Posts Tagged ‘Christian’

“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude” Colossians 2:6-7 (NASB).

I’ve been reading a lot lately about growing in God and getting to know His Word more. In the course of that reading and studying, I’ve found numerous references to being firmly rooted in the Word of God. It’s easy to say to be firmly rooted, but what exactly does that look like? I have heard so many different ideas about how to be firmly rooted, but I’m not just wondering about HOW to be firmly rooted. I want to know what that looks like to be firmly rooted.

This morning, I was reading Colossians 2:6&7, and I think I now have a better understanding of what being firmly rooted looks like. I may not have a full picture, but I do have a bigger glimpse of what that looks like. I believe there are three characteristics that someone who is firmly rooted in God’s Word will have based on these two verses.

1) Someone who is firmly rooted in God’s word will be walking in Christ. What does that mean? Well, that means this person is so in tune with the Lord and His Word that He lives out and copies the way Christ lived. That means, he doesn’t judge someone by past or present sins. This person accepts others as they are and cares about them regardless of their lifestyle, habits or character. Our Pastor actually spoke about this last night in our Wednesday evening service. One thing he said, really struck home to me. I’ve heard it before, but last night it sank in a little more. He said, “Acceptance is not approval.” I can accept someone without approving of his/her lifestyle. I don’t have to like everything about someone or agree with everything someone says to accept that person for who he/she is.

Being rooted in God’s Word also means that this person is more likely to be aware of and to actively seek to avoid compromising situations. It doesn’t mean this person hides in a hole and does nothing. No, instead, it means that this person is cognizant of the things that tempt him/her and then does what is necessary to avoid those situations whenever possible. What walking in Christ doesn’t mean is that this person is perfect. Unfortunately, nobody will be perfect in this imperfect earth.

2) Someone who is firmly rooted in God’s Word will be built up in Christ and established in his/her faith. This means that this person knows what he/she believes and continues to live in accordance with that. I can’t know what I believe if I don’t spend time in God’s Word and really take the time to study and understand what God is saying. If I do that, then I will grow in my faith, and I will know what I stand for.

3) Finally, someone who is firmly rooted in God’s Word will be overflowing with gratitude. That means, no matter what happens in life, this person is grateful for the good things he/she has, even when things aren’t going exactly as well as he/she would like. It means this person chooses to be grateful in spite of the bad things that happen. This is the part I have the most difficulty with because it’s really hard to be thankful when I feel like nothing is going right. But no matter my situation, I have a choice. I can choose to be grateful. Or I can choose to complain. Either way, I am the one who has to live with myself. Do I want to be joyful or miserable? It’s my choice. I want to choose gratefulness.

I’m so glad that I was able to read these two verses this morning because they encouraged me to dwell on what God has to say to me in His Word, and as a result, I am encouraged to stop looking at the past and worrying about the future. Instead, I want to focus on what God has for me today. I want to grow and learn. Most of all, I want to be firmly rooted in God’s Word.

Your turn! What characteristics you think someone rooted in God’s Word would have besides these? What other things can we keep in mind about growing in God? I hope to hear from you!!

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

Photo by Wolfgang Moritzer

Photo by Wolfgang Moritzer

“This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24 (NASB)

As I was going for my morning run today, I was praying for God to give me a message – to show me something that I could think on and share. I do this often because I don’t want this to be about me and my accomplishments, so much as I want to point the glory to my Everlasting Father, who is the one who gives me the strength, knowledge and ability to do the things I do. But sometimes, I find myself losing sight of the fact that He is the one in control, and I try to manage everything on my own. When that happens, things tend to fall apart because I am relying on my own strength instead of His. And then, I complain about the things that go wrong or fall outside of my control. So, as I was running this morning, the verse above came to mind. At first, I didn’t quite understand why it was so important, but as I ran and thought on it, it became more clear to me.

See, today was not a pretty day outside. It was gloomy, cloudy and windy – not really a morning one would call beautiful. But, as I meditated on that verse, I realized something. A day is not beautiful just because it’s sunny and warm. It is beautiful because God made it. I noticed what this verse did not say. It did not say, “Rejoice in the sunny days.” Nor did it say, “Rejoice in the day because everything is right.” No, instead it says, “Let’s rejoice and be glad in this day.” Why? Because “the LORD has made it.” That brought a whole new perspective to me.

