Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Sickness Within - Envy

Who hasn’t been envious at some point in time? Pastor Scott was correct in saying it starts when we’re young. I remember my dad comparing being envious to feeling sorry for yourself. He always taught me that no matter how bad you have it, someone else has it worse. And no matter how much you have someone will always have more.

When I was young the big show to watch to find out how “the other half” lived was Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Now everywhere you turn you are trying to be sold a life that you should want. Even MTV has a show targeted towards kids called Teen Cribs. When I see that kind of stuff on TV it really makes me ill. I am truly happy for them. The adults and teens have some really cool stuff. I would rather that they do a show about teens giving to worthy causes, or using what they have to make someone else besides themselves happy. No one is privileged just for their own purposes.

I do believe that a time when people can get envious, who don’t normally struggle with envy, is when it seems that someone else is receiving the prayer request they have been praying for. I know that I have had to check myself in this area. I can remember vividly seeing a woman in church and wanting something she had. I didn’t really know her, I just knew of her. I had no idea the life struggles she had been through and was currently going through when I thought her life must be perfect. A year later I did get to know her and found out I didn’t want her life. It wasn’t that she was a fake or putting on a face for church. Her life wasn’t without heartache she just chose not to feel sorry for herself and put her faith in God.

Isn’t that the greatest thing about God? He can give you peace in the midst of the storm that others don’t even realize you’re facing. He can put a smile on your face when the world says cry. He restores you inside and out.

Do you struggle with envy? Have you identified an area of your life that you didn’t even realize had envy? Remember that envy is unearthly, unspiritual, and of the devil. Talk about your triple threats! The challenge for those who struggle in this area to:

Not compare yourself to others.
Celebrate the blessings in someone else’s life instead of being resentful.
Embrace God’s goodness in your life instead of ignoring it.
Be thankful right now, wherever you are at. If you are reading this you have a computer, which means you have electricity. You have the opportunity to blog about what your read, which means you have freedom of speech. That’s a lot to be thankful for!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Sickness Within - Anger

Was anyone else as guilty as I am about anger issues on Sunday? Like Pastor Scott said, "You can be a Spewer or Stewer". Which one are you?

I think I might be the worst kind. I was once a "stewer", keeping all records of any wrong doing. Then I became a "spewer". I no longer kept a record of wrong doing. Instead I became the shotgun Pastor Scott referred to. I just blew up all over the place and if I stayed around long enough then I would pick up the pieces later. I might be a better comparison to a cannonball than a shotgun.

I think the first step is really admitting you have a problem. I can't tell you how long I've been a "spewer", but my family could. I really can't remember the beginning of it because I didn't realize I even had a problem. The last couple years my husband and children confronted me on it and I have been working so hard to control my temper. Although, I am far from perfect at least they are able to talk and tease me about it now.

For me the scariest part of my actions is that I am trying to raise two children. Do I really want them to grow up and be like me or even marry someone like me? No! However, if this is what they grow up with, they will begin to think my actions are "normal". I may be able to hide my temper from some people and you might be able to as well, but you cannot hide it from your family and especially your children.

Pastor Scott says often, "The question is not whether or not you are being watched. It is whether or not you should be followed". I want to be followed as a Godly woman. I don't want to be followed as someone who has control issues, but can't control her own temper. We have to admit our faults and work on our weaknesses. "The LORD is compassionate and gracious; slow to anger, abounding in love." Psalms 103:8

I pray that God will continue to work on us all. I pray that we take this kind of wrong anger and turn it into sanctified anger that leads us to do righteous acts. I pray that we may all become more like Him.

Melissa - Mid Week Minder Team

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mom's Rock!

I thought Pastor Scott did an excellent job on Sunday thanking moms for all we do. The cookies the children handed out were great! Mother's Day was a good day. Yet I know for some, Mother's Day is the saddest day of the year.

I just wanted to say to all the women out there who are struggling to have a child we have not forgotten you and neither has Jesus. Many times in the Bible it tells the story of a woman who cannot have children. I think of Samuel's mom who cried out and prayed so intensely that the priest thought she was drunk. So many times God made the impossible possible and he is still doing the same miracles today. If you don't believe me you need to speak to an awesome lady in our church named Brandi Saunders. She and her twin sons are proof that there is not a day of miracles only a God of miracles.

There is another group of ladies that I wanted to reach out to and that is those mothers who have lost a child. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as well. I won't claim to know the pain you have faced, but my God does. He gave His only child for us. He watched His child be mocked, abused, and tortured so that we could spend eternity with Him. My God knows every tear you've cried and He can give you the peace you need and the strength to face every day.

No matter where you are in the journey of motherhood there is a theme that Pastor Scott gave on Sunday and that is not to become bitter. Whatever you are going through, if you become bitter you open yourself up to a world of hurt. However, if you can focus on God rather than your troubles, God is so faithful to give you the peace that passes all understanding. Bitterness will rob you of the joy of the Lord which is your strength, and as a mom you need all your strength. Give your burdens and cast your cares on the Lord daily.

Melissa - Mid Week Minder Team

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hope for Your Finances

Well it just figures that I miss the Sunday where M&M’s were handed out! Seriously though, what a great message with awesome testimonies. Truly there is nothing too difficult for my God.

I certainly will not add to what Pastor Scott said as I am no expert. I will encourage anyone who has not made the commitment to give to start today. God is waiting to show you what He can do with so little. It is more than what He can do for you with the 90% you have left. It is about what can be accomplished for His kingdom even though He asks for so little.

I often wonder how my tithe will serve the kingdom from week to week. Will my 10% and missions money make it possible to bring someone to the Lord, or clothe and feed someone, make it possible for someone to have a Bible, or travel around the world to help someone I don’t know and will never meet about the love of Jesus Christ? I have heard some compare tithing to paying the electricity bill. I would say to them, “Would you want to go without electricity in your own home for one day?”, so why should the church go without it? The fact is if that is all my tithe went to it would be worth it. With the power of electricity our church can have the lights on to invite people in, and the sound works so people can hear us praise in the streets. We provide a cool place in the summer and a warm place in the winter for a couple of hours to those who would otherwise not have an escape.

I also want to offer encouragement to those who are faithful in giving yet may be struggling right now in your finances. We have all heard the story of Job, but I am also encouraged by the story of the woman in 2 Kings. Her story begins in chapter 4, but I will write about what happened to her in chapter 8. The Lord called a famine in Israel and Elisha told the woman to take her family and move to another country. When the famine ended 7 years later the king gave her land back to her plus the value of any crops harvested during her absence. The king ordered that everything she lost be restored to her. How many of us long to have our finances restored by the Lord?

I myself cling to this story. I am reminded that the Lord doesn’t just “make things better”. He restores. He gives what doesn’t seem possible. Do not forget His faithfulness to you in the past. Do not forget what He has already done in your life. I have to remind myself that if the Lord never blessed me again, if He never answered another prayer, He is still worthy of all my praise for everything He has already given me and everything He has delivered me from. This place is not my home.

But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. Isaiah 40:31 (Amplified Bible)