Monthly Archives: November 2013

Saying good-bye

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for sale

Saying good-bye.

Do I really have to do this? This is one thing that has constantly gone through my mind over the past 2 months.  I never thought I would ever leave this place – a place, I might add, that we always joked about being “stuck in” after college. We always tell people, “yeah, once we graduated, we just stayed and never got out!” But now we have to say good-bye. If we had done this about 4 years ago, it may not have been so hard. But roots are deep. Memories are here.

I’m not trying to be too melodramatic because quite honestly, there are worse things that can happen to a person! But I’m a melancholy personality, so that means I can be a little dramatic, right? I don’t handle change well because I’m a planner (also a part of that lovely type A personality). If it wasn’t in my plans, I just kinda flip out.

For a while.

I know, it’s kind of ridiculous.

But imagine feeling like you fit so well in a place, whether it’s a job or a church or a ministry. That feeling that you are doing what you’ve been called to do and then God calls you to do something else. Yeah…that.

“Something else” doesn’t mean “entirely different” because I may end up doing the same things in our new place that I’m currently doing here (and really, it’s not about me anyway although I act like it is sometimes). So I keep asking myself why I’m still freaking out about this whole thing. If I’m honest, it’s because I have a hard time starting over. It takes me a while to warm up to someone or to a ministry. It just takes time to work yourself into friendships and ministry opportunities. The problem is that not only do I have a problem with change, but I’m also not good with patience either. It takes time and hard work to start over in everything. I just want it to happen NOW because that is what would be convenient for me. I feel comfortable with things fitting the way they should.

Comfort.

This is where I have to ask myself, is this journey about me and my comfort? Or is this about bringing Him glory? Following His leading? Obedience. Now I’m not going on the mission field, so my story isn’t quite so dramatic as that. But in the end, this is still about obedience and following a call. Leaving what’s comfortable and familiar and going to a place that is mostly unknown. Will I choose to go with grace or am I going to dig in my heels and thrash and scream, oh so ungracefully? Heavens, let me not be so much about myself that I look like a toddler throwing a tantrum over a toy.

So I say good-bye. And then I thank God for technology because it’s not truly good-bye (but let this melancholy girl have her drama…just a little…and then scold her if she starts to slide into a tantrum).

My challenge for you is be obedient.  You may not be going overseas for missions (not everyone is called to that). You may not be going into ministry full time (not everyone is called to that). You may simply hear Him say, “I want you to go here. Just trust Me. I’m worth it.” (absolutely every believer is called to THAT!) And then you have a choice. So what’s it going to be?

Say good-bye.

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God is good…so what? [Part 3]

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Your view of God as being a good Creator will have an influence on all areas of life. Take this for an example: how you view yourself. He only creates good things. (Remember Genesis, everything God created was good. He called it all good.) We are made in His image (also from Genesis 1:26). No, we can’t really say that we ourselves are good. We are sinful from birth. Yet when He calls us out of that past life into a life following Him, He gives us a new identity–one that is good. We see God as good, and this affects how we see ourselves.

How you view God influences how you view other people. This also relates to how you view yourself, as created in His image. All people are created in His image, and because of this we have dignity. We place high value on human life when we have the right perspective of our Good God because He values each and every life. We will treat people respectfully, kindly, better than ourselves, and all of the above because we know what value He has placed on their lives and how He has called us to serve and bless them. We see God as good, and this affects how we see others.

The way you perceive God has an effect on your values – how you parent, how you cultivate your marriage, how you feed your friendships. If I know that my God is good and has affection toward me even when I don’t deserve it, that informs the way I’m going to handle my children when they’re having a particularly bad day. He does not treat me harshly when I disobey nor does He yell and scream at me when I’ve made a mistake. He’s a perfect parent. Thank God we have Him as an example! We see God as good, and this affects how we live out our values.

My perspective on God has an effect on how I approach work. Knowing that God is good gives me a sense of confidence and cheer because I get to serve a God who loves me. I’m filled with gratitude that He pours out His love on me ESPECIALLY when I don’t deserve it. I’m overwhelmed by His goodness when He withholds punishment just because He desires to show mercy. I love much because I’ve been forgiven much and this fills my heart with joy. So as I go about my day at work whether at home or in an office, I can do my work as though I were doing it for Him. My perspective will be one of gratitude that He’s even provided me with the task at hand. We see God as good, and this affects how we approach our work.

There are so many examples of how our theology, our doctrine, or what we believe about God affects our actions every day. Let us be brave to believe the truth about God, search out that truth when we don’t know it, and rest in the truth when trials come our way. And may we put our knowledge into practice.

God is good…so what? [Part 2]

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C.S.-Lewis

Many of you may be wondering, how is this girl going to tell me everything I should know about God in just 3 posts? Well, I’m not. But I do want you to take away one important characteristic about God that is crucial for our perspective on life. If you learn one thing today about God, it is that He is GOOD.

