There is something about a good old gospel hymn that stirs the warmth and brings peace down deep in the soul. It’s hard to put into words so all I can do is say that it is the best feeling of contentment there is to be had. Maybe that’s why I don’t like secular “gospel” music that much. It doesn’t really invoke that feeling within me. Good old gospel reminds me of the days my momma would dress me up in that pretty little white dress with the shiny patent leather shoes and send me off to church with my little new testament bible in hand. The days when I’d be singing out loud (though I can’t sing) to Jesus with all the enthusiasm my little pint sized heart could muster. Man those were the Pollyanna days and I had not a care in the world. There’s something to be said about having childlike faith. When you have the faith of a child you just “know” (no you don’t think) that everything is gonna be alright. And because you know that it’s gonna be alright and you know that God’s gonna see you through, It just happens. That’s the kind of faith we need to have.
Matthew 18:2-4 (New International Version)
2He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
How do we address church politics? Better yet, how do we address alienation in church? Do we sweep it under the rug? How many of you have found it difficult to assimilate to a new church environment simply because you didn’t meet one of the predefined criteria? You know the ones I’m talking about. You’re either:
- Not in church enough
- Not a member of a large family who attends the church.
- Not a major financial contributor.
So people, how do we overcome these vices? Do we boycott the sanctuary? Do we write to our local pastors? Do we man up and carry on as if this cliquish cultish mentality is only but a mere figment of our over active imaginations?
After giving it much thought, I’ve found that every time I record my thoughts or problems in this blog that I receive enlightenment from God himself. It is a sort of comforting revelation. But, what I’ve come to discuss today is my on going struggle. It is one of the strongholds I have yet to overcome and I’m finding that it is a hindrance to my spiritual growth. This struggle is my struggle with pride and conceit. I can’t say that I know where and when it began but I do know that I’d like to put an end to it. It’s as if I have too much pride to approach certain tasks. Too proud to listen to what others have to say. Too proud to accept sound criticism from the Lord. I’ve created a monster of an elitist mentality and now it’s like trying to stop Godzilla from wreaking havoc on my psyche. I have at times been too proud to even humble myself before God and ask for his help. And even now as I make this confession I’m appalled by my own actions. Where do I come off thinking I’m too good? I’m no better than anyone else out there. Just another tiresome soul looking for her lot in life. I know I need him every step of the way. I know that I need his blessings in whatever I should do. But I find myself reverting back to my own understanding (as if to say my word is Law) In keeping my own esteem of self I fear approaching others in the event I may be rejected or in the event they might “see right through me”. Now here’s where God works his miracle in my life. Because as I’m writing this passage the scripture from :
Proverbs 3:5 (New International Version)
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
comes to mind. It’s like that Nike commercial. I just have to “Do It”.
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One of the most frustrating aspects of my daily routine is working at a bank cow-towing to overly priviledged customers who have the nerve to call in with conniption fits because they don’t know how to use the automated phone system. Of all the things to harangue about? You would call to complain because you have to enter account numbers in order to make your transfers. Doesn’t that seem a little petty? And maybe keeping $90,000 in our bank to build interest warranted him the right to moan and carryon. But how does he sleep at night, knowing that out there, someone’s digging thru garbage looking for their next meal? That out there someone’s on the verge of a mental breakdown because their house is on foreclosure and they have nowhere to go. Living in a world engorged in darkness has ironically shed light on the burgeoning ethical decline of our society. Remember when people cared a little more? Remember when we were a little less selfish? We’ve gotten so cocky and arrogant with our advances in technology and medicine that we have all but become a Godless society. I can’t say I know when this began or where. But I took notice over the last decade. I noticed that crimes were becoming more sadistic and I noticed that we’ve even been justifying things we would never have thought to justify 20 years ago. I used to bury my head in my books or my internet games so that I’d remain oblivious to it all. But It weighed heavy upon my heart. It still weighs heavy upon my heart. But the up side or the turnabout came for me when I found my way back to Jesus. He was/is (and I know this sounds a bit fanatical) the light at the end of my tunnel. I was depressed and locked myself away in my home outside of going to work and I cut off mostly all contact with the outside world because I felt our circumstances were dire and virtually hopeless. But thru all that, I found a lifeline to God. Genesis 1:2-3 says:
2 Now the earth was [a] formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Do you see that? How awesome is our God that even in the depths of despair he can utter 4 words and bring about the start of creation and the end to all darkness. That’s what God has done with my life. He looked at me and said ” Let there be Light” and there actually was light and there were actually better days and I knew that even though I was surrounded by all this darkness that God was still here reminding me that there was always something to look forward to. I’d intended to turn this post into a rant and rave about some of the mundane aspects of my existence but I cannot help but be happy and content that I can find my strength in Jesus. What would I do without him? I would be miserable as I had been for the last 10 to 15 years. As daunting as my present trials may seem, I have God and God trumps it all. 🙂 ….. tootles folks . I’m off to wally world to buy bed linen.
I have felt as if I had been defiling my body over the last few years. I wasn’t quite sure how until I read the following scripture and was convicted once again.
