Check That Verse Off

 

So I failed my husband. NO, not in the way you might think. Let me start with a verse that I thought I had down. A verse that I thought I could check off the list of what a “good” Christian looks like.

Read with me –

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Don’t conform? Check (I don’t live a life like culture dictates)

Be transformed? Check (I have had a complete transformation)

Renew my mind? Check (I am much nicer and read the Bible)

Test and approve what God’s will is? Check (He IS in control after all)

THEN, life happens and this verse took on a whole new meaning.

Back in December of 2015, my husband’s company decided to move his division to the East Coast. We had the opportunity to go, but after prayer, we stayed. Since that point, I have been a “model” loving and supportive wife. Rather than jump in and constantly question him about his job search, I have stood back and been quietly supportive.

That is NOT in my natural character… It has been tough…and then…

I started letting little things that bother me pile up. I started feeling fear creep in…and I BLEW UP. Not in a nice way, but in a way where I was bringing up anything and everything that I had stuffed inside. I brought up that it had been eight months and if it were ME I would have had a job in 2 weeks. AND that I would have this or that and how he wasn’t doing any of it.

I blew up.

I then left for some school shopping and started praying for God to help HIM because boy did HE need it. I prayed for God to help me – the saint – to endure this difficult time. I prayed for God to teach HIM whatever he needed to learn so we would be over this challenge.

And then, God hit me…with Romans 12:2

Read it with me, again…

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Do not conform to the pattern of this world. – Do what it takes to get what you want?

Be transformed. – Had I really been transformed that much, to react in such a horrible way?

The renewing of your mind. – Was I constantly renewing my mind? Or did I think it was a one and done?

Able to test and approve what GOD’S Will is. – So I put a time limit on what I thought should happen. I was counting the days and at eight months it still hadn’t gone the way I though it should. Was I doubting God’s will being good, pleasing and perfect?

As I walked through all of this in my mind, I realized I had to apologize to my husband.

When I walked in the door, he braced himself for what could only be another beat down by his wife as it had only been a couple of hours. I proceeded to apologize. I told him how very sorry I was for putting a time limit on him. I apologized for playing a good wife for eight months, rather than just becoming one. I apologized for thinking that I HAD been renewed and transformed, rather than realizing it’ll be a lifetime of continual renewal and transformation.

I let him know how much I love him and how I will try and be a better wife.

What I learned…I need to embrace the whole journey. There will never be a point where I “arrive” this side of heaven. I need to keep score less and love much, much more.

In what ways can you stop keeping score with people in your life?

In what ways can you love others better?

 

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Pride vs Humility

Prior to giving my life over to Christ I did not battle with pride. I WAS prideful. I thought, though I am not better than the next person, NO ONE was better than me. I could stand on a stage and talk in front of 1000s and be fine as I couldn’t care less what they thought of me and/or what I was saying.

When I became a Christian and had the opportunity to teach, I FREAKED OUT. Why? Well, in reading the Bible I learned that teachers are held accountable, by GOD! (Check out Paul’s letters to Timothy).

As I learned more about abilities give at birth or learned vs spiritual gifts, given at baptism, I learned that I do have a gift of teaching. I can let the enemy use it and do it to get all the glory for myself, or I can let God use it and point all the glory up to Him.

What I still battle with, which you can read in 1/2 my earlier posts, is pride. God gave us abilities and we should not be prideful in them, yet we should be confident in them, right? How do you be confident in them, while not being prideful, while expressing humility?

I know that was written in a circle, as that is what my brain has been stuck on…until last night. We went to church and it was a terrific service. Check out “God Can Use Anybody” from April 3rd.

Pastor Rick talked about my favorite subject, how everyone is necessary in the Kingdom of God. We are all built to serve, using our God given abilities, to help others grow.

In the sermon, he said something that was a BIG AH-HA for me…

“Humility is not denying your strengths, it’s admitting your weaknesses.”

What I learned today…I can be CONFIDENT, not prideful, in how God made me. I can be humble in the fact I have a LOT of weaknesses. A LOT.

 

Day 3: Mount of Olives

Today our journey with Jesus through Holy Week takes us back to the Temple in Jerusalem and then to the Mount of Olives.

On Tuesday morning, Jesus and his disciples returned to Jerusalem. They passed the withered fig tree on their way, and Jesus taught them about faith.

At the Temple, the religious leaders aggressively challenged Jesus’ authority, attempting to ambush him and create an opportunity for his arrest. But Jesus evaded their traps and pronounced harsh judgment on them: “Blind guides! … For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness…Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?” (Matthew 23:24-33)

Tuesday afternoon Jesus left the city and went with his disciples to the Mount of Olives, which overlooks Jerusalem due east of the Temple. Here Jesus gave the Olivet Discourse, an elaborate prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age. He taught in parables using symbolic language about end times events, including his Second Coming and the final judgment.

