Saturday, May 29, 2010

Flashbacks to Freshman Year continued...

It has been exciting to look back in my old journals and see the ways God was molding me more into his likeness and teaching me how to bring him glory and love others. Today in my quiet times I was reading in Matthew 7:12 about the "Golden rule", "So whatever you wis that others would do to you, do also to them." This is the thought that came to my mind, "Treat others as you would like to be treated, love others as you desire to be loved, serve others as you would like to be served, put others needs above your own as you desire them to put your needs above theirs." I am going to meditate on this truth this will be exciting to set my mind more on the golden rule :)

Here's a journal entry I found I had written in January 14, 2004

1 Samuel 20:17 "And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself."

1 Samuel 20:42 " Jonathan said to David, "Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord saying, "The Lord is witness between you and me..."

Girl's weekend road tripping has been amazing. It's been a great opportnity to strengthen my friendships with my girls. Tonight I think Nicole was upset with me.. I asked her about it and she started to cry and said it was personal and didn't want to talk about it. Iknow in my heart i has something to do with me. I think she might have felt left out by Kelly and I and that is the last thing I would ever want her to feel. I love her so much ad it's difficult to act happy and act care-free knowing she may be hurt by something I've done. I came downstairs and decided to spend some one-on-one time with you. When I flpped to back of my bible or a subject to study I thought, "why not friendship?" ? The reference to David and Jonathan stood out to me most. I didn't rememeber the story very well. The only thing for sure that stuck with me was that when Aaron (my cousin) was training in the reserves he asked my Aunt Tina and mom to pray that he would find a "Jonathan" and you provided for him! And I feel I've been blessed with 3 Jonathan's in my life, Jackie, Nicole and Kelly. I cherish their friendships closest to my heart. And I feel extremely fortunate to have such genuine and unique friendship with each of them. I love all my girlfriends tremendously, but in this season I have a very strong and special love for the 3 of them.
Jonathan loves David more than himself, I would do anything for those girls, but at the same time I don't feel I always love them more than myelf... I would say "most of the time" and I do not want to hold onto any "self-love" in my friendships. I pray you ould take any selfish love from me. Ideire to be self-less a you are. I also desire my friendships to be firmly built upon a love for and relationship with you, because I know even these small bumps like the one with Nicole are nothing when our friendships are led by you. I want my friendships to be as Jonathan described, "the LORD is witness between you and me." I pray you will be honored by our friendships and that the more we love each other and not ourselves the more we will love you. I know that things between Nicole and I are in your hands and that yu're teaching me something through it. My trust and hope are in me and I will follow. I love you.

Your daughter,
Kristin Marie

Monday, May 24, 2010

Reflections from Freshmen Year (continued)....

December 26, 2003

Romans 3:23-24 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."

In other words... Everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and are made "not guilty" by his grace b/c Jesus has set us (sinners) free from being slaves to our sin.

The past few days I have been struggling... I haven't been doing my devotions and I've felt like I was losing grip getting caught up in old stumbling blocks that have crowded my path. This verse makes me joyful knowing Jesus has freed me from my sin so I can be a slave to being a true follower of Christ and not a slave to my own sin. I feel I have been tested since I have been home for Christmas break and I know the testing of my faith will make me "mature and complete" so I don't lack anything (James 1:5). I'm so thankful that I am justified by God's grace...because I do feel guilty but I know with God's help I can be forgiven although I am ashamed and feel like I take God's forgiveness lightly at times by telling myself, "I can do this, God will forgive me." I don't want to be that kind of person... I want to strive to be pure like God desires of me in Phil. 4:8...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Life in Rewind - Time to Remember

Over the next couple of weeks I will be posting old journal entries starting at the beginning of college and up until recently. Often times we spend our days in fast forward. We achieve our goals only in time to look for the next step p the ladder. We overcome a fear only to worry about the unknown fears that can come. Let's make a toast to remembrance and celebration. Instead of looking ahead I am going to take some time to look back to see the lessons God has taught me that may have been forgotten in the fast forward approach to life that too often robs us of celebrating what God has done in our lives and remembering all He has taught us. I hope these entries will encourage you as much as they encourage me to look back at your life and think about what lessons God has taught you or in what ways God has been trying to get your attention in the rush we tend to embrace in our short-God-given life.

