Friday, September 18, 2009

Pride = Destruction

The following is an excerpt from the book "Landmines," by Charles Stanley.

Pride entices us to favor people who build up our egos. Everyone wants to feel accepted and loved. The best way to rid your life of pride is to surround yourself with people who care for you for the right reasons and not just to stroke your ego. Pride is a stumbling block for many leaders because there is a tendency to be surrounded by those who say what they believe the leader wants to hear.

Pride sets the stage for us to make foolish mistakes. The enemy is waiting for the right oppourtunity to tempt us to venture away from God's principles with words of pride and self-reliance. The prideful person will cease to seek godly wisdom and advice. He will think that he is too smart to need someone else's help or insight; that he can handle everything alone; that he needs to be the one who does the project, completes the tasks, or achieves the goal because no one else can do it as well. Remember, pride isolates. Satan wants you to be on your own doing what you think only you can do. He knows when you make a mistake and your world begins to crash around you, you will not have a godly support system to help sustain you. You will be alone in your pride, and you will experience the painfulness that comes from this loneliness.

"By pride comes nothing but strife, But with the well-advised is wisdom." -Proverbs 13:10

"The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate." -Proverbs 8:13

"Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall." -Proverbs 16:18

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

An Ear Popping Experience

Today I went to my chiropractor. This is not unusual. I love going to the chiropractor and getting adjusted. I believe with all of my heart that the Power that made the body heals the body, and that in order to function at your optimum level your body must be in alignment—the way God designed.

When I went to Lone Oak Chiropractic (shameless advertising) today, however, I didn’t expect to receive such a practical application of God’s love.

Let me back up and fill you in on some details.

I’ve been going to see the guys at LOC for years, and God has given each one of them a special gift to touch people’s lives and change it for the better. I got sick Saturday night (fever, cough, fatigue, earache); Tuesday morning I went to the office where Jason moved all my bones around while I laid on the table and grimaced. However, I didn’t think things were going terribly bad… until he adjusted my ear. It hurt like crap. Not joking. I cried. Pretty hard. Then I got the hiccups, which made my ear hurt worse. I don’t have the highest pain tolerance in the world, but I’ve never experienced pain like that before, it was almost unbearable. Last night I went to bed and it was still hurting pretty bad, but God finally allowed me to rest.

So this morning: I wake up, feeling much better, and go back to the office for another appointment (because of the sickness I’m getting adjusted every day) and I warn Jason that if he touched my ear I’d do something that would make him wish he hadn’t (I said something to that effect anyway). His response was, “But you need it. And you said you feel better.” I had no comment to that. I knew he was right.

After he finished putting me in my place (structurally), I told him he could adjust my ear. He said, “I’m not going to force you.”

I didn’t think much about his responses at the time, but as the day went on they kept running through my head. The reason: it was a teachable moment. A little life lesson from the Chiropractor’s office.

“But you need it.” For some reason that line would not get out of my head, I kept thinking about it over and over again. Then it hit me. I did NOT want him to adjust my ear. Why? I was scared. I didn’t want it to hurt like it had yesterday. Yet, even with the pain it was what I needed.

God does that too, doesn’t He? He allows things to happen that may bring us pain but it is always for our best. Always for our best. Always what we need. He loves us that much. Crazy amazing!

Then Jason said, “I’m not going to force you.” He was going to let me make my own decision. If I wouldn’t have let him adjust me because of my fear, would I have been right? No. He’s my doctor and he knows best. Just like God is God (enough said right there), and we need to trust Him just because of who He is. But, Jason was going to let me make the decision; he wasn’t going to talk me into it or list all the ways it would help me. In the same way, God lets us make our own decisions. He doesn’t force us do anything, that’s why He gave us free will. He wants our obedience to be just that- our own. Not something mechanical, but genuine. He loves us enough to give us a choice.

Well, Jason did adjust my ear and now it isn’t aching, just a little sensitive. He really knows what he’s doing.

One final thought- just like we as humans need our bodies to be in alignment to function at our highest level, we as Christians need to be aligned with God’s Word as He designed. I so desperately need to remember this. I struggle so much with wanting control of every situation and when I’m not focusing on God and the good plans He has for my life (Jeremiah 29:11), I think I know what’s best for me. When, obviously, I just want to take the easy way out instead of trusting that someone else knows best.

Thanks, Jason, for adjusting me so much this week and letting God use you to teach me an ear popping lesson.

1 Peter 5:10- “May the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”

Jeremiah 29:11- “”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans of good and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.””

Romans 8:28- “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ask, Seek, Knock- A Testimony of Answered Prayers

Ask, Seek, Knock- A Testimony of Answered Prayers

At the beginning of the year, my family had a “Family Meeting.” Daddy asked my mom and I what we would like to see happen this year- whether that be us, as a family, going somewhere or maybe something around the house that needed to be fixed. We compiled a list and have prayed for those items ever since. Here are a few things on the list:

That I would qualify for Junior Olympics
That Mom and Dad would be selected as volunteers for Junior Olympics
A new TV
Replacing the fuse box in our house with a circuit box
Going to at least one Cardinals Game
Competing in Nationals
A new vehicle
A new DVD player

I received my letter from USA Shooting that I qualified for Junior Olympics in not only one event, but both smallbore and air rifle. This is very exciting. 2009 is my final year of competing in Junior Olympics (you’re no longer a “junior” after you turn 20), and to qualify in both events is a huge accomplishment for me and something I haven’t done since my first year at Junior Olympics (2003).We didn’t pray that I would qualify in both events, just that I would qualify- God threw both events in as a bonus, just because He can! How awesome is He? Pretty awesome.

