Sunday, November 20, 2011

Godly counsel

I've been thinking a lot about this lately. As I told Keegan earlier, I have about 15 mini-blogs bouncing around my head and this is the most formulated one.
What is godly counsel? More importantly what isn't it? What's it's purpose? I mean, if God told you something, why do you need to inquire of sinful man? Let's explore.
A lot of people think godly counsel is "I did this, what do you think?". Please let me be plain in my speech, there is no place for godly counsel after-the-fact. NONE. The only two scenarios are: 1) "I agree with your decision. Good job!", which is nothing more than stroking your ego. Or 2) "I disagree with your decision. Badly done!", which hurts the relationship (we all know the strain a relationship suffers when one party does something the other party doesn't like. How can you be friends with someone who does something against your wishes. Or further, how can you be friends with someone who disagrees with something you do? Not impossible, but certainly not easy).
Godly counsel is also not even, "what should I do?". This is probably the most common misconception about godly counsel. That's called advice. Much different that godly counsel. God is in charge of telling you what to do, just ask and listen. ASK and LISTEN. He will answer. As I told Barbara earlier, "I'm not here to tell you God's will, I'm here to confirm it." I think that too many times this is how younger Christians approach counsel. On the flip side, I think this also keeps people from seeking Godly counsel, thinking we're just going to boss you around.
Now back to our previously posed question, if God told you something, why do you need confirmation? Shouldn't you just have faith? The important point here is we are to test the spirits (1 John 4:1). Not every thought in our mind is from God (that's kind of a "duh" statement, but sometimes we really need to hear those). But trust, my friend, He will make sure you know it's Him if you just wait. We have no patience (and at the same time, no sense of urgency in those matters that invoke urgency, hmm). We heard an answer, and BOOM! we're off in that direction, 100 miles an hour, no brakes. We don't have time to slow down and test that answer against what God has already said, and especially not against what others have experienced. Besides, it's the answer I want, and what if my counsel says I shouldn't. That just shows how confident you are in your walk with God. I mean, if you truly where listening and hearing from God, He's not going to contradict Himself and yank the rug out from under you. But let's face it, sometimes we hear what we want to hear. That's why it's important to have those outside of the situation who can be logical and don't have a dog in that fight. Those people have a less clouded picture of what's going on.
So, we should have no reason to fear godly counsel. God won't give you two different directions. And by allowing someone else authority in your life, you strengthen that relationship all the more.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

don't let the sun go down on your anger

Anger. It's so infuriating.

Here's what really pisses me off about anger. Say something hurts your feelings. It takes literally 0.00000000000000001 seconds for that insult (plus or minus air quotes) to make you angry. Then, you start the inevitable ping pong match in your mind of determining if it is legitimate enough to be brought up to the person. You tell God to make the anger go away, you try to put it out of your mind. Then you think that you should bring it up to them. But something stops you. Maybe circumstances. Maybe God. Maybe something inside you that says "Hey, this was a legitimate hurt. They deserve to suffer for it, don't just forgive them right away." Because how many of us have ever had a conversation with someone about something they did that hurt you and you walked away even more angry? Rare (though I'm sure it happens). So if you bring up, it gets resolved then and there. And you deserve to harbor that anger for a while, I mean YOU'RE the victim after all. So you start working on this conversation you promise you'll have eventually, just not right now. Then, all these issues that you thought you had given to God and/or gotten over start coming to mind again. And you have to, yet again, determine if they're worth bringing up or you're just being petty (as we've determined you are capable of being). There comes another ping pong match, between feeling silly about being still angry about this stupid little quirk and all the little things they do that annoy you mounting up into this Voltron of a problem where you're wondering if they even care about you. Then, you get into that unstable balance of deciding you're probably, most likely going to have the conversation. But, you start thinking, "hey, I've been giving them the silent treatment this whole time, why haven't THEY come to talk to ME? Why do I always have to be the mature one?" And that pity party, my friends, is crippling. You long for someone to approach you, without provocation or prompting and just say "I hurt you and I'm sorry." I wonder if it ever gets any easier.
We talked at homegroup tonight about people that live their lives for themselves and give their lives to Christ on their deathbed. But in all honesty, I much rather envy the ones who believe in Christ but don't care if they live up to the way He desires all Christians to live and behave. It so much easier than really pursuing change in your life through the power of Christ. But as the saying goes, "it's simple, it ain't easy."
I realize this blog reveals some ugly things about me. I'm hoping you can relate, and if not, not think any lesser of me. I'm just being honest.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

pruned? or cut off?

I was reading in the life of Jesus and He's talking to His disciples on the night He was betrayed. He tells them (among other things) how He is the true vine and God is the gardener. He tells them that God cuts off branches that do not produce fruit and prunes branches that do so they will produce even more. I know sometimes it's hard to see the fruit that our service is producing, because it's subtle (thing a river carving a path in a rock) and/or takes place over time (think planting a seed, it takes a lot of time and other things outside of your control for it to grow). If you can't pinpoint the fruit in your life, when hard times come and you feel like your in a drought, it's easy to wonder "am I being cut off, or just pruned?" As followers of Christ, we are expected to bear fruit, and if we are following Him with our whole hearts, trust me, brothers and sisters, He will bring the fruit. I know pruning and being cut off probably feel the same to the subject, but take heart in knowing that He will not cut you off if you are bearing fruit. BUT, He will prune you and that might hurt and seem really unfair in the meanwhile ("but God, I'm doing what you asked."). On the other end, however, you will produce even MORE fruit than if you had just kept with "what works." That's my word of encouragement for the day, enjoy! :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

be alert

I was reading in the Gospels yesterday and Jesus was talking about how He would come back at an unknown hour.  He uses numerous parables for examples (homeowner and the thief, the bridesmaids and the lamps, etc.) to show how no one could ever know when the time will come.  He goes on and on about how it will be when you least expect it and no one knows the hour.  Then, He tells us to be alert and always ready.  But, how is one to be ready for something when they have no idea when will occur?  How can you be prepared, but not expecting the event?  To throw a further twist in the story, Jesus also tells us that there will be signs to show when He is coming back (the moon and sun will become darkened and the stars will fall).  So there will be signs, but you won't know when it's coming, but you should always be ready for it?  Confused, I am.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

have to balance out the productivity of this afternoon...

