How is everyone doing today?
On a rare occasion, we have been given a day off from practice again this week. This is hard for me to believe, because this has never happened to me before. I know that our gym is being used this week, but still we should be able to find a gym somewhere else in the city you would think.
Right now I am sitting in Starbucks, because our power is out in my apartment. That means I can't do much of anything around the house besides read or clean. I read some this morning, cleaned some, and then decided to go to Starbucks and get on the internet. I am so thankful for free internet :)
I figured I would write a little bit about what the Lord has been teaching me these past few months in Turkey. I have experienced a lot and seen a lot over the past seven months. Through it ALL, the Lord has been faithful. I am so thankful for the opportunity He has given me to become stronger and grow in Him through the good times and the bad. I feel like this year has been very busy, especially in the second half of the season. I have also been working on my Masters, so that has kept me busy as well. I have had my ups and downs this year, but God is good :).
The Lord has taught me more about:
1. Patience - without going into a lot of detail, this time around overseas has been full of times where I have had to exercise my patience. It has not always been easy, and sometimes rather frustrating, but praise the Lord He has allowed me to come through on the other side.
2. Thankfulness - I feel like this is a daily lesson. So many times I continue to find myself taking things for granted that I should not be. Being exposed in a different culture and seeing some of the things these people have to go through on a daily basis in eye opening. This world is becoming more and more perilous. I am thankful for the blessing of growing up in a Christian home where I have been loved and cared for from the moment I came into this world...what a blessing!!!!
There are many more things the Lord teaches me on a daily basis, but these are just a few I thought I would share.
I recently started reading through James. James is a book that I absolutely love, because I think we all can relate to many of the verses in the book. I especially like James 1. I thought I would go through James 1 and point out some things that stuck out to me :). The verses will be in red and what I write will be in black.
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
*We all have gone through trials throughout our life haven't we? I mean I don't think I know a single person who has had a smooth sailing life. I know I have had my fair share of trials. When I come out on the other side, I can definitely see the Lords hand carrying me through the whole way.
Perseverance - this is a word that I LOVE. Is it easy to persevere? NO!! The world many times tells us or encourages us to do things that we shouldn't. Do you choose to persevere and take a stand for the Lord, or do you give in and go with the crowd.
Romans 12:2 says, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God."
It is not easy to withstand conforming, but oh what a reward is waiting for those who are transformed rather than conformed. What will you choose? Do you choose transformation or are you going to choose to conform to the world around you?
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
*Do we consciously ask the Lord to help us on a daily, hourly, or minute by minute basis? We can go to the Lord anytime we want. What do you do when you need help? Try to rely on yourself or do you RUN to the ONE who can do anything. Who do you praise in times of rejoicing? Do you take the credit for yourself when something good happens to you or those around you, or do you revert all praise back to the Lord.
9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
*What are you investing in? Trivial things of this world or eternal things not of this world?
12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
*It is not easy to persevere, but WOW when we do we can see the faithfulness of the Lord. The Lord promises us His help in our time of need.
Psalm 46:1 (KJV) ” God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble “.
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
* Temptation - We are tempted by things around us daily. We are tempted to delve into worldly things - gossip, lying, cheating, back-stabbing, and the list goes on and on. What are you tempted by? Do you surrender your temptations to the Lord or do you find yourself giving into your temptations frequently. There is no way we can physically be free of temptation apart from the Lord.
16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
*"Every good and perfect gift is from above" - WOW!! Isn't this amazing? Anything and everything that is good is from the Lord. He IS good.
Listening and Doing 19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
*The Christian faith is a call to action. We should not reach a place of contentment after being saved by Jesus. No, rather we should be spurred to get out and share the name of Jesus. What are you doing for the Lord today?
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
*Don't just be a listener, but be a doer!!!
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
*Our mouths have the power to encourage or hurt. What do you find yourself saying on a daily basis? Do you say uplifting things or do you say discouraging things.
Okay, well my roommate just informed me that our power is now back on. I have been busy at work for about an hour working on this blog and have enjoyed it. Day #2 of March Madness starts up here shortly.
My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.— Psalm 71:8 (NIV)
Thoughts on Today's Verse...Our mouths can be filled with food, profanities, or gossip. Or ... we can choose for our mouths to be filled with praise for God and his loving grace. We can talk about many things and speak to many different people about many different subjects. Or ... we can choose to declare the greatness, majesty, and splendor of our heavenly Father all during our day. Why don't we choose to praise God with our mouths and tell him of his greatness and let others know of his grace as we go about today's activities?
My Utmost For His HIghest:
Be serious in your commitment to God and gladly leave everything else alone. Literally put God first in your life.
Our Daily Bread:
Revenge restrained is a victory gained.