My Life Verse

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Seasons of Life

Last night I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine about our womens Bible Study. We talked about how there are five married girls, one engaged, and three single girls. A majority of the girls are married, so a majority of our conversations lead back to their marriages. Does this bother me? No way! I love each one of them and I honestly enjoy hearing about their marriages. It makes me wonder as to what life will be like with my future husband and wonder when I will meet him and so on. I also always learn a lot from each girl in my group, and they are my closest, best friends. It is a HUGE blessing that I've been able to be in such a close knit group of women over the past couple of years. Each woman has something unique to bring and offer to our Bible Study and that's what makes it so wonderful. :) We are each in a different season of life (some newleywed, some married a few years, one pregnant, some single, some married longer) and may not be able to relate exactly to one another in that way all the time, but we do have biblical relationships and sharpen one another spiritually. I am so grateful for each one of them!

One thing that I realized in conversating about this was how sometimes it is difficult to be in this Bible Study group as the minority (single). I was thinking about why I sometimes feel that way, and it led me to realize that the answer is simply this: I am not content in the Lord and where He has me right then. In these times, I being to think When will I ever meet my husband? Why hasn't it happened yet? Why am I single? I miss being in a relationship. I wish I had someone to talk about. During those times, I feel as though the conversations are more centered on marriage and feel as though I cannot relate at all. It discourages me....BUT the truth of it is-the group is always the same, and marriage is always talked about...it only bothers me when I am not content in the Lord! When I'm content in the Lord I have thoughts such as I cannot wait to meet my husband. He's going to be so great. What a blessing it is to be in this group so I can learn so much about being married before I get married. Last night, I was content in the Lord. I'm so excited that my friend brought this up to me because it was a great reminder to me that if those times come where I feel discouraged about our group, I know what to do. I need to pursue Him more, seeking and receiving contentment from the Lord.

Recently I learned there is a scripture about different seasons of life.

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every  activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. " Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

The study notes from my Bible say: "Timing is important. The secret to peace with God is to discover, accept, and appreciate God's perfect timing. The danger is to doubt or resent God's timing. This can lead to despair, rebellion, or moving ahead without his advice." My notes from a devotional say: "We all go through dry seasons, when we don't see anything happening; Praying and prayers aren't answered; giving and not getting in return; Going the extra mile to help others and nobody is helping you. Proving grounds- God wants to see how you are going to respond. What kind of attitude will you have whne you keep doing the right thing but the wrong thing keeps happening to you?"

What season of life are you in right now? Single? Married? With children? In a new career? Waiting on the Lord for guidance? Feeling lost? Student? Feel like you're going through the motions? Whatever it be, I encourage you to Pursue Him in the season that you are in. God has you right where He wants you to be. Anytime you feel discouraged about your season of life, that is a clear indication that you need to pursue Him more. (I'm saying this based on experience) Pursuing  Him resolves any discontentment in your life and brings you the joy and happiness He wants you to experience when walking with Him.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Idols

What do you think about when you hear the word IDOL? Personally, I think the prime definition of an "idol" is anything that we put BEFORE God. The concordance defines an idol as "an image used as an object of worship; false god". This led me to look up the definition of worship which says "to express praise and devotion." Idolatry is defined as "blind worship or admiration of an undeserving object." I believe we all have stuff that we idolize, whether we'd like to admit it or not. Itt may be an object, or it may be something else. I tend to idolize a relationship with a guy because I get so wrapped up in it and distracted that it separates me from my relationship from the Lord and keeps me from pursuing Him wholeheartedly. (At least this is how I've been in the past with relationships and thankfully knowing this now will help with future relationships.) Another thing I sometimes idolize is facebook. I often find myself spending time on it and then wonder where the time went. I recognize that facebook is not an idol for me unless I am going on it when I feel that God has told me not to because He wants me to spend time pursuing Him and reading His word or doing something else that will bring Him glory.

