Archive for the ‘Sin’ Category

Jealousy

April 9, 2008

Jealousy–what a vile and purtid word! Dictionary.com describes the word “jealous” as “feeling resentment against someone because of that person’s rivalry, success, or advantages”.  Other words with a similar meaning include: grudge, intolerant, and so on.

For the longest time, I thought I was never jealous. I only wanted things was never hurt whenever another person got it. But I never wanted anyone to suffer for it. Until I met “Lora”. Lora had everything I could ever want. She had a great family, wonderful personality, a great love for God, a gift for serving and hospitality and patience and reaching out and singing and playing the piano and on and on it went.

And then, she began to step on to my territory, my realm of knowledge. I began to become jealous of her. Lora was as sweet as they got. I found myself struggling whenever I was around her because I saw myself as so much lower than her and because she would always get the things that I wanted. Not once did Lora know how much I envied her. Resentment built up in me.

“But God, why?” I asked pleadingly. And then I knew. I had begun to become proud. I thought that I deserved what she had, and she didn’t.

When we see others being blessed in the way we wish to be, it’s easy to become jealous. So how in the world do we handle such a difficult feeling?

Love and Bless
Love is perhaps the most difficult thing to do. I’m not talking affection here. No, I’m talking about a 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

When we are jealous of another, we should love God and love the person we are jealous of. We should bless them instead of allowing our jealousy and maybe even dissent towards the person who has what we desire to overcome us. It’s not easy to remember God’s goodness when we feel discontent. I certainly know! But:

{{Philippians 4:13}}
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

We can do all things through Him. Even conquer jealousy.

Love,

Bethany

 

Simple Hard Things that Aren’t Simple

December 20, 2007

I began writing this post yesterday when I should have been doing school work. Feeling convicted three sentences into this post, I turned off my com puter to finish what I could before I had to leave the house. Now, having a few moments between lunch and more school, (it takes me weeks to write a single post usually, so only taking a few minutes to write is normal, no worries!) I will begin with a clearer conscience.

Those who know me know that I am one of the laziest people on earth. Ask my family, my close friends–they all know it. Everyday I see more and more how stinking lazy I really am. And now it’s coming back to get me (can you say, “Behind 15 days in biology”?). If I had just done what was required of me, not what I required of myself, I feel certain that I would not be behind.

Which brings me to my point: simple hard things are not always so simple. It takes motivation, dedication, and a deep love for God to truly do hard things. Hard things like this include: waking up forty-five minutes earlier to have my quiet times, focusing my mind on school as opposed to daydreaming, and applying myself in biology (can you tell which is my least favorite subject?). Hard things also may include putting away dishes, not replying to a snood remark, or doing laundry. I’ve learned this: doing great things for God begins with doing little hard things for God. I sometimes remind myself of this: Mozart didn’t begin with a symphony. He began with a piano, learning one note at a time.

It’s easy to feel discouraged when one realizes they have failed at a hard thing (0r many, in my case). It is so, entirely easy. But here’s the thing: if we spend all of our time moping about, are we serving Him with love or pitying ourselves with, well, pity? As I sit here with my peppermint mocha coffee (oh, for the love of Starbucks!) I think about how simple it is to get discouraged when doing “simple” hard things. I would love to be so much more involved in The Rebelution, in doing hard things for God’s glory. But it’s easier said than done.

I think of my three year old sister. She is a very smart, intelligent little girl (not to mention the cutest little thing you will ever see in your life) yet when we tell her to go look for her baby-doll (which is often in plain sight) she cries, “I can’t! I can’t! Come on.” This reminds me of myself. The things that should be simple for me often seem to great a task for me and for my great, big God seem far to difficult and I give up. This is a wrong reaction. Instead, I should be seeking His will, His strength, and His joy above all things.

So to those of you out there who are nodding your heads in agreement, keep on keeping on. You are not alone.

Bethany

Oh, to Learn and Be Taught!

December 8, 2007

Being taught is a humbling thing. No, I don’t mean doing schoolwork or going to classes. Rather, I mean being instructed, corrected, and confronted graciously by God. He uses people, circumstances, writing, and His Word to change and purify our hearts.

Recently, I confronted someone. and let me tell you, it may have been the stupidest serious thing I have ever done. I was so proud in my course of action. I was so selfish and rude! When this person humbly and graciously and lovingly replied in a letter, I was immediately broken. It pains me to read this person’s word and remember those that I wrote. I’m so ahsamed of myself and my actions.

But as I’m writing this, I’m realizing that God has answered my prayers for humility and for refining by fire.

I’m only a teenager. I’m not a wise adult, a teacher, a Bible major, nothing. When it comes down to it, I am but dust. although I aspire to be like Him, to honor Him, I am only a baby. I have so far to go before I can even crawl!What a thought! It’s so humbling t remember that I am completely dependant on Him. I can do nothing on my own. He is so gracious to do all He does and chooses not to. God has forgiven all of my sin, all of my transgressions. Past, present, and future wrongs He has chosen to overlook and instead see the righteouness of Christ! While I an unrighteous, He declares me righteous. Wow.

