Lelia, at Write From the Heart, has started a new book to study called, an untroubled heart, finding a faith that is stronger than all my fears, by micca campbell. (All the words on the cover are in lower case.)
I had surgery on the tip of a finger, and a mole taken off my face yesterday, had hives today from the antibiotic I was on, and am very tired from the pain medication. I have switched to Tylenol, and hope that takes care of the pain without the loopiness. I would appreciate it if you pray for healing as you read this. I will keep today's post brief .
The main thing I got out of chapter 1 was that the things that happen in our lives are not always because of our own actions good or bad, but whatever does happen, God is always with us. He gives us strength and encouragement, and draws us to Him.
"We who are Jews by birth and not 'Gentile sinners' know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So, we too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law, no one will be justified."
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."
For more ABC posts, or to join in, go to Pam's blog, Grey Like Snuffie, as she hosts this Thursday event.
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
1 Peter 5:6
I rarely go anywhere in the evenings during the week, because I am too tired, or just don't feel like going anywhere, and if I do, it's right after supper. Last night, I was going to plant some seeds indoors, and decided I had room for some more seeds, and at 7:30, I decided to go to Target. While there, I decided to see about getting a new battery for my watch, which is something I had been wanting to do, and forgot to do when I was there last. I'm saying all this to point out God has his own timing for things, and provides for his people.
While I was looking to see if anyone was working in the jewelry area, I looked at watches. I felt a bump from behind, and there was a lady in a scooter, apologizing to me, saying the thing doesn't stop right away. I told her I had to use scooters at stores for awhile because I had surgery on my foot. She told me she has had lymphoma a few years, and just recently was diagnosed with breast cancer. She talked a little more, sharing some concerns, then as she started to leave, I asked if I could ask her a question. I asked her if she's a Christian. She said she was, and I asked if we could pray. She said we could, and we held hands, and prayed right there in the jewelry department. She thanked me, and said that made her feel good. Right after that, her daughter and grandchildren joined her. I'm thankful God provided us those few minutes together.
"Lift up: Praise the Lord, O My Soul" is the 11th and last chapter of the book, by Jennifer Rothchild. Lelia, at Write From the Heart is the hostess. Check her blog for the list of other posts, and the new study that is starting next week.
Sometimes when I have been drawing closer to God, I experience testings. In the past, there were times I felt a bit of resistance when I was praying and feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit so wonderfully, because I wondered what was going to happen next in my life. Lately, God has been blessing me with peace about the church situation. I have had joy in prayer, and trusting God so much that I have told him I don't want to feel that resistance I have in the past. Well, now the testing is coming on. Am I going to keep my eyes on him, and not worry and stew?
Yesterday's chapter was good for me to read today. The first sentences I starred were, "We think that happiness is simply a matter of habitat, and if we could somehow adjust all of the happenings of a given day, we would be happy. In other words, if we could make well with our circumstances, it would be well with our souls." Jennifer says happiness has to do with our hearts.
The circumstances I am experiencing are bringing out some of those symptoms of selfishness Jennifer referred to. My mind keeps going back to the issues, even though I do trust God for the outcome. I am needing to remember to praise God and focus on Him. I also need to go to bed on time. That will help.
A couple more quotes from the chapter I starred:
"Instead of indulging in self-exaltation, which leads to frustration and unmet expectations, lift up God. As He grows bigger in your thought closet, you grow smaller. This makes more room for others and will bring you true satisfaction."
"The Bible tells us that God takes pleasure in our praise. But when we set aside worries about our habitats and lose ourselves in the life-shaping, darkness-chasing, happiness-enhancing experience of pure-praise, the pleasure is all ours. Ah, it is well with our souls."
I visited a church that is the same denomination as I am a couple Sundays ago. A couple days later, I had a visit from a family, who brought cookies, and the four year old son said, "We have a Bible for you!" I had been working on my WFW post, and they could see my Bible right next to where I was sitting, so they told their son I already have one. I told them about my blog. The next day, I received a letter from the church thanking me for visiting. Having two contacts from them made me feel so welcome, I went again Sunday. I was actually planning to go again, anyway. The church is quite big, but the second time I went, it didn't feel as overwhelming.
