Habits Can Haunt

Hi everyone!

So I’m glad I’m actually getting some writing done today. Yippee! There’s always so much I want to write.

Okay, ready and go!

I read this today:

“God help us to cultivate habits of thought, word, look, and action that will testify to all about us that we have been with Jesus and learned of Him…”

I wonder how often I’ve really thought about that…what my habits of thoughts, words, looks, and actions really are and the impact they might have on others.

Habits of thought: Negative self-talk

Habits of word: Criticizing appointed leadership.

Habits of looks: Glaring and/or rolling eyes at someone who was rude.

Habits of action: Refraining from doing a kind act because someone didn’t do something kind first.

What do all these kinds of habits say?

Do they say we’ve been spending time with Christ? Do they reflect the light of heaven?

Wow, reality sure does pack a powerful punch. I feel awful looking at all of my bad habits.

And it leads me to wonder, what blessings have been stifled all because of my bad habits?

We’re in a constant battle between selfishness and self-forgetfulness. Self-centeredness and others-centeredness.

We’re also bombarded with messages of putting ourselves first, taking care of ourselves first, and looking at what’s best for ourselves first.

But is that…right?

I find myself heeding to a lot those messages of self-centeredness more often than not.

How opposite from Christ that is.

Selfishness is such a wild beast that is so difficult to tame, so difficult to bury. It’s also unnatural to many of us.

I really need to stop and reflect today.

And maybe you do too.

How have our habits shaped us, and what are some we can change?

The way we are affects our circle, our spouses, our children, our friends, our community.

May God grant us strength and power to change these habits, and make a change for the better.

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Don’t Go Changing

Sticking to what’s comfortable.
(Based on Hebrews 12)

[All quotes from the devotional “Our Father Cares” and KJV Bible.]

Just before having my devotional time for the day, I was thinking about how often I’ve refused to change my way of thinking purely because I didn’t want to, even when that way of thinking really didn’t make much sense to begin with (hey, I thought I knew everything when I was 20, okay?).

I also thought about how we refuse to change or refuse to do something even when we know better.

Why do we do that?

Immediately after I had those thoughts, I jumped into my devotional time for the day and wouldn’t you know it…

My devotional text (Hebrews 12) just so happened to reflect what I had just been thinking.

Coincidence? Perhaps. But highly unlikely.

So commenced this post.

In a culture where what we as the individual feels or thinks takes priority, it’s easy to go down a path of self-interest and self-preservation. We are in an era of #selfies and #selfcare, after all.

Okay so now I’m going to narrow it down to talking mainly about those of us choosing not to follow biblical principles or heeding God’s word because it goes against what we want or goes against our own ways and habits.

Phew let’s shake it out. I feel like my brain has already run a marathon.

Okay.

So those of us who call ourselves Christians don’t want to think of ourselves as not being “doers of the Word.” Otherwise, why even call ourselves Christians, right?

But there are many of us who do just that.

We aren’t doers of the Word.

We don’t “relish the wholesome reproofs and earnest appeals” found in God’s word.

He refuse. We rationalize. We say God’s word evolves to fit our lifestyle (there’s that self-centeredness again.)

It’s easy to go that way. When we tell ourselves we don’t need to change, we try to find reasons to back that up.

But is that real obedience to God?

What says the Word? What does it actually say?

And when we see what it actually says, are we willing to trust God and follow it, no matter how contrary to our own desires it may be?

“The essence and flavor of all obedience is the outworking of a principle within—the love of righteousness, the love of the law of God.”

Do we have that love?

Do we seek to first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness?

11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. KJV — Hebrews 12:11

When we decide to walk down a path God has revealed to us, it often feels like we’re swimming upstream…during an ice storm…in the dark.

Why can’t I just take that other, sunny-and warm-lazy-river-with-clear-blue-water route instead?

But it’s only after we’ve passed through the storm with our Captain that we begin to see the result of our endurance.

Trust.

The endurance through chastening is what sharpens our character, is what tests our faith.

We must trust God and ask Him to guide and lead us as we change our habits, change our erroneous ways of thinking.

Our previous habits or ways of thinking don’t have to defile or define us forever.

We can trust in God’s grace and rely on that to carry us through.

We don’t have to be like Esau, who lost his right to his inheritance because he faced and uncomfortable situation and chose the easy way out (Genesis 25:31-34).

We have a royal, heavenly inheritance. Are we willing to lose it because one change of habit is too uncomfortable?

Who will we trust? Ourselves and our feelings? what other people tell us? Or will we trust what God has stated in His word and trust in the grace and power He provides for us?

Let us not be shaken, friends.

Let us rely on God’s word and rely on the power He provides for us to overcome.

Trust and obey.

“The essence of all righteousness is loyalty to our Redeemer, doing right because it is right.”

Doing right because it is right.

Yes, choosing what is right might be vastly different from what other people are choosing, and standing up for principle isn’t always popular and will cause people to turn their back on you (John 15:19).

Know that. Expect that. And then press forward…

In faith.

Let us choose life, choose the blessing, choose obedience (Deuteronomy 30).

Trust and obey. Choose and live.

Until next,

While We Were

I wrote a blog post not long ago about being more than what I was before. About how I felt I knew God but didn’t actually really know Him.

A lot of us hear how Christ died for our sins, but I wonder how many actually think about it.

Christ dying for our sins.

Our sins…

What would have happened if I had actually sat and thought about that when I was younger? 

I think I was about 14 when I saw Passion of the Christ and remember crying during the scenes leading up to the crucifixion. I remember someone telling me, “He did it for you.” 

