Category Archives: Faith

You Talk To Much!

So, I made a mistake.

I went off the cuff and said something I shouldn’t have to someone I shouldn’t have about someone else.

Ever done that? Feel awful about it afterwards? Obviously I know the feeling!

I thought my actions were warranted and soon found out they were just a half-baked selfish reaction.

Lessons learned:

  • Sometimes it’s best to keep your opinions to yourself. In my imagination, I can see Jesus in the garden telling the father I can’t believe you stuck me with this sorry disciples! I asked them to pray for me as I prepare to sacrifice myself for them and these fellas are sleeping. Nope, instead Jesus kept his opinion to himself.
  • If you have an issue with someone, pray FIRST. Prayer will take your emotional reaction and put it in it’s proper place. Prayer will take the focus off your will and put the focus on God’s will being accomplished – remember, not my will but Your will be done.
  • If God’s response to your prayer is a specific action, then take that action. Don’t dilly dally – act right away. Don’t call three friends and get their opinion on what God told you to do. The Bible says if you have a problem with someone go to them – not your homegirl.

The saddest part about these lessons learned is that I already have learned these lessons in the past!

Realizing that I have once again fallen short and failed the same test again makes me thankful.

Thankful that God doesn’t toss us aside when we are stubborn and disobedient.

Thankful that the Holy Spirit brings conviction and helps me recognize sin as sin.

Thankful that confessing my sin brings me back into fellowship with my Savior.

Thankful that I can then toss my pride to the side and apologize to those I hurt and be reconciled to them as well.

Chanda

She Blessed Me

I just wrapped up my fourth year as a student in Bible Study Fellowship – a weekly Bible study that I attend on Wednesday morning during the school year.

This year, we studied the book of Genesis. It was an awesome study. The life applications that can be learned from this historical accounting of God’s chosen patriarchs is amazing. I have a totally new perspective on how God uses people – flawed people – to accomplish His will.

Each BSF class is made up of small groups of 10-12 people. In the past, I have been in groups were I didn’t quite connect with the ladies. We always seemed to be at different life stages. When I received my call from group leader over the summer, I was sure this year was going to be more of the same.

My group leader was a soft spoken southern belle named Dixie. I just knew I was going to be in the saintly seniors group (again) – where everyone was a grandmother and I was the only one with kids at home. My husband encouraged me and told me I was going to be surrounded by wisdom. I thanked him for his hopefulness, but I was still a bit down.

I wanted to be in a group with ladies who were in the same boat as myself – wives who want to please God and be a helper to their husband, a mom who’s striving to lead her kids to Christ, a daughter trying to find her own way and yet still honor her parents. I had high hopes for this group.

Well, I guess you can’t judge a group by the voice of it’s leader because God gave me EVERYTHING I hoped for in my small group. The BEST group of ladies, better than I could have hoped or dreamed.

And in a way that only God can do, He gave me what we call in Louisiana – a little bit of lagniappe – something extra. God gave me Dixie! The sweetest, kindest, most loving, genuine and authentic group leader EVER.

Dixie showed me what it looks like to lead by example. She showed me how to make prayer a priority in relationships with friends. She showed me that being a little of a rebel is ok. She showed me love. She mentored me. And at the end of our year together, she blessed me.

Yes, she blessed my heart with her actions and deeds and loving ways. But she actually blessed me. She wrote out a card with a prayer of blessing for me. Words that only a connected leader who took an interest in me and my life and situations would pray for me. She prayed a blessing over my future endeavors for Jesus. She blessed me.

And not just me. She took the time to bless each lady in our group. I know we will cherish our cards for years to come.

I was transformed by Genesis and Dixie. Thank you God for “seeing me” and giving me what you knew I needed when I didn’t even know what I needed myself.

 

I Saw Freedom

A couple weeks ago I attended a women’s conference at a local church. My very presence at this conference was an act of obedience to the Holy Spirit. See, my friend and I were able to attend this conference for free. The tickets were $75-$100 each, a price that neither of us was prepared to pay.

OK – here’s the whole story.

I was out running errands and I decided to stop by my church to chat with my pastor. As I got close to the church I kept thinking I shouldn’t stop by – I should make an appointment or what if he’s busy and I’m interrupting. I had about 5 different reasons pop into my head about why I should not go to the church.

When I pulled into the church I had to will my body out of the car. And then even when I rang the bell to be buzzed in, I still felt so much anxiety about being there. So when the lady inside answered the bell, with a quiver in my voice, I announced myself and the reason I was there. She told our pastor wasn’t in at the moment. I said thank you and left.

I instantly started saying to myself this is why you shouldn’t have come here. He’s not even her. You’ve just embarrassed yourself. What must they think of you now – stopping by uninvited – where are your manners!

Minutes later, I received a message saying the church had tickets to this conference if I would like to go.

At that point, I realized THAT was why the Lord sent me by the church. Not so I could spend a few minutes chatting with my pastor. But so that I would be put on the mind of the lady inside as someone who was available during the day to attend this conference.

The Lord wanted me at this conference because He needed to speak to me. See, I have always struggled with people pleasing and what others thought about me. I can mentally rationalize and understand that the opinions of others isn’t important, but little did I know at the moment that the Lord had a plan to SHOW me this concept.

The conference was held at a contemporary church – like praise team with a rock band vibe – know what I mean? The praise was awesome. The atmosphere was enthralling. The music was loud and vibrant.

At one point during the worship time, I glanced over to my right and I saw a lady in the aisle worshiping the Lord. I have never in my life seen anyone worship in this manner before.

8679927_sHer arms weren’t just raised in the way I’m so accustomed to see them.
Her head wasn’t just bowed in humbleness.
But instead she gracefully waved her arms like a skilled ballerina.
Her eyes were closed and she smiled as if she was surrounded by angels crying holy, holy, holy!
Her feet moved ever so slightly as she rhythmically swayed to the beat.
Can you see her?

She worshiped the Lord with complete abandon.
She didn’t care who watched her.
She didn’t care if the music stopped.
She didn’t care about watching the screen for the lyrics.
She just danced before Jesus!

And in watching her, I realized that I was watching freedom. And as I watched her FREEDOM just came to my mind over and over again. Freedom, freedom, freedom. This is what it looks like.

“It is for FREEDOM that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

Oh, to be free from the opinions of others!

I saw freedom. My prayer is the Lord will help me to walk in the liberty, too.

To worship Him with my whole heart. To praise Him with my whole being. To not care what others think, but only to concentrate on pleasing him.

FREEDOM! I saw it and it was beautiful!

 

Peace Unforfeited

Is unforfeited even a word? I’m thinking it’s not…but maybe you get the idea of what I mean.

At church the other night, one of the ministers sang “What a friend we have in Jesus.” It’s been a long time since I’ve heard this song. As he sang, one particular line really stood out to me.

“Oh what peace we often forfeit. Oh what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer.”

Sounds so simple. But how often have I sacrificed peace by now taking my cares to the Lord. I’ve taken my problems to friends and family and asked for their opinions and views. I’ve read the Bible and attended Bible study to hear from the Lord. I’ve even asked others to pray for me. But in my life, there have been times where I have neglected spending time with the Lord in prayer.

I know what the Bible says: Cast your cares upon Him for He cares for you. Everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving make your request known to the Lord. Pray without ceasing.

Ever since that moment, I’ve decided to stop forfeiting my peace! Peace Unforfeited as I’m fond of saying in my head. I’ve decided to make 2013 a year of purposeful prayer. For me, that means more of an intentional time of prayer. Not just quickie prayers, but practicing the discipline of praying and listening.

Chanda