Six Things God has Taught Me

December 19, 2008 at 12:01 pm (Announcements, Attitudes, Godly Living) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

6-thingsSome time ago we were tagged by Olivia to share six things God has taught us in the past year…forgive us for the delay in posting! We normally don’t do tags, but since this one included both of us and aptly fit into the purpose of our blog, we were delighted to participate! After all, the Lord’s been teaching us much!

From Lauren:

I’ve been married now for a year and three months! It’s been so wonderful to see God’s kindness to us in our marriage! Yahweh has been teaching me so SO much in the past year–most of it being quite practical, a lot of learning from experience. I hope that what God has been teaching me will be of some encouragement to you ladies!

1. I’m not as submissive as I’d like to think! I had plenty of time to practice submission while under my parents’ authority. Sure, I wasn’t perfect, but I thought I’d gotten pretty good at it. Then I entered into married life and began to realize that submitting to my husband (the most wonderful man I know, by the way) was not as easy as I had imagined. Sure, I’d ask his opinion on things, and I’d let him make the big decisions, offering my thoughts and support. But when it came down to little day-to-day things I began to realize that I didn’t want him to infringe on “my time”. So I’ve grown to realize that submission isn’t easy-even when you have an easy-going, not-very-demanding man. God has taught me that I have a lot to learn in this area, and that if I’m not submitting even the little things to my husband’s authority, I’m not being submissive to my God either! I wrote “She who has ears…” earlier this year when God really broke through to me with this lesson!

2. God gave me a glimpse of His compassion. I grew up in the clean suburbs of north Texas. My grandparents are exceptionally healthy. But since I’ve been married and living in Tulsa, in the city, God has brought me face to face with the poverty of the homeless and the despair of an ailing widow. Nathaniel and I have had opportunities to help these folks like we’ve never known before. It has stretched us out of our comfort zones, but it has been so good to begin to understand the compassion of our God and to show it to those in need!

3. I need to renew my mind daily in God’s word. Sometimes a song will pop into my head that I haven’t heard since before I came to know the Lord, the lyrics bombarding me with attitudes and words that I’ve since abandoned. Other times my own heart fills my mind with evil thoughts, bad attitudes. This has served to remind me that I desperately need to renew my mind, as it says in Romans 12-and to do it daily. It’s not about Bible study for the sake of Bible study, as though checking it off my list makes me more spiritual. Rather, my heart is deceitful and my mind wanders, and only by God’s grace and by being drenched in His word can I truly honor Him in my thoughts, words, and deeds. I desperately need God’s word!

4. Prayer and worship should be the heartbeat of my walk with Christ. It seems that of all the spiritual disciplines I can think of, the ones that I tend to neglect the most are prayer and private worship of my Creator-and God has been convicting me about this. Just as I need God’s word to renew my mind, I need to humble myself and pray to God-about everything! And the thing that has perhaps hit me the hardest lately, is that I should take time to praise my Savior each day-not because I feel like it-that doesn’t matter-but because He is WORTHY to be praised. If I fail to praise Him, I have declined to give Him what He is due, I have failed to do what ought to naturally flow from a heart that has been made new and is dependent upon its Creator, Sustainer, and Savior!

5. Now that I’m married, I must still be careful to keep Jesus as the love of my life. Being married to an amazing man is an amazing blessing. But I have to be careful to remember that he is not my groom forever-Jesus is. It’s been helpful for me to recognize the things I admire about Nathaniel, and the way that he loves me as his wife, and then think of how my Jesus loves His bride, the church, the same way (only exponentially greater!). This has helped me to turn praise for my husband (which I give him) into greater praise for my God and Savior as well!

