Tag Archive | Inspiration

Time & Struggles & Unfeigned Faith

It’s been almost three years since I last posted in this blog. Even longer since I wrote something of substance, or did more than post a graphic. I wish I hadn’t let it be so long. I wish I had kept up with this blog – my way of journaling.

So a lot has changed since I posted in July 2015. I was working in a nursing home/rehab facility – and I’ve been working in a hospital since May of 2015, full-time since July 2015. I love nursing, and I’m learning a TON on the med-surg/ortho floor I’m on. So many different types of illness, injuries, and elective surgeries – and I get to help the people admitted here feel better. I get to teach them how to take care of themselves when they get home. I get to be a part of their lives for a small period of time – just a small moment in which I have to make a difference. A song here, a prayer there – it all matters, all adds up. I continue to try to be the Light for those who don’t know my Jesus.

I am hoping to go back to school soon, and get my RN. It’s now a requirement of my hospital, actually, so I HAVE to go back. It’s good, a time limit will keep me from making excuses. Even better, once I go back for my RN, I won’t stop (I hope) until I get what I really want – a Master’s of Science in Nursing with a Concentration in Pediatrics, and Nursing Education.

As for church – we’re in a new building now! We’ve been there a little over a year, now, and are slowly but surely renovating it. I will be SO excited once the Sunday School finally has a permanent place to meet! Bible Quizzing has also started back again, and we’ve had some real accomplishments and successes! I started it back up again as Head Coach, and now am in charge of Beginner Quizzers. That’s the 5-8 year olds – and it is a challenge, let me tell ya! But the level of challenge is directly correlated with the degree of excitement when they accomplish their goals. I love my kids, in Sunday School and Bible Quizzing, and am so excited for what God is doing! We are having revival – in just the last 4 months, I believe, THREE little girls have received the Holy Ghost, all under the age of 9, and two of them 6 yr olds in the last 2 1/2 weeks! Others are SO close – it’s only a matter of time! There’s been a mighty powerful move of God lately, here in the Northwest Indiana area.

How about me, personally? Well, I’ve had my ups and my downs. I’ve struggled. But, I’m still pressing on. Still keeping the faith. I’ve had reason, lately, to remember the poem, “Footprints.” And yet, though I fail Him often, He’s still there every time I utter His Name.

Today was a hard day for me. I have been dealing with sickness since Sunday, so four days now. Other things were weighing on my mind, too, and I was so upset, so discouraged/depressed – or so I thought. Because as soon as a phrase from a song was before my eyes – and it wasn’t the same song I know, just a line that was similar – I automatically started singing the hymn, and immediately I felt the presence of Jesus, His peace calming my spirit.

Sunday, we read a verse that has really stuck with me. You know how you can read a verse many, many times, and it never makes an impression until, one day, it does? That’s what happened here. It was in II Timothy 1:5: “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.” 

Unfeigned faith. I’m not there, not yet – but I desperately want to be. I want to be Eunice – the women whose mother was filled with unfeigned faith, and whose child was recognized by the Apostle Paul and having unfeigned faith, and who was full to the brim with unfeigned faith, herself. I don’t kid myself – there will be days I will struggle with the fleshly tendency to think and believe and feel the worst. There will be days when I have to really fight to get through the discouragement. But isn’t that what faith is? Pushing through, despite the immediate evidence, because you know there’s something better to come?

If so… then maybe I’m learning my unfeigned faith now. I will get to the point that my faith-muscle is strong enough to handle every struggle that comes my way – because I know that my Spotter is right beside me, lifting the bulk of the weight until it is something I can handle. That kind of correlates with what else we were taught in church on Sunday – the things we go through are designed to build our spiritual muscles. Just like when someone lifts weights, they don’t stay on the same 5 pound weight forever – they start small, and add more and more weight.

