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I Don’t Know Any Better

notresspassing

Today, I’ve been reflecting on pride and how each of us can easily get entangled in it.  I dove into Proverbs 16 and first went to verse 18-19, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.  Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.”  After I read those verses, I decided to read the whole chapter.  It’s full of wisdom, of course, but how often do I actually follow instruction and allow for God to lead?  The chapter reminds me that my plans aren’t Gods plans.  I think I know best and actually end up ruining things or missing the mark.  I know that God knows best, but that doesn’t mean that I always trust Him.  I am a scheduler, I have my day planned out in my head, what I’m going to do first and the order I’m going to do things in.  I don’t know why I won’t stop being that way because my plans get wrecked most of the time.  I kick, scream, cuss, and resist when things don’t go my way.  God probably looks at me and just shakes His head and laughs.  God’s plans are greater than mine, instead of throwing a fit; I need to follow the current of change.  There’s a reason He’s switched my itinerary around.   He may be protecting me against something; he may be leading me in the path of someone I wouldn’t have met if I kept my schedule, or he may be trying to teach me something.

Any way you look at it, simply put, I don’t know any better than God.  In Proverbs 16, I’m reminded that God does have a plan for me and he wants me to seek him for instruction and guidance.  He wants me to trust and follow him, even when it goes against the grain of what I want.  If I think I know better than God, that’s pride.  That’s saying, “God, you don’t know what you’re talking about, let me handle this.” When I follow my own path, I get in trouble and I really screw things up.  If I’m off the path, I’m walking into unprotected areas; it’s like climbing the fence when the warning sign is visible.  It clearly says to keep out, but if I decide to not listen, I have to be prepared to face the consequences.

When I was a kid, if I saw a “No Trespassing” sign, I completely ignored it.  It tempted me to go over the boundaries.   I wanted to push my limits and see what I was supposed to stay away from.   I climbed fences with barbed wire.  I propped up electric fence lines to slide myself under the lowest line, just to brag that I crossed over.  I jumped over the cow fence to get the bulls to chase me.  I loved danger, but it almost got me in big trouble a lot of times.  One time, I remember an older man came out with a shotgun and started shooting in mine and my cousin’s direction.  We took off running and hid in some high grass until he left.  A lot of the times I stepped in cow manure running from the bulls, I’d have to try and clean it off my shoes before I got home because mom got rather upset when I messed up my clothes.  I did some pretty stupid things just to get a thrill.  That’s how sin is; it entices you to just try something you are clearly told not to do.  The first sin recorded was when Eve didn’t listen to God’s instruction and ate from the tree of knowledge anyway.  She wanted to know what it was like and then we all know what happened from there.  She decided to detour from God’s path and ended up regretting her decision.  I’ve had too many moments like that in my life, if we are all honest, everyone has.  Satan’s greatest weapon is pride which leads to temptation, that savory perfume that pulls us toward failure.  How do we correct that?  We admit that we were wrong and we go back in the right direction and follow God’s path.  It hurts to admit failure, but it hurts worse to continue in it, hide it and get trapped by our stupid pride.  When we admit our mistakes, we are humbling ourselves and recognizing that we don’t know better than God.  Humility is the sweet fragrance from our Heavenly Father, that enables us to do an about face and rebuild our relationship with Him.

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Posted by on November 29, 2014 in Life, Spiritual Reflections

 

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Choose your own Adventure

chooseadventureI used to read the “Choose your own Adventure” stories from the library when I was a kid. I liked the fact that I could read along the same storyline and see how one decision could tailspin the story into another path or series of adventures. Sometimes, I would get aggravated if I chose something that would end drastically or abruptly. But, I was satisfied that I could return to the page before the decision and change the outcome with the other choice. There are times in my own life that I wish that I could’ve done the same with my personal story. Are there particular chapters in your journey that you would’ve chosen to erase if you could?

I imagine the author of the adventure series has the perfect plot laid out first before he adds the side stories. He probably ultimately hopes the reader will pick the right storyline that makes the greatest adventure. But instead, he gives the reader the free will to decide which path to take.

When I used to read the series, I often picked what I knew would bring a bad outcome. I did it because I wanted to push the limits of the story. Sometimes, I was just ready for the story to end because of boredom. I’ve done the same thing in my own life. I’ve come upon decisions and picked the wrong one, fully knowing it would be a bad choice. I did it out of curiosity, rebellion, or selfishness. I did it to see if I somehow could change the outcome, even though the Author already knew where the outcome would lead.

Thinking through all of this, I’m reminded of this passage, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV

There are other times in my life that I let fear of the unknown stall me on a page in life. I’d lay the book down and sit down on the journey. I wanted to choose the safe path when Jesus wanted me to pursue His adventure. He reminds me that He is the author of my faith to step into those unknown pages. I need to hang onto the next word as he writes it and trust him to make it all end with an outcome that I could never do on my own. Why? Because he is also the finisher of that faith. He already knows where the path leads and he’s excited for me to follow that path instead of me choosing my own. He knows the beauty at the end of the story. And those chapters I messed up, no longer matter because of his grace and love. He uses them to remind me of where I came from and to be cautious with veering from his lead. Ultimately, if I want the best story, then I need to I look to Him to lead me through it.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2014 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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Danger in disguise

snake

Dreams always intrigue me.  Sometimes they are just nonsense, but other times I think they have hidden meanings.  For the most part, I don’t remember dreams, but occasionally a dream will stand out, wake me up and make me think about what it meant.  Early this morning I awoke from a dream.  It bothered me and I told my husband about it.  I didn’t understand the meaning of it, but while I was at church, I felt like God revealed to me what it meant. 

