Posts Tagged ‘Lord’

“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

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I often find myself feeling invisible.  I can walk through a store and pass people who stare right through me.  I get cut off while driving (often).  I walk through our church halls, and pass people who see me, but really don’t.  I think this last one saddens me the most.  Church is the one place I feel people should see me most.  Yet, often, I find the opposite to be true.

Many times I want to shout out, “Don’t you see me!?  I’m here, too!  When you look through me, I feel small and insignificant and worthless.”  I long to tell these people that I have something worth offering, and that I have a strong desire to be useful, too.

Yet even worse than feeling invisible, I get frustrated at church members who talk about people as if they aren’t there, can’t hear, or have no feelings.  My daughter had this happen recently during one of our Sunday morning services.  She hadn’t attended our church in a few weeks, but she came that day and was singing and participating in the service, when a woman in front of her said to the woman next to her, “That girl behind us has a terrible voice!”  Then they both laughed.  My daughter felt like they were talking about her, since she was the girl right behind them.  She was so crushed by their words and laughter that for the rest of the service she sat, refused to sing, and just hurt.  The mother in me wanted to tell those women off – but thankfully they were already gone before I had heard the story.

Church is the one place we should be safe from such hurtful things, yet often the opposite proves true, and it’s the place more people get hurt by fellow-believers.  This should not be!!  Why do we hurt each other?  Don’t we have enough issues with how we are perceived by the world?  How does hurting each other help bring people to Christ?  This brings to mind a Bible passage about this very subject.

But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh. (James 3:8-12, NASB)

Our tongues have the power to hurt or the power to heal.  The words of one woman hurt my daughter – so much, in fact, that she doesn’t really want to come back to our church all that much.  We need to be careful of the words we say.

What makes me sadder about other people saying hurtful things, is that I am sure I have said or done things that hurt others or made them feel invisible, too.  I wish I could say that weren’t true, but I am sure I have.  This is something that I’ve been working on in earnest.  Matthew 12:33-37 talks about how our words show our true character and how we will be justified or condemned by our words.

Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. (NASB)

My tendency is to speak before I think sometimes.  These verses challenge me to think more about what I’ll say before I say it.  I don’t want to be judged by bad things that come out of my mouth.  These particular verses have helped me to be able to curb my impulse to use bad language or say hurtful words.  I don’t get it perfect, but I see improvement every day as a result of learning these verses.

I can’t tell my children or anyone else to love others if I am not loving others myself.  I have to set the example.  And to love others means I need to see them, listen to them and treat them as Jesus would.  It’s a tall order, but I have a feeling it will be well worth the effort.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  What are some practical ways we can go from treating people as if they are invisible to loving them as Jesus loves us?  Have you taken any steps toward this end?

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

Pond Scum

Posted: September 25, 2012 in Christianity, Growth, Influence, Maturity, Miscellaneous, Thoughts
Tags: , ,

September 25, 2012

It is amazing to me what God can use to speak to me.  It can be the words of a child, a book I’m reading, or even something I see in nature.  Today, God used the latter to speak to me.  No, I didn’t hear some voice talking to me out loud.  And I couldn’t see God standing right in front of me.  But I could see the evidence of Him, and I hear Him speak to my thoughts.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog postings, I have started to make it a habit to take a short 15-minute break around 10 am each morning, and I go out to the pond that sits outside our offices and just think.  Today, I noticed that the pond scum was pretty bad.  There’s always pond scum on this pond, of course, but it was particularly bad today.  In the center of the pond is a fountain.  In the section the fountain reaches, there is no pond scum.  This made me stop and think about how this can relate to my life.  Three things came to mind as I stood looking out at the water.

First, I noticed that the water furthest from the fountain had the most pond scum.  It was gross and nasty.  I had noticed some of this under the water on previous occasions, but today, it was right out there for the whole world to see.  If you look at the picture below, you can see the pond scum is very noticeable.  In many places, you can’t see the water because there is so much pond scum.


This reminded me of how things can go in my life when I am not in God’s Word like I should be, or when I choose not to spend time with Him.  I can tell when that happens because I don’t act the same.  When I’m in God’s Word, I am more conscious of how my actions are affecting myself and others.  But when I’m not, I don’t pay attention as well, and before I realize it, my “pond scum” is showing.  It starts out with a bad thought.  I think about something I shouldn’t, or I think bad thoughts about someone.  If I don’t get my thoughts in check, the next thing I know, I have bad things coming out of my mouth – gossip, bad words, etc.  Finally, it affects my actions.  I start to treat people differently.  Instead of being kind, I am impatient and sometimes even rude.  Not taking advantage of my time with the Lord sets me up for failure.