How does this compare to faith? You know the saying, “You can’t have a testimony without a test?” You can’t build muscle without a struggle; you can’t build faith without having a reason to have faith. Each time you work out, you have to change-up the routine, add more weights, or your body gets used to the workout and you don’t get stronger. In the same way, if you only ever face the same tests, pretty soon, your faith will get weaker, because it’s used to the current struggle. That opens you up to being vulnerable to the enemy.

Unfeigned faith. It’s going to be a workout, for sure, and there are days I’m going to be as “sore,” spiritually, as all get-out; but I don’t want to be the one depending on the strength of others. I must have my own strength, rooted in God’s strength, if I’m going to survive.

Unfeigned faith. What a goal!

 

Advertisements

A Prayer for My Friends

As I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my friends to keep
Give them peace and joy tonight
And sweet dreams till the morning light
When wake they all from their rest
I pray the Lord, help them do their best
Give them strength to do what’s right
Help them lean on Your great might
And when the day draws to an end
I’ll pray for you again, my friends.

God bless you! I love you all – whether I know your name or not, God loves you, and because He does, I do, too!

Philippians 4:6-7

Look What the Lord Has Done

This song was going through my head:
“Look what the Lord has done!
Look what the Lord has done!
He healed my body! He touched my mind!
He saved me just in time!
I’m gonna praise His Name!
He’s every day the same!
I’m gonna praise Him!
I’m gonna praise Him!
Look what the Lord has done!”

No matter what’s going on – good, bad, ugly, whatever – God is good! I’m so very thankful for a God that is in control, that can see the past, present, and future, and has promised to always work out things for good (Romans 8:28)!

Life is like a jigsaw puzzle – we can only see the one little piece that applies to us, and maybe the pieces immediately surrounding us – but God can see the big picture, and He alone knows what the end product is supposed to look like.  What an incredible Lord and Savior!

God is Awesome Period

 

Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8

Had a great church service a while back.  Came away from it knowing that I have to “tend my field.”  I can no longer let the tares – the weeds – grow among the good grain.  So, I’ve been spending a lot of time pulling up weeds.  When I first heard the service, I already barely watched any kind of television; I don’t watch any, now.  I’m tired of seeing all the drinking, drugging, swearing, sexual innuendos, fornication, etc. That’s not the kind of thing I should be filling my mind with.  Philippians 4:8 tells me to concentrate on things that are true, honest, just, lovely, and of good report; tv doesn’t fit the bill.  Nor do movies.  I enjoy mindless entertainment to help me wind down just as much as the next person.  But I’ve noticed: when the mindless entertainment showcases the kind of behavior the Bible tells me I need to have, instead of the stuff that is against the Bible, I feel much better.  I have a better attitude.  My walk with God stays strong, and I spend more time with Him.  So, tv and movies that don’t follow Biblical principles are out.  Which  means tv and movies are out, period, because I’ve never seen a movie that doesn’t have some of the Hollywood junk in it (including the ones that are supposed to be Christian).

Music is another weed; if I can’t worship to it, I’m not going to listen to it.

I’m going to spend a little more time tilling my field, too; more time in the Word and in prayer.  More time spent helping out the kingdom wherever I can.  I can hardly wait until God reveals the changes in me that will occur because of this decision.  It won’t be easy to stick with, but nothing worth it is ever really easy.

What about you?  Are there any tares you feel God telling you to get rid of?

Sin & Forgiveness

Everyone struggles with sin.  Everyone desires forgiveness.  Isn’t it awesome that God gives us forgiveness?  I’m thankful.

I am no different than anyone else.  I struggle with sin.  I struggle with my temper, with my attitude, with so many other things.  Every day, I have to apologize to God for my sins.  In order to feel like I can overcome them, I have to confess my sins to God, as many as I can.  King David went even further than that – he asked God to save him from his “secret sins” – the ones he committed that he didn’t even realize he’d done.

“Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.”