Scripture indicates that Tuesday was the day Judas Iscariot (iss-carry-ut) negotiated with the Sanhedrin (san hēdrin) to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16).

 Read more – Matthew 21:23–24:51, Mark 11:20–13:37, Luke 20:1–21:36, and John 12:20–38.

What I learned today…Even Jesus had false friends and ones who would betray Him. Even knowing what Judas would eventually would do, He still loved Him and taught Him up until the moment of betrayal. I need to love ALL others better. Not just the people who are nice to me.

Day 2: Jesus Clears the Temple

Today, we continue tracing the footsteps of Jesus, as Monday morning he returned with his disciples to Jerusalem. Along the way, Jesus cursed a fig tree because it had failed to bear fruit. (Matthew 21:18-22)Some scholars believe this cursing of the fig tree represented God’s judgment on the spiritually dead religious leaders of Israel. Others believe the symbolism extended to all believers, demonstrating that genuine, living faith is more than just outward religiosity. True faith must bear spiritual fruit in a person’s life.

When Jesus arrived at the Temple he found the courts full of corrupt sales people.

He began flipping over their tables and clearing the Temple, saying, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” (Luke 19:46)

On Monday evening Jesus stayed in Bethany again, probably in the home of his friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

Matthew 21:12-17New International Version (NIV)

Jesus at the Temple

Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.

“It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[a] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’[b]”

The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them.

But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.

“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,

“‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’[c]?”

And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.

 Read more here- Mark 11:15–19, Luke 19:45-48, and John 2:13-17.

What I learned today…Jesus showed us His temper when He was frustrated with the people in the temple. I love that He did that. It helps when I feel righteous anger!
AND I need to make sure my house and temple stay holy, asking God to test MY heart in all I do.

Day 1: Palm Sunday’s Triumphal Entry of Jesus in to the City

On the Sunday before his death, Jesus began his trip to Jerusalem, knowing that soon he would lay down his life for the sins of the world.

He sat on the young donkey and slowly, humbly, made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, fulfilling the ancient prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. The crowds welcomed him by waving palm branches in the air and shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

Matthew 21:1-11

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

21 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”[a]

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna[b] to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[c]

“Hosanna[d] in the highest heaven!”

10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

 

Read more here –  Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19.

What I learned today…I can’t possible begin to imagine what Jesus went through riding in to the town, hearing the love…knowing what was about to happen.

How To Read Your Bible

Okay, now that I am back in Seminary (after a short break) I’ll have to share with you a couple of the things I am learning, on occasion.

This week I learned a FANTASTIC way to read the Bible. You see, when I read it, I usually get stuck. I’ll read a couple of verses and freak out because there is so much in them to teach me. I usually will then tell the closest person around me how excited I am about those couple of verses and then move on.

What I learned this week…is I haven’t been letting God finish His thought! I haven’t been letting Him speak to me through the WHOLE chapter.

My new way of reading through the Bible will look like this –

  1. Read the whole chapter, straight through.
  2. Read the chapter again underlining the thoughts that the Holy Spirit is leading you to pay attention to.
  3. Read through it, again, reading all that you had underlined.

So far, I haven’t tried this BRILLIANT strategy. I keep just opening the Bible and asking the Lord to show me what He’d like me to read.

BUT, I will try it tomorrow. Because it sounds like a good way to really see what God has to tell me in a complete way.

Memorization Is Miserable

I don’t know about you, but I am HORRIBLE at memorization. From songs, to movie lines, to school work, my brain shuts off the second I reallllly want to memorize something.

I remember sitting in my cousin Tracey’s car, listening to Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana 100 times trying to get the words correct. She would just laugh and say, “Again?!?!”

The inability to capture information and make it stick is frustrating. I absolutely love hanging out with those of you can that remember a movie line to fit any situation or hear a couple of words and start belting out a song that used the same words. It is such a great gift to be able to do that. Share it with others! We are greatly entertained by it!

When it comes to memorizing the Bible, I have gotten really good at paraphrasing. I remember the “gist” of the verse, but not the exact words. I remember the point, but not the “address” of where it is located in the Bible. This all is fine when I first started out on my journey of faith, but at this point, I need to step up my game.

Quick example – I use the verse “Jesus wept” a lot when I am talking with others. I truly want them to see that Jesus was sad, too. It is okay to mourn the loss of a loved one. It is okay to mourn, period. Well, in using that verse, I could never answer the question, “Where is that in the Bible?”. I couldn’t for the life of me remember.

