Monday, September 27, 2010

Before and After Colosians 3:1-14

1-4  As Christians we should be looking to the things above for inspiration, guidance, etc., etc.  We shouldn't look to this world for answers or help.  We need to be looking to Christ.  If we claim we are Christians then we are in him, so in him we should be finding what we need.

5-9  Paul doesn't leave anything off this list.  If we are in Christ, we should no longer be a part of any of those things from our former life.  There should be a difference between the former and now.

10-11  It is all about Christ and who we are in him.  It isn't who we were or how the world might define us.  We should be defined by Christ alone.

12-14  And it is more than just not being like before.  We must be all these things as well.  How many times throughout the Gospels do we see Christ demonstrating these characteristics.  And one doesn't come without the other.  If we are compassionate, then we will also be kind, gentle, and patient.  And isn't love the thing that summarizes all those characteristics?

While we may mess up on this walk that we call the Christian life, we must keep trying.  We must keep striving to put God first and to put away all those things of the old life.  We must work at becoming more Christlike, more loving.  There are people in our life that test on this.  There are situations in our life that test us on this.  However in those things that we are facing, let's take some time to stop and ask, "What has Christ already done for me?"  When we answer this question, I'm willing to bet we no longer find any reason we should be continually failing the tests life throws at us.

Sometimes it is difficult to be doing the right things and saying the right things and thinking the right things.  Let's not forget to take a step back and remember why those are the right things and try again to get it right.

When the day sucks...

As Christians how often do we hear that we are to be different, that our response to a crisis will let people know who we are.  Well today was a rough one, okay the last week or so has been a rough one, and what was my response?  Mostly complaining.  I'm still not totally happy about the situation and feel more than a little overwhelmed with what I am being asked to do.  Well more accurately told to do.  We often hear that we are to go to God first and tell him how we feel.  I must admit, I suck at this!!!  God is often not the first person I turn to.  Most days he is somewhere around 10 or so on the list.  When things are going well, I think I can do this.  I can go to God first, or at least move him up to the top 5, and then a rough day comes and he's back down to 10 on the list.

And as many times as I mess this up, the Lord still blesses me with wonderful people who gently and sometimes unconsciously remind me of who he is.  Thank God for putting those people there at the right time to keep me trying to do better.  His love and patience truly is amazing.  If he does all this and so much more for me, why am I striving for anything less than my best for him?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Turning 30

While some might stress and freak out about 30, I really haven't thought much about it.  It is just a number and I'll be getting to different numbers in the coming years.  However, this weekend did seem a little more 'epic' than I imagined it would be.  This weekend was the first time in a long time that Ben slept away from us.  And so that was a bit of an 'epic' moment for him.  For Drew and I it was the first time in a long time that we got to spend quality time together.  We watched a movie and went out to eat without worrying about if he was yelling and bothering other tables or watching him run around in front of us while we are trying to watch a movie. Saturday we went to the Momentum Concert/Convention.  Some of the girls from youth and I saw Britt Nicole speak, went to Coldstone with Drew to celebrate my b-day and then went to the Momentum Concert.
That was just the fun stuff this weekend.  It did feel like some big things were happening this weekend.  Britt Nicole's message was to prepare yourself for the big doors that God might be opening.  The worship time with 7Miles and Thrid Day was very special and I think was the beginning of a heart for ministry for me.  I didn't really understand what that meant until this weekend.  I'm not sure that I truly understand it yet, but I'm beginning to.  And then on Sunday Katie Hawkins spoke about her heart for ministry and going overseas to Albania.  She was speaking about the place where God uses your talents and passions and answers your questions.  That is where you can best serve his kingdom.  While I don't know that place yet, I do know that God will be using me in different ways in the future and I need to prepare for that.  And maybe more than just preparing for God's plan for me, I am excited about what that plan might be.
So I am now 30 and I'm looking forward to whatever else might be coming.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My new discovery

This discovery started in the summer when I was visiting my family.  However, I didn't really understand the magnificence of it all until last week or the week before.  What is this wonderful thing that I discovered?  Pesto sauce!

This summer my parents had some of the pesto sauce my uncle makes.  It was good, but somehow it didn't click about how good it was.  My husband fixed some Farfalle with Pesto sauce last week.  Very plain dish, no meat, no fancies.  Just pasta and sauce.  It filled me up, tasted wonderful, and it really only took a little bit of sauce and pasta.  I guess that is the thing that I really noticed.  I doubted the wonder of pesto before because it came in a small jar.  I have discovered that it was in a small jar because only a little is needed for maximum flavor.  Drew made some last night and used some from the jar last week.  And there is still some left for another meal.  How wonderful, tasty and cheap!

Pesto sauce is an amazing thing.  Try some this week, you may discover a new wonder in your life.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Distractions Hebrews 2:1-4

A little background and then we're going to start with 4 and work our way back to 1. 

The author of Hebrews is writing to a generation or two removed from those who walked with Jesus.  These are people who have only heard stories of Jesus and his work, a lot like us.

Verse 4:
In tough times and times when we feel distant from God, let us not forget what we have already seen of God.  Let us not forget how he has worked in our lives and the lives of those around us.  I'm sure we all have stories of how he has performed miracles in our lives.  Those are the stories we need to be sharing with others. 

