Saturday, December 31, 2011

Who We Are & What We Have

A simple list of the (mostly) internal, (mostly) un-earned qualities and blessings we have because of Christ.  The question: will we pick up these gifts laid before us and use them?

We are justified through faith (declared innocent & guiltless)
We are redeemed, bought back from Satan
We are righteous, upright & moral
We are saved from death (Rom 10:13)
We are loved unconditionally (Rom 5:6)
We are more than conquerers through Christ (Rom 8)
We are friends of Christ (John 15)
We are heirs with CHrist of eternal life (Rom 8:17)
We are ambassadors (2 Cor 5:20)
We are light to the world
We have been given all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies (Eph 1:3)
We are free from sin & death (Rom 8:2)
We have been created in God's image (Gen)
We are citizens of heaven
We are sons & daughters of God
We have peace with God through Christ (Eph 2:17)
We are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17)
We died with Christ (Rom 6:8)
We will live with Christ (Rom 6:8)
There is no condemnation for us (Rom 8:1)
We cannot be separated from Christ's love (Rom 8:35)
We will not be put to shame (Rom 10:11)
We are members of the body of Christ (rom 12:4)
We each have unique gifts (2 Cor)
We are accepted (Rom 15:7)
We have grace from God (1 Cor 1:3)
We do not lack any psiritual gift (1 Cor 1:7)
We will stay strong & will be blameless through Christ (1 Cor 1:8)
We are called into fellowship with Jesus by God (1 Cor 1:9)
We have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16)
We are of Christ & Christ is of God (1 Cor 3:23)
We are washed & sanctified (1 Cor 6:11)
We are given the victory through Christ (over death) (1 Cor 15:57)
We have Christ's sufferings & his comfort in our lives (2 Cor 1:5)
We are established with Christ by God (2 Cor 1:21)
We are anointed (2 Cor 1:21)
We have God's seal on us (2 Cor 1:22)
We have God's Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee (2 Cor 1:22)
He have the "yes" to God's promises in Christ (2 Cor 1:20)
We are the aroma of Christ (2 Cor 2:15)
We are a letter from God on human hearts (2 Cor 3:3)
Our veil has been lifted (regarding the Old Testament) (2 Cor 3:14)
We can see the light of the good news of Christ who is the image of God (2 Cor 4:4)
We have God shining light in our hearts of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (2 Cor 4:6)
We have the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18)
We are reconciled (won over, brought into agreement/harmony/compatibility) by God through Christ (2 Cor 5:18)
We belong to Christ (2 Cor 10:7)
We have power (Christ's) which is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor 12:9-10)
We have Jesus Christ in us (2 Cor 13:5)
We are called in grace by God (Gal 1:6)
We have freedom in Christ (Gal 2:4)
We have been cruicified to the world and the world has been crucified to us (Gal 6:14)
We are to the praise of God's glory (Eph 1:12)
We were and are loved at our worst (Eph 2:5)
We have been made alive together with Christ (Eph 2:6)
We have been raised up and seated with Christ in the heavenly places (Eph 2:6)
We have God's richness of mercy toward us (Eph 2:4)
God loves us with a great love (Eph 2:4)
We will be shown God's immeasurable richness of grace in kindness toward us (Eph 2:7)
We are God's workmanship, created in Christ for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Eph 2:10)
We have been brought near to Christ (by his own blood) (Eph 2:13)
We have the same access to God as Israel, in one spirit (Eph 2:18)
We are no longer strangers & aliens (Eph 2:19)
We are fellow citizens with the saints (Eph 2:19)
We are members of God's household (Eph 2:19)
We are being built into a  dwelling place for God (by Jesus) (Eph 2:22)
We have encouagement in Christ, comfort from love, participation in the spirit, affection and sympathy (Phil 2:1)

What blows my mind about this list is how intertwined it proves us to be with our Lord.  I created this list by searching the word "Christ."  ALL the good spiritual things we have are from him, his sacrifice.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011


What makes it easy to work with someone to help them improve themselves?

Using the example of a coach working with a swimmer, it is much easier to help someone...
...when they know they need the coach's help rather than when they think they are doing a great job by themselves
...if they pay attention when the coach is showing them what they need to do to improve
...if they are willing to put the work and focus in to do what the coach prescribes
...when they understand specifically what they are doing wrong and don't like the fact that they are doing it incorrectly, rather than not trying to understand and not caring even if they do understand

Working with a swimmer who is coachable but may not have much inherent skill is desirable to working with someone stubborn and unwilling to improve even if they are very talented.

It seems to me that as long as a person is willing, tractable, and not arrogant, then they can be happily worked with no matter how badly they do.  When you know someone is trying their best, it is hard to give up on them, even if they are floundering a bit.

Despite the fact that Jesus will never give up on a believer, I want so badly to be easy and pleasant for him to work with.  I think repentance is a huge part of coachability because the Bible definition (from, of course!) looks a lot like a simple willingness to do what is right:

"Metanoeo, meaning to change one's mind and purpose as the result of after knowledge.  This verb with the cognate noun 'metanoia', is used of true repentance, a change of mind and purpose and life..."

I think the big trick is to not just to do our best, but to also ask for more help from Jesus because often the things we need to change our mind, purpose and life about are deep habits, maybe even things we enjoy even though they are wrong.  As noble as it would be to do everything out of sheer willpower, I think the whole point of having a Lord is so that we have extra help and support to save us from our dead human nature:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 
and are justified by his grace as a gift, 
through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, 
to be received by faith.