6. If you miss who Jesus is, you miss everything. God sent Jehovah’s Witnesses to my door in late May, and one of them kept coming back to talk with me, bringing another lady with her each time, all the way until early August! I didn’t know much about what they believed-I knew they rejected the deity of Christ, but I though that maybe if they knew that salvation was by grace through faith, some of them might truly be saved, only needing to learn more about Jesus to then believe that He’s God the Son. So for a couple of months I got to ask questions, read their materials, and search the Scriptures (as did the Bereans in Acts 17:11). It was a wonderful challenge and I came to see more clearly from Scripture why we worship Jesus and call upon Him in prayer (the JW’s don’t do either). Well, did they understand salvation by grace? No. In fact, on every point of doctrine their teachings twisted God’s word-from creation and the fall all the way into Revelation, these ladies trusted the publications put out by their organization which twisted God’s truth into lie after lie. When talking with Nathaniel’s family about what I was discussing and sharing with the JW’s, his dad pointed me to John 8:24, where Jesus said to the Jews: “…you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.” Truly, if we don’t believe that Jesus is who He and the apostles said He is, we will not know God’s salvation. We will still be in our sins-because, in effect, we’ve rejected Christ and have only accepted a cheap imitation. And we will likely believe a whole bunch of lies if we accept lies about the Person of Jesus Christ. This was shocking to me as I saw it played out in the lives of these ladies-very religious, very “holy”, very devout in trying to make sure they can enter paradise, but oh so lost, still bearing their own sins, believing in a Jesus that cannot save because they have rejected who He really is.

From Abigail:

Interestingly, I just passed the one year anniversary of our move to Arkansas…and the Lord has taught me SO MUCH since then. Some of it I’ve shared with you all, some of it remains buried in the pages of my journal, some of it is schedule for future posts. Selecting only six things will be difficult–He teaches me something new every day! These have been a few of the liberating truths that have hit home to me this year.

1. “No” is not a punishment. It’s often been my habit to pray for a desire I have to be realized, while also praying that the Lord would give me a clear “no” if that desire were not a part of His will.  But like a slinking puppy, I forget that “no” stems from the Lord’s love–His desire for His glory and my joy in glorifying Him–and I feel guilty, ashamed or regretful over having ever desired something to which He had to say “no.” When the Lord gives me a “no” to something I’ve desired, it’s not necessarily because that desire was evil or because I have done evil. Quite simply, it’s because He has something else for me to do. Instead of recoiling or whining, I should cheerfully accept His redirection and stretch out to grow and serve in another way.

2. Emotions are not the enemy. Friends used to ask me if I even had emotions.  Growing up I honestly thought self-control meant ridding myself of all display of emotion–grief, anxiety, embarrassment, anger and even joy.  While being able to mask my emotions has proven a wonderful gift in many of the circumstances I’ve found myself in, trying to suppress them left me devoid of the fulness and joy of the Lord.  God created me with emotions so that I might worship and enjoy Him. There is an appropriate time for every emotion. But worship means bringing my emotions under control of the Spirit so that I may experience fulness of joy and pleasure in the presence of Almighty God.

3. Offending someone is not always a bad thing. I hate to think of hurting someone’s feelings or making someone angry at me.  But being a peacemaker doesn’t mean covering over issues to create an illusion of peace, but exalting the Prince of Peace.  Jesus often offended the Pharisees. God calls me to be at peace with all men, as much as it depends on me. He also calls me to speak the truth in love. I must share the truth in love and leave the Lord to the working whether it will be scandalous or bring a healing breaking. Great grace have the people of God, and nothing will offend them.

4. Love never fails. We live in a battle zone.  The enemy is invisible, not made of flesh and blood, but of intense evil and hatred. Jesus conquered sin and death by power of His love.  Only by His love can we hope to win this war–and by His love the outcome is sure.  Sometimes I feel so weary, so exhausted in trying to learn to love like Jesus and I think I need a break–especially in the privacy of home, where I’m surrounded by people who “know I love them.”  Christ’s love is not the selfish love that demands a paid vacation.  It never goes on vacation. It never takes a break. It always sacrifices itself for the good of others and takes infinite pleasure in watching, unrequitted. Pride cannot coexist with love. I am loved, not because I deserve it, but because Jesus loves infinitely. I love others, not because they deserve it, but because Jesus deserves it infinitely.

