Wednesday, April 9, 2014

1 John 1:9

Join the GROW linkup with Faith at Faith, Fun, and The Fergusons!! This past week we spent time meditating on 1 John 1:9. 

Way back in the day we looked at 2 John 1:9, so now we jump ahead exactly one chapter to 1 John 1:9!
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (NLT)

So lovely people, this week has happened. Things have happened. And so I present to you some bullet points :)

  • What God calls us to do: confess. Simply confess. If we don't confess, He can't forgive. Confessing means we feel bad, contrite, about our actions. We understand we did wrong and want to change. Actually admitting and coming to terms with our wrong (aka sin), softens our hearts and we are ready to receive God's gift of forgiveness. If we don't acknowledge our wrongdoing, well...why should we be forgiven?? We obviously don't feel bad and we don't want the change. 

  • Well, why do we need forgiveness?? Ooo buddy is that an important conversation. I can only offer a short reply here: Sin separates us from God (Eph 2:12) and leads to punishment (Matt. 25:41). Forgiveness leads us back to holiness (aka GOD) and eternal life (Romans 6:23, Titus 3:7). And if God is Love (1 John 4:16), that is where I want to be! Loving and being loved for all eternity?? Sign me up!! And isn't that how that famous quote goes: "The greatest thing in life is to love and be loved.." My answer: more JESUS

  • God is faithful and just==can I get an AMEN??! Interesting that it is tied to our confessions and forgiveness here. I think it relates to Philippians 1:6 which says "For I am confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." See my co-relation there? No? Well, God sees our sin and he can't stand sin. God wants us to be holy, just like he is the very Holy (1 Peter 1:16). He wants to perfect us, He wants us to be our best, but like I alluded to in bullet point #1, we have to be willing. God is faithful to not leave us where we are at. And thank God (thanks God!) that that is the Gospel Truth!

How did you like my bullet points? :) But I hope that both you and I can drive this point home. All we have to do is admit we did something wrong/bad/sinful. That's probably the easiest part, right?? To realize we aren't perfect and made a mistake? Okay, well not always. But it IS pretty important. If we want to grow and have a booming relationship with God, we need to start with confession. 

Do make a point to confess regularly? I know it is an area I need work in! Even more important, do you believe the truth of Philippians 1:6??

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Matthew 6:14-15

Join the GROW linkup with Faith at Faith, Fun, and The Fergusons!! This past week we spent time meditating on Matthew 6:14-15.

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (NIV)

These verses are pretty hefty! Both verses seem to carry a "If, Then" statement. If you forgive others, then God will forgive you. However, I don't think Jesus was laying down a conditional statement. He wasn't trying to hold something over our head and make us work for it. The Bible makes it very clear that we never have to work for our redemption (Eph. 2:8-9). We only need to accept Jesus as our Savior, and then we get to approach God's throne boldly knowing we are a Child of God (Heb 4:16). Rather, I think that if we aren't forgiving others two things will result:

1. We will have a hard time receiving and understanding God's forgiveness for our own sins. If we live with hard, hurting hearts, what will make us believe we ourselves are truly forgiven? Instead we feel like we have to work for forgiveness, to make up for our wrong, until we see ourselves as 'even' again. This is not God's intention! Jesus came to Earth as the Lamb of God (John 1:29), to be slain and take our sins upon himself. If I may be so bold to say, in not forgiving, we are reserving judgment that should be God's alone (Ecc 12:14) and thus setting ourselves up to be equal to God. *gulp!!* Instead, we should humble ourselves and accept the Lord's free gifts!! Let us rejoice in being made clean in the blood of the Lamb! (a reminder to all that I preach to me before anyone else).

2. By not forgiving others we are committing sin! Jesus tells us specifically to forgive others (Matt 18:21-22) over and over. So by not forgiving others we are committing a sin that drives us farther away from God! eep! Cyclical. Having a hard heart creates a wedge between ourselves and God. What a bummer. Ultimately, when we sin, we are only hurting ourselves. The reason God warns us away from certain things is because they are harmful to us. --->that alone could be a whole different topic!