Hey there gang! Here's a quick update from the world of Jennifer. New job is still great, I'm learning a lot everyday. The owner/head doctor is a lot of fun and really brilliant. He's taught me and Ruth a lot about casting people's feet to make orthotics. I'm learning more about feet than I ever thought I would, lol. I see patients about 1/3 of the time (trimming back their nails and thinning/smoothing them), then the rest of the time I help Ruth with ordering orthotics and work on medical records, paperwork and computer stuff. The clinic administrator is smart as a whip too. She knows so much about feet/ankles as well as computer stuff. She wants to train me to be the IT person so her time's freed up for administrative duties. The rest of the staff is great, everyone works hard but has fun doing it. Most Fridays I have gotten off early too, to avoid overtime.
In baby news, Jennifer and Erik finally had their baby! Ben Samuel Murphy, born 7/11 @ 2:09am, 8 lbs 3 oz. He is so perfect! Andi, Amanda and I were at the hospital with her parents and sister and his parents when he was born, which made for a rough day the next day with only 2 hours sleep. It was so totally worth it though. Poor Jennifer, she had a ROUGH time. She went into full labor around noon on the 10th after being at the hospital since 2 am that morning when her water broke. She started pushing around 10pm and after 2 1/2 hours he hadn't come out, so they went in and got him via c-section. She was wiped, a whole day of no food and pretty much 2 days without sleep. She's amazing. I got to see them the next day and she was up and walking. I got to witness Erik dealing with a newborn, which was precious. I feel honored and privileged to be able to see his first moments as a father and see the look on his face as he gazed on his son in the first hours of his life. I look forward to seeing what great parents he and Jennifer will be and see how God grows them in this. I'm also super-ecstatic to be a part of this little man's family and see the man God's making him to be. He's already been at work for 9 1/2 months and I love what He's done so far!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

new job

Ok, this one's not as awe-inspiring or deep as my previous ones, more of an update. As the title suggests, I started a new job. It's at a podiatry (foot doctor) office in Durham. It's really been pretty great. I started on Monday. I'm primarily going to be nail tech at the two Durham branches and will help assist and work with the computer system when I don't have appointments. Everyone there seems really nice and easy to get along with. Everyone seems to really like each other and enjoy working there, it's so awesome! My bosses took me to lunch yesterday to get to know me more. There seems to be quite a few really strong Christians which is really encouraging. I think this is really going to work out so I'm pretty excited.
I also got Skype so feel free to hit me up if you see me on. I'm hoping to be able to Skype my family, especially my nieces. Mike tells me Michaela got put in the advanced gymnastics class for her age group, she's growing up so fast! Anyways, gotta hit the hay early since I got a big girl job that starts at 8 in Durham every weekday! :)
Enjoy the 4th and be safe!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

pearl of great price

I'm still reading in the life of Jesus and I'm in the part with a lot of the parables. Let me tell you, they make me feel like I'm dense sometimes. I can totally see how the disciples needed them explained to them sometimes. I just finished reading about the "pearl of great price." It's short so I'll write the whole parable out:
"Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a pearl merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!"
I have two questions: huh? and what?
Why would this guy sell everything he owned to buy this pearl? If he had enough to buy the pearl, wasn't he pretty rich anyway? And once he got the pearl, wouldn't he need to just turn around and sell it again to buy food and things to live off of? And how exactly is this Kingdom of Heaven like this guy and his beloved pearl? I am muy confused.
In other news, I think I may try conversing more with my neighbor kids. They need to learn more English and I miss talking Spanish. It's a win-win.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Jesus and baptism

I'm reading in the gospel about the life of Jesus and came across some interesting and puzzling stuff. When talking about John and Jesus, Luke mentions that Jesus never baptized anyone, He left that to His disciples (Luke 4:2). That had me pondering "Why?" I mean, the first, obvious answer is He didn't want anyone getting a big head ("*I* was baptized by Jesus"). But, aren't all believers commanded to baptize? It's right there in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). I would appreciate any thoughts on the subject.
Another thought from the passages about Jesus and John: when Elizabeth was pregnant with John, Mary came to visit. When she was in the presence of Elizabeth and John, it says John "leaped" in his mother's womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:41). It made me think how the Holy Spirit is like Furbies. When two or more believers are gathered (Matthew 18:20), Christ is among them. The Holy Spirit just stirs inside them. So very cool!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

calm my anxious heart

I'm reading this book and this was something really good I thought I'd share:
In time of trouble, say, "First, He brought me here. It is by His will that I am in this strait place; in that I will rest." Next, "He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child." Then say, "He will make this trial a blessing, teaching me lessons He intends me to learn, and working in my the grave He means to bestow." And last, say, "In His good time, He can bring me out again. How and when, He knows." Therefore, say, "I am here 1) by God's appointment, 2) in His keeping, 3) under His training, 4) for His time."