This weekend we went to the church of the pastor who is going to marry us. He referenced the verse in Proverbs 14:12 that says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” He began to tell a story…
His son just recently bought him and his wife a GPS (Global Positioning System). They were using it a while back and had entered where they were going. As they were approaching an intersection to get onto the highway, the GPS told him to turn left. “How can that be?”, he said. “I know the right way to get onto the highway and it is NOT going left. We need to go right.” Yup, just like a man I thought. His wife responded by saying maybe they should follow what the GPS says and if it’s not the right way they can always turn around. So he turned left like the GPS instructed and sure enough, the road curved around and ended up going the direction they needed to go…it just didn’t appear that way.
How true is that of our lives? How often do we THINK we know the right way but in fact, it’s not? It made me think of how a GPS responds when you do turn the wrong way. It starts yelling (ok, not yelling but it feels that way) RECALCULATING…RECALCULATING…and continues until you go the correct way. If only we would follow the route God has mapped out for us, we wouldn’t be detouring and turning around so much. It all seems to go back to faith. Why are we so unwilling sometimes to trust that God has the best route mapped out for us? Any thoughts?
This weekend we kicked off our biggest series of the year at church called At the Movies. This week’s movie was The Bucket List.
Here is a quick synopsis of the movie: Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman star as two terminally ill cancer patients who decide to break out of the hospital and live their last days to the fullest. Edward Cole (Nicholson) is a corporate billionaire who is currently sharing a hospital room with blue-collar mechanic Carter Chambers (Freeman). Though initially the pair seems to have nothing in common, conversation gradually reveals that both men have a long list of goals they wish to accomplish before they kick the bucket, and an unrealized desire to discover what kind of men they really are. But one can’t accomplish such lofty objectives from the confines of a hospital bed, so now, in order to live their lives to the absolute fullest, Edward and Carter will have to make a break for it. With a checklist that includes playing the poker tables in Monte Carlo, consuming copious amounts of caviar, racing the fastest machines on four wheels, and much more, these two terminally ill men will do their best to fit a lifetime of experience into their last remaining days while forging an unlikely, but truly remarkable, friendship. – Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide.
There were several scriptures that were used to go along with this message. My favorite was Psalm 39:4-5 “LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away. My life is no longer than the width of my hand. An entire lifetime is just a moment to you; human existence is but a breath.”
How true is that verse! Life is so stinkin’ short…and what am I doing about it. Am I using this short time on earth to live life to its fullest? Am I using this short time on earth to further His kindgom? I sat down this weekend and made my own ‘bucket list’.
Go deep sea fishing.
See the Grand Canyon.
Go on a mission trip to Africa.
Go on a mission trip to Central America.
Become debt free so I can give freely- so I can serve to my fullest capacity.
What about you? What would be on your ‘bucket list’?
I have been thinking a lot lately about what it means to have faith like a child. There are several verses in the Bible that tell us to be like children. Here are a couple of my favorites:
“I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17
“Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:4
I was reading In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson (which I highly recommend) last night and came across a section about this. A study was done which I thought captured the essence of what it means to be like a little child. A man went into classrooms and would ask the kids, “How many artists are there in the room?” In the first grade, the entire class waved their arms like maniacs. Every child believed they were an artist. In the second grade, about 1/2 the kids raised their hands. In the third grade he’d get about 10 out of every 30 kids. And by the time he got to sixth grade, only 1 or 2 kids would raise their hands.
As children, they believe in everything they do and that they are the best. Their potential and imaginations are unlimited. When you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up they say things like an astronaut, a princess, famous…they see no limits. As a child, I always said I was going to work at Long John Silvers…glad I got over THAT quickly. As we grow older, though, we realize there are limits. We stop pursuing things because of what others will think or because we may fail or because it seems impossible. In doing this, we put limits on God and what He can do.
I read a definition of childlike faith to be a faith that may be clouded by some unanswerable questions. How can Santa deliver presents to every child in one night? It’s impossible but they still believe. A person with childlike faith believes that God has the power to do anything. They admit unbelief but still believe. They watch as God does the impossible. God, give me faith like a child!
Why is it so easy for us to put limits on God causing our faith to diminsh? Any thoughts on what a childlike faith means?
David and I have been talking about getting married. When we originally started talking about it, we planned on doing it sometime in September. We talked about it a week ago and were unsure about when we would be able to do it financially. He wants to be in better shape financially and we weren’t sure how we’d afford a wedding and a ring and all the stuff that goes along with that.
Sunday night at our lifegroup we were discussing disappointments in our lives and David mentioned how we are wanting to get married but just don’t see how that’s going to happen. Do we wait until we are both out of debt (which could be a few years) or do we go ahead and take the next step? Our lifegroup was very encouraging and willing to help with everything. They basically said if we want to be married in September to make plans like we are getting married then and to put faith in God that He will provide. They started discussing how we could do the flowers ourselves and how we could do the cake and all that stuff. It was so funny! By the time we left, they pretty much had everything for our wedding taken care of. He’s also teaching how extremely important our lifegroup is to us.
Last night, David and I went to church to hear Dave Ramsey speak. As we were walking out a guy in our lifegroup was yelling at us to get our attention. He asked if he could talk to us. So of course we said yes. The 3 of us sat down at a table. This man in our group said he felt, after our discussion at group on Sunday, called to help us out. He had a couple of rings that he sold at a pawn shop and wanted to give us the money to put towards a ring. He said it’s not much but will at least get us started. I was SPEECHLESS! How can someone be so selfless?! David and I both teared up…not really knowing what to say. He also said his wife works part-time for a catering company and they would be willing to take care of all the catering and linens and stuff like that for our wedding. What an awesome God we serve! God has really been teaching me to give over my finances to Him recently and I have been so blessed.
