Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm not who I was

Brandon Heath has a song called, "I'm not who I was." I think the sentiment is exactly how I would sum up the perspective of my life when I look in the rearview mirror.

I was asked the question recently concerning how do I deal with difficult people. In the context, the person I thought of was a former colleague from some years ago. We had a good personal relationship, but seemed to have difficulties when it came to working together. At that time, I felt like my only recourse was to bring the situation to the attention of my supervisor, who actually did intervene.

But more recently, I have learned to deal with difficult people with a different perspective. Instead of looking at the person and wondering why they do the things they do, I turn the spotlight internally and ask the Lord, "Show me what it is that you want me to learn in this situation."

In one instance, I had someone who constantly bombarded me when I first arrived at church about issues that were quite trivial. Many Sundays it flustered me and it would get me so hyped up that those encounters would be with me all day. But after some time, when I stopped and asked God to "show me," this is what I learned.

Frankly, I learned that the situation really wasn't about her. In fact, even after I changed, it didn't change her actions. God was teaching me that I needed to spend more time in personal worship. He reminded me that the work I was trying to accomplish in His name could not be done in my own strength. When I learned to be prayed up and praised up before I walked through the doors, those encounters no longer had power over my day. It was a heart issue, but I had to invest my time looking into my heart instead of pointing the finger at someone else's.

So if I had to deal with that challenging co-worker now, my approach would be different. First, I would ask God to "show me what He wanted me to learn in that situation." Then, I would trust God to help me to show more grace, to be more prayerful, to respond with Christ's love in words and actions.

God is always willing to teach us, if we are willing to surrender to be more like Him.

My WOW Moment for today....I'm glad God has changed me and is changing me. I'm grateful that I can say with confidence, not boastfully, but knowing where God has brought me from.... "I'm not who I was."

So the next time you face a difficult situation or have to deal with a difficult person, are you willing to say to God," Father, show me...."

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Christ-transformed Life!

Have you ever heard a song that literally changed the course of your life? I have. A little over a year ago I heard the song "The Motions" by Matthew West and it really did change my life. It reminded me that there has to be more to my Christian faith than just showing up on Sunday and doing "good" things.

I just felt like I was missing something, like God wanted a deeper relationship with me and that somehow I had gotten satisfied with my life as it was, comfortable with the status quo. I had gotten off track.

The song's chorus simply says, "I don't want to go through the motions, I don't want to go one more day, Without Your all-consuming passion inside of me. I don't want to spend my whole life asking, What if I had given everything, instead of going through the motions?"

As I looked at my life and did an honest evaluation of where my walk with God was, I had to admit that it seemed stale. I wasn't growing, I wasn't being challenged in my faith, and though I felt like I was doing "good" stuff--I was giving and serving (and at that time I was actually leading a ministry), I didn't feel like I was experiencing God's best for me. As a matter of fact, although on the outside it may have seemed like I had it all together spiritually, on the inside, I wanted MORE. I knew that most days I was living my Christian walk in my own strength, and I really wanted to live a life that meant something more, that was fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit.

So the song was the start...a spark to make me ask the questions, "What am I doing with my life? Am I really leading a life that has been transformed? And maybe, more importantly, if I had to stand before God in that moment, Would He say that I was living a life that had been transformed AND that was transforming the lives of others?"

And when I asked those questions, I wasn't very happy with the answers. And I am grateful to God that He gave me the courage not just to ask the questions, but to hear the truthful answers, and then to have the boldness to make a change.

So that was the start, and now just over a year later, I'm still looking to God to change me from the inside out...to teach me to be still enough to hear and recognize His voice, to be aware enougth to see where He is moving and jump in and be a part of what His mission is, to be sensitive enough to be moved by what moves Him, to be humble enough to see where I still need to surrender to Him, and to be willing enough to go where He leads.

Two WOW Moment Scriptures for today....when God speaks a Scripture to you in different ways...you'd better take notice....I read both of these Scriptures in my devotions this week, and they were used today in Sunday School. So I had to take a moment to recognize God speaking....

Philippians 3: 10, "I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His suffering, becoming like Him in His death."

Matthew 22:37, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."

Please don't be satisfied to go through the motions...it's never too late to take that first step to leading a truly Christ-transformed life.

To listen to "The Motions" Click to see video...

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Tribute

Today is my mom's birthday and she is 70 years old! She's not the techy sort so she'll probably never get to read this, but I had to take time today to write this tribute to her.

My mom sacrificed so much so that my brother, my sister, and I be provided for. She always made sure that we had the necessities of life, but also that we had a home where we knew we were loved.

I know that she prayed for us and still does. She made sure that we were in church and Sunday School and that she was also active in serving the Lord. Sunday School was the first place that the gospel seed was planted in my heart when I heard the story of the Prodigal Son. It would take me some time to see myself as the prodigal eating at the pig trough....but definitley my mom's influence contributed to me meeting my Heavenly Father.

At Christmas, my mom always had a present under the tree for just about everyone....and no I don't mean just the folks in my house. She has always had a generous spirit and literally there were so many presents under our tree, that they were not "under" the tree, but literally spilled out onto every surface in our living room.

My mom has to be one of the most selfless people I know, even more so that I. When the Bible says if your neighbor asks for your coat, give him your shirt as well, that's my mom. She would give you her last and never expect anything in return.

I am more than grateful that God has allowed my mom to still be here with us, to see the woman I have become, to share her life with my children. I am thankful that He has blessed her these 70 years.

Happy Birthday Mother Dear!!

In honor of my Mom and yours...I could think of no better tribute than "A Song for Mama" Click the link to listen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tap90z44WR8

PHOTO CAPTION: This is one of my favorite photos because it's me, my mom, Avis Travers, and my daughter Sydney.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Your Own Private WOW Moment

2010 was a mixed year for me...with some really high highs like getting my book "10 Things Every Kid Should Know About God" published and then some really low lows like losing my father-in-law very unexpectedly.

But throughout it all, God continued to remind me to just keep putting one foot in front of the other...to trust Him even when uncertainly seemed present on every hand, and to praise Him in spite of the circumstances. This was not the first time God had reminded me of these things, but I certainly appreciated Him loving me enough to gently remind me again.

So...although I don't make New Year's resolutions, I will say that my goal in 2011 is to learn to be content.

We were given a homework assignment in church not too long, and I think recapping it is a great way to start off my quest toward contentment.

We were asked to write down what we were thankful for....in less than 5 minutes, here is how my list started....so it's my WOW Moment today....a Thank You God for what He's already done....


Salvation, my growing faith in Christ, God's grace and mercy, my marriage, my family.....

Lord I'm grateful for your presence in my life, that I get to walk with you and know you the Creator

For friendships, for gifts/abilities, for the joy of small things like laughing until you cry at something silly, for hugs and kisses, for getting to see my kids grow up, for being able to be involved in their lives, for a church that teaches your Word, for the opportunity to serve, encourage, and bless others

Thank you Lord for life, for health, for love....Thank you for safety, provisions, for the power of prayer to change things, Thank you for what you've done in my life, Thanks for keeping me, Thanks for hearing me when I pray and for picking me up when I fall

God did all of that and more for me in 2010, and though many times I whined and complained, I am even more Thankful that His love covers a multitude of sins, even my own self-centeredness....

So that's my WOW Moment today....I hope you will take the time to start a list of all that God has done in your life and then stand in AWE of who He is and have your own private WOW Moment with God.