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Showing posts from May, 2009

I'd Rather Have Jesus

This morning in church we sang the hymn, I'd Rather Have Jesus. The words of this song are rather emphatic, and the melody is quiet and gentle. It's easy to get lost in the beauty of the melody without giving the weight of the words their proper due. It's always worthwhile to ask yourself, "Am I living this way?" when engaging in song during the worship service. That question struck me this morning as I sang the words. (The two lines that caused me pause were I'd rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today and I'd rather have Jesus and let him lead). Here's the words to I'd Rather Have Jesus (I've included the chorus after the first two verses for full impact of the meaning):

I'd rather have Jesus than silver or god;
Id rather be His than have riches untold;
Id' rather have Jesus than houses or lands;
I'd rather be led by His nail-pierced hand

Than to be the king of a vast domain,
Or be held in sin's dread sway;
I'd r…

My God is the Creator

As promised earlier in the week, a few entries from my What Do I Know About My God? notebook under the heading My God is the Creator.....

Nehemiah 9:6 (ESV)

"You are the LORD, You alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and You preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships You.

Psalm 8:3-4 (ESV)

When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have set in place. What is man that You are mindful of him and the son of man that You care for him?

Job 9: 8-9 (ESV)

Who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea; who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south.

John 1:1-3 (ESV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.

Frightening Fridays (Week 2)

If you have been reading this blog regularly, you know that I have committed myself to spending one evening a week in intentional evangelism. I have decided to make that day Friday (evenings). I'm still working out the details on how to go about this.

This Friday my plans were rained out for the most part (not a lot of people wandering around in the rain). I was able to hand out several tracts but was not able to engage anyone face to face and share the gospel with them.

I did experience some rejection as well, just in handing out tracts. It's not unusual for a person to say "No. Thank you." when you're offering them a piece of paper and they don't know what that piece of paper contains (probably 25% of the people at any given time pass it up for that reason). When that happens, it is easy to shake it off. When the gospel is rejected because of its message, that is harder to recover from.

As I was waiting in line for a takeout order at a very busy restaurant, I …

The Yearly Review

Yesterday I had my yearly performance review at work. That review marks 7 years with the company. I was praised for my good attitude and devotion to the company. If my "good attitude" and "devotion to the company" came from myself (as they think it does), they would not have a good employee on their hands. These yearly reviews only scratch the surface of my behavior, but God knows my heart, and that affects my work performance.

My actions at work come from my relationship with God. If I forgive people at work it is because I have been forgiven far greater an offense than ever committed against me. If I have a sense of morality in my daily dealings it is because I know there is a Moral Law Giver, and He is the one who created me. If I treat people with kindness and respect throughout the work day, it is because the Bible instructs me to do so not because this is an idea that I have come up with on my own.

I am grateful to God for providing this job for me. I am gratef…

What Do I Know About My God?

Currently, at our church, we are engaged in a monthly Bible study for women. We are using the book What Do I Know About My God? by Mardi Collier as the base of our study. In her book, Mrs. Collier describes a method of Bible study that she developed. The method involves reading through the Bible (we're starting in Psalms for the purpose of our monthly study) while keeping a notebook next to you. The notebook contains headings (that you compose) that describe what God tells us about Himself and His character through His Word. (Example: My God is in Control, My God is Creator, etc.).

I am enjoying the monthly study as we work through the book of Psalms, but I'm also enjoying the study on a daily basis. Greg (my husband) and I are reading through the Bible this year as a family. The plan we are using has us reading four (roughly) chapters of the Bible a day, two as a family, two personally. As I go through my daily reading, I'm finding the "What Do I Know About My God&quo…

I Peter 2:18-25

Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth. When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to rightousness. By His wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Sherpherd and Overseer of your souls.

I Peter 2:18-25 (ESV)

A Visit With Mom

Yesterday after church, I drove up to Milaca (about an hour north of my house) to visit my mom for the afternoon. It was just the two of us. It was a sweet visit.

My relationship with my mom has changed greatly in the last 3 years or so, a change for the better. All the glory and praise for this goes to God.

I was a false convert to Christianity until about 6 years ago (I claimed it with my mouth but denied it with my life). I called myself a Christian but I had not been regenerated, made new by God. After God saved me, and I began to testify of His goodness, friends and family members were confused (and rightfully so, I had already claimed this once before, when I was 11 years old). But there are two people (in particular) in my life who understood what I was saying, my husband and my mother. They both had a lot of experience with the real me (the me behind closed doors who didn't clean up behavior for reputation's sake).

