Resurrected To New Life!

EASTER. This day has now become my favorite day of the year! As I have walked many “miles’ on my journey of faith, I have overcome so much, my faith has grown, and my love for Jesus has run deeper than I could ever imagine. I never want to get over this; the remembrance of Good Friday, and the price he paid for our sins, taking our sins upon himself to give us life. As we wait on Saturday, there is silence, there is darkness, but this will not last; Sunday has come! Jesus has conquered death; he has shattered the darkness, and has been raised to new life. It is this new life that he offers all of us! It is this victory that we share with him! O Death where is your sting? It is gone! It is finished! Death could not hold him, the grave could not keep him, and He offers us this same life, not just someday in Heaven, but today in our lives; we are to also be resurrected to new life, to bring forth light that shatters the darkness of the world around us, to testify of his great love! Yes, we have to take up our own cross, we struggle in life and learn the beauty of surrendering our lives over to him. He is the only one who can take our broken mess and make something new, and He does. I use to be a person who was really insecure, who always worried about what others thought of me; wondering if I was ever good enough to belong; but as I struggled with these feelings, doubts and fears and continued to give them over to Jesus, little by little He would show me more of how much he loved me. He helped me to see who I am in Him. He helped me to see the price He paid. I now saw the cross more vivid than ever before. But he wasn’t done. He brought me out of my pit of insecurities, doubts and fears, and gave me new life. He set my feet upon a rock and told me how much he loved me. The darkness in my life has been shattered. I no longer care what others may think, because I know that as long as I am walking in the ways and will of God, that is enough, it’s all he asks of me, and now my significance is found in Christ alone. Death could not hold Jesus and neither could it hold me! I am now free to be all that Christ has made me. I am free to love and to serve; not out of obligation or duty, but out of an overflow of love, and gratitude of what Jesus has done for me!! I know who I am in Christ, and I know that in such a deep way that it is fleshed out in the life I live. It radiates from every part of me, wanting to do nothing out of selfish ambition, but out of love and gratitude to Jesus who has done such an amazing work in me. I am now able to love people where they are at on the journey, no longer getting anxious for their growth, but to pray them forth into all the growth that God wants to do in their lives. I can love and accept people knowing it’s only by the power of Jesus that can raise them to new life. It is a journey from the cross to the empty tomb for all of us. And even when we have victory, we are still continuing our journey onward. Oh Jesus, my heart is so overflowed in gratitude for all that you have done for me. I can’t thank you enough, I can’t seem to sing enough praises to you! Lord, may I never get over all that you have done for me, and may I never be ashamed of the gospel that gave me new life. Thank you Jesus for the cross and for the empty tomb may we all be your lights shining brightly for your kingdom. This is Easter; not only remembering the death and resurrection of Jesus, but the death and resurrection in each of our lives. What has God resurrected you out of? What is your new life story? How will you let that shine forth to shatter the darkness in this world? To bring hope to others? He came so that we could live; He came to give us life and life more abundant! It is for Today! Are you living in the Resurrection life that Jesus died to freely give? This is the Good News! This is what I want every Sunday to be for me!! I want Sunday to now be Resurrection Day! Every Sunday, I want to make sure that I celebrate all that I have overcome and am becoming in Christ, as I live out that new life all week long! Happy Easter, And May you truly live a new life in Christ!! Below I posted our churches Easter Service. There are two sections of it that I love the most; the one is after we show a clip of Jesus coming out of the tomb from “the passion of the Christ” at 29:30 there is an awesome song of VICTORY that we sang!!! We also did cardboard testimonies at point 1:01 in the video there is our “cardboard” testimonies that I was a part of. We all have testimonies that bring us out of the tomb into new life. Share yours, because He died so you could live and testify of his great love it is why we are here! God Bless You!

Worship???

 This morning  my professor for CotN History and Polity posted his thoughts on his Sunday worship experience, and being an unquenchable worshipper myself, I had to chime in with my two cents.  Now there is MUCH MORE I could say on this topic since it is hard-wired into my DNA, but I think my quick reply get’s to the heart of the matter.  Not sure who else may chime in to this discussion, only time will tell, but if I can, I will try to add their contributions to the discussion to the “comments” section of this post. 

