Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Mean Streak

It seems like every time when I hit that pit...after I feel like I have had "A REVELATION" ...You somehow bring things across my path. I know it has to be You, because our very conversations that we have, the things I battle with spiritually that only You and I know about...are all of sudden being brought to my attention thru someone speaking your word or just using small incidents that show me You really do listen. It makes me embarrassed to think about the things I question You on...Time and time again, there are days I feel like You are too busy to deal with me and my insecurities. But, then days like today...can feel You next to me. What is the purpose of this? Why one minute I stand on a mountain peak, and the next I know, I have hit a mudslide only to find myself barely able to stand on my 2 feet. When we meet Lord, You and I have a lot to talk about! I feel CLUELESS on my life at times.

I have been studying the book of Esther the past 2 weeks. I have studied it before, but not this in depth. It is so obvious your hand was upon her. I really pray that You bless Beth Moore for her ministry to women. God You have used her to truly reach women in ways I cannot even find words to explain. I don't think I am in this study by mere chance. In the evenings I feel like I just do not have the energy to go...and I am always finding the excuse to not go. I have so much to do at home, or I don't like the kids being up so late. I don't feel comfortable with women I don't know, or I just don't think anyone can relate with me. But I have gone, not knowing what to expect. Why would I second guess what to expect with You.

Last week in this study we talked about who Mordecai and Hadassah also known as Esther were. I didn't realize Mordecai being a Jew was so vital to knowing the history of where this man came from. Coming from pretty much a well off family I believe to being exiled to nothing. Being a lonely man to all of a sudden a father to a cousin. And Esther~ A woman who was an orphan. Lost her parents at such an early age. To not have either of her parents. It's one thing to lose one, but both. They both had a history. Esther had no experience whatsoever in royalty. Yet she was forced into the kings search for a new wife. God didn't use someone to change a time in history with a "impressive back ground".

Last night in the study Beth discussed how "It is tough being a woman in a mean world". I think any woman knows that girls can flat out be mean. She revealed how meanness has a history and just doesn't "Pop up"

Now, she went super in depth with Haman who was King Xerxes "right hand man". So in depth that I have to go back and look it over again because I am completely lost. It talks about Haman and where he came from. I can't remember if she said it was a long the line of Saul and his disobedience to follow God's instructions. I don't know. I was seriously lost in all that. The main point she was making is that Haman had a history of anger passed down thru generations to him. Anyhow, Haman had a lot of power. Haman was driven. He was driven by wealth, ego, and rage. He was enraged at Mordecai because of his refusal to bow down to Him because he only showed that reverence to the living God. This made Haman livid! She made a point about how nothing is meaner than a coward because they pick on the elderly, weak, children, and all the defenceless. Haman had this power over Mordecai because he had no "royal power". Haman like all of us at times, was "mean" because he was "threatened" by Mordecai. When we are threatened, we often times become enraged and mean.

I cannot help but be convicted, Father. I feel like I am meaner than I have ever realized. I hear so many people talk about "how sweet I am" They do not know me like You. Unfortunately there are those who have seen this mean streak and certain people who can bring out this mean streak that no one else can. Those who we are mean to, there is ALWAYS a threat behind it! What am I threatened by, Lord. What is it? Beth made a statement of "insecurity is at the heart of every rivalry." Was this a comment that was meant for me? It keeps spinning thru my head. I am not ignorant to the fact I am probably the most insecure person out there. I am always comparing myself to others. Realizing I don't quite measure up to them. Why am I threatened by those who are smarter than me? I don't quite catch on as quick as others and it honestly makes me feel stupid. The fact that I am unable to remember anything at times and forget so often it is embarrassing. I am not as patient, at times easily angered....and then there are those I know that are the complete opposite. I start wishing I were like them. You know, the more "spiritual people" Or when I feel like I am beginning to catch on to a talent,and someone pops along and is far more talented than I go searching for a new talent because I am not good at it like they are. Why do I do that? Why do feel insecure and threatened by those I don't quite measure up to. 2Cor. 10:12 is the scripture verse used. You tell us NOT to measure ourselves to others. So, how do I stop? How do you just toss those insecurities?

I have felt so threatened by women for a long time. I know You know. I talk like you don't know any of this. I cannot remember why Beth mentioned this next quote....but I wrote it down on my notes, because it was one of those quotes that convicted me. But she mentioned that "We will never have the perfect friend. We will never have that perfect Sunday School teacher, or whoever it is that you tend to run to" Our basic instinct is to find those who feed into our emotions and eventually you smother them and I am sure that I have been one to do that. I don't know why but I need You to tell me how I am supposed to respond to this comment. I feel like there is something You are trying to get thru to me...but it is just not clicking.

The last thing Beth said was, We all have a mean streak. We have those moments where we are mean, but go back and apologize sorry and not quite sure why would ever say something or do something like that. I have no idea what came over me. Please forgive me. But a mean girl never takes responsibility. I want to take responsibility. But it's hard.