Major Takeaway: God tells us to forgive others to save us from a hard heart that will ultimately hurt us more than it will hurt the one we are angry at.

I am not downplaying anyone's hurts or trying to make it sound like it is easy to forgive. If anyone can hold a grudge, it is me! Half the time I don't realize I'm holding a grudge until I lash out :( But here, in these two short passages God tells us, me, how important it is to forgive, and receive forgiveness. I shared some brief, and very heavy, stuff today. Forgiveness is an important and vast topic. I am merely looking at a snippet in these two verses.

Before I sign off...take a peek at the verses right before Matthew is the Lord's Prayer! I think it says something that immediately after teaching the apostles to pray, Jesus tells them to forgive. But that my friends is another thought for another day :)

Have you linked up with GROW yet?? I'm jumping back in full force and can't wait to read all the wonderful posts talking about forgiveness. If you have any tips or resources on forgiving, share them below! We could all use help in this area! :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Day Thoughts

Guten Tag Bloggy!

I joined in with Good Morning Girls the past 2 weeks to study Thanksgiving in the Bible. It was the first time they offered one of their plans on the YouVersion Bible app. This was SUUPPER helpful because I had the plan and verses on my person always (what does that say about me and my phone??).
Thanksgiving Blog header
As we reflect on giving thanks this Thanksgiving Eve, I couldn't help but share my S.O.A.P. thoughts on 2 Corinthians 9:11-12. Much of the first two weeks were spent thinking about what it means to give thanks, how thanks and praise are always hand-in-hand, and making sure God receives the glory of our thanksgiving. This verse, however, shifted our focus on to helping others give thanks to God as well. 

2 Corinthians 9:11-12 (NLT): "Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those in need, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving--the needs of believers...will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God."

I hope just by reading those wonderful words alone you can feel the meaning and action they call for. If not, let me help you think of it another way by sharing my observations.

First, this isn't a verse that is about me giving thanks to God, but rather helping others 'joyfully express their thanks to God'. 

This is magnificent. Personally, we have too much to give thanks and praise to God about, but don't we want others to find joy in the same way?? Shouldn't our friends and family find the same joy we do in giving thanks to our Lord? And as a friend and family member we should help them find joy!

This verse claims we will be enriched (by God...our personal blessings!) so that we can be generous towards others with those same gifts. Our blessings are not to be harbored, put up on some sort of shelf to admire and dust off every few months when we remember. God blessed us in every way so that we can turn around and be generous! And this doesn't just apply to our blessings of time and money. Too many people think 'God hasn't blessed me with an abundance of money lately. Oh well!' and forget that we can share any and all blessings God has given us. Do you have the blessing of a new stove?? Bake a gift for a friend who is down in the dumps. Did God bless you with some sweet new knitting needles? Knit some baby hats to donate. Did God bless you with two bathrooms to clean? Share them with neighbors or pamper a new mom. The possibilities are endless! 

And when we share our gifts with those in need, they in turn will turn to God with thanks and praise. That should be our goal and motivator. Not the warm fuzzy feelings we get for helping others, but for the fact that our generosity could bring glory and praise back to God our Father. 

Before we part ways and celebrate by eating 100s of pounds in food, may I suggest two things?? First, consider checking out Compassion International's Gift Catalog. They have so many wonderful options for helping others around the world at different price points. Consider donating and making it your gift for a family member! 

Also, Good Morning Girls are doing a similar study for Advent! It also will be offered on your YouVersion app! Surrounding myself daily with verses on thanksgiving was such a blessing and really kept my mind on the season and God. Join in! It starts next Monday!

Advent Study - Starts on Decemeber 1st

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Undivided Mom Launch Week!