Professor: This morning I was in a church service in which we probably spent about five minutes singing a song that, I kid you not, went something like this:

I’m trading my sorrow
I’m trading my shame
I’m laying it down for the joy of the Lord
I’m trading my sickness
I’m trading my pain
I’m laying it down for the joy of the Lord

Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord Amen

It honestly never got into any more depth than that.

REALLY?  Nearly two thousand years to plumb the depths of God’s love, and this is what we come up with?

 My Reply:   Well, that song’s been around awhile, but yes, I do see your point, it is kind of shallow now that I sit back and really think on it.  I think it just goes to show how we in America have “cranked out” our worship songs to be another one hit wonder, something that the rest of the world can do with ease.  It’s no wonder that the church is in the shape it is in because of superficial songs like these, it pretty much reflects a superficial un-genuine faith.  I don’t mean to sound harsh, but one of my biggest rants has always been people’s superficiality and lack of real transformation in their lives that they claim to be a believer.  My pastor has said again yesterday, that when the world sees Christians just trying to get by, complaining, ect it’s not very attractive, who wants that kind of Christianity. This is not to say that we don’t have bad days, but we must choose a better outlook on our lives in Christ than what we often settle for as our lot in life.  We have huge power in Jesus and too often we do not live in it, because I don’t believe that we really believe in it. It’s easy to say, but much harder to live out when you really get a hold of it. But then too, if we claim sanctification, or even at least a new life in Christ, than we do hold that power.  Sadly, we don’t live in it.  I think if we really did, we would see a church that was much different and closer to an Acts 2 transformation.     Makes me glad to know that I am in a house of worship where all we do is to strive to give Him our best worship, it’s our main focus, to come together, to lift him up, to enter his presence, to be touched by his love, and to be reminded of the power that we do hold. Songs like this will never allow us to enter into that, they are just skimming the surface of what could be. 

What’s Your Plan?

Well 2011 is finally here and many of us have made resolutions, and are excited to see how our efforts are gonna pay off. I for one have decided to read the Bible in a year, hence getting on a plan. I know there are tons out there. I had used a really good one at You Version during the Christmas Season and an Advent Wreath calendar from Focus on the Family also have Logos Bible Software and Bible Explorer on my laptop that utilize reading plans as well, but I really like to be in the Physical Bible when I do my reading. Those Pc tools are great for reference and study, but nothing, in my opinion takes the place of a bound Bible. I found some great plans at Discipleship Journal and have personally chosen the Book-at-a-Time Bible Reading Plan. For me it’s just easy to tackle one thing at a time, then having to be all over the Bible in a single reading. I have enough multi-tasking and multi-reading to do in seminary so I want my Bible reading to be simplistic. This brings me to my other plan for the New Year; simplicity. I have been cleaning out a lot of clutter in pretty much every area of my life and have declared my own personal theme of peace. Jesus was the Prince of Peace and I am seeking to simplify my life and have peace. We can get so tangled in the stuff of life that before we know it we feel overwhelmed and feeling deflated and unfocused. I have vowed to take things one month at a time, Planning out as best as can, but at the same time, living in the moment and enjoying the simple things in life like spending time with my daughter, and helping her also to learn the Bible stories in her books. I have taken a few small steps in organizing things such as my files on my computer and getting rid of many links and sites I have saved in folders that I never got back to last year in hopes of acquiring yet more information. It’s been interesting too to come to the realization that we all have our own preferences and that’s Ok. For example, I was looking at ereaders online, reading reviews, ect; and people can debate products till they are blue in the face but the deciding factor is always preference. Some folks like touch screens some don’t’, some swear by an ipad and all its multi-functions, while others swear by e-ink technology such as in the Kindle and non-color nook. I bring up this silly point to bring us back to what one reviewer stated which was what does it matter the tool you use, just as long as your reading. Same can be said in pretty much anything. What Bible reading plan, what study method, what tools you choose to use to accomplish your goal doesn’t really matter, just as long as it is helping you accomplish your goal, then the rest of that comes down to individual preference usually. Another interesting trend (if you want to call it that) I have noticed this past year was the onslaught of reality TV and reality Face book. Yes all you have to do I turn on the TV or click to your page on FB to get the latest scoop on how people live life. Guilty as charged, as a blogger, I say it, and likewise as a face book user; but it has gotten a little tiring for me recently. Do I really want to be spending my time checking in on peoples latest status updates or could I be utilizing my time better. Don’t get me wrong, FB is a great tool for keep up with friends and family, but it can also become dramaville if you let it. I personally have not had that bad of experiences, but we have all heard the stories, seen the woe is me post or the friends we had to delete for their constant inappropriateness in a public forum. Point being, all things in moderation and for me, I need to cut down on my “face time” with face book. Well, for now that about does it for me and my plans of a deeper dive into the word of God and simplifying so that I can hear and comune better with my Abba Father. Of course I’m gonna have to blog, that’s just the fun part of the journey. So let me close by asking you what your plan is for the New Year. What things do you want to change? How do you want to grow closer to God and what steps are you taking? Sharing the Journey is part of the Adventure!

