next door neighbor, Roger, who gave me a couple of rides so that I could buy food for my kids. However, I do have a complaint and since it's Soapbox Sunday, I'm going to express it.
Why does the local store have to charge 2 - 3 times the amount for the same grocery products that I can buy at a store just 20 minutes down the road? I would think that more people would be able to support their local grocery store if the prices were lower. Instead, most people here drive the 20 minutes to load up on food and pay 1/3 of the price. The only reason that I would ever go back to this store is if I'm in another desperate situation.
While shopping, a few days ago, I didn't get every item that I had on my list. I just couldn't bring myself to pay $2.39 for a small can of pears or $7.95 for a bag of chicken nuggets. We will just have to replace a couple of planned meals with pancakes, hot dogs, and boxed macaroni and cheese. I'll have to make a lot of bread or biscuits to fill up the kids' tummies.
If there is some way that I could make this post of importance, I guess that it would be to try to motivate you to shop around for the best deal on your food. Even if you have to drive an extra 20 minutes, it will save you a lot of money. You may need to buy 2 weeks of groceries at a time so that you only have to drive the distance twice a month. Try comparing the prices and adding up the totals that you save. You could end up saving hundreds of dollars every year.
The Bible tells us to be good stewards of the money that God had entrusted to us. Just cutting back on the cost of your groceries will add up - month after month after month. If you don't know what to do with the extra money, ask God. There are orphans, missionaries, and Christian organizations that He could tell you about.
What would happen if we all witnessed - to the people in our own little area of the world? Many of us want to leave the evangelizing up to the "Called" or to the missionaries. But, I don't think that is what Jesus intended for us to do. He said: "And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Michael W. Smith & African Children's Choir
What can you do?
- Deliver Church Event Fliers or Holiday Gift Bags to Your Neighbors?
- Help Christian Orphan Ministries?
- Witness through the Internet?
- Minister to the Neighbor Kids?
- Pass Out Tracts?
- Start a Bible Study at Work or Home?
- Start a Play Group at a Church to attract neighborhood women?
- Volunteer to Help at Church Evangelistic Events?
Leave a Comment
This week, God has shown Himself to me in these ways:
- The kids and I had a nice Easter weekend, even though Dad is still working out of town. We kept the Christian radio station on all day on Good Friday and we heard so many neat songs and shows that talked about the Resurrection.
- My husband found and bought us a van. We got exactly what we wanted at the price we wanted. Thank you for Your provision, God. I wrote about this topic yesterday. (If you're interested.)
- I feel like God is encouraging me to become more bold and to stand up for the truth. So, I'll write the rest of the post about that.
A few nights ago, I was using the 25th prompt to pray - That my husband will be courageous in his stand against evil and injustice, that he will stand for the truth. As I was praying, I realized very quickly that I needed to pray for myself in this same area.
Ephesians 6:14 tells us to stand firm against evil with the belt of truth.
1 Corinthians 13:6 tells us that true love does not delight in injustice but rejoices with the truth.
However, if the truth brings about a lot of controversy, then that's hard for me to handle. I try to avoid controversy. I'm a "keep the peace" kind of woman. I've had 3 negative comments on my blog and I sure didn't like that. I know. That's what comment moderation is for. And I don't have to take the negative comments personally. Well, I'll be honest and admit that I did tone it down a bit when writing my posts.
I don't feel right about doing that though. I need to become more bold in writing about the truth. So, I've decided that if I feel prompted to write about something controversial like Pro-life or Creationism, then I'm going to do it. It's more important for me to obey God.
Those of you who agree, I would appreciate a quick prayer. I need God's strength with this. It seems to be an area in my Christian faith where the Lord wants me to grow. I'd like to encourage you to think about this and to stand and speak out for the truth, also. We have a wonderful opportunity to influence people through our blogs.
