Tag: Romans


stuff I learned this weekend…


what I learned

We had a full weekend!  I’m mad at myself that I didn’t think far enough ahead to have a “frankly friday” post ready for y’all, but I’m tellin’ you, the way I’ve been sleeping has been killing me!  I knew if I didn’t sleep when I felt tired, I’d never make it through Saturday.  We had to be ready to roll at 7:20 am, so that meant I was up a little after 6:00.

I didn’t sleep well at all that night, which was really odd.  Max seldom has to go out during the night, but there he was, standing on my chest staring down into my face with that Do-my-bidding-NOW! look on his face.  (no, I couldn’t see him, but I knew he was doing it okay?)

I let him out about 3:00 am then got back up about 45 minutes later when I rolled over and realized I was sweaty.  Whaddaya know?  An actual hypo symptom!  Go me!  So I got up, tested and treated the 45 blood sugar.  By the time I got back in bed, it was after 4:00 am and some time after that I had this horrible dream!

People, I seldom EVER dream, but boy, I did this night and it was a doozy…there were cameo appearances by several out-of-place characters I’ve forgotten now, but the boys were little, like tuck-them-in ages and Tommy was being an absolute butt to me!  When I was telling him about it, I said that I would almost say we had switched roles in the dream, but even I was never that nasty in front of the boys as he was to me in this dream.  It was really bizarre because he’s so not that way.  And yes, I have been known to be pretty ugly-acting, but thank God, I’m lots better than I used to be.  Right, Honey?  …Right?   ….RIGHT!?!?  😉

So suffice to say, I had a horrible night and then had to get up W-A-Y-the-heck earlier than I have in ages!  A big hydro-flask of strong coffee in tow and we were off.  Taylor went with us since she was helping with the event.  Love her heart, she slept most of the hour-and-a-half drive there.  That child stays tired!

Anyhow, it was a good experience.  I will say that some of it was a little unexpected.  I don’t know if I missed something during the 12 weeks of study or if that’s how it’s set up, but the end of the thing was just not what I was expecting.  I won’t spoil it for anyone else, but if you have questions, just email me, okay?  I’ll be glad to answer.  It wasn’t that it was bad, just really surprising.  It was nice to see a lot of our Emmaus friends and there was lots of music and worship and good speakers.  It was a good day, but it felt really long since I was already tired.

Sunday morning we had another amazing sermon, the final one in this series What Lies Beneath.  Man, was it awesome!  I guess maybe you’ve heard that one before since I keep raving about the messages, but really, if you haven’t checked them out, I urge you to do so.  We all have a lot of baggage and issues that we sometimes grow to believe are “just life” or “just the way it is” when that’s not true!  This whole series has been about dealing with your “stuff”, facing it, dumping it, forgiving it, conquering it…whatever it is you need to do with it.  Then your path to following God’s direction is unhindered with nothing in the way of your progress.

Things like that can become “hidden sins” too.  For instance, that coworker who’s always cranky.  He claims to be a Christian, but he is always in the foulest mood.  That’s NOT an example of a Christ-filled life, people!  It’s the total opposite, in fact!  We don’t usually refer to that as sin, do we?  We just say, “Oh, Gustaf is always that way.  It’s just how God made him, I guess.” but is that really true?  Does that line up with the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians?

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Okay, so it’s not saying to NOT do these things is a sin, however, if these are in fact the fruit of being a Jesus-follower, and we’re NOT showing them then…does that not logically lead to them being sins of omission?  See?  There is a lot of stuff to chew on in this sermon!

How you think, is how you are... Prov 23:7

Maybe you’ve said that kind of thing about yourself…that you can’t change, you can’t help “the way you are”.  …but is that really true?

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Doesn’t this tell us we can change our lives by the way we think and that if we are in line with God that we won’t just be “the way we are” if that isn’t the way Jesus told us to live?

What things are we doing or not doing daily, without even thinking about it, that are killing our testimony, our witness to others, our walk with Jesus?  What things are hindering us from a full, lively relationship with our Father God?

This sermon really got me to thinking about what kind of mindset I have.  I’ve complained about how tired I am and folks, I really AM always tired, but I wondered…am I letting that cause me to think even more negatively than I would otherwise?  And if so, what can I do to fix it?!