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,400 times in 2010. That’s about 13 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 17 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 131 posts. There were 15 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 32kb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was June 7th with 77 views. The most popular post that day was I knew these feelings would come.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, blogsurfer.us, highcallingblogs.com, search.aol.com, and christianity.alltop.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for 2nd commandment, fully devoted follower of christ, not my will but yours be done, it’s in the valleys we grow, and robin richards.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

I knew these feelings would come June 2010
3 comments

2

6 Characteristics of a fully devoted follower of Christ. Are You Transparent For Christ??? April 2009
2 comments

3

2nd Commandment August 2009
7 comments

4

Being Busy-It’s the devil’s favorite tactic December 2009
3 comments

5

It’s in the valley’s that we grow July 2009
1 comment

Gotta Testify of God’s Continued Affirmation Over My Life.

This week, after a year of wavering, I took another step of faith and became a member of the church God has leaded me to.  I wanted to share a story of encouragement that is actually in 2 parts, because I couldn’t remember a song when I first shared this with some people.  So I hope you are encouraged in your walk and your faith is strengthened as I share this.

Part 1:

I wanted to share how Awesome God has been in my life today.  As you know, I shared how I was going to stand in front of church with the new membership class today to be officially welcomed in as members. It was kind of a big deal for me after all God has done to get me to this point.   One of my consistent signs from God as I have journeyed to Wooster Church  of the Nazarene, Seminary and now NTS, this past year have been birds flying in the sky with their wings spread open.  ( I think they are hawks, but I am not sure), anyway, there have been times of crying out to God in the valley’s, as well as shouts of praise on the mountain top, and every time I cry out in a deep need, doubt, or praise, He shows me the birds soaring with their wings spread, which is always a reminder to me that He is near and He will raise me up on wings like Eagles, which also renews my faith and strength when I see them (Isaiah 40:31).  Well, today, on my drive in to church, I had asked God once more out of my sheer nervousness of taking this next step of faith, and “sealing the deal” if  you will, by becoming a member of the church.  As I got closer to the church, I was anxiously looking to the sky for my sign.  At one point I ran into an accident that made me take a detour, and it was at that moment I stopped asking for my sign, and starting praying for whatever happened on the road, that an entire fire truck  would not even let cars get close; I started counting my blessings and realized I have no reason to worry; and feeling a bit selfish for asking; after all, God has been so faithful, with this and other signs continually along the way, so I had really no need for a sign.   Later, after church on my drive back home, God showed me the bird in the sky, with it’s wings spread wide.  I wasn’t looking for it, but He blessed me with it.  As I continued to drive, other concerns came into my mind.  As I flipped the radio channels and heard the same song that I heard when the first bird flew over my head, I also saw another bird with it’s wings spread out soaring around some other birds that were in the sky.  At that point I lost it, I started laughing, then balling like crazy, because not only did God affirm the direction of my life at that point twice, but He was showing me how much He loves me and I was once again assured that all my faithfulness, sacrifices, and efforts to live for him are known and that He does have such a wonderful plan and purpose for my life.  I thought I’d be daring and ask one more time, and sure enough several miles down the road there was one more bird with wings spread out that flew over my car. At that point I stopped asking and realized how faithful God always is. My faith was strengthened and I am so excited to continue to see what God is going to do with me.  There are so many unknowns, but I have such a peace that God is going to do something awesome with me.  So next time you see a bird soaring in the sky think of me and say a little prayer.   I hope and pray my story blessed you and encouraged you today as you too journey on the path God has set before you 