His goodness translates into kindness, love, moral uprightness. It really crosses over into a lot of areas. A definition of God’s goodness in my Systematic Theology book says it is,

“that perfection of God which prompts Him to deal bountifully and kindly with all His creatures. It is the affection which the Creator feels towards His…creatures.” (Berkhof, p. 70)

That one word. Did you catch it? Affection. His goodness is His affection that He feels toward us, and as you well know it produces a response in the Creator to act in kind ways toward us, not because we deserve it but because He WANTS to do it. He loves us for His own sake. How good can you get?

Can you see how your perspective may differ from the person who thinks God is malevolent and vindictive, desiring to punish and do harm to the people He’s created? You wouldn’t trust such a god. You would actually think that god had nothing good in mind for you or anyone else. So when a trial came your way, you might see God as punishing you because He certainly wouldn’t be looking at you in your trial with affection and concern, eager to work good in your situation or through your trial. A bad God, who can trust?

But a good God? Well we can trust Him! If you know deep in your heart that His intentions toward you are good because there is nothing else He can be but good, how could you question His heart when a trial came your way? Out of His goodness comes grace (unmerited goodness or love to those under condemnation) and mercy (the goodness or love of God shown to those who are in misery or distress, ready to relieve their distress).

This is not to say that you don’t have moments of doubt or wonder what God is doing. But it is in those moments that you go back to what you know to be true of Him. You KNOW that He is GOOD. You KNOW that His intentions toward you are GOOD. And you know that He cannot act in a way that is contrary to His nature. So you’re left with the choice…do you believe what His word says about Him?

[Stay tuned for Part 3]

God is good…so what? [Part 1]

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I am very nerdy.

I really like theology and doctrine and learning things. I would be a professional student if it weren’t for the pesky fees you have to pay to actually attend classes.

With every class I’ve ever taken, the theology lesson always starts with God. That’s like the cop out answer everyone gives in Sunday School.

{Who loves you? “Jesus!” We all say in unison}

Ever since my husband and I began teaching youth I’m fully convinced that the only way to start any program or class is by teaching about God. Who He is, what He’s done, what His character is, how He relates to us.

Because ultimately what you think about God affects EVERY aspect of your life- what you think about yourself, how you view others, how you parent, how you do your work, etc.

So we begin with God. This can get tricky because some people grew up learning the truth about God, some learned half-truths, and some learned untruths about Him. Let’s just make one thing clear, there is a God and He wants you to know Him…deeply know Him. This means that if you are confused about Him, take heart because He desires you to know the truth about Him and He makes Himself known through His word ALL THE TIME.

Stay tuned for more on “God is good…so what?”

What is the meaning of this?

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Light shines

Let me begin by saying, I hate blogs. Ok, hate is maybe too strong of a word. I never thought I would end up as another blogger out in cyberspace. I didn’t understand why all of these blogger people put out all their thoughts for everyone to read.

Was it because they’re all just obsessed with themselves? (No, I’ve learned this isn’t true…at least not for everyone.) Was it because they thought they were so smart or witty or important than people would actually read what they had to say? (Again, no, most blogger people I know don’t view themselves this way.) Was it just to have an outlet for their creativity or a catalog of their thoughts? (Perhaps that yes, this is getting closer to the real reason.)

I recently learned that a majority of blogger people do this because God has given them a message and this is the quickest and easiest way to share it with everyone else. This probably isn’t much of a revelation to some of you out there because you already got it. I guess I’m just the slow one. 🙂

For years I’ve wrestled with the idea that one day I would be writing books. What kind of books, you ask? The kind with words. I don’t know! Just books. I haven’t thought that far ahead yet. And why did I have this idea, or rather dream, in my mind? I guess it’s because of the reason I mentioned for all of those blogger people doing what they’re doing. God gives us a ministry, and so we figure out how we’re supposed to be obedient with that gift.

So THAT is the reason for this blogger person to be added to the countless other blogger people out there.

And why “Heart Soil”? Well I’m glad you asked. 🙂 A good friend of mine came up with the idea. Psalm 97:11 says,

“Light-seeds are planted in the souls of God’s people, / Joy-seeds are planted in good heart-soil.”

(It’s the Message which I personally don’t like but it actually made sense this time…sorry for all you Message lovers, I’m just more a fan of ESV or NLT even.)

More than anything I want to know God and handle His word correctly. As I search the Scriptures, I get too excited not to share! I want you to know the truth I’m finding. And since I’m a Farmer, I get to use the analogy of sowing His word in “good heart-soil”.

Planting seeds in the souls of God’s people sounds like a good plan to me. Too many seeds get planted in our hearts which aren’t of Him, and I’m ready to help dig those out and plant His truth.