Posts from the ‘faith’ Category

Am I Loved?

My church is doing a new sermon series on our identity in Christ. “Am I Loved” was the title of the sermon a few weeks ago. I find it amazing that even after years of walking with the Lord, the question of whether or not we’re really loved, really lovable is still one that whirls around in my heart. Here are my notes:

1 John 4:8 – God is love.

You have to meet Father God for yourself.
I can listen to all the sermons in the world about the Father heart of God, read great books about the subject, be friends with people who really know God well. But if I don’t meet Him for myself, I won’t ever really know His heart for me.

You have to come to Him consistently.
It’s not a one time deal. You may have had a great experience at one time in your life, but there is more for you!
*Renew your mind with the Word of God – find out what He thinks about you. John 5:44
*Listen for His voice of affirmation. “God, what do you think about me today?”
*Worship. It allows you to focus on Him.
*To know the Father’s heart, you have to look at Jesus. Heb. 1:3, John 14:7-10, John 10:32

Know the sacrifice the Father made for you. John 3:16. He gave His son. He sacrificed His son, His only son. He allowed His son to die for you. What a love.

While I’m at it, check out Kari Jobe’s new song, “I Know that You are For Me.” If you’re struggling with the love of God, listen to this song every morning and let the truth of the words penetrate your heart. I’ve been listening to it every day, multiple times a day, for the last few weeks. I’m so encouraged by the lyrics of the song and think you will be, as well.

Live Simply, Work Diligently, Give Generously

I have decided to use my blog as a journal of sorts. I have used journals over the years to record sermon notes, write to God, etc. But I need a place that I can quickly access those things without having to find the box with the journals from 10 years ago. Below are notes from a sermon on 8.17.08.

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:10-11

The word, “know” in the above passage refers to an intimate relationship like no other. Do I truly want to know God?

Live Simply
It’s time to simplify. A lack of options is easier sometimes. Do I give myself options? It’s not wrong to want or have “more”. If “more” allows you to love God more, then it’s okay. If not, “more” may not be better.
Simple living means, “JESUS FIRST”.
Yes to prayer – no to sleep.
Yes to giving – no to hording.
Yes to boldness – no to fear.
Yes to blessing – no to criticizing.
Yes to grace – no to cynicism.

Work Diligently
Diligence is consistently applying yourself to what you know God told you to do. Be faithful.

The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.
Proverb 21:5

We need accountability to be diligent to that which God has called us to. Help me, God! A “kingdom agenda” will provide the motivation. Live for more than yourself. We need vision and purpose – without it, you are a SLUGGARD! (Prov. 6:6-11) Take initiative. do what you need to do without being told to do it. Do you want to know Christ? How badly?

Give Generously
Honor God with everything that you are – yourself and your wealth. (Prov. 3:5-10) Give your life away – this may mean your time, your possessions, your attention, your money, etc. Be led by the Holy Spirit. Hear Him and be obedient. Start with generosity. Don’t end with it.

Thoughts

I haven’t touched my blog in so long, now that I have found facebook and other ways to waste my time.  But I need to get out some thoughts and writing in my journal takes a lot longer than typing.  So, here I am.

I love Jesus.  I don’t love church and I certainly don’t love religion.  But I do love the person of Jesus.  He is my Saviour.  The One who has saved me from my sin, has set me free from myself, to love and to be loved.  I know there are a lot of opinions about Jesus.  But no one can tell me that my relationship with him isn’t real or that he hasn’t changed my life, because he has.

With that said, I often struggle in my daily walk with him.  I am told that I should spend time with him daily, both in scripture and in prayer.  In the Bible, Jesus talks about things like abiding in him and remaining in him.  I long for this.  In my limited, finite mind, I think that if someone says she loves someone, that someone would be a priority.  If my husband says he loves me passionately, but never makes an effort to get to know me more or even spend time with me, it’s ambiguous.  Shouldn’t the same principle apply to my Lord?  I ask and answer the question myself:  yes.  If that is the case, why is it that I struggle so much to abide with him and spend time with him each day?  I can repent of laziness, neglect, lack of discipline, etc.  But none of this means anything if I don’t do something about it.

I know that my “daily devotion” doesn’t have to look a certain way.  Jesus didn’t spell out a formula for this.  But without a formula, I tend to be lost.  I cannot cook without a recipe.  Just ask my husband.  I need someone to tell me what to do.  I suppose in regard to my spiritual life, that someone should be the Holy Spirit.  He is my counselor and guide.  But it still seems all so ethereal at times.  I don’t want to super-spiritualize anything.  I want to keep it simple.  But sometimes it feels so difficult to connect with God.

Like I said, I do love Jesus.  I love him very much.  Why is this so difficult?  

I’m not really asking for anyone’s comments, if someone happens to read this.  Like I said, I’m blogging pretty much for myself right now.

Fighting Back

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.  No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

1 Corinthians 9:24-27, emphasis added

Last week, I wrote about my struggle to live the life I claim to want to live.  Yesterday, I went to church and listened to a sermon that challenged me.  (I often wonder, does my pastor have a live feed to my house?) My church is starting a new series called, “Spring Training,” and it’s just what I need.  Let’s get back to the basics of the faith.  With this being the first Sunday of the series, the pastor focused on I Corinthians 9:24-27 and the issue of discipline.

These were just a few of the things I wrote in my journal.  (fyi – I sometimes write things to myself during sermons.  Thought I should explain that.  The pastor didn’t quite word things the way I have written them, but you’ll get the idea.)

