Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cheating can be so tempting

I am not one to diet. I think it's pointless, mainly because people always want to "cheat" on their diets. For whatever reason, I was thinking about this yesterday. Probably because I had made cupcakes for my daughter's class and was thinking about someone saying, "It's ok to cheat on your diet just a little bit." But what got me thinking is, isn't this a lot like how we "cheat" on living for Christ? Ok, just hear me out.

People cheat on their diet because they want to self-indulge. They give in to their flesh and choose not to exhibit self-control. Everyone says, "It's ok to cheat a little bit." But is it?

As I thought about cheating on ones' diet, I immediately thought about how it relates to when we choose to sin just because we want to. We know it's wrong, but we want to self-indulge, give in to our flesh and  maybe sometimes just not have to have self-control. The truth is, we try to justify that it's ok to give in to those desires every once in a while. It's harmless. However, sin is sin. God sees it all the same. Every one of those sins, including the one's that don't seem so bad, nailed Christ to the cross. He had to die for each and every one of them, because sin separates us from God.

When you continually cheat on your food diet, it makes it harder for you to reach your goal weight. When we continue to "cheat" on our spiritual diet (not reading the Bible, not communicating with God, doing what we want even though we know it's wrong) we make it harder on ourselves to reach our goal - Christlikeness.

Don't get FAT on the things of this world.

Now, I'm going to segue this into another thing I wanted to write about that I think actually applies here as well.

Last night, Josh bought some of these plants


It is called a bleeding heart plant. So after that, and reading Jeremiah 5, I was just reminded how when we turn our backs on God, and choose to disobey Him, His heart bleeds. Countless times in the Bible, we read accounts of the Israelites turning their backs on God, and how angry God was, but also how grieved His heart was for His people.

His heart grieves over His children now, when we turn our backs on Him. When we, even if only momentarily, choose to do what we want to do, indulge our flesh, His heart bleeds.

So the next time you try to justify giving in to that sin, just once, or just for the moment, think about this: Do you want to make God's heart bleed? Do you want Him grieved over your decision to think only of yourself? Is it really ok, to "cheat" just a little bit?

After all, He already came to die for your sin, must He suffer more now. Whew! This is going to be tough, but if I am serious about letting Him have control over my life, that means even when it would be easier to just do my own thing.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Out of the Box

Ok, I promised I would write about what I learned over this past BEAUTIFUL weekend. Where to even start?!

This past weekend our church held their first women's weekend retreat. From the first planning meeting, God laid it on my heart to invite all three of my sisters. What? Really? For those of you who don't know, none of my sisters attend church on a regular basis. Two of them don't go to church at all, so to invite them to this kind of thing was a stretch, for me as well as them. So I mustered up some courage and invited all of them. Guess what! They all said they would come! Yay!

Fast forward a couple months...

Now it was Friday and the retreat was about to begin. Well, two sisters made it. One bailed on me. I was a little disappointed, but ok, whatever, that's kind of how she is anyway. As the retreat began and was going along, I found myself somewhat distracted by the attitude of one of my sisters who did come. Eventually, she left early.

Now, I didn't write this to talk about my sisters, but some background information was necessary to tell you what I learned. You see, I went into this retreat so excited that God was going to work in my sister's lives, and that He did, but He also worked in mine in a couple ways I was not expecting.

The first part came when my sister left, mid-retreat. I was devastated. I had tried so hard to get her to stay and now how was God going to change her heart if she didn't stay? Really Barbie, you have God in such a small box? Well, I did. But after the tears, God reminded me that Scripture tells us, "So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:11. She had heard God's Word spoken to her, and it does not go out without accomplishing what God desired for it. Whew! What a relief to know that it did not all rely on me! Who did I think I was anyway? I did what God had for me to do, I invited her to come. God has to be the one to speak to her heart and open her heart up to Him. That part is not my job. But it is encouraging to know that God has it all under control, even when I thought it was going out of control.

