Today’s sermon was on repentance. The gist of it was that the same 5 sins that kept the Israelites from reaching the promised land are the same 5 sins that keep us from reaching our promised land – a life in which we live, work, and fellowship happily, freely and in accordance with the will of God.
1. Lust. Satisfying yourself at the expense of others. Lust is not necessarily sexual in nature.
2. Idolatry. Creating an image in your mind an image to which you can devote yourself. This one really hit home because we have a tendency to think of idols as statues and the like but really, idols can be anything – clothes, our homes, relationships, our children. We must be careful or we can find ourselves worshipping things &/or people.
3. Fornication. Sexual acts, thoughts, fantasies outside the will of God.
4. Tempting Christ. This is demanding that God do what is contrary to His will; asking for the blessings of God while enjoying the pleasures of sin.
5. Murmuring. Complaining, criticizing, fault finding, gossiping, spreading rumors.
There are no big and little sins – those distinctions are of man, not of God.
Our family Bible verse this week will be Psalm 19:14. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, oh Lord, my strength and my redeemer.”
So this past weekend, Smoochy, LG, and I traveled to Northwest Arkansas for my middle brother’s wedding. Wrote a little blog about it. Like to read it? Here it goes:
- The fact that Smoochy went with us? Had LG and I all beside ourselves with excitement. I’ve mentioned on here before that Smoochy is always reluctant to take a day or two off from work. Well, we had a ball! Even he had to admit that he’s going to have to make a more concerted effort to relax and enjoy life a bit more. Yay!
- Smooch’s assignment for the trip was to a) get the rental car and b) make sure my brothers were uh…sober enough to stand. Let’s start with the rental car. I am notoriously “thrifty.” Smoochy? Not so much. I
usually always rent the smallest, most gasoline efficient vehicle on the lot. Smoochy pulled up in a Suburban. I was HOT! He had not even considered that filling this thing up was going to cost more than I spend on gas in a month. Wooo sah. We’ve been married for 13 years. I knew this was one I was going to have to let go…after I told him it was crazy. And aren’t you proud of me – I only told him once twice a few times.
- Eight hours – and $100 worth of gas later – we pulled into Fayetteville. Met up with the rest of my family – mother, father, brother, niece, nephew, uncle, aunts, grandma and we all caught up.
- Saturday morning we got up and most of us went to the Crystal Bridges museum in Bentonville. Y’all. This museum is gorgeous! Built with WalMart money it is located in a natural, wooded area, suspended over a natural hot spring, and no expense was spared. Saw an original Norman Rockwell, a few from Georgia O’Keefe, and the creepiest, most realistic sculpture ever.
- Oh, and if your mother hops into the passenger seat so she can help you navigate? There’s a good chance that even with two smartphones in her hands, one of which has voice navigation turned on, if you ask her which way to turn she’ll say “how should I know?” Ma’am….
- Fast forward to the wedding.
- Hated my ensemble. Really I did. Moving on…
- I walk in to the space – they married at the aviation museum – and who do I see but my youngest brother! You know, the one who wasn’t coming? The one whose relationship with the rest of us is strained at best? Yeah, him. I was in a state of shock. I was like “hey” and gave him a hug. Then I started crying. Then my oldest brother walked over and started crying. I later learned that my mom and future SIL were in the back crying. God is faithful, I tell you! I had prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed some more that that dude would not miss the wedding – and he didn’t. He didn’t stay long, maybe 2 hours, we didn’t hash anything out, I’m not sure our relationship is any better today than it was a few days ago, but he came. My prayer – and the prayers of many – was answered and for that I give God all the glory.
- Then my brother and now SIL exchanged vows. The wedding ceremony was great – totally them. They wrote their own vows, the groomsmen wore Vans tennis shoes – as did the bride, and they were surrounded by an awesome group of people who love and support them. My heart was full of joy.
- And then it was time to party! Do I really need to tell you that Smoochy failed at part 2 of his assignment? Those jokers were still lit up from Friday night and proceeded to indulge a bit more Saturday night! My SIL’s cousin was the DJ and he did a great job of playing a variety of music that appealed to everyone present – from line dances to The Devil Went Down to Georgia to Don’t Stop Believing to The Percolator – there was something for everybody and we danced until we couldn’t dance any more!
- Sunday we slept as long as we could, said our goodbyes and everyone headed back to their respective homes.
- We had an awesome time. My brother and his wife are happy, we got to see family and hang out with hers (I love my SIL’s family – they are fun, down to earth folks), and got in a little bit of culture, and Smoochy drove the entire trip! I had prepared myself to drive since he was going to work as soon as we got in on Sunday night, but I think he was really feeling that truck and drove all the way up and back. Yay!