For right now, I’m working on a little project I’ve had on my mind for several weeks since this series began.  I’m doing a canvas with the words “I am who the I AM says I am”.  It’s a phrase Pastor Trevor used several times and it’s stuck with me.  For a person who has had a lifelong negative self-image, this is big.  It was like a whole new world of thought opened up for me, ya know?  I guess that’s kinda pathetic, but it’s honest and that’s just how we roll here in Dog Years, right?  😉

To wrap this up, things I learned this weekend:

  • things aren’t always what they seem
  • we have the power to change our lives when we change our mind(set) to align with God’s will
  • I have an amazing church (a’course, I already knew that!)
  • God sees my potential, not my past or present
  • with Jesus by my side, there is always hope

I’ll upload a pic of my finished project (if it turns out to suit me, that is!) when it’s ready.  For now, will you join me in renewing our minds to follow God’s will?  I foresee some tough choices ahead, but that’s okay.  How many, MANY verses are there about God finishing what He starts and never leaving us?  Plenty enough for us to do this thing!  After all…

Romans 8:31 …if God is for us, who can be against us?


dealing with insecurity…


Don't think too highly of yourself, but don't think less of yourself than God does!

Hey y’all!  Hope your week is off to an amazing start.  I am running on less than 10 hours sleep today, so that’s progress! (I’m not joking!)

But enough about my terrible lack of energy these days…

We had another tremendous sermon yesterday.  This whole series has been SO wonderful and SO needed!  We all have mental and emotional stuff…baggage, garbage, whatever you wanna call it.  We all have it, unfortunately.  Some of us create our own and some have other people who create it for us, but either way, it’s not healthy and if we are having major struggles with our emotional “junk” then we can’t be as spiritually healthy as we need to be and can be!

So yesterday’s message was about insecurity.  Insecurity is defined as so:

in·se·cu·ri·ty
ˌinsəˈkyo͝orədē/
noun
  1. uncertainty or anxiety about oneself; lack of confidence.

It is unwise to think more highly of yourself than you should and unfortunate to think less of yourself than God does.

Pretty common knowledge, right?  Yeah, so what can contribute to insecurity?  One of the things Pastor Trevor brought up was the fact that we have these “competing identities”.  For instance:

the way you see “you”

the way others see “you”

the way you *think* others see “you”

the way you can’t see yourself due to your *ideas* of “you”

the way you *think* “you” should look/be

the way you *think* God sees “you”

the way God  *actually* sees “you”

Like most anything else, when it comes to reality, our minds…our self-imposed ideas of what should or should not be…our way of letting others dictate how we view things can really mess up what God has created.  We have to learn to replace our faulty, deceptive way of thinking with the truth of God’s word.

The way WE see ourselves can be really distorted by our own faulty thinking or by the way others have described us.  The way others see us can also be a distortion depending on their own individual emotional “stuff” and the way they filter information about the world around them.  If they’ve been sort-of *programmed* (for lack of a better word right now) to be negative about things, they are liable to only see the flaws in everything/one else!  If a person has been “taught” to have a low view of themselves, they are likely to not even notice anyone around them due to thinking they’re so unworthy or unwanted.  See?  Most of the times, others will see us a lot closer to reality unless we are “putting on a show” and pretending to be something we’re not.

“O Lord God, do not turn away the face of your anointed one! Remember your steadfast love for David your servant.”  ~2 Chronicles 6:42

The way others see us can also be a distortion depending on their own individual emotional “stuff” and the way they filter information about the world around them.  If they’ve been sort-of *programmed* (for lack of a better word right now) to be negative about things, they are liable to only see the flaws in everything/one else!  If a person has been “taught” to have a low view of themselves, they are likely to not even notice anyone around them due to thinking they’re so unworthy or unwanted.  See?  Most of the time, however, others will see us a lot closer to reality unless we are “putting on a show” and pretending to be something we’re not.

The way we THINK others see us is almost always incorrect.  Even more so if we have an unhealthy of our own selves.  Of course, how we feel and think about ourselves factors heavily into this.  If we are thinking in unhealthy and deceptive ways about ourselves, we will automatically believe others see us the same way.