A few days ago, I noticed that Ben Stein has a new movie coming out April 18th called Expelled. The movie is going to expose the fact that educators and scientists are being ridiculed, denied tenure and even fired for believing that there might be evidence for creationism. Now that is standing against injustice and standing up for the truth. If Ben Stein can do it, then I can do it. And he has so much more to lose than I do.
In previous posts I've mentioned that my husband has been working out of town. Well, he's been gone longer than he had originally thought. His 3 week trip turned into 6 weeks. When it was the day before he was supposed to leave to come home, he called me and said that the transmission went out on the van and it isn't worth it to fix it. This van is our only vehicle. Now he would have to stay and figure out how to buy another van.
Normally, this situation would have stressed me out - my husband is 1000 miles away and we no longer have a vehicle. But, I told God about the problem and I told Him that we were going to need His help. Lately, I've been trying to give my problems to Him and ask for His intervention.
So, here is the part that I am thankful for. My husband called yesterday to say that he bought a van. It has the features that we need - 8 seats and it is extended in the back - at the price that we wanted to pay. I can't believe that we got it for that low of a price.
Unfortunately, my husband has to stay and work longer. But, we are thankful that there is more work for him to do. That way he will be able to pay for the van in full. We won't owe anything on it. Howard Dayton from the Money Matters Christian Radio Show has convinced us that paying cash for a used vehicle is possible if you're determined and you pray about it. That's what we did and God blessed us with the perfect van at the perfect price. Thank you, God.
"Throughout the history of God's people as given to us in the Bible, we see that life is a test. We have before us the option to trust God "no matter what," or to walk away from Him. To walk away from God is to leave the fragments of our dreams in pieces on the floor, but to trust Him is to let God pick up the pieces and make us whole again. When we choose to let Him make us whole again, he will make our lives more beautiful than before."
The words from this quote "Life is a Test" stood out to me. I did a Bible study on Genesis, last month, and I noticed that when God used people, they had to be willing to change their own plans. Some of them argued with God and doubted that they had the ability to do what He asked of them. Some of the people God used actually gave in to their sinful nature. I don't think that they realized how God was using them - that we would be reading about them and learning from their stories a few thousand years later.
I'm the type of person that likes to make my plans and goals and then see them accomplished. However, things end up usually not going my way. 19 years ago, I had a plan to become a nurse. But, I got married and had 5 kids. I'm still raising those kids and homeschooling them. !9 years ago, 5 kids and homeschooling were not in my plans. I had no intention of putting the nurse dream on hold for this long. There were many times that I grumbled and was frustrated that I couldn't get back to doing what I really wanted to do, especially when I saw other women going back to school.
Things are different now. I realize that I am doing exactly what God wants me to be doing. I really feel like I am living in His will. I've realized that for our family, homeschooling is the best thing for us. It's allowed us to grow closer as a family, travel through out the year, and to teach our children academic and spiritual lessons through real life situations that arise during the day. During this last year, I've felt a conviction to help encourage my children spiritually. Their Christian growth is so important and I have a real desire that they learn about serving God and following His will.
As far as becoming a nurse - I don't want to do that any more. Now I realize that I never really wanted to do it. I liked the idea of being a nurse and I knew that it would be easier for me to get a job. God has given me other interests in counseling and social work and when the timing is right, I'll go back to college to learn about what I really want to do. Jobs in this field won't pay as well, but I'm getting beyond that.
I'm seeing that it's best to figure out what God wants me to do and to trust Him. When I feel like I'm living in His will and being used by Him, I feel content and secure even though my physical world doesn't appear to be successful.
The day that this miracle took place was April 20, 1999. It was the same day as the Columbine High School Shootings. (That is totally unrelated to this story, except it is how I remember the date of this miracle.)
While I was watching the news, my 4 year old daughter started throwing up. She did it repeatedly over a few hours. Eventually, she was throwing up black stuff. That's when I really got worried. I had never seen anyone throw up like this before.