Part 2

I was thinking that I wanted to share the song I mentioned in my last post, but couldn’t remember it.  Ha, it was on my ipod, I didn’t even know!!  I wanted to share it with you, because God used music A LOT to speak to me, and this is another song that he spoke through.  The link has the words; the song is called “walk on the water”, there is a line about stepping out in faith and walking on water in faith; Well, when I was in my great tension of coming to Wooster Naz. for good, I had read the book “If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat”.  by John Ortberg, and The Holy Spirit had been prompting me for some time in this same way. So now, it’s like it’s all coming full circle, again!!!!  To hear that song on my drive home 2x’s with all the birds soaring, WOW!!  I wish I could tell you all the amazing things God has done with me, it’s AMAZING!  And to lead me not only into the Church of the Nazarene, but to Wooster, where I have had so many God-encounters, and the sheer fact that it is an hours drive, it’s all God ordained, it’s very cool.  I hope you enjoy the song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7R3K0sqgfvM

God Is With Me

I’ve been wanting to blog for some time now on both of my blogs, but this summer has been so crazy for me there just wasn’t anything I knew how to really say.  Things have been going so fast; I started at a new seminary, while at the same time, finishing up at the one I was enrolled in; and now I sit and wait for grades to get posted at one, while in the  middle, and about to begin more course work in the other.   I got to go to a sister campus of my new seminary this past month, and sit with my fellow students for a week-long module, and dive into the book of Jeremiah, and continue to watch God orchestrate it all; opening up my mind to learning and illumination, while making some new friends on the journey.  He opened doors for me this summer, starting with getting a new car, which I needed for my long commutes to school and church.  While at school, God provided a place for me to stay  in the future with a friend of the family living a mile straight down the road from where my classes will be one week a semester, so this way, I can stay close, in someone’s actual home that I know, and not a smelly hotel. (currently, it’s a 2 hour drive that I would have to make).  God continued to show me signs that he is with me, as I would see birds soar through the sky, reminding me that I will soar on wings like eagles; as he continues to grow me and keep me safe, as he allowed care for my daughter while I was away, and just gave me a continued peace that I am in the center of His will for  my life.  Not everything is smooth sailing;  I have a lot of loose ends that I don’t know how to tie, but God see’s this too, and as I surrender it all to him daily, I know that He will continue to light my path as He has thus far. I have seen His mighty hand move consistently as I have taken this step of faith out of the boat and into many unknown waters, and He continues to calm the raging seas around me, that grow my faith and my love for Him more everyday.   I guess it’s all part of the adventure, and God will work it out as He see’s fit, and I’ll just continue to trust, walk in peace and obedience and know that I know that He’s in control.  So maybe this post is a little bit of rambling, but I thought it good to  write something.  I’ve learned so much this first year is seminary and I know God has a plan to do something with me; so I will just press on toward the goal, so that one day he will smile and say “well done”.  Peace and Coffee.  Robin

