Just Got 2 Tell

Anything & Everything I Feel Compelled to Share with the World!

The Temple Was Full January 20, 2014

Filed under: Christianity,God,Jesus Christ,Life,Spiritual Growth — Anna @ 12:40 PM

In church this past Sunday, the pastor spoke on 2 Chronicles 7. Verse 14 is fairly familiar, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.” But that was not what the Lord impressed on me during the sermon. A Bible study group I’m a part of has been looking at idols, specifically going through Kelly Minter’s No Other Gods study. Chapter 7, verses 19 stuck out. “But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them …verse 22 “Therefore he has brought all this disaster on them.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like disaster. It’s no fun. I certainly don’t want Him to bring disaster on me. It’s one thing to go through hard times to grow in my walk with Him, but to have disaster brought on me. That’s a lot scarier. I think I like an earlier picture better. 2 Chronicles 7:1-2 (this is right after Solomon’s prayer of dedication over the temple) As soon as Solomon finished his prayer fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house.

Read that again.  The glory of the Lord filled the temple. It was filled so much by that glory that the priests could not enter it. Not they did not enter but they could not. Now I’m not a theologist, I haven’t studied Greek or Aramaic, so don’t quote me on this. But what if it wasn’t just that the glory of the Lord was such an overwhelming force that the priests did not feel worthy of entering or were afraid they might die if they entered? Scripture it said they couldn’t enter. They couldn’t physically enter the temple. What if the glory of the Lord filled the temple in such a way that there was no physical room for anything or anyone else to coexist with His glory?

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19.  The temple is no longer just a building. It is the body of Christ, it is the body of believers. He no longer dwells only in the Holy of Holies. He dwells within each of our hearts.

What if His temple, our bodies, our lives were so filled with the glory of the Lord that nothing else could enter?

What if our hearts were so filled with His glory that there was no room for any false gods?

What would our lives look like? What would this world look like?

 

Save Me, Lord January 10, 2014

I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me.

Save me, O Lord, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues

Psalm 120:1-2

I happened upon this verse this morning in my devotionals. It wasn’t what was in the study for me to read. It wasn’t even the verse I flipped to that page for, but it most definitely stuck out to me, not like a sore thumb, more like a lifesaver in a turbulent sea. I was actually looking for Psalm 121: I lift my eyes into the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. I always sing this because Casting Crowns used the verse in the song, “Praise You In This Storm“. Truth be told, and you may have noticed, I typically have some song running through my head and/or many phrases or lines in a conversation may lead to me randomly breaking out into song. It all connects in my head.

I know I’ve read this verse, and there are many others similar. The Bible is filled with instances of calling out to God for help and Him answering our pleas. The Psalms speak often about the trouble with lying tongues. Lies are spoken and are fatal. The serpent’s deceitfulness led to death entering this world. But today that lying tongue hit quite a bit closer to home, more personal.

It’s not that I am finding that I have a problem lying to others, but my tongue is a liar. It lies to my head and my stomach. It tells my stomach it needs to growl that I’m hungry and need food, that I need chocolate or something sweet. That deceitful tongue decides that when I wake up in the middle of the night (for whatever reason) and it’s been hours since I ate that I need to eat something while I’m up.

The tongue is deceitful, I know that full well. And I am weak, giving into its cravings on a regular basis, even a year and a half into this health journey. Sometimes it’s like I should be beyond this now. I’ve been choosing salads over pizza for over a year; I should be able to resist the demands of my tastebuds.

James warns of the devestation that the tongue is capable of. The tongue is also a fire…It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire…No man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:6-8) I know and understand that the intent of both passages are about the words we speak, but as the new year begins and I am already struggling with getting back on track after the holidays, I can’t help but see how this relates.

One of my toughest issues, biggest addictions, even idol is my tongue, giving into its cravings and eating what I know I shouldn’t. Romans 7:19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. And yes, I consider these bad eating habits evil, for they do not take care of God’s temple, my body. So, thus I feel as though I am continuing to strive to tame my tongue, to teach it to crave different foods. Sometimes it works. I’m good never having another fry from McDonalds. Bojangles may be another story, but I was there Sunday and resisted, enjoying every bite of my larabar. Sometimes it does not. James says that no man can tame the tongue. But I am woman, hear me roar. No, that won’t work either. So what then am I to do? With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible–Matthew 19:26. About this verse, Lysa Terkeurst says in Made To Crave: devotional “With human effort alone, it can seem impossible to deny yourself. With human effort alone, it can seem impossible to make sacrifices. With human effort alone, it can seem impossible to have self-control. But with God, all sacrificial things are possible. With God, all self-control is possible.”

I’ve turned my closet door into a motivational door, full of quotes and workout ideas, my running schedule, upcoming races. It’s time I actually started getting some of that stuff off of the door and into my mind. If only I could stay in my room all day looking at it and remembering what I need to do, but I have to go out into the world, and I cannot be like the man who looks at his face in a mirror and after goes away and forgets what he looks like. I have to remember their wisdom in the heat of the battle, in the kitchen, at work, whenever my tongue starts going behind my back to conspire with my stomach.

Enough is enough.

I know I will continue to fail, but I will call on the Lord in my distress, and He will answer. My help comes from the Lord. He will not let my foot slip. He has good plans for me, plans to prosper me and give me a future.

