Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lessons from a Leper...

    Last month I took some time to read through the gospels.  Now when I read them, I didn't take the time to study what I was reading, nor did I really go searching for a deeper meaning in the context.  I just wanted a clearer idea of who Jesus was, so I read the stories of his life on this earth....and that was that....or so I thought.
  Over the past few weeks though I've been noticing a theme in my life, a theme that I realize now comes from the time I spent reading the gospels.  You see, there is a story in them (you can find it in Luke 17) about a time when Jesus healed these ten lepers.  Basically the synopsis of the story is that Jesus is traveling on his way to Jerusalem and as he reaches the boarder between the towns of Galilee and Samaria these ten guys who have leprosy (a disease that forced them to live outside of the community because of their "unclean" state) cry out to Him asking for healing.  Jesus tells them to go show themselves to priest (which they needed to do by law in order to be declared "clean" and welcomed back into society) and on their way to the priest they are healed (talk about "Stepping" out in faith!).  Yet only one leper returns to thank Jesus for his healing...the one who was a Samaritan (basically the biggest "outsider" of all these ten unclean "outsiders").   The story ends with Jesus saying, "Didn't I heal ten men?  Where are the other nine?  Has no one returned to give glory to God but this foreigner?".  It's this story has changed my life!
  You see, I use to be the girl who could go days without thanking God for anything.  I would go about my day and some how forget that the very fact that I have air in my lungs and the ability to move is a gift from God.  But lately I've been taking the time to thank God for  His work in my life.  Whether it's getting on my knees after a long day of work and just thanking God for the strength and energy to make it through another eight hours during this crazy retail season, or praising Him for an answer to prayer that I've been crying out to Him about.  No matter what it is, I realize I don't want to forget to give God the glory due his name!  I refuse to be like nine of those ten lepers who cried out to God, received their healing, and left Jesus standing there saying, "Has no one returned to give glory to God"!  So in good times, in bad, when things go how I expect and when things seem like chaos, no matter the situation, I will give all glory to God....because in the end, just like He did with those ten lepers, Jesus has changed my life!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

God is God and I am not....the 2011 version...

 Woody Allen once said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans”.  It’s kind of funny when you think about it.  Here we are, mere humans, coming to God telling Him what we are going to do, as if the very act of being able to think of such plans wasn’t His very own design formed in us!  Yet we so easily come before Him acting as if we are God, having any right telling Him what to do or how to move.   I often wonder if God’s just looking down from heaven, chuckling, with a little smirk on his face and a tiny shake of his head, while He watches us try to call the shots. 
  I know in this moment I kind of find myself in that place…chuckling at my own foolishness in thinking that I know anything about being God.  I sit here, just days after laying down my first payment for a mission’s trip I plan to go on this summer, thinking how ironic it is that earlier this year I was swearing to God that I was not going to step out in faith beyond a certain point anymore.  I thought I understood myself…I thought I understood my faith in God….…I guess I really just thought that I could be God and control my life!  Turns out…He’s still God….and on the throne!
  You see, months and months ago when I told God what he could and couldn’t do in my life.  I was talking out of fear and a sense of failure.  I had made up my mind that it wasn’t worth it to step out in faith… was better to play it safe….live comfortable.  I was willing to sacrifice abundant life for the sake of being comfortable and to save face.   Then somewhere along the line, God brought me to my knees in total surrender once again.  Then He did what only God can do and took my broken pieces, brought healing to those places, and sowed me up stronger and tougher than I was before.  He gave me the ability to dream again….the desire to turn to Him more completely…and the faith to once again step out beyond my comfort zone!  God can certainly do the impossible…and I can’t help but be grateful that he’s done it in me!  Thank you God that you are God and I am not!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunday morning Struggles...

  This morning I struggled so much to get my butt to church....and then proceeded to slip in and slip out as quickly and unnoticed as possible.  Sadly, it's not the first time I've done this....nor will it be the last, I'm guessing.  Through out this year I've struggled a lot with the idea of church.  On the one hand I see the value in meeting together with other come together  to praise God and build each other up and learn more about Him from His word.  And I know that when I go weeks without stepping foot into a church, my faith begins to stagger and my relationship with God begins to suffer.  But..sometimes....its just awkward for me to actually GO to church.  Honestly, I feel so much more comfortable sitting in a coffee shop with some friends pouring over scripture and talking about God...than I feel during the hour and half I spend seated with the congregation at church on a typical Sunday morning.  But I also believe that the church is the Bride of Christ, His beloved...and in that sense I would never give up on her!  So even though I have mornings where I'm sitting in service contemplating different exit strategies and crafty ways to avoid the uncomfortableness of the crowd....I'll keep going...and trust that in doing so, God is honored.  But I have to I alone in this struggle?!?!  Has anyone else ever felt this way too?