Since we are already justified, we can walk freely with Christ, knowing that we are already good enough on the inside because God said so.  Our right response to that freedom is to desire to reflect our true nature in Christ, and to let him direct us into it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lifestyles of the Right and Blameless

Join with others in following my [Paul's] example,
brothers [and sisters!], and take note of those
who live according to the pattern we gave you.
-Philippians 3:17-

I am so thankful for people who have been examples of godliness in my life.

People who reach out and act out the love of God are refreshing and energizing agents.  So many times in my life, God has provided a great example to me at just the right time to give me a boost.  Whether that person simply reminded me with their actions that God cares about me, or whether they snapped me out of my selfishness with an example of how I should behave instead, I am always thankful to see an example.

It is difficult to put into words the gift that strong, godly believers are.  It is so much easier to go on trying to live right, and more importantly, trying to have a functional relationship with God, when you can see another faulty human being who is already doing it.  The key might be that seeing an example activates our imagination and reminds us of the possible.  When we see someone else doing the thing we dream of, we are able to see ourselves sticking our feet into their shoes (because we can see their shoes!) and consider the possibility that we can do it if they can.  It instills hope into our hearts.  Sometimes that is all we need to get moving in the right direction.

How much more powerful it is to SEE someone doing the right thing than to be TOLD about doing the right thing!

And what's best about people who are godly examples, is that they almost never notice the impact they are having.  It is out of a humble heart, not from self-righteously trying to prove themselves - they are not doing what they do to show off, unless it is to show God off.  They are just fulfilling their "moral obligation" to God.*  But sometimes examples need to be thanked for what they do, because encouragers need more encouragement than anybody else.

Thank you to all the people who have been an example to me.  Because of you...

...Lives have been transformed when you refused to give up on them, and now I have a better chance of being persistent to the same end.
...I know it is possible to truly love people when they are unkind - I can see that love is a commitment, an action, NOT A FEELING.
...I know what it means to think of others interests and not just my own.
...I no longer let my emotions and my thoughts rule my life, but I know I can confess God's truth instead, and be free.
...I know what hospitality is, and that with practice I can put others before myself, welcoming them in my home.
...I have been urged on to intercede for people faithfully.
...I know what a pure heart looks like, free of bitterness and selfishness.
...I have seen what it is to take care of the sick.
Because of you, I have felt the love of Christ at the times I least deserve it.

*I recently listened to a really great lesson called Our Obligation to God, and I recommend it.  But if you don't hear it, just think of this:  God is our Father.  Imagine your earthly father or mother.  They give us everything we need for life and more.  We don't have any legal or technical obligation to them, but what adult child would not show their love (through action!!) to their parents, or take care of them in their old age?  Morally, we have no other choice than to treat our parents well and do what we can to show we love them.  We could never pay them back for or deserve what they've done for us, but it would be wrong not to serve them in some way.  It is the same with God!  

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Why I Need Jesus

I'm always a little surprised and sad when I talk to people about Jesus and they don't seem to feel the same way I do about him.  It seems often to be no fault of their own, except maybe unwillingness to check out what they have heard about Jesus.  I'm lucky because I grew up in a family where God and Jesus were a big deal, and I've known about the benefits of living life with them, if not first-hand, at least by exposure to the Bible and to other believers.  And because of this I've always loved Jesus.  But I don't think I finally felt my real need for him until the things I usually thrived on failed me and I landed hard on my hind end.  Then I got up, looked around and realized this wasn't the first time this had happened, but was in fact probably the hundredth, and maybe I should re-evaluate what I think I need in life.

And that's the thing - anything, anyone, that isn't God or Jesus Christ is going to hurt you, let you down, leave you.  Including yourself, if that's what has gotten you by in life so far.  Sometimes feelings seem like facts, and other times facts are not backed up by feelings.  It might not feel true to you that everything will fail you, because perhaps it seems that you have always done okay and been okay.  You don't need Jesus because you can't even see him, maybe.  But let me tell you, you WILL see him, and I hope you meet him before you have to stand in front of him when it's time to sort out the people he knows and doesn't know.  Because he is good and he loves you and not only will he save you eternally, when the time comes, from the long, dark shadow and the creeping death Satan has cast over this earth, but he will also give you everything you need to live a truly full life right now - that being a relationship with him.

I need Christ because I live on this planet and this planet and all of us on it are tanking.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Beth Moore Simulcast - Salt & Certainty

Point #5: We can revel in the certainty of the things we have been taught.

The point of Bible study is to know God and have a relationship with him - it's not just about knowledge!  The people of the Bible, those who wrote the Bible, KNEW Jesus - they had proof.  What theses people wrote isn't a fond hope, it is their experience, it is reality.

John 20:29
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

That means WE are blessed!!
Here's a secret about Jesus:  The more you need him, the more you will see him.

God intends to be faithful to you.  Don't you ever think he's not there for you or that he's left you.  Go to him because he will help you and give you love that nobody else will ever be able to give you.

Acts 1:1-3
3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

Imagine how trying it would have been to be with Jesus and for him to keep coming and going over this time period. It was obviously a time of testing, confirmed by the fact that it was a period of 40 days, which all over the Bible is a number that indicates testing. Here are some other 40 day testing periods of the Bible:

-The rains while Noah and his family were in the ark
-Moses' time on the mountain with God
-The spies' time scouting the land of Canaan
-Elijah's time without food
-Ninevah's time limit on repenting
-Jesus' period of tempting
-(and babies take 40 weeks to be born!)
The apostles had to live in faith and not by sight at this point as Jesus was no longer constantly with them.  BUT they had those many convincing proofs, and because they did, so do we.