I need to be open to all of this God. I want You to show me and I want to grow. But during the growing pains it hurts so bad. So much easier to just be mean. So where do I go from here? How do I identify these threats and remove them? How can I be threatened? If You are for me, Who can be against me? If I am not measuring up to others, help me to realize You love me just the way that I am but don't want to leave me where I am. You are all I need and live for. Not to impress others with speech and talents. Not to rely on others to nurture me in my valleys but to call out Your name.

Ugh....I have rambled. I don't want to be mean. I don't want to be the influence that Haman was. I want to leave my Haman to You. Not to be overcome by my Haman but overcome my Haman. Not to bow down to Haman, but to love and forgive until Haman's heart sears.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Women of influence and aroma

Of course when I post this I am struggling with picking up past offense. Sometimes I feel like I shouldnt speak.

Thoughts from Charlotte's Sermon

I talked earlier about my trip to Springfield a couple of weeks ago. I won't be able to give you the FULL extent of what Charlotte Gambil preached but the notes I took I think will give the most valuble points.

I must say the most convicting topics that Charlotte discussed was "Women of Influence and Aroma" . She used the story of John the baptist and the mother and daughter wanting his beheading. Mark 6:17-28. Herod feard John because he knew John was a righteous and holy man. The daughter of Herod came into the banquet dancing and Herod was "impressed". So he vowed to her that he would give her anything she asked for. So she ran to her mother asking what she should ask for. The mother replied "The head of john the baptist" The mother of this daughter had a deep hatred for John. It was a bitterness that saught his death. This story talks about the influence and aroma that these 2 women had on Herod. Would the daughter have asked for John to be beheaded if the mother had not influenced her? In my opinion I don't think so. But that is merely my opinion. Why would she have gone to her mother for advice? Mother's tend to have that sort of influence on their children. Leaders, Friends, or just my average aquaintances I influence. Well, even a complete stranger can be influenced by me. Makes me think of my slight tendancy of road rage. Ok, maybe it is major. The point is....we all have an aroma and have the choice to make it sweet or make it sour and stinky. Charolotte also made the suggestion that whether I have a good aroma or bad aroma it spreads to everyone I come into contact with. "AT ALL TIMES" My aroma influences others around me. So what aroma are you? A sweet aroma? Loving, kind, patient, outgoing, giving, long suffering...ect. Or are you stinky? Bitter, angry, resentful, selfish, gossipy, slanderous, always talking about others short comings? Are you grumping and constantly complaining about the situations you face? Wallowing in it. I need to be focusing on the words of Paul to be content in every situation I face. I need to get rid of the attitude of "I will not be happy until I "have the head of John the baptist". I will not be happy until they pay for what they did. Charolotte also refered to our reaction to offenses, and hurt feelings. How we have the choice to keep our aroma's sweet and not allow others to influence us and spread their aroma to ourselves. If we start feeding that offense, hurt and all those emotions it becomes somewhat like a baby to us. It becomes attached to us and we feed it and nuture it. It begins to grow. It becomes a part of us like a child. And when we drop that is like dropping our "baby". And our natural tendancy is to rush to it and pick it back up again. My mother and mother in law and father in law and even my friends are constantly encouraging me and telling me what a great mother I am. And how proud they are of me. It just touches my heart because after God, and my husband, they are my main priority. Are you ready for this? This was the MOST POWERFUL statement Charlotte made......When you raise and nurture this baby....(Offense, hatred, resentment)...Satan, like my parents and friends, puts his arm around you and thanks you for raising this baby so well. And then, gives you another baby to raise. I think I will end at that thought.

I am not a great speaker, nor am I good with words. But I have enough wisdom, to take this sermon and learn from it and apply it to my life. However it doesn't mean I will tackle it right away or not struggle for the rest of my life, lol... I need to be spreading the aroma that Christ had. I hope this encourages you the way it did me