I wonder what I thought that meant at the time.

He did it for me…

A part of me feels like I agreed to those words because that’s all I ever heard, that Christ died for my sins.

But, why?

Why did he do it? Why did He have to die? Why was death the answer?

The responses are simple, yet complex. 

There was a problem, and that problem was called sin.

Without going too much into that now, I want to emphasize a text found in Romans:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

I remember about a year or so after I saw the movie I was in church skimming through my youth Bible looking for some kind of excuse for a sin I was committing that I knew deep in my conscience was wrong. I kept trying to find that even while partaking in this sin, I was still “okay.”

I never found it.

See, sin is never okay.

It lead to Christ’s death. It has lead to our current heartache.

We have His written word giving us principles of right and wrong.

His word that Reformers stood up for.

That people have died for.

Some of us laugh at it.

Some of us mock it.

Some of us refuse to see our sins pointed out, refuse to let His word transform us.

But even though we were—or are— still sinners, he loves us. He died for all of us.

My friends, I want you to look at your life. Have you left God behind? Has God never even been a twinkling of a thought?

The journalist in me is always asking why.

Why did you turn from God?

Why wasn’t He ever a thought?

Why do we ignore sin, ignore His word?

Why?

He really does love us. He really does love you.

My hope is that we all learn to feel and accept that love, and that we in return can reflect that love to others.

Because it is by His death we have access to life, and it is by His grace we have the ability to do what seems impossible. 

May you see the real God today.

xx

More Than a Conqueror

A Conqueror. That’s what we were. LAHS Conquerors. My high school mascot. I never thought more than a decade later I would be thinking about high school or our mascot or what being a conqueror means…Well, I take that back. I think about high school a lot. But I don’t think about it in ways I thought I would –– you know, like most people my age would –– missing and longing for those carefree days of staying up late texting on a 2004 Motorola phone and taking drives in a friend’s old van.

Yeah, sometimes I miss high school. But mostly, I don’t.

I don’t miss it because well, I feel a bit gross thinking about the things I did, how I acted, who I hung around with, the friends who became enemies…

The other day my dad came to visit and as he was holding our baby he said to me, “I’m proud of you. You’ve really taken on your role as a mother. It’s so different from that spoiled brat you were in high school.”

I laughed.

Because I was indeed, a brat. A “typical” teenage brat. The ones you see in those awful teen movies and shows on Netflix. The ones who are driven by selfishness and sensual pleasures.

Yeah. That was me.

And I’m telling you, I get disgusted thinking about it.

Even though I’m nearing my thirties, I still feel the weight (guilt) of my teenage/young adult choices.

I really wish I could go back and change things.

But that’s not really the main point of my post.

What I really what to talk about is how equipped I was to handle those teenage scenarios I faced.

I wasn’t equipped.

Even though for all of my life I felt the need to know God, I didn’t really “know” much of anything. Thinking about it now I wonder what “knowing” God actually meant to me back then.

I know now that I needed more than whatever it was I “knew.” I needed more. I still need more.

Even though I made really bad choices, I know now that God has promised to make me more than what I was then….more than a conqueror.

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Romans 8:37

And that is always what I have to remember.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Sometimes I get overwhelmed thinking about how dreadful, dark, and dreary a state our world is in ––– how impossible it sometimes feels to overcome division and hostility…to stand up for principle… to hold on to beliefs when a lot of the world finds those beliefs foolish…

But it’s great knowing I’ve become more…

And knowing that I –– and we –– all can become

more.

xx

Vlogmas 2018!

Sooooo I decided to do vlogmas this year! As I say in the video I’m no one cool in the YouTube world, but I still wanted to take a swing at it anyway because, why not? Making memories right?! It’s 2018 and I’m a millennial, so it’s almost a must XD

It’ll be broken into parts, so here’s Part I for those of you want to watch this dorky mug vlog like a noob ;P

If I’m Insulted, Will I Care?

“If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” 1 Peter 4

I’m just going to answer that question in the title right away…

YES, of course I’ll care! I care even now…

I get all emotional and feel like I shrivel up whenever I hear people talk about the things I believe in, specifically when people talk badly about God and those who believe in God.

I mean, people have been and are killed for believing in God, in my country and others.

Whoa. Would I be willing to be killed for believing in God? Would I say ‘Yes, I believe in God’ when I have a gun to my face?

I can barely handle reading nasty anti-God comments on the internet. 

I’d like to pretend that we won’t face any kind if suffering while on this earth, but just chapter 4 of 1 Peter alone tells a different story. This book in the Bible says “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.

So we’re to expect trials to come our way. YIKES. I don’t like the sound of that one bit. Who would?

But my understanding is that we have to get to that point. We have to be wiling to be insulted for our principles and beliefs. 

How do we get there? Does that faith, loyalty, and bravery happen over night?

I’d dare to say that no, it doesn’t. 

We practice our faith every day, in the big things and in the little things. 

How are you practicing your faith?

I want to end with this, this first verses of 1 Peter 4: Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

That’s how we practice our faith. We cease from sin. We cease from doing what we know is wrong, cease from breaking God’s precious law of liberty when we know better, cease from following the desires, customs, and lusts of a sinful world.

Stand up. Do what is right. Listen to God’s word and His voice.

And it’s possible. 

“Stand up, stand up for Jesus.

The strife will not be long.

This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song.

To those who vanquish evil
A crown of life shall be; 
They with the King of Glory
Shall reign eternally.”