If you look into the context of this verse, the Psalmist talks about the Lord’s loving-kindness and deliverance from the enemies that surrounded him. The situation that he found himself in was not the best of circumstances, but instead of whining and moaning that things were not going his way, he chose to say, “I will rejoice in this day that the Lord has made.” And that made me think. Every day, I have a choice. I can choose to whine and complain about the events and circumstances I find myself in. Or, I can choose to realize I am in those circumstances, but trust in the Lord’s ability to handle the situations I find myself in – and rejoice in the fact that I know He will deliver me.

Paul told the Philippians to, “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4a NASB). In fact, he found it so important that he repeated himself, saying, “again, I will say, rejoice!” He doesn’t say rejoice only when things are good. He says rejoice always. And that is hard because my natural tendency is to complain about how things don’t go my way. But, I believe that if I choose to rejoice even when things don’t go my way, I will have a different outlook on things. Life is going to bring trouble, trials and sadness. And it’s OK to grieve and even be down, but in the end, I have to decide, am I going to trust that God is in control and rejoice in the day He has given me, or am I going to dwell on all that has gone wrong, and whine, moan and complain?

I don’t want to be that girl who whines and moans and complains. I want to be the woman who trusts God enough to know that He has my life in His hands, and that no matter what happens, He has the ability to turn it all for good (see Romans 8:28). So, along with the Psalmist, today I say, “This is the day the Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it!”

What about you? Do you, like me, have a tendency to whine and complain about your circumstances? Or are you the type of person who rejoices in the day that you have been given? What helps you to remember to rejoice when things seem to be going all wrong?

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

I recently read the book, Love & Respect in the Family by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. I don’t often get the opportunity to read books written by those who I’ve heard speak, so I was pleased to have found this as a book available for review. The book is a look at parenting your children in a way that is compatible with Biblical teaching. Dr. Eggerich writes about the things that worked in his own parenting and the things that didn’t work. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the book was to read. I found his writing style easy to follow and really enjoyed the book.

Love and Respect

There were a lot of things to like about this book. First and foremost, I think my favorite thing about this book is that it’s not a “fix your child quick” book. Dr. Eggerich very clearly states that reading this book is not going to ensure that you have well-behaved, perfect children when you finish reading it. In fact, this isn’t really about the kids at all. Dr. Eggerich states that “parenting is for parents only.” In other words, parenting isn’t about making your children perfect, it’s about parenting in a way that leads your child to follow in the ways of Christ. Dr. Eggerich gives good practical advice that is easy to follow. In fact, he uses an acronym, “GUIDES,” as a way to remind parents how best to lead their children. His illustrations were excellent and really underscored the points he was making in the book. I also liked how open and honest he was about his and his wife’s own failures in raising their children. As he waited to write this book until his children were grown, he was able to take an objective look back at his own parenting to see where he might have missed the mark. In fact, he even asked his own children to weigh in on the topic. I liked his honesty in sharing. The only thing that I found lacking is that his only emphasis was on the two-parent family. This makes sense, as he only has experience in that arena. However, it would have have been nice to have that topic touched on as there are so many single-parent families these days, including mine. At the same time, though, I do believe that his principles can be applied as much to a single-parent family as to the traditional, two-parent family.

I highly recommend this book to other parents. I think they will find this book to be a good resource and help in raising their children. I have found, personally, that my own parenting style has started to improve as I have put his advice into practice with my children. I believe this is the best book on parenting that I have personally read, and I have read quite a few. At the very least this will give parents a good basis for leading their children from a Biblical perspective.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

Today would have marked our 10-year anniversary.  This should have been a day of celebration, a day of rejoicing, a day of laughter.  Instead, it is a day that I remember what might have been.

Nobody thinks that their marriage will fail.  I certainly didn’t.  This wasn’t in my plans and certainly wasn’t in my dreams.  But it happened.  My marriage did fail.  And along with that failure, two people became separated.

You might think that after being separated for almost 5 years, I would be past the pain of our separation, but I am not.  Oh, I don’t feel the anger or the depression any longer.  I don’t sit around blaming myself or him.  I don’t berate myself for our failure.  But I still feel the pain.  And on this day, I feel it more keenly.

See, a marriage is a coming together, two becoming one flesh.  It’s about leaving and cleaving.  So what happens when those who are supposed to cleave are separated?  Inevitably, they hurt.  I feel like a part of my is gone forever – lost in the abyss of our broken marriage.  And I mourn her.  I mourn who I could have been.  I mourn who we could have been.

