Archive | September 2013

Can Saying “No” Be Service?

Photo by sboneham via Flickr


As Christ-followers, each one of us has been called to serve others. How I serve others looks different from how you serve others.

For the last two weeks, I’ve been looking at what service is and how I can improve my service. God has a plan for each and every one of us. Sometimes we get in the way by making our own plan of service and asking God to climb on board with it.

God’s given me a big dream. It is to share what He has done in my life with the world. When this dream first materialized, I had my own ideas of how I would make this dream happen. This year God finally got me to sit still long enough to realize my dream will be accomplished His way and not mine. We say God’s way is best, but how many times does our walk match our talk? For myself I can say my walk is starting to get closer to matching my talk, but I have not arrived.

This year God has begun to teach me a few lessons.

First, this dream is His. It does not belong to me. He allows me to be part of it.

Second, God opens the doors. I get to choose to be prepared to walk through the open door.

Third, He will accomplish this dream His way. It will definitely look different from what I think it should.

Fourth, sometimes saying “No” is necessary to be able to say “Yes” When it counts.

So many of us say we don’t like saying “No”, yet every time we say “Yes” we are saying “No” to something else.

For instance:

When I say “Yes” to climbing out of bed and rushing into my day, I am saying “No” to time alone with God.

When I say “Yes” to spending too much time with my friends, I am saying “No” to being plugged in with my husband.

When I say “Yes” to staying up late, I am saying “No” to getting enough sleep so I can have a productive day tomorrow.

When I say “Yes” to helping every person who asks me for help, I am saying “No” to my family and people God would have me help today.

When I say “Yes” to not controlling my schedule, I am saying “No” to getting exercise, eating properly, etc.

I had to admit, I say “No” quite a lot. It’s just easier to say “No” to God, my family, my health, etc. because saying “No” in these cases doesn’t have immediate consequences. Over time, when we say “No” too often to these things it can cause our lives to breakdown and we may lose the opportunity to say “Yes” to what God has for us.

I can’t tell you I have mastered saying “No” when I should, but each day it gets a little easier to say “No” to the wrong things and “Yes” to what God is asking.

What can you say “No” to today, so you can say “Yes” to God? Who in your life will support you in saying “No”, so you can say “Yes” when it counts?

Sarah – A Strong Woman of Faith?

Photo courtesy of Jenn on Flickr

 

The search for rest and what it means has led me on a study of Faith. God’s Word compares us to sheep on several occasions and last week I heard someone teaching on Psalm 23. He brought attention to the second verse. “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” He went on to explain the three things sheep need in order to lay down. First, they must be well fed. Second, they must not have fighting among them. Third, they must feel safe.

This brought a whole new meaning to this scripture for me. If we are compared to sheep, do we need these three things in order to rest? How do we get these three things? What part does the sheep play in this scenario?

The sheep must eat. God doesn’t force feed us. The sheep must stop fighting. God tells us the importance of living in peace in His word. The sheep must trust they are safe. God tells us to have faith He will keep us safe. God does His part as the Shepherd and we have our part.

Our part may seem easy, but how many of us can actually say we do these three things? My continuing search led me to Hebrews 11; the faith chapter. What can we learn about faith from this chapter?

This morning God led me to verse 11. “By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.” Sarah laughing when God gave this promise was what came to mind.

Genesis 18:10-15 “10 He said, ‘I will surely return to you at this time next year, and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past child-bearing. 12 Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have become old, shall I have pleasure my lord being old also?’ 13 And the Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?’ 14 Is anything too difficult for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.’ 15 Sarah denied it however, saying, ‘I did not laugh; for she was afraid. And He said, ‘No, but you did Laugh.'”

This describes the great woman of faith in Hebrews Chapter 11? Pondering this, several things came to mind. Sarah trusted her husband when God told him to leave his home and travel to a land He would show him. She stood by her man when he gave Lot the best of the land. She expressed faith in many ways up to that point, but God chose her greatest struggle to credit her with faith.

God showed up in Sarah’s greatest weakness as a witness to us. Reading this gives me hope that I too can be a great woman of faith. God knows my heart. He alone knows my secret struggles and He’s waiting for me to hand it all over to Him and rest. It starts with Faith. We gain faith by letting go of struggles with those around us and feeding ourselves with God’s Word. Like sheep we have to receive what He provides for us.

Are you seeking faith? What struggle will you give to God today?

Can You Have Your Cake And Eat It Too?

Photo credit dcJohn from Flickr

 

Last week, I was reminded of the movie Erin Brockovich. Watching that movie for the first time encouraged me to make a difference in the world. I wanted the change to be big so the whole world would know. Her character spoke to me, because like her, I struggled with strong adversity in my life. She also connected with the people of Hinckley on such a deep level. She actually went inside their pain with them and instead of numbing the pain she used it to fuel her towards making a difference in their lives. She took big risks to help the people she met fight for what was right regardless of the outcome.

The great victory shown in the movie is what most people remember. They remember that it was all worth it in the end. As I took the opportunity to watch the movie again this week, I found myself looking at a different side of things. The personal sacrifices Erin made included losing the man who was supporting her at home, having her children feel less important than the people she was crusading for and not taking care of her physical health. The balance was lost in her life because of the burning passion she was following with a skewed motive.

In one scene of the movie, she had a discussion with her love interest that was very telling. He was pouring out his heart to her and revealing what it was like to live with her and she made a statement that summed it all up. She said when she entered a room with these people everyone shut up to see if she had anything to say and then she said she’d never had that before. That statement revealed the payoff for her. She was willing to sacrifice her personal life and her relationships with her family to be a hero to a large group of people.

Balance is so important when we are pursuing the God given passion inside of us. How many pastors have lost their families because they continually put the needs of their congregation above their own families? While we have a purpose in this life, we are to walk it out in balance. One of the ways we do that is by remembering our dream is not about us. It’s God’s dream and we are blessed to be a part of it.

God clearly calls us to order in His word. In 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) it says “For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” If we are missing one of these ingredients, we need to check in with God and ask for wisdom.

In Matthew 6:33(KJV) it says “But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” This scripture tells us we will have success in our lives when we keep God and His priorities first in our lives.

With God, we can have our cake and eat it too if we’re willing to humble ourselves and do it His way.

How do you seek balance in your life? Has your mission become more important than your relationship with God, your husband and children?

This entry was posted on September 4, 2013. 6 Comments