I'm going to have to skip Beth's explanation of the Greek word sunalizo because I couldn't find the stuff in a concordance and I don't want to tell it wrong!  But this section was about communing with Christ constantly and spicing up life because we are intended to be "the salt of the earth."  Salt is a cleanser, a flavor-er, and a preservative.

Point #6: Jesus passed us the salt also.

It's time we become the flavor of Christ!  Let's enjoy life and be people that other people can be attracted to because of our excitement for and communion with Christ.

And finally, Point #7: We can ALSO be many convincing proofs that Jesus is alive.

Notice the reference to also??  I thought that was clever.

Think about and look for the things God has done in your life that prove him and Jesus Christ.  We, too, have proof of God because of the transformation he has worked in us, the miracles He's performed for us, His love for us that burns in our hearts and completes us.  The responsibility is now on us to show the Truth that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life and to tell everyone what he has done for us!

These were Paul's last penned words:

Acts 28:28-31
30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Although Paul was technically under house arrest, it says that he preached unhindered!  Do what you have to do to be unhindered to do what God has called you to do.

The last image Beth showed us was a photograph somebody had taken from the driver's seat of a truck.  It was two cowgirls galloping beside the truck on horses, but it also caught the view in the truck's side view mirror of a raging fire close behind (the simulcast took place during some really terrible fires in Texas).  Beth said it's time to get on our horses and ride to freedom with Jesus.  We don't have long on this earth, the women on the horses didn't have long until the fire caught up to them - we have to choose how we spend our time.  Let's choose to be unhindered - it is available through Christ!

The end!!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Beth Moore Simulcast - Healing and Friendship

In Acts 1:1, Luke uses the word Theophilus, which means Theos = God, philos = friend, or friend of God.  Some scholars say this was a pseudonym for an actual person who it would have endangered to name in a letter.  Others say that it was a name for all readers.

In Luke 1:3, Luke adds "most excellent" to the front of that word, making it an "honorific":

(3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.) This is further evidence that Theophilus was a real person instead of a name for all readers. (I personally don't agree, but I'm no Bible scholar, so, you know).
Beth mentions that Luke focuses on friends and friendship more than anyone else in the Bible (or the New Testament or the Gospels... not sure which or if it matters).

Luke 7:31-39, and skip down to 47

31"To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another,
"'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.'
33 For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.' 34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, 'Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' 35 Yet wisdom is justified by all her children."

36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. 39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

The pharisees accused Jesus of being a friend of sinners, and yet they were the ones who were truly sinners in this scenario because they were self righteous.  And yet, Jesus is a friend of sinners, so he was still a friend of the pharisees as well as a friend of the sinful woman.  In the realm of Christianity, outcasts become insiders.  Luke was an outcast before - he was a gentile.

Beth then spoke about Luke's viewpoint of Christ and that God used his physician perspective to emphasize all of the healing and to use doctor's language and really bring out that dimension of Christ's ministry.

In Luke 13:10-16
10 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, "There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day." 15 Then the Lord answered him, "You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?"

This section was especially powerful as Beth talked more about her past and how she "could not straighten up" no matter how hard she tried.  She needed Christ to put his hands on her and she needed to be under his authority (following his will, working with him rather than trying over and over to do what nobody can do alone).  This is where she says that memorizing scripture and using it when your struggle arises is the way to freedom.  Ask God what verse you need to combat your particular problem and then memorize it and bring it to mind when you see potential to encounter that problem.  Over time (or even immediately) this will purify your mind so you will no longer have the same struggles!

Also, you can ask God "what preceded my defeat?"  Try to find out your triggers so you can deal with them or avoid them.  You have to let God get to the root of things and show you in his timing how to overcome the problem.  It's not about treating symptoms, it's about getting complete healing.  Don't be like the pharisees and make up a bunch of rules around healing.  It can happen any time any place and to any degree, including miraculous, sudden healing.  But don't make it up to be a certain way in your head and don't restrict it, whatever you do.

And as far as our struggles go, we have to take them one day at a time.  God gives us grace for each day, and we are NOT to worry about the future.  (Matthew 6 has a good section about this that really helps me to stave off anxiety).

At this point, Beth showed a picture of a baby squirrel.  It was curled up in the palm of a woman's hand and it was naked and really ugly.  A cat dragged it in and the Beth's friend saved it.  Seeing the squirrel picture made a question come up for Beth:  "What did we look like?"  Then she read Ezekiel 16:4-7:

4 And as for your birth, on the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. 5 No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you, but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, on the day that you were born.
6 "And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, 'Live!' I said to you in your blood, 'Live!' 7 I made you flourish like a plant of the field. And you grew up and became tall and arrived at full adornment.

Point #4:  Jesus became a friend of sinners so we could become a friend of God.

And thank God he did!

Beth also made the point here that we need to make sure we aren't making ourselves bent over from bitterness and unforgiveness by withholding grace from other sinners.  The word forgive in the Greek means to "send something forth" - to let go.  If we don't do that then our unforgiveness becomes a lifestyle and eventually becomes who we are.  We have to give things up to God because he can and will deal with them in time.

Even more than that, we have been called to overcome through LOVE.  Don't you know that some people enjoy having power over you?  If you don't give in, it will make them furious and it will set you free.  Being kind to somebody who treats you badly is God's will and it will really throw that person off.

