Monday, June 18, 2012

The Cross

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across the devotional called Girlfriends In God.  It has quickly become one of my favorites.  Today's devotional is titled, "God's Gift To You."  It speaks specifically of the cross and the meaning behind it's symbolism, but it also speaks of those little gifts--you know, the ones where you know God is being mindful of you during that moment.  At the end of each devotional, there is a "Now It's Your Turn" section where the author gives you a few questions to think about. 

What does the cross mean to you?
The cross is a sign of hope to me.  It lets me know that I have Someone who will always have my best interest at heart.  It gives me hope in something--or Someone--who is greater than anything my mind can comprehend.  It gives me hope that I will see my loved ones again in paradise. 

Also, the cross serves as a reminder of Jesus' crucifixion and the terrible beating that He took to erase my sins.  It reminds me that this world is not the end, nor will it compare to the riches and goodness waiting for me.  It reminds me of how the earth once turned their backs on a loving God and how He chose to love/forgive them anyway.   

Lastly, the cross means that I can now have eternal life.  It means I have something tangible--an outward testament--to something I believe.  It says to the world, "I believe in Jesus Christ, the only Son of God."  It says to me, "He loved me this much!"   

How would you explain that to someone who doesn't know Christ?
I would explain what the cross means to me using God's Word.  I would begin by telling someone the Easter Story.  I would begin by telling them of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  I would tell the person that despite the beating and injuries Jesus was sustaining, He still carried this cross on His beaten, bleeding shoulders up the hill to cavalry.  I will tell them that although He died hanging on the cross, that the story just begins here.  I would tell them that on the 3rd day He rose again and lives today. 

Why is the message of the cross called the power of God?
In my opinion, the message of the cross is the power of God because it finally gives truth to all of the warnings Jesus had given us.  While Jesus was sent to earth in the likeness of man, He preached many times of that He had come to give God glory and give us life.  Because He died on the cross and rose again, we have eternal life in the presence of God.

Have you ever felt that God placed something right before you as a special gift or reminder of His presence?
My children are an everyday reminder of God's goodness and how He chooses to bless us despite our many flaws.  My husband--and how God could have created someone so perfect for my life and just knowing God was being mindful of me when he created Kyle--blows me away.  God continually puts small blessings or reminders in front of me that sometimes I see and sometimes I miss.  Its up to us to be as mindful of Him as He is of us.  This is something that I really need to work on, and perhaps I'll join in on the 1000s blessings that many of you are doing.  I know all good things come from God.  He's here--everywhere!  I just need to be more focused on seeing Him and His presence in my life.

What about you? Now it's your turn... =)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Attitude = Anger

I few days ago, I wrote this post on what God was teaching me about my attitude.  For the record, I felt that I was making progress by getting all my feelings written down, admitting that I was the problem.  Perhaps there was some progress made:  as I was driving to work this morning, I was listening to the contemporary christian station when I heard the most brilliant, logical advice.  The announcer said "It's either partly cloudy or partly sunny today.  You choose."  I mindfully chose partly sunny...or did I?

What is it about going into work and all your goals flying out the window?  Does this happen to anyone else?  Is it my job?  Is it the stress from my job?  It is my coworkers?  Or, is it me?  I vote me.  I have a bad attitude...

So, here I am once again returning to the article titled "Check Your Attitude" for some perspective.

1. Identify and Repent of Bad Attitudes

Acts 8:22 "Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you."

Identify:  If I would be asked to put my finger on exactly what I suspect the source cause of my "bad attitude" to be, I would have to say its my lack of self-fulfillment.  I want to be a teacher.  I've worked so hard to pursue that goal, but given the economy I've had to postpone that dream. a battle for me.  It's a battle for me to get up and go into work--despite that I love my coworkers, despite that I for the most part "like" my job.  It's just not what I want to be doing.  It's not what I am suppose to be doing.  It's not what I was born to be doing, and I get that I'm acting like a baby while I sulk (basically). 

Repent:  Okay, Lord, I'm sorry.  Your ways are not my ways.  I'm sorry that I continue to be a stingy brat...In stead of "I want, I want, I want" I need to be more mindful of what "You want, You expect, You deserve."  I get it.  It is partly sunny...when I choose to look at life that way.

2. Submit Your Attitudes to God
"Bring your attitudes into obedience to God’s Word. Apply discipline to your thought life — submit your thoughts to those of Christ’s. A good attitude is a matter of faith, disregarding your feelings, with a determination to embrace God’s outlook and disposition."

2 Corinthians 10:5 "casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ..."

Lord, here is my attitude.  You can have all of it.  The good, bad, and the ugly.  Help me to transition my negative thinking and energy into positive--overwhelming positive and perfect obedience to You.  Give me patience where there is none.  Give me silence when I want to speak negatively or complain.  Give me fulfillment in the current job I am working.  Help turn my bad attitude into something big for you.

3. Equip And Feed Your Attitudes
Dwell on the things that God’s word tells us to — those good and virtuous things. If you dwell on the negative, your attitude will reflect the same.

Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; meditate on these things."

Lord, when I begin to dwell on the negative (or the partly cloudy sky), I pray you will gently remind me of the good and virtuous things I have in my life.  I have a Lord and Savior who loves me so much He died for my sins (like these).  I have a husband and best friend who loves and supports me when I can't even stand to be around myself.  I have two, handsome, healthy, funny boys who make my life soooo much more fulfilled than any career ever could.  I have a roof over my head, shoes on my feet (new running shoes!), food on my table, and many, many other blessings that I seem to let the negativity overshadow.  Lord, these are the things that Paul suggests we mediate me to be mindful of his sound advice.