Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lent--A Season of prayer and fasting?!?

I went to church on Ash Wednesday without planning to give up anything for Lent. I just have found the Ash Wed. service to be a great reminder of the need to repent and to prepare to celebrate Christ's resurrection. At this service, when the pastor prayed and mentioned fasting I felt a prodding in my spirit. Immediately following the prodding I felt a digging in of the heels in my flesh. Surely, God doesn't want me to fast, not from food.

I could fast from sugar. Or from the computer (I've only blogged 3 times this month anyway), what about giving up books. After much waffling (it's not a coincidence that waffling is a food word!) I decided to do it.

I'm fasting from 4pm until breakfast. What a tough decision! I'm not going to tomorrow's chick-chat, because I'm afraid I'd end up eating. On Good Friday, our church will perform our Easter drama followed by KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUTS. Here's a great reason for me to fast: food has a hold on me! I want to see God topple this idol in my life!

I'm also fasting from night time tv. I still may watch a movie with Rex or a special or a news report, but I'm breaking the cycle of well, it's 8:00, so let me sit down and watch a little tv. Or worse, the attitude of: I can't do _________________(fill in the blank) because my show's on.

During this season of repentance and learning discipline, I plan to read Elisabeth Elliot's Discipline the Glad Surrender again.

I certainly don't think it's necessary to observe Lent. I certainly don't expect anyone else to do it. It isn't a have to, but I love that this year it has spurred me to seek God more. I look forward to knowing God more and serving Him more wholeheartedly.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Baking cookies with God

Sunday morning in church we were singing You Are God Alone. When we sang the line that says, "You are not a God dependent on any mortal man" I was praising God in my heart that He lets me help Him even though He doesn't need my help. Suddenly I had the most beautiful picture of what God allows us because of His great love.

I remembered a couple of weeks ago when I was baking cookies for my father in law's birthday. Timothy climbed up in a chair beside the counter and asked to help; then Nathan joined us. I didn't need help. In fact, I could have finished much more quickly and with less mess if I'd just done it myself. So why didn't I send the boys to do something else?

-They really wanted to help, and I didn't want to disappoint them.
-I enjoy spending time with them.
-They will need kitchen skills at some point. They may even need to teach those skills to someone else.
-They were able to see me doing something in a different light. They got to know a different aspect of me (Mom-the cook)
-There's no better way to teach values and impart self-confidence than to just do it as you go.

So many of these are ways that we benefit from doing God's work with Him. We get to spend time with Him and know Him better. We learn skills that further His kingdom. We might even get to teach them to someone else. We get to know God better.

I see what is sometimes a real difference, too. See, my boys love to help me or their dad work. When my husband is home, the boys follow him so closely as he walks through the house, that if he stops walking the boys (and the dog) run right into him. At Walmart on Saturday the boys loaded the cart for me (It was killing me to let them do it!!!). It is important to them to be with us, working alongside of us. Even my teenage daughter likes to hang out with me in the kitchen. Cooking and dishwashing time are when we have our best talks.

I am not always as enthusiastic about working alongside my heavenly Father, as my kids are about helping me. I've even been known to ask God, "Are you kidding?!?" I'm not chomping at the bit to do His will because I've got my own way planned.

I'm so glad He's never selfish like I'm prone to be. See, there are too many times when I tell my kids, "You go play. Let me do this." But God pulls a chair up to the counter and says, "You wanna' help me make some disciples? Do you wanna' help me bless someone who's sick or hurting?"

I want to have a heart like my kids. A heart that longs to spend time with my Heavenly Daddy, working with You and getting to know You better. I want, too, to be the kind of parent you are. I want to patiently teach and encourage my kids. I love you.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Look where you're going!!!

I can't begin to remember how many times someone has said to me, "Look where you're going!" Seriously, I just don't pay attention like I should. In driver's ed my instructor taught that when you look off to the right or to the left, you tend to steer in that direction. Yes, I ran off the road a lot when I first learned to drive.

I've been thinking today that when I look at myself, I run off the road of my Christian walk. See, I want to be like Jesus. I want to know Him. I want to act like Him. I want to live for Him. As long as I focus on Him, I move in that direction. But just as soon as I look at me, I get off course.

When I think, "I'll never get this aspect of my life right." I start to dwell on that thing. Lo and behold, suddenly that area of my life gets more and more out of control. Maybe it's not even negative thinking. Maybe I'm thinking about improving myself. My goal isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if I focus more and more on this thing that I want to change, and less and less on Christ. Then, at some point, I've lost my bearings and I've started to drift away from Jesus.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2