One last point Beth made for this section was that we shouldn't be afraid to be a little vulnerable.  She realized that it's so much easier to say "love you" or "love ya" than to say "I love you."  We are afraid of rejection, but it's ok if the love doesn't come back to us because God always always loves us and He is enough for us.  We were made to love.  Take ownership and don't do it casually!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Beth Moore Simulcast - Me's and We's

Point #2
An individual calling can only be fulfilled in a "we" context.

No matter what your ministry is, you can't do it alone. You have to have a godly support system. Note that this was true even for Luke and Paul - they were together and they were always working with other believers.

Beth has an acronym that reminded us during the simulcast to drop our pride and get into what she was saying (including looking at the person next to us and saying Point #2, and doing funny things). TCTBB.


Don't do it. Or else all you'll have is your personal dignity and everyone else will have the blessing and joy God intended for them.

We have to get rid of our self-absorbed, self-centered view of the Bible. Go to God asking what he has to say. Period. What does HE have to say? Not "what do you have to tell ME, God?" Not that there's anything wrong with that sometimes, but we should be in it for him more than for ourselves.

In Bible classes you will learn the word hermeneutic - "a method or principle of interpretation." Don't let the her in your HERmeneutics be ME: HER-ME-neutics. Let the HE in your HE-rmeneutics be JESUS! We can't get caught up in studying the Bible just for knowledge, it has to be so we can know our Savior.

Beth used the esxample of the meatball man. There is a meatball parlor in her town by her office and the mascot stands on the median in the road. He started out at the beginning of the summer super enthusiastic and hugely round and red. As the summer (the hot, hot summer) went on, he began to shrivel up and lose his enthusiasm. Beth called her girlfriends and told them "Remember The meatball guy? He's a sundried tomato now!" Being in the spotlight was fun at first, but the heat of it and the pressure of it just shriveled up his meat-ball-y soul. That's what happens to us if we focus on us instead of Jesus.

That being said:

Point #3:
God never overlooks a single "me" in the bigger "we."

While Paul was under house arrest, he was "unhindered" (I can't find the verse for this!  But it's in there).  Luke was with him, and was apparently unhindered too because he wrote two books, totalling to more verses (2,157) than Paul even did (2,032).  Beth said it's not nice to compare numbers UNLESS you need reminding that you aren't a me that's been overlooked.

Luke 1:1-4 (other theme verses)
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.


We don't like being also's. We like to be Originals. But there's nothing wrong with being an also. Beth rattled off about 10 verses with also's in them, which I did not copy down (sadly). But maybe I can reproduce the effect:

Mark 3:14
And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach

Mark 15:41
When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.

Luke 12:8
And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God...

Luke 16:10
One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much...

Romans 6:8
Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

Romans 8:11
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Romans 8:32
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

2 Corinthians 1:21-22
And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

Ephesians 2:22
In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Colossians 3:4
When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

2 Timothy 4:8
Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

1 Peter 2:21
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you...

"Oh blessed also!"




Luke 1:2-4
2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you,most excellent Theophilus, 4that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.

Sometimes doing things that seem good to us is the way God is working through us - he's not always going to thunder out commands for us, and in fact, it's much more common for us to do our ministry (and we all have one!) through just making the best choice we can.

Beth told a story of one of her friends staying in a hotel with her mother-in-law before an event. They had decided that the daughter-n-law would shower the night before so the mother-in-law could shower in the morning. The daughet-in-law was thinking in the shower about the things God had been teaching her recently. She got out and the mirror was all steamed up, so she used her finger to write out what God had been saying. Not thinking another thing about it, she went to bed. In the morning, she heard the shower turn off, the shower curtain open and a little shriek. Her mother in law came out in her towel saying "I think God is trying to tell me something!" And the daughter-in-law had to explain that maybe God was using her, who knows, but that she was the one who wrote the words on the mirror.

Beth hoped that God would steam up our image of ourselves in the mirror so that we can see ourselves through his eyes. That we could see our value.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Beth Moore Simulcast - Good Company

September 10, 2011
Living Proof Live Simulcast in Lubbock, Texas

Session 1

Whatever you're dealing with, somebody else is too.  Just like all temptation is common to man, so all struggles are common to man.  Let Jesus get into that business.

Luke 1:1-4 (Theme verses)
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

2 Timothy 2:22
Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, in the company of those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Do your pursuing of God in the company of others! And make that good company.

2 Timothy 4:6-12
6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 9 Do your best to come to me quickly, 10 for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.

Only Luke was with Paul at this point.  All of his beloved friends (Luke and Demus mentioned as such in Colossians 4:14) had abandoned him and gone off.  So Luke had to be the one Paul was dictating to.  Imagine how Luke felt when Paul said "The time has come for my departure..." and then "Luke is the only one with me."  Do you think he paused for a minute as he wrote when Paul got to those parts?  Maybe his eyes filled with tears a little bit for the deepness of their friendship.  He and Paul were clearly best friends at that point.

Acts 16:6-13
Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. 11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. 13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.

You can see here where Luke (the writer of Acts) comes into the picture because of the change from they they they to we we we.

Beth spoke some about Paul and Luke meeting when Paul was in Galatia with an illness (Galatians 4:13) and that Luke, the Physician, basically gave up what he was doing and left to go with Paul. She said it was similar to a doctor these days just going home with a client because he loved him so much. She asked - how many of you love your doctor this way: "I *LOVE* my doctor... LOVE him" ? But how many of you, your doctor just loves you so much that "I just love you so much, I'm going to go ahead and come home with you and stay with you for years to take care of you" ? That's what it was like for Paul and Luke. "Luke put the 'company' back in 'accompanied.'"