I also attribute some of this change in my relationship …

Frightening Fridays (Part 2)

As mentioned in yesterday's blog entry, since returning home from some evangelism training in California about two weeks ago, I have decided to spend Friday evenings out in the local community handing out tracts and sharing the gospel with people I meet.

A tip I learned in the training I received was to set a goal when going out for the evening with evangelism on your brain. So, I did that. My goal was to hand out 15 gospel tracts and share the gospel with at least one person face to face.

I drove from work to a town neighboring my home with the intent to pass out tracts and talk to a few people. It being May in Minnesota, there weren't many people congregating out and about quite yet.

I did find a carnival going on in a parking lot. I was able to chat for a few minutes with some young people (late teens to early twenties) hanging out in and around their vehicle. They helped me identify some celebrities on the million dollar bill tracts, and they very kindly wrote down the inform…

Frightening Fridays (Part 1)

About two weeks ago, I attended an evangelism training event (Ambassador's Academy) in California. I like the way this ministry uses the law (the 10 commandments) to bring knowledge of sin, and then shares the gospel (the good news of redemption). I wanted to experience sharing the gospel alongside people who do it all the time, and I want to share the gospel with people, here, where I live. The training was excellent. The experience was excellent. Now I'm home, without a team of supporters surrounding me. Time to put training into practice. But there's a problem; I'm a huge chicken.

There is nothing in my personality alone that would coerce me to start a conversation with people I don't know. There are but two things that compel me to share the gospel with total strangers:

1. Love for Jesus Christ (I am undeserving, yet He loves me and took the punishment for my sins. I am grateful).

2. Love for people. (It is a shockingly high number of people in America who do not …

Morning Reading

I was reading in the book of James this morning, so I thought I'd share these verses.

Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit-yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it for him it is sin.
James 4:13-17 (ESV)

Hmmmm, the Word of God, as relevant today as the day it was written.

Running Behind

Lately, I've been struggling with getting to work on time (getting there at the time I committed to being there everyday). I seem to have the ability to arrive at work late consistently, so I must have the ability to consistently arrive at work on time.

I've been struggling with it and praying about. God has convicted my heart. My struggle with arriving to work on time is not just a struggle with timeliness but a struggle with selfishness. I want to do one more thing for me or one more thing while my time is still mine. Selfishness is sin. God brought that to my mind yesterday like a sledge hammer knocking me over.

I'm grateful that God loves me enough to correct me.

When in Doubt......Quote

Today I lack anything profound to say in and of myself. I will then, defer to (in my opinion) the best words ever written, the Bible. The veres that come to mind today are from the book of Philippians, specifically Philippians 2:3-11

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own intersests but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which is also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and …

My Short Adventure With Facebook

Facebook seems to be all the rage these days. I was very reluctant to join but broke down and gave it a try. Sunday evening I joined facebook. Monday evening I canceled facebook.

I found that it brings out things in me that I try to die to everyday. I have a side in me that has to fight the urge to gossip and criticize. I make war on these desires by reading the Bible and through Christian friends and family members who hold me accountable. For me, joining facebook was just asking for trouble in this area. I recognized this shortly after I joined, so I quickly ended my relationship with this networking tool.

These verses were running through my head at the time: Colossians 3:1-3 "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God."

I've seen several people who participate in facebook, and …

Not to be Taken for Granted

Yesterday morning, as part of my morning activities, I checked my e-mail. I had received an e-mail from Voice of the Martyrs. It was called "prisoner alert". It's an e-mail that Voice of the Martyrs (a non-profit organization supporting the persecuted church around the world) sends out to alert other Christians about a fellow believer in another part of the world who is currently imprisoned (and being persecuted) for their faith in Jesus Christ.

At the time, I was preparing to go to church. I was reminded of the freedom I enjoy here in America. May it not be taken for granted. I pray God will continue to convict me not to waste this precious time of freedom while I have it.

Please pray for fellow Christians around the world who are being persecuted (physically and mentally) for their faith even as I am writing the words on this screen.

If you would like to find out more about the Voice of the Martyrs organization and the work they do for the persecuted church, check out the…

Sunday School

I recently started teaching Christian Education (also known as Sunday School) for the 3-6 year olds at our church. My initial schooling was in child development, and I taught preschool for about 10 years. I then went back to school and trained in medical transcription and that was my career for the next 10 years (with a little overlap in between), and it continues to be my occupation today. I didn't think I missed teaching at all. But I realize now, it is my first love. I'm grateful God has allowed me this opportunity to teach the little ones again. I find I learn more through teaching than through any other experience in my life.

