Sunday, February 22, 2009

Humble Pie...Anyone?

Have you ever had a day when multiple situations and or people pointed you in a certain direction? Today was one of those days...

First it started off this morning at church when my pastor specifically pointed out these cards that he put in the bulletins with little prayers for each day of the first week of Lent. Today we were supposed to pray for a humble heart. Next to the caption was James 4:6 (God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble). After I read it I thought to myself how it was such good advice and kind of placed it on the back-burner of my mind.

This evening I was "venting" to my little sister about a situation and she said to me,

"Emily, I know you don't want to hear this right now, but you should be the bigger person and humble yourself in this situation..."

Those words were not exactly the ones I wanted to hear when I was up on my high horse and filled with just a little bit of...dare I say the word, PRIDE? The verse I had read earlier did pop up into my mind and I backed off a tad with my anger, but of course not totally.

After I hung up I decided to catch up on some of my bible study on Esther (Beth Moore). BAM! There it was again, right in my face, word after word about honoring myself and my own "presumptions and entitlements". She had us look up verse after verse about honoring oneself and asked us to relate it to ourselves. Reading these scriptures really hit a sore spot,

Phillipians 2:3-4
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

Easier said than done, I KNOW! But for some reason, I am being smacked over the head with all of this humility stuff today. Maybe I need to choke down some pride and bite back my words that are on the tip of my tongue and do the complete opposite of what I REALLY want to do! ( especially hard thing to do when I KNOW I'M RIGHT!) This whole excercising my faith thing is a lot harder than I thought!

Humbly I'll end with this very interesting verse that also just happened to be in my homework today,

John 7:18
He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth, there is nothing false about him.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Heard a song by Tracy Chapman on my favorite satellite radio station "Coffeehouse" the other day. I had to come home and download it off of i-tunes. The opening stanza immediately caught my attention with her deep melancholy voice singing,

"If you knew that you would die today,
saw the face of God and love,
would you change?
would you change?"

What a great question! What would I be doing differently?

If I knew that today would be the last day of my life on this earth, would I live it for me or for Him?

How would I change?

Good question! Makes me think...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Toning Up

So tonight I went to my first kick-boxing class ever. A couple of girls from work have been going and I decided to try it out. I haven't exercised in months and am extremely uncoordinated so I really don't know what I was thinking except that I want to get into shape and tone up. So right before it was time for me to leave, I told Joe how I wasn't sure that I should go, maybe I could just do my pilates video (actually my pregnancy pilates video even though my baby is going to turn two next month and I am NOT expecting). I was looking for an excuse not to go and I thought that he would discourage me and want my help with the kids or whatever...Well of course, he did not. He just gave me a look that said, "Stop stalling and GO!" So out the door I went and the panic kicked in as soon as I shut the car door. Believe it or not I have some social anxiety issues, especially when florescent lights and sweat are involved. My heart was pounding so hard that I'm sure everyone could hear it when I walked in. And wouldn't you know it my friends just happened to be absent! OF COURSE!

So the music begins and we start jabbing (mind you I don't even know how to make a proper fist...what was I thinking?) and bouncing and I start to see stars and begin to feel my head spinning. I don't know if I am just completely and utterly in the worst shape of my life or if it was my nerves or a combination of the two. I am thanking the Lord in heaven above right now that I did not pass out! I actually got through the whole session (with a few extra water breaks). I felt like I ran a marathon afterwards and thought that I was going to toss my cookies on the ride home, but the sense of accomplishment was grand!

Starting to tone up my physical body has got me thinking about my soul's well being. How much have I been exercising my faith and am I doing it halfheartedly or full-force? Am I just going through the motions or am I giving 100% of my heart to it? And why am I so afraid to take the next step and "just do it"? Maybe it's because I'm afraid that I'm not going to do it right. Maybe it's just pure laziness or maybe, it's a little of both.

Whatever my reasons, I need to get off of my spiritual rump and move forward in my faith. I need to stop making excuses and start exercising it in new ways. I know that it is going to be uncomfortable and it might even hurt. There usually is pain in any type of growth but the reward will far outweigh the minor injuries, I'm sure. So I'm going to start "toning up" tonight in more ways than one. Hopefully I won't give up in the next few days when my muscles start to throb. Hopefully I won't quit when God starts to mold this hunk of clay into a beautiful new shape.

Toning up is never easy, but I think it will be worth it!

(...and bear with me through this version of these verses, I think it's really worth it!!)

2 Peter 1:5-8 (Amplified Bible)
For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence),

And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness, (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety),

And in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love.

For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep [you] from being idle or unfruitful unto the [full personal] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Time for February

We have been freezing and drudging through mounds of snow this winter in Michigan. I heard that we already surpassed the average snowfall accumulation that we typically get in a whole winter, weeks ago. It seems as soon as the sidewalks and driveways have a chance to be cleared, we get dumped on again. The weather has been getting to me because I cannot stand to be couped up in the house. Yesterday we enjoyed some cherished sunshine and warmer temperatures so Ayla and I took full advantage of the nice day and headed out to the park. She loves to visit the duckies. As soon as she saw them, she pointed them out and in a giggly voice said,
"Look, I see the duckies! They're swimming! The duckies are hot!"

How I wish the duckies were hot. I wish it was the middle of summer and we were swimming in the river (Well, maybe not the Detroit River, but some type of water...)!
But there is a time and season for everything and God is right up above us orchestrating it all, even the frigid Michigan weather. And it sure does make me appreciate a 40 degree sunny day!

Ecclesiastes 3:1
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Evidences of Faith

Joe and I rented "Henry Poole is Here" (Luke Wilson) last night. Without giving the movie away, it basically was about a man who refused to believe or have faith even though there were living proofs of miracles that surrounded him and they were happening right in his own backyard! After we watched it I started thinking about my personal faith and hope.

Hebrews 11:1 popped into my head this morning. Since I am no bible scholar, I won't even attempt to dissect the verse but here are some different translations:

-Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.(NIV)

-Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not

-Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

-Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see.
(Contemporary English)

-Now faith is being sure we will get what we hope for. It is being sure of what we
cannot see.(New Life)

-Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.
(Holman Christian Standard)

-Now faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for, it means
being certain of the things we cannot see (J.B. Philips)

-Now faith is the assurance (confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope
for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality
[faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. (AMP)

Today what am I hoping for and putting my full confidence and certainty in? Is it in my comfortable American lifestyle? Is it in the well being of my children? My husband? How I look? How I feel? Will these temporary flashes of happiness give me peace when my world comes crumbling down around me? When a job is lost or a life endangered? Of course not.

It's not forgetting when the kids are healthy and the job secure.

It's not forgetting in the middle of the rat race.

It's not forgetting when I'm packing three lunches and frantically grabbing hats and backpacks every morning.

It's not forgetting in the mundane things.

Faith to me, right now, is daily consciously being aware of what I am hoping for and holding onto what in my humanness are "small" proofs of a real God that really aren't so "small" when I really think about it. Here are some of those little reminders,

-Hearing my sweet Ayla say, "I love you Mama"

-Watching my precious boys forgive one another

-Gazing at a wondrous sunset

-Quietly feeling the peace of God enter into my soul after the children are sound asleep

The list could go on and on...

Evidences of faith...