What is it?

Looking through my journals and email, I found out that I was wishing for a lot of good things to happen. I claimed to be “hoping,” but I did not/could not be confident the desired outcome would happen. That is not what hope is about. Hope is more than wishing. [Want to know more? Click here.]

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wave Offering

I’m studying the Feast of First Fruits this week in my Bible Study time. One of the key elements of this feast celebration was the Wave Offering where the priests would wave a sheaf of barley before the Lord so the Lord would accept it. The primary purpose of the offering was so the Israelites would outwardly acknowledge that everything they have, explicitly the harvest in this case, came from God. They waved the offering before God as a way of saying, “This is Yours to do with as You see fit.”
In a way, God asks us to offer a Wave Offering every day. He wants us to wake up in the morning and say, “Here’s my day. It is Yours to do with as You see fit.” Many days, I fail to do that and on those days, I often feel like I failed to accomplish much of importance. On the other hand, on days when I do wake up and give the whole day and all of me to God, it might be an ordinary day of laundry, dishes, Bible Study preparation, and whatever, but it feels different. It feels fulfilling. It feels like I accomplished something.
On a bigger scale, when I give my whole life over to God for Him to do what He wants, I also feel a sense of accomplishment. For instance, some days I write a blog article without really praying about it much or giving it to God. The blog still might be good, entertaining, challenging, or have some benefit for a reader. However, I don’t feel as satisfied. So I try to make it a point to pray before I write a blog entry. It may not accomplish any more than on the days I don’t pray, but it gives me the satisfaction that I did my best for God, that I offered Him my writing skills and He was able to use it to fulfill His purposes.
It’s like Moses offering up his staff for God when God asked him to throw it down on the ground and it became a serpent. This was a type of Wave Offering also. Moses did what God asked. And when asked to Moses also followed God’s command to reach out and pick the staff up again. Back in Moses’ hand, the serpent became the “rod of God.” It was able to accomplish many fine purposes for God from parting the Red Sea to getting water from a rock in the wilderness. Moses offered it up and God was able to use it to accomplish His great purposes.
So today, and each day I write, whether it’s for a blog article or a book, I offer up my writing skills to God for Him to use to fulfill His purposes. I pray that this blog meets a need and that God can use it to fulfill His purposes. I make my Wave Offering today.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Brighter and More Beautiful

What does it mean to become more like Christ? What does it mean to be transfigured into the new creatures God wants us to become?
In 2 Corinthians 3:18, in The Message, it says,
"And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like Him."
Brighter and more beautiful. That’s what it means to become more like Christ, more like God. As Jesus was transfigured into something more than human, so ought we be transformed into more than our current state. I know that this is not an overnight process. It takes time – possibly lots of time, but I like the idea that as God enters our lives and we get to know Him better a little bit at a time, we become more like Him. Thus we also become brighter and more beautiful a little bit at a time.
When I think about becoming more beautiful as I age, and become possibly less physically attractive, I realize that the beauty talked about in this verse is not skin deep. It’s much deeper than that. It’s soul deep. It’s about becoming a more beautiful human being a little at a time. It’s about changing the way I interact with the world and with other people. It’s about changing my demeanor toward others and toward the issues I confront in my life.
I can remain unchanged, but then I would have to question whether I’m having regular encounters with God. 2 Corinthians 3:18 guarantees change in our lives as more of God enters into our lives. So, if I’m not changing, if I’m not becoming brighter and more beautiful, then I need to determine if more of God is entering into my life on a regular basis. I can make sure this is happening by doing a few relatively simple things.
I can read God’s Word, the Bible, daily. I can try to make an application from what I read. Applying the instructions of God to my life is what makes change possible. It might be something as simple as saying a prayer or it might be something as difficult as asking for forgiveness from someone I have offended. Either way, doing something different makes me a brighter person and helps me grow more beautiful a little bit at a time. That’s what I want. To be transformed a little bit at a time into someone who looks more like God, ever increasingly brighter and more beautiful, as God enters my life and I become more like Him.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

People Pleasing and Honesty

It was brought to my attention today that sometimes I worry too much about other people’s feelings. Call me a people pleaser if you will, I don’t want to say or do things that might make other people upset. While this can be a good thing in some ways, in other ways it means I allow myself to be hurt.
For instance, today as therapy was winding down, I let the time slip away and the session went on for too long. I wanted to get out of there to make it to my AA meeting in a timely fashion. I’m usually late to my meeting and I go in each time 10 – 15 minutes late and apologize for being late. Every week. Why? Because I’m too afraid of offending my therapist to say, “Time’s up. I need to leave.” I’m worried about hurting her feelings.
I realized today that if I want to be an honest person and hold fast to my values that I need to speak up when necessary. The funny thing is that by telling my therapist time is up, I’m actually not likely to offend her. It’s actually doing her a favor by helping her keep on time. And, it serves my purpose of getting to my meeting on time. So, today I spoke up, felt guilty, went to my meeting late, and heard an awesome message reminding me that if I’m going to be honest about my feelings, I need to speak up about them.
This is not the only example of when I need to speak up and share from my feelings. Sometimes I worry too much about what others might think if I stated my opinion. I find I often do this with my husband. The man loves me and there’s very little in the way of my opinions that I can speak up about where he will become mad or offended. Yet I worry about it way too often.
I’m not saying I need to say everything that comes to my mind, but much of what I have to say would not offend or harm anyone. I’m just afraid to say anything. So, today, in this post, I’m saying I should not be so afraid of speaking my mind or my opinion. I can even say things that might be hard for other people to hear, if I say them with genuine love and concern. I can definitely state my opinion about many things without being afraid. I need to get over being afraid of saying what I think and feel. Today I grew in my awareness of my people pleasing tendencies and now I can take steps to be more honest with the people in my life.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Unleavened Bread

No I’m not going to give a recipe. Well not in the normal sense of the word. But there is a recipe for living a life that is pleasing to God. That recipe is to live an uncorrupted, pure, sinless life.
If only that was possible all the time. However, I know I often fail and do or think things that do not please God. How can I avoid displeasing God? Each day is a new chance to try and live a life pleasing to God. I need to wake up each morning and start by asking the question, “What would God have me do today?” In AA, we ask, “What’s the next right thing I should be doing?” If I can start my day that way, I have a greater chance of living a life that is closer to pleasing God.
My biggest failure in this area comes in my thought life. It’s not like I set out to actually assassinate anyone, but if thoughts could kill . . . And, it’s not usually any specific person that I’m thinking about. It’s humanity in general. I would change some things if I could. But just thinking that things should be changed is a behavior that leads to discontent, bossiness, and overall dissatisfaction with my life. That’s not the way God wants me to live or think. He wants me to be content with what He’s given me. He wants me to be satisfied with where I’m in life.
I’m not saying there are not things I need to change. There are many things I need to change about my life. It’s when I start to want things to change that are outside of my control that I get into trouble. It’s believing I can change the world – or just other people around me – that gets me into trouble. It’s believing I can force things to be my way that leads to living a life that is not pleasing to God. He wants me to accept and love other people. I don’t have to approve of how others act or think, but I do have to love them and accept them for where they are.
I tend to believe I have the power to change my world. That is thinking corruptly, with leaven in my heart. When I’m accepting and loving, I’m at peace with my world and living a much more uncorrupted life, a purer life, an unleavened life. As I continue looking at my Bible Study this week on Unleavened living, I realize just how far I have to go to follow Jesus’ example of living an unleavened life. He was pure and totally uncorrupt in every way. That’s the example He sets for me. He wants me to be unleavened bread, just as He is in this corrupt world.