Monday, November 26, 2012

What Will They Think of Me?


For the past few weeks, I've been posting occasional entries from my personal journal just before I went on Survivor in 2007.  I've also posted a reflection from today, some scripture and some questions for you to ask yourself. Today I'm sharing an entry that was written just four days before we left for China:

June 11, 2007

Just four more days until I leave for China! As excited as I am about this opportunity, I must admit I’m having a tough time thinking of leaving my husband and children for so long! I was at my Mom’s yesterday and she had an older woman there visiting. She knows I’m going away for about two months and she said, “I can’t believe you’re going to leave your family without you for so long!” in sort of a judgmental tone. I immediately said “You know, I realize that it’s going to be hard, but when God calls you to do something, you do it. I have to TRUST that He is going to work it all out and give us what we need to survive this”. She then said “Well, if that’s how you feel about it, you’ll be fine.” That was the first of many comments I’m sure I’ll be hearing in the next few months. I need to just be strong and remember that what counts is what GOD thinks, not me and not anyone else. I know He is calling me to do this and I know He will be glorified.

I’m starting to feel like I’m nesting like I did before I gave birth to my kids. I want everything straightened up before I go. I want to be able to leave my family with as little to do as possible, if only for a little while. It’s a tough one though because this house is a complete disaster area right now! I’m going to be very busy this week! I pray, Lord, that they will not be resentful or frustrated by my absence.

When I pray, all that comes out is “Thank you, Lord” over and over. I am really depending on the Holy Spirit right now to intercede for me because I’m having a difficult time focusing. 

God, please be with my children and my husband as I go away.  Give them strength, give them peace and remind them to pray for me as you remind me to pray for them. I love them so much and I do appreciate them – and I know I will appreciate them even more after this is all said and done. Thank you for that! Please help me not to be overwhelmed by what others will think of me during this time. I don’t want my fear of other’s opinions to rule my heart – as I know that will go against what you are trying to accomplish through me. Thank you for loving me just the way I am and for giving this to me. Thank you for the adventurous spirit you have given to me. I love you Lord! Thank you. Thank you!!

Reflection:

I heard once that when we allow other people’s opinions to rule us, we are, in a strange way, making them a god in our life. We take their opinion as truth and begin to adjust our lives to make sure we are pleasing them. I have always been a people pleaser, so this really made me think long and hard about how destructive this attitude can be. I know that is why God is so clear in His Word about the opinions of others. 

You will never be able to please everybody all of the time and if you try, you will wear yourself out. You can’t do it. It’s impossible. But it is possible to please God. He looks at your heart – something others cannot see. He knows your motives – something others cannot know. He sees the whole package and others can only see in part.

When I began to realize this truth, my life was set free on a whole new level. I realized that the world was never going to see me the way God does, and I stopped caring so much. It was liberating!

Truth for Today:

Galatians 1:10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.

Romans 2:29 ….a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.

Isaiah 2:22 Don’t put your trust in mere humans. They are as frail as breath. What good are they?

John 5:41 (Jesus speaking)Your approval means nothing to me, because I know you do not have the love of God in your hearts.

What About You?

Are you constantly trying to please others? How is that working out for you? Have you ever run up against
opposition in doing something you know God has plainly told you to do? How did you respond?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Respecting Authority

I don't talk politics very often. If I were completely honest, I'd say I don't talk about them because I don't understand a lot of it. I know the gist of it all and I do my best to stay informed. But it doesn't consume me. I'm not an activist in the political arena but I take my responsibilities as a voting American very seriously and do my very best as a busy wife and mother to make informed choices and vote according to my morals and values. But talking politics has never been one of my favorite pastimes and usually I avoid the subject out of a desire to keep unity. 
That said, I have something that has been brewing in my heart that I feel I must say.  I see emails, posts of disrespect and jabbings at our President on social networking sites and even hear people put him down, roll their eyes and become very judgmental of what he is doing in social settings. I think that there is a feeling in the air that if you are an "Evangelical", you have to slander President Obama and put him down. I've even heard rumors in circles that he could be the Anti-Christ. Could we honestly be more disrespectful that we are? I mean, I don't agree with all he stands for, but he is our President and will be now for another four years. He's a human being whom God created and appointed to lead our country at the present time. God has His reasons, and I trust that He is in control.

I read what the Bible, our life-giving, truth-giving, personal letter from our Father in Heaven had to say about the subject. Please, take time to read this and let it sink into your heart, asking the Lord to break down any prejudice, agendas or preconceived notions....

Romans 13:1-2 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted and will be punished. 

Titus 3:1-2 Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.

1 Peter 2:13-14 For the LORD's sake, respect all human authority - whether the king as head of state, or the officers he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.

1 Timothy 2:1-3 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.

I will stop there, but want to express, also that if you look at the stories of the great leaders of the Bible - Joseph, Nehemiah, Esther, Daniel, etc...you will find that every single one of them respected and submitted to the authority that was above them. Because of their submission and humble attitude, they found favor in the sight of not only the kings and leaders, but in the sight of God and all without compromising their values and morals. 

All this does not mean that we are to disobey God in situations where the law of man may conflict with the law of God (Acts 4:18-20; 5:40) but we are told to continue to respect government authority—even when those in positions of authority have abused their offices.

Could it be that we have it all wrong? Can we take a minute and examine ourselves? Please? For the sake of unity not only in our churches but in our communities and our country? Our hate and unloving jabs at our government are doing us more harm than good. It seems very divisive and contradictory to what we, as believers, are supposed to be about.

We cannot ever forget that Jesus had His harshest words for the Pharisees (Religious people), not the "sinners". For instance, He tells the Pharisees in Matthew 23:23 "What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens but you ignore the more important aspects of the law - justice, mercy and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things."

Could it be that in our quest to do the right thing, we have sidestepped an even more important thing? Are we showing mercy to those we oppose? Are we being loving in our approach? Gentle? Humble? Patient? Why are we so surprised when people sin and make wrong choices? Doesn't Jesus tell us specifically in Matthew 15:19 that "from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying and slander?" Maybe instead of putting people down and being angry, we could show mercy and faith in our God and pray for them? We cannot forget whom our battle is against (Ephesians 6) here - and it's not these people in leadership!

I believe we tend to focus so much on what others are doing wrong and don't spend enough time and energy focusing on and living out what we know is right. We spend so much time fighting with people and instead, maybe we should be fighting for them, on our knees in prayer?

I pray God will forgive me for my attitude toward my leaders at times. I thank Him for showing me the Scriptures and setting me straight. I urge you from the bottom of my heart - let's all respect and submit to our government and pray for our leaders, not put them down and disrespect them - for the LORD's sake.

Now maybe you can see why I don't talk politics much. (smile)

Daniel 4:32.....The Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone He chooses.



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