Saturday, June 22, 2013

Building My House

At home, I walk the dogs in the evening. Here in the Twin Cities taking care of my grandma, I like to get away for half an hour to an hour or so in the afternoon to take a walk. Today, I explored a part of town I hadn't yet seen, a residential area to the west of here.

It was a pleasant walk, with lots of trees for shade, and the scenery was different for me. Houses. (Not the wide-open fields of home.) The houses were gorgeous. Well, most of them.

(school in Taiwan)
Some of the houses were rather regal looking with columns, porches, and a landscaped lawn. There were also town houses with neatly mowed yards.  A few houses looked like they were more addition than house, because they had been added on to so many times. Then there were a few houses that were very old and small, with a once-landscaped lawn overgrown with weeds. One house in particular stood out to me; for though it had recently been meticulously refurbished on the outside, a discerning eye could see the porch was uneven and the foundation was sinking.

I enjoyed looking at the houses... and, as any girl might, dreaming of what my house might look like some day. You know, after I grow up, get married, or something like that. :) How would I build it? What would it look like? What color would it be.... and so forth. That's when the Lord took my thinking a little deeper.

my sister- fixing the roof
1 Corinthians 3:9 says that I am God's building. In the spiritual sense, my body is God's temple, or in American English, house. (3:16) What kind of house am I, right now, for God?

According to 1 Corinthians 3, as a Believer, my foundation is Christ. After that, I need to decide what I'm going to build. Will I build with temporary pleasures, popularity, and pride, (i.e. wood, hay, and stubble (3:12)) or will I work out my salvation with fear and trembling, serving others, sharing the gospel, and seeking the face of Jesus? Am I attempting to hide sin and ease-over issues that should be brought to the Light of God's Word?  Am I loving the Lord with ALL my heart?

It may be a stretch, but I'm going to reference a parable of Jesus in Luke 14. Verse 28-30, Jesus uses the illustration of a builder who didn't count the cost and did not have enough supplies to finish building. Young people, friends, we only have ONE life. Serving God CANNOT wait until we are older, successful, and "big enough to make a difference." For then, we may find we are short time, energy, or health to finish the work God has for us. We must start now. Don't waste time on video games, music, facebook, or romance novels... wood, hay, and stubble all burns. Your house will burn to the ground, leaving a smell of smoke and smoldering ashes. A good, strong spiritual house must be built with everlasting material- things like honoring parents, helping the widows in the neighborhood, and teaching children about Jesus.

About now, if you're like me, you're beginning to panic. I can't do all that. How am I to know what to do? (Growing up can be a real pain sometimes.) Don't give up hope. God never calls us to something we can't do... and in fact, He gives us grace for what He calls us, His children, to do.

And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. Acts 20:32

Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

Our house in Montana

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Call To Purity

This is session 5 of Amy Vest's online conference.

"God created you to live a life of transforming purity in Jesus that results in freedom, fulfillment, and fruitfulness.  It is a purity that is beautiful, satisfying, exciting, and that impacts not only your life, but the lives and world around you.

God has called us to this purity that transforms us and allows us to fulfill and experience the purpose for which we were created.

It is crucial that you understand - Your level of purity affects your relationship with God, your life, your relationship with others, and how mightily God is able to use you for His glory...  

"Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God."  (Matthew 5:8)  What does it say will happen if you are pure in heart?  You will see God.  That is the purpose that we are alive – to see, know, enjoy, and glorify God!  This alone is where we will be truly satisfied...  You want to be pure so that you can SEE GOD - then your life will be transformed!"  (Excerpt from "A Call to Transforming Purity" by Amy Vest)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Honor Defined

This summer, I have had the privilege of caring for my great-grandmother while her usual caretaker goes on vacation. I am learning so much from her: family history, tidbits of wisdom, patience, but also honor. Grandma is almost 98 years of age, and care for her is full-time. (She thinks I'm a nurse, as she doesn't really remember who I am.) She is fun-loving and easy going, but a bit fretful and forgetful, which is to be expected at her age. There are times that I send a prayer to heaven as I try to (respectfully) argue with her over something she has to do. I have to watch my tone of voice, and constantly check my attitude. After all, forgetful or not, she is my grandmother, and deserves my respect.

There is no age limit on when a child is told to quit honoring their parents, and the only time a girl is not required to obey her parents is when she gets married. Hence, as a single young woman, I am challenged by God's Word to continue to honor my parents (and in this case, grandparents).

"Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." Exodus 20:12

What is the meaning of honor? -And what is it's significance in the lives of young people today?

In Webster's dictionary, honor as a verb has several different definitions, to which the first one is attributed to this verse: "to revere; to respect; to treat with deference and submission, and perform relative duties to." That's quite the definition.
Reverence- esteem, venerate, fear mingled with affection and respect. -Check out that old English word "venerate;" it's a very cool word that explains honor. 
Respect- revere, esteem as worthy. 
Deference- yielding to the opinion of another. Willingly limiting my freedom so as not offend.   
Submission- yielding to power or authority, obeying, complying, surrendering, yielding one's will to another.
Honoring is so much more than merely obedience or compliance; that is only a part of the picture. Right or wrong, parents have a position, given by God, of authority over me. By giving them veneration, I give glory to God. It shows the relationship of the Heavenly Father with His children. HE is what honor is all about.

What does that mean, practically? For me, I think it means:
-never speaking ill of my parents.
-willingly submitting to my parents' standards when I am in their house.
-speaking in a humble spirit.
-asking advice of my parents.
-looking for ways that I can show others how much I appreciate my parents.
-give them "first dibs" of my time (after the Lord, of course).
-do things that please them and deflect praise back to them.

This is not a comprehensive list, but rather ideas that God has shown me as I've spent time here with grandma, and one that I think I will work on my entire life. Do you have some ideas?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Giving God My Lunch

Please tell me that I'm not the only one that hears a sermon sometimes and thinks "I don't get it." It's not that I didn't get anything, it's just that I think I missed the point of the message.

This time, that was not the case.


Recently, I heard a message that reminded me of another sermon by Jim Schettler from about a year ago.

It was a sermon about the little lad who gave Jesus his lunch, which then fed somewhere between 15 and 20,000 people. You know the story. Most of the time, it's called "The Feeding of the Five Thousand."

Brother Schettler spoke first about the Lord. How He IS what life is all about. When He asked, "Do we have bread?" The correct answer should have been, "Lord, YOU are the bread of life. You can feed these people." Jesus is everything.

Then Brother Schettler talked about the lunch. In reality, the lunch was a non-essential. God didn't need the lunch.  It did not matter what the lunch was. The size makes no difference. The whole point is that the lunch was GIVEN to God.

Lastly, he spoke about the lad. What was it like to sit at the feet of Jesus? -To have an opportunity to give his lunch to Christ? -To make a difference? I can imagine that his life was forever changed. Drastically.

When I heard this message about a year ago, I cried. I've never been one of those "talented" people, in any respect. I don't really have much to give to God. I don't even have a strong and able body to give God. -And that was the first time I realized, it's not about me. God wanted me to GIVE Him my self, my poor health, and my small talents.

That day, I gave my health to the Lord. I've always wondered what I could do for God without good health and formal talents. This was it. I gave my all to God. It's His.


Now, one year later, there aren't fireworks. I don't SEE a huge difference; or maybe I do. I'm more secure in Christ. My health has improved a little bit. I'm content. However, it's not a "road to Damascus" life changer. But I'm His, and I'm happy.

God is good. Every time.