That part of me that I gave to him, I will never get back.  And that’s OK because I don’t want it back.  I gave it freely and willingly.  I don’t regret giving it to him because it means that for at least one point in time, I took a risk.  I threw myself wholeheartedly into a relationship, and gave it my very best shot.  The fact that we are now apart doesn’t change the fact that at one point we were together.

I loved him very much.  I still love him.  My former pastor said in a sermon that loving someone is doing what is best for them.  I do feel like I did what was best for him, even though it tore me apart to do it.  I know that we were not good for each other.  We didn’t bring out the best in each other, we brought out the worst.  That isn’t to say that our marriage had to fail.  I’m sure that if we had each done things differently, we could have stayed together.  But we did not, and we are not.  And while I still mourn what will now never be, I am OK, and I will be OK.  I do not find my purpose in whether or not I am married, have a ton of friends, have lots of kids, or having lots of things.  I find my purpose in serving God.  And I’m still learning how to do that well.

Perhaps if I had learned that lesson sooner, two people might have hurt less.  And as a result, three others might also not have been hurt in the process.  But I can’t sit here and dwell on what might have been.  What is important is here and now.  What am I going to do with the rest of my life?  How am I going to serve now?  How will I use this sad part of my life to help others?  Will I stay in my safe shell or will I break free and take a risk?

Is there something in your life that you feel like you could have done better?  Do you struggle with the guilt and shame of failure?  Where are you finding your purpose?

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

I have been increasingly discouraged by the negative statements that I have seen about affairs in the world today.  Recently, I saw someone frustrated because the world focuses on what Christians are against, rather than what they stand for.  My response to that is, of course they do!  The reason the world focuses on what Christians stand against is because all too often that is what Christians focus on.  We are so busy focusing on why particular acts and lifestyles are sinful, and less about what Christ did for each one of us.

All this bickering back and forth between Christians and non-Christians, Christians and Christians, and so on, caused me to stop and think.  What is it that I do stand for?  Are there things that I stand for that are being camouflaged by all the focus on what I am against?  With that said, I decided to do a top ten of all the things I do stand for.  So, without further ado, here it is!

10.  I stand for common courtesy. These days, I am appalled at the lack of courtesy people show toward each other.  It used to be that people would say “Thank you” when someone helped them.   They used to say “Please” when they wanted something.  People also said “Excuse me” when they interrupted or bumped into someone.  Increasingly, I see that not happening today.  It’s horrifying.  When did common courtesy become a thing of the past?

9. I stand for hard work and earning what you get.  All too often, I see people who feel like they are “entitled” to have what they have.   After all, we live in a free country, right?  We’re supposed to be happy.  I’d like to give the reminder that we are all entitled to the “pursuit of happiness.”  Pursuit implies work.  You work for what you get.   My own children often express this feeling of entitlement.  They feel like they should just be handed things, even though they haven’t earned them.  There is a time and a place for that.  For example, I don’t make them earn what I buy them for the birthday or Christmas.  However, I do make them earn what they get other times.  Either they have to save up, or they have to work it off.  Either way, they are not “entitled” to anything.  Neither are the rest of us.  Besides, I find there is greater enjoyment of whatever I wanted if I have worked for it.  There’s a great sense of accomplishment that cannot be obtained by just being handed something.

8. I stand for holding our children accountable.  Let’s face it, our children are going to make mistakes.  After all, we’re adults and we still make mistakes, so it stands to reason our children will, too.  However, that does not mean that our children should be let off the hook when they mess up.  When my daughters make a bad decision, they are disciplined for it.  They lose a privilege (or more depending on the circumstances), they don’t get to do something they want to do, and/or they don’t get to do anything extra-curricular.  There is nothing wrong with that.  It teaches them to be responsible and to stop and think before they act.  If my parents hadn’t disciplined me, I would have walked all over them.  I would have grown up to expect that I could do what I want, and I would think I didn’t have to do the things I didn’t want to.  Yet, for some reason, many parents today do let their kids walk all over them and don’t make them do the things they should.  This gives them a skewed view of how the world works.  Basically, they need to learn that they get from life what they put into it. 