  • Are you running for the prize?
  • Don’t think you can be undisciplined and achieve all that God has for your life.  You must respond to His initiation.
  • Desire –> Discipline –> Delight
  •  Discipline is positioning yourself before God to receive grace.
  • Grace is not just the love, pleasure, and favor of God for an undeserving people.  It is also the power of God to do the will of God and a safeguard to keep us from losing our life to anything but God.
  • I don’t trust myself to not be deceived.  Therefore, I discipline myself to keep myself in God.
  • Will you respond to God’s initiation?  Are you willing to fight and be proactive or will you continue to live passively?

Discipline.  It’s an area of my life that is lacking and effects everything.  My relationship with the Lord, my marriage, the state of my home, etc. is directly impacted by my discipline or lack thereof.  Recently, it’s been lacking.  And I have felt its effects.  So this week, I’m fighting back.  I want to evaluate specific areas of my life, put myself before God and commit myself to change.  At this point, I’m not exactly sure what this will look like, but that’s a part of the process. 

Since I started blogging a few months ago, I have noticed how little time it seems I have to get things accomplished.  I go to bed later.  My house is a little more cluttered.  I’m not reading as much.  I haven’t spent as much quality time with my husband in the evenings.  I have made some bad choices on how to use my time, and something has to give.  At least for now.  Therefore, as a part of my Fighting Back Week, I’m going to take a break from the blog.  And, more painfully, from Google Reader.  (Yikes!) 

Why am I telling you all this?  One, to keep myself accountable.  I figure if I put this out there for all to see, I’ll be more likely to do what I say I’m going to do.  (Kat, ask me about it!)  And two, so you won’t wonder where I’ve gone and never come back.  Because I know all 20 of you will be asking yourselves, “Hmm, I wonder where MC has gone.  Perhaps she has stopped blogging.  I guess I’ll unsubscribe to her blog and leave forever.  So long, Milk in the Closet!”  Nooooooo!  Come back!  I’m just taking a blog fast to get back on my feet.

I know you’ll be waiting on pins and needles for my return, but fear not, dear friends.  Return I shall.  Have a blessed week.  See you next Monday!

Works for Me – Praying Daily for Your Children

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I struggle with consistency.  Exercise, drinking water, cleaning my house, and watering my plants come to mind.  I want to be disciplined, but there are times when I just really don’t feel like exercising (most of the time) and there are times when, gosh darnit, I really want to drink Coke!  (Sidenote:  When I moved to Texas, I quickly learned that all soft drinks are called Coke.  “Would you like a Coke?”  “Sure.  Could I get a Dr. Pepper?”  Odd.)

But one area in my life where inconsistency is not an option is prayer.  God has blessed me with a wonderful husband and an amazing daughter.  I may neglect a lot of things in life, but I cannot neglect my family.  Prayer is eternal.  I want to live for the eternal.

I have a copy of this prayer calendar on my refridgerator.  I pray daily for my daughter, but this calendar gives me specific things to pray, as well as a scripture for each day.  I use it to help me remember to pray for things that I may not be consistent about or might otherwise forget. 

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Praying daily for my child… works for me.  Click here to see what works for everyone else.

Struggle

As I sit at my computer, I struggle to put in words what I feel.  Please hang with me as I sort through my thoughts. 

It has been over a month since the Uganda trip for Compassion International.  I remember being moved to tears reading some of the blog posts about beautiful children living in horrid conditions and orphaned children with nothing but the help that others provided.  I was so touched that we decided to sponsor another child with Compassion. 

But now that I’m not reading about these kids every day, I struggle. 

I struggle with apathy.
I struggle with materialism.
I struggle with discontentment.
I struggle to remember the needs of others.
I struggle to live the selfless life that Christ has called us to live.

I feel a great sadness in my heart because I know how I want to live and yet, I am not fully living it.  As I read the New Testament, I find myself more and more feeling like I would be one of the people Jesus would have called a “white washed tomb.”  People who know me would never dream of my struggles.  I am the typical American christian.  I go to church.  I am kind to the people at the grocery store.  I pray.  I tithe.  (Okay, that may not be typical.) I don’t cuss.  I don’t lie.  I stay away “bad” movies. 

But isn’t there more? 

Christ said He came to give us not just life, but abundant life.  I want it.  I don’t want to settle for anything less.  I am tired of living a “good” life because I don’t think that’s all that Jesus died for.  He did not die on a cross and raise from the dead just for me to live a “safe” life.  He did not die and raise again for me to live out the “American dream.” 

I am currently reading a book by Will and Lisa Samson called Justice in the Burbs: Being the Hands of Jesus Wherever You Live.  Do not read this book unless you want to be challenged.  I plan to blog more about the book at a later time, but here is a blurb to let you in on what I’m experiencing. 

Most of us, at different levels of awareness, understand this [safe] nature about the suburbs.  The burbs are safe, but they are safe at the price of keeping out questions of need, questions of poverty, questions of insufficiency.  In fact, they are designed to maintain an illusion of a particular life, the American dream, where no one is needy, where there is a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage…Who wants to witness suffering, poverty, or need?  Yet for those who are followers if Jesus, suffering is bound up in the story by which we live.

More later.

He Has Risen!

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“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!'”

~Luke 24:1-6

He rose from the dead,
and now I am forgiven.

He rose from the dead,
and now I am loved.

He rose from the dead,
and now I know peace.

He rose from the dead,
and now I know joy.

He rose from the dead,
and now I am accepted.

He rose from the dead,
and now I am healed.

He rose from the dead, 
and now I am free.