One cool thing about a large church, is that communion takes longer, and you get to sing more. I chose to visit this church because I learned from their website, that they have contemporary worship. The praise teams are awesome! Last Sunday, the team sang an awesome rendition of "The Anchor Holds" which was what the sermon was about. A man sang solo for most of it. It was so beautiful!
Since I went to the early service Sunday, I decided to go to a Bible study for older people, called, "Prime Time" afterwards. I went to that one, rather than the one in the sanctuary, because you can have your coffee with you. :o) Also, I thought their study of the Epistles of John would be a good one to go to. It felt so good to be there. I was welcomed, seemed to fit right in, and the study was great!
Praise God! I have found a good place to be, and we'll see if He leads me to join.
Pam, at Grey Like Snuffie is hosting another round of ABC's of the Word. Check out her blog for more posts.
As I was looking up verses that had the word "encourage" in them, one of my brother-in-laws called for my husband. Larry was out walking Heidi, and so we ended up talking. He told me he is unhappy with the church he has been going to because people there are being intolerant. I asked him what he meant, and we ended up kind of arguing. I was trying to teach him from the Bible, using 1 Corinthians 5:9-14 and some others, but he was in the mood to argue. I only took his bait a few minutes, and after several attempts to get off the phone, finally said I really needed to go. One of the things he kept saying was that the Bible contradicts itself. Finally, I said, "So you don't believe the Bible?" He said he does, but religion is personal, and people have to interpret the Bible on their own. Oh, dear, he needs prayer!
Then, I turned the page in my Bible to Romans 15:4-6:
"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragementgive you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
It is a hard teaching for those whose hearts are hard, but Jesus is the only way to God.
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
Chapter 9 of Self Talk, Soul Talk, by Jennifer Rothchild, didn't speak to me as much as the rest of the book, but I was back to my usual underlining, circling, and starring in chapter 10, "Press On: March On, O My Soul". The chapter teaches about perseverance.
Jennifer started out with the account of when she sang The Star Spangled Banner at a professional baseball game. As soon as she said she had choked on one word, I knew what her point was going to be. She said she couldn't hear the applause because all the positives were overwhelmed by the one negative, and later in the chapter, she pointed out that focussing on our mistakes makes us want to give up.
Oh, how I've had the tendency to do that to myself! Things can be going well, but I would dwell on the one not so great thing. We get evaluated every May at my job, and I get so stressed out. I can get lots of great comments, but that one suggestion for improvement, or a mark lower than I think it should be is what I focus on, and I am unhappy with the evaluation and wonder if I'm as good at my job as I think I am. The administrator who goes over the evaluation with me, and my husband will tell me it's a good one, and I shouldn't worry about anything.
"Are you prone to quitting when when things don't turn out the way you hoped? If so, welcome to the human race." She says when we are weary from from running the race, it's time to speak truth to our souls and say, "Press on. That will put a little perseverance in your thought closet!"
I think the longest I've stayed at a job is 10 years, but 5 of the years were at a different school than what I'm at now, so this is my 6th year where I am now. I am hoping to persevere and stay put until I retire in 9 years, at the age of 65.
Jennifer says one way to persevere is to turn our feelings into action. "If you feel overwhelmed because a project is due, do the project." "If a particular circumstance intimidates you, take a deep breath and confront the circumstance." "Steady, small actions will slowly reduce the big feeling that is paralyzing you."
Another way to persevere is to affirm our true identity. Who we are and what we struggle with are not the same thing. "Just because you have failed at something, doesn't mean you are a failure." We need to fill our thought closet with "I ams" based on who God is. Some of these, as listed in Appendix 1 are: "I am dearly loved." (1 Peter 2:9-10), "I am a friend of God." (John 15:15), "I am secure." (Romans 8:31-39).
