Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fixing My Attention on God

"So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."  

~Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)  

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."  

~Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)

"Dear friends, God is good. So I beg you to offer your bodies to him as a living sacrifice, pure and pleasing. That’s the most sensible way to serve God.  Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him."  

~Romans 12:1-2 (CEV)  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Wonderful Reminder!

Today I was reminded of how blessed I am to have amazing, wonderful, caring co-workers!  I am so glad I am able to help them in any way, and I am so lucky to be appreciated!!!  :)  Little things can go such a long way in our hearts!

Verse Mapping Insights - Isaiah 30:15

Today's post is a rough outline of some thoughts and insights I had while doing some verse mapping with this week's online bible study verse!  Please excuse the rough formatting, I just wanted to get my thoughts down :)

"For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength" 

~Isaiah 30:15 (King James Version) 

"Come back and quietly trust in me. Then you will be strong and secure.”

~Isaiah 30:15 (Good News Translation) 

Definitions with Google Dictionary:

  • Salvation - A source of being saved or protected from harm 
  • Repentance - feeling or expressing sincere regret or remorse about one's wrongdoings or sins 
  • Rest - Ceasing work or movement in order to relax and refresh oneself 
  • Quietness - Making no sound (this definition just sounds peaceful! Pun intended :) 
  • Trust - Firm belief in the reliability, truth, and ability of someone or something 
  • Strength - The emotional or mental qualities necessary in dealing with situations or events that are distressing or difficult 
By feeling and expressing to the Lord sincere regret and remorse about our wrongdoings and sins, and by ceasing work and movement at times in order to relax and refresh ourselves, we are saved and protected from harm. 

By making no sound in order to focus on the Lord, and having a firm belief in the reliability, truth, and abilities of the Lord, we develop positive and stable emotional and mental states that are necessary to deal with distressing and difficult situations.  

We need to regularly go to a quiet place to focus on the Lord, whispering to Him, and listening to Him. We need to trust Him and His great plans for our lives, and have confidence in Him and in our abilities with Him at our sides. This gives us strength to get through life, and the strength to persevere through whatever we go through! 

We are saved from bad things in live (stressors) by returning from any distractions to focusing on the Lord, repenting and confessing any sins, and resting in His perfect peace.

By focusing on Him, we find His perfect peace and are able to rest. This helps us to grow even closer to Him. This is all our salvation, which saves us from death, and a life of stress and pain!

God bless!!!  :)  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Working Blessings!

A coworker is out of the office today, and was out yesterday as well. This increases my workload as I have to complete her daily tasks as well as my own, which tends to cause me stress; however my goal today is to remember the following:

"A much better definition of peace is one that rests on the ability to rise above our circumstances, overcome our innate tendency to stress out over problems, and learn to remain calm and confident despite what is going on around us. That is real peace— a peace based on Christ, not on people or circumstances. A peace based on faith, not on personal desires being met. A peace based on a quieted heart, not on a quiet house. A peace based on the love of Jesus, not on an easy day at work. A peace based on trusting God in all things, not just the easy things we can handle with no problem. A peace that is present in our hearts, even when our entire life is overflowing with chaos. That is the kind of peace only Jesus can give, and, once we get a taste of that kind of peace, we are never the same again."

~Tracie Miles, "Stressed-Less Living"

I also am remembering how blessed I am that I have a job, am capable of working, am capable of doing extra work on any given day, and that I have helpful, supportive co-workers who make it so much easier! Praise the Lord that he gives me the ability to work every day! 

I highly recommend Tracie's book if you have not already read it! It is a blessing in itself! 

Have a blessed day! :)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

First Sunday as a New Member!

After a year of being involved at the church I have been attending, I officially joined last week.  I had not thought much about joining over the past year, because I had always been so welcomed there and already feel like part of a big, wonderful family.  All of the pastors there are incredible people and talented preachers; you can see and feel God speaking through them every Sunday!  Each service is a powerful worship experience.  