My husband had the car that day and I didn't have any neighbors near by to help me. I was getting close to calling an ambulance. But then I didn't know how I was going to get myself and 2 other children to the hospital. So, I prayed and prayed and prayed that God would heal her. I didn't even know what was wrong with her. She hadn't been sick. She just started throwing up and wouldn't stop.
Eventually, it did stop and she rested with me for a little while. Soon, she was up and playing. Then, she was outside climbing on the jungle gym and yelling to me "I'm hungry. Can I have a snack?" She ate and kept all the food down.
She was back to normal. I don't know what my daughter had for those few hours, but I believe that it had been something bad and God healed her from it.
Thank you Jesus. You were born to die - to save the lost, to set us free, to give us eternal life.
Group Games for Easter
- Classic Egg Relay
- Egg and Wooden Spoon Race
- Lame Hen Game
- Carrot Scavenger Hunt
- Easter Egg Treasure Hunt
- Egg Rolling
- Egg Bowling
- Egg Toss
- Knock 'ems
- Cream Countryside
- Easter Pictionary
- Read about the history of Easter at Annie's Easter History Page.
- The history of Easter Candy.
- The history of the White House Easter Egg Roll.
This week, I feel like God has been teaching me about valuing my time and needing to make the most of it. That means that I may need to scratch some of my plans off my daily "To Do" list to make room for what He may want me to do.
Robin Sampson at the Heart of Wisdom blog wrote a post that encouraged me in this area. She wrote about being close to death last week. It caused her to think more about God's will, to consider how much time she may have been wasting in her life.
Since Tuesday, I've been trying to practice this lesson. When my daughters asked me to go for a walk with them, I said "yes." I didn't come up with an excuse as to why I couldn't go. It seemed that this was important to them, so I did it. And I really enjoyed being with them, smelling the fresh air.
When my 8 year old daughter saw that I was about to make cookies, she asked if she could help. I had planned to make them by myself so that I could do it quickly. But I realized that she wanted to spend time with me. So, I said, "yes" and it was an enjoyable time with her.
The other night, when it was time for bed, I started playing some worship music. That got the girls singing and dancing around the living room. So, I let them stay up an extra half hour. They had so much fun worshiping the Lord.
A few days ago,my 10 year old daughter asked me to talk privately with her. I was tempted to rush through, make light of her problem, and get her up to bed. Her problem was important and serious to her. I decided to just stay with her and do my best to comfort her. She talked and cried for a half hour. We ended up feeling closer to each other.
I'm going to try saying "yes" a lot more often. There are so many special moments in a day, and I shouldn't let them pass by just because I hadn't planned on doing them. I am realizing that if I'm seeking to do His will daily, then I must be willing to alter my plans to make room for His plans. This week, God gave me opportunities to practice this lesson.
On this day before Good Friday, I'm thankful for Jesus who died on the cross to pay the price for my sins. In three days, we will celebrate His resurrection.
Jesus is alive and He has made it possible for us to receive his free gift of salvation. You don't have to earn it or beg for it. Just admit that you are a sinner. Ask Him to forgive you. Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross and rose from the grave.Tell Him that you want to receive His salvation and make Him the Lord of Your life. From there, the Holy Spirit can help you grow as a Christian - through reading the Bible and attending a church that teaches from the Bible.
I'm also thankful for Christians who witness for Jesus - those who ache with the thought of non-believers going to Hell.
Thank you - to those who witness using your artistic talents.
If you'd like to find a way to witness for Jesus, you'll find ideas at the Easy to Evangelize site.
This quote represents what I am going through right now. My husband has been working out of town a lot this winter. His current trip was only suppose to be 3 weeks long, but it has turned into 6 weeks so far. Some days, I get to feeling sorry for myself. My husband isn't here to help with things and I don't have transportation for going to church. I let feelings of loneliness set it. But, then I usually remember that this is just the way things are right now and I need to make the best of it. I need to be a good example for my children, too.