Reminded of my Dependance on Independance Day: Life Lessons from Exodus 4

I’m currently reading “Dying to Lead, Sacrificial Leadership in a Self-Centered World” by Robert McKenna for my servant leadership class.  In chapter 7 it recalls the story of Moses and God in Exodus 4:10-13, and Moses reluctantly to speak and lead the people.  I like how the book paraphrases God’s words to Moses:  “Who gave man a mouth” Is there any chance that the creator of the mouth could work with the ineloquent mouth of Moses? God seems pretty sure that he can provide for Moses. The author goes on to say that deep down you probably are aware that you don’t have what it takes to lead anyone or anything, but the creator of the mouths has the power to keep you moving toward his agenda.   That is some good news, and a huge weight off my back.  It’s pretty easy for me to try and get ahead of God if I’m not thinking on having a mindset of surrender and trust.  I’m constantly being reminded of this as I journey through seminary.  There are challenging class discussions, books I don’t understand, and struggles in the Word at times.  Talk about mind stretching.  But it always seems to bring me back to the feet of Jesus where it all began.  I’ve figured out that this is a journey with God, and that He’s still the Pilot.  I look back at the conversation in Exodus 4 and am reminded that God will develop in me what He will, He will guide my understanding, He will allot the time needed and He will encourage me along the way as I surrender and obey.  This holds true for every area of my life, such as motherhood as now my daughter has climbed up on my lap for some attention.  I was reminded of God’s leading again yesterday as I sat with a new family that I had just met, who had openly shared many of the challenges of their life and current circumstances.  The husband joked “hey aren’t you glad you sat next to me” realiziing how much he was loading on, which I jokingly replied back something like ” hey, I’m a seminary student, it’s great practice”.  But in all seriouness,  I’ve learned to listen to others more intently and not be quick to give a “fixing” answer, but to help them to maybe re-frame the situation throug a causual conversation.  Again, here is a delicate balance of showing genuine concern for others without getting sucked into their issues; funny, now that I type this, the subject of boundaries came up in the discussion last night.  I think that is one of the reasons Jesus spent so much time in prayer because he was constantly dealing with people’s issues and we all know how draining that can be.  He knew He had to get filled up by and be completly dependent upon God to be able to really help people, and the same is true for us.  I can’t image what that must have been like for Jesus who, wherever he went, people sought him out for some type of healing.  It has been a great reminder for me, from this past week, when one of my Pastors’s reminded me that we can never fully serve others unless we are filled up by the love of Christ, and it is through that love that we can love others.  Going back to this family last night, there were other family members there with kids, and you could tell they needed some extra TLC.  I had a bag of toys and food that we ended up sharing with them.  The parent’s kept apologizing for the kids, but I simply said “it’s just food” and when I had walked away for a minute to get some water, I had come back to a report that my daughter was sharing the grapes with the other kids, and I reminded her that we area being like Jesus when we do that, it was a beautiful, teachable moment indeed, and one filled with grace and love for others. I didn’t share the food out of trying to “look good” but because my heart went out to these people; it’s what Jesus would have done, and I know it’s what he wanted me to do.  I guess the point in all my rambling here is this:  The more I decease the more He increases, and the more I am filled up by His love, the more room I give him to work, the more I surrender the more He reminds me on my utter dependence on him.  It’s so God-like, as I was celebrating my independence yesterday on the 4th of July; God used it to remind me of my utter dependence on him.  Today as I recalled last nights events my heart cried out for this family and their relatives, and once again God reminded me that my job is to love and pray for them, and he’ll do the rest as I obey.  Thank you Jesus for this great lesson of your love and reminder of your power that you work through us.  Thank you for bringing so many new people in my life and helping me to relate and love them in the way that you would.  Help me to continually lean on you and be filled up by your love so I am able to give it away to those who need to be strengthened by the hope that you give.  I love you and trust you and surrender in all things right now to you, and I am excited to see what you will do through your people as we live to bring you glory through our obedience, fully aware that it is only through the power of your loves that fills us up, that we have the indescribable privilege to be used by you.  In Jesus Holy Name I pray all these things forth, Amen!

Deuteronomy Chapter 2

This chapter starts as the Israelites turn back toward the desert as the Lord commanded. Then God begins to give specific direction as to which way they should go, how long they should travel, and how to behave when they encounter certain groups of people. The Lord reminds them that he has blessed them and has been with them, but clearly instructs them and tells them three different times that He will not give the people that they are encountering into their hands. Finally in verse 24, the Lord tells then that He is giving Sihon, King of Hesbon into their hands. He begins to tell them to take possession of it, engaging in battle; and that this very day, He will begin to put terror and fear of you on all the nations under heaven. God made the Spirit of Sihon stubborn and his heart obstinate in order to give him over to their hands. The Lord reminds them what he has just done and tells them to go and take possession of the land. Verse 33 states “The Lord our God delivered him over to us and we struck him down”; even after this victory, at the very end of this chapter, the Lord reminds them in v. 37 that in accordance with the command of the Lord our God, you did not encroach on any of the land of the Ammonites, neither the land along the course of the Jabbok not that round the towns of the hills”.

