Tag Archives: self

Let’s LOVE- Advent 2

Let’s LOVE- Advent 2

This week is the second week of Advent. Last week I lit the internet candle for HOPE, and now I light it for LOVE. So let’s love this week.

let's love

 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8, NIV).

What more love do we need to see than this? – Christ died for us.

I learned a few things in our sermon last Sunday (they seem to have the order different than my church in Canada. They started with LOVE.

Christmas is the middle of the story. We need to know [the whole story from] the beginning. (sermon)

The story of a baby in the manger is actually rooted in deep sorrow in the heart of God. (sermon)

So we read from Genesis 6:6 and hear the sorrow in God’s voice. Listen to the message version:

 God saw that human evil was out of control. People thought evil, imagined evil—evil, evil, evil from morning to night. God was sorry that he had made the human race in the first place; it broke his heart. God said, “I’ll get rid of my ruined creation, make a clean sweep: people, animals, snakes and bugs, birds—the works. I’m sorry I made them.”

OH my that is sorrow. BUT, he found Noah –

But Noah was different. God liked what he saw in Noah.

And that changed everything.

Because of Noah, the earth got a reprieve.
The plan was in place for the redemption of man by Jesus.
That’s LOVE. (tweet this)

So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that (Galatians 2:20, The Message)

I had to highlight those words – My ego is no longer central. I pray for a working in that. And Christ lives in me. I know that and praise God for it. I’m learning the phrase: Let’s love.

God made us to love Him,  but we have fallen short of that and replaced the love of God with the love of self. (tweet this)

Me again. I always get in the way. Do you?

I know I can’t change myself but God is doing a work in me. Praise Him. Thank You Jesus.

I’ve been reading A.W. Tozer.

The whole work of God in redemption is to undo the tragic effects of that foul revolt, and to bring us back into right and eternal relationship with Himself (Tozer, The Pursuit of God).

So here I am faced with the amazing love of God and know that I need to learn that love. The world pulls me in other places.

I need to stop and look to God and not the world. I need to be different. I need to learn, let’s love.
(tweet this)

This past week I podcasted on Hope Stream Radio about HOPE – lighting of the first Advent candle. You can listen here. I talk about being counter-cultural. And I think that comes into each of the words of Advent – hope, love, joy and peace.

let's love

Let’s be different. Let’s reach out. Let’s love this Christmas. Let’s be generous. (tweet this)

Let's love

Let’s help out. Let’s smile at one another. Let’s see the 1/2 full glass.
(tweet this)

I think if we can radically love, we can be radically generous of our time and God’s money.

The question is not how much of my money I give to God, but rather how much of God’s money I keep for myself (Le Tourneau).

And then we hear about Aleppo. What can I say but pray and pray some more.

Love isn’t some impossible theory to us but the theology we’re actually called to incarnate ~Ann Voskamp

So people of the world, of all faiths, stand #WithAleppo and call on our governments to take action at an international level, including in the UN General Assembly, to provide practical support to facilitate the delivery of aid to the civilians and children of Aleppo ~ Ann Voskamp A Holy Experience

Personally I am working at “let’s love” by wearing a dress every day so I can fundraise for The Dunamis Foundation and pray for those caught in the evils of human trafficking.

simply-wear-a-dress

I am working on “let’s love” by making dolls to go with my children’s book The Kingdom of Thrim. The money will go to Save the Mothers.

Let's Love

 

I podcasted on LOVE. You can find it at What Does The Love of God Look LIke? (tweet this)

Today is Word of God Speak

Join us with your posts about God.

 


Sunday Stillness – Are deceivers blinding You to God’s purpose for your life?

Sunday Stillness – Are deceivers blinding You to God’s purpose for your life?

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Photo from Free Digital Photos.net

 

I am continuing to study Titus using the SIMPLE Method of Bible Study and Ed Hird’s book Restoring Health. Today I am working through Titus 1:11.

If you want a PDF of the SIMPLE Bible Study –
please click on SIMPLE Bible Study by Janis Cox.

