Tag Archives: God

Party at my house!

Okay, so it was a Bible study, but there was eating (chili), drinking (sweet tea), and some crying (from the babies, not me).

This Bible study was given in a group setting with discussion, so I’m going to try my best to recreate it here.  I have included my points as well as those brought up in the discussion.  If you have anything to add, please do so in the comments section.  Please feel free to use this in your own personal Bible study, with a home group, or at church.

Today’s message is going to center around priorities.  Before we begin our discussion, take a few seconds and reflect on your priorities.  List your top three.

Did you say that God is #1?  Even if you didn’t, do you feel like He should be?  Do you yearn for Him to be?  We all know that God should be our top priority and we want Him there, but how many of us actually ACT like God is our top priority?

I know that I should and need to spend more time in prayer, worship, and reading the Bible, but other things come along.  I also need to go to work, wash the dishes, put away laundry, feed the dog, watch “House,” and read a magazine.  In a life so busy, how do we make God our #1 priority?

Open your Bible to Matthew 6:25 (for your convenience I’ve included the passage here, taken from BibleGateway.com ).

25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Let’s look at Matthew 6:33 again.  “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  According to Jesus, where should he rank on your list of priorities?  First.  Jesus says here that if you seek him first before others, if you seek him first in times of trouble, he will take care of everything.  In my experience, I wait to seek Jesus until I am in deep trouble.  But what if I rearranged my order of thinking and sought Jesus all the time, and especially at the first sign of trouble?  Perhaps I might never need to get into the “deep” of trouble.

But how do we make God #1?  How do we seek Him all the time?  After all, we have all those obligations I mentioned earlier: work, family, home, etc.

Turn your Bibles to 2 Chronicles 31:20.

20 This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the LORD his God. 21 In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.

It says that Hezekiah sought God in everything he undertook and he prospered.  Can we do that?  Can we seek God in everything we do?  Yes, we can.  We can insert God into the mundane activities of life.  If we make God a priority while fulfilling our other priorities, He will become #1.  How do we do this?  A few examples: thanking God for having dishes to wash and food to eat as you’re scrubbing last night’s dinner off of the plates, singing a worship song –with feeling—while you’re folding laundry, saying a prayer as you walk the dog.  Of course, we will probably never be mindful of God 100% of everyday, but we can strive for it.  Just as we will probably never be as perfect as Jesus is, we can strive for it.

Turn to Luke 10:38.

38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Even though we’re striving to make God a priority in everything we do, like Mary, we must sometimes put aside Earthly needs for Heavenly ones.

WEEKLY CHALLENGES:

  1. As you go through your day to day activities, strive to include God as much as you can.
  2. Find two 15-minute slots in your day to put aside your Earthly needs/responsibilities and focus on the Heavenly ones.  Use this time to read your Bible, pray, worship, and become intimate with your Savior.  (One 30-minute slot counts!)  This time might come from waking up 15 minutes earlier, during your drive to work, after your evening shower, etc.  Although it may seem funny to schedule time for God, the more you do, the more you will find yourself no longer needing to work Him into your schedule – He’ll be the top priority in your life!
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The Budget Train

Have I mentioned on here that I love to shop?  Well, I do.  In fact, that is one of my primary reasons for needing to start (and stick to) a budget.  I buy something everyday.  Sometimes it’s just a soda from the gas station and it’s rarely anything very big, but I must buy something everyday.  As a result, I’m constantly freaking out about having enough money.  Also, it’s the reason we have so much credit card debt.  So this budget thing is really going to make a difference.  After all, Jesus said, “”No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24).  In Jesus’ name, I will no longer let money get the best of me.  I will no longer think of my life in terms of how much money I have.  I will no longer pander to my credit cards (but I will pay them off because Jesus also said, “…Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s…” {Luke 20:25}).  God called me to make a budget, and I give to God first from my budget.  I have faith that he will take care of me.

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Remember Me?

Okay, kiddies, I’m baaacckk!

I’m so sorry I’ve been gone for so long.  Who knew having a newborn took up so much time?  (Okay, so maybe you did, but I didn’t.)

Well, Squirmy turned four months old on Tuesday.  He’s 27 inches long and nearly 16 pounds!  We still love him!

Okay, enough small talk — let’s get to work!

Today’s task is daunting for anyone, but especially for a new mom and young wife: HOUSEHOLD BUDGET.  That’s right.  I said it.  BUDGET.  If you know me, then you know one thing: I love to shop.  In fact, I might have a problem.  I know I might have a problem because I have a lot of credit card debt.  Granted, I haven’t used my credit cards for two years, but I haven’t paid them off either.  Nope, I just maintain my minimum payment and move on.  Good for the credit card companies, bad for me.