Psalms 19:12

As I was getting ready to write this post and reading over the verses I wanted to use, I realized that David also asked God to keep him from other sins:

“Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent of the great transgression.”

Psalms 19:13

Presumptuous sins… what might those be?  Assumption, perhaps.  What could be more presumptuous than that?  But I think it goes deeper than that.  So, I looked it up.  According to BlueLetterBible.org, in this verse, the original word is zed, and it’s literal translation is:

blueletterbible.org

So presumptuous sins refers to arrogance, coupled with insolence and impiety.  This got me thinking: how have I been arrogant in my walk with God?  I tried to be really and truly honest with myself, and I was very sobered by the realization that I am extremely arrogant with God.  I have the tendency to assume (there’s that presumption again) that something is or is not from God.  I have the habit of deciding that, if I don’t feel forgiven for a sin, it’s because God didn’t forgive me yet, when in actuality, He forgave me the moment I asked; I simply hadn’t forgiven my self (I John 1:9).

Wow.

I’m pretty arrogant, aren’t I?  I take upon myself the power to decide when and if a sin has been or will be forgiven, even though I can ‘t forgive anyone – least of all myself – of any sins.  This is a problem.

So how to overcome arrogance like that?  By remembering that Someone perfect had to die for my sins, I am reminded that I am far from perfect, far from knowing the future, far from the power that decides life or death.  Only God holds that power, and as talked about in a recent church service, I don’t want to take over God’s job!  The message was actually about vengeance and bitterness, and how God said that vengeance is His and He will repay (Romans 12:9).  When we take over the job of getting back at someone, we are taking over God’s job.  We are saying that we are on the same level as God, since we can do His job.  And, correct me if I’m wrong, but putting himself on the same level as God is what got Lucifer kicked out of Heaven.  Yeah.  Don’t want to do that.  But as I write this, I’m struck with the idea that I have been getting revenge on myself for my sins, by constantly beating myself up over them instead of making every conscious effort not to commit them again.  I’m talking about some specific sins that I struggle with – temper issues, attitude, apathy, some others.  And when I realize that I’ve committed a sin again, I get angry with myself.  I ask God to forgive me, sure, but then I tell myself that I’m such a horrible person for  committing the same sins again that there is no way I can be forgiven and to just give up.  Way to play Job’s friends and wife, right?

So, instead of giving up, I should stop giving myself power and authority that I don’t have.  I need to remember that God is sovereign, and He will forgive me if I simply ask.  That doesn’t mean I should commit sins with the intention of asking forgiveness, however; this kind of behavior sorrows God, maybe even angers Him.  Woah.  Do NOT want to anger God, or sorrow Him, or anything else.

A recent Sunday School lesson for the class I teach covered what repentance is.  I told the kids, “Repentance doesn’t mean you say you’re sorry, do the sin again, say you’re sorry, do the sin again, and so on.  It means you say you’re sorry, and lean on God for the strength to resist committing that sin again.”  Conviction!  Practice what ya teach, teacher :).

All in all, it’s easy to sin.  But, thank the Lord, it’s also easy to find forgiveness for those sins, and even easier to ask God for help.  That’s not to say that you will never commit those sins again, or that you will have no problem resisting the temptation to sin; but rather, that if you rely on God as your strength, you can and will stand against all sorts of temptation.

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

I Chronicles 10:13

Remember the saying, “Practice makes perfect”?  Well, it applies here, as well.  The more you resist sin, the easier it gets to resist sin.  Pray daily for the strength to resist and for the courage to take the straight and narrow path in each situation.  Spend time daily in the Word, finding and reading – and memorizing – verses that will help you in your walk with God.  That whole, “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee” and “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” thing, ya know  (Psalms 119:11Psalms 119:105).  A little illumination is good, but the more, the better, right?

Here’s the really, truly, incredibly awesome part – God has promised that he will break the bonds of sin – and therefore, the punishment for them – from off of us!

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”  

Romans 8:2