Holy & Imperfect

Holy and imperfect seem an oxymoron.

Yet it is not.   It can't be.

The believer, a human being, is called to holy living and is indeed deemed holy because of Christ.

Yet he or she is still imperfect. 

We must rid ourselves of thinking that holy is a pretense, something that we conjure.  That it is walking around with a light or halo above our heads.  Or regurgitating Scripture to everyone we come in contact.

That is not holy.  That is annoying.

Holy- dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred.

Our imperfect lives are called to be dedicated...consecrated to God.  Our imperfect lives are sacred and holy.

 

 

 

Embracing Your Imperfect Self is Not An Excuse

Embracing imperfection is never an excuse to let yourself go, to sin or be anything that goes against what God wants.

Embracing your imperfect self is letting go of the perfect persona.  The mask.  The need to look perfect to everyone else.  It's removing yourself from the pedestal so that you can connect with the hurting and the flawed because you are one of them too.

 

Who's Leading Your Life?

It's crazy how many people have dropped out of performing at the Presidential Inauguration because of peer pressure (i.e. bullying).  The other day I saw that the singer Jennifer Holiday cancelled her performance because she was getting death threats.  Her so called fans didn't want her to perform so they sent her death threats?!  Is that really a fan? (yikes!)

It's amazing how many people allow the voices of social media to lead their lives.  And because of fear people let them dictate what they should and shouldn't do.  

When you have Christ, only God should be the one leading.  Everything should go through him.  It's a dangerous thing to let people play God in your life.  

You have to turn down the voices of social media and anyone else who is trying to play God in your life.  That's what Christian artist Travis Greene did.  He's performing at the Inauguration and said for the time being he's not on social media. He said he was already taking a break from social media when he was asked to perform.  With social media voices turned down he was able to determine what he believed God wanted him to do.  He has a song called Intentional you can check out here on YouTube.  

Of course God may call one person to do one thing and another person to do something else, but the important thing is that you're hearing God's voice above all the others. 

(I'm not writing this because I'm for Trump or against Trump...I am for God leading.  How can you be led by God if you're busy listening to everyone else?)

 

   Psalm 118:5-9 In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me. I will look in triumph at those who hate me.  It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people.  It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.

 

 

What Are Your Spiritual Gifts?

My spiritual gifts are wisdom and discernment, and maybe teaching and the gift of knowledge. The first two are quite evident, the latter not as much because they don't fit within the norms.   I don't teach a class, and I don't have the ability to memorize Scripture like many with the gift of knowledge. I can paraphrase and sort of remember where to find verses in the Bible, but I'm not a word for word Scripture memorizer.   However, I have a strong ability to apply and relate Scripture to everyday life and love to help others in that way.

I'm telling you my spiritual gifts because our gifts are vital to other believers...vital to the church (as I spoke of in my previous post Are you Using Your Spiritual Gifts?). Yet I get the feeling many Christians think it prideful to speak of and know their spiritual gifts. Or maybe it's not pride, but there's something there that keeps Christians from understanding the value of their gifting.

What are your spiritual gifts?  How are you using them to build up God's people?

   

Are You Using Your Spiritual Gifts?

Your spiritual gifts are vital to the edification of the Church but I wonder how many Christians are using their spiritual gifts to build up the Church and other believers? 

Using your spiritual gift(s) is not limited to a church building.  If you don't believe there's a place for you to use your spiritual gifts in your church, find another way.  

When I was a new believer, I didn't know what my gifts were but I discovered them.  I didn't know exactly how I could use them in the local church other than teach a Bible study or counsel and pray with other believers.  But our gifts can be used to build up other believers in so many out of the box ways.  We just have to think beyond the traditional way of doing things. Don't be boxed in to one way of thinking.

If you don't use your spiritual gifts you can easily become a complacent Christian.  God gave you spiritual gifts because you belong to him and you are an important part of his Church.  The Apostle Paul talks about the importance of each believer's gift(s) in 1Corinthians 12 and the importance of using them. 

If you don't know what your spiritual gifts are, find out.  Pray, ask God to show you.  And then ask him how he wants you to use them to help the Church, again keeping in mind that the church is not limited to a church building.  The Church is the people who believe in Christ.

 

Hypocrisy Lives Within

It’s easy to recognize hypocrisy in others but hard to see in yourself.

I heard a speaker criticize another man…”he’s focused on material things, he doesn’t teach the Bible adequately.”

It's highly likely we are in some way guilty of what we accuse another, yet our lens is faced the wrong way.

We are not aware of our own hypocrisy.  How do you speak ill of another when you don’t recognize the log in your own eye?

David in the Old Testament…

When Nathan told him a story about a man who mistreated his servant, David became angry and wanted the man punished. 

It wasn’t until Nathan told him, “You are that man” that he realized his own sin. 

“Examine me, Lord, see if there is any wicked way in me” the Psalmist (David himself) says. His eyes now open to his own hypocrisy.

Show me, Lord, my own heart so I can walk blameless in You.  And that I may have compassion and love for my fellow sister and brother, spouse, children and friends.

How our criticism of others would decrease if we were aware of the hypocrisy that lives within.