The way we see ourselves is largely based on the ideas and ideals we have.  If we have lopsided ideas about ourselves, we’re obviously NOT going to be able to see ourselves with truth.  It’s one of those can’t-see-the-forest-for-the-trees situations.  We can’t see our true self for all the bad ideas we have, all the deceptive ideals we’ve created about who we are.

This goes along with the way we THINK we should look or be.  Almost ALL the time this is going to be due to influences around us.  The way our parents raised us or talked to us, the way our friends have treated us or persuaded us to feel/think.  Many times, it’s also clouded with lots of untruths and unfair comparisons.

God only needs one; He made me to be that one.

How we THINK God sees us can be unbelievably skewed and affected by many different experiences we’ve had thus far in our lives.

There are tons of bad theology out there about how God sees His children!  For instance, a theology that says you have to “do” certain things or “be” a certain way in order for God to love you or sometimes to even receive salvation!

I have one word to say about this kind of “religion”:  RUN!  Fast and far.  Jesus loves us where we are.  He died for us before we even knew Him.  He’s not waiting for you to fulfill a checklist of tasks before He will love you.  (sorry for this rabbit trail!)  So, obviously, there are LOTS of ways we mess up the way God actually sees us because of how we THINK He sees us.  Stop putting God in a box!

 “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”

~Romans 8:32

The insecurity in me fades when I find my ultimate security in Christ.

How can I know how God *actually* sees me?  That’s the easiest part.  He used all these people through several centuries to write His love letter to the world.  All of it is contained in the Bible.  To know God’s heart, His will for you, the way He sees you … read His word!  Once you start immersing yourself in scripture, you will begin to see His will, His guiding hand, all over your life and you’ll be more at peace when the path starts to get a little bumpy.

 

 


mind. blown.


First, Tommy came home Saturday night excited that a friend of his, the man’s family at least, were going to go to church with us!  I don’t really know any of them other than to wave, but knew there was a lot of addiction and just ‘life-struggle’ in the family.  They really need Jesus!  So we’ve just always tried to be lights, just living for Jesus in front of them, ya know?

It’s sad when people get so beaten down by life, the disappointments, the abandonment, the betrayal of it that they become hardened to the idea that love exists anywhere anymore.

living for jesus
Especially when you present some “ancient guy” Who’s supposed to love everybody the same and besides that…“didn’t he die already?”  sigh

So yeah, by the time we were getting ready for bed though, the mom texted Tommy through his friend’s number saying that she was “just going to take everyone to my church”, but thanks for the invitation.  I could tell it upset Tommy. He said that the reason they had come out (as Tommy was in his truck getting ready to leave — he had taken some auto stuff over there for the guy to paint) to ask about church was that the young teen boy, the mom’s son, I think, “has questions and wants to go to church.”  The son was just there for spring break, he normally lives with his dad.  I have no clue what sort of relationship there is other than that.

We knew they had never gone to church in all the years we’ve known them so I’m not sure what church she was calling ‘hers’, but then again, Tommy said they were both (the mom & dad) pretty buzzed by the time he left.  He said they’d started on the beers soon as he got there and, the best he knew, that was the regular evening routine.  I don’t know, but anyway, he figured that was part of the text and still said he would come pick them up, that they should go see what it was like at our church and we were sure they’d really like it.

There was no response after that.

We got up earlier than usual the next morning because Tommy had decided we’d go over there anyway and maybe if, by chance, they were up getting ready, they’d just go with us or if not, we could get them to go.

We were ready to get in the truck when he realized that he had forgotten to put Samson up.  Samson, (look in my photos down there to the left) is our big, cuddly, laid-back chocolate lab.  We’ve had him since he was just a few weeks old.  We learned pretty early on that he has no sense of direction after him following another dog off a couple different times and us getting a call that he was 4-5 miles away somewhere.  Bless his little heart.

So we have always kept him on an underground fence.  He’s been on it so long now that he knows exactly where the boundaries are and he will not cross.  I mean, seriously!  I tried to get him to walk down to Corey’s with me a couple weeks ago.  I took his collar off, walked across and he just sat there, quivering.  I called and I begged, but he wouldn’t budge.  I even tried to sorta push him across but he would have none of it!

Samson has a dog house inside a chain link dog run and that’s where he goes at night.  By this time, it is habit and normally, if Tommy dawdles later that Sams thinks he should, or he’s just hungry, he’ll bark and let us know he’s ready to go to bed!  Ha ha.

