Friday, January 30, 2009

Some of the Things I am Learning..............

As I may, or may not, have reported in blogging, I am taking a Beth Moore Bible study on Daniel - Lives of Integrity - Words of Prophecy. Each Wednesday morning I am blown away by this study. Each morning in my quiet time I am learning that the times of Daniel are exactly what we are living this very day. Some of the things I want to share with you this morning will not be my own original ideas. They will be Beth Moore's , but in sharing her thoughts I will share some of my own insight. The things I am learning are "for such a time as this" and have come at just the right time in my life and in the life of our nation. Here are some truths I have learned thus far:

Lives of Integrity - I want to be a person of integrity. I am afraid that we as Christians have allowed ourselves to get used to decaying morals and standards. This has been a slow and tactful advance in our lives - one put into action by satan - without our even realizing it. There are things that we see on television and on movie screens that should actually make us die from embarrassment yet we allow these things to pass right on by without recognizing them as satan inspired in order to chip away at our integrity. We can not get used to this. We as parents have the obligation to begin teaching our children when they are young what is acceptable and what is not. Whenever I am in any way subjected to ungodly language or behavior on television, I think of my two sweet little grandsons. Their Mommy and Daddy are setting the standard for learning and for what comes into their lives. We have been watching television together and when I have control of the remote(which is not often) they will give me specific instructions on what shows they are allowed to watch. Their Mommy and Daddy only allow them to watch appropriate shows - no violence - no bad language - shows that are morally good. Even when their parents are not with them, they are quick to let me know the shows they can and can not see. I commend my daughter and her husband. I thank God for their commitment to Jesus and what is right in His sight for their children. They are setting the example of integrity.

Humility - No one rich or poor, powerful or oppressed, healthy or infirm, enslaved or free, male or female, old or young, from east or west, of color or not, is exempt from the temptation to dangerous pride. One of Beth Moore greatest points, in my opinion, is the fact that some of our egos are swollen over what we do and others are swollen over what we don't do. It is sooooooo easy to get puffed up. We as Christians are not to be prideful. Worldly Christians are snared by things like power money, appearance, and position. Perhaps we are prideful over the good works that we do - helping the poor, giving to missions, taking food to the sick, singing moving solos in worship, teaching Sunday school after we have given of our time to study. Perhaps we are prideful over the things that we do not do -never drinking alcohol, not telling a lie, never missing a worship service, never gossiping, never loosing our temper, never using ungodly language, never being critical. We as Christians can not give into pride. It ruins our testimony, makes us unattractive to others, and in the end will cause us to be disappointing to God and disappointed in ourselves.

Prosperity - America enjoys prosperity. Most people want to be prosperous. The definition of prosperity is living in the lap of luxury. Having all the stuff we want and finding more stuff that we think we want! In today's study, Beth asks the question, "how important is our stuff?". What would happen if we lost everything? There are many in America that are experiencing that right now - some through no fault of their own. How would we react? Perhaps we are thinking of prosperity in the wrong way. Perhaps we should think of it as living in the luxurious lap of Jesus. Experiencing all the spiritual stuff he can supply us with and not all the worldly stuff we can supply ourselves with. We need to prosper ourselves with an abundance of Jesus. We need to live so that no earthly luxury will ever cheat us of true prosperity.

Contentedness - Curling up in my comfortable chair, covered by an afghan, Chessy, my dog, beside me, watching a chick flick, things going my way, safe and secure - that's my definition of contentedness! That is not all of it. One of the most difficult things I have had to learn in my 62 years is that being content is being happy within myself, which comes from the Lord. He has given me the freedom to be happy. He takes away the insecurities that cause us to doubt ourselves and fills us with the knowledge that we will never be happy until we completely surrender to Him and His will for our lives. He gives us the security that we so desperately crave. Nothing - not money, youth, relationships, beauty, professional status - can give us satisfaction and contentment within ourselves but Him.

I do not want to live my life by the Babylonian motto: "I am and there is none besides me". I do not want to think myself more important than others - I do not want to be puffed up and prideful. I do not want to be a modern daughter of Babylon. I want to live a life of integrity. I want to be humble. I want to be content because I am secure in Jesus. I want to be prosperous but prosperous in the things of Christ. This is my prayer.

I have written these things because they are the truths I am gleaning from this study. Maybe something I have said will be something someone needs to hear. There will be more to come in the weeks ahead and I can't wait to share!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Snow! Snow! Snow!

