Coveting, comparing, and Christ

It’s been a LONG time since I have fought the sin of covetousness or have felt sucked in and drug down by comparing. I have other issues but those haven’t seemed to crop up in awhile. I figured I just didn’t struggle in that way, that I was simply “content” with the things God gave me. It’s hard not to be, he has given us so much.

And then it happened.

We were invited to a birthday party for my new friends daughter. And my new friend was a gracious host. She doesn’t live in a huge house but her home is very beautiful. Her decorating taste was very appealing to my eyes. Fresh paint, clean carpet, gleaming hardwoods, beautiful fabrics and accessories. Not over the top but tasteful. Everything was in its proper place, inside and out.

The order, cleanliness, and tastefulness of her home surfaced that old familiar temptation to covet and compare.

Our home is beautiful. I love our home and am so grateful God has entrusted it to us. It’s interesting though how something as simple as someone else’s clean, pretty home potentially can create feelings of inadequacy , or discontent, or wanting more in your own home. I found myself with this “decorating itch” that HAD to be scratched. And scratch I did! I started making a list of what we needed; new area rug, new bedding, more flowers, (because flowers are cheery and bright!) new paint, recover a few things, etc etc. I went to Hobby Lobby, TJmaxx, Walmart, and Home Depot. And then there was all the time spent online,….scrolling.

And more scrolling.

But I was struggling. Not only could I not justify spending the money, I was convicted over the amount of time the whole process of decorating was taking up. This itch was becoming an idol. And my gracious, glorious God will have none before Him.

In His mercy, the Lord kept putting truth before me.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” 1 Timothy‬ ‭6:6-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew‬ ‭6:19-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I know that a pristine house is not only unrealistic for our family (Today, thanks to Jake, we have dead animal limbs strewed about our yard) but it’s also not going to be the thing that makes me happy. I think that is the core lie that Satan wants us to believe. That this will bring forever happy feelings. This will satisfy me. This will be the thing that does the trick. But I know in my heart that’s not true. I know it is impossible for me to find true joy in the material earthly things. I may find temporary happiness but it’s just that. Temporary. Fleeting. Lasting joy is found in the Lord and being surrendered to Him. My deepest joys have been found in reading and obeying His Word, in honoring Him in my marriage and parenting, in gathering with the body of Christ, in serving children in foster care,…… but buying new throw pillows? No. That joy lasts all of 24 hours and then they become rocks to jump on to escape hot lava and I’m torn between wigging out on my kids and being caught up in the nostalgia.

Today we sang Forever Reign and I had to ask myself if I meant what I was singing.

“I’m running to Your love. The riches of Your love, will always be enough. Nothing compares to Your embrace. Light of the world forever reign….. my heart will sing, no other name, Jesus.”

If I’m honest, for the last week, that hasn’t been true for me. I have desired an immaculate and well decorated home over Jesus. This past week I have desired what the world deems rich over the riches of Christ love. But the conviction of those lyrics, confessing my misplaced worship, and the power of the Holy Spirit have rightly aligned my heart to His again. I know this is not the last time I’ll fight this battle. Fortunately, I only bought a few fake flowers that were on sale! :-/ But I truly am grateful that, even in my struggle, I’m aware of this truth. “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John‬ ‭2:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬ Christ and His Kingdom are the only lasting treasures.

“But seek first the Kingdom of God…” Matthew 6:33a ESV

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Sorrowful Saturday

They were human.

As we’ve been intentionally reflecting on Holy Week and the accounts of the days leading up to the Resurrection, I’m reminded once again of how human the disciples and Jesus are. They were real people with real feelings.

I went back to John this morning and read chapter sixteen verse sixteen through eighteen. It says, “Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” At this, some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.””

They didn’t know what was coming. And this is important to remember because on this day following Jesus death they would have been experiencing deep grief and utter confusion. “What just happened?”

Then there is Peter…. Facing the overwhelming despair that he denied he was a follower of Christ. Can you imagine? In your Saviors most painful hour you completely disassociate with Him and deny even knowing Him. “Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.” Luke 22:60-62

For several years now we have chosen to watch the Passion of the Christ on Good Friday. Jesus was fully God and fully Man. But let’s be honest, we tend to think that Him being fully God took away from the human side of Him. He was sinless, but he wasn’t a robot void of human emotions. He experienced sadness and pain. “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22:44 As The Passion gives us a visual for what Jesus went through physically and emotionally it is clear that he is very much human.