Tommy had worked all day Saturday in the shop with both his dad and Casey and then after taking the stuff to be painted out there and talking to his friend awhile, it was later than usual for him to come in.  He’d stopped and picked up some supper for himself and sat in the recliner to eat.  I didn’t realize he hadn’t put Sam up so when he was soon snoring loudly, I just let him sleep and went on to bed.  He seems to sleep a little better sitting up like that and can be hard to wake up, so when he’s sleeping soundly like that, I just let him sleep there.

Back to Sunday morning, we came out to leave and Tommy realized he hadn’t taken care of Sam the night before.  We called, expecting him to come running, but no Sam.  I walked around to the front porch, even though it’s unusual for him to stay out there unless it’s sunny, but nope.  Not there either.

lost pets

We only have a smidge over an acre here, so it’s not like he had a lot of other places to go.  So Tommy went out into the shop, calling Sam as he opened the office door.  No Sam in there either.  While he did that, I walked around behind the shop, which is about the only other place he could have been out of our sight.  I feared I might find him sick or injured because that’s the only reason he wouldn’t come when called, but he wasn’t there either.

Now we were completely flummoxed!  What in the world…?  Now there was only one other conclusion, but it didn’t quite add up either:  Samson had been stolen!!  We checked to make sure the fence was working: yep, it wasn’t off or alerting due to a broken wire.  All this time, we’re making all this noise in the shop, but it’s getting later and we were determined to try to get at least the young boy to go to church with us, so we reluctantly left.

As we drove away, I began a plea for Facebook friends, most of whom are great animal lovers and told them about our missing Samson.  Many of them have met Sam and love him too, because you just can’t really help but love the big galloot.  He’s such a gentle, easy-going fella and of course, he’s gorgeous too.

Samson

Samson

So people began sharing my status like crazy and posting to lost pets groups and commenting with sympathy and encouragement and prayers.

When we got to the house of Tommy’s friend, his sister-in-law was standing on the porch.  Tommy got out and talked with her.  Apparently, the mom had talked herself out of going.  And no, she wasn’t up preparing to go that her church either.  She said no one else was up so they couldn’t go.  Tommy told her we’d be back at 10:30 and we’d all go to the 11:15 service, then.  She agreed and we left.  It was about 9:15 at the time.

We drove over toward our house, on the other side of town, and started down the roads where we’d found Sam the other two times.  Nothing.  No sign of him.  As we got closer to our house, a dear friend, Shell, called me to ask what area we lived in…she was going to drive around looking for him too.  I could have cried.  What a precious thing to do!!  I told her there was no need for her to get out when she informed me she was already leaving her house!  Bless her heart!  She wasn’t about to go back, so I told  her a couple places he could have gone and off she went.

Seriously, guys?  I have some amazingly awesome friends, don’t I?  Makes me feel SO humble and thankful!  God’s blessed me so good!

We were still driving, getting closer to our house and decided we should go turn off the fence so that if Sam did somehow wander back home, he could go in without getting shocked.  None of that even seemed feasible still, but what else could we do.  We pulled up to the shop, where the control box is and Tommy informed me he was gonna use the bathroom while he was in there.  I said fine and began checking on the Facebook activity, updating people and thanking them for the shares and concern…I was absorbed in my task so when Tommy showed up with this incredulous look on his face outside the driver’s window, I had no clue what was up.

He opened the door and said, “Look!” and pointed across the yard toward Sam’s pen…and lo and behold, there was his big chocolate butt trotting around the yard as if nothing was amiss.  SERIOUSLY!?!?  “WHERE WAS HE?!” I asked in pure shock.

“In the mower room, “ Tommy said with this monotone voice, completely disparaged.  My mouth fell open then.  Let me explain, our shop is about 30 x 60 feet with two tall garage bays, then a small office with a “people door”, when you come out of the office into the shop, immediately to your left is a staircase to our storage area, another small work bay in front of you and if you walk around and under the stairs, there’s a bathroom and at the very back, two more rooms, one of which has a small garage door where we park our lawn mower.  It’s RIGHT BESIDE the bathroom.

