Sunday, September 16, 2012

Thoughts From Church...

Have you ever been to church, heard a good sermon, wrote lots of notes, and walked out?
I have plenty of times.
Today was different.

We're in this series called, "Healed."
The first couple of sermons were what I described above.
They were really good, but I've kind of had a couple "off" weeks.
I've been really distracted.

I know that Satan has been making it hard for me to concentrate on just worshiping God.
It seems that each week, we sit by the most annoying people who talk through the worship, communion time, and sermon.
I just want to ask "Did you come to church this morning to talk to your friend or to worship?"
Now I'm pretty sure that isn't the most Christ-like thing I could say, so I've kept my mouth shut.
Today was different.

Worship was great.
I was focused.  The songs were amazing.
I felt that I was actually praising my Lord.
I forgot about my husband. {I know...that sounds bad.}
I was focused on God. Only God.
We sat by people who were intent on listening, rather than talking.
I was not distracted.
The message was really good.

Growing up in the church, I knew everything that was said.
But sometimes I just need a refresher.
And encouragement.

Today, our minister talked about being spiritually paralyzed.
It was something that I've just been thinking about all. day. long.
He shared with us some things that paralyze our potential:

  • fears about the future
  • regrets about the past
  • doubts about our abilities
We all have had these emotions at one point in our life or another.
I'll be the first to say, "Heck yes!  I've definitely had all three of these emotions."
I've had fears about our future...especially when moving to St. Louis.  
Part of me was really exciting about moving from everything that I've ever known. 
The other part of me was scared because I didn't know anything or {basically} anyone.
I've regretted many things that I've done in my past, and I've doubted many times that I wasn't good enough to do something, or lead, or work on a project.

Good news!!
There is absolutely NO reason for me to feel these emotions.
Say what?!?
That's right!  
Did you know that the Bible says, "Fear not," 365 times?
That's a verse each day of the year.
Knowing God's promises helps ease the fears you have.

One thing that Brian, {our minister} said that really struck a chord with me was this:

"The better you get to know Jesus Christ, the fewer fears you will have."

Isn't that SO true?

When you first meet someone, you know very little about them.
You don't know if they're a serial killer.  Or something equally as bad.
But the more you spend time with them, talking with them, hanging out with them, the better you get to know them. 
And you eventually realize they genuinely care about you.

Same with God.
At first, when I became a Christian, I knew that He loved me.
But through the past 13 years that I've walked with Him, I've come to realize he loves me more than I can ever fathom.
He will take care of me when I can't care for myself.
He will always love me.  No matter what.  
There's nothing I can do to make Him hate me.
He will always be true to me, even when I'm not true to Him.
He will never leave me, even if I leave Him.
When I talk to Him daily, read His Word daily, and listen to Him daily, I'm getting to know Him better.
I'm learning more about Him, and I'm trusting in Him more.

When walking with the Lord, I've come to know that God erases the guilt from the past, too.
I'm a sinner.  I've done some pretty stupid things in my life.  I've also felt the guilt from it.
When you ask for forgiveness, God forgives.  Right. Then. And. There.  Amen?

"So far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."
Psalm 103:12 (NIV 84)

Forgiveness is a gift.  You can't earn it.
We all need forgiveness.

Another thing that got me thinking...
God forgives us as soon as we ask for forgiveness.
Why can't we do that with other people?

"[Love] keeps no record of wrongs."
1 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV 84)

I am so incredibly guilty of this.  But I'm working on it.
My flesh wants to hold grudges against people, but my spirit tells me differently.
Life is SO much better when all is right with people.
I know there are people who need to forgive me for doing what I did or saying what I did.
I know it's not easy, but it's definitely worth it.
And it's a relief to me when someone comes up to me to say, "I forgive you."
I try to do the same with others. 
It's not easy.
Knowing the freedom of forgiveness is liberating.
I pray that I can be a person of grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
I want to be that person.

God also allows you to do what you think is impossible.

"Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
Matthew 19:26 (NIV 84)

God really can do anything.
He gives you the power and ability to do whatever He's asking you to do.
He may ask you to do some tough things, but He will be there with you all along the way.

When we really see God for who He is, our problems shrink.
When we see God for who He is, we're focused on Him instead of our problems.
God can do anything.
He is all powerful.
He can heal you.

I pray that I won't get caught up saying, "I'm never going to be able to ___________."
I pray that I won't get caught up saying, "Well, that's just the way I am.  I've been this way my whole life."
I pray that I won't get caught making up excuses {because that's what those are} for why I can't do something.
God will give me the power to do whatever He's asking me to do.

I don't want to be spiritually paralyzed.
I want to be growing with Him each and every day.
I want to be able to use my potential with no excuses.
I want people to be able to see Christ in me.

Are you spiritually paralyzed?
What is God asking you to do?
Faith is a verb.
Don't just sit something!

And next time you are worried, anxious, or afraid...find one of God's promises in the Bible to meditate on.
Remember, the better you know Jesus Christ, the fewer fears you will have.

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