These days it's hard to actually be alone with somebody because of technology and the fact that we are constantly social-networking to the point that we don't pay attention to the people we are face to face with. I think Beth just wanted everyone to think about the implications of that.

The point of all of this is point #1:
We were created for good company.

2 Timothy 2 :22
Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

We have to also learn to be good company. This is how:

1 Peter 1:22
22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Don't just try to do obedience on your own, though. You will fall into a cycle of confession/destruction. Get Jesus involved - DO NOT separate the sinful part of your life out from the rest of what you share with him, do not hide it in the dark. Tell Christ what you need, shine his light on it, and ask him what to do. Memorize applicable scripture to combat whatever you are struggling with and it will REform your heart (disobedience DEforms the heart). (I myself can testify to the power of memorizing scripture and using it when I'm tempted to sin. Ask me if you want to know!!)

At this point, Beth gave a little bit of her testimony saying that she truly believes she would not be alive if it weren't for Christ. She was caught up in a really harmful cycle of looking for ways to self-destruct, and she said that it was not an exaggeration that out of the 180,000 women viewing the simulcast, NOBODY, including the women in the correctional facilities, had made as stupid of choices as she had. She was really transparent and said she couldn't ever look down on someone because she herself has most likely been that someone.

Back to point #1. Our closest fellowship, our best friends, must be people who have purified souls, who call on God, who practically live out God's will. The rest of the people in our lives, we should still love deeply, but we have to use the Philippians 1:9 principle

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment.

Use discernment and care with the other people in your life or you will get torn up.

When you are trying to minister to someone who is really emotionally troubled ("wigged out" "I've been that woman"), you need to do that in a small group, not by yourself or it will turn you inside out.

To be continued...!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Don't let anyone but God sit in His chair!

If you're like me, you often feel like the people you meet relish picking you apart in their mind - maybe like a gourmet crab, cracking your shell and taking out your insides, contemplating them before they chew them up with a satisfied smile.  You sense them deciding whether you have good or bad character, if they like your hair, if what you said was really intelligent or the stupidest thing they've ever heard.  Later you imagine them talking about you, recounting their entire time with you as if critiquing your debut movie.  

And it doesn't bother you so much when you hit it off with that person, even if you had to act against your nature a little bit (they wouldn't know the difference, right?).  If you feel like they will be raving about you later, you don't really care what they think of you.  It's those people who you know aren't your biggest fans that get to you.  Even if they disgust you, you still feel this pressing need to make them think highly of you because they are doing the J-word, and you just can't handle that.  


We all do it, even if we don't pronounce it over people like monarchs giving sentence.  But the thing is... get ready for this... try as we might to judge, we fail miserably.  Every.  Time.  We try to decide the status or fate of people, whether we mean to or not, but we simply do not hold the power to make such decisions.

Humans can't truly pass judgment because they aren't God.  The first time I realized that, it blew my mind!  No matter what someone says about me behind my back, no matter what they think of me or what disdain they have for me, it's not real judgment.  It's just an opinion, and it holds such dinky weight in comparison to the opinion of God, my Creator and the lover of my very soul.  God's opinion is judgment, and though he hasn't declared his full judgment yet, the day will come.  

More than luckily for people who believe that God's son has come to whisk us away from this epoch of darkness by dying on our behalf (maybe soon I'll dedicate an entry to why this makes perfect sense and why I believe it...) - more than luckily for us, if we have made Jesus director over our lives, and we call on his name for help and strength, we are pre-judged as having good standing with God.  Perfect standing, in fact.  Our mistakes and acts of rebellion are banished and not taken into account.

All that to say we can shut our ears to the un-constructive criticism of those who have "judged" us.  And we can and must shut our mouths and swallow when we feel the need to spit out an un-constructive "judgment."

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fools and Love

Just thinking about how much God loves us.  What a healing thing it is.  He places so much value on us and is very thoughtful towards us.  Look at how well objects in nature suit us - they are beautiful to us, just the right size for our needs:

Trees are big enough to make things out of or climb in
Fruit is big enough for one serving or to share
The sun lights up the day so we can go about our business, but it goes away so we can sleep
We have animals to do things we can't do, or for companionship
And on
And on!

It makes me want to know God better so I can honor him and be thoughtful toward him in return.

I just read an article that mentions that it is ridiculous to claim we cannot know God because he is mysterious.  It quotes the verse "My people are fools; they do not know me." (Jeremiah 4:22) Ouch!  I don't want to be a fool, I think I'll go ahead and believe God when he says:

19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Romans 1

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Praise (from) The Lord!

I was given a little award by my boss at our year-end championships/awards/party for the whole staff last weekend.  It felt good to be brought in front of everyone to be recognized for doing well.  How would it feel to be given an award in front of a crowd by Jesus Christ or God?  THAT really makes my heart flutter and my cheeks burn!  If that doesn't motivate me to forget about scampering around trying to get recognition from people and to start living my life for compliments from my savior and my creator, I don't know what will.

I crave God's pride in me - who cares what anyone else thinks!
Disclaimer: I do still care inordinately about the approval and praise of other people.  But the reality is that as long as I live inside the guidelines of love that God has laid out for me, IT DOES NOT MATTER what another soul on earth thinks about me, whether they think I deserve awards or not.