Obedience, grace and love.

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.” Isaiah‬ ‭42:1-4‬

“For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews‬ ‭12:2‬B

Knowing exactly what He would endure He yielded Himself to the Fathers will. Not only that but in the midst of excruciating pain and suffering He extended grace and forgiveness to all those that denied and persecuted Him. To us. We are the persecutors and the Peter’s. And all you have to do is read the scriptures to see how gracious Jesus is to our unbelieving and disobedient hearts. He offers forgiveness. Luke 23:34 “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.'”

Today I take in the death of Christ. The times I have denied him, betrayed him even. I weep bitterly along with Peter.

They were human just like me. Just like you.

But then….. tomorrow will come! His death will not be in vain.

“I assure you: You will weep and wail, but the world will rejoice. You will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.” John‬ ‭16:20‬

Because of Jesus Christs indescribable, amazing love for us, our sins have been nailed to the cross.

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:24‬ ‭

May your sorrow turn to joy this Easter.

In His grace,
Katie

Moving the Mountain of “me”

  The same power that rose Jesus from the grave

The same power that commands the dead to wake

Lives in us, lives in us

The same power that moves mountains when He speaks

The same power that can calm a raging sea

Lives in us, lives in us

He lives in us, lives in us

Jeremy Camp

As I struggled this weekend at several points to be joyful and have a good attitude (choosing that word was quite ambitious of me!) this song played again and again. We all love the idea of faith that can move mountains. It’s very grand, powerful and awesome. But what about the faith that can change our attitude? To be honest that’s where I struggle the most. I get sucked into a bad attitude and excuse it like its no big deal to God, “I’ll be better tomorrow”, and who cares if for 24 hrs I’m a horrible witness by my lack of joy. He cares that’s Who. I had this thought cross my mind….that power to move mountains does live in me but let’s just say I literally moved a mountain with a wave of my hand would that glorify God? “Hey, check out this mountain I just moved, praise the Lord!” Or is God mainly wanting us to understand the amazing strength of His power in us to do impossible things, like move mountains, so we can be conquerors in practical things, like changing our attitudes, selfishness, fears, distrust ect. How we act and treat others most definitely has the ability to glorify God by displaying His power, love, and grace to a watching world. And how we act/treat others can have the opposite effect. Which of course reminds me of Pauls words, “If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:2‬

Simply put when I have a fearful, distrusting, gloomy attitude it’s not loving to others. And if I think moving mountains would be great I need to believe that changing my attitude would be even better!

I’m finding when it comes to my lack of joy it’s a faith problem. Choosing joy over sadness, frustration, anger, anxiety, fear, ect. is really hard for some of us to do. With myself I’m seeing a pattern of clinging to my negative feelings as a way to try and control. When I’m confronted with needing to choose joy in the moment it feels like this huge impossible act of faith to let go and trust God. I can just see myself clinging to fear “Are you sure God? Can I really let this go, trust you, and be joyful, no matter the outcome? Are you sure? Are you sure? Are you sure?” 

My daughter, Micaila, has fears (probably thanks to me) about certain things. And whenever she gets really worked up and emotional I try to instill truth and confidence in her because I know her fear, typically, is unwarranted and that she will be okay. All I want is for her to trust me, her mother, and to not be afraid. 

I know God is using Micaila to convey the same message to me. 🙂

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible. ” Matthew‬ ‭17:20‬ ‭

I can just hear Jesus saying “Katie, you are lacking faith when you choose fear over joy, anger over joy, gloom over joy, guilt over joy. The same power that moves mountains lives in you and this power, Me, wants to start with your joy.” Maybe not as impressive as moving a mountain but definitely important for giving glory to God.

Lord Jesus I pray I would have faith to move mountains and it would be reflected in my attitude and daily trusting you. Help all of us as Christians to see the importance of how we act. That being surrendered to the Holy Spirit will result in a changed mind, heart, and life. May we not be cavalier with our sinful attitudes or actions but have the desire and will to do only what pleases You Lord. 