Undivided Mom: Finding Christ in the Chaos of Motherhood by Kayse Pratt
Visit the launch page!!
Amazon Description:
If you’ve got motherhood all figured out, this book isn’t for you. Carry on.

If you’re one of the rest of us, struggling through the miracle, you’re in the right place, friend.

Undivided Mom is a devotional for moms who feel distracted, pulled in a million different directions, and really just desperately need Jesus to keep them from losing their ever-loving minds. It’s about mothering with a vision, with a purpose, for His glory, and through His strength.

This is a book for anyone who is longing to find a glimpse of Christ in the chaos of everyday motherhood.

It’s for you. For me. For all of us.
 I was a part of the launch team for this ebook! Purchase the ebook on Amazon for $4.99. (10/913)

My Thoughts:
Let me first state: This book is WAAAY too short!! Kayse Pratt does a fantastic job in this devotional. She easily covers all bases; Biblical devotions mixed with life devotions 50/50. This 14 day devo uses it's odd days to study verses from the Gospel of Luke and it's even days to help moms glimpse God in the everyday chaos. The odd days also include some "Think it Over" points to help you carry God's Word throughout the day, this is a MUST for a great devotional. I just fell in love with Pratt's writing and wished for more!

Personally, this devo was a challenge for myself.
Grab a cup of coffee and join me over at Sunrise Avenue to check out my review on this fantastic resource from Kayse Pratt!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Psalm 19:14

Join the GROW linkup with Faith at Faith, Fun, and The Fergusons!! This past week we spent time meditating on Psalm 19:14
May the words of my mouth
    and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
    Lord, my rock and my redeemer (NLT)

Last week we looked at how our tongues can misbehave and 'ruin everything'. This week is the complete opposite side of the coin. Our words do have heavy power over our lives, but they can bring good and blessings just as well as curses and hurt. After feeling the conviction of misusing my words, it is relieving to turn around and find a positive way to use them instead.

In this verse we are reminded that our words are like an offering to the Lord. We want our words to be pleasing to the Lord. This should be a daily prayer! "May the words of my mouth be pleasing to you today, God. Let me speak sweet, soft words the encourage and uplift." Ugh. How many days do we regret something that we have said? How many days do we find ourselves wishing we would have whispered this prayer before getting out of bed? 

Doing this for my family, is hard. Let's face it family can get on your nerves like no one else. It can be incredibly easy to snap at them when they day is loud and hectic and the house is chaos. Speaking pleasing words for my own sake, doing it for a challenge or just doing it on my own, would be even worse. I wouldn't even last one day. But our motivation is this: " pleasing to YOU, O Lord.." My motivation for speaking soft words instead of sharp words in the moment of chaos, is to please the Lord. When we can do that we are truly emanating Jesus, because only by the grace of God is it possible. Choosing kindness in a heated moment is contrary to our human nature. It is not natural, it's supernatural

Is this still a challenge? Heck yes! But once I look at it as a way to please the Lord, I am much more willing. Our heart's cry should be to pursue holiness and please the Lord; to hear God say "Well done, faithful child" when we reach our earthly end. If by choosing my words more carefully can make God smile down on me, I know I must do my best, I must take it seriously. 

Again in this verse, we see the mouth and heart connected. What comes out of our hearts will lead to our mouths so both must be pleasing to God. We can only speak these pleasing words, if we place pleasing words in our hearts. Spending time in God's Word is essential. This one, simple, profound fact is what is at the root of all our word verses. Tongues flowing with honey is simply not.possible. without first planting the Word of God in your heart. 

Conclusion? We've already learned that our tongue can easily ruin our lives. Now we see how what we say can bring a smile to God's face. Quite obviously, the tongue is something we really must quick a tight bridle on! The importance of these verses is hitting me smack in the face and I know this is something I need to pray for stat. Psalm 19:14 is going to become my morning mantra. I pray it becomes yours as well. 

Thanks for stopping by friends! Do you pray over your word choices? Will you start now?