Thursday, April 29, 2010

Search Me, Lord

Many of us are so preoccupied with the happenings and shortcomings of everybody else that we fail to take inventory of ourselves. We are so busy judging, pointing the finger and examining others, when our own lives are a mess, although we want everyone to think that we’ve got it all together. We should keep Luke 6:42 in the forefront of our mind: “How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” Why is it that our brother’s faults are so easy for us to see, but we choose to be oblivious to our own flaws? How hypocritical for us to point the finger at our sister and fail to notice the three fingers pointing back at us!

What we need to do is take inventory of ourselves. What attribute of the fruit of the spirit needs to be restocked in your life? Is it love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness or temperance? (Galatians 5:22-23) What characteristics about you need to be “recalled” and pulled off the shelf? What excess inventory do you need to get rid of – lying, gossiping, backbiting, jealousy…? If we take a long, hard look in the mirror, looking beyond the exterior, we will see our own flaws and find that we will become so occupied with removing the log out of our own eye that we won’t have enough time to point out the speck in our brother’s or sister’s eye.

We should constantly examine ourselves so that we are always striving to become better servants for God’s kingdom. Think about this – most people who constantly judge others and put other people’s business on Front Street are only trying to cover up their own shortcomings, but it’s just a matter of time before God exposes them just as they are exposing their brother or sister. Matthew 7:1-2 tells us “Don't condemn others, and God won't condemn you. God will be as hard on you as you are on others! He will treat you exactly as you treat them.” Remember, you reap what you sow. (Galatians 6:7)

Learn to spend less time exposing others and more time exposing yourself to God. Take self-inventory and make a list of the things that need to be changed in your life. Take notice of those three fingers pointing back at you every time you point the finger at someone else, because they are a reminder that you, too, have flaws. None of us have room to judge, because it's only by the grace of God that we are not consumed.

I'm reminded of a very familiar song:

Search me, search me Lord
Search me, search me Lord
Shine your light from heaven on my soul
If you find anything that shouldn't be
Take it out and strengthen me
I wanna be right, I wanna be saved, I wanna be whole

This should always be our prayer.

Til we meet again...

Live more...worry less...laugh often!

Your sister in Christ,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Stop, Look and Listen

I remember back in Kindergarten (yes, I can clearly remember...I mean, it was only a few years ago) being taught about crossing the street.  There were three things the teacher instructed the class to do:  STOP, LOOK, LISTENStop at the curb; look both ways to make sure no cars are in sight; listen for horns blowing.  We were told that following these three simple steps would avoid the catastrophic possibility of being hit by a car as we cross the street.  Well, I guess my Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Wilson, was right because I have followed those instructions well over 20 years and I've never been hit by a car.

My Kindergarten lesson got me to thinking about things from a spiritual perspective.  As Christians, we need to learn to stop, look and listen in our daily walk with Christ.  

Many of us are so busy running through life that we constantly find ourselves hit by hardship after hardship.  Then we have the nerve to get upset with God asking why are you doing this to me?  We must understand that not all troubling situations in our lives come from God.  Sometimes, they are a direct result of bad choices we've made as a consequence of failing to seek God for direction and clarity.  Sad to say, but we are often the cause of a lot of our own discomfort. 

I don't know about anyone else, but I have been so guilty of doing things on my own accord only to later discover that if I had taken the time to stop what I was doing, look to God for direction and listen for His spirit to lead me, I would not have been in such a mess.  Hindsight is 20/20, isn't it?!

Proverbs 3:6 tells us to ackowledge God in all of our ways so that He can direct us.  But so many of us don't think about this until after the fact.  I wonder how much heartache we'd avoid if we'd just go to God first?! We are just bolting out into traffic without taking time to seek out the potential hazard it could possibly cause.

Today, I want to encourage you to stop, look and listen.  Stop what you're doing; look to God for direction and clarity; and listen for His spirit to lead you.  I firmly believe that if you follow these simple steps, you'll find that things will begin to work out a little better in your life.

Til we meet again...

Live more...worry less...laugh often!

Your sister in Christ,

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

You'll Make It

Last night, I was lying in bed trying my hardest to fall asleep and all I could think of is how tired I was going to be this morning.  I haven't been able to sleep much for the past few weeks.  You see, I've been in an all out fight with the enemy.  He is trying his best to get the best of me, and I must admit, sometimes it gets so exhausting that I just want to hand it right on over to him just so he'll leave me alone.  Geesh!  Don't worry though, there's NO CHANCE of that happening!

As I lay in my bed tossing, turning and becoming more and more frustrated, I heard a sweet, soft voice whisper "You'll make it!"  "Huh?" I responded, knowing good and well that no one else was in the room with me.  Again, this soft whisper said "you'll make it."  I smiled and softly said "thank you, Jesus!"  After that, I fell asleep and slept through the ENTIRE night!  Praise the Lord!!

Constantly fighting with the devil can be extremely exhausting.  So much so that it can make you wonder if God really loves you.  You begin to question your salvation, your purpose and your God.  And this is exactly what that old devil wants you to do.  He wants you to become so frustrated, irritated and agitated that you give up on God, give up on yourself and throw in the towel.  He will work overtime to fill your head with lies and try to convince you that they are true. Oh, but he is a liar and a defeated foe!

I love it when God whispers ever so sweetly to my spirit in the midst of a battle, because it assures me that He's there and He's concerned about me.  Don't you just love God?!  No matter how spiritually exhausted we may become, God is saying you'll make it!  I know how hard the fight can be, but I want to encourage you to hang in there.  YOU WILL MAKE IT! 

I always say, just when you feel like you're about to go under, God helps you stay afloat.  He doesn't necessarily bring us least not until His perfect timing...but He will give us the strength and fortitude to endure the difficult seasons in our lives and keep our mind and spirit in tact.  You see, God knows that it's in the fight where He refines, shapes and molds us to be what it is He has called us to be, so clearly He will not let us lose ourselves in the midst of it.

No matter the fight you're in, just as God whispered these words to my spirit, I am saying to you, "You'll make it!"  Hang in there, keep the faith and continuously seek God for the strength and courage to stay steadfast in the fight.  When the battle is over, you'll be glad you stayed in the fight because God's glory will be revealed in and through you! 

There's a classic Hezekiah Walker song I'd like to share with you:  "I'll Make It"

Til we meet again,

Live more...worry less...laugh often!