Thursday, July 23, 2009

Toe Smooshing Episode II: How Does a Christian Woman Know She Loves God?

Okay, here's the promised second half of Mrs. Teacher's lesson (and my toe smooshedness... not as bad, but still attention getting.)

So, how does a Christian woman know she loves God? Why, you say, she goes to church! Okay. That's one answer. What else?

Uhm... she, uh, I know! She sings in the choir!

Hmm, not what I'm looking for, but another good answer. Anyone else?

O! O! Mr. Kotter! Mr. Kotter! I know! She invites people to church!

Okay, all very good answers, but not quite where this lesson is heading. Ready? Buckle in 'cause here we go!

1. She enjoys spending time with Him (reading the Bible and praying).
She is constantly learning about Him.
She is constantly sharing with others about Him.

2. She enjoys talking with God in prayer
She sets aside a special time in her day for Him, blocks it out completely (others know not to disturb her during this time)
She prays throughout the day because she enjoys talking to Him
She asks for His direction in everything, even the little things (what does He want from her)
She talks to Him about others (where better to go? talking about other to others can so easily become gossip ~ unless you're getting counselling from your pastor, and you know it!)
She confesses her sin (this brings her closer to her Heavenly Father)

3. She enjoys spending time thinking of ways to please God
She gives Him her talent to use, whatever that may be (art, playing an instrument, what about just vacuming the Sanctuary or cleaning the restrooms? whatever it may be!)

4. She enjoys knowing God is with her everywhere
God's love is enduring. He never stops loving us (no matter what)
She doesn't fear God knowing what's going on in her mind (and He always does, doesn't He?)
Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a clean heart, O God: and renew a right spirit within me."

5. She wants to make God happy with her thoughts and actions
She has no desire to sin on purpose!! (we're human, it happens, but don't go looking for it!)
She asks Him to find and fix her motives for sin
She follows Prov. 16:3 "Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established."

6. She believes God should be the most important being in her life.
God > Husband > Family > Church Family > Friends (which are often part of the church)

God should be first in our lives, but this can be very difficult to accomplish because we can see/hear/touch our family and friends. Oft times it is SO much easier to go to them for advice, a shoulder to cry on, a place to vent, because the response is immediate and visible. God can't be seen with the eyes or touched by the hand and our human mind equates that with uncaring. But, He cares very deeply. He feels our hurts and our emotional pains. And He will help, we just have to accept that it's in His perfect time and His perfect will, not our own.

Learning to establish a right relationship with God now, while I'm a single woman, is so very important. If I don't, and God allows me to marry, how can I establish a right relationship with my husband if God is not first and my relationship to Him not right? This is a difficult habit to build. I will admit now that I skipped my Bible last night. I played first, rather than doing what I knew was right first. God got shunted to the side. This is not an easy habit, but it's one I'm determined to build. I want a right relationship with God. I want to give Him my talents and let Him use them, or not, at His choosing (not mine).

So, before coming on-line to play (and blog) tonight, I sat down and had my devotion time. Yes, I read my "Tea Lovers Devotional" by Mrs. Emilie Barnes, again. I'm finding there are some areas that, scripturally, I have to disagree with Mrs. Barnes. Again, I use the KJV, no other "versions" allowed (I will, perhaps, blog as to the "why" of this another time). Tonight, in the chapter titled "That Inner Feeling" Mrs. Barnes (mis)quoted part of Lamentations 2:17. Her follow up advice went something like this (condensed for interests' sake):

"In order to live intuitively one must have some quiet times to read and think." So far, I'm partially with her. I don't know about the "intuitively" part, but we do need to take time to read God's Word and think on it. He tells us to. Even David said "In thy law will I meditate day and night."

Mrs. Barnes went on to say "God has taught me to read, think and dwell upon what my heart knows to be true. I'm more in tune now with the beat of my heart." Then she gives what she calls "Heart Action: Find the calmer pace of your heart and soul. Take time to listen to your heart so you can discover the truths it holds about yourself, your faith and your Creator."

Mrs. Barnes means well, and is headed in the right direction, but it seems more like she's using verses to validate what she wants to say rather than what should be said. Jeremiah 17:9-10 says "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings." According to what scripture teaches us, our hearts are deceitful, wicked, ... who can know it but God? No, if I want to find and learn what I need to know, I need to obey Prov. 16:1-3 that says "The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits. Commit [my] works unto the Lord, and [my] thoughts shall be established."

God wants to establish my thoughts! How amazingly wonderful! He cares enough to want to help me to think right! I must not listen to my own heart when I'm uncertain (my heart may want an ice cream Sundae or to go watch t.v.) but instead I must find that calm, quiet place (even if I have to into a closet and shut the door) and pray for God's guidance, committing my thoughts to Him, then listen to what His heart tells me.

He's never wrong!
**the above picture is by Ms. Cheri Bladholm which she drew as one of several illustrations in the book "Tell Me The Story Of Jesus" by Gil Beers. I used it to remind us, He cares about even the smallest joys (or cares) in our lives. I truly enjoy Ms. Bladholms' work because she draws Jesus as caring and approachable, not distant and ephimeral. May God continue to bless her skills.

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