Application:

Well, putting the geography lesson aside, I think the basic message of this chapter is once again obedience. I can also see it as a possible test from God. After these people refused to listen to God in the first place that sent them back into the desert, He is checking to see if they are really ready to repent and put on their listening ears. It must have been frustrating for them to travel to all these different locations and not be able to take possession of them, even stating that he had given that right to others. I think that would have been a really hard pill to swallow; to have traveled and finally learn to obey, yet not reap any reward for it. I think at this point the lessons can be that obedience is primary, and that just because you are instructed to obey, don’t expect it to become like a magic wand for what you want to get. How many times do we go to God with this same attitude of “God if you just deliver me from this mess this time, I’ll never do it again”? And how many times, have you found yourself breaking that very promise? So perhaps God here is testing their true obedience to them? Perhaps when we think we are obeying and fail to see the fruit, we need to not give up, or get discouraged, but let it be a time of learning, and character building, and perseverance, and really showing God that our heart wants to obey for the right reasons, which is hopefully out of love and remembrance for all his has done for us; much like He reminded the Israelites in verse 7. I find it interesting too that God, in this verse not only reminds them that he has been with them, but also for the entire 40 years! I think that speaks volumes. I think God is trying to tell them “hey, I haven’t left you, and I provided all your needs, and watch over you, keeping you safe during this long period of time; so what’s the problem here?” And yet in Verse 9 God again does not let them take possession of the Land. He reminds them back in verse 7, chooses not to bless them in verse 9 and finally sees that perhaps they do trust and believe enough that He goes ahead and hands over the King, starting in verse 24, but even with that, and God hardening the Kings heart, at the end He still reminds them of their consequences; not being able to take over the land of the Amorites and the area of the Jabbok. Here, I think the application is that even though God may honor our obedience and bless us with victories in life, there are also root consequences of our prior actions that are still in place. I am sure we can all attest to this at some level. God is full of mercy and love, he is a God of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 200000th, chances, but that doesn’t take away the consequences of our messes in the first place. This is a very humbling chapter for me, it helps me to remember the sovereignty of God, and yet be reminded that he will always come to our rescue and want to give us his good gifts. It also reminds me of going around the mountain, how many times do we have to keep re-learning our lessons for God to see that we are really serious about making a change in our lives?

Deuteronomy Chapter 1

I have decided today that I have to retire one of my Bibles. It’s actually the first Bible that I received back as an early teen. Needless to say, it is full of markings and many of the pages are falling out. I though it be a good idea to go through and re-read my markings and possibly re-mark those verses in one of my other Bibles. As I was paging through, I came across the book of Deuteronomy, which is one of my favorites, and had a lot of markings, so I thought I’d re-read it this morning, but really try and study and apply it chapter by chapter. So today is Chapter 1 and I thought I’d share my notes here. As you read mine, and maybe read the first chapter for yourself, ask how it applies to your life, and look for circumstances maybe presently or in the past where you have dealt with issues of obedience unto God.

Deuteronomy: 5th book of the Bible. It was written in 1410 B.C. Has 34 chapters. It is the last book of the Pentateuch. Author: Moses. “Deuteronomy” is from the Greek word “Deuteronomion” meaning “second lawgiving”. The book is said to be the longest sermon in the Bible. It restates many of the laws and teachings given in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. It reminds God’s people of the faithfulness and saving power of God and stresses the importance of people’s gratitude for all the Lord has done. Moses challenges the Israelites to rededicate their lives to Serving the Lord. As you read this book, think about God’s daily care in your life and His desire that you dedicate your life to serving Him.

1:1-8 Moses commands the Israelites to leave Horeb.

1:9-18 Moses appoints leaders for the tribes that are growing too big to handle

1:19-25 Scoping out the land of the Amorites

1:26-46 Israel doubts and so God sends them packing.