A No Drama Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is nearly over.  It's 10:24pm right now.  Man, it's been such a low key, easy going day.  No drama of any kind. 

A turkey purchased from Marie Callenders, already cooked.  (It took over two hours to reheat it. Still worth it though and I think that's how I'll do turkey from now on.  I might try Honey Baked Ham next time...they sell turkeys already cooked.  This year they sold out of roasted and only had smoked left, but I wasn't sure about smoked since I nor Scot have ever tried it.)  At Marie Callenders, you could order just the turkey or a whole turkey with all the trimmings.  I wanted to make my sides.  Mashed potatoes. Candied yams.  Stuffing.  Mac and cheese (my husband's favorite).  Green bean casserole.  Spinach (just needed an extra veggie).  Cranberry sauce (from the can, with the ridges).  Pumpkin pie (from Coco's).  Sweet potato pie (not homemade, Patti LaBelle's from Walmart, just because I happened to see it).  Brownies (because my son doesn't like Pumpkin pie or Sweet Potato pie even though he loves sweet potatos...Betty Crocker gluten free box mix...so good...topped with Cool Whip lite which is quite good even without anything else.  Me and D are typically dairy free but not today).

My mother-in-law was here plus us three. 

I listened to over an hour of Oslo Gospel Choir worship music from YouTube while I cooked.  Maybe that kept me stress free.  The kitchen was a mess and normally that would stress me knowing my mother-in-law was coming.  Not just her but anyone coming and seeing a messy kitchen would stress me, but I think I'm beyond that now.  I mean, yes, I tidied up but I wasn't going crazy doing it.  And the storage bins I have in the kitchen corner with all my left over jewelry inventory remained in the kitchen, along with stacks of mail I piled neatly in a corner on the counter.  Usually I'd be scrambling to toss everything into a closet or bedroom somewhere. 

My mind is clear.  There's no left over residue wondering if I did or said something I shouldn't have said, or nothing anyone else said that's lingering in my mind.  So nice. This is how it should be.

I'm thankful. 

I forgot to take pictures of the turkey or any of the food or us.

Under the Covers

We are always in a transformative state.  Or at least we're supposed to be.  God is always wanting to transform us, hence "You are the potter, I am the clay."  

We can halt change though.

When you first become a Christian, there's excitement, a desire to know God, a desire to grow and become who God wants you to be.

But at some point that desire can wane.

People get comfortable.  Like snuggling up under the covers on a cool night, you bury yourself in bed and don’t want to come out, not even to go to the bathroom because you don’t want to feel the cold air.

In the morning, you have to come out...to go to work, get the kids ready for school or whatever it is that you do.

But in the spiritual life, you don’t have to come from under the covers.  You can remain under your comfortable warm blanket.  And many believers do after they reach a certain point.

You hit a plateau and spiritual growth stops.  

Jonah's a good example (yes, that Jonah).

“I’m not going to Ninevah.  I don’t care who’s asking me to do it. I'm not going!”

His attempt at staying under the covers landed him on a boat going as far away from where God told him to go as possible. Then he ends up in the mouth of a huge fish.

And even in the fish’s mouth, it took him three days to pray to God and relent to God’s request.  He didn’t want to come out from under his cozy comfortable covers…but God forced him out.

  

Everything Doesn't Need To Be Corrected

My mother-in-law (D's Grandma) wears a hearing aid, but I don’t think she wears it much.

Taking her home from church the other day, she and D were in the back seat, Scot and I in the front. 


D was telling us about a friend he saw at church. 

Me: What's his name?

At the same time Grandma was asking him what he learned in his class (I don’t think she could hear that a conversation was already taking place).

D:  James.

Grandma:  Oh, James!  I really like that book…that’s a great book of the Bible.

Scot and I looked at each other, me wondering if I should tell her what D was talking about, then we silently chuckled.  D then switched to talk about what his Grandma was talking about…the Bible.

Everything doesn’t need to be corrected.

Voting in 2016 - Election Day

Voting is a privilege.

Voting is a right.

You also have a right not to vote.  No one has to vote.

“But people were killed for your right to vote!”   

That’s true.  But the right to vote doesn't mean you have to vote.  The right to vote means no one can tell you, "You can’t vote" because of your gender or color of your skin.

When I quit my job years ago to be at home, someone said, “You can’t do that!  Do you know what women went through so you could work and not have to stay home?”

He was talking about the years when women were just beginning to go to school and get a career. His mom was a doctor so he knew what she went through to earn her credentials and then work as a doctor in a field where there weren’t any women, especially African American women, at the time.

I understood his perspective.  But what I understood was that ultimately they fought so women could have a choice--work outside the home or inside the home.

It’s a good idea to vote, if you want to have a say so in the direction of the country. 

Most people want to vote.  They look forward to having involvement in who is elected U.S. President.

But when both candidates are morally equally unqualified, what do you do?

You have a choice.

You can still vote.  Eeeny meeny miny moe (just kidding). 

But seriously, there are other issues to vote for other than the Presidency. 

You can skip the Presidential portion (if you absolutely can't choose one of the candidates) and vote on the other issues.

It’s a courageous (and some say foolish) choice not to vote.  You may get backlash from others. 

But it’s God who matters.  Only be concerned with what He thinks.