Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lessons from a Lost Diamond

I am posting this in part now, because the lessons are not over. With the help of a wise woman I have realized that through the loss of my diamond in my wedding ring, I have learned valuable lessons. I'll begin listing them today and add to it as God does.

1. Lesson 1 - My first reaction is still faith. Thank God. Sometimes I am afraid that when trials come I will react in the flesh and not by faith. When I first looked down and saw my poor little prongs bent over with a gaping hole in the center, I said "oh no." Although I was concerned, I immediately said that God would show me where it was. FAITH!

2. Lesson 2 - I went to my official prayer closet, which happens to be my closet! This is the only place that I can hide in and no one can find me when the light is out. I have learned that they don't look for me if no light shines from under the door. While I prayed, God gave me a vision. He still does that. Isn't it cool? No, I didn't find it yet, but I am sure I will understand the vision when I do. What I did learn from this is that God is so gracious to answer us when we ask.

3. Lesson 3 - The next day I swept my entire house and looked through the dust pan. Gross! I really worked hard even though I had a terrible cold. While I was sweeping, I remembered the parable of the lost coin that we had just studied. I felt like that woman. I also heard God asking me, " Have you searched for me this hard?" Tears...

4. Lesson 4 - This week I have been trying to decide what to do to fill the hole in my ring. I have spent hours visiting jewelers and searching the internet for a good deal. I don't have peace about any of it yet. Today's lesson came from our church meeting today. Jesus said to not give up, keep asking... I am asking God to use this diamond loss to give him glory and refine me. God's not done with me yet.

5. Lesson 5 - God may use someone else to bring Him glory. Casey had a dream last night that we found the diamond! Side note: If you know me at all, you know it is not about the diamond but the special memories with it. If the stone had been a rhinestone, I would still be searching just as persistently.

6. Lesson 6 - I haven't been thinking much about this. I know that God heard my prayer and has already taught me so much. Like other things that I have prayed for and have not seen the answer, I still know that He loves me. A sparrow does not fall to the ground apart from the Father's will. And He knows us so well that he has numbered each hair on our head! (Matthew 10:29) Having this knowledge, I trust Him in all things, including the end of this story.

Persistence = Faith

Today, we studied the parable of the persistent widow. The unjust judge finally gave her justice because she was "wearing him out." Jesus used this parable to teach his disciples to pray and not give up. So often we think that the answer is no when a request to God is not met. This parable shows us that we may be asked to have faith and continue asking. It is hard to keep asking when no answer is given; this is where faith comes in.

The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. God did this to "humble them, and test them in order to know what was in their hearts, whether or not they would keep His commandments." Deuteronomy 8:2 Some of the things we have been praying for has not been left unanswered for 40 years yet. Have we been passing the test, showing our hearts pure, humbling ourselves before God and man, and keeping His commandments? God is not done with us yet. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Surely He is still testing our hearts just as He did with the Israelites. In the parable of the persistent widow Jesus gives us instruction to never give up. I'm so glad that He said this, or we would have the mentality that God is tired of hearing us. Persistence in prayer is only possible if faith is present!

Even when we walk in the wilderness we are not alone. God is providing our needs. He fed the Israelites manna, gushed water out of a rock, kept their clothes from wearing out, and kept their feet from swelling. Miracles are present all around us, even though it may not be the miracle that we want right then. If you are walking in the wilderness, start thanking God for the provisions He has made then make your request with faith. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present our requsts to God." Philippians 4:6 "When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8

Monday, March 9, 2009

Has Heaven Rejoiced Over You?

Today we studied the three parables in Luke 15. These are the parables of the lost sheep, coin, and son. In all of the parables, Jesus is conveying the importance of the one lost. "I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance." Luke 15:7 Has heaven rejoiced over you?

We are praying for the spirit to be poured out on the body. A visitor asked today what is the Holy Spirit? I love answering that question! Also, one of our kids felt led to pray while we studied the Word. We are believing for miracles like this and more!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Wii Worship

We sang a few songs this morning together. One was a song called "The More I Seek You." After we sang, Mrs. Ginger used a coin to demonstrate that unless you look for Him, you won't find Him. Our kids have been taught the truth, watched us walk in the truth, and now must find it for themselves. We can tell them that the coin (Christ) is in the room, but unless they get up and look for it (Him) they won't find it for themselves. This was a great opener for our lesson.

Casey picked up with the parable from last week in Luke 14 and discussed what Jesus said, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters - yes, even his own life - he cannot be my disciple." In this verse, obviously Jesus wasn't telling us to hate (which he later calls murder) our brother. He wants us to love them less than we love Him. We must put Him before our lives and the expectations of our parents. For some, becoming a Christian is dangerous if their parents were to find out. Thankfully, we live in a community where we aren't killed for our beliefs. The last part of the verse says that if we don't love our life less than Him that we cannot be His disciple. Do we really love our lives less? Are we truly His disciples? Hard questions...

In order to grab the attention of our kids, we turned on the Wii Fit. Yes, it did work! They suddenly became alert! As soon as it was on, it reminded us that if we want to maximize our fitness, we must us Wii Fit daily. Hmmmm, if we want to be fit, we must do this daily? Do you think that worshipping God is any different? Well, we found similarities with Wii Fit and began to use the term Wii Worship.

Wii Fit called it Strength training; Wii Worship calls it Praise. Strength training makes your muscles strong; praise also strengthens you. The disciples praised when they were in prison. Acts 16:24-26 You can find praise continually through Psalms. We focused on Psalm 71:14-24. If you have ever been in real turmoil, praise will see you through.

Wii Fit uses the term aerobics; Wii Worship is study of God's Word. Just as aerobics strengthens your heart, so does study. Study prepares you for the "long run." Our life is a long run. The more you exercise your heart, the easier it is to run. A good aerobic program is at least four times a week. The best program includes at least 10 minutes a day. Our study should meet and exceed this in order to be fit.

Next, Wii Fit has Balance Training. This may seem insignificant when you first begin, but without balance you could get hurt or do your other exercises incorrectly. Wii Worship calls this part, Prayer. Prayer brings your life to balance. When you feel like you are falling, you call out in prayer. Balance also reminds us that in prayer we should have a balance of thanks. Philippians 4:6

Lastly, but certainly not least is stretching (Yoga). Wii Worship calls this our works. Faith without works is dead. James 2:14-17 "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10 Yes, God has works for us to do. Sometimes you have to stretch yourself or reach in areas you didn't think you had the ability to do. Stretching brings oxygen (life) to all parts of your body. A young person is usually pretty good at stretching. As you get older, you tend to limit your body. Don't limit what God is wanting you to do. Stretching is usually a little painful, but when you are finished you feel wonderful. Good works can be hard too, especially if you are trying to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Don't let your faith be dead. Be doers, not hearers only.

Have you ever bought an exercise video, turned it on, sat on the couch, and watched it. I hope not. That did as much good for your body as watching someone else walk out a relationship with Christ. Unless you are an active participant, you are wasting your time. Our spirit is often neglected since no one can see it. If people could see your spirit, what would it look like? Would it be a picture of health or crying out for medical attention? If you need medical attention, go to the Physician. He alone can heal your soul.