Friday, May 29, 2009

Sound Thinking

Our topic at Girlfriends and God this week was 'sound thinking'. Suzanne gave us a handout that listed characteristics of a woman who does not have sound thinking and those of a woman who does have sound thinking. We went through the lists and talked about what each characteristic looked like lived out. Each woman there could identify with one or more behaviors on the 'does not have' list and all agreed we wish we could say we live 100% of the time having and demonstrating sound thinking. Kind of reminded me of how I have responded in the past when I read Proverbs 31. Made me tired just reading through the list. Made me feel like a failure because I immediately started comparing myself with what I perceived to be the unachievable godly woman I should be.

But over the years, God has helped me to see that He never expected me to suddenly be that 'perfect' woman. I am a work in progress. So when my mind started traveling down that comparison road on Wednesday, I was able to steer it back to reality. My reality is that I am not the woman I used to be. I could look at the 'does not have sound thinking' list and see behaviors that I have overcome, praise God! I could look at the 'does have' list and see that I really do exhibit a lot of those characteristics. At least most of the time! And I know and am encouraged that He is not finished working on me.

Neither is He finished with you. We are all works in progress and will be for the rest of our days in this life. "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, Who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthian 3:18 (NIV)


Friday, May 15, 2009

When God calls

How do we respond to God when He calls us to do something? Do we readily obey when we hear His slightest whisper? Or do we ignore Him, even when He shouts? I don't know how you are answering this question but in my life I have done both. Unfortunately, I fall into the latter category more often than I do the first.

We can find examples of both responses through out the Bible. The twelve disciples didn't hesitate when Jesus asked them to follow Him. On the other hand, 8 of the 10 spies saw the giants in the land and tuned out God's instruction to go into the land He was going to give them. I want to be like the disciples. I want to immediately obey without considering the cost. But I find myself analyzing too much. Questioning my hearing. Counting the cost and weighing it against what I perceive to be the rewards. Basically, ignoring His call so that I can remain in my cozy little comfort zone.

Such is a recent struggle in my life. I first felt God's call to a new adventure about 5 or 6 years ago. After only a small amount of procrastination, I tentatively stepped out and began preparation to fulfill that call. But then life got busy, I let distractions consume the time I should have been using to prepare and go forward. After awhile it became easy to simply think it was all in my head. Just another one of those self centered dreams that wasn't from God after all.

But you know what? When God is calling us to do something for Him, He will not allow us to continue to ignore Him. The past few months He has revived that dream and given me confirmation after confirmation that this is indeed from Him and I am to GET MOVING! So I am stepping out in faith and doing just that. Baby steps to be sure, but I am moving forward. Oh, those doubting thoughts still try to creep in and my life seems to have gotten even more crazy busy. But God gives me just the right word every day to encourage me and keep me on the path. Sometimes it comes from a devotion. Other days it is in a song I hear or a sermon. Many times it is simply straight from His Word.

So what is God asking you to do? Are you like the disciples, immediately saying yes and ready for the task? Or are you like I have been, waiting and wondering? Seek His confirmation and once you have it, don't hesitate. Say yes and watch what God will do. I would love to hear your stories of how God is working in your life. Just click on comments below and share with us.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Numbers and the Performance Trap

This blogspot is still in its infancy stage but already I find myself expecting more. More time to post more frequently. More comments. More feedback. Are we just writing to ourselves or is anybody out there really visiting and reading what we post? One of our co-authors asked me this week if I had thought about adding a counter so we can see if we are getting 'hits'. It was a question that I had already been asking myself for the past couple of weeks.

Then on one of my favorite blogs the author talked about numbers. How she had a counter on her blogspot but when it filled up, all of a sudden she found herself back to square one - not knowing if anyone was visiting the blog. How she had to revisit why she posts blogs in the first place.

It got me to thinking. (Funny how God kicks that thinking part of my brain in gear!) Thinking about why we are driven to collect statistics. Granted, statistics aren't all bad. Much to the contrary, collecting and analyzing data is very important in many areas. It can make a difference between success and failure. What business person would start up a new business or begin an expansion of their business without research and market analysis? Doing so could mean failure of their venture within a short period of time. On the other hand, we Americans have become so performance driven that we base our perception of success or failure on numbers or the lack of.

That measure of success is the worldly definition. It is not God's. We look at a visible yardstick. God looks at the invisible spiritual markers. There are numerous examples in the Bible of instances where the world would scream "failure" but God said "success"! What about Joseph? Definitely his brothers thought failure when they sold him into slavery. Years (and several other worldly defined 'failures') later, Joseph was able to tell them God intended it for good and to enable their very lives to be spared during a ravaging famine. Sarah? Way past child bearing age, she had been labeled barren, failing to provide children to her husband. Then God's promise was fullfilled in Isaac. Elizabeth? Another barren woman - another 'failure'. Then God defined success and gave her John. The list could go on and on.

So I am back to the question about adding a counter to our site. And I've decided that yes, we need to do that. We need to be able to evaluate every aspect of our ministry to ensure we are reaching women and making a difference in their lives. The counter will let us see whether or not people are visiting this blog. As far as comments and feedback...................well, I am leaving that part of the measuring in God's hands!

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