 

REstoring Health ed hird cover

Of course, I start with a prayer for God to open the Scripture to me.

S – Say the passage aloud.

They must be silenced because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach – and that for the sake of dishonest gain (Titus 1:11, NIVUK).

I – Identify the characters, the setting, and the circumstances surrounding this passage.

Since we have been following Titus verse by verse, if you are new here, you will need to go back to the beginning to better understand the characters, setting and circumstances.

Continuing from the last verse from last week:

They = mere talkers and deceivers

These deceivers are teaching things they ought not to teach.

M- Make a list of the thoughts, questions and ideas.

So how do we silence them? Everyone is involved – whole households. I wonder who the “they” were in Paul’s day. Were they people who knew God but started their own ideas? Or were they people who wanted to have people follow them – for the sake of dishonest gain. So they pretended to be “like” the apostles but without the sound doctrine of Jesus.

Were they Jewish rabbis who were following so closely to the rules they forgot to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with their God? (Micah 6:8) Remember Jesus got very angry when they turned the temple into a marketplace – Church is supposed to be a House of God.

I look at all that can deceive us. There is plenty. We have so much vying for our attention – TV, videos, movies, social media, sellers, Facebook ads, – all taking us on rabbit trails (some good some bad).

This all reminded me of Satan’s Letter.

What takes us away from the TRUTH – that we follow Jesus? Are we holding firmly to the trustworthy message as we have learned it from Jesus? (Titus 1:9)

P – Pray again for God’s guidance.

Make sure when you do this study that you take time for this step. Otherwise we are thinking our own thoughts and can be led astray.

L- Life – How can I apply what I have been studying to my life?

Deceivers come looking like goodness but they are covered up and we can’t see the truth behind them. Remember Satan is the devil in disguise. I chose the icon because Satan can  come looking like a Valentine.

the two greatest dangers to … the Kingdom of God, come from two directions, money and power… Money and power crucified Christ (E. Stanley Jones).

This reminded me again of the course by Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace. We need to get a handle on money so it doesn’t get a handle on us.

I wanted to look at all the areas of my life – all of them. Where could I be deceived?

Here is what I discovered.

POWER

That is self. I struggle with self sometimes, many times. I have to keep asking myself, am I going this for God or me?

SOCIAL MEDIA

I must watch how much time I spend on this. Which one should I focus on?

PROCRASTINATION

Of course I do what I like to do first, or what is most pressing. But maybe I need to stop and ask God where I need to focus my attention for that time?

ACTIVITIES/STUFF

God is really speaking to me about this. Is there something else I need to lay down?

About 10 years ago I heard my LIFE VERSE, “feed my lambs”. I have been trying to do this but I do go on rabbit trails. That is why this year my goal is to be Intentional to Restore my focus on God.

So in December I decided to stop writing for Inscribe, stop Under the Cover of Prayer, stop Family and Faith Matters.

I picked up being a contributor to Hope Stream Radio each Tuesday. I hope you listen to this wonderful online radio station.

And I keep hearing, do Sunday Stillness.

Of course then there are projects I need to still work on this. Which ones?

E – Exit the passage with a prayer for God to help you.

Lord, all of the things I am involved in are good things but they may not be where you want me to spend my time. Help me to wrestle through this. I am asking for clarification of the truth – the real road. Please point me in the right direction. Help me to learn the best way to “feed your lambs”. Help me clearly see and hear the deceivers. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Tweetable:

Are deceivers blinding you to God’s purpose for your life? (click tweet) 

2015 – my year for being intentional to focus on God’s plan (click to tweet)

Today is Sunday Stillness.

Please link your post about what God has been teaching you. And please remember to visit your neighbour, leave comments and get to know more people in this group. We are a growing community of believers.

Thanks,

Janis 

JanisCox-photo2web

Janis is the author of the award winning children’s book, Tadeo Turtle, published by Word Alive Press. Available in Kindle Format, in bookstores, online and from her website. Curriculum available upon request.