In our class, we are working on memorizing an entire Scripture passage instead of a different verse every week. We are memorizing Psalm 8. I am amazed at the ability of the young mind to memorize. They challenge me in this area, and teaching them allows me to work on my memorizing skills as well. It's a good mental reprimand to say to yourself, &q…

The Monthly Report

I am a medical transcriptionist by trade, and I have worked at a neurology clinic for 7 years now. Two years ago, the company downsized our department. We went from a 9-person department to a 2-person department. I took a blended position offered by the company at the time. I went from being a medical transcriptionist to being a transcription coordinator (office manager with a little typing on the side). At that time, I inherited the infamous monthly report. The bulk of the transcription is now typed by outside contractors. I am responsible for gathering the information of how many lines typed by each contractor every month and inputting it into an Excel spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is then given to the Accounting Department and to my boss (in Human Resources). I have spent much time in my boss' office being questioned about the monthly report and its lack of accuracy. I have been docked in ratings on my yearly review (two years in a row!--how embarrassing) because of my performan…

Knowing God

In last night's Bible study at church one of the highlights (and there were several) was when our pastor shared a few thoughts from the book Knowing God by J.I. Packer. It penetrated my thinking, so I wanted to share it with you.

And I quote, "Packer suggests there are four effects the knowledge of God has on a person."

1. Those who know God have great energy for God.

Daniel 11:32 says, "He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action."

2. Those who know God have great thoughts of God.

Daniel 2:20-23 says, "Daniel answered and said: Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him. To You, O God of my father, I give…

My Brothers

Recently, I had opportunity to spend time with my two brothers. Sadly, we were traveling to a cousin's funeral (about a 5-hour trip to Iowa), and that was the occasion that brought us together. Our time together, however, was sweet. I was reminded not only that I love them but that I enjoy spending time with them. We had the rare opportunity to travel as three siblings visiting relatives. For just a few hours we weren't wives, husbands, daughters, sons, fathers, uncles, or aunts, just brothers and sister.

I was reminded of the caring and protective side of my brother, Rob. I was reminded that he is a deep thinker and one who contemplates all aspects of a situation.

I was reminded of the conversational side of my brother, John (he can talk to a wall, and when he walks away you'd swear you saw the wall smiling). He has the ability to diffuse an uncomfortable situation and make those around him feel at ease. He, too, has the ability to examine all angles of a situation and is n…

Ambassador's Academy

I've had a week off of work (last Wednesday through yesterday, Tuesday). Today, it's back to work for me.

Last Wednesday I flew out to California to participate in something called the Ambassadors' Academy, through Living Waters/Way of the Master ministry. The ministry exists to teach other Christians how to share the gospel with friends and strangers. The Academy consisted of a full day (Thursday) of classroom training with various speakers from Living Waters/Way of the Master ministry followed by two days (Friday and Saturday) out on the streets (including Hollywood Boulevard) putting to practice what we learned. We passed out gospel tracts, shared the gospel with people face to face on the street, and even did some open-air preaching.

I wanted to participate in this training because I have a desire to share the gospel with as many people as possible. I spent many years with a wrong understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ (my testimony is posted on this blog if you wou…

Cookie Baking Night

Last night was "cookie baking night". Every other Monday my nieces and nephews (from both sides of the family) come over to spend the evening with me and my husband. We have supper together, bake cookies, play games, color pictures, read Bible stories, etc. Currently, we're reading through the book Leading Littles Ones to God by Marian Schoolland. It's a great book that teaches theology to children through stories, followup questions, Scripture passages, hymns, and prayers. My niece, Emily (she's 8 years old), received her first Bible last week. She brought it with her and read the Scripture passage from our story that evening (Psalm 139:1-10). She did a great job! Emily requested that we start learning the books of the Bible so she will know how to find things in the Bible without needing to look at the table of contents each time. We will start that process at the next "cookie baking night" and continue over the months to come. Any suggestions on how …

My Testimony

This is the testimony of how God saved me from my sins and gave me a new life. With my testimony, I’ve added an opportunity to examine your own life. Thank you for taking the time to read it and indulging me in this manner.

I spent many years of my life believing I was a Christian and believing things about God that simply weren’t true. I had a wrong idea of what it was like to be a Christian. I put my trust in one decision I made when I was 11 years old and not in Jesus Christ alone for my salvation. I have since repented of my sins, and God saved me.

When I was a young girl, my family started attending a local, community church. When I was 11 years old, I went to church camp. One night at camp, I heard a sermon preached on hell and that all sinners go to hell. I certainly could agree that I was a sinner, and I definitely didn’t want to go to hell. I responded to an invitation at the end of the service and prayed to “ask Jesus into my heart.” From that day forward I proceeded to live l…