In the section on speaking truth to our souls, Jennifer says, "If you continue to feed your low self-esteem with I can't or It's too hard for me, your low self esteem will grow. But if you begin to starve those things, they will slowly die." That is something God has already started in me. It's good to see it in writing and have it in mind.
There was more great stuff in the chapter, but my post is getting too long. I want to finish with one more quote I underlined. "Your thought closet may be full of big mistake milestones and poorly sung words. You certainly have had and certainly will have times when you just want to get off the field and quit. Remind your soul to focus on the finish, not the flaws and the failures."
I have been unable to make it to the blogs of others as much as I want lately. I hope to do some catching up this week.
"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense-Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins, but the sins of the whole world."
Chapter 9 of Self Talk, Soul Talk, by Jennifer Rothschild is called, "Chill Out, Be at Rest, O My Soul." This book study is part of "Yes to God Tuesday" sponsored by Lelia. Check her blog, Write From the Heart for more posts.
I am having trouble gathering my thoughts about what this chapter was saying to me. I think maybe it's that I need to find balance in my life. I frequently struggle with how I spend my time. I have friends who want to get together more than I do. In fact, my husband and I don't like to go out with friends often, partly because we leave our dog home all day, and don't want to leave her at night, too. There is a concert at school tonight that I'd like to go to, but am too tired. There are other things that I'd like to do, but don't find the time to do them, sometimes, it's because I want to be on the computer.
I have trouble keeping up with everything I need to do. The upstairs part of the house, where people are not allowed, is a mess much of the time. I need to let go of some of the stuff we have, because there is not room for it here. I'll start cleaning, but get sidetracked. I feel overwhelmed.
My favorite thing to do right now is blog. That is a good thing, but I have stayed up too late, and not gotten enough sleep. After getting an hour less sleep a day than I really need, not drinking enough water during the day, and breathing things my lungs are sensitive to, I had a head ache much of the weekend. It got worse early yesterday morning, so I ended up staying home from work. I went back to bed and slept past my normal 6:00 to 8:50! I drank lots of water, and went to bed on time. I am still tired today, but the headache is gone.
So, when I read this chapter today, I could identify when Jennifer said, "The time had finally arrived when my fatigue became more powerful than my fortitude." In her case, she was taking on too many speaking and writing opportunities. There was a time I was serving in several ways at my church, and spent quite a bit of time there, but I have pulled away from those responsibilities. But now, I'm just not taking the time to take care of myself.
One of the passages I marked said, "When we are physically and emotionally spent and worn, we become susceptible to the enemy's attack." Jennifer said we need to choose rest for our souls, to speak peace to them. I thought it was awesome when she pointed out that when God rested after creating the world, there was no mention of a beginning or end of that day, like there was for the others. She said God is our rest.
There were a lot more points made, that I already do, to a point. I think the answer for me is to make sure I spend time with God each day in the Word and prayer. When I neglect these things, the cares and worries, and guilt sneak in. I also need to balance the things I do so that I can get enough sleep.
This wasn't a very inspiring post, but I'm not feeling so inspiring right now. I'm tired!
Last week, while I was outside watching students getting on school busses, a man, around 30 to 40 years old was walking on the sidewalk, smoking a cigarette. I am sensitive to smoke, candles, room sprays, perfume, and the like. It hurts my lungs when I breath them. I kept my distance, but asked the man if he knew it's against the law to smoke on the school grounds. He muttered something, made a turn, and walked out of his way to walk right next to me as he kept smoking. As I tried to get away, I got a breath full of the smoke, and reacted, using a word I shouldn't have. I told him he didn't need to walk next to me with that d___ cigarette. As he walked away, he called me some very vulgar names with a very hateful voice, saying he'd smoke wherever he wanted to.
I was angry at his rudeness, but I imagine smokers think those of us who remind them of the rules are being negative, even if we are trying not to sound that way. Then, it occurred to me that God wanted me to pray for him, so I did, and do again if he comes to my mind. Praying for those who do bad things helps us forgive them. God is good!