Thank you so much for all of your comments and emails about my earlier post about our trip to Costa Rica! You were so encouraging! I wanted to share a few things God taught me while we were gone--I hope it encourages you and it will hopefully keep me accountable!
I feel like one of the greatest things that God did in me was really renew my desire for His word. Since I've had young children it's been difficult to find time to consistently spend time with Him, and when I have had the time my desire has been lacking. But while we were in Costa Rica God gave me an excitement about reading His word again, and He showed me that at this stage in my life, I can just take advantage of any little 5 minute opportunity I have to read His Word. I may not have many long segments of time, but if I can take advantage of the small segments of time I have in a day it adds up to make a big difference in my life.
One verse that God convicted me with is James 1:25--"But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does." I don't want to look back years from now and realize that I just sort of floated through life instead of INTENTIONALLY growing in my faith, discipling my children, ministering to the lost, serving the poor. That word "intently" is one that I have to really make an effort to do--I'm naturally unobservant and laid back, but I want my life to count for something!
Another major conviction came from James 1:27--"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." Why, as Christians, do we choose to ignore so many of God's commands to us to take care of the poor? I know that the poverty in the world is overwhelming to me, but He showed me that there are many opportunities to fulfill His command nearby--not just across the world. I have three different widows that live right around my house, and I was so convicted that I have not loved them the way Christ commanded me to--opportunities within walking distance! I pray that I will not be polluted by the world--thinking I will be satisfied with what it has to offer.
One last verse--Titus 3:4-7