Second Disclaimer: I also know that while God wants me to strive to please him, I can't do that just because I want rewards and recognition.  I need, and God wants, more than anything, for me to have a relationship with him and know that he loves me NO MATTER WHAT.  If that's not my basis, then I'll always feel like a failure.  I'm not going to be able to live up to the awesomeness of what God deserves and what I "should" accomplish for him.  And he is obviously ok with that.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

All You Need is Love! Part 2

Starting in Matthew, I was looking for ways Jesus loved, whether himself or other people.

First, I came across Jesus' temptation after 40 days in the wilderness (starting in Matthew 4:1):

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread."

Notice that the devil was questioning Christ's identity, and trying to make Jesus question it too.  How often does that happen to us?  I think it's a serious problem for us these days!!

4But he answered, "It is written,

    "'Man shall not live by bread alone,
   but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

Every time the enemy said "If you are the son of God..." instead of getting defensive or wondering if the devil might be right, Jesus told him what God said about himself.  He completely relied on God!  I usually feel threatened when someone questions if I'm genuine, and I usually wriggle in my skin feeling the need to prove myself and make sure they don't question me any more.  And if I follow through with that feeling, it ends up making me look and feel sort of dumb I think.

I think that Christ's response really showed that he was secure in God - that he didn't have to do anything special just to prove he was God's son or that he was good enough.  He just WAS good enough.  And we are, too.  If we know that then we're going to love ourselves and not feel like we don't quite measure up, which hopefully will keep us from doing foolish things in an attempt to make ourselves feel/look good enough for other people and God.

You and I are more than conquerers through Christ's love.  We are God's children.  We can come before him with absolute confidence that he will love us, care for us and answer us EVERY TIME no matter what we have done.  We do not have to put up with lies or ANYTHING from the devil because we are not subject any more to his dominion over us as part of the family of God.  Who we are has little to do with our behavior - it has to do with what God says about us.  So we should maybe love ourselves and take some time to look into what God does say about us!

Knowing our identity in Christ is probably the most loving thing we can do for ourselves and it will make our lives so much more peaceful.

And that reminds me of a sermon I recently listened to... it is highly recommended, and not too long.  Do yourself a favor (LOVE YOURSELF!) and listen to it!

Or, if you prefer to read (and you're a woman...) read So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

All You Need is Love!

The Bible doesn't seem to talk much about loving yourself.  

But it does talk about love, and it does tell us to "love your neighbor as yourself. "  A lot.  Leviticus 19:18 & 34, Matthew 19:19 & 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27, Romans 13:9, Galatians 5:14 and James 2:8 are all the places that phrase shows up.

To love my neighbor as myself, I have to first love myself!  I did not realize that until about a year ago.  I always thought I needed to trample myself in an effort to love and serve other people, but that just didn't seem to be working for me.  I had constant guilt issues and felt resentful because I never did the things I needed for myself.  So I am continuing the process that started at that realization, learning to love and tend to myself in order to have a well of mental health to reach into when it is time to serve other people.  In my search for answers about how to love myself, I am taking apart what godly love is and trying to see how to apply each of those parts to myself.

The Greek word for love that appears in all of the above verses containing the phrase "love your neighbor as yourself" is agapao (Strong's #25, if you care!).

1. of persons: to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly
2. of things: to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing

So if I think about applying that definition to myself, I should welcome myself, entertain myself (I think this means "be hospitable" - not "go watch a lots of movies"), be fond of myself and love myself dearly.  And for the second part, even though it refers to objects, I think it is fitting to be well pleased and contented with myself!  Jesus didn't seem to have any trouble being pleased with himself or knowing that God was pleased with him, and we are new creations LIKE CHRIST!  We can be happy and content with ourselves even amidst our sins and failures because we are trying our best and we are the righteousness of Christ - we are just as good in God's eyes as Christ is - because of what he did for us.

Jesus' love perfectly reflects God's love.  So we now have concrete examples from Jesus of how to love!  And I really believe that we can and must take those examples and apply them to ourselves, to love and care for ourselves.  

So..... TO BE CONTINUED - with some specific ways we can love ourselves!  

Sunday, June 19, 2011

God Day!

Today is Father's Day, and I just want to take a moment and thank my Father in Heaven, my God, for everything he has done for me.  If I tried to list it all, I would not be able to!  

But I will say that for who he is and everything he has done for me, that he deserves all of my energy, all of my time and all of my thoughts.  

Nobody can love me like him: when I am a huge, cranky brat, he still calms my heart and ministers to me so that I can gracefully return to pretending I'm not a big pain in the butt.  

Nobody can take care of me like him: he knows every little thing in the world about me and uses that to fill my life with good things and to protect me and keep me from ruining my life.

My life would be nothing without him and his incredible son.  

I have found that real joy and stability in my life have come from spending time getting to know God.  The more I know him the more I trust him.  And nothing can really mess with me too much when I let God and Jesus Christ get close to me.  They are my body guards (except better because they also guard my more valuable treasures: my heart, my mind and my spirit).  They are my best friends when things just don't seem to be going all that well.  They celebrate with me when I'm having the time of my life.  They are peace, safety and vitality.  They are my life.

Thank you God for choosing fatherhood!  You are the best Dad anybody could ever ask for.  I love you!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Closer to God

This morning I was thinking about how my excitement for Christ goes in and out like a bad radio station... what's up with that?  I hate it!!  It's the worst feeling in the world for me these days, feeling disconnected from Jesus and God.  I suppose that is a good sign, but it makes me ask what lies behind my lack of fervor.