My Word for 2016

For 2015 I chose the word obedience. Like any “resolution” you start off pretty strong and intentional and then 6 months later you find yourself slacking a bit, not pondering that word or commitment as intensely as before. But last year God gave me ample reminders and opportunity to consider this word I had chosen. 

  • In May, I followed through with His prompting to be re-baptized. It was important to acknowledge that my life had not been surrendered to Him for years, even into adulthood. I am now and I needed to respond humbly and publicly by way of baptism. 
  • After many months of prayer and consideration my husband and I sensed the Lord was prompting us to homeschool our daughters….. Again. This was a huge step for me in particular because while I sensed strongly this was Gods leading, I was scared, knowing how difficult it would be and the sacrifice involved. In faith I obeyed. 
  • For the last year and a half we have been attending a church plant in our area. From our vantage point, the town we live in needs the vision of this church, yet it has struggled to really get going. It’s left us wondering whether God wanted to use us here or not on several occasions. In September our founding, lead and basically only pastor felt led to step down. We found ourselves with the “perfect exit” and yet God impressed on Jason and I both to stay with the body of Christ and see that this church doesn’t close its doors to a broken community in need of the Savior. We have yet to resolve many issues the church has, like not having a pastor, but we know God is still on his throne and we will not walk away unless he asks us to.
  • In November my husband had the opportunity to go on his first foreign missions trip to Guatemala. Knowing what an incredible opportunity this would be for him I excitedly supported his desire to go. But as his trip drew near I realized this would require me to spend several nights alone. I have issues with being alone, to say the least. I did spend one night away with our cousins but I sensed God prompting me to spend some nights at home, with my kids, not alone but with HIM. I fought the temptation to ignore this prompting and stay with a friend and I embraced the dark of the night with His Word in my grip, the prayers of His saints and His voice whispering comfort and strength in my ear. “I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust………You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day,”‭‭ Psalms‬ ‭91:2, 5‬

Those are some examples of opportunities I was given to choose obedience and because I did, I experienced the fruit of yielding to Christ. Fruit like greater trust in Him, strengthening patience and faith, and joy in obedience. There were of course other times that I chose not to obey and reaped the consequences of my resistance and disobedience to God or simply missed out on partnering with God in his bigger story. A life surrendered to Christ obviously is a lifelong pursuit of obedience. He’s revealed to me time and again the delight of surrendering to His Lordship. Though my word this year is changing my desire in that area is not. Obedience is the mark of a Christ follower. 

But this brings me to my Word for 2016….

Joy. 



Every where I go it seems God is impressing this word on me. In fact I burst out with excitement and a big grin when my friend and fellow blogger chose the same word! 🙂 love it! Joy is also the mark of a Christ follower. I want to have, express, and exude joy.


Joy in weakness.

“Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.” Psalms‬ ‭63:7‬ ‭

Joy in salvation.

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.” ‭Psalms‬ ‭51:12‬ ‭

“You thrill me, LORD, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭92:4‬ 

Joy in trials.

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while…….You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:6&8

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.”‭‭ James‬ ‭1:2‬ ‭

Joy in our Refuge and His love.

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy.” Psalms‬ ‭5:11‬ 

Joy in troubles that results in giving of ourselves.

“Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.” ‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭8:1-2‬

Joy in the Lords discipline.

“Joyful are those you discipline, LORD, those you teach with your instructions.” Psalms‬ ‭94:12‬ ‭

“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”‭‭ Psalms‬ ‭30:5

Joy in forgiveness.

“Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin.” Romans‬ ‭4:8‬ 

“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!” Psalms‬ ‭32:1‬ ‭


Joy in obedience.


“I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.” Psalms‬ ‭40:8‬ ‭

Joy in HIM alone.

“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” Psalms‬ ‭16:11‬ ‭

“Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.”‭‭ Psalms‬ ‭90:14‬ ‭

“There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God!”‭‭ Psalms‬ ‭43:4‬ ‭

Joy. Unspeakable joy.

“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” Philippians‬ ‭4:4‬