Saturday, July 27, 2013

Faith and Feelings

Do your feelings ever collide with your faith?

Mine do. Often.

But God keeps reminding me that I am to worship in spirit and truth, not feelings. Here's an article from the newsletter I send out to younger girls every week:

It has been a joy to spend a summer with Jesus! 

Hasn't it?

Time Alone with God
Sometimes it seems I'm going through the motions, reading my Bible, praying, memorizing, and meditating, yet something is wrong. It just doesn't FEEL right. I don't feel closer to God, or more spiritual, or even like I got a rhema from God today.

I wanted to grow in Christ this summer. I wanted to love Him more than before- be passionately all for Him. But instead, I feel like a failure as a Christian.

Have you ever felt like that? 

Fortunately for us, God doesn't base His love for us on feelings. 

"The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."     Jeremiah 31:3

God keeps reminding me that I am a spirit, in a body, with a soul. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 says I have three parts. They that worship God worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24) not necessarily with our soul (which is mind, will, and emotions). Perhaps this is why I must constantly renew my mind and give my soul to the Lord. (Psalm 51:10, 86:4)

Faith is not determined by feelings. It is determined by trust in an unseen object (Hebrews 11:1). Once I am saved, I am always saved. I can't do anything to lose it- even if I don't "feel" saved. 

Special times with Jesus!!!
So, what do I do when I don't feel devoted to God? Just keep obeying. Keep trusting. Keep reading, praying, and memorizing. Keep God first.  In fact, Jesus said "If ye love Me, keep My commandments." John 14:15 And again,"He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to Him." John 14:21

The one that obeys is the one that loves, not the one that "feels" sincerely loving. And the benefit? He "will manifest" Himself to me! He blesses those who stay in His way. "Feeling" like God is close is definitely a benefit, but not a requirement to following God. 

Be encouraged! Jesus loves you!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Be Still

"Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." 
Psalm 46:10

Monday, July 22, 2013

Report from Camp

This last week I had a blast serving as a counselor at Castle Rock Baptist Camp. There were some struggles, but that is what camp is all about; and it made it all worth it to have several kids come to Christ. (I'm not sure the official count. I know of at least 3.)

My cabin: the Union Girls Regiment (minus one camper),
with their Mrs. General.
The theme of the week was "A Battle for Freedom," in honor of Gettysburg's 150th birthday. The Johnny Rebs fought valiantly, but were overcome by the Billy Yanks. The kids learned a lot of history, and we had a lot of fun playing games while learning about the Lord.

Praise the Lord!
- I was able to help one girl come to understand the permanence of salvation.
- Two girls in my cabin received Christ as their Lord and Savior.
- Several kids learned the power of a good attitude in overcoming negativity.
- One boy, after getting saved the first night, made one of the girls his little "mission," praying for her and witnessing to her. She received Christ the last night!
- One girl learned the power of prayer.
- One of the counselors had to ride to the hospital in an ambulance, but she was okay. God protected her!

I apologize, I was not able to take a lot of pictures, but Melanie Musson did a fantastic job. You can see a slide show here.

Thank you all for praying!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Perceptual Salience

In my psychology studies lately, I have learned a new term. (Hey, you knew it would happen one of these days, right? I've got all this knowledge that just HAS to pop out somewhere!) 

You guessed it! 

Per-cep-tu-al sal-i-ence. 

Perception is a familiar word meaning the result of observation and the awareness of the surrounding environment, implying a quick, acute, intuitive cognition.  Then there's that funny looking word, which after I looked it up, I discovered it is very similar to the word prominence. Salient means standing out conspicuously, protruding from a line, notable, prominent. Put together, it means the "seeming importance of information that is the focus of people's attention." (excerpt from my textbook, Social Psychology).

Simply put, we pay attention to what we see.

What do you see?
Perhaps you have seen crime investigations on TV where the detective will ask an observer to close their eyes and think about what they saw, heard, and smelled. The detective understands that a witness probably noticed more than he realized was really going on. Our eyes can see so much more than the brain can process, so much of what goes on in our surroundings goes "unnoticed." We only process those things that we think have importance to us. So, we pay attention to what we see, and only see what we pay attention to.

Are you following?

About now, something clicked in my mind. 

We live in a two dimensional world: the physical, and the spiritual. Yet I often forget and live as if life is all about the material- what I can see, hear, touch, and so forth. I forget that there's another world out there. 

Why is it that I find it so hard to witness? Why do I worry when things "go wrong." Why is it that I am often so selfish with my time and finances?

Could it be that I've forgotten about the richer, deeper spiritual world? Maybe I should check my perceptual salience. If I saw people as desperate souls, without hope, headed for hell, I would want to tell them of the Jesus who can redeem them and give them hope. If I remembered that God is always in control, that His Story is what is important, and that He is guiding every aspect of my life, I wouldn't worry when life went differently than planned. If I understood that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, that my ultimate accountability is to Him, and that He will provide my needs, I would be a better steward of my resources.

So, I learned an important psychology term; but also an essential life concept. Look past the obvious. It's not just about what I see, but also what is beyond that I can't see. 

It's about Jesus. Working in me. In you. In the world around us; that He might be glorified.