7.  I stand for strong family values.  I believe that certain activities need to wait until marriage.  I don’t mean should wait for marriage.  I mean need to wait for marriage.  Basically, if you’re not ready to take on the responsibility for the consequences that come from an action, then you shouldn’t be participating in the activity that could lead to the consequence.  Further than that, I believe that if you are not ready to take on commitment with someone, then there are certain activities that should not be taking place.  It’s really that simple.  I believe that family comes before work.  In fact,  I believe the family unit is the most dynamic relationship  in the world today.   I might get some questions about that from people who know me and some of the things I have done.  I mean after all, I obviously had my children outside of wed-lock.  I certainly didn’t take my own advice.  However, I believe that qualifies me to be able to make this statement.  I’ve lived it.  I know how stupid my actions were.  I know how unprepared I was.  However, I also did take responsibility for my own actions, and I have worked hard to become better than I was, and to teach my children what I didn’t learn myself.

6. I stand for good education.  I want my children to learn.  I want them to have good opportunities, and I want them to take advantage of those opportunities.  Without a good education, there is no foundation on which they can stand to move forward in life.  A good education is key to success.  However, I don’t necessarily believe that our school system gets it right.  They focus on the wrong things sometimes.  They look more at a test score than a student’s overall performance.  They rely on a computer to decide what a child needs instead of  looking at the child and observing them.  They try to fit our children into a box, while at the same time telling them to reach for their goals and follow their dreams.  If ever there was a mixed message, that’s it.

5. I stand for freedom of religion.  Before my fellow-Christians get all up in arms about this, let me explain.  Everyone has a right to believe what they want to believe.  Everyone.  None of us can force someone else to follow our belief system.  It won’t work.  Beliefs are a heart-driven thing.  I will fully support a Muslim’s right to believe as they do.  I will do the same for someone who is a Buddhist, Christian, Atheist, etc.  I don’t agree that someone is necessarily correct in what they believe, but I do support their right to believe it.  However, at the same time, I believe that everyone should have equal right to express their religion.  Christians (teacher and students) have been told that they are not allowed to speak about their beliefs, and in some cases  have been ostracized and reprimanded just for taking part in their beliefs.  My own daughter was told that she needed to put her Bible away because her having it out was stopping others from being able to express their beliefs.  How does my daughter reading her Bible keep someone else from expressing their religion?  For that matter, how does her sharing what she believes do that?  It’s no different than an Atheist expressing he/she doesn’t believe in God.  She’s not forcing it on anyone.  She stops when they ask her to.  I sense a double-standard here.  Everyone should be able to express and discuss and talk about their beliefs.  That’s how we learn.  It’s how we relate to one another – and it engenders mutual respect.

4. I stand for treating people with love, regardless of their life choices.  Again, I’m not saying I agree with every choice someone makes.  I fully agree that God’s Word has strong things to say about certain actions and activities.  However, I also believe that each one of us has lived in sin.  God’s Word says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and “There is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10).  It also says that there is no one sin that is greater than another sin, and “he who is without sin, let him cast the first stone” (John 8:7).  I don’t have to agree that someone’s made all the right choices in life to treat him/her with love and respect.  Someone who lies is just as wrong as someone who cheats on his wife.  I had sex outside of marriage.  That doesn’t make me any worse than the person who gossips or spreads lies.  It makes me a sinner in need of forgiveness.  By God’s grace, I have repented and been forgiven for the wrongs that I committed in my life.  That does not give me the right to keep making them.  It does not give me the right to judge.  That’s God’s job.  My job is to treat people with the same love with which Christ treated sinners.  That doesn’t mean I condone their choices – it means I choose to treat them with love and respect in spite of their choices.

3. I stand for being kind.  This goes hand in hand with common courtesy – but it goes further.  Be kind to each other.  Don’t say or do things that hurt people.  In other words, do unto others what you’d want them to do toward you.

2.  I stand for being generous.   If someone is in need, we need to help them.  This is more than just saying the right words or doing the right things.  This is seeing a need, and meeting it – and then some.   I can’t honestly say that I have been perfect at that, but it is something that I have been trying to be better at.

1. I stand for honesty.  If there is one thing that frustrates me more than anything else, it is lies.  I hate to be lied to, and I try to refrain from lying.  Again, not something I’m perfect at, but something I do try not to do.  Lies do more damage to you than anything else.  I can respect someone who tells me the truth, no matter what they’ve done, but I cannot respect someone who lies.

So, there you have it.  The top 10 things I stand for.  Do you have a list of things you stand for?  I would love to read about.  Feel free to share below.

Until Next Time!

I have this scrapbooking community that I frequently visit (ok maybe more than frequently), DigitalScrapbookPlace.com.  And this month, our community is having their first month-long event focusing on Heritage and Genealogy.  I have been ultra-excited about this because I’ve always wanted to know more about my family, but never really tried to do much about that – until now.

