Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Every action

Hebrews 12:11 "No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening-it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way."

Every action, every decision we make has a consequence--it's either good or bad. We will either be impacting those around us in positive ways or we will be hurting those around us. But every single action, every single decision has a consequence.

When our actions are negative we must be disciplined for it and as it says in Hebrews, discipline is painful. I remember when I was 14 I wanted to date a guy that was 19, only the rule in the house was "he can't be more than two years older than you." Because I choose to ignore this rule and I insisted I knew better and dated him anyway my mom was left with no choice but to discipline me. I dug my heels in and kept doing what I wanted because I believed I knew better and I believed my mom was just being mean and didn't want me to be happy. As time went on my mom had to increase her discipline with me and let me just tell you it was PAINFUL...for us both.

We refer to God as our Heavenly Father and because that's what He is that means there are times he will give out a rule (like my mom did) and if we choose to disobey (because we think we know best or don't like the rule) we leave Him no choice but to discipline us. Notice it says discipline NOT punish. There's a major difference. Punishment is meant to simply make the person stop doing what they are doing. Discipline is meant to improve the person, take special note to the end of Hebrews 12:11 "...there will be a quiet harvest of RIGHT LIVING for those who are TRAINED in this way."  Discipline is meant to train, not hurt. Even though it does hurt, that's not the end goal.

What's going on in your life right now that has you saying "Wow that hurts, what's going on?"  I encourage you to step back and take an honest look at your actions lately, your words, your thoughts. Look at what connections there are between you and the consequences you are feeling. Then, turn to God and ask Him to show you what the better way of living is, the right you can reap the harvest!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Did you count the cost?

"Being a Christian is the best decision I have ever made and the hardest thing I have ever done." I've said that phrase OFTEN. Because it is. It just is. Oh, I've heard people say it's not suppose to be hard, that I must not have the true Jesus. I've also been told that if I really had the Holy Spirit inside me I wouldn't lose my temper or say bad words or have the desire to do things that are deemed unholy. To that I say...have you read Luke 14:27-28?

"And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it."

When I first became a Christian, meaning more than just believing in God and more than just going to church on Sundays, I didn't take the time to count the cost. I didn't step back and thoughtfully take up my cross nor did I ponder how my life would be changed. I just sorta dove in head first and hoped for the best. That was five years ago. 

I know beyond any doubt that I am more in love with God than I am with any person on this earth. I choose God daily over anyone or anything. I am used by God, loved by God and sought after by God. Of this I am confident. However my relationship with God is not one void of bumps, pot holes, and angry words. My Christian walk is hard to say the least. Why? Because daily I fight against myself, my desires, my wants, my "but it feels good", I fight against control, greed, jealousy, and the simple I WANT IT. My Christian walk is hard simply because I'm still Carla. 

Receiving forgiveness is just the first step. That's how you get in to heaven but it's the "in the meantime" that we cannot forget. Our day to day lives matter just as much, dare I say even more...for it's the day to day life that Jesus is referring to when he tells us to take up our cross and to count the cost. Assess your day to day life my friend, can people see Jesus in you? Are you hitting the target more than not? And...are you letting your "off" days overshadow by self talk of failure and "you must not really have Jesus in your heart"?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Yahweh Shalom

"I just want some peace!"  How many times have we yelled that or at the very least thought that? Peace seems to be the universal unobtainable goal and yet we cry out for it through tears of exhaustion and feelings of being overwhelmed. How each person defines peace appears to be the only separation found in the cry.

We want peace from crying toddlers, peace from abusive spouses, peace from work deadlines, peace from crazy drivers, peace from bill collectors, peace peace peace JUST GIVE ME PEACE!

Yahweh Shalom. God IS peace.

This week I haven't felt much peace. Truth be told I haven't felt much peace in a least not the peace I wanted. When I was crying out to God GIVE ME PEACE I meant the way I wanted it, through the circumstances I wanted, in the time I wanted. I was basically being the crying toddler to my heavenly Father.

If trials in life have taught me anything it's this--get on your knees and listen. And I did just that, multiple times this week, multiple times during this season of my crying out for peace.

Yahweh Shalom. GOD is peace.

Circumstances remain the same, people remain the same, and in the moment the light at the end of the tunnel can seem so so far away. We don't "feel" peace. While I was on my knees, listening with a desperate ear for God to ease my fears I kept hearing "I give you peace."  So, I got my bible out and looked up that phrase and found myself in the book of Judges and came upon this verse in chapter 6, "It's all right, the Lord replied. Do not be afraid. You will not die. And Gideon built an alter to the Lord there and named it "The LORD is peace." which in Hebrew is Yahweh Shalom.

God is PEACE.

Not a whole lot has happened externally to bring "peace" into my life. In fact, the cat puked on my laptop the other day and caught it on fire. Seriously. As a writer that's the worst vision to ever lay eyes upon. Peace was not something I felt. But God...but God has been faithful in reminding me that my peace lays in Him, my trust is in Him, and in Him I need not fear.


So, if you're feeling overwhelmed with life, beaten down by yet another day's to do list, and tired of being tired I encourage you to get on your knees and just listen because God ALWAYS responds if with nothing more than "I give you peace." which, for the record, is all that's needed.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My friends

Part of my healing has been in the making of female friends. Growing up I had few, manly because girls are mean and usually untrustworthy. I learned to be guarded early on in life. Then as I entered adulthood I seemed to be going in one direction and the crowd was going in another. For a long period of time I had one good friend. One. Seriously.

I've heard the phrase "if you have one good friend count yourself fortunate" and though I understand the meaning I'm also saddened by this thought. Because I'm now on the other side and have many good friends. I feel more fortunate today than I have ever felt. Maybe fortunate isn't the right word...I feel more loved than I have ever felt. And today is a good example of why.

I have just announced on Facebook (because that's when it's official) that I have a boyfriend. My mom called, kinda freaking, because "you NEVER change your status!" I don't. Because no one has ever made it to this point. I know what I'm looking for and I refuse to settle for anything less, well I might settle for a brief moment but then the moment passes and I end the date. But this one. This one is different.

But I changed my status for another reason...

Because I have a lot of people in my life whom I consider to be close friends and trust their opinion and seek their advice. More importantly, I want them to share in my happiness of this moment. The cool part of having friends is not only are they there to chat with they are also there to be a mirror, help you maneuver this life AND share in those moments you've waited years for.

The observation my man made to me "you have a lot of friends that really love you"...yes I do. So, if you have just one good friend, consider yourself fortunate for there are some who never have that ONE, but shoot for many because the amount of love poured out is beyond fortunate, it's Blessed.