Next time you’re confronted in whatever way, remember that is an act of love and of grace by God. He is so holy- it would be more just of Him to just declare my unrighteous and send me right on my way to Hell. After all, that is what I deserve. Yes, He is just. But He is merciful too! Confronting me about my sin is a merciful thing of Him to do.

I am learning. I am being taught. And despite the pain, I am thankful in the end because i know that somehow, He will be glorified.

Love to the Bakery Readers,

Bethany

Worth, Pride, and Walking.

December 3, 2007

I’m convinced that we, as humans, were built with the desire to be valued, seen as worthy, loved, desired, and cherished. Each and everyday this desire burns in my own heart. I desire to be valued, to be seen as worthy, to be loved and desired and cherished as someone special. I struggle with this. I struggle to remember that the only one I should be desiring this from is God. I should be living for Him, my Something Greater, not for myself. I know that I am but dust. that’s why my flesh continually fights against it. I am so proud- I desire to be built up and looked highly upon. I’m so proud that I think I should be served, i should be spoken kindly to. Have I not realized that I deserve nothing?!

Last night I was once again reminded of this, of my pride. I realized that not only is being provoked by people and events in my life is not only sinful but prideful too. I have not been a good example for my sisters, let alone have I been a good sister period.

Ephesians 4:1-3
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Philippians 1:27-28
Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents–which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.

Colossians 1:9-12
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.  May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience  with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

1 Thessalonians 2:10-12
You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. For you know how,like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

I need to walk in a manner worthy of God! Of the Gospel! When I look at a billboard or an ad in a magazine, the photos, text, and style help me to make a judgement about the product or company. If the ad is obviously inapporpriate or the product seems useless, I move on and I may be disgusted or annoyed. But if the ad is promotign something worthwhile or good, then I focus more on the ad, I might research it, I might buy it, like it, and endorse it. People do this with everything. If we are not walking worhty of the Gospel, of the calling which we have receieved, then the world is going to think we are all hypocrites.

Walking in a way that pleases Him is the most important thing we can do. In light of God, being valued and seen as worthy by the world is nothing because as His children, we are valued by Him, the King of Kings.

DISCLAIMER: I hope I didn’t confuse you with this post. There are rambling thoughts of mine. We should be walking worthy of Him so as not to be hypocrites and to show who God and what Christianity really is to those who may have misconceptions. We should not be tryign to please man or be valued through our actions. I know I may sound confusing, please forgive me. I can’t think of another way to explain my thoughts. And I am no better than any one who reads this. I’m writing this from my own experience and I struggle to make my walk match me talk every day of my life!

So let me put up a couple of questions for thought or discussion:

  1. Where have you seen pride in your life?
  2. Are you walking worthy of this calling? What needs to change?
  3. How are you going to change?
  4. What are you saying about God through your life?
  5. Is the way you’re living show your love for God?
  6. What are you living for?

In Christ Alone,

Bethany

Writers’ Block Isn’t the End

April 6, 2007

432276_47063015.jpgI am comfortably sitting on my faithful purple chair, wearing my PJ’s. It has served me a great deal of years and has not yet betrayed me.  I do not know what I would do without it. However, this is not the subject of our coming conversation.

Writers’ block is. When I decided to write a post today, I couldn’t think of a single thing to write about. I felt quite compelled to write something meaningful, not just about how I actually have nothing to say. But then I realized that I do.

Writers’ block is something we all face- be it in our English class or studies, emailing or IMing a friend, or worst of all, in prayer. Writers’ block in prayer is it’s worst form- a little bit like Satan is trying to stop us from growing nearer to God. Our hearts and souls know exactly what they feel, but our minds cannot articulate these feelings, these thoughts, these ideas into words.  I have faced this frustration in the times I am writing in prayer journal, subconsciously fearing that if I do not word what I mean correctly, God will not understand me.

But in reality, I had it all wrong. Thinking that God, the Lord of everything, could not understand something which He created, is totally bizarre. On the contrary, because God created you and me, He understands us better than anyone else.

Romans 8:26 expresses it this way: In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

What a wonderful thing to know! Even when we are unable to understand ourselves, God does. He knows that we feel pain, hurt, confusion, joy, happiness, jealousy, anger, and love. Even when we do not know it, He does. I cannot begin to fully comprehend what an awesome comfort this is. Praise God for this gift, and the realization of it.

But why can’t we understand our own hearts? What if blocking us and confusing us and frustrating us? Perhaps too, the answer is in His Word:

Jeremiah 17:9
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

I believe that we cannot understand our hearts because they are wicked and deceitful. We are sinners, mere humans, and in comparison to the Lord God Almighty, we are worthless. But don’t let this discourage you, because God knew this.

He knew how wicked we are as sinners. He knew of our depravity and because He loved His children, He sent His only Son to die on Calvary. He took our place, our punishment because of how much He loved us.  He values His children and cares for them deeply. He sees us as precious. He even took the time to carefully form and create us in our mother’s womb. God, in His awesome holiness, created each of us uniquely. What grace!

So, in short, do not fret because you do not know what to say, because God does.

–Bethany