Thursday, January 30, 2014

Identity Statements

Identity.  What is it?  Well, I checked out the tried and true Webster's 1828, and that really didn't help.  Something about sameness out of much diversity or something like that...  Anyways, I have been confronted with specific issues of accepting myself for who I am and learning who I am.  Sounds to me a lot like my identity.  Who am I?  What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses? What do I like to do to relax? What pushes my buttons? How do I express emotions? Why do I react the way I do?  These are tough questions, but in reality they need an answer.
In the past few months, particular circumstances have led me down a path of "personal" development (kind of like professional development, but different...haha).  I have been introduced to successful people that now teach others how to be successful.  I have looked at it through my heavily, guarded Christian worldview.  I am not into get rich quick schemes or my way of living.  As I listened and researched, I noticed that everything they were saying made sense.  Saying positive things to yourself outloud long enough, you start to believe them.  So all of the negative self-talk that we say in order to justify our 1behavior can be retrained by inserting the positive things.  
So on this Made to Crave journey. the best thing to know is not just my identity, but my identity in Christ.  When you team up with the Lord and know what His opinion of you is, nothing else matters.  He has some pretty awesome things to say about each one of us.
Personally, my list would begin like this:
Amanda~You are worthy of love (That's what "Amanda" means)~Matthew 6:25-26
God feeds the birds and dresses the flowers; are you not of more worth than these? (my paraphrase)
Amanda~You are loved. (Romans 5:8)
Amanda~You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139)
Amanda~You are a living sacrifice. (Romans 12:1-2)
Amanda~You are a princess or co-heir of the kingdom. (Romans 8:17)
Amanda~You are a new creature. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Amanda~You are praised. (Proverbs 31:30)
Amanda~You have a purpose. (1Corinthians 10:31) Do what you do, eating or drinking, for the glory of God (my paraprase).

I ran across this post Who I am in Christ which lists many more identity statements in Christ.  I plan to print these statements and full verses and say them aloud every morning.  It sounds like one more thing to the "To Do" list, but from what I have heard it is worth it.  We can't be like Him, if we don't know Him.

For the Glory of God, 
The best way to renew your mind and experience inner transformation is by knowing, thinking, and speaking who you are in Christ.  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wrapping my Mind and Heart Around This

I have taken many online college courses. I paid for them.  I had homework that was graded.  I enjoyed the flexibility of not having to come to a classroom and be taught by a professor.  But there is a whole lot lost when you open up your 19 page syllabus for an 8 week class.  I remember looking over it and the tears that where shed and the overwhelming feelings of "it's going to be a long summer."  As I organized myself and prepared for the assignments, I calmed down a bit and dug in to the work.
Photo: Alamy
I signed up for the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study well in advance to it's arrival knowing in my mind that this was something I needed to do for real. I have struggled so long with my weight and thought this would be interesting.  Well there was no syllabus per se; there is a schedule of sorts which I like. There is no grade for doing the work.  There are now over 40,000 people signed up to do the study.  That is one big "classroom." This is now the middle of week two, and I behind on my homework so to speak.  I have just finished chapter one, and I am supposed to be on chapter 5.  As for craving God more than food, I have done my quiet time more frequently.  I have joined a 4 week fit challenge and am exercising a bit more.  I know that food is where the biggest battle is, and I struggle daily on making beneficial choices.
So now as the overwhelming feelings of the enormity of this study start to subside, I can look at the schedule and see what I am available to accomplish (I see that there are many optional options-I don't have to do it ALL!).  It is time for me to commit to this study and allow it to transform my life.  That is what I plan to do right now.  I will get my supplies (journal, book, Bible, pens, and cards) together.  I will read from God's Word and then catch up on my "homework."
In that online college class, God orchestrated an awesome experience just for me while I was out of town.  I had the pleasure of locating an object that I was currently studying in the very town I went.  It was so awesome.
For the Glory of God,

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Trust~Delight~Commit

"Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.  Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.  Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass."
~Psalm 37:3-5

Picture:http://ad-for-god.blogspot.com/2011
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I am stepping out into new territory.  I have joined the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study with over 36,000 people signed up.  Wow!  That's a lot of people!  The book focus for this study is Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst.  I am excited to see what this study will bring.

