Monday, January 9, 2012

The path we want...and the path we get

Are there any among us who set our feet on a path and from where we are we truly believe we know where we are headed? We have our ideas of the whos, the whats and the hows. We step off onto to those paths with the mindset that we are going to get there, our destination, following our plan.

How many us find ourselves with detours, twists, turns, and headed in opposite directions than the one we had planned? Some of those detours are disheartening, discouraging and we can't figure out how it happened, or what we are going to do from that point.

It is really interesting when we find ourselves in those places we were certain we would never be, situations that we avoided, and yet we find ourselves in the middle of them.

Have you ever thought why...or have you ever looked back and looked at what you learned from the twists and turns and detours.

God seems to get us to where He needs us. At times those are the places we are most umcomfortable and unhappy...and we question His will and leading. Other times we feel unequipped and ill-prepared and wonder why we can't just be where we want to. There are times when we feel scared and hopeless.

I have found many reasons God has taken me to these places.

Sometimes I think He just wants to remind me...I need Him. He puts me there to have me reminded, it is Him I need. On my own...I am lost. He pulls the me out of the way until I reach out for Him. Just like the wandering Israelites in the desert getting their daily manna. Completely dependent on Him, every day, for all their needs. Sometimes I get  too full of pride, too much about me...and He allows me the consequences of all that me. And before long, I am back on my knees, totally aware.

Other times He stretches me. He has blessed me with gifts and talents I never knew I had. I had them hidden in doubt and disbelief. So, He placed me on my path in a place where I needed to stretch and discover more about me, and more about the gifts I have within. He put people in my path, struggles  and challenges and because of it I am changed. I am more complete than I had been, more aware of what He can do for me, what He has given me. And because of it, I have been blessed.

A major effect of these times on my path, away from my plan, I have learned. I learned about the nature of God. I have learned about love. I have learned about the Word. I have learned what faith truly is, what peace can be like, how mighty our God is....I could go on and on. The learned helps in the next steps, a continual process of growth and spiritual development.

I am not sure where each of you are on your own path...and how far you are from what you had in mind. But look around you, see what is happening to you because of this twist or turn. Pray that you are in His will, pray you are being lead by Him. With that, you will never be where you shouldn't...and you'll always have Him beside you.

Remember too, where you are now, it is not your destination...you are moving beyond the moment you are in. Keep your eyes open, and hold on to God through the twists and turns. He knows what is best...and He will carry you through the toughest areas. With him as our tour guide...we can't go wrong.

"The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand." Psalm 37:23, 24

May you always find salt and light in my words.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Temptation

"Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master"
Genesis 4: 7

When do you think we recognize sin in our life? Do we recognize it when it is crouching at our door, do we recognize it when it is whispering and tempting us....or do we wait until it is controling us?

I believe most of us wait.
These words stood out at me today...sin, described here with such life...ready to pounce, ready to control. And when God told Cain he must "subdue" it...how does one go about subduing sin? Are we able to in our own strength?

I think a beginning point for us is recognizing it. Sin seems to almost always begin in our thoughts. Whispers that make us think there is something better, something easier, something sweeter, something beneficial....but if it doesn't line up with God's word, then we should turn from it. So, can we subdue it on our own...no. We need God, His word. We need to be able to turn to Him, ask him for His help. But like Cain, Eve and Adam....sometimes we get caught up in the web of deception. It doesn't happen with bright lights and warning signals...it slips in quite secretively.

When I envision sin crouching at a door, I think of my cats. When they are prowling, crouching in position....they hide behind a corner, they watch from where they are, they are in position and waiting for the perfect moment. That is how sin would be....waiting, watching...and pouncing at the most opportune time. And if we are not careful, alert and on guard...it captures us. And we won't recognize it has control...until it does have control.

To be ready, we need to be in fellowship...with Christ, with other believers. We need faith. We need the encouragement. We need to be in the Word. All of these things, these are things we use to subdue sin.

All too often, we don't share the temptations we face with others. We try to handle them on our own. We are embarrassed by them. We need to realize we all have sin at our steps, crouching, waiting. We can't give sin its opportune time. We need to have strong barriers between us and sin. Those barriers include other Christians, the Word and prayer in faith.

So, let us be ready, alert and on guard. Let us watch out for others.

May you always find salt and light in my words.

Monday, January 2, 2012

An Awesome God

Today I began my OWNit365.com challenge of reading the bible in a year. I read two chapters from Genesis and two from Job.

My thoughts...I am reminded of what an awesome God we have looking over us.

First...creation. What a fine artist. A mathematician. A scientist. Our God is so much more of course than any of those, and I think of the minute things we can do and create, and then I look at His creation. The colors, blends, distinct details of animals, sunsets, the seas, seashells, mountains, lush fields, flowers...etc. etc. etc. How can one believe that creation was not by design? Someone had to plan, perfect and choose to not only make it something that takes our breath away...but create us to care and allow it to take our breath away. Then there is the preciseness of everything. Placed exactly where it needs to be placed, and doing exactly what it needs to be doing. And when it isn't doing what it should be....there is still a plan, other things kick in and make sure what needs to happen does and helps to repair it. Absolutely blows my mind when I focus on what our God has done...and He did it for us. And He continues to do.

Which takes me to the readings of Job. Here I was reminded of God's love and protection. One may laugh that I say this when speaking of Job. God allowed Satan to destroy so much of Job's things. However...I know God knew Job's heart. What stands out to me in all of Job...it's God's permission. I know He looks at each of our lives and nothing will happen to us that He won't permit. If you know of God's love, His perfect will, His understanding, His vision...then that is completely ok. If he permits it, then you who know and love Him can be assured in that. When sitting in this dark world full of evil that is a chair of faith we can sit back and  rest in. A bad day, or week certainly doesn't look as bad anymore. There is a reason, He has allowed it, and He will bring me through it. I will probably learn, grow in faith, and in the end see the significance of it. Or possibly not. Job may have never known the why...he just chose to trust. What a lesson for all of us. If only we can live knowing our time here is not even a sentence in our life story....it is a fleeting second. All that we own, all that we have....it isn't ours. And if we live as if it isn't...live just trusting and believing, we will know success and happiness. Not by the things we acquire here.

" 'I came naked from my mother's womb and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord! ' In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God." Job 1:21

May my words be salt and light to you.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Disciple/Discipline

As I was writing about my goals for this year and using the word discipline...the word disciple continued to stand out to me within that word. To be a disciple of Christ, I must also be disciplined. My haphazard ways can only lead to things that lead me astray. And it doesn't have to mean into a world of  dark sin, or temptations that I can not handle...it could just mean idleness, waste, mindless activity which keeps me from pursuing those things that I need to do and should do.

I have found that to be Satan's greatest tool when dealing with me. He just needs to keep my mind busy on other things. Even tonight, I knew it was January 1 and for me to keep my goal, I need to spend some time writing. And I found myself easily falling into other activity as the hours passed by. I have so many things that call my attention. A laptop. A phone. A Nook. A television. Those do not have to be tools of the devil...I would not suggest I must give them up or put them away for all time. What I need to do is to be careful, on guard of time and what I am using them for. As with all things, I need the balance.

I have these 365 ...or is it 366 days ahead of me?...and if I am careful with my time, I can discipline myself to be a disciple of Christ and grow, learn and share Christ with others, as a disciple should.

"Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me." John 12:26

And that is how I intend to check myself...would Jesus be where I am, would he spend his time as I am? Am I serving Christ when I engage in this activity? 

I am looking forward to growth in 2012. How about you?

May my words be salt and light to you.