Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Do not worry...

Tonight in worship/prayer at GCTS, this passage was read. After the passage both from Matthew and Luke, I have posted my thoughts from tonight.

Matthew 6

Do Not Worry
25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[b]?

28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Luke 12

Do Not Worry
22Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[b]? 26Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

32"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

What I wrote during worship after this was read:

Do not worry! Your life is SAFE in My hands.

How many times does God have to say "Do not worry!" before you will listen?

Worry makes evident a lack of trust in God.

If you know how much He loves and cares for you, why would you not trust Him? What better thing do you have to trust in? How are the other things you're trusting working for you? (Against you?)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

From worry/frustration and sorrow to peace and joy...

Here at GC we're in the middle of finals weeks. I have a test coming up in Greek. This is the class I am struggling with the most...the class I'm doing pretty much on my own (semlink). In your first semester, with four other classes, this is a REALLY bad idea. It is getting better and I am learning it slowly, there is just SO MUCH...and it's overwhelming.

Though it's helpful being on a campus where everyone else is studying SOMETHING, add into that wanting to be able to connect with people and care for your SOUL (these two things are very connected for me, though I also need my "alone time" every day), and it's just CRAZY. It feels impossible. It seems like one area of my life is always being sacrificed to work on another one (in this case, minus some time with friends, everything has been on hold to study Greek).

I know, for those who have seen me on campus lately, that I HAVE been insane...but without you, I would be TOTALLY losing it. Luckily we are all here to encourage each other and pray for each other etc. Hopefully I have been able to be encouraging to you all as you have been to have certainly been lifted up in prayer.

Last night I was REALLY stressed out and discouraged...and to my breaking point. Really...I cried (I have witnesses). (Thank God for the right people being around at the right time with hugs and words of encouragement!)

When I was back in my room, I studied more and spent some time with God. We recently had a prayer conference on campus. During that time I had read Galatians, Ephesians, and Philippians. When I looked back at it last night, I realized that I had underlined things like:

Galatians 4:15 ~ What has happened to all your joy?

Ephesians He Himself is our peace...(2:14) (I underlined the word peace a lot)

"in Christ Jesus"...I underlined wherever this shows up. THIS is where my joy and peace etc. come from...and when I HAVE no joy/peace/etc., the first thing I question is whether or not I have been cultivating my relationship with Him.

"Be imitators of a life of love...Be very careful.then, how you live---not as the unwise but as wise..." (Ephesians 5:1-2, 15) Do I/we imitate Him even when we feel like we have lost our joy/peace/etc.? YIKES.

Armor of God in Ephesians 6...maybe something I need to be focused (in thought) on putting on daily.

Philippians - more peace...

"Through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ." (1:19) Boy have I been SO grateful for both of these things!!

"Whatever happens, conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ." (1:27) "Do everything without complaining or arguing." (2:14) Again, how do I/we act when things get stressful?

I also made note of what Paul said of Timothy in 2:20...Timothy took a GENUINE INTEREST in these people's welfare. Having people in my life who have taken a genuine interest in me and I with them has been PRICELESS to me.

Be content whatever the content in every situation. (4:11-12) Yikes...content is certainly not a word I would use to describe times of anxiety and frustration.

I can do everything through HIM who gives me strength. (4:13)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thansgiving, present your requests to God. And the PEACE of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (4:6-7)...then in 8-9 what to focus your thoughts on and things to put into practice in order to have the God of peace with you.

OOH and...are you ready for THIS? "And my God will meet all your NEEDS according to His glorious riches IN CHRIST JESUS." (4:19)

Did you catch that? God already KNOWS what's going on with Greek...HE KNOWS. He has ALWAYS known where I needed to be and when...and has ALWAYS worked it out FOR HIS GLORY IN HIS TIMING!

So why do I/we allow distress/worry/frustration and sorrow to creep in when GOD means for us to have PEACE and JOY?! I for one know I am cheating myself by allowing ANYTHING to, even for a moment, steal my peace and my joy. No, that doesn't mean I have figured out how to NOT allow it (obviously...), but God is certainly working on me!

Continuously this semester, His big question for me has seemed to be: Do you trust Me? Do I? Do you trust Him? If not, why not? God has never HAD to prove Himself to me, but does why do I lean toward the negative feelings/thoughts rather than relying on and trusting in Him? There is no better place to go than to HIM!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Love is...

True love is loving your neighbor as yourself (ex. Lev. 19:18) and loving your enemies (ex. Matthew 5:43-44) (These commandments are found in MANY other places...).

True love is husbands who love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25-26) and not being harsh with them (Colossians 3:19).

Love for God is obeying His commands (1 John 5:3, 2 John 1:6).

True love is patient and kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13)

Those who do not love do not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8, see also v. 16)..."This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." (1 John 4:10, see also v. 16)

If this is love, how can we ever dare claim to love? How dare we throw the word around so much when our words and actions and thoughts are proof that we more often do not love at all? But then, if we do not love, how can we claim to know God?