It's finally here! The snow is here and it's a perfect day to blog! The logs are on, and it feels so nice to sit with my feet propped up and drink a cup of coffee and know that I can't get out. As I have said before, winter is definitely not my favorite time of year, but a day or two like this is great.

We were not able to go to church yesterday because of ice so this is the second day of staying inside. I know that my northern friends think that we down here in the south are wimps especially in light of what they have been through this winter, but using the weather for an excuse to do nothing except stay by the fire, sip hot chocolate and relax is okay at least for a little while. The forecast is for another day tomorrow like today. Maybe I will be able to go to my study on Daniel on Wednesday.

My memory verse for January 15 is Isaiah 41:10 - So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. NIV What a promise! I am so awed that He would love me so much that in spite of my disobedience and all my faults he assures me that He will always be with me, strengthen me and help me. The problem lies with me - I need to not fear - not be dismayed at all the junk that upsets me and that I have NO control over - and allow Him to strengthen me and help me.

In the study of Daniel, which I am just really getting started in, I am learning again about how God honors discipline and self control. At my last Dr appointment, Dr. McDavid shared with me that I was definitely on a downhill path. My cholesterol was high (299), my triglycerides were high, I am bordering on diabetic and my weight was up. At that point I decided that I must, whether I wanted to or not, loose weight and watch what I am eating. That would fall into the self control and self discipline. I have two friends who are in the same boat. We began on a new regime of diet and exercise on the 5th. On the 7th I began the study of Daniel. God truly is using the example of Daniel to show me how I am not to give into the temptation of eating. My friends and I pray for each other, encourage each other, and because of those prayers and encouragement feel the strength we need to overcome satans powerful influence. Oh yes, I almost forgot the most important part - I have, since the 5th, lost 5 pounds. That might not seem like much, but to me it is tremendous. By the first of May, when we go back to the campground, I hope to have several more pounds off. Please pray for me to be victorious in the weight loss, and faithful to exercise.

Saturday was Kaden's birthday (bethanne's baby boy), his 5th, and one of the Mommies there was my blogging buddy, LuAnn. She has lost 40 some pounds and looks so good! Her loss is also a great boost to my loosing morale. Each time I see her I am so proud of her and want to forge ahead with my own plight. LuAnn - thanks so much for your example. You are a real encouragement.

Guess I have rambled just about enough. This afternoon will be devoted to washing and the study of Daniel. Stay warm and dry!

Monday, January 5, 2009

It's A New Year!

I am almost ashamed to post! It's been soooooooooo long and there have been times I could have put down some thoughts, but was just too lazy. It's been a busy few weeks and when I had down time I did just that - was down. I will confess, I have thought about giving up my blog (one friend did) but because I prayed for some months before I started blogging and because I really believe that the Lord led me into it, I will continue on - boring or not, spiritual or silly, funny or serious - whatever comes to mind.

Christmas was good here in Tennessee - family, friends, presents (more than any of us deserved) and warm weather! No snow for Christmas - unlike our Chicago friends! I have pictures and if I can get hubby to help me, we will post them soon.

If feels good to be on this side of Christmas. Those of you who know me really well know that Christmas is not my favorite time of the year. Sad things have happened in December and January in my life and I am better satisfied in the months of March to November. I will admit that time is flying by and I plan on staying busy until March comes.

Wednesday morning I am starting a Bible study on Daniel at our church. I have a quiet time each day and read my Bible, but I need an organized study to be accountable to. I have always wanted to go deeper into the book of Daniel, so I am really looking forward to it.

I am asking those of you who read this blog to please pray for a friend's daughter who is having a really hard time right now. The daughter has been a victim of identity theft and there is no way I can even begin to tell you the problems that this has brought to her life. Please pray for the Lord to intervene and stop this fraud against an innocent person. Her life has been taken over by this injustice and is effecting every aspect of her life - mentally, physically, financially. She has two children and a husband who is also being effected. Pray also that through this she and her family will be brought closer to the Lord.

Today hubby and I went to see Marley & me. I still have a headache from trying not to cry out loud! As most of you know, dogs are my weakness and I had read the book so I sort of knew how it was going to come out. Didn't matter - I still cried!

As I close tonight, I will not make any promises or resolutions, but I will make the statement that I hope to do better at being consistent in posting. Hope that's good enough!