What sets it apart from other churches and makes it feel like a good fit for me is that the senior pastor encourages everyone to use both your heart and your head for knowing and loving God.  He says that it is good to ask questions and use your intellect, and that it is not bad if you do not agree with everything he says.  The church started in 1990 with the intention of starting a church for thinking people.  Learning and thinking are activities I love very much, so I feel that I was born to be a part of this congregation!  They also have a big focus on loving and serving others, and bringing light to a world of darkness.  I also love their purpose, vision, journey, and values: 

Purpose: To build a Christian Community where non-religious and nominally-religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians. 
Vision: Changing lives, transforming communities, and renewing the church.  
Journey: Knowing, loving, and serving God.  
Values: We will do God's work with the qualities we most value: integrity, grace, excellence, relevance, authenticity, passion, humility, faith, inclusivity, commitment, joy, and love.  

Throughout the past thirteen years, the church now has over 18,000 people worshiping, studying, and serving at four campuses.  I love that God's touch is now being felt all over the city, and that I get to be a part of this!  

Today's sermon was the second in a series entitled "Finding Joy in Real Life - 5 Habits for Living Well."  They have been giving out little playing cards with the scripture, prayer, and focus for the week with the bulletin:  

 I tape mine to the bathroom mirror, so I can see it and be reminded every morning to love others all day every day!  

Notes I took during the sermon:

  • Religion should not be about making us happy, but about doing God's will.  It is not about going where we want and dragging God with us, but going where God calls us and following Him.  This will create more joy in our lives! 
  • God tells us we need to speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves - the widow, the orphan, the alien (immigrant), and the poor.  
  • This is exactly what I want for my life: "Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.  Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile."  ~Mother Theresa 
Referenced scripture in the sermon:

It is my prayer and focus this week to speak up for the vulnerable and powerless who need me to speak out for them.  I pray that God gives me courage, and helps me to pay attention to those who need me.  I pray that I bestow kindness on every person I interact with, as a daily part of my life.  I pray that I will be a bold, courageous Christian, and do justice and kindness to everyone.  Have a blessed week!!!  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Blessings Abound!

I wanted to start this off with something positive, and focusing on the best things in my life - all my wonderful blessings!  I love thinking about them and making lists of all my blessings regularly, it keeps me focused on how wonderful my life truly is!  So, in no particular order, here we go! :) 

  • A wonderful, loving, amazing, powerful God!  He is my reason for breathing, getting up in the morning, and abundant joy in life!
  • My family - my parents are amazing.  There are no words to describe how awesome, loving, fun, supporting, encouraging, etc etc etc they are!  My brother is pretty cool too.  I wish I could spend all day, every day with them!
  • Awesome friends - I have been so blessed to have such good friends who are honest, reliable, dependable, and who genuinely care about me. 
  • Q-bert - my cat :)  She's wonderful too, always runs to the door when I get home, snuggles me every night, and entertains me! 
  • All my needs are met - I have an apartment that I love, a car that I love, and food and clothing!
  • My two jobs - most of the time I enjoy both of them!  I am fortunate to even have two jobs, and with good bosses!
  • My co-workers - amazing, incredible, supportive, loving, fun, etc.  So blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful people! 
  • My health - I've had my ups and downs with this, but overall I am healthy and well, and feel great every day! 
  • My church - I have been attending and have been active for a year, but just recently joined.  Such an amazing place with incredible people; I am so blessed to have found them!
  • My small group - I joined a group of single ladies of all ages.  They are so inspiring, encouraging, and fun!  They have taught me so much, and have greatly encouraged me. 
  • This day - it is a rainy, chilly day; but the rain is much needed, and is allowing the flowers to grow and the birds to drink!  Also it is so soothing... 
There are so many more, but I must go eat my lunch that I am blessed to have - Mexican food is yummy!!! 

Peace to all :)