How has God blessed you with Godly friends and fellow lifegroupers?
At church we’ve been going through a series called The Vow. It has been an amazing series. I have learned so much. One thing I’ve always been big on is being submissive. The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:1 “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.” But this series questioned whether I really know what the true meaning of being submissive is so I decided to do some research.
Webster’s dictionary says submissive means “inclined or willing to submit to orders or wishes of others or showing such inclination; submissive servants; a submissive reply; replacing troublemakers with more submissive people.”
Here is what I think Biblical submission is: the divine calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts. It’s the disposition to follow a husband’s authority and an inclination to yield to his leadership. I LOVE this definition. It’s such a beautiful act when done in the will of the Father.
One thing I’ve learned recently about submission is that it is so much easier to be submissive when you have the faith and trust that your partner is where he is supposed to be Spiritually. David and I broke up for about 2 months. Our first relationship was not centered around God at all. This time, our relationship is ONLY centered around God. Knowing this, it is so much easier to be trusting and submissive in his decisions…because I know he’s actively pursuing the will of God. I don’t question his decisions like I did before.
What are your thoughts on submission? Do you think it’s easy or hard to be submissive?
There’s a song I’ve been hearing on the radio lately and hadn’t really thought about it much until last weekend. And since then it’s really been on my mind. It’s called Give Me Your Eyes by Brandon Heath. Here are the words:
Give Me Your Eyes- Brandon Heath
Look down from a broken sky
Traced out by the city lights
My world from a mile high
Best seat in the house tonight
Touch down on the cold black top
Hold on for the sudden stop
Breathe in the familiar shock
Of confusion and chaos
All those people going somewhere
Why have I never cared
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see
Step out on a busy street
See a girl and our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide what’s underneath
There’s a man just to her right
Black suit and a bright red tie
Too ashamed to tell his wife
He’s out of work, he’s buying time
All those people going somewhere
Why have I never cared
I’ve been here a million times
A couple of million eyes
Just move and pass me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
Well, I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way You’ve seen the people all along
What a good prayer! Lord, give me eyes like Yours. Help me to love others like You do. Help me to be compassionate like You. Mmm…great song!
The last 2 days I have gotten up earlier than normal to spend some time in the Word and in prayer (instead of doing it before I go to bed). And the last 2 mornings have been anything but good afterwards. Is this Satan trying to discourage me from starting out my day with God?
I started to get really frustrated this morning. Then it hit me. My favorite story in the Bible is of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Burn Me Up). I love when King Nebuchadnezzar threatens to throw them in the fiery furnace and they said they know God is able to rescue them. In Daniel 3:18 they say, “But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” This is how I want to live my life and this is what I’ve been asking God for- the faith to say I know my God can deliver me from the pain of just everyday life and even if He doesn’t, I WILL worship Him and serve Him. And I WILL continue to spend time with Him in the mornings…knowing that greater things are to come!
Wednesday night at Switch we talked about worship and what it means. We talked about what hinders worship and how things in our daily life cause that hinderance.
In our switchgroups, we asked the students why they were broken. It was heart-breaking what some of my girls had to say. One of my girls found out on Thanksgiving that the man she’d been calling dad for 14+ years is actually her step-dad. She is hurting so bad…wondering where God is…wondering what SHE did to her dad to make him disappear. Another girl’s parents are fighting all the time and are discussing divorce. She also wonders where God is and feels alone…like she has no one to talk to.
I’ve got one girl that I have always thought a lot of. She is very knowledgable about the Bible and is very good at explaining things when the other girls don’t understand. She shared that she’s really been struggling with not worshipping like she used to. She was very upset. After switchgroups, we all got back together and had some worship time. As I stood next to her watching what was going on I saw something click. She began to close her eyes…then to lift her hands…then fall to her knees…all in worship. Tears began to stream down my face. As she is on her knees she begins to weep so I go over and get on my knees next to her and just hold her. After the music was over she stood up and embraced me. I whispered in her ear that I am praying for her. She whispered back ‘I love you so much April’. It was so powerful! It was such a blessing to me to see God work in her that night, and to know that I was able to be a part of that.
God is so good!!
I am reading a book by Beth Moore called To Live is Christ. It’s about the life of Paul and it’s so amazing to see the Godly man he became. I was reading a couple of nights ago and came across the following:
“When God desires to do a “new thing” (Isaiah 43:19), He purposely seeks out a few righteous renegades who don’t have a problem breaking the mold! Mold-breakers are usually people who don’t care much about popularity or tradition.”
This really struck me. I want to be the one He seeks out. I want to be the one who doesn’t have a problem breaking the mold. I don’t want to care about popularity or tradition. I only want to care that I am doing the will my Father has for me.
I was interested to see what the definition of renegade is so I did a little research. It means one who rejects a religion, cause, allegiance, or group for another; a deserter; an outlaw; a rebel. The word righteous means morally justifiable; in accordance with virtue or morality. My favorite combination of the two is morally justifiable rebel- that’s what I strive to be.
Craig recently did a series called Kaleo. This message series was directed towards me. The verse he gave to go along with the series was 1 Peter 2:21- “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”
The word Kaleo is the Greek word for called. It also means to invite, to call by name, or to summon . In the series Craig named 4 things we are called to: Called to Care, Called to Generosity, Called to Serve, and Called to Make Disciples (the last 2 are the ones that are exactly what I feel called to). All of that to say, here is my new tattoo I got on Thursday. It is on my left wrist.