Application:

Go where God leads you 1:6-7

Receive fully what God gives you 1:6-8

Choose leadership wisely, don’t show partiality, and help and support one another 1:9-18

Do what God commands; don’t fear or be discouraged. 1:19-25

Don’t doubt God when the circumstances look impossible 1:26-28

Remember what God has done 1:30-31. You must let this be enough even when you can’t see all the details-God can see it all, because He went ahead of you in your circumstance 1:32-33

When we doubt God or choose not to remember His goodness, we’re telling him we don’t really trust Him and open the door to escort him out of our problems and not giving him a chance to reveal his power through our lives 1:26-35.

He wants and will bless wholehearted followers 1:36.

Vv.37-46 reminds me how “one bad apple” can ruin the whole bunch. Even with the best leadership in place, like Moses, if the majority that we are trying to lead, be it a church, organization or family will not get on board with what we are trying to accomplish, the door of opportunity closes and the blessings that God wanted to grant will be given to those who will fully believe and not doubt. As verse 41 shows us, we don’t always get 2nd chances to make things right, so we must consistently seek God in prayer and ask for strength wisdom and increased faith, so that when God calls us to task we will be ready and willing to surrender all for the cause of Christ with unwavering confidence that He will bless our obedience, as we look back and remember all that He has brought us through. Father, forgive us for doubting your goodness and faithfulness in each of our lives. Help us to remember all that you have brought us t through and protected us from. Increase our faith and trust in you that we would go where you send us, and have confidence as we walk in your will. Amen.

True Worshippers are Catalysts

It’s so funny when God fits things together like pieces of a puzzle. This week I’ve been reading a leadership book for seminary called “The Starfish and the Spider”, where in the fifth chapter begins the discussion and definitions of a catalyst; here are a few of their characteristic: Catalysts are all about letting go and trusting the community, they have a genuine interest in others they have a desire to help people, they depend on emotional intelligence, they meet people where they are, they inspire others to work toward a goal that doesn’t involve personal gain, they make things work when they empower people then get out of the way, they have loose connections that allow them to thrive on meeting new people, then mapping those people together who can then help each other or link together to meet a greater need, and they have a great tolerance and preference for ambiguity, knowing that if they are too much in the center or at the top of what is going on they will just end up getting in the way. To me when I look at these characteristics, I can’t help but see Jesus. I think it describes him very well. And I find it interesting how it ties in so much to the roles of good leaders, which got me thinking of how God is teaching me this same principle when it comes to worship. Some, who know me, know that I had struggled for a long time to express myself through worship. It’s not that I couldn’t, it’s just that I always felt that I was under a certain protocol, if you will. Now as I journey on, and as I sat in Mid-week service last night at my new church, I was given my worship rights back. Pastor shared how as true worshippers we are to set the temperature for the house of God. Anyone can stand there all day with hands raised, but if it isn’t done with the right heart, then you are just going through the motions. Even more important, is that we can’t wait for our feelings to engage in worship; we must come and give all for the one who gave all for us. What’s more, is that there are people walking in the doors who are broken, looking for hope, longing to worship in spirit and in truth but may feel unsure if they have that right. As true worshippers, like catalysts, we must have a genuine interest in others and lead by example, setting the temperature, giving them the green light to meet with God however they need to. We must empower them to meet with Jesus and find healing and wholeness. What’s most important I think is the piece on ambiguity. We must not only lead and empower by example, setting the thermostat of worship for others, but we must always remain humble and worship alone to God. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in wondering how many people around me have raised hands, as well as wondering if in tune with what is happening around me, but I am learning to constantly strip that off of me, and focus on him alone. I find it no small coincidence then this morning, that God would have me read John 4: 21-24 “21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” So today my prayer is one of Thanks to God for tying all these truths together for me, and teaching me to keep my focus on him; reminding me too, that worship is not just about our songs of praise, but it is a way of life, a way of sacrificial living toward others, and as we come to worship in the house of God, we give such thanks and adoration for all that He allows us to do and be a part of for his kingdom. May we all be catalysts of worship in every area of our lives. In Jesus’ Holy Name, I Pray, Amen.