Now, that I look back on all of this time spent without my husband or church friends, I realize how much closer I have been growing to Jesus. When I feel concerned or anxious about something, I now find myself praying about it. When my husband was here all the time, it was easy for me to unload on him instead of turning to Jesus. With more alone time, I've been able to - listen to sermons online, worship in private, pray, read the Bible, and read Christian blogs. Through loneliness, The Lord has brought me closer to Him. I've learned about forgiveness, trusting Him, being content, surrendering to Him, appreciating what I have, loving my family better, serving Him from my home, and following His will for my life on a daily basis. During this time, the Holy Spirit has taught me things that He wanted me to learn.
"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:9-10
Tuesdays in Other Words Meme
Some of you are:
- having an evangelistic dinner and film.
- having an Easter Outreach on Saturday and then inviting people to church for Easter Sunday.
- hanging flyers on doors to invite neighbors to church for Easter.
- sharing Easter evangelism ideas with your evangelism class at church.
- inviting the whole community to a huge Easter egg hunt at your church.
- having your first annual Easter egg hunt.
- writing about the Resurrection and Salvation on your blog.
- inviting non-Christian families to your church and showing the Jesus film.
I like Margaret's comment - "Those are some really good ideas. But they're useless if we don't put them to practice."
This Easter, please ask God what you can do for Him. Salvation is a very serious subject. It's a life or death decision.
(If anyone else would like to tell me what they are doing for Easter, please leave a comment and I will add your outreach idea to this post.)
Easter is about Jesus’ resurrection and salvation. It’s a great time for Christians to participate in evangelism, witnessing, and community outreach.
Here are 13 Ideas for Evangelizing at Easter:
Send out Easter Cards and Gospel Tracts to those on your Christmas card list.
Take Neighbor Kid to a Church Easter Event
Churches put on free Easter plays, Music Concerts, and Egg Hunts during this time of the year. It’s a good opportunity to invite a neighbor friend along.
The Sunday before Easter, give the children at church some plastic eggs filled with candy and an invitation to attend church on Easter. They can pass out the egg-vitations to their non-Christian friends and the neighbor kids.
Ask people what they will be doing for Easter. It’s a way to get a conversation going that may lead to talking about Christ. If they return the question, you will be able to explain what Easter means to you. You can even invite them to your Easter service.
Easter Bunny Dress Up
Dress up as the Easter Bunny. Go door-to-door passing out flyers that invite families to your Church Easter Egg hunt, concert, Easter service, or Spring Carnival.
Support Easter Outreaches with Your Money
There are a lot of Christian organizations trying to raise money for their outreach projects. Your financial contribution can help them reach more people this Easter or through out the whole year. Your church may be putting on a service or egg hunt that needs more funding. Here’s Life Inner City gives out Easter goodie bags filled Christian items. It is a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.
Promote Easter Evangelism
Make a flyer listing Easter Evangelism Ideas. Pass it out to your Christian friends and family. Try to get it included in the church bulletin.
Your church can deliver potted Spring flowers, Easter cards, and invitations to the neighbors that live near your church.
Deliver frozen hams to families in lower income neighborhoods, compliments of your church.
Visit the businesses around your church. Surprise the employees with a basket of cookies and Easter candy. You can say - “Happy Easter from your neighbors at ____ church. Include invitations in the basket.
Campus Crusade for Christ has 2 Free Easter Posters. Print them and put them up in public places or on your bulletin board at work.
Bake pies and give them away to your neighbors, along with an Easter Tract and an invitation to your church Easter service.
Link to the Big List
You can encourage other Christians to evangelize at Easter by linking to the post that has 61 ideas for Easter Evangelism.
Leave Your Comment
- When we give to the Lord, our hearts will grow closer to Him. Mathew 6:21
- We are investing in our eternal account, treasures that we will enjoy later on. Matthew 6:20
- When we give to the Lord, He gives us more resources - for our own needs and for others. 2 Corinthians 9:6
It feels good when we obey and give Him our "first fruits".