Some other parts of this same chapter in Isaiah speak about my weekend, which by the way, is totally awesome, because I read through this book a few months ago and now God was bringing it back to me! Anyway, my other sister stayed. Her attitude was a little better and we had a great time together, but she seemed to be starting to get somewhat of a bad attitude as well regarding the structure of the retreat. And although I had tried to talk to her about some things, it seemed as though she was fighting against anything God may have been trying to do. By Sunday morning, I was a little disappointed. I had thought that God was going to do something great in all of my sisters, and now the weekend was over, and it seemed like nothing had happened. Yes, I already admitted my box was a little small. But just as Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us, " 'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways' declares the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.' " He was not limited by my plan.

Sunday morning we had a chance to share about what we learned this weekend, and I briefly shared what I wrote above. Once I opened up the box...

The Lord showed me the mighty works He can do!

A little later, my sister, who had stayed the whole time, stood up and shared that she wanted what I had, what our parents had. And asked that we pray for her. So at the end of the service, she came up to pray with one of the ladies and I got up to hug her. As I held her and prayed for her, all of the women who had come on the retreat surrounded us praying for her as well! When the crowed went away, I took her aside and talked to her. She said she had accepted Christ as her Saviour when she was a teenager, but had not lived as though He was Lord of her life, but that she wanted Him to have control now. So right then and there we prayed together and she re-committed her life to Christ!! For those of you who do not know what that means: It means that even though she had already accepted Christ as her Saviour years ago, she is now "vowing to let God lead her through prayer and His Word rather than doing life her own way" as my pastor says it.

So not only does Isaiah 55:11 apply again here, but look at verse 12: "For you will go out with joy, and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hill will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands." (Go ahead sing it if you know the song.)

Let me tell you, both my sister and I went out from church that morning with joy and were led forth with peace; her - peace that she does not have to have it all together, but can trust God over her life; me - peace that God is holding my sister in His hands and we will be sisters for eternity! And I know God's creation was singing praises to God over her that morning, as well as over all of us who know Christ.

Oh how I love when God speaks!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


by Kari Jobe

Here before your altar
I am letting go of all I've had
Of every motive, every burden
Everything that's of myself.

And I just wanna wait 
On you my God
And I just wanna dwell 
On who you are.

Beautiful, beautiful
Oh I am lost for more to say
Beautiful, beautiful
O Lord, Your beautiful to me.

Here in your presence
I am not afraid of brokenness.
To wash your feet
With humble tears
Oh I would be poured out
Till nothings left.

And I just wanna wait
On you my God
I just wanna dwell 
On who you are

Beautiful, beautiful
Oh I am lost for more to say
Beautiful, beautiful 
O Lord, Your beautiful to me

When we usually think of something that is beautiful it is a person, or maybe something in nature such as a rainbow or flower. It may even be something someone made. As a woman, I think of beauty in many ways, the most often probably being the beauty of the physical person.

Over this last weekend, I got to watch something beautiful. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I was given the privilege to watch, and experience, dead things being given new life; souls that had wandered, again finding the path; trust in the midst of uncertainty; and love that covers the deepest of hurts. What am I talking about? I am telling you that I got to watch Christ transform lives!


More specifically, I was given the privilege of being used for God's great work in the life of my sister. Hallelujah! I'm just a little excited ; )  My sister and I have always been close, but now we can share in something that is a huge part of my life, and has been an area of some disconnect between the two of us. Now it is something we can share in and encourage one another. How beautiful!

Even more so, is that the work that God has done in her life is even now affecting the life of my niece who lives near her. As she has spent much time investing in our niece's life, she couldn't wait to share with her what God did over this weekend, and my niece was just so excited she wanted God to change her life too! Again, there is nothing more beautiful!

The amazing thing about all this is that they were not the only two touched by Christ's love. So many women, including myself, were able to experience and feel His presence so closely. I'm going to share some of what God taught me in another blog, but I just wanted to emphasize that this is