Romans 1:24-28 (New International Version)
24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.
So what got me here today was, I would say, a call from the Holy Spirit. A little voice within me that reminded me what I was doing was wrong. I believe the scripture speaks about my acts of homosexuality. But not just that, it also talks about all matters of fornication and sexual depravity. I thought If I convinced myself that the lust I experienced was in actuality pure and unadulterated love, that I wasn’t doing anything wrong.
But that was just the little devil on my shoulder talking. Making me justify my own wrongdoings with what I thought was insight. Truly I was foolish. There was this part of me begging to find it’s way back to God. I truly wanted and needed God but I was so caught up in the flesh that I had chosen to put God on the back burner. Everyday I’d say “Not now Jesus”. But now, I’m appalled at my actions. I am humbled by God because I know that his forgiveness of my sin was thru His grace. I find it amazing that God can be so merciful as to forgive a sinner like me of all my wrong doings, knowing full well that I did not and do not deserve it. It’s like we struggle each day to exercise faith in God yet he seems to invest more in us that we do him. I’ll admit that this walk is anything but easy. But I’m in a better place now than I was last year or the year before that. I feel like I am walking in the light of Jesus and that he truly has a plan for me. I pray each day that I do not fail him.
In keeping with our last discussion – well my soliloquy—about my need for a complete overhaul, I have realized that nothing can be done without God’s help. There are some major changes I would like to make to my personality. Of late, I’ve been struggling with an extreme lack of patience when it comes to the work I do. To be honest I don’t quite view my Job as a career choice. It was always just something to do to pay the bills and to keep food on the table. So with that in mind, I’d spent many an unhappy day at work dreading the next phone call, or the next time the supervisor with the flaming red short hair and chubby features would waddle over to my desk to complain about something else. Notwithstanding, I realized that my approach to work was quite lackluster. I was half questioning myself “why do I come here?” and half wanting to just walk out. In short I’d been feeling like a peon. But since, I’ve made this rededication to God and since I’ve been working on changing my mindset and personality, it has just occurred to me that God wants us to do our best at all tasks we are assigned and not with a heavy heart. I think maybe I’d been taking certain things for granted; like the fact that I’m gainfully employed during a recession. Perhaps maybe there’s no job security with this position. But at least for the time being it’s what keeps me afloat and it seems as if I’ve missed that very large detail. But on the up side of things I see God working his wonders in my life starting with the bad habits I’d developed:
- Not showing up for work Late anymore
- Handling customer calls in a more courteous manner.
- exhibiting a little more patience in instances where I would typically have gone over the deep end.
In all my frustration with God, I’d thought that maybe my changes were too slow in coming. But after much prayer and meditation. God spoke to me letting me know that he’s heard my pleas and he is working
with me to make the changes I need in order to become a better servant. Pride is still one of the obstacles, I am trying to overcome. But I know that God will create in me a clean heart and a renewed steadfast spirit (Psalms 51:10). For that I am grateful.
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sometimes I look at my life and compare it to others and somehow the grass is always greener. somehow they accomplish things so much easier than I do. I seem to fail at the simplest of obstacles and everyday requires motivation for me to get up and get back on that hamster’s wheel. this has been my issue for the past frew years. My defeatist mentality. But now that I think about it , I just really need to continue trusting in God and continue making the changes I need to make in life. I realize that I’m in need of a complete overhaul. Not just a spiritual overhaul, but I’d say a physical one. I need to perhaps manage my money and my bills better and secondly (well when you caught the spiritual overhaul it’s really thirdly) my health. I figured if maybe I list the things I need to change, I’ll probably be better able to manage my life.
For weeks now I’d been asking God for my calling. Asking him what it was he needed me to to do and on Sunday he answered my prayers. I’ve been double-dipping between 2 churches of late. (see I haven’t found a church home as yet). There is one church in which the members are few but very warm and welcoming. Then one in which the members are many but kind of cliquish. Here’s a list of pro’s and con’s for Church #1.
Not room for much to be done by ordinary members.
Leadership has penchant for ignoring you unless you're related to one of them
I've been to about 5 of their services and have yet to hear the the Pastor invite people to accept Christ as their Savior
Very Sociable People
Leadership down to earth and approachable
more geared towards bringing souls to Christ.
Always in need of volunteers from the congregation so it gives one the chance to become a part of something.
So God’s been putting it in my head that If I started attending church #2 that I could do a lot of good there. I mean I’m far from a preacher or anything like that, but I know I should have some useful skills that would help in boosting membership. I will be checking out Church#2 this weekend once again. The first service I went to wasn’t too impressive but that could possibly be because they had a new preacher (I mean a fresh out of Seminary rookie) who kept stumbling over his words. I know he meant well. I just get the feeling that they all mean well and have set out to do the Lord’s work. I just believe they need a helping hand. Far be it for me to assume the responsibility but I’ve always been a sucker for the underdog and God has impressed it upon me long enough to know it’s not a fluke. The question is, where do I start?