I was just floored.  Why on earth hadn’t he barked at all??  I mean, the boogar had not made a single sound in all the time when Tommy called him from INSIDE the shop (it’ echo-y in there, people!) nor when he got a scoop of food out for him from the tote sitting right outside the mower room door…and he still hadn’t made a peep when Tommy came into the bathroom.  He just thought, even though the chance was slight that Sam would be in there, he’d just check to be sure… so when Sam jumped up and trotted over to him, tail a-waggin’, we were just baffled!

I had gotten out of the truck while Tommy was telling me all this and Sam came over just like normal.  I bent down to hug on and scold him.  I was in the process of calling Shell to tell her we’d found him.  It was a little hard to hear her well out in the wind, but she said something about “whoopin’ his butt” and next thing I knew, she had pulled in the driveway.

We laughed and talked a bit while she gave Sam another good scolding and hugs and then we all hurried off to church.

WHAT A MORNING!  I hurriedly got on Facebook to call off the search so people were commenting back and no one made too much fun of us for finding him in the stinkin’ shop.  HA HA HA!

This morning I posted this on Facebook:

  Here’s what Geannie learned this weekend:😀
1) always check all the rooms before pleading for FB help to find you dawg. 🐶💩
2) if you still can’t find him, ALWAYS plead on FB …those people rock!💪🏼👍🏼
3) Gentle persistence pays off when you are trying to engage people for Christ. 🙌🏼
4) A bunch of stuff about my brain that I didn’t know before (& am still chewing on! Thx, P Trev -> Trevor Barton
5) 2 months is probably too long to keep a kumquat in the fridge. 😖
(I made that last one up, but I betcha I’m right!) 😂

How funny!  I was so overwhelmed by the help and concern, especially from Shell.  She went above and beyond.  I just love my sweet friends!! (she’s an Emmaus friend, by the way…they totally rock!)

Okay, so back to the collecting of guests for church…

When we got back to Tommy’s friend’s house, no one was stirring that we could tell.  We were in the process of determining what we should do, go knock, go away…what? when someone opened the door and out came the sister-in-law with a car seat and behind her a cute little blonde-haired girl and the teenaged boy.  Praise God!

We had an amazing sermon!  This series is called What Lies Beneath and it’s about how if we aren’t emotionally healthy, we can’t really by spiritually healthy either.  Our lead pastor is super-blessed with the ability to apply Biblical truths to our lives today.  He went into this in-depth explanation of how our brains work… how the neurons created connections or paths each time we learn something new.
nerves-346928_1920

The more we do OR think about those things, the stronger the path becomes.  His point was that, just like how Paul says it in Romans 12:2…

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

We CAN change our lives, our thought patterns, our behaviors by changing how we think.  He phrased it “changing our minds” which, get this, is the definition of the word repent. (read down to ‘repentance’… if you look in newer dictionaries, it paints repentance as a feeling of sorrow or regret, but that’s not the original meaning!)   How amazing is it that all those centuries ago, Paul had it right.  He described the very process that our brains use to change how we live, how we act and how we think!

I was really blown away by how the Bible really does tell us that our regeneration, our renewal, our path to that ‘new self with the old self in the past’ after we’ve made Jesus the Lord of our lives really begins in our minds and WE must submit our minds to Christ!  It sounds so simple, but I really loved the way he explained how the brain works, how neutrons form paths and the more we concentrate on a task or thought or memory, the stronger that connection becomes.  So in the case of a bad thought pattern, the scripture 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 come into play:

 “4For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”

THIS is how we change our lives!  By changing our minds.  Literally rewiring our minds by filling them with the Word of God and detemining to bend our will to His knowing that He loves us and wants only the best for us, no matter how it looks to our human eyes.  (that’s a whole ‘nother post about faith and trust, I believe. 🙂 )

I’m going to link the sermon series here because as of right now, they don’t have yesterday’s message uploaded, but when they do, you can get to that one here also.  Besides, you oughta listen the Week 1 anyhows.  🙂

What Lies Beneath – The Creek Church – Pastor Trevor Barton

Wow.  Such an energizing thought and I don’t know a soul who didn’t need that!  Don’t fall prey to your thought patterns, to a negative mindset, to naysaying friends who don’t encourage your faith.  Break free!  Start by locking up those unbeneficial thoughts and replacing them with the truth of God’s Word!!

Blessings

G~