Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Earthly things for Eternal gain

At church the sermon was on how we spend our money.
It was really challenging to me to think 'do I use my money for earthly purposes, or eternal purposes?' I hadn't ever thought that I could use money to help others learn about God, but really it seems silly that I hadn't.
Matt (the preacher) showed that while earthly possessions aren't bad, they have been given to us from God and we should use everything He has given us to further His Kingdom.

It's amazing to think that my little donation to Bible Society or to a missionary can lead to someone hearing the gospel and then we will see each other in heaven!

So this is my challenge to other young, unmarried women, to use this time God has given us (without much financial responsibility) to use what He has given us to further the work of the gospel.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

How do you do a quiet time?

This is what I do

Find a quiet place where I won’t be distracted. I start by praying to God. First I tell him everything that is on my mind. Then I ask him to quieten my heart and prepare it to hear what he has to tell me from the reading. I spend a bit of time praising Him for who he is.

I think it is really important to go through books of the Bible systematically. You can do this by picking a book and reading through it, or by working through a devotional guide. I use one at the moment called ‘Closer to God’. It’s by Scripture Union, I have always found their stuff good and has a solid Biblical base.
I look at what the reading is today, but I don’t read any of the notes on it yet.

I read through the passage, going straight through, to get an overview of the passage. If it is one that follows on, I like to read the passage before it to remind myself of the context.
Then I read it again slowly with a note book and pen. I jot down words that I don’t understand, and words/phrases/ideas that are repeated. I write down any verses that I think have a key idea in them.

I look up the words I don’t understand and then I write down the meaning.

I think, how does this passage affect my life? What is it teaching me about my Christian walk? What is it teaching me about God? What stands out? Dose it remind me of anything else I've read in the Bible?

After I have done this I read the notes from the devotional. Sometimes they pick up the same ideas I did, and sometimes they are not. That’s okay because God may want me to take a different meaning away then someone else has found. I like when they give me a bit of historical or cultural context to help understand some things a bit better.

I then talk with God about what He has taught me and ask for his help in the day ahead. I pray a bit for different people (I have a weekly schedule for different people to pray for each day).

So that’s a brief over view of what I do, what about you? Any tips for spending time with God one-on-one?
(Photo courtesy of http://www.sxc.hu/photo/743507)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Love when it hurts

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

John 13:43-35

Doesn't that sound all lovely and warm and fuzzy? Jesus tells us to love each other, as a way of showing the rest of the world that we follow Him.

And yet, look at where those verses come in John 13. Jesus has just predicted that Judas will betray him and sends Judas on his way to do it. Jesus then reveals that Peter, one of his closest friends will deny ever knowing him.

Jesus isn't saying to love people when it's convenient, he doesn't say to love them when things are going your way. Jesus says to love people as He loved them.
To love people when they turn against you, when they betray you and do things to hurt you. To love the girl who spreads rumors behind your back, to love your friend when they say hurtful things and ignore you, to love your schoolmates who laugh at you for your faith. This is the kind of love that the world can not understand. This is the kind of love that will make people do a double take and hopefully realise who it is you are serving.
(photo courtesy of tvdberg at stock.xchng.com)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Looking onwards

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Rather than copy and paste, I'll just say go read my post about about how each season in our life should be focused on God and where He wants us to be.

What will 2008 be a season of for me?

A season of uprooting?

A season of healing?

A season of Dancing?

A season of crying?

Am I willing to take the bad if it is to be used to build up qualities in me that God wants? Will I only praise Him for the good, or will I 'Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for [me] in Christ Jesus.'(1 Thes 5:16-18) ?

May it be so.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Who's watching you?

You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6

Working with young children you quickly become aware of how much they watch you and copy. Pick something quickly off your plate to taste with your fingers? - they'll take that as permission to forgo cutlery all together. If I don't like a behaviour I see I'll often sit down with the child and say "Oh Dear, that makes me very sad." only to have my exact words echoed around the playground.

It is a great reminder to keep my words loving, and my actions kind, not matter what I may be feeling (smile).

But it's not just children who are watching and copying, younger Christians around you (both spiritually and in age) tend to watch Christians they admire and imitate their behaviour. You have probably done it in the past (I know I have).

If we want others to imitate Christ, it's just another reason that we should be modeling Him to them. So look hard at your behaviour. Does it match the words you profess? Would you be happy for others to imitate you?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The King of Christmas

Let the Christmas Tree remind you of the one who trusts the Lord,
who walks the path of Godliness and loves to hear God's word.
Pray that as you grow up that just how you will be;
Standing tall for Jesus like a Christmas tree.

Let the fairy lights remind you of that bright and shining star,
followed by the wise men who travelled from afar.
They can Jesus all their presents and they worshiped him that night;
Let your worship of King Jesus shine like fairy lights!

May the candy cane remind of God's amazing grace;
Red the blood of Jesus as He suffered in our place,
White the full forgiveness won as Jesus rose again.
You can tell your friends the gospel with a Candy cane!

May all the gifts at Christmas time fill your heart with praise.
God for all his goodness shown in all so many ways;
that every day in every way we'll be completely his.
Give your life to Jesus as a Christmas gift!

Let your love grow
Let your faith show
That everyone will know - Christ the King of Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Give God your best

"You place defiled food on my altar. "But you ask, 'How have we defiled you?' "By saying that the LORD's table is contemptible. When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?" says the LORD Almighty.
Malachi 1:7-8

How true it is that we sometimes give God less than our best because we think he won't mind that much. We plan to make it up later. We say 'God will understand'.

When I read this verse I am challenged especially about how much time I give to things. If I have an essay due and am also teaching Sunday School I will give much more time to my essay and hardly do any preparation on my lesson. I am concerned about the immediate response that my essay will get, and feel that the response to my lesson is so far away. My perspective is so limited, instead of being eternal.

I forget that if others will not be pleased with what I have done/not done, then how can I expect that God will think differently? God deserves the best of me, not my left overs.