It gives us an opportunity to help others and to feel blessed through giving.
It helps churches and Christian ministries grow and reach more people.
When we give we prove that we trust God.
We reflect God's generous love.
We are actively participating in God's will for a person or ministry.
Can you think of any other benefits of giving?
Leave Your Comment
Forgiveness seems to be a reoccurring topic in my life this year. I've heard radio show host and counselor June Hunt talk a lot about it. Other Christian counselors, on the radio, are always pushing forgiveness. I had my own moment with the Holy Spirit when He got through to me (finally) that I had some forgiving to do. Earlier this year, I heard forgiveness on Focus on the Family when they were telling about the YWAM missionary students who chose to forgive a deadly shooter. I just read a book in which the main character needed to forgive. And, Pastor Charles Stanley spoke on the subject during one of his radio shows. I'm beginning to think that forgiveness must be a topic that many of us need to learn about. Those Christian radio shows and books weren't made just for me. Were they?
One of the most important parts of Christianity is forgiveness. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. And He forgave us - before we even asked Him, too. He forgave us knowing that we would continue to sin and hurt Him.
We are commanded to forgive, but it is so hard for us to do. If someone has caused us great pain, in unrepentant, and continues to hurt us - why should we forgive? Well, I've heard that it is for our own good. When we forgive, we are giving up the "wrong doing" to God. It doesn't mean that we accept what the person has done or dismiss their bad behavior. It doesn't mean that we have to become buddies with a hurtful person. But, it does mean that we let the hurt go so that the unforgiveness doesn't make us angry and bitter and control our life.
I've been there. I had a "right" to be hurt and the bitterness gradually took over until it controlled me. It consumed my thoughts, my attitude and my mood. I had a really hard time growing closer to Jesus and serving at church with this attitude. During a worship service, at church, we were singing a song and I realized that I didn't agree with what I was singing. The Holy Spirit was convicting me, so I prayed and told Him that I needed to forgive. I meant it and the heavy, heavy bitterness was lifted. I can't remember the name of the song or even the day it happened. But, I remember the wonderful feeling as the unforgiveness left my heart.
Since then, I've been tempted to not forgive. But, I decide to "Nip it in the Bud" (as my Dad would say). After hearing Charles Stanley speak recently, I realized that I've been holding onto a few little hurts. After I prayed and forgave these people, I realized that the people probably don't even know that they have hurt me. It's just their personality that I let get to me. But Satan knows where to tempt us. And I think he is trying to devour many of us with unforgiveness.
Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
- God doesn't wait for us to love Him.
- He loved us first, even sent His Son for us before we were even born.
- He doesn't withhold His love from us.
- We can't make ourselves worthy of His love.
- He unconditionally loves us.
(Notes from a sermon by Dr. Bob Jones lll)
Leave Your Comment
I'm so thankful for all you women with Christian ministries - women serving the Lord through blogging, evangelizing, teaching, praying, encouraging, volunteering, counseling, writing, singing, using your talents and skills.
God desires to give us direction and vision for ministry.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
- People will come to know Jesus through your ministry
- Motivation to continue when you feel discouragement
- God’s leading in your ministry
- New ideas
- Growth in your ministry
- Humility, not becoming proud of yourself
- Funding and volunteers, if money is needed
Would you like to worship God while you blog? Here are some blog post links where you can find Christian worship videos.
Sweetly Broken at Monkey Giggles
Who Am I at Seasons of My Heart
Wonderful, Merciful Savior at The Life of a Christian Housewife
My Savior, My God at Downstowngirl
To God Be the Glory at Yesu Garden
(Fish Image by ChristArt.com)
Leave Your Comment
- I like using the New Living Translation
- I listen to Dr. J. Vernon McGee's Commentary on Thru the Bible
- Sometimes, I search for sermons about the book that I am reading at SermonAudio.com
My Notes on Books of the Bible
(The book of Judges will be next.)