I was out walking with my son; the sun was shining and bright.  We started walking by a rocky hillside.  He started veering off the path and walked clumsily on the rocky bankI told him to come back on the path and stay off the hillside.  He ignored me and started going further up the bank.  I was getting aggravated with him and started to tell him to get back down when I noticed something camouflaged and moving.  I quickly asked him to come down the bank that there was something up there.  I suddenly noticed what it was and yelled, “It’s a snake, come back down slowly away from it.”  Instead he walked further up the bank and the snake slithered toward him.  I yelled back, “Get away now.”  Instead of running, he turned around picked up the snake by the head, like he was a pro.  The snakes’ mouth opened wide and he struggled holding the snake, it was long and stronger than he thought.  In the struggle, his hand loosened enough where the snake struck and bit him on the forehead.  He dropped the snake and it slithered away as I ran and grabbed him.  My son is twelve years old, once the snake bit him and I ran to him he transformed to about the age of six.  I picked him up and carried him to a bench; I cradled him in my arms and evaluated the bite.  I was starting to panic when someone came to me with a book.  It was a picture book of snakes.  They asked me to point out what the snake looked like.  I opened the book and immediately saw the snake I thought it was.  I pointed to it and said this one.  It was a non-venomous snake.   The person shook their head and said, “No, it wasn’t that.  It was a rattlesnake.  There are slight differences.”  Meanwhile, I look at my son and he’s very pale and shaking.  The person who showed me the book said, “I’m a doctor.  Keep him calm.  I’m going to go get the anti-venom.”  I drew my son close to my chest cried and told him that I loved him and not to worry the doctor was getting medicine for him.”  Then I woke up.

 

What God told me later about this dream is that sometimes when we are teaching someone and trying to keep them on the path that God wants them to be on they may stumble.  You try and encourage them to get back on the path and they decide not to take your advice.  Then you see them about to get hurt, while they don’t even notice that danger is at their heel.  You warn them but they decide to take matters into their own hands.  When this happens they get hurt.  How you react to it determines what will happen with them.  If they are hurt and have done something stupid, you can yell at them and tell them that it was dumb for them to do that or you can pick them up and dress their wounds.  When you start looking at the wounds, you can see how much damage is done.  The person that came in with the book and asked you to point out the snake was a doctor.  You thought you knew exactly which snake it was or what the cause is to their wound.  But, the doctor corrects you and shows you its more serious than you think.  He asks you to take care of him while he gets the medicine.  The doctor is God, the only true healer.  My job was to keep him calm and love on him while God got the antidote. 

In the dream, I was getting upset because my son wasn’t listening.  When he got hurt, I could’ve kept kicking him while he was down by hurling harsh words at him but instead because I loved him greatly, I pulled him away from the situation and loved him.  I am a youth leader, so this spoke to me a lot.  I can deal with kids two different ways when they mess up.  How I deal with them can determine whether I get them to the doctor in enough time to be healed.  The bottom line is to show grace and love, it’s the quickest way for them to see the great physician. 

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2013 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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Muddy thoughts formed

Last year on October 16th, I embarked on a new journey in my life, I started teaching and leading the teens in my church.  Our first night together, my husband and I had a friend come and demonstrate how pottery works.  Prior to the lesson, I told the kids to wear clothes they didn’t mind messing up and left them in the dark as to what was going on.  I wanted them to anticipate what we were going to do and keep them guessing.  Once they arrived, we had a quick discussion and lesson in the fellowship hall.  We discussed the direction of the youth group and what we hoped to accomplish throughout the year. Afterwards we led them into the youth center and they saw everything set up.  Our friend Mark sat at the wheel and started to explain the process of making a pot.  Everyone had a turn at the wheel, some succeeded and others flopped.  Upon remembering this night and seeing it as the beginning of a new season; I see that God has had our group on the pottery wheel and has molded, formed, shaped and bent us.  He has also remolded, reformed, and reshaped us.  He’s constantly working on us as a group.  We may come to a point at times and think that He’s finished with what He has created; we are satisfied with what the pot looks like, but then He decides to improve on it.  In Isaiah 45, God uses Cyrus, a king to be the patron and deliverer of the Jews from captivity.  God also uses Cyrus to instruct them in the rebuilding of the temple.    If you read the whole chapter, God reminds us and the Jews that He is God and creator.  In verses 9-13 it says, ““It is bad for the one who works against His Maker. He is just a clay pot among the other pots of earth. Will the clay  say to the pot-maker, ‘What are you doing?’ or, your work  say, ‘He has no hands’?  It is bad for him who says to his father, ‘To what are you giving life?’ or to a woman, ‘To what are you giving birth?’”The Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, says, “Will you ask Me about the things to come for My children? Will you tell Me about the work of My hands? I made the earth, and made man upon it. I spread out the heavens with My hands, and put all the stars in their places. I have sent Cyrus to do what is right and good. And I will make all his ways smooth. He will build My city and without any money will set My people free who were taken away,” says the Lord of All.”

Being a leader is intimidating at times for me, but I lean on God to direct my paths with this group.  I try to listen and seek Him in all decisions, in what to teach, what to say, and what not to say.  I learn more and more every day that I am not in control, but God is.  He has taught me numerous lessons throughout the year.  He has given me strength when I feel helpless. He has given me instruction when I have no idea what to do.  He has given me great love for each of the teens that have been involved in this group.  He shows me strengths of individuals.  He teaches me that we are all a work in progress.  He has connected us with people and led us on many expeditions.  He stretches me into things I never imagined doing.  He is God, He knows all. He is the beginning and the end.  He knows the whole story and each individual story.  He is the greatest teacher, the everlasting Father, the most amazing artist,  and the sweetest Lover we can ever know.  He is God!

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Spiritual Reflections, Youth

 

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