5. I am not responsible for results. I am quick to lose sight of God’s work and God’s power and become discouraged when the world doesn’t follow the plan I’ve mapped out.  When people don’t react the way I think they should.  When those I love don’t make the decisions I am certain would be best for them.  When situations run completely out of my control.  Blaming myself, I sink down in depression, certain I have failed and that God is mortally disappointed in me.  What a lie from Satan and perfectly exposing my own pride and self-worth.  I am responsible only for my obedience. To try to take responsibility for results–good or bad–is to usurp God. Jesus has commanded me to control myself, to follow Him and to love. I am not responsible for bringing revival. I am not responsible for the lost being saved. I am not responsible for another’s reaction to me or to Jesus. I am responsible to do whatever He says. In my obedience, He is glorified.

6. God is never angry at me. When I can’t create the results I dream of, or when I’ve drifted in my busyness or discouragement from the depths of relationship with the Lord, I crawl home pleading for quick punishment, viewing God as a despot whose anger must be satisfied before I can be restored to favor.  But God’s wrath WAS satisfied.  It was completely spent on Jesus, my precious Savior.  Being justified by faith, I have peace with God. I could not earn His pleasure, I do not keep His pleasure. I am satisfied with Jesus, because through His intermediacy, God was satisfied with me. And always will be. Praise Jesus!

We’d love to know what things the Lord is teaching you! If you’ve learned something this year, consider yourself tagged!

Blessings,

lauren-and-abigail-sig

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7 Comments

  1. Marian said,

    “Sometimes a song will pop into my head that I haven’t heard since before I came to know the Lord, the lyrics bombarding me with attitudes and words that I’ve since abandoned.”

    I hear you…I’ve been a Christian for just over three years now and still live in a non-Christian home; it’s so difficult to tune it out, and it seems like once lyrics get into your head, they just never get out!

  2. Larissa said,

    My life was music before I was a Christian nearly 15 years ago. I constantly have a jukebox in my head playing. At times it’s good, others just annoying! I actually had to ask God on many occasions to take away the song that is “playing”. Most times He swept down with His grace and caused a blessed silence, but sometimes I had to offer up a sacrifice of praise to wipe out the ungodly din. I’d have to sing praises to Him, either out loud, which is best as this is spiritual warfare, or in my head, if I was working, this was best ;).
    Over time, the praises of God drowned out the other songs. They do go, eventually. Just keep praising the Creator of Music!

  3. mom2olivia said,

    Hello Laddies, I found you through http://larissaquinn.com/blog/ and really enjoy your posts. I really can relate to allot of your growth and struggles. God has been growing me in amazing ways, and also teaching me some in-your-face life lessons this past year. I too, struggle with my devotional time with God. I long for it deeply, but my lazy flesh wins out many of the times. Being a huge Christian music fan, God speaks to me and embraces me many times through the songs I am listening to, it’s kind of the backround music to my life. I look forward to reading more of your blog and hope you can stop by my new WP blog too. I pray you have a Christllike Christmas and hope to get to know you more in the new year. God Bless, Robin

  4. Pearls and Diamonds said,

    Thank you ladies for your comments! Larissa, you’re quite right about singing praise to the Lord and drowning out whatever else is floating around in the mind–when I played softball and they would play raunchy music in the weight room, I would sing this one praise song over and over again. It had a bouncy tune and declared the goodness of God! 🙂 Helped every time! And still does. 😉

  5. Hannah said,

    It’s precious to read what God has been teaching you. I thought Abigail’s #5 resonated particularly in my life. That’s a perspective I needed to hear. Thank you!

  6. nobody416 said,

    It was so great to hear your 6 things! It’s amazing how much God can teach a person in a year, He is such a wondrous God that He would be willing to teach us anything! God bless you girls in this next year and I hope that God teaches you even more.

  7. Abigail said,

    Hannah and Olivia–it is amazing how much God teaches us! And I’m always amazed to find how he’s been teaching others the same things! I think that’s part of the reason fellowship is so valuable–we can learn so much from each other and God’s work in the lives of each other!

    Blessings to all of you as the Lord continues to teach us all!

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