There is so much going on in my life that I don't want to put out on the world wide web just yet, but those closest to me know and I'm surrounded by much love nad much support - and no I'm not dying like I make it sound!
But as the New Year approached, I had been in prayer about ALOT of things and some of my resolutions speak for that. But my heart and my soul search for so much more, I feel that God is calling me for so much more and I don't know how to step out there. I don't know how to get invovled. I just, plainly, don't know.
Well, we hadn't been to church, our church, but one time during the entire Holiday Season, I know sad, but true. We were just out of town so much or had company. But after the Christmas music that I sang in the first weekend of December, we didn't go back until the Sunday after New Year's. It was soooo cold and Bailey was on an antibiotic for an ear infection, and for a fraction of a second, like we all do, I thought about how nice it would be to stay in the warm house in our warm pj's and not fight the cold to get to church. But boy am I am glad God didn't let me entertain that thought for too long. Because the Holy Spirit was there, and He spoke, loud and clear right to my heart. And I just wanted to share my notes in case it might encourage someone else, and so I can remember it.
For those of you that do not know, Sid and I were raised up in the United Methodist church, and for me, it wasn't just where I was raised, but where I was born and bread, so to speak. My pappaw, being a retired DS of the North Alabama Methodist Conference, made being a United Methodist feel like part of my heritage. So imagine my surprise when Sid and I felt the calling to go back and visit First Baptist here in Philadelphia. Bailey was already attending the child care ministries program there, and it was a much needed answer to some very different prayers at the time, but God didn't stop there. He gave us a church family through the events that transpired and we are thankful for that. So this is not coming from a UM preacher, but rather a SBC preacher- and I so enjoyed it. Probably the best sermon I've heard preached in a long time, a close 2nd to the one that Pappaw preached the daily Bailey was Baptized.
Anyway, here goes:
I usually don't take notes, but as Bro. Dan began, I quickly grabbed my bulliten and a pen, but I missed the first example as he was giving The Three Types of People - 1. Excusers, who are people that realize they need to make changes or that things in their life aren't quite right, but make excuses for it and sometimes, most of the time, blame it on other people. 2. Choosers, who are people who choose to take responsibility for their life/choices/actions. He called us to stop being excusers and be choosers - TAKE RESPONSIBILITY! 3. I missed the third type of person, but it went along with the excuser.
God forgives when we go to Him and admit we've done wrong, admit we have sin in our lives, and ask to be forgiven. He actually LOVES it when we come to Him and repent and turn away from our sin. There is nothing about us we can't change with the help of God. Bro. Dan was quick to point out here that obviously we can't change physical things about ourselves, like our eye color or body size or skin tone, without some other external help besides God, but we can certainly change ANYTHING on the inside with our God in the mix!
He called us to decide what is important in our lives. Deuteronomy 30:19-20, God has set before us the opportunity to live, to choose life, by choosing God and holding fast to Him. By determining what is important in our lives, he said we could get out a sheet of paper and answer the following questions. I have not done this yet, but need to. 1. What do I value in my life, what is important? 2. What do I want to change in my life? When thinking about what is important, we need to think about what is going to last. We shouldn't hold such high values on the things in our life that are simply not going to last.
This is the part that really really spoke to me. He talked for awhile about all these New Year's resolutions we make. And finally, he said, but I really heard God saying, "JUST DO IT!". Life is never smooth, it's never the perfect time for anything, especially anything new, we can always find the excuse not to do it, and usually we never get around to implement what we said we'd do, but "JUST DO IT!" If God is calling you to something, and you are resisting, why? "JUST DO IT!" What does God want me to do with my life? And as I find the answers to those questions "JUST DO IT!".
Luke 2:52 was the basis for the second part of the sermon, in which Bro. Dan said that our plan for the New Year needs to be one that is set upon scripture, so that we can work to be more like God. Luke 2:52 makes four points we can use to make a new plan for the New Year and work to be more like God.
1. Intellectual Development - we need to grow our minds
2. Physical Development - we need healthy bodies, sometimes we do things to our bodies that do not make them hold up or last.
3. Spiritual Development - What can we do to strengthen our relationship with God? Bro. Dan reminded us here that we should not overwhelm ourselves and limit this to one thing at a time so we can really focus.
4. Social Development - Grow in favor with man. We are better together. God always intended taht we work together and He wants us to serve each other. What does God want me to do to grow in favor with man, to grow socially?
I don't know about you, but I needed to hear those things in light of the goals I set for myself this year. And let me tell you, the devil is hard at work already trying to tear down my goals and get in my time with God and my time with family.
Yesterday, after I picked up Bailey, she was wrapped up and under a blanket in her carseat, seeing as it was snowing and all here, and I pulled in the carport and just did not want to turn the heat off and open the door and let the cold in when we were so warm. I looked out my window and it was so dark and gloomy with a few white flakes falling, and I thanked God for all our blessings on such a cold and dreadful day. And I turned around to looked at Bailey and she gave me the biggest, brightest smile, and my heart just melted. She is surely a reason to seek God's face and have him near, in this cold season, in a season of life that is sort of down, and in all season's of life. We hurried out of the car in the warm house and life went on after that moment.
But I have to give pause several times a day, seek God, and ask Him just what it is He wants me to do with my life. What is He asking you to do with your's? Seek God, seek the answer, and "JUST DO IT!"