 

Beware the Pedestal January 2, 2014

Duck Dynasty’s Robertson family have definitely become a household name recently. My family watches the show at least once a week, even if we’ve seen the episode multiple times already. I have to say when I first heard of the show, I wasn’t too impressed. I really just put them in the category of all the other redneck reality shows the networks have been pushing. I admit I judged them by the cover. Then K-Love started talking about them and about their faith.

Duck Dynasty Teens, pic taken from Winterfest website

Moving in with my parents, the cover of the Robertson book was thrown open, and I ran to catch the bandwagon that had driven past. I was impressed by their faith and the ways they have stood by their faith despite the media pressures to be politically correct or edgy or whatever.

As I mentioned in my last post, I and a friend of mine went to Winterfest, two nights of concerts to bring in the new year. The entire thing started with a Q & A session with Sadie, John Luke, Cole, and Reed Robertson. They were real. They shared their faith, favorite verses, but at no point did it seem like they were doing it because it was expected of them. They didn’t give church answers; they shared from their heart. They had taken the examples of Mamaw Kay & Papaw Phil, as well as their parents, and made their family’s faith their own.

Now another thing I noticed at Winterfest was the serious fan club that surround these guys and Sadie. The two girls sitting in front of us during the concert had gotten up. I didn’t pay any attention to their departure, but they returned giggly and excited, telling the rest of their group, “I’m never washing this hand again. I shook hands with John Luke.”

I just want to encourage everyone to watch out for this attitude. Yes, these guys are, and this family is, worth admiring. But do not place them on a pedestal. They are pretty awesome people. They live out their faith, just as each of us are called to do. And they have been blessed because of that. But it’s very easy to fall into people worship, praising humans for the great things they do rather than their Maker who gives them to gifts and talents to do those things.

I found myself following that trail this morning. I was thinking along the lines of “how awesome of John Luke to be able to stand in front of thousands, telling them to get quiet, this is serious stuff, and share his heart and his faith. I wish I could be like that.” God quickly reminded me that I could be like that, that I have exhibited those same qualities, that I have stood boldly before others and shared my beliefs even when I knew they were contrary to popular opinion. I did not have the opportunity to stand before thousands and share those beliefs, but I did not flinch from the audience I did have.

That should be in the front of all of our minds. We admire the Robertson’s for standing strong and using Duck Dynasty and the opportunities that have arisen because of it as a witness to millions, but we are each given just as important of an audience, an audience that needs us to be strong in our faith, to be real.

So even while we get excited about getting to see or hear them speak, we need to pay a lot more attention to their message and remember we serve the same God, and we are loved equally (unconditionally) by that God, none of us are better or worse.

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Another note: this same thing applies to any Christian speaker, writer, artist, performer. They do great things, but so can we because the same God is at work in all of us.

 

Happy New Year January 1, 2014

The last two days, I’ve had so much running through my mind that I’ve #JustGot2Tell so I might actually be a bit more active in updating this in the next week or so. To start things off, I just want to ask how did you say goodbye to 2013 and bring in 2014?  I’ve celebrating the new year in many different ways, parties, sleeping, at church, Murder Mystery dinner.  But this was the first year I’ve been at Liberty University for Winterfest.

I LOVE music. Absolutely LOVE it. It’s one thing that I would hate to live without, (I know I could physically live without it, but if God asked me to, I would probably do so grudgingly and with lots of whining). Better than that I LOVE music that honors God. Yes, my mp3 player has a lot of 80s and country as well, but music that praises God or is God-honoring, that feeds the soul. So what better way to end the year and start the next one than praising God and rocking out with 12 different Christian artists.

Many of the names I knew. I’d already seen 5 of them in concert before. Fell even more in love with Unspoken, whom I’d just seen in Danville a couple months ago. Rekindled with flame with Skillet, a band I was obsessed with in college, but had fallen away from the stronger rock feel.  Gave the new Audio Adrenaline a try. LOVED them with Mark Stuart. Hadn’t realized Kevin Max was the one doing lead vocals, but I knew he looked familiar. They aren’t the same as the original; the old songs had a new sound (which made sense this morning when I realized it was Kevin Max). Their new songs did NOT disappoint.

We rang in the new year with Third Day. They were huge surprise. I have to say I’m not a huge fan on their music. They have some great songs; I know a lot of them and sing along on the radio, but they’re never ones I find myself in the mood to listen to. Hearing them in concert, though. That was amazing!!! Hands down one of the best worship experiences ever.

What was really cool was that even though they each had their own style of music, ranging from Hip Hop and Rap to Rock of extremely-varied levels (some a little harder than I’m used to), they were each there for One reason: praise God. And that is most certainly what we did.

There were some pretty great speakers lined up as well. It was pretty cool to hear from the Duck Dynasty teens. Sadie, John Luke, Reed, and Cole Robertson opened up the first night and shared their faith as well as some interesting Uncle Si stories. It blesses my heart to see them use their fame as a ministry and witness for God to so many. Thank you for being honest and real.

There’s an old wives’ tale that I grew up hearing. Whatever you do on new year’s day, you’ll spend the rest of the year doing. With that in mind, my mom avoided laundry, dishes, and most other cleaning on New Years Day. It never really made sense because I mean, seriously those things never end anyway. Not really. But on an opposite note. What if the first thing you did in the new year was praise God?  What if you made that your goal for the first day of 2014, to make an effort to praise and worship God?  What kind of pattern would be set for the entire year?

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Lastly, I have to share Unspoken’s song, “Lift My Life Up”.  This is the prayer of my heart for 2014 and the rest of my life. Take my dreams, my plans. Take my life and let it be all for you. Have your way in me, God!