This past week mom and dad received an email from USA Shooting saying they were both selected as volunteers for the entire week of Junior Olympics. This is a tremendous blessing. It means they will also get to stay on site at the Olympic Training Center and they won’t have to spend the huge chunk of money on a hotel room for a week. Praise God!

Last Friday, while mom and I were riding to a Bible Study with our friends, Tina and Chandra, we were bragging on how God had answered our prayers concerning Junior Olympics. Tina asked what else we were praying for. Mom told them a TV and a DVD player. Chandra said, “You’re praying for a TV?” We said yes, and explained how our TV was over 50 years old and that the color was almost completely gone. She said, “If you really need a TV we have one that is sitting on our bedroom floor you can have. Jeff just bought me a new flat screen TV.” Mom and I were flabbergasted. Chandra called her husband, Jeff, to make sure it was alright and the next day he delivered this amazingly large TV with perfect sound and color. God is awesome!

The day after that, Tina and her husband, Bobby, gave us a new DVD player they weren’t using. I’m telling you guys- God is amazing!

When we lost power for so long during the ice storm, we had to get our meter replaced (a limb ripped it out of our house). After the electricians fixed our meter, they spent the next day and a half replacing our fuse box with a circuit box. We hadn’t expected our prayers to be answered so soon, but God just opened the door (to the fuse box…) and made everything happen. Amazing!

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” –Matthew 7:7-11

This has built my confidence in God so much. He does hear me. God has also shown me through this, why we are to tell our church family our needs. Spiritual needs and material needs. They might be able to help. I feel like this goes right back to taking off the mask and being real with one another. Letting ourselves become vulnerable, exposing our weaknesses, and trusting God to take care of us.

God answers prayers. Take encouragement from this. If there is something you’ve been praying about and have not seen answered- keep on praying! God is hearing you. He tells us to ask, seek, knock. So, ask Him until you can ask no more. Seek until you have been found. Knock until you beat down the door. But don’t give up. Take off your mask and become real with your brothers and sisters in the Lord. Tell them where you’re struggling, tell them what you need, and tell them how to pray for you. God can use them to help you.

Who knows, maybe they’ll have a TV or a DVD player laying around waiting for you.

“Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” –Psalm 37:3-5

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Prayer

The world is dark
With sin and gloom
It needs to see
A reflection of You

So take my life
And make it bright
Through Your sacrifice
You make things right

I come to You
To make me new
All I want to do
Is be like the moon

Help them to see
You in me
Help me be a moon
And reflect You

Help me to abide
‘cause I want to shine
I want to shine for You
I want to be a moon

Help me live in the Son rays
All of my days
Help me glorify You
By becoming a moon

I want the world to see
What You’ve done in me
You can do for them
If they’ll only believe

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Top 10 2008 Blessings

I thought I would share a little bit of what my Savior has done in my life this past year, and what I hope He will do as the 2009 begins.

1. God has shown me the importance, rather the necessity, of His word. Psalm 119: 50- This is the comfort in my affliction, for Your Word has given me life. -His Word is our life support in affliction or otherwise.

2. He has increased my sensitivity to Him and strengthened my discernment to His voice and direction. He’s taught me the importance of obeying those “red flags” that He gives us and that the smallest act of disobedience will ruin your testimony.

3. The Lord has given me the most amazing circle of friends. Friends that are more like family than even my blood relatives.

4. He has strengthened my faith and ability to cast ALL my cares on Him. I still try to take my life in my own hands sometimes, but for the most part He’s taught me that He definitely can handle it better than I can.

5. God has shown me that His plans are better than my greatest imagined plans, and that I need to trust that He is in control because whether I feel it or not, I will never be in control.

6. God has given me a small taste of the disgustingness of the World. Gosh, it is so filthy, filthy and awful! I can’t believe He sent His son to die for this disgusting race. But I’m so thankful He did.

7. Jesus has shown me this unexplainable grace, even when I screw up. He’s also shown me how completely, 100% undeserving I am of that grace.

8. God has allowed me to live out more than one of my dreams and has shown me that even in my best hours (that are more like minutes) I am nothing without Him.

9. God has shown me how it feels to be truly lonely, even in a crowded place. To be an outcast. To be alone. To be without anyone to talk to. Then He’s shown me at those times to remember that Jesus is my friend who sticks closer than a brother.

10. He’s allowed me to taste and see that He is good, and that having an ongoing conversation with Him and learning to listen to Him is the greatest part of my day.

In 2009…

I pray that God would reveal Himself to me in ways that are far above anything I’ve ever experienced.

I pray that He would use me to directly minister to someone’s Walk.

I pray that His Word would root itself in my heart and will stay alive there even in my darkest days.

I pray that He takes away my insecurities and gives me confidence in Him and His ability.

I pray that I will be bold and not intimidated by this World. They have nothing on me or in my God in whom I stand.

I pray He saves people in the church body.

I pray that the leaders of this World see their need for a Savior and that God draws them into His fold.

I pray that God allows me to have amazing teachers this semester.

I pray that He allows me to glorify Him all across the country when I shoot.

I pray that He gives me opportunities at these matches to brag on Him.

I pray that when I succeed that I will automatically revert the praise to the One who gave me the ability.

I pray that people will see God in me… that I truly become a moon and reflect the Son.

I hope and pray each one of you have an amazing God-filled 2009. I pray that God is the center in each of your lives and that you will lean on Him for all your strength… regardless if you do or not, He is still where your strength comes from.

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