God is so good.  My favorite verse is Psalm 37:4, "Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart."  Delight is described as "pleasure, joy, happiness."  When I enjoy or take pleasure in God, he will give me the desires of my heart.  To be very honest, I struggle with enjoying God.  It has not been until the past few years, that I have really put forth an effort to know my Lord.  I can tell you the more I get to know Him, the sweeter and more enjoyable He becomes.  My desires begin to shift into "How do I get to know God more?" "What does God want me to do?"

When looking at Psalm 37:4, you can't help but read the verses that sandwich it.  Verse three says to trust and do good.  The promise for doing so is food.  How cool is that?  When we trust God, we will be fed.  We won't go hungry!  So we trust, then we delight, and now we commit.  We must commit our way to the Lord.  Our way.  This requires surrender.  We must surrender our plans for God's plans.  Trust Him.  Double trust.  If God repeats something, it must be important.  Trust God, and He will bring it to pass.  He will bring His plan to pass.

This seems like a simple enough recipe for life: Trust~Delight~Commit

These three words are so rich and powerful.  They are nothing until I apply them in my life. I truly want to trust my Lord, enjoy Him, and allow Him to lead me in His plan for me.  Joining the Proverbs 31 Bible Study is one step towards that, and I commit the next few weeks to Him for the purpose of enjoying and delighting in Him.  I want to Crave God rather than food or anything else.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Choose Your Consequences Carefully

I have noticed some beliefs floating around about God that are FALSE.  The idea that God is a loving God, and everyone should love everyone and accept them for "who they are no matter what they have done or are doing."  This is completely untrue!  You must love the sinner, but NOT the sin.  Yes, God is Love, but God is also just.  Because God is love and just, He can't stand sin.  Sin has to be paid for.  Sin is a debt that each person owes, and it must be paid.  The payment is death. His judgement will pour over all mankind in the near future.

Another thing people don't seem to understand is sin.  Most people have a sense of right and wrong. There are a few that believe everyone is good in the world, which I find nearly laughable in light of the events of this world and the evil reported each night on the evening news.  As for the majority with a knowledge of right and wrong, they know wrong is sin.  Simply put, sin is anything you think, say or do that breaks God's laws.  Yes, we could get into a debate as to what God's laws were and justify ourself out of nearly anything.  

Using the Bible as the source and standard for truth, God's laws are clearly found within its sacred pages.  This definition clearly addresses three areas where we sin.  It begins in our thoughts and moves out toward our speech and how we say things on to action, where we willfully take action against God's laws.  All of this can happen within seconds.  Sin is sin.  There is no sin bigger or smaller than another.  Let me say that again, Sin is sin.  There is no sin BIGGER or smaller than another. Sin is equal; the consequences are different.  Did you catch that?  Sin is equal; the consequences are different.  

Telling a lie and extramarital sex/homosexuality are sins.  One is not better or worse than the other.  The consequences are different.  A lie could result in other sin or if confessed immediately, the consequence is minimal such as parental discipline or such.  Extramarital sex could have a variety of consequences such as parenthood, STDs, emotional damage, strained relationships, and more.  Homosexuality has similar consequences such as STDs, emotional issues, broken relationships, social issues, and more.

There are many other examples of sin and its varying consequences, but there is good news.  The sin payment was paid for us.  God, out of His amazing love (that is where love comes in), sent His only Son, Jesus to die on a cruel cross as our sin payment.  Death was the required payment, so God arranged for us a alternate.  Because Jesus died on the cross, we are now given the choice to identify with Christ's payment or take the payment ourselves and live in separation from God forever in Hell.  It is your choice.  God is waiting.  

Churches are not to condone sin.  Their role in ministry to sinners is to love and assist them in making the neccessary changes from sin and towards Christ.  God is love and just, and so must our churches.