Tadeo-Turtle-Cover-large-web

You can find her on Facebook, and Twitter. Tadeo has his own Facebook Page.

 

 

 

I sometimes link to:

RECOMMENDATION SATURDAY @ RENEWEDDAILY.COM
STILL SATURDAYS @SANDRAHESKAKING

PLAYDATES @LAURABOGGESS

THE WEEKEND BREW @BARBIESWIHART

TITUS TUESDAYS @CORNERSTONE CONFESSIONS

THE SUNDAY COMMUNITY – #GIVE ME GRACE @SEE SPEAK HEAR MAMA

Spiritual Sundays – @Spiritual Sundays 

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ARE YOU ASHAMED TO PRAY?

Ashamed to Pray

by Jennifer Slattery (reprinted with permission)

Are You Too Ashamed to Pray?

Each day, we are engaged in a cosmic battle, a battle over self. It is a war between entitlement and sacrifice, between self-love and sacrificial love. And each day, God gives us a choice–to squelch His Spirit, His love, His still small voice as we fight for our rights, or to lay it down, allowing Him to reign and love others through us.

Most of the time, I believe we’re oblivious to the consequences. Consumed with ourselves, we don’t even notice the woman in the grocery aisle, the man at the gas station, or perhaps our spouse coming home from work discouraged and exhausted.

In each encounter, God is whispering, tugging, urging us on as His ambassadors. Unfortunately, (if you’re anything like me) the inner voice of self-love often screams louder.

Two weeks ago, our family took a trip to Odenton, Maryland to visit family. It was a wonderful time of fun and exploration–a time for me to see my brother, whom I hadn’t in over five years. But amidst our fun, I soon found myself on a cosmic battleground.

All week, God had impressed on my heart the need to lay myself down, to seek not my own glory, not my will, but His. To be like a wildflower tucked in a nook in the valley, ever-growing, reaching for the sun, even if no one notices.

And then Friday came–our last day in Maryland. I started the day at a surrender zenith, ready to die to myself and be an active instrument of God’s mercy and grace. I was determined to live out the truth God had showed me one morning in 1 Peter chapter four.

“So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God”  (1 Peter 4:1-2, NLT). (Emphasis mine.)

As I read the passage, I thought of a dear sister in Christ dying of brain cancer. She’s going through a rough time. She’s lost her sight, and her speech has become difficult. But through it all, her heart remains centered in Christ. Each day, her life shouts out His praises and points everyone around her to the cross.

I wanted to be like her! To praise God regardless of what I faced, to be so surrendered to Him, so focused on His love and purposes, that my life radiates His love and glory.

My determination was quickly undone, not by a fight against cancer but instead, something as trivial as crab cakes. And because of my quickly rising self-love, I tainted Christ’s name.

That afternoon, we decided to begin a search for crab-cakes. My husband had heard Baltimore was famous for them. This was the one thing he’d been looking for, the one thing he longed to do before we headed home. Being the loving, supportive, self-sacrificing … (uh-hem. I shift uncomfortably and avoid your gaze) wife I … long to be, I wholeheartedly agreed, and we all climbed into vehicles and headed downtown.

Stepping out of the van and into a dingy and smelly parking lot, my grumble meter sky-rocketed. When we reached street level, things–and the smell–got worse. I clutched my purse to my chest, and my sister and I exchanged glances.

“Can we go somewhere else?” I’m sure my voice held a pleading tone.

All the women agreed. So, we clamored back into our vehicles and drove to the harbor, filled with numerous clean restaurants–any one of which would mesh well with my germo-phobe preferences. Yes, I was pleased. This would do quite nicely.

But unfortunately, we kept walking, past the  trendy harbor area with its cute shops and alluring smells to a busy intersection lined with brick buildings. Memories of Lexington Street still fresh in my mind, I watched the clean–did I mention clean?–restaurants face behind us, my agitation growing. Snippets of my morning devotion came to mind, calling me to die to myself, embracing each moment (bacteria and all) in full surrender. Relinquishing all rights and expectations.

