Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Age is Just a Number

Lately, I've been feeling too young. Being 31, I probably shouldn't feel too young about anything, but I do. Maybe it's because a lot of women that I am close to are older than me. Maybe it's because I am usually the youngest in my seeming group of peers. To be honest, I'm not sure exactly why, I've just been feeling too young.

This has been most dominant in the area of ministry. Too young to hold certain positions, too young to be effective in this area, too young to know how to do this well. 

It's funny how these things kind of creep up on you, because until today, I didn't realize how much I was feeling this way.

Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in faith, in purity. Until I come devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by doing so you will save both yourself and your hearers.

1 Timothy 4:11-16

This was part of the passage I read today. Up to this point, I have pretty much attributed this verse to those in their teens and early twenties. Let's be honest, that's who it's most often spoken to in teaching. Today, I decided to look up some information about how old Timothy was at this point. From what has been gathered from historical information, he is probably about 26-35 yrs. old at the time Paul writes this letter to him. That's my age!

Could Timothy have been feeling the same way I am at this point? 

Here God has sent him out on mission, alone, without Paul - his mentor and guide. He's put into a position where he now has to become the teacher and mentor. Now I'm not saying I'm Timothy and that God is going to lead me to do the same things he is doing here, but wow do I relate. 

Yeah, I'm an adult and have adult responsibilities and all of that, but there's still that nagging thought at the back of my mind, "Am I ready? Am I old enough? Am I mature enough? Will others think I'm too young?" 

Now, I said I didn't realize until today how much I've been feeling this way. When I read this passage, almost immediately conversations came popping back into my mind of instances when I actually said out loud to people "I don't feel like I'm old enough to do that" or "I probably wouldn't be asked because I'm not old enough" or "I'm not sure I'm ready to handle that at my age". Then I was reminded of thoughts that I've had that weren't spoken out loud, but had stopped me from doing certain things. 

God was really speaking to me, making it loud and clear, This  passage is not just for younger people. It's for you. It's for everyone who thinks they're too young or not ready or not well respected enough. It's for everyone I call to do ministry (whatever that ministry is). It doesn't matter how old you are, because the God of eternity is the One at work. He is the one who chooses whom He will use and how. He is the one that makes a ministry effective. 

This is what happens when we lose sight of who is truly the one at work. We start to doubt. I need to regain my focus on Him who is able to do abundantly more than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us (Eph. 3:20), because to Him the glory will be given.

Friday, February 14, 2014

To the Love of My Life

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

I love Valentine's Day. My husband and I don't really do anything like go out, but I do try to do something special for those I love. 

Here is a little song I wrote for the love of my life. You can read it as a poem, but I've been singing it all week.

My heart was changed the day we met
It was a day I’ll never forget
You were the one chasing after me
While I was still trying be wild and free
They say that distance makes the heart grow fonder
But that is something I know nothing about
You promised you would never leave me
And you’ve never given me reason to doubt

You whisper sweet everythings in my ear
Like everlasting love and grace beyond compare
People call their loves the wind beneath their wings
But you’re the solid rock to which I cling
They say to follow your heart
And let your passion lead you
I can’t resist following your Truth

They measure love from the moon and back
You measure love with the palms of your hands
You crossed your heart and hoped to die
Just so I could be given life
They show their love with candy and flowers
They write notes about a moment in time
You pour on me your grace and mercy
And your letter has eternity defined

You forgave me, you changed me
You took my hand to be your wife
You fight for me, You died for me
Jesus, you’re the love of my life.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Real Food

Your words were found, and I ate them, 
and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart;
 for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.
Jeremiah 15:16

How many times have you heard someone say, "I read the Bible, but I'm just not getting anything out of it" or even "It's kind of boring"? How many times have you said it yourself? I admit these are words I have spoken, or at least thought at times. Today, I came across the above verse, looking through some verse cards I have printed out. It stopped me. Immediately, I thought about one of the books I'm reading The Quest for More by Paul Tripp. It's about living for the Big Kingdom in our everyday life. 

Isn't this where it begins? To take every moment of your every day and turn it from living in our little kingdoms where we reign, and make it mean something for the Kingdom of God, doesn't it start with the Word of God being the joy of our hearts? 

Wait, let's back up a minute. I guess we would have to say it really starts with the statement made at the end of this verse "For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts." We've been called out of our little kingdoms. We've been dethroned. Those who have been called to be followers of Christ, have been called by another name. We have been called by the name of the Lord God, because it is His Spirit which lives within us.

If that is true, then my little kingdom no longer exists. The little kingdom I call my life, my world, my time here on this earth is no longer mine. 

I can try to retain my control, my rule, but to no avail, for I have been dethroned.

This is not a bad thing, in fact, it is just the opposite. You see, I am a terrible ruler. Every decision I make is for my own gain, even those that seem to be for the benefit of others is done only to make me feel good, or to better my reputation. Not only are they made in selfishness, but made with limited knowledge about how to bring about that personal good. When I rule, I feed on my own words, intelligence, strength, feelings. And my heart mourns. It mourns because my kingdom will never be the way I want it. 

But it is not my kingdom any more. A greater King has taken over. He has even taken up residency in my castle. While, I had invited Him in, at times I wasn't sure what was really happening. He began replacing my furniture with His, first one room, then the next. I was glad He was there, yet, I didn't want to give up my reign. So, I refused to let Him into certain rooms, for fear He would take them over as well. Of course, these actions confuse the people in my little kingdom. At times, they aren't sure who is ruling. For there are many times, I am content to allow Him to make decisions and and listen to His word with anticipation. His words are filled with such love, such joy, such peace. But then, there are times when I don't want to listen. I want my kingdom back. I want to make my own decisions and listen to my own words. These times are filled with anger and bitterness and I don't like them. 

I battle with myself, because I know He is a far greater ruler than I. His words are filled to the brim with nourishment for the deepest parts of my soul. His words bring joy and peace because He speaks truth. His kingdom thrives because He keeps every promise and makes decisions knowing not just the past, but the present and future as well. I know all of this, yet, at times I ignore it and go back to thinking that my ideas, my plans, my goals have some value. 

If He is the Lord God of hosts, who has called me, how can I not be nourished by His word? How do they not bring joy and rejoicing to my heart? 

If ever I am reading the very Word of God and my heart is not captured, I must ask the question- who is ruling this kingdom? How can my every day mean anything for the Big Kingdom if His Word does not stir me? How can I possibly know how to live, if I do not listen to His Words? 

Hopefully, His Word does bring joy to your heart, and you are receiving that joy more and more each day as you sit at His feet. While I try very hard, I am not always consistent about reading my Bible. But the more I do it, the more I want to do it and the more I choose to do it. May we continue to sit at His feet and stop trying to get back on the throne.