This was written at the beginning of my freshman year of college when I has first decided to truly make God 1st in my life rather than living half-heartedly for Jesus... This was the first time in my life I was spending time reading the Bible on my own to really get to know more about Jesus and how to follow Him. I know there were MANY lessons after this...but here's some thoughts I had in the beginning as I was 1st trying to really follow Christ daily...

October 30, 2003

1 Timothy 4:12-16 "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, dvote yourselves to the public reading of scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given to you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourselves wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers."

*My Thoughts*

The phrase "maybe when I grow up" is crushed by these verses! I used to say "I don't want to live completely for you "NOW" God I'll do that later "when I grow up." Even though I am young and have many more things in life to experience and lessons to learn I can still be an example of Christ to those around me by living for God "NOW" and not "later."
It's a challenge to set an example to other believers in speech, life, love, faith and purity. Sometimes I slip with words I say and sometimes my words are not kind about others, sometimes it's hard to love people who have hurt me, sometimes I have questions about my faith and staying "pure" in every sense of the word as described in Philippians 4:8 is hard. But I know that even though all these things are a challenge striving toward living as an example of Christ in all those aspects will only strengthen my relationship with God and they're simply bricks on the path of my journey with Jesus by my side.
Paul encourages Timothy to preach and teach devoted to encouraging the public with truth. With my family and friends I should also be devoted to sharing my faith with them and being an example in the way I live out my faith in my actions. Paul cautions Timothy to watch his life and doctrine closely which reminds me to live my life in accordance with my reminds me not only to "talk the talk" but to "walk the walk." The Paul ends with an encouragement to Timothy to "persevere" in following Paul's instructions to save himself and also his hearers...those who watch how he lives and hear the words he says. The study notes for verse 16 says, "you will save...your hearers - "God alone saves, but Christians can be instruments to bring about the salvation of others. Salavation is both an event and a process. We are saved at the time of conversion but are still being saved in the sense of being more conformed to Christ's image."

1 Corinthians 1:18 "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

Sinus Infections, IEP projects and Distractions

Do you ever feel like you are stuck in a cycle of continuous distractions? That's what I have felt like this week. It seems I can't focus on anything! (Or anything important or worthwhile at least). Today I am home sick with what is looking like a sinus infection from the hammer pounding feeling between my eyes right now and trying to be diligent in finishing my final project for my grad class which ends tomorrow. In times like this it's good to remember God is in control. He knew I would have this sinus/cold and finals in the same week. Maybe I feel distracted because he is trying to get my attention? Possible :) If any of you are having a week similar... stuck in a rut, treading to keep your head above water, riding an emotional roller coaster, lacking sleep, feeling confused, and (one I am all to familiar with) overthinking about well...whatever you can overthink about... kind of week; you're not alone! :) Here's the verse I have been clinging to today, hope it will help you fight to get your focus back on what matters as it is helping me...

1 Peter 1:13-14 "Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."

Lord, help me and all who read this blog to focus on you today. Help us to be "holy"/ set apart in our thinking and actions as we rely on your Spirit to be obedient to your desires for our lives. Help us not to be conquered by distractions or temptations but rather to be victorious in you. Thank you for your words of truth that speak to us in the midst of anxiety. Help us today to not be "anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition to present [our] requests to [you] that [your] peace may guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Phil.4:6-7) Amen ("let it be").

More writing to come later....

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

When there are no exemptions

I was praying before my quiet time tonight and all geared up to continue reading in Matthew when I just felt that I really needed to begin my time in the word by reading today's proverb. (Proverbs 5, since it is the 5th day of May :) )

When I looked at the title I thought to myself...should I skip this one? The description of Proverbs 5 is "Warning Against Adultery." I think we all have times like these when we look at scripture and ask ourselves, in our pride/ignorance, does this part of scripture really apply to me? I mean, maybe it applies to "that" person or "him" or "her" but me? YES, it applies to me and all of you! 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us, "All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness." In other words, there are no exceptions and no exemptions for to whom the truths of scripture apply.

