Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fear and Doubt - Verse Mapping Luke 24:38

For Week 3 of our OBS, I chose to dive into our scripture for the week - Luke 24:38: "'Why are you frightened?' he asked.  'Why are your hearts filled with doubt?'" (NLT) 

Frightened is defined by Google as "afraid or anxious."  Luke 24:38 details the disciple's reaction after Christ was resurrected from the dead.  Even after all the miracles that Jesus performed prior to the crucifixion, the disciples still did not believe that he was truly standing there - they were not believing the miracle of the resurrection!  Not only did they not believe, they were anxious and afraid.  Two other translations of Luke 24:38 read: 
  • "And he said to them, 'Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?'"  (NIV).
  • "He continued with them, 'Don't be upset, and don't let all these doubting questions take over.'" (MSG)  
God does not want us to be troubled, anxious, or afraid; and he especially does not want doubts taking over our lives.  How many of us are consumed with worry, anxiety, doubts for our lives?  Most of us are, but the good news is that we do not have to be filled with these any longer!  Jesus taught the disciples multiple times during his journey to not be troubled, anxious, or afraid (Luke 12:22-28, Matthew 6:25-34), yet they still were anxious and doubtful.  As disciples of Christ, we must learn to turn our concerns, worries, fears, anxieties, and doubts over to God.  Not only does He ask that we do so, he wants us to do so!  He desires for us to talk to him, and to turn everything over to him.  How incredible is it that we have such a loving God, who wants us to live free of anxiety and doubts?!?  All we have to do is believe, and trust in Him.  

Doubt is a word I use on almost a daily basis.  If I do not say it out loud (i.e. "I doubt we can make that work...I doubt I will have time for that"), then I say it internally (i.e. "I doubt I can do that...I doubt that he/she will do what they are supposed to").  Merriam-Webster defines doubt as "To be uncertain about (something); to believe that (something) may not be true or is unlikely; to have no confidence in (someone or something)."  

WOW!  That completely changes the way I think of using "doubt!"  When I say something such as "I doubt that we can make that work," I am saying "I do not believe that we can do this."  Not only does that mean I do not believe in myself, but that I do not believe in others - which is not true!  I have decided to become intentional about restructuring my thoughts, so that I can restructure the words I say!  I will begin thinking better thoughts (i.e. "I will do my best to accomplish this...I believe that they will do their job well"), so that I can say better statements (i.e. "We will do our best to make this work...If there is time, we will take care of that").  What a change that could be for my own life, and for the lives of those around me!  

By turning over our doubts to Him, we are removing all our dis-belief from our lives, which allows us to believe in ourselves and in others.  This is life-changing!  Imagine living your life believing that you can accomplish everything you need to and want to, and believing that those around you can live up to their full potential as well.  This brings glory and honor to God, and it also makes our lives so much more enjoyable!  While it is not always easy to turn everything over to God, we will find true peace and joy once we are able to fully surrender to Him.  

I pray you are able to turn your doubts over, find freedom, joy, peace, and blessings in Christ, and begin #movingforward!  God bless :)  

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Money and the Meaning of Life

Last week's sermon by Adam Hamilton was incredible (as usual!).  The topic was concerning money and the true meaning of life.  If you would like to view it, here is the link:  Money and the Meaning of Life.  Here are my notes from the sermon, along with the notes from the daily scripture readings:

  • Scripture reference:  Ecclesiastes 2:3-11, selected verses:  I built houses for myself and planted vineyards.  I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them...I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me.  I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings of provinces...I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me...I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure...Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind.  
  • Sometimes we are not committed to God with our whole heart (i.e. Solomon). 
  • The real meaning in life is not having more, but sharing more.  Gladness begets generosity, and generosity begets gladness!  
  • Giving is an act of worship and devotion; is an antidote to materialism; and is investing in God's work.  It is showing that God is truly first in your life, and that you are being obedient to Him.  
  • When you remember your true purpose in life (bringing glory to God), you find true joy.  
  • 2 Corinthians 9:6 - Sowing and reaping: make giving the daily rhythm of your life.  Always think of ways to bless and encourage others, or surprise someone.  
  • 1 Timothy 6:9, 18-19 - My desire in life is to be rich in good deeds!  At the end of my life, I want people to say "her life was defined by generosity!"  
  • Matthew 6:19-24 - There can only be one main focus and main goal in life, and Jesus urges us to choose God and the values of God's unseen kingdom.  
  • Philippians 2:1-11 - An attitude like Jesus: Jesus pursued goals that were different than much of his (and our) culture.  He did so with dignity, strength, and resolve.  Paul urges his readers to guide our lives by Jesus' values.  
  • Philippians 4:6-13 - Learning the secret of being content: Paul writes that prayer, hope, a focus on the good, and contentment build one deep trust in God were the basis for his world-changing life.  
My thoughts and reflections from the sermon: 
  • Why be committed to anything or anyone BUT God?  He is the only one who will never fail you or let you down, regardless of what you do or have!  
  • I want to use my life and assets to bless and encourage others, so that they may come to see and know Jesus!  
  • As we know, choosing to serve only God is easy - it's the execution that is not always easy!  I have unsubscribed from all emails from stores that tempt me to go shopping, and have started using Dave Ramsey's "cash envelope" system.  While sometimes I still struggle with choosing Starbucks or shopping over giving, this has greatly helped me see the good that can be done when we put our focus on Jesus!   

Monday, October 21, 2013

When I Can't, Then He Can!

For our OBS this week (which I HIGHLY recommend - this is another GREAT study), I chose to write some of my own "when-then" statements.  When we feel any negative emotions such as emptiness or uncertainty, we can use these statements to help us turn our focus back to Jesus.  These are my "when-then" statements, accompanied by scriptures that help me to remember them:   

  • When I can't figure out what to do in regards to a tough relationship, then I will seek God's guidance and thank Him for giving me wisdom to guide my steps and actions.  
  • When I feel as though I will never be able to make payments on my student loans, then I will thank God for always providing, and remember that all things are possible with Him.  
  • When I feel lonely, and as though I will be alone forever, then I will thank God for always being with me, and for never leaving me.
  • When I feel as though I'll never have control over my eating habits, then I will thank God that he is transforming me, and that I can do all things through His strength.
  • When work becomes overwhelming and I want to quit, then I will thank God for allowing me to have a job to work for Him, and for his peace and strength.  
  • When I feel unsuccessful by the world's standards, then I will thank God for all the things He has helped me accomplished, for the blessed life He has given me, and for His grace that determines my real value in Him.  
  • When I am worried that I have made a wrong decision or feel fearful for the future, then I will thank God for His will and for guiding me. 
Statements Renee Swope included in her book A Confident Heart
  • When I start to measure my value by how well I am doing as a _____ (employee, citizen, friend, daughter, sister, woman, etc), then I will thank God for the gift of my roles and for the gift of His unconditional love that determines my worth. 
  • When I feel insecure about my position at work, church, or somewhere else, then I will thank God for the high or low position I have on earth and for my position on Christ that secures my significance forever.  
  • When I feel an aching emptiness that I'm tempted to fill with food, television, or anything other than God, then I will thank God for being the strength of my heart and my portion forever - and remember that He is the One who satisfies the hunger and thirst of my soul.  
I hope some of these bless you as well!  If you have any "when-then" statements, please post them in the comments - I would love to read them!!!  Thank you for reading, and God bless!  :)