But I wasn’t listening. I was too focused on me.

The restaurant we ended up at was anything but five-star. The bathroom smelled as if it had been doused in urine. The carpet looked as if it’d been splotched with car grease, and the menus needed to be soaked in sanitizer. It was three o’clock, well past lunchtime, and I was starved … and a bit queasy, as my germo-phobiness waged war with my hunger.

Sitting with a firm scowl, arms crossed, nose wrinkled, I didn’t hide my disgust well. Oh, what a role model I was for my daughter!

And then it came time to pray.

The reality of my witness–or lack there of–hit me in the gut. I thought of the waitress who watched me, frumping, wanting to be anywhere else but there. Did I want her to know I was a Christian? Or would it be better, for Christ’s sake, if she didn’t?

Last Thursday, Nikki Arana asked a powerful question:

“Would you share your faith if it cost you your life?” (You can read her post here.)

I’ve often wondered about that–how I would respond if I lived in a country filled with persecution. If, because of my faith, I faced unemployment, physical pain, or even death. I don’t have an answer, but I do know, in the day-to-day when I am called to *live out* my faith as Christ’s ambassador, I often fall short. Not in the face of extreme danger, but instead, in the face of self, over something as trivial as crab cakes.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, help me to die to myself, not just in the big, courageous moments, but in those day-to-day encounters–standing in line at a grocery store or eating at a dirty restaurant. Help me, in all things, to be alert to my witness. Help me to radiate your sacrificial love–the love that drove you to a cross, for me.

 

BODILY FUNCTIONS – Sunday’s Sermon

Bodily Functions – my reflections on Sunday’s Sermon

It’s a good thing that Harry, our minister, has learned to trust in God and give Him the lead.

Today in church we had no electrical power. He knew ahead of time and had a generator working. But even with that the generator, power was lost twice,; once when we needed it for the words for singing; and another time in the middle of a talk by a member and a reading of the Scripture.

Harry kept cool through the whole service. Never once did we think that it bothered him. After the service, he said, “it was tough.” We didn’t notice as his sense of humour and relaxed attitude made a lovely service despite the difficulties.

Our sermon title this morning was “Bodily Functions”. Based on Romans 12:3-8 NIV.

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.  For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying,then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

Starting with Paul’s humble admission that he can only speak because of God’s grace, Paul proceeds to tell us how we can be a viable part of the church body.

What did I learn this morning?

  • Self-esteem, the buzz word of the 60s, has finally come crashing down with new research to tell us that it doesn’t do much to build a strong person. No higher grades, no better jobs or no better life – with a high self-esteem. What does seem to matter is self-control. Telling our kids how good they are all the time doesn’t help them [self-esteem building]. Praising kids when they do well and gently critiquing them when they do wrong helps build a good person [self-regulation]. Even Oprah Winfrey has reversed this point of view:

“But in recent years, researchers have found that self-esteem falls far short of its anticipated benefits. What’s more important is a sense of self-mastery—getting along in the world and knowing you can handle yourself in myriad situations.”

  • He talked about faith and how we get there. We need to be REAL and honest: Admit we are in need and then grow in our faith as our eyes are opened to who we are. It is healthy to be truthful.
  • We need to get a balance in our minds between Jesus’ teaching of humility and the world’s view of self. Paul also teaches us to use our gifts – that is self, right? So we need to balance the ability to do things well and still be humble about it.
  • God’s Spirit flows through us giving us abilities to help His Church. We don’t want to turn off that flow. Once again balance the self and humility.We need each other as part of the church. We need those who prophesy, the encouragers, the servers, the teachers, the contributors, the leaders and those who show mercy.
  • We need to find our part in the church – remember, the church is a people. We need to be willing to search out who we are and be willing to do our part to work for God’s Church. That might be stepping out in faith – being brave and pushing past the fears. But remember, too, not to get too much of self in the way so we can get along with others.

Great things to remember.

Thanks, Harry.

Here is the PODCAST. Part 1. Part 2.