As I read Proverbs 5 I began to really question myself. What about adultery is important for me to be aware of as a younger woman/wife? The proverb is written to God's sons (Proverbs 5:1 "My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight") but what about us daughters? Do these cautions of those interested/entangled in adultery lust still apply to us as single women and wives? ABSOLUTELY! As wives we have committed ourselves to our husbands for life! We have stood before the Lord and committed our hearts affections to them through better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness in health, with gray hair or balding, in shape or out of shape, when they have a good day or bad day, when they romance us or don't! Marriage is the real deal, sticking by you forever commitment. The world tells us as married women and single women that fickleness is ok. It's okay to harmlessly flirt, it's okay to have a best friend who's a guy and have your husband, it's okay to go out with a man other then your husband or boyfriend and share in intimate conversation with them. The world today has even gone so far as to make "swingers" look like the acceptable answer to adding to a marriage and keeping spouses happy. What has happened?

As always the answer to what has happened is...SIN. Sin happens. It entices us to go against the commands God puts in place to protect us, not to make our lives boring as some would like to persuade you to think.

Let's take a look at a couple of the warnings Proverbs 5 has for us.

# 1 - Proverbs 5:3 "For the lips of an adulteress drip honey and her speech is smoother than oil"

Girls, Wives, Women - This is a double caution! 1) It's a caution to watch the words the boys/men in your life are saying to you. If you're married, be cautious of the flattery of other men besides your husband. Pray for protection that you will not look to the affirmation other men give you above the affirmation your husband gives to you. If you're not married, be cautious in how you let the words of guys you date or are interested in influence you. Watch their actions more than their words. Are they saying things just to romance you or because they mean it? Are they flattering you because they want something from you or because they are sincere?
2) Be cautious of what you say to men/guys. Are our words to men other than our husbands/guys you're dating or not dating in our lives full of flirtation? Do you say things to get attention from guys that lead them to have false hope? Are you displaying an interest in the words that you say that is different from the affections of your heart? Words invite emotion and we should use them lovingly. If we're married the conversations we have with other men should honor our husbands and guard the heart of the man we're speaking to by straying from any possible mixed message. If we are not married, the same is true! guard the hearts of other men in the things you say! Be loving by being cautious of how what you say can affect them.

Remember these words from Proverbs 7:21 "With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk."

#2- Proverbs 5:13 " I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors"

If there are godly people in your life (those who love you, love God and know his truth) who are telling you to be careful in your interactions with another man/guy in your life other than your husband/boyfriend or even someone who is just your friend, heed their counsel. Often people on the outside of a situation can see more then we can see from the inside out. Let God protect you from stumbling into lustful thoughts, adulterous thinking or even unloving actions by following the advice of others around you when they correct you. My freshmen year of college me and 4 of my other best girlfriends were called into a pow-wow with about 6 of our guy friends who told us that hanging out with us was turning out to be bad news for them. They pointed out that we constantly sent mixed messages, dressed in ways that made it difficult for them to look at us without lusting and confused them with our flirtatiousness and affection toward them (hugs hello/goodbye/cuddling). WOW... was that ever a shocker! We were so ignorant we never even considered how our actions were affecting them! We were more focused on the attention we were receiving (although I doubt we admitted it at the time) and acting how we wanted regardless of how it might have made them feel. It was difficult for us, but after they corrected us we sought to change. We were humbled. We wanted to love these guy friends we cared so much about.

So here are some questions for us all: Are you seeking attention from every guy (even if you're married?) Are you battling insecurity and finding attention in the wrong place/from the wrong person? Are you leading guys on or sending mixed messages that would grieve God, hurt your spouse/boyfriend or guy friends? Are you being a woman of Christ who is living out Phil. 2 by looking to the interests of others more than your own interests? Have you considered the way you dress and the message it sends? Why do you dress the way you do? If you are struggling, have you asked our ALL-POWERFUL God for help to be obedient? Have you asked Him to help you guard your heart and the hearts of others?

Proverbs 5 closes with these verses....

v.21-23 "For a man's ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all his paths. The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly."

Ask God tonight to correct you in his love. To lead you on the path that will guard your heart and bring Him the most glory. Please feel free to shoot me any questions :)

Love you all in Christ!