Thursday, 26 July 2007

May I take your order?

JESUS will serve ME as I eat? Ha! Where in the Bible did you find THAT, Karin?
The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, He himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn.But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready.
Luke 12:37-38 (NLT)

Or for you purists,the King James version states it like this:
Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

Can you imagine the wedding feast of the Lamb when we, His bride, sit down at the table with Him? What a day!! ...but there is a condition. Be Ready! Be prepared!

Don't forget about the Lord or that He could be coming back for us at any time.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Not Good enough for God?

We're human. We sin, we hurt each other, we disappoint ourselves. And we end up feeling not "good enough" for God.

But since when has that ever mattered to God?

Don't get me wrong. God hates sin and God is holy, but He never expects us to be "good enough" in order for Him to love us or accept us.

Jesus didn't expect us to first clean up our act before He would die for us.
"Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners."
Romans 5:7-8

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him."
John 3:16-17

The only thing we need to do to be accepted by God is to BELIEVE in Him through Jesus Christ. To make Him our Lord and serve Him only.
“There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son".
John 3:18

No, we're not good enough. That's why Jesus died for that it wouldn't matter.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Money money money

Money, money, money.

We all have a love/hate relationship with it. We need it, but we feel we don't have enough of it. We want it, but we feel being rich is wrong or that rich people are snobs or that we don't deserve to be rich.

Money is money. Neither good nor bad. But the love of money... now that leads to all kinds of sin.

For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
1 Timothy 6:10

No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Matthew 6:24

Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!
Ecclesiastes 5:10

This morning, I was praising God for all the needs I have for this month and asking Him to provide, but I was not bargaining my praise for His provision.

Great was my surprise when I got to work and received some back pay today that I was only expecting to receive at the end of the month. It's not a huge amount, but it sure helps!!

Praising God for bad situations doesn't work? I say it does. What about you?

What happens when life squeezes?

When humans are squeezed, what comes out of them is what they harbour inside of themselves.

The above is an interesting quote I came across a while back, but also one that makes me go "ouch!".

I have always admired people who stay cool, calm and graceful under pressure. And yes, when I'm around other people I can many times keep my cool when something irritating or painful or stressful happens. For example, when I stub my toe, or I have to answer the 5th call in a row at work. But what happens when no-one else is around? We then tend to think it's safe to let off a little steam. Who's gonna see/hear/notice?

But I don't want to just be calm and graceful on the outside. I want to be that on the inside too!

This new teaching I'm going on and on about, the one about praising God for EVERYTHING, helps. I don't always remember to do it and it's not always my first instinct, but I am becoming more aware of how woefully short I fall of the standard I want to achieve and I'm trusting God to help me change.

And it's amazing how quickly I can snap myself out of an irritated mood by focusing on praising God for the cause of the irritated mood and for the mood itself. It's not long after starting to praise that I realise I can ask forgiveness, and just let it go. Or otherwise get to the real reason for why I'm upset and then deal with that.

Praise God for stubbing my toe? I have to, so that God can add some sugar to the bitter juice and make some lemonade when life starts squeezing me.

Thursday, 05 July 2007

Serving with joy!

A while back I posted on serving and how riled up I get when someone sits there and expects me to do everything.

Excerpt from my post in June:
But don't tell me it's easy to serve when you feel like you are doing everything while your spouse, kids or co-workers don't lend a helping hand. When it feels like you are running around 24/7 while they sit around and wait for you to do everything for them.

Me? Well, I rebel in a situation like the above. If you can do it yourself, and you are just too lazy to do it, don't expect ME to do it. Okay?!

I wanted to know what God expected of me in a situation like that and while reading about praising God for everything, I got my answer!

You see, I have an issue with "fairness". If I have to do all the household chores, that doesn't seem "fair" to me.

But the new perspective I have on praising God for everything, from reading Praise books by Merlin Carothers, has helped me with this issue.

He writes
If life is a series of ups and downs for you, you cannot say to others "Christ gives me the complete victory He promised." ... People do not listen very much to what any of us say ... They will want to observe His being the answer to all of your problems ... When people see your victory, they will want Jesus."

Victory here means being joyful in all circumstances while people without Jesus feel happy when things are going their way, but as soon as they don't, they feel angry or sad.

So how do we live a life of victory (joy) and set the example? By praising God even when we have to go wash the dishes, or pick up the towels. Really praising Him in ALL circumstances.

You may not right away feel very joyful or victorious when you start praising God for the things you dislike, but it will happen if you stick with it.

I am learning patience, joy, and to serve without grumbling about it. And I believe it will make a difference in my relationships. In fact, I feel it already has.

Tuesday, 03 July 2007

Merlin Carothers

I've been rereading some books I have by Merlin Carothers (Praise Works, Power in Praise, From Prison to Praise)and the lesson I'm learning from these books have been reinforced in the most marvelous way.

Basically, Merlin Carothers teaches us to praise God in every circumstance (as commanded in 1 Thes 5:16-18, Eph 5:20, etc). To even praise God FOR the tragedies, the bad, the negative things in our lives.

Most of us balk at that idea. We know God is love, and God is good. So why praise God for the bad stuff. It seems...wrong.

And yet the Bible says, Be thankful always, in ALL circumstances.

Merlin says that we can only praise God for the bad things too if we believe in an omnipotent, loving Father who is working out our situation for our good (Romans 8:28)

We accept the things God is permitting to happen in our lives as part of God's plan to reveal His perfect love to us.

Maybe He is going to do an astounding miracle that you can't see yet. Maybe He is letting you see where your faith is weak, or where you still need some growth. Maybe He is showing you where you are not depending on Him. Remember, Job couldn't see how his situation was ever going to get any better, but in the end God blessed Him twice as much as before tragedy struck.

The point is, we don't know WHY God permits certain things to happen but He DOES permit it. So He has to have a good reason.

Many many people have written to Merlin Carothers to attest to the power of praising God in bad situations. Either they changed on the inside and had some peace and joy, or the situation changed on the outside.

It's a hard thing to do - always praising God no matter what. It doesn't mean we don't share our honest feelings about the situation with Him, but we express our pain and our praise.

So now I'm reading about all of this and feeling there's some big truth being revealed when I suddenly receive an email that informs me about a prayer request sent to our church and how the situation drastically improved when the person stopped grumbling and complaining and just praised God every day. I mean, I looked up from my book and there was the email. Coincidence? I think not!

Seems like confirmation to me that this is the way to pray in power - the prayer of praise!