Next, I noticed that there were some portions of the pond where the fountain didn’t have quite as much impact.  The fountain had some impact, but it wasn’t strong enough to keep all of the pond scum away.  Rather, the pond scum was moving closer to the fountain in those areas.  In the picture below, you can see how some of the pond scum is encroaching on the territory of the fountain. 


This reminded me of the times when I am in God’s Word, and I am spending some time with Him, but I am doing it more as a ritual because I “should” and not because I “want” to.  I do it as something I need to get out of the way because I have other “more important” things to do.  I might not say that there are more important things to do, but I act like it, or perhaps even think it.  I will rush through my Bible reading for the day, so I can run off and do whatever I think is more worth my time at that point.

When I am in this mode, my “pond scum” might not be so noticeable to other people.  However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there, just below the surface.   When I am not truly engaging God’s Word, my actions might be right, but I can almost guarantee that my thoughts aren’t.  I am doing “just enough to get by.” I am nice enough on the surface, but below the surface, I think bad thoughts or I say “what I really want to say.”  To me, this is almost worse than when I am far away from God because at least when I am far away from God, people will notice and someone will (hopefully) pull me back from the brink of disaster.  But in this phase, people might not see.  I am saying all the right things and doing all the right actions, while inside, I am hiding a life full of “pond scum.”

Finally, I noticed that the areas where the fountain was hitting the most had little or no pond scum.  Those areas were clear and I could see the water easily.  Because the water in that area was continually affected by the fountain, it was able to remain clear of the pond scum.  In the picture below, you can see that there is a big area that is clear because of the fountain.

 This reminds me of those times when I am in God’s Word.  I’m not reading it because I “have” to.  Instead, I am reading it because I want to know God better.  I want to engage His Word.  I want to live out His Word.  When I am in God’s Word in this manner, my life shows it.  My attitude is better.  I treat people with more kindness.  But most of all, my thought life is clear.  I am thinking on “those things that are pure, right, just….” (Phil. 4:8).  The “pond scum” is cleared up, and I am clean inside.

You might wonder how staring at pond scum brought all of this to mind.  Well, Jesus is known as the “living water.”  Good water is moving and active.  It is not still and filled with pond scum.  When I am close to the Source of Living Water, I am able to live in a manner that is more pleasing to Him.  The more I move away from Him, the less I am able to do His will.  When I saw the moving water today, I thought of this, and realized just how being close to the Source of Living Water can change my life.  Realizing this makes me want to spend even more time with the Source.

What about you?  Are you close to the Source of Living Water?  Do you find that when you spend time in God’s Word for the right reasons, you have greater success?  Are you allowing your “pond scum” to show through?

Until Next Time,

I actually started thinking about this topic on Wednesday evening before our mid-week service.  I don’t know exactly WHY it popped into my head, but my thought is that perhaps it was a “God thing”.  So, here I am on a Saturday morning, contemplating this topic, and wondering if I am truly going to be able to put what is in my head, into the confines of a few words.

So, on Wednesday evening, as I’m sitting in my seat waiting for the mid-week service to start, this thought pops into my head, “Am I a church ‘goer’ or a church ‘member’?”  Well, that got my attention, first, because I was sitting in church, and secondly because it was so out of the blue.  As I continued to sit there, I contemplated what that question could mean. My first thought was, “Of course, I am a church member!  I joined this church in 2009, and I’ve been a member of some church most of my life!”  And then, I thought about it some more, and realized, being a church member is more than saying to the church, I want to be a member.

Allow me to explain.  The dictionary defines “goer” as follows:

a person who attends something regularly (From The Free Dictionary)

A church “goer” is someone who regularly attends church.  She shows up to services (could be one a week or all available), listens to the sermons, and then goes home to live out her life.  This person goes through the motions.  She might even read the Bible daily and spend quiet time with the Lord.  And those are all good things right?  But a church “goer” just attends.  She doesn’t get deeply involved.  She doesn’t “get her hands dirty.”  She goes, she listens, and then she leaves and goes about her life, as always.