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It Starts With Me

For the past several weeks, I have had a few things on my heart but not sure how to express it. I always hesitate on sharing sometimes, because I don't want to offend people, or get useless debates going that only hurt people instead of encouraging. Does that make sense? But at the same time, I don't want to offend God and have Him say "Why didn't you share that with others" or have that one person it makes sense to, and answers a question they had, or makes them feel that there is someone else out there feeling the same way they do. In that case, I am going to share in hope that there is possibly someone out there other than me, that understands where i am coming from. And anyone and everyone that knows me personally...I mean really truly knows me, knows where my heart is in sharing this.
I don't know if anyone else is aware of the spirtual warfare the church is facing. Division in the body of Christ. Offenses, hurt, anger, resentment, gossip, slandering, negative motives...the list can go on. I am not just speaking of the church I attend, but the church body in whole.
As a follower of Christ, what is our main objective? Some may jump to "Live like a Christian"! Yes, we most defintely should live like a Christian, and that is the sign that we truly know Christ. By following His commands. But how many of us live out EVERY command Christ gave? (1John 1:10, 2:4-6) How amazing it would be if we could. But living like a Christian is not our main objective. Furthering the kingdom of God is a Christian's main object. So how do we do that? (Matthew 28:19) Preaching the gospel of Christ. Yes! Loving others, reaching out to the lost, giving ourselves to others. All this is so true. But in order for this to be effective and possible, what has to happen first? What happens when we draw in the lost. We reach out to the woman who has been selling herself to make ends meet, in order to raise her 4 kids she has at home. Or the rebellious teenager who is going down a path that leads to death or the person who at one time was a part of a church but went astray. The teen who has abusive parents....What happens when we draw them in and they see all these "church people" slandering, arguing, hating, gossiping, pointing fingers at each other, causing useless debates, stirring up division and arguments. Why would they even want to be a part of that?
I am in no way writing this to point out any individual but MYSELF! So, those of you who may be thinking "aw man is she talking about me"....NO! Although, I would ask you, to reflect for a moment and see if there is anything you might be doing to hinder growth. I have noticed, if I am not open to teaching or being held accountable, I become arrogant. That is the last thing I want. The best thing any Christian can have, is a "teachable" spirit. I am yet to be able to put down that guard I hold so tightly to when someone points out that "thing" I did that contradicts my (our) faith. It STINGS! (Proverbs 27:5-6) An open rebuke is better than hidden love, wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy. What better way to show me you love me, than to love me enough to show me where I am messing up. There is a way to hold each other accountable in love, and it not be a judgemental attack. But oh how I can sometimes get defensive and take it so. Am I rambling? I feel like I am. This stuff is just weighing on me and if I don't let it loose, it will keep growing.
My main point I am seriously concerned with the damage the church body is causing to further the kingdom. I have been convicted about constantly referring to those "hypocritical christian's" in the church. Which there are and I hate the sin NOT THEM! It is painful to see people puff themselves up about being a Christian (Believing in Jesus and God), giving to the poor, going to Church, but have no intention of following all of His commandments if it means they have to give up the things they find fun or not harmful to them instead of thinking of those they are causing to stumble. I mean come on, its their fault if it offends them, right? Their problem, not mine! Not so much (1 Corinthians 8:9). Pastor Roy made a comment awhile back ago telling me that I can speak truth, but if it causes someone to stumble, the very word of God can be used sinfully. Talk about a blow to my face, but in a good way. I don't think we should talk about the hypocrites in the church We should talk to them. Stop ranting about "Those Supposed Christians" What makes us different than the hypocrite if we are slandering them for being a hypocrite which at times I myself am guilty of contradicting what Christ taught me. Am I making sense? We should go to those people, but remember at the same time, we have been a hypocrite too. But I have to make sure I am holding myself accountable and open to that "open rebuke".(Romans 2:1) So don't go in a condeming way. Go with a humble, meek, loving, compassionate way. THIS IS POSSIBLE. God knows your intentions and where your heart is when holding someone accountable. (1Corinthians 4:5) Remember that! I know there are appropriate times when God tells us to steer clear of those who continue to live in sin and have no desire to follow Gods commands (but say they are Christian) But even with them....STOP PUBLIC SLANDER it damages the body and our witness. STOP STOP STOP! I have noticed to be effective you should be open about your own struggles and showing others that you run short with God as well. Nobody likes feeling they can't be as spiritual as some. I find that a ploy of Satan, to cause us to stumble and fall, because we will never be those "true christians". Ok, my main point "Be compassionate! Stop the public slandering. It damages our witness. Stop judging the hypocrites. Remember that NONE of us live up to all the commandments our Savior showed us and taught us. I may struggle with forgiveness, but does that mean I shouldn't continue to strive and tell others this is the way. Of course not. Living like a "Christian" is a life long learning process. I have to be careful not to look at the "hypocritical" Chritians judgemental....because God will judge me to that very same standard. This thought scares me.
The body has to be unified. We have to have nothing but compassion, self sacrifical love, patients, holding no record of wrong, no irritablity, smypathetic suffering. Love, never loses don't lose hope with those who struggle in the body. If you don't have love...your profession to be "Christian" means nothing. They are just meaningless words. Our greatest passion in life should be seeing those who come to know the Lord. Everything else comes after. A Unified body will succeed and produce MUCH fruit in this area. Love each other guys. I know this so hard at times. Don't feel condemned when you find this hard. Its ok.
BE UNIFIED! So He can be Glorified, thru us. God has so much planned for us. I have the power thru Christ to build the church. It starts with me individually! I can make a MASSIVE CHANGE and increase the kingdom.

I have so much more to say but I am afraid I have written too much. I spent last weekend in Springfield, Mo at a conference at James River Assembly. There was a speaker Charlotte Gambil. She shared words that feed into this topic that really made me realize the fallen part of my walk with Christ. I am going to write about this in a different blog. I hope you read it because if you are like will increase your faith, help you to grow, and let go of a lot of hurt you have been clinging to for so long. I think the body is suffering because we hold so much hurt and offense.