I think sometimes it has to be the fact that I get comfortable.  After I go through a rough time which I couldn't have survived without majorly clinging to God, then I feel ok again and that is good enough for me, apparently.  I forget how good it is to feel loved and to hear the words He has just for me.  I forget that the reason I started getting up early to read my Bible was a matter of survival, not just a thing I wanted to do for fun.  I don't feel like I need, for my own health, to do it, so I start to be aimless about it and become lazy again.

I decided two things about this subject:

A) Sometimes I should do things just BECAUSE, and even though, from time to time, they might bore my eyes out.  I'll admit it sometimes when I haven't shaken off the sleepies, I feel like I've already read it all and it just doesn't appeal to me.  God is one hundred million times worth boring my eyes out, and I feel like just doing it to prove that I love Him should be a good enough reason to read my Bible.  So now that I've said that, I have to swallow my own words and my own pride and DO IT!  Disclaimer: not that being religious is good at all, and not that God expects one to be perfect, and not that I will read it every day of my life without missing days, and not that reading my Bible will make God love me more or something... I'm just saying I'd like to be devoted because I think God deserves crazy devotion.  Plus reading the word plants seeds to actually act out deeds of devotion.

B) I have come to the tentative but pretty firm conclusion that in order to stay close to God, I need to be putting myself in situations that challenge the daylights out of me.  That way I will hopefully remember how frail and useless I am without Him.  Either that or I need some sort of big problems in my life... which I don't think God prefers (and He definitely would never CAUSE - see Romans 3:8) but definitely work as a means of driving me straight to Him.

These conclusions hit me as I was reading some archives from Beth Moore's blog.  I so appreciate her openness and honesty in sharing her emotions and her ups and downs with God and within herself.  She is not afraid to tell of her afflictions and how God has and always does pull her out of them.  She is the most fervent and needy (not in a bad way, I mean needy for God and Christ) woman in big ministry that I know of.  Because of her stories I can see that we must always know of our desperation for God and His word and His son so that we can live in their loving abundance.

It makes my heart fiery to hear people just being unafraid to admit their faults and their shortcomings and to acknowledge that God loves them so much and that that love heals their hearts.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Turning, Changing, Yielding

God bless you!

Just a thought I had yesterday...

I was turning off at my turn for work and a lady zoomed past me in the other lane, and for some reason I felt left behind.  For some reason it made me feel like I was losing because she was moving so fast and I had to slow down.  And then I realized.. I'm TURNING!  If I were to try to turn going the speed she was moving at, I would have flipped my little car!  But I'm making a change of direction.

Isn't that the way it is in life?  Sometimes I feel left behind because I'm changing my course.  Other people are going along their happy little way, speeding past me like life is so easy, and I feel like less of a woman because I have almost come to a complete stop.  

But there is nothing wrong with that!  When one must go another way in life it just requires a different pace so that one can not wreck ones life while trying to make big changes.  Or even little changes.  Sometimes when there is a fork in the road, there is a yield sign. 

I'm not going to be ashamed when I have to take my walk down to a crawl to get where God is leading me!  He knows what He's doing and He knows that growing slowly is the often best way to grow.  Sometimes I wonder if the challenge for Him is my impatience and dissatisfaction with how He's growing me...

Friday, February 25, 2011


2 Corinthians 9:7
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

I've been learning, over the past few months, that I absolutely need to take care of myself before I can take care of anyone or anything else.  I used to do it backwards.  I would make sure everyone else was happy and then I'd have a breakdown because I was exhausted and never got to do I needed to for myself.  It seemed very selfish to me to consider what I needed before I went out of my way for everyone else.

But now I understand that not taking care of my own needs first is like not giving my car gas and expecting it to take me on a nice long road trip.  It's not selfish to make sure you get enough rest, food and time with God BEFORE you go volunteer at your favorite charity (or hang out with friends or take care of your granny).  Quality is better than quantity in the case of service and doing for others.  In other words, you may not get to do as much for others as you would like because you have to put your God, your self and your family before anyone else.  But when you do get to serve, you will be able to put your heart into it because you are well fueled and not serving because you feel obligated or you feel guilty if you don't.

Monday, February 21, 2011


I am SO thankful for the Body of Christ.  What would we have without each other?  It would be hard to stick close to Christ on our own.  Let's do our part not to be isolated.  I'm half talking to myself - I have a tendency to be a recluse and I'm still really lacking local girlfriends.

I've been mildly obsessed with Joyce Meyer's materials recently.  At the gym the other day, I listened to her podcast, and it got me excited.  I thought I should share!

She was talking about how we wallow around in our struggles like pigs in mud sometimes, but that we don't have to because God and Jesus Christ have given us absolutely everything we need already.  If you read through any of the new testament and reflect on that, you'll see the truth in it.  Once we decide to make Jesus our Lord, we get his spirit and his mind in us.  We get holy spirit, which empowers us.  See Acts chapter 2.  But remember how you can possess something and not use it?  Like that ugly shirt you got from your aunt, or the lotion you haven't opened yet that's just sitting there.  Why would the principles not be the same with holy spirit?  It's like having muscles that we don't work out - our holy spirit can and does atrophy.

We have to activate what we got, people!  And it can be hard work, but it pays off... and it's not THAT hard.

Anyway, she was saying that we have the seed of God planted in us if we are born again.  Seeds don't just spring out of the ground into full grown plants with fruit all over them, though.  And babies (which start with a baby making seed) don't burst out of you the moment after you get pregnant.  You can't even SEE that you're pregnant for a long time, and plants take forever to grow to the point of producing anything, it seems.

 In the same teaching, Joyce suggested not fellowshipping with your sin.  Don't focus on the stuff you do wrong all the time! You are forgiven!  Fellowship with God and get your brain thinking what He wants you thinking!