Also it mentions, "gifts of the Spirit according to his will."  The gifts he has given us should also be a testimony to others about who he is.  We are all talented with different things and have different hobbies.  Are we using those for God and his glory?  Are we using them to the fullest extent for the kingdom?  If not, what is keeping us back.  Is it fear of a crazy idea?  There are organizations who are bikers and Christians.  There are hunters who are also Christians. (http://www.myteamharvest.com/)  Etc., etc.  Don't let fear keep you from doing for God.  Is it that you don't want to give everything to God?  Do you not think he can use it or do you not want him to use it?  Who are you not reaching because you won't give him everything?

Verse 2 and 3:
Let's remember what Jesus has done for us.  We are no longer sacrificing animals to cover for our sin.  Jesus did that for us.  He covered it all.  He suffered and died to get us to him and to get us there easier.  The old Law of Moses was binding and those punishments should be ours.  Jesus saved us from that.  Are we living like it?  Do we realize the grace that has been extended to us?  Are we sharing this with others?

Verse 1:
"...so we will not drift away."  And here is the point of all of it.  Jesus did all of that for us and we should be giving our all to him.  Why don't we?  DISTRACTIONS.  How do we use our time?  Are we distracted by technology, people, worries, etc.?  How do we use our finances?  Are we tithing and giving like we should?  Are we being wasteful and therefore not giving God the control over our finances?  Are our finances a distraction?  Do we worry so much about them that we aren't concentrating on God and what he wants us to be doing?  I could go on and on about potential distractions.  Not all of them are bad, but when they come before God there's a problem.  We need be conscious of what we are doing and why we are doing it.  What are we thinking about and putting effort into?  Is that where God wants us to be?  Even "good" activities or "church" activities can become a distraction when it comes before God.  Our families can be a distraction when they are interfering with our time with God.  What are the distractions in your life?  What are you doing about them?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Make the calories count

This weekend I finished reading a book entitled, Thin is the New Happy.  A very good book about a woman trying to overcome her obsession with dieting and those last 10 pounds.  Sometimes it was more than that she was battling, but overall those last 10 pounds.  Like probably every woman who ever lived, I do worry every so often about my weight, so the book spoke to me.  By the end of the book what she learned was that she had spent so much time stressing about every calorie she ate or didn't eat that she had lost significant time with family and friends.  So she stopped counting calories, she ate what she wanted, stopped when she was full, and worked out on a regular basis.  When she went on vacation, she ate what she wanted and didn't stress about the calories or whatever.  By the end of vacation she was excited to get back home and get back to her eating routine and her exercise routine.  She didn't feel tied to it.  She had fallen into a healthy routine and so did her body.  She had become the size she was always struggling to attain and maintain naturally.  Studies have shown that we are genetically programed to be a certain size.  She believed that and lo and behold, her body fell into a size that was natural to her.

All of this seemed to confirm what I already believe.  Basically what I believe is that we should make the calories count.  Don't eat it just because it is there.  Don't eat it because you don't want to throw it out.  Don't eat it to be polite.  Etc.  Etc.  Eat it because you enjoy that food and you want that food.  Stop when you are done and eat when you are hungry.  Don't waste time, energy, and calories on food that you don't really want.  And not just food, drinks too.  I don't drink much soda.  Maybe 1 a week.  Those are calories that are wasted to me.  I don't really enjoy them, so I drink water instead.  I genuinely like drinking cold water.  I do LOVE sweet tea, but I only drink it when we are out somewhere.  I am lazy and don't want to take the time to make it.  I have one cup of coffee some days a week.  In the winter, I'll probably have a latte or cappucino every so often.  And when I do, I will enjoy them.  However, I don't have one every day because I don't want to waste my daily calories on something I drink.

I like food, so that's what I want to spend calories on.  Most breakfasts, I have a high fiber, high protein cereal to keep me full until I can eat lunch at 1.  At lunch I have a lean pocket or yogurt with fruit.  I try to eat a healthy snack after school and I eat whatever I want for dinner.  I try to spend most of my calories on dinner because that is where I enjoy food the most.  On the weekends, sometimes we'll go out for a big breakfast.  I LOVE a big country breakfast, but I can't fix one on a daily basis, so that is a treat every so often.

I also like running on my treadmill.  I do not do this like I should, but I'm hoping when life calms down a little and I'm not working 12 hour days, then I'll be able to find time to do that again.  I'm also hoping Ben is getting to the age where he won't want to be running with me.  It is a goal that I have for myself to get back to running.

I am not perfect, but I don't stress about the calories I'm eating or drinking.  I love eating, but even more I love the company and the occasions that I am eating.  That is the important part and I don't want waste my  calories on food that I don't want to eat.  I also don't want to waste my time stressing about these things.  I do need to lose some weight and I'm making changes to try to stick as closely as I can to my food beliefs.  I am realistic that it won't happen over night.  Hopefully in a couple months, I have lost a few pounds and over time these changes will help me lose some of this and get back to the normal size that my body is.  So happy eating and make those calories count!