Sunday, August 19, 2012

I'm Engaged!

I was reminded today in church that I am already engaged to the best person ever.  He is out of this world (literally!).  According to Jewish wedding customs, the father picks the bride for his son, the son asks permission, a price is negotiated, and paid.  Then there is a time of preparation.  The bride readies herself to be a wife and mother while the groom prepares the house for his bride.

Christ has proposed to us all.  God the Father chose the church, saved believers of Christ's message. as the bride for His Son.  Jesus left the glory of heaven and paid the ultimate price of death on the cross of Calvary for our sins, and ascended to heaven to prepare a place for His bride.  He is preparing a place for me!

I am engaged to Christ!  I accepted His proposal of love and forgiveness in March of 2001.  My relationship hasn't been easy but is growing stronger with each new day.  The best part is my bridegroom is coming back for me.  That means I must be ready for Him.  I need to prepare my heart and mind for that holy union and all that it will hold.

This gives me a whole new perspective on earthly romantic love.  I am not putting down earthly marriage at all.  It is a priority thing.  I shouldn't seek the love of a man over the love of Christ.  Christ should be first and foremost in my thoughts and life.  Until Christ is number one, any other relationship on earth will suffer.

With that, I plan to set apart some time to seek God and prepare for my groom's coming.  Christ is coming back for me.  It doesn't get any better than that.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Does God Use Our Detours?

There are times in life where I believe God is whispering, "Be still..." and I plow right through not fully catching the "I am God" part. I believe God engineers circumstances in my life to get me to reach out to Him. This has happened many times over the years, and I wished I had slowed down to listen a whole lot sooner.

This got me to wonder, does God use my detours?  What constitutes a detour?  Does a detour have to be a blatant outright rebellion visible to the world around us?  Can a detour be disguised as a good intention pursued at the wrong timing?
The Bible speaks for itself; just take a look at Sampson or Jonah.   God used their detours and can use mine.  I have had a few detours in my short life.  They don’t look major from the outside looking in, but they have shaped me to get to the place I am today even though they may not have been God’s best plan at the time.

God got my attention with a major life event that clearly told me I wasn’t in control.  I was slow to learn that lesson, but I did learn that God was with me always and wouldn’t leave me. Other detours in my life were busyness in my college routine, pursuit of a Master’s degree, and doing good things without the best motives.
You may say how can a Master’s degree be a bad thing?  Well, I love listening to others and attempting new things, so I went for it without seeking God’s best will.  There is nothing wrong with a Master’s degree, but for me it was not God’s best plan for me.  It took a lot for Him to get my attention and let go.  God worked through my classes orchestrating things only He can and allowing me to use information gained through those classes in my work today, and for that I am grateful.
Serving others without the right motives has occurred several times in my life.  Most recently, I ran across an organization that fulfilled the call on my life to reach children for Christ.  I volunteered while doing grad classes which took away from my focus and purpose for my service.  My intentions were good, but my heart was not completely dedicated to the work. 

As God started chipping away at the detours I was taking, He directed me back to this organization, and after a long summer of interviews and getting closer to God.  God blessed me with a position with this organization to teach Jesus to children every day.  God gave me my true heart’s desire and redirected me back to His purpose through the many twists and turns I created.  God can use our detours, but it is best if we stay close and listen for the next step.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Operation Faithfully Fit

Today is the day, no more excuses, no more waiting for tomorrow, no more if onlys, Operation Faithfully Fit begins today.  In keeping with my alliterative streak, my plan focuses on the following areas: Food, Fitness, Finances.  The plan is to make some baby steps in each of these areas until they finally become routine and I can do them without thinking about it.

Food
Read Faithfully Fit Devotional daily and apply lessons learned
Make menus
Login to Sparkpeople.com
Drink 64oz of water daily
Log water intake on Sparkpeople.com
Track food intake on Sparkpeople.com (1500-1700 calories)

Fitness
10 minutes of exercise daily
30 minutes of exercise 3 days a week
Gradually increasing that to more as goals are reached

Finances
Make Budget
Stick to Budget
Don't make any unplanned or off budget expenses
Budget for groceries not convenient unhealthy fast food

This may look like a lot or not enough.  For me this is just right.  If I can't obey or make the little things important then the important things will be mismanaged and suffer.  I have done more at once, but for only a short while.  The plan never became a routine or part of me.  I am ready to be faithfully fit in these areas, and I can't do it alone.  God is my strength and my family and friends are my accountability.  I can do this, but not on my own. True change comes in surrender, and with surrender comes true freedom.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Getting Prepared

God has been slowly bringing me back to my role as a single woman and the responsibilities I have to him in my singleness.  In I Corinthinians 7:34-35, Paul speaks of the unmarried woman as one who cares about the things of the Lord and is holy in body and spirit.  He also states that he says things to encourage us and tell us we are more readily available to serve the Lord without distraction.
In today's fast-paced world, there are many distractions that surround me and beg for my attention.  To be perfectly honest, I have been distracted most of my life.  Yes, I have even been a distracted Christian.  Oh, I do many things and serve in my church.  I go I mission trips, but when was the last time I smiled and said hello to my neighbor.  When have I shared Christ to those around me?

My season of singleness is a preparation, a readying for friendships and relationships.  I must first be rightly related to God.   I am supposed to be holy--set apart--in body and spirit.  That is a specific task and requirement for a single woman.  I must take care of my body so it can be set apart and used for God.  Whew, that is a tough one.  What does that look like?  Do I eat healthy in moderation?  Do I exercise?  Do I go to sleep at a decent hour?  Do I use my time wisely and effectively?
I have begun to do this but have not been totally dedicated to this cause. 

I must also be set apart in spirit.  That means I must be seeking God with my whole heart.  What does that look like?  Does that mean I am at church every time the doors are open?  Serving on every committee?  Teaching a Sunday School class?  Emailing all of our missionaries?
This doesn't necessarily mean we are growing in spirit.  We can't earn God's favor; He freely gives it.  I've learned in the past few months, that growth in sprirt occurs with daily time spent with God in His Word, prayer, and just being in His presence.

I must take care of my body and spirit so God can use me, and I will be able to serve Him without distraction.  I also realize I can't do this on my own, so I must surrender to God and allow him to work in me.