But that’s all changing.  Mr. Rachel and I would love to buy a house of our very own, so we have decided that we must pay off our debt in order to do that (student loans are another issue — we’re focusing on credit card debt and car loans).   A few years ago I bought this handy book at a small church in Kentucky  — Does God Prefer Paper or Plastic? by Dan and Marlis Williams. 

It has been doing a fine job at collecting dust on the bookshelf until I felt called to pick it up.  God’s wisdom is so infinitely more awesome than mine, and he really knows what he’s doing.  I heeded his call and began to reread the book.  This time I followed the directives and started to put together my budget.  As it turns out, we have some money left after paying the bills.  We never realized this before because we blow our money on stupid stuff throughout the week.  However, with our new budget, Mr. Rachel and I are each given an allowance to pay for gas, eating out with our friends, or other stuff we decide we want.  Any extra money will go into an emergency fund.  Once that is full, we’ll start paying above the minimum until we eventually banish all the debt (praise Jesus!).

I’m also going to start menu planning to make sure that I don’t blow my food budget every week.  More on that later…

You can purchase the book at Noah’s Dove Publishing .

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Task of the Day

1. Become blameless and pure

Hmm.  I don’t think that’s happening anytime soon, but by-golly-gee, I sure am tryin’.  How does one go about becoming “blameless and pure” anyway?  Well, I am definitely NOT the expert on that, but I do have a pipeline to the man upstairs that enables me to have some insight on the matter.  (Said pipeline is a two-way street: Prayer goin’ up and The Word comin’ down.  I suggest you invest in both.)

I was sitting in church last Sunday, just minding my own business, listening to the preacher man like a good Christian girl when he mentioned something I happen to be very good at — complaining.  A little backstory: I have the unique ability to zero in on one little bitty thing in a sermon (usually mentioned off-hand and very rarely the actual point of the sermon) and be moved by it.  Case in point, the complaining.  Preacher Man’s sermon was not about complaining, but he did mention it at the end and that’s where my brain went.  I like to think that God knows I have attention issues and so he hits me with these momentary zingers to get me back on track.  Okay, God…back to the complaining.

Preacher Man mentioned how we should praise God for our blessings and not curse him for the hard times.  He explained as good Christians we would never intentionally curse God ::gasp::, but sometimes we do when we murmur complaints.  There, he said it.  “Murmur complaints.”  If I were to list my five greatest talents, Murmuring Complaints would definitely be up there.  Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m doing it.  I’m trying to be funny or I’m trying to be empathetic toward someone.

Sally: My kids are driving me crazy!

Me: I know!  I can’t put Squirmy down for a second without him screaming again.

How easy is it to complain?  So easy!  In our society, it’s practically expected.  If something bad happens and we don’t complain, we become that “weirdly happy girl who’s always positive.”  (You know who I’m talking about…)  But what if we did become that weirdly happy girl who’s always positive.  Would that be so bad?  Is it really that hard to find the positives in our daily situations?  Paul says in Philippians, “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation…” (Philippians 2:14-15).  So that’s how you become “blameless and pure” — you stop complaining and arguing.  I can do this.  I can stop complaining and find the positive side.  Okay, so maybe I’m overestimating myself.  After all, I’m still working on trying to curb my sarcasm and sharp tongue and that post was weeks ago.  Luckily, as I mentioned earlier, I have a direct pipeline to the man upstairs.  I say I’m going to quit complaining.  I pray for the strength and guidance to quit complaining.  I actively work on quitting complaining.  Together, we make it happen.

Fortunately for us, complaining is not a new issue.  People have been complaining as far back as Eve.  In his sermon “Learning to Stop Complaining”, Reverend Bruce Goettsche outlines some tips on how to stop the complaining:
1. Be Realistic.
2. Realize that complaining is against the Lord, not men.
3. Monitor your conversation.
4. Develop a Godly perspective (Bible reading, prayer, worship).
5. Hang around positive people and consciously pay attention.
6. Remind yourself that you will have a greater influence for Christ as a cheerleader than as a complainer.

Adding this new challenge to my “kind tongue” challenge will strengthen my ability to grow in both areas.  I’ve just got to keep reminding the man upstairs that I need his help, and he’ll continue to give it.

(Image from http://www.worldwideshoppingmall.co.uk/toys/images/products/0749852224.gif)

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