Since Friday night, I have spent hours trying to find information about my family, and each time I find a little piece of  the puzzle, it fuels me on to find more pieces of this puzzle.  I hunt and I search and I dig, and then squeal in joy whenever I find something.  It’s like solving a mystery – and there is a real sense of accomplishment in that.

But it made me stop and think.  If I am willing to put that much time and effort into finding about my earthly family, which is (or was) here temporarily, shouldn’t I put as much effort into finding out more about my heavenly family, which will be forever?  Yet, when it comes to studying God‘s Word or finding out more about His family – I tend to push that aside.  Oh, I have my daily time, but anything more I am “too busy” for many times.  Why is this?  Why am I so willing to find out who I am as a person, but not willing to do so when it comes to my spiritual life?

Perhaps this stems from being afraid that if I get to know myself better spiritually, and I get to know God better, I might not like what I find out about myself.  I might find out that I can’t measure up.  But isn’t that the point?  That I can’t measure up on my own?  That the only way I can truly succeed is to let go, and let God take control?

I have had people ask me how it is that I can believe in God and that the only way to heaven is through His Son.  It’s hard for me to put that into words sometimes because it’s so incredibly personal.  I have seen God work in my life.  I have seen things happen in my life that I had nothing to do with and could not have worked it out on my own for anything.  I have seen the impossible become possible.  But perhaps the biggest reason I am a Christian and believe as I do is because the true Christian faith is the ONLY faith that I have found that does not require me to be “good enough.”   I have not yet found another religion that doesn’t have a list of requirements I need to meet in order to get to heaven.  How do I know when I’ve been good enough?

My faith in God stems not from any works I could do, but through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  He died for me.  It’s simple as that.  I could  never be good enough to pay the price myself – sacrifice requires a spotless lamb – and I am definitely not spotless.  He paid the price, so that I would not have to.  Does that mean I get to do whatever I want?  No – but it does mean that I am forgiven and that my debt has been paid.

But even knowing that, I still often neglect the study of God’s Word.  I wonder what would happen in my life if I chose to put as much effort and time into studying God’s Word, as I have into finding out about my past.  I wonder if I would see more positive outcomes.  I wonder if I would have a great impact on those around me.  I wonder if anyone would be able to see the difference.

Can they see the difference now?  I don’ t know – maybe sometimes.  But I have a long way to go, and life is not guaranteed.  I need to seize the day and redeem my time – and get to know my Savior better.

Until Next Time,

The first to please his case seems right, until another comes and examines him. (Proverbs 18:17, NASB)

I love the book of Proverbs – and not just because it’s part of the Bible.  I love this book of God‘s Word because it contains great wisdom.  That wisdom is useful for all of life and not just for those of us who profess to be Christians.

Take the verse above, for example, In a trial, one lawyer questions and another cross-examines.  If that did not take place, the judge and/or jury would only get one side of the story, and their verdict would be biased toward whichever side they got to hear.  I’m sure that we can agree that a trial where only one side is heard would be considered unfair.

Yet how often do we work that way in our relationships with others?  I know there have been times when I have failed to get one person’s side of the story because another friend told me something about that person, and I believed him/her.  Later I found out that the part I had heard was not the whole story.  I am not saying that my friend(s) lied, only that their story was biased toward the side he/she was sharing with me.  When I got the other side of the story, again, that story was biased toward the person telling me.  The reality was somewhere in the middle, in most cases.

One of the greatest examples I have of this “phenomenon” is my daughters.  When they try to involve me in their “spats”, my older daughter will place the blame squarely on the shoulders of her sister and vice versa.  When I break their stories down, I find, in most cases, there is truth in both stories and half-truths in both.  The truth lies in the middle.

So, if this is the case, what should I do with this knowledge?  It has taken me a long time, and I still have times I fail miserably, but what I have learned is to get both sides of a story.  Before I make accusations, I try to listen to everyone involved, and if possible, I will get the facts from objective witnesses to what took place.  I try not to judge without having heard both sides of the story.  Generally, when I wait and get the facts instead of reacting to one side of the story, I am able to reasonably determine the truth and make wise judgments.

By contrast, when I fail to take into account both sides of a story, I tend to make hasty judgments, and in every case where I have made a hasty judgment, someone has ended up hurt.  So, in all cases, I would do well to remember these wise words from Proverbs and get the whole story before deciding what’s true or false.

Until Next Time,