Friday, February 25, 2011

Making Every Moment Count

I remember playing in kindergarten, excited about first grade where I would learn to read. Once I could read a book, everything would be good.

I remember sitting at my desk in fifth grade, excited about being in Jr. high. Once I was in middle, everything would be good.

I remember being the ‘top dog’ as an eighth grader, excited about high school. Once I was a freshman, everything would be good.

I remember being a senior, excited about the adventure of college. Once I moved, everything would be good.

As I sit here now, a senior in college with graduation approaching quickly, I am excited about what my future holds – my future career, my future spouse, my future home, my future friends – it is all very exciting!

But as I reflect on thinking the same thing about going off to college, or being in Jr. high, or being able to read, I wonder what all I’ve missed in wish my time away.

It seems that we are always looking ahead at the next phase of life with the hope that things will be better or easier or less stressful or more fun. We say things like, “When I graduate,” or “When I move,” or “When I get married,” but what does that cause us to miss right now?

Our time, right now, is a gift from God. As I’ve already eluded, I am guilty of setting my eyes on the future without any thought to stop and enjoy the present moment.

Right now, as I type this (Sunday evening), I am already looking forward to the weekend when I will get to sleep in, see my boyfriend and hang out with my friends. I am wishing part of my week, five days of my life, away. But then I stop and think about all the things I will learn this week and all the people I am able to see and visit with. I think of all the good food I will get to enjoy and all the articles I will get to write. I would miss precious time with God and the blessings that He has for each day.

Madame Guyon, the seventeenth century French mystic, said that the highest call for every child of God is to enjoy God. That’s pretty powerful!

Jesus paid a very high price for us to have life and to have abundantly (John 10:10). We need to enjoy life in the present, not only for us, but for Him.

Get started today making every moment count!

Monday, February 21, 2011

What Comes First?

What comes first of your list – God or family? I was asked this question in an attempt to settle an argument. My answer is God, without a doubt. One person didn’t agree, he thinks family should be number one. With curiosity of his reasoning, I asked why.

His thoughts were that they are here with you, you spend time with them in person and you have a strong relationship with them. All were interesting points.

Then, he asked what my reasoning was. I explained that He created each of us and the love in that is unfathomable.

The point was also made by one of my roommates that there are many different types of love. There is the love you feel for your friends, a love that you have for your family, a love that you will one day have for your spouse and a different love for your children someday. In the same way, the love we have for God isn’t comparable to that of which we have with relationships on earth. In English, we just have the word ‘love’, but in other translations of the Bible, there is a different word for the different types of love. And I think this makes it harder for us to fathom the immeasurable love of our Heavenly Father.

The question was then asked if you had to choose between God or your family right now, which would you choose? Again, without a doubt, I would choose God because our family is here and now, but God is everlasting and Heaven is our goal for eternity.

After thinking about the conversation later in the day, I thought of more points I would have liked to have talked about.

God created the Heavens and the Earth. He breathed the breath of life into you and sent His One and Only Son as the sacrifice for each person’s sin.

John 3:17 says, For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 17:16 says, They are not of this world, even as I am not of it.

And one of my favorite verses, Romans 12:2 says, Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Friday, February 11, 2011

We Give You Thanks

Giving thanks is a vital part of a relationship with God. To be thankful in all circumstances is easier said than done. After a long stressful day, sending God a prayer of thanks isn’t always the first thing on my mind, but it should be.

There are lots and lots of verses about being thankful and giving thanks and the following are a few that I really like.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever
~ 1 Chronicles 16:34

Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. ~ 1 Chronicles 29:13

I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High. ~ Psalm 7:17

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.
 ~ Psalm 69:30

Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
 ~ Psalm 95:2

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
 ~ Psalm 100:4

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
 ~ 1 Corinthians 15:57

Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Ephesians 5:19b-20

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~ Philippians 4:6

And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.
~ Matthew 14:19

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.
 ~ Matthew 26:26 & 27

I encourage you to set aside some time and just thank God for all He has done, is doing and will do.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Follow Your Heart

My Freshman year of high school, I remember asking my best friend what I choice I should make. I don’t remember what the decision was about, but I do remember her answer – follow your heart.

Well, that wasn’t the answer that I was looking for, but it was good advice! That day I engrained that valuable piece of guidance into my life. Since then, I’ve even had the opportunity to offer her the same words of wisdom when she had more than one option.

The saying, ‘follow your heart’, turned into more of a joke between us for the past six years. It wasn’t until last semester, when I was tossing around the idea of pursuing my master’s degree, that I truly understood how to actually follow my heart.

I spent time praying because I believe that seeking God’s will is key, after all, He is the One who knows best! Then, I used the time walking to and from class to think. It isn’t necessarily a time of ‘peace and quiet’ but it is my special time to talk to God and listen.

In my mind, I thought through the scenario of going to graduate school, which would be somewhere other than Texas Tech. The thoughts of buying more books, needing more scholarship money, moving to another state and studying for two more years worth of tests overwhelmed me. My heart would start beating faster, my head literally felt heavy and it stressed me out.

Then I imagine myself completing my degree, graduating from college, finding a career, moving into a house and being an ‘official’ adult. A sense of peace would come over me and for a lack of words, my heart felt happy.

Now that I know how God directs me, making decisions with confidence is much easier. I do still have to be patient, however, in waiting for God’s timing and feeling engulfed with complete peace.

Let me outline the steps that I use, and encourage you to try them as well when you have a choice to make: 1) Pray – seek God’s guidance. 2) Be patient – His timing is perfect. 3) Think through your options – write them down on separate sheets of paper if necessary. 4) Follow your heart.

Psalm 37: 3, 4 says Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.