The Old Testament talks about Idols often. I'm reading through the Bible with a group of friends, and being in Ezra (still the Old Testament) has revealed a lot to me about idols and what I idolize. Wow, God is so incredible-I literally just flipped through both my Bibles trying to find a specific scripture, with no luck. Then, I opened one once again knowing I underlined it somewhere and flipped right to it! :) In the Old Testament, the Israelites spent a lot of time worshipping "gods" which are false idols because there is only one true God. God tells them multiple times to leave those idols/gods behind and turn to Him. He finally sends them 10 plagues in order for them to see who He is and understand that He wants them to draw near to Him and worship Him...not the idols. What idols do you have in your life that God is asking you to turn away from so that you can worship Him alone? Are you being obedient? Take action. What He offers you is WAY better than what you are idolizing that may bring temporary satisfaction/fulfillment.

Sometimes, we can be given something and make it an idol. For example, I tend to find myself being consumed by something if it is a big decision, creating it to be an idol. When I wasn't sure about whether I wanted to switch churches or not, it was constantly on my mind. I let it consume me, literally, until I finally surrendered it to the Lord and heard from Him about what He wanted me to do. It took time though for me to reach that point. Instead of trusting in the Lord to lead me with this decision and speak to me in His perfect timing, I caused this decision to be an idol. This reminds me of the verse in Isaiah 55:8 that says "For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord." During this time, I thought that it would be best for me to switch churches, yet God showed me that He wanted me to stay at my current church and He changed my heart towards it. He showed me that I just need to make a change and rest, taking a break from serving in Kids Ministry because I've been doing it faithfully for over two years and need to rest. That was not the answer I was expecting to hear from Him! In order to prevent creating a big decision in the future becoming an idol, I must stop and surrender it to the Lord, trusting that He will reveal to me His will in His timing and I need to be patient.

Idols get in the way of our walk with God. They are a hindrance/wall when we are pursuing Him. God's word says in 2 Kings 17:12 "They worshipped idols, though the Lord had said 'You shall not do this' and again in 2 Kings 17:33 "They worshipped the Lord, but they also served their own gods". A few nights ago I anticipated writing this blog, and I caught myself doing just this. I chose to go on facebook, and I kid you not..I forgot everything I wanted to write in my blog after that. It was like a punishment from the Lord showing me 'Katie, you cannot worship both facebook and me. I told you not to go on there so that you can write your blog, and you disobeyed so now you will not remember what you wanted to write about in your blog at this time'. I was so frustrated, but I deserved it! It did catch my attention so I'd remember how important it is to Puruse Him and be obedient with what He places on my heart.

So, how do we prevent making idols or idolizing something? Simple...Pursue Him. Oh wait, I said earlier that even then idols are a hindrance to our walk with God. Well, pursue Him in the midst of it. When you begin to catch yourself idolizing something, bring it to the Lord in prayer. Have faith and trust Him to help you turn away from whatever it is that you are putting before Him. Open His word and read the Bible to receive truth. Be humble and acknowledge that it is a sin and give it to God. Repent and receive forgiveness and move forward.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Internal Stress

You know when you begin to feel yourself getting sick? I’ve felt that way the past couple of days but when I finally went to bed last night it hit me. I felt awful with a sore throat, head cold, and cough. I felt as though my body was tired but I was restless. Whenever this happens, I always know that internally I must be stressed. Sometimes it takes me getting sick to realize that I am stressed. I can’t really describe how it feels except that I go about life as if nothing is wrong and I’m happy and healthy, and then I feel overwhelmed, stressed, and restless. Sometimes I am in denial of this because I don’t see a literal reason as to why I am stressed. It is only when I feel sick and start thinking about what may have caused me to feel stressed internally and the list goes on. I begin to think about all that I have to "do" and accomplish and think about the next couple of weeks and all that I have ahead of me.