So let's not be acting like we aren't powerful people who have what it takes to live the way God would have us live.  All we have to do is truly and firmly believe what God says to us and about us.  The fact is, we are more than conquerers.  We are lights in this world.  We are free.  We are loved.  We are beautiful.  We are strong.  We ARE blessed, already.  We CAN take captive our thoughts to make them obedient to Christ.  We are able to be disciplined (that's one of many I'm working on).  We all have an important ministry and purpose on this earth.  Each one of us are unique and we should be different than everyone else.

Joyce's point was to stop asking God for what you already have and just USE it already!  Just believe it and decide that you are going to live in victory.

How awesome is that?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What is Fruit?

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
Matthew 7:15-17

Last night I was talking to my husband about the fruit of the spirit and he said something that I had never realized!

I had always thought "fruit" was something tangible that we as believers produce.  For example, fruit might be starting a ministry, whatever growth takes place for that ministry, or having a kid and training them up in Christ.  Last night my man mentioned the fruit of the spirit....

 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

Which made me ask "Well, is the 'fruit of the spirit' fruit?" 
And he said something like "You mean is the fruit of the spirit fruit even though it's not an accolade?"
Me: "What's an accolade again?"
Him: "An accomplishment that is considered as a separate entity from the person who accomplished it, like a degree or a trophy."
Me: "Yeah, that's what I mean.  I thought fruit was something we PRODUCE that's pretty easy to see."
Him: "No, the fruit of the spirit is fruit, too."


It makes sense now!  Character is a product, and having all of those things within us is powerful.  I want to be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful and self controlled.  I have a long way to go, but I'll get there!  God is the one who does the hard work in stuff like this, really.  All I have to do is keep trying my best and know He is a miracle worker.

Friday, February 4, 2011


At fellowship this week, we talked about the darkness of our culture.  It was enlightening!  Pun intended, because we are to bring to light evil things.  I just wanted to sort through some of my thoughts.

We are so appearance-obsessed in our culture, to the point that it is disturbing.  If you don't look good or act a certain way, then you're not cool.  

And being cool is an idol.  

A literal idol.  

I have to admit that I believe I struggle with this idol, and I never thought so.  But if I don't, then why do I care so much if my hair "looks stupid" or if my pants "don't fit me right."  As if I look like a dirty disheveled caveman whose pants won't stay up!  Some days I think about it more than I think about God, I swear.  Sometimes there is some tiny thing "wrong" with my appearance that causes me to feel ASHAMED of myself all day!!!  I feel judged, not good enough to even go out in public.  How can that be right?  I *know* I'm not the only one who experiences this.  We complain to each other about how we look, don't we?  Like it's nagging at us and we feel the need to make an excuse for ourselves, so that the person we're with knows that we disapprove of the way we look, so they can't think that we are oblivious to the abomination that is our chipped nail polish.

You know why this is such a terrible blot on us?  I already mentioned that it keeps our thoughts off of God, but it does so much more than just that.  It keeps us shallow.  We also become preoccupied with stereotypes about how other people groom themselves, or how they talk, behave, whatever.  If I am hard on myself about something, you have to know that I'm hard on others about it.  Because it becomes this thing about being good enough by my works or by who I have made myself.  Today I was good because I took the time to shower and brush my teeth.  Therefore, I am better than the person who hasn't showered in two days.  But tomorrow when I wake up late and can't shower, I will be a stinky bad person.  

I know I'm simplifying and that that example is random, but I'm trying to make the point that coolness is a judgment we make on ourselves or others.  We decide something about a person in our head before we even speak to them.  We determine worth based on something that has very little to do with character and the state of the heart.

I'm not sure what the remedy for this is yet, because it's not going to go away any time soon, unless we are suddenly in the middle of World War III and all we care about is survival.  It's a matter of changing the way we think and consciously deciding not to base our worth or anyone elses on appearances, accessories or anything aside from what Christ did for them.  He set the worth of every single human sky high, and it is wrong wrong wrong to rob anyone of that, especially ourselves.

Friday, January 7, 2011

My Addiction

I've just been thinking recently about how much easier it is for me to hang out with God these days.... The reasons are endless, but here are a few that have made a huge difference:

1. Coming to understand the fact that I don't *have* to do anything for God!  Christ made me righteous (as in "having right standing in God's eyes") and loved, and I can do absolutely nothing to get more loved or more righteous on my own.  This is 100% freeing because I now have no authorization to judge other people as better or worse than me, and I can't be self-sufficient by doing all sorts of amazing things.  It makes my mind a lot less critical and a lot more dependent on God.  It's glorious!  I don't have to be perfect nor do I have to feel guilty for my inherent imperfection!  So it makes me much less scared of God and a lot more attracted to Him because I know He loves me unconditionally.

2. I've decided that He knows what He's talking about and that I want to believe what He says, because I'm a freaking basket case if I don't believe Him.  So I gravitate toward what He might have to tell me.

3. I've figured out that life is just plain NOT exciting if I don't have a good relationship going on with God and my Lord Jesus.  It really isn't.  It's not just boring - it's drudgery to the extreme.  I become really pathetic, weak and unhappy without that constant (Oh how I wish it was actually constant) connection.

So there you go.  I absolutely have to have God.  He's like crack!  Except I wouldn't know because I've never tried crack and God is not addicting in a debilitating way, but an empowering way - He's unbelievably, wholesomely nourishing to ones bones.

I can tell that this year will be so much better than last!