Than I heard how the enemy doesn’t want you to remember verses and/or where they fall in the Bible (we talked about it on an earlier post). Now, I am determined to know “Jesus wept” is found in John 11:35. Now, we have a verse written on my whiteboard to learn each week.

Well, it’s on my whiteboard, refridge, bathroom mirror, etc… to make SURE I memorize them.

Now YOU know, “Jesus wept” can be found where? John 11:35

And this week….

“We are not trying to please men, but GOD, who tests OUR hearts”. 1 Thess 2:4b

(I put in the caps as that is what I see when I read it, TODAY).

What I learned today…Keep studying. Don’t give the enemy a foothold. Learn as much of the Bible as I can so I can recall not only the verse, but the address and context as well.

Don’t Be a Nodding Head

As a teacher/speaker/coach, I LOVE interaction when I am looking at the people in front of me. (As long as no one is throwing anything).

When there is a strong point I am trying to make, I get excited to see eyes light up and heads start nodding in agreement and excitement. Though I get excited that others are listening and getting what I’m trying to get across, but that is not the end goal. I don’t want others to just hear what I share, I want them to MOVE on it.

I could be the best speaker in the world who inspires people in pep-rallies over a retreat or conference, but if I don’t motivate you to MOVE in to an action that makes your life and walk with God better, it is a fail.

*Disclaimer – I am not the best speaker in the world or even close to it.

Who are your favorite people to listen to? Are they Bible study teachers? Motivational speakers? Pastors? Do you listen to them or do you really HEAR them? Do you nod your head, agreeing to what they say, or do you set a plan in place to start changing your life regarding what they taught?

If you hear or read something inspiring today? How can you put a change in to effect, today? Even if you just changed your behavior for the better by just 2% a day, in less than 2 months, that would equal a HUGE change!

What I learned today…I can learn a lot, daily. Unless I put what I’m learning in to practice, it will be wasted.

 

Seminary Starts Back Up Today

I am one who THIRSTS for knowledge. I love learning from others, hearing opinions, reading how others have made things work, or how they haven’t. I rarely feel “filled” to the brim with all I would like to know. The only time I truly feel like my brain will explode is when I read the Bible. There is so much to learn.

Each time I read it, I learn something completely new, or it reminds me of something I have forgotten. Even if it’s a verse I have read 100 times, I’ll get something new from it and once again be in awe of how I see something new, depending on the season I’m in.

All of that being said, I am not built for being educated in a traditional way. It is very frustrating for me to have to cross t’s and dot i’s as I’m built for a fast, fluid and flexible mentality. There are a LOT of you who are built for education and that is FANTASTIC. I am just not one of them.

As I jump in to this next class on the Old Testament, I hope to be able to share with you all that God is showing me. Not because I HAVE to be in the class, but because I am choosing to.

Would LOVE your prayers!

What I learned today…it is OKAY for me to not like school. Some people aren’t built to.

Do you see the light?

My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me. Acts 22:9

What a strong verse. Saul was walking with his companions, who were also non-believers in Christ. All of them saw the light and yet Saul was the only one who understood the voice of Jesus that was speaking.

Sometimes that happens in life, right? We hear God speaking clearing to us, yet those around us either can’t or won’t listen to His direction. At times it’s because they are non-believers and choose not to hear Him. Or because they refuse to listen. Or because they haven’t met Him yet.

There are many reasons we can sometimes hear God clearly and other times we feel like He has left us completely. In both He is at work. Thankfully, Saul turned to Paul, because He listened…and followed direction.

Whether we are seeing the light and listening patiently to His voice. We see someone else reflecting His light and we follow the lead He has given them. We can’t see His light and we look for it in His Word. At all times He is with us. He is shining His light so bright it would burn our faces! Whether we see it or not!

Remember God giving Moses direction through the burning bush? (Exodus 3)

Moses heard God, hid his face and said, there is NO way I could do what you are asking.

 Throughout the chapter we see God saying to Him,

I am God.

I will be with you.

I am sending you.

I who have sent you.

I AM WHO I AM

I know.

I will perform.

I will make.

Boy, Moses was stubborn! (I can relate). God was giving him pretty direct directions and Moses kept pushing back.

Do you do that? I do.

Let’s remember, that in order to shine our light…we need to be firmly planted in His Word and LISTEN to His direction, than follow it.

 Look at it this way…

He is God.

He is with you.

He is sending you.

He has sent you.

He is sovereign.

He knows.

He will perform.

He will make it possible.

May your light shine BRIGHT to all around you this week whether they be a believer or “pre-Christian” (non-believer).

What I learned today…We can only reflect His light if we are looking to Him. Stay connected through the Word.