After thinking about it, I realized that the main reason why I become internally stressed is my lack of Pursuing Him. If I were pursuing Him, I wouldn't feel overwhelmed and stressed. This brings me to a great point, I'm not perfect and I strive to pursue Him wholeheartedly, but I also fall short. I need to be reminded daily to Pursue Him in everything, which includes giving Him my burdens the moment I begin to experience them. Jesus reminded me that he has a solution to this problem of carrying my own burdens in His word:


"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28


God says that we must COME to Him in order to find rest for our souls. We can't expect Him to know that we are carrying our burdens and He will just lift them. We must take action and get on our knees and acknowledge that we need Him to lift our burdens and take them from us so that we can experience His REST. Once I wrote down each burden and began praying over them, I felt His peace overcome me. It was then that I was able to receive what God offers us in this scripture-but only because I went to Him and gave Him my burdens and felt him bring me rest.


Another scripture comes to mind about giving the Lord our burdens.


1 Peter 5:7 says "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."


The study notes in my Bible describe this very well: "Carrying your worries, stresses, and daily struggles yourself shows that you have not trusted God fully with your life. It takes humility, however, to recognize that God cares, to admit your need, and to let others in God's family help you. Sometimes we think that our struggles caused by our own sin and foolishness are not God's concern. But when we turn to God in repentance, He will bear the weight even of those struggles. Letting God have your anxieties calls for action, not passivity. Don't submit to your circumstances, but to the Lord who controls circumstances." It amazes me to think about the weight that God carries if we all give him our burdens. As this scripture says though, He cares for us and wants to give us rest.


I'm still sick, and have been resting all day and taking it easy as best I can. I realize that I cannot rest all day and night the next few days, so the Lord reminded me with another scripture that He can help me when I feel tired and weary. Pursuing Him requires commitment to reading His word, listening to His voice, and being obedient to Him.


"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:28-31


Again, responding to this scripture takes action. We must come to the Lord and ask Him to renew our strength and increase our power when we feel weak. We must put our hope in Him so that we can run and not grow weary. We must trust that He will give us strength when we are weary and tired and in order to receive that we must rely on Him by asking for it, receiving it, and walking in it. And so, I encourage you to pursue Him when you begin to feel any internal stress. Meditate and sit on these scriptures. Acknowledge that you need God's help to lift your burdens and believe that He is taking them when you give them to Him. Walk in the confidence that He offers and trust Him to handle your burdens.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It's all about Him

I want to start off by stating my purpose in creating this blog. It is not about me...it is about what God is doing in my life. My goal is for you to read it and be encouraged by it. I hope that it brings you encouragement to walk out the life that God has called you to and find purpose in Him. I pray that my life and this blog can be an example to you of what it means to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, my desire is to bring glory to God through this by using me as a light to you about what it means to Pursue Him.


That being said, I decided not to delete my facebook after all because I can post links to my new blog on there and still have the ability to see what people are up to when I want to. I learned over the past couple of days that I don't need to be on it as much as I was, and that God can take away my desire to even go on facebook. The Lord gave me the idea of starting a blog because it gives me an opportunity to write more (for those of you who really know me, you know how much I love to talk and write ;) ) and also the ability to share what God is doing in my life.


I have titled this blog Pursuing Him because I believe that is what we are called to do as believers. Him is another way of saying God for those of you who are unfamiliar with that. :) Whenever I use a capital "H" instead of lowercase "h" I am referring to God, not a guy. God has revealed to me how important it is to Pursue Him everyday. He continues to tell me that I need to rely on Him and trust Him with everything, that He even wants to be involved in the the simple things. For those of you who don't know God or have a relationship with Him, He wants to be a part of your life. He loves it when we come to Him in prayer about everything and include Him in every aspect of our lives. And, when I pursue Him wholeheartedly, I notice a difference in my life- a good difference, of course. Fruits of the Spirit are evident and I notice I am more of who God created me to be- joyful and smiley. I say this because my mom told me that I have been smiling since I was born, and most of you know that I love to smile...so of course it musta been the way God created me to be.  :) I encourage you to pursue Him today...maybe it means stopping what you are doing and sitting at His feet. Maybe it means acknowledging His presence in your life. Maybe it means asking Him to help you with something. Maybe it means asking for forgiveness and moving forward. Maybe it means thanking Him for something. Whatever it is, I encourage you to pursue Him through prayer, opening the Bible and reading His word, or however you need to.