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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

not to those we choose

Do you believe God’s word? Do you believe each and every thing He tells you in His gift of the Holy Bible?

Today, I found myself on a crossroads. Would I take a stand and express how I feel about a worldly belief or would I sit back and say nothing out of fear?

Common arguments from many Christians when given the opportunity to witness really only boils down to one main concern:

“I do not want to seem closed minded.”

As Christians, many times we find ourselves not wanting to “push” our beliefs on anyone. We do not want to appear rude, judgmental, or even “uncool.” Taking a stand against what we hold to be the truth versus battling with the fear of being politically incorrect makes many go into a shell. Hearing conversations, seeing sin in action, witnessing worldly opinions reign; cause many to fight back only internally. By this I mean, we give every reason something is wrong, we stand up to every continuous sin that we see, and we witness for Christ in our thoughts instead of verbalizing this truth.

Often times it leads to later guilt for not taking that opportunity.

Was Jesus ashamed, scared, mean, closed minded, politically incorrect? Did Jesus just stand back and let not only His loved ones but also just an average passerby who didn’t ask His opinion leave His presence without them knowing the truth?

At times I think we feel we are imposing or pushing our beliefs on ones who appear happy with their life and do not have a relationship with Christ. However, Jesus saw it as witnessing.

I am not talking about bashing someone’s head against a wall until they get it. I am not speaking of repeating ourselves over and over and over to someone until they croak. I do not mean we should constantly badger someone who does not want to accept our truth. I am talking of lovingly telling someone of Christ's love and saving Grace. Giving someone the chance to know of a gift that offers a peace the world can not afford.

I am saying too that if we are in a situation, involved in a conversation, or amid a crowd of unbelievers that we need to lovingly stand up for Christ. We should be gently speaking of His truth and then letting Him do the rest.

No, we should not judge but we should speak up! We can lovingly speak out without appearing judgmental or argumentative.

Matthew 7:1-2 "Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

1 Peter 3:15  But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect (ESV)

Yes, we may lose “friends”, we may even be the topic of discussion once we are away. We may even be considered (gasp) close minded. However, we are required to witness to everyone (Mark 16:15) and we are required to speak out truth against untruth.

Do you find it scary or nerve racking to witness or speak out against untruth? I do! I fear what I wrote on above. I fear people will think me rude, close minded and judgmental. However, what we do for Christ will never return as void and He has promised to always be with us. This is a conviction God has given to me that I wanted to share with you.

Rachel

No; I mean, Yes; I mean, NO!

As a woman, more often than not I find it hard to say “No.” Especially as a Christian woman. I find within me this need to constantly and continually please those around me. It is what Christ would want, right?

“Can you do me a favor?”

“I have an appointment, can you_______ for me so I can leave early?”

“Would you mind calling ______ for me and asking her _______?”

“Do you think you can take the snacks to the game for me tomorrow?”

Yes, yes, yes,and yes.

Are we required as Christians to say yes to everyone, even to ourselves? To go to each event, to cook for every person who is sick, to lead every youth activity we come across, to have the cleanest house, and to volunteer our home for every get together?

When we go, go, go, and do, do, do.

When we run around nonstop and don’t have time for a bathroom break.

When our saying yes to someone is spoken through clenched teeth and a fake smile.

When making sure our home is spotless begins to take away from food fights with our family.

When our health is affected.

When we can’t remember how long it has been since we last sat with the Lord.

OR

When people begin to abuse us or run all over us…

That is when it becomes a problem. We begin performing our worst and saying yes only because we feel obligated. During those times, we either do our job half-way or we do it head on, leaving us tired and useless to those who need us most.

We also suffer consequences when we do more than we should. Feeling this need to say yes..to others or even to ourselves all the time can cause us to miss out on the important things in life.

Imagine with me a scene. Two sisters hear a visitor is coming. One is running around frantic and cleaning, baking, cleaning, stirring, cleaning, chopping, and so on. The guest arrives. She continues her preparations. (Saying “yes” to that voice in her head telling her she has to get this all done to impress.)

The other sister decides to spend time with this important guest. She talks to Him and gives her full attention to Him. The other sister sees this and thinks…huh..she sees me doing all this work and doesn't even lift a finger…some sister. The guest notices “yes sisters” frantic frustration and tells her that she is so worried over pettiness that she is missing out on a great time of fellowship. (Luke 10:38-42)

Is saying yes with a tired mind and body or a burdened heart really honoring God?

Psalm 139 1:4

O LORD, you have searched me
       and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
       you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
       you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue
       you know it completely, O LORD.

God knows our true thoughts before we open our mouth. He knows our real attitude before we begin our “yes” duty. He knows that the “yes” results in the end are going to cause more harm than good when we are really thinking no because we are worn down and give out.

This is an important lesson I have been learning over the past three years. The first two years of saying no when I knew I needed to really bothered me. I didn't want to offend or make someone not like me anymore. I even had several relapses and found myself back on the yes wagon until consequences began creeping in again.

Within the last 6-8 months my yes’s still outweigh my no’s…but 9 times out of 10 …they are healthy yes’s. They are healthy because I say no when I really know I need to. When I do that; my heart, my health and my full attention is available for that special yes moment. I have even gotten to the point where I don't feel the need anymore to offer a reason why not.

Recognizing when an unhealthy “Yes” is hurting our Spiritual relationship or personal relationship and trusting “No” will be okay,  benefits not only those most important to us…but in the end it also makes us healthier.

Are you a woman who has learned to say no when you feel you need to? Can you say no guiltlessly?

If you are a constant Yes woman…what can you say no to this week?

Rachel

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Little Much

 

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31. Sitting on the porch in the cool Fall morning air. Spending time in God’s word with my husband

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32. A prayerful reminder on my wall that bids me farewell as I head out the door to start my day.

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33. Enjoying the works of a woman sharing her talent.

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34. Witnessing the start of a new friendship.

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35. Ooh-ing and Ahh-ing at the cuteness of God’s Creation.

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36. Seeing someone comfortable in their own skin. Happy to be exactly who they are.

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For as much “bad” that has been occurring in my life lately, the good outweighs it. For I know Who holds my every moment. I know Who sees the solutions. I know Who will bring me through. I am trusting the One who always provides and never leaves.

Rachel