- Yesterday LG was out of school – thanks for “discovering” America Senor Columbus – so I took an extra day off and took my girl to the fair. We had big fun!
- And that my friends, is what we did over the course of the last few days. How’s life in your neck of the woods?
Two more things – Happy 40th Birthday to Me!!! and Happy Anniversary to Psonya!
So, last night LG and I went to Bible study and the night’s topic was abundance and overflow. Our pastor admonished us to live in expectation that God will do for us what He says He will do if we are faithful. As we closed, he reminded us that the more faithful we are, the more the Devil attacks because that’s his job. Our job is to trust God and press on.
As I’m about to come across the spillway (about 10/15 minutes from my house) something says “look down at your gauges.” I do, and my temperature gauge is dangerously close to HOT. So I slow down and make my way across the spillway. I stop at a gas station to let it cool down and I call Smoochy. My dear husband goes into a panic – in the course of 3 minutes he’s told me: his dad is going to come pick me up, to rent a car so I can get to work tomorrow, that he should’ve checked my levels this weekend and that he’ll be there to get us around midnight. Um, sir? Chill. I tell him I’m going to sit for a few more minutes and try it make it home – I’m about 5 minutes away at this point.
I finally make it to the main street of my subdivision and I’m feeling pretty good that we’re going to make it home when I realize my car has totally lost power..
Thank God the street is hilly – I figure I can at least coast to the street over from ours. And I do. As I turn right at the stop sign I wrestle my car into the driveway of the first home on the left. I go to the door, tell the elderly dude that I’m leaving my car there and that we’d be back to pick it up over in the night or early in the a.m. I tell LG to button up her coat – we’re hoofing it the 1/4 mile or so home. I call P first, but I already know she’s in church. LG is lamenting the great tragedy that has befallen us. Honey, this is so not a tragedy. Calm down. We set out for the house and about 10 minutes later we reach the best thing I’ve seen all day:
My front door
Everything has worked out just fine. Smoochy was able to get home this morning and take my car to the shop – it should be fixed today. Were we a little inconvenienced? Yep. Did everything work out with a minimum of hassle? Yep. God is awesome!
Are you familiar with Genesis 50? Specifically Genesis 50:20?
Joseph’s father Jacob has just died and Joseph’s brothers – the ones who sold him into slavery – are afraid that Joseph is going to exact revenge on them for selling him off because of their jealousy.
Joseph tells his brothers not to worry, that he loves them and what they intended for evil, God meant for his good.
I got to thinking about how very, very upset I was when I had troubles on my last job. I had prayed and hoped for a “good job” for so long and I thought I’d found it. No sooner than I’d gotten comfortable than trouble started. No matter what I was doing, it wasn’t enough. It never occurred to me that God had something bigger and better in store for me. I prayed about it and was led to the job I currently hold.
The office manager came in my office on Friday and told me that she was working very hard to get my position title changed and with that change would come a nice little pay raise. She didn’t know when it would happen, but they were hoping soon. Not only am I in line for a raise but whenever this is all worked out they are going to retroactively pay me for the time I’ve been in the new position.
I tell you what. God is awesome. Awesome. The verse “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” has been on my mind lately. I think far too often I operate in a spirit of fear – afraid to hope for any more than I have now. That is a sin against God and the greatness He has promised believers.
I often hear people say God is working behind the scenes. He’s behind the scenes because that’s where we’ve relegated him – to a supporting role in our lives instead of up front and center, directing.
The God I serve is awesome and deserves – demands – to be acknowledged as such.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow. He is indeed El-Shaddai.
Please disregard the post below ’cause ya girl? Gots a new job! While I was busy typing away, God was working it out. I was offered job #2 this morning and I accepted! :) I am all kinds of excited!!!!!
Thank y’all so much for reading, commenting, and encouraging. I appreciate it more than you’ll ever, ever know
Have I mentioned how excited I am???
Check your calendars…..
Okay, maybe I’m the only one checking calendars around this joint!…Anyhoo, my 21 day fast? Almost over. And while I realize that I am supposed to be praying more and concentrating more on my relationship with God, for the last day or so my thoughts have consistently turned to food, glorious food!
I was the same way last year as the end of the fast approached. I had all these grand ideas on what my first meal after the fast would be. In reality, the first thing I had was a piece of toast and a cup of tea with honey. Finest breakfast ever! I’ll probably repeat that menu this year. And head straight to IHOP after church for a short stack and a cup of decaf.
While I am really, really, really looking forward to that piece of toast on Sunday morning, I have to say that taking the focus off of myself and what I want in order to concentrate more fully on God has been wonderful. I feel as though our relationship has been strengthened and I am more in tune with Him…He spoke and I listened. I spoke and He listened. Who could ask for better?