A member is defined as follows:

a person, animal, plant, group, etc., that is part of a society, party, community, taxon, or other body. (From Dictionary.com)

Another definition is as follows:

S: (n) memberfellow member (one of the persons who compose a social group (especially individuals who have joined and participate in a group organization)) “only members will be admitted”; “a member of the faculty”; “she was introduced to all the members of his family” (from WordNet Web – Princeton)

“Member” can also be considered a part of the body – specifically an EXTERNAL body part.  I find this interesting, as Romans 12 defines the church as members of one body:

4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. (Romans, 12:4-5, NASB)

Members have a function.  Members do not just go, sit in a seat and listen while someone talks and then go home and live their own lives.  Members DO something.  They’re involved.  They’re a small part of a whole body.  According to the verses above, if we are Christians, we are many members of one body, and we each should be doing something.  But so very often, what I see in myself and others, is a passivity that says, “Someone else will do it.  I don’t have to get involved.  I can just sit here and listen and everything will get taken care of by someone else.”

For whatever reason, be it fear or laziness or a general lack of caring, many of us just sit.  We attend, but we don’t participate.  I am not talking about the participation of standing in front of your seat and singing a song or praying along as the pastor (or whomever) prays.  I am talking about the participation of getting up, going OUT and getting our hands dirty.  I mean going into the community and serving.  I mean taking the time to listen to someone else as they spill their heart out and their tears flow freely down their face.  I mean teaching others.  I mean standing beside a dirty, homeless person and giving them a hug.  I mean doing SOMETHING besides sitting in our seats and watching as a few do the work that the MANY are supposed to participate in.

This is not easy for me to write because I have seen myself as this church “goer” who watches others do the work, but doesn’t get involved herself.  I have listened as volunteers are requested and made excuses as to why I couldn’t be there, instead of finding a way to take part.  I have been that church”goer” instead of the church”member”.  I have watched while others served.  I have sat in my seat and longed to get involved, but allowed fear to keep me from taking the step forward.  I have watched while others went to other countries to help indigent communities – longing to go – but too afraid to try.  I want to be a church”member” – not just in name, but in practice.

It’s time to stop making excuses, and it’s time for me to step out.  I am scared – and I don’t know if I can do it right this very second.  But my prayer from this point forward is “Lord help me to be a member.  Help me to participate.  Give me the courage to get my hands dirty.”

What about you?  Are you a church”goer” or a church”member”?  Will you join me in the attempt to step out and be a member?

Until Next Time,

I just love Sundays!  Sunday is my day to relax and rest in the Lord.  I spend time every day in God’s Word, but Sundays I set apart especially to learn about God and to fellowship with other believers.  I find that the growth that I see in my life is directly proportional to the amount of time I spend in fellowship with other believers.  When I spend more time with other believers, I grow more.  When I spend less time with other believers, I grow less.

I think some of this has to do with the fact that when I spend time with other believers, they challenge me to learn more about God.  As I learn about God, I grow in Him and through Him.  I allow Him to work in me more.  That, in turn, helps me to challenge other people to grow.  It is amazing to me how fellowship with other believers can push us to grow.  I guess that’s why God tells us in Hebrews 10:23-25 to “hold fast to the confession of our hope” and to “stimulate one another with love and good deeds,” and finally “not forsaking the assembling together.”  It’s interesting how I have heard that my whole life, and only today finally put two and two together.

But then, that has always kind of been my way.  I have a tendency to take seemingly simple things and make them into something more complicated.  This is something I have struggled with for a long time.  I seem to have this habit of learning things the hard way instead of the easy way.  I don’t know why that is.  Perhaps it’s because I have the “need” to test everything for myself.

It’s not that it’s bad for me to test things, but when I am unwilling to accept anything as fact without testing it, I am doing myself a disservice.  There is nothing wrong with learning from the mistakes of others.  In fact, that can save some heartache.

I often find myself telling my daughters that they can learn from some of my mistakes.   The interesting thing is that God has given me two daughters who are just like me.  They test and test, and they make their own mistakes – some of which they could have avoided had they just listened to me.  Yet, they need to figure things out for themselves.  It seems it’s not really in our nature to just take the word of someone else.

It’s good that God has given my children who are like me (as hard as it is for me to admit).   🙂   They challenge me daily to live out my faith.  And they are always watching – and being teenagers, they aren’t afraid to call me on my inconsistencies.  This challenges me to grow.  It challenges me to listen and learn from other Christians who have been through similar trials.  It challenges me to get back up and keep trying – because what I do has an impact on someone else, even if I never realize it.

I am so grateful that God puts godly friends in my life…

Until Next Time,