trust, Uncategorized, worship

You think You’re Cute

woman in the mirrorPsalm 139:23, 24 NIV

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Even though I have lived with myself for  over a half century, I am still amazed at what I still don’t know about myself. I often hear people say things like “you don’t know me, or that’s just the way I am”. The truth is often times, people really don’t know us…and further more, we really don’t know ourselves.

This is why we need to follow the example of David the Psalmist who asked God to search him; to know his heart. There are times when I think I’m doing just fine. Times when I believe my heart is right toward a person or situation, and I boldly make statements, make decisions, or come to certain conclusions that may not be in line with the heart of God at all.

David asks God to test him and know his anxious thoughts. I find that when I spend time worshipping in God’s presence, or even when I simply am quietly listening for him, I realize that many of my thoughts and actions are born of fear or a need to control or manage things in my life. It’s so easy to revert to lordship over my own life versus remembering that I was purchased by God through the blood of his precious son Jesus. My life belongs to him. Colossians 1:17 says that, “He is before all things, by him, all things hold together”.

I love the fact that David had such a love relationship with Holy God that he knew that his fleshy ways were offensive to God. God doesn’t think the flesh is cute!

Child having tantrum

One day last week my daughter told me, “You’re in a way today!” That was her response to a fleshly tantrum I was having due to a place where I felt personally disrespected and misunderstood. I appreciated my daughter calling me to task. She was essentially saying; “this behavior that you are manifesting is not the character of Christ. What’s going on with you”?

I am very grateful to the Holy Spirit who leads me and guides me, that she did not recognize this as my normal behavior. The truth of the matter is, we feel good when we yield to the flesh. It feels “normal”. We justify the flesh because we compare ourselves to others who do the same thing. When I was young, there was a phrase that adults would say when a child would act out – “you think you’re cute”! The inference was that, “you think you are so cute that I won’t give you the discipline you need”. People who think they are cute play on the sentimentality of those they interact with. We must never forget that God is not sentimental He is just!

When David asked The Lord to lead him in the way everlasting, he was acknowledging that there was something greater that God wanted of him. That his life was not his own. We make elaborate plans, think elaborate thoughts, but how often do we ask, “what is the way that is everlasting”? The place of legacy for future generations.

I don’t want the legacy of my life for my children and others that I come into contact with to be one of fear or control. My legacy prayer is that everyone I encounter would see less and less of me and more and more of Christ who is my King!

So put a spot light on me Jesus – clear out all the junk…I don’t just want to be cute, I want to be beautiful like you…

Gungor beautiful things

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journey, trust, worship

As I Lay Dying…

Dying things are most beautiful …
 
The fall season is a wonderful time of year. The air is crisp and refreshing. We can finally turn off the air conditioners and allow the cool breezes to flow throughout the house. My favorite part if this season is the beautiful vibrant colors of the leaves. 
 
During a recent road trip, I was engulfed with the beautiful landscape of deep reds, yellow, and orange on trees of many different shapes and sizes. 
 Image
While enjoying the scenery, a strange thought invaded my mind… The leaves on the trees are most beautiful as they are dying. I shared my thought with my husband and he said, “it’s the same way with people – people who have relationship with Christ”.
 
I immediately thought of what Paul the apostle said, “for me to live in Christ, to die is gain”. (Phillipians 1:21) Nature seems to flow with this easily. The leaves seem to know that it’s ok to die to make room for a new season. We as humans struggle to stay alive. 
 
Maybe we fear the winter season that quickly emerges after the leaves die. It’s often cold and lonely. It may even feel like the winter season of our lives will never end. But just as sure as the earth turns on its  axis, the seasons will always change. Spring time always emerges at just he right time, bringing with it a beauty  unique to its time.
 
Jesus said that unless a kernel of wheat fall to the ground and die, it cannot bear fruit. If a seed remains in tact, it is just one seed. (John 12:24)  There are times when we  become so self protective of the seed we call ourselves and determined to preserve what we have come to know as our lives, that we have difficulty imagining that there could be something greater for us on the other side of death.
 
Many of us are ok with physical death and have the faith to believe that we will spend eternity with Jesus in heaven. However there is a great resistance to the death of our will and personal preferences for a life yielded to the Spirit of God.
 
Jesus said, he who loses his life for my sake will find it. (Luke17:33)  He came to give us life more abundant. (John 10:10) Exceedingly, abundantly above all that we could ever ask or imagine.
 
In light of these truths, it seems that we too can be beautiful in the dying process. Instead of stress and grief, peace and joy can make our countenances radiant. We can rest and embrace the colors that emerge from our lives.
 
The prayer of my heart is that when people are traveling on the road of life and pass by me, that they too would be overwhelmed by the beauty of God’s spirit radiant in me.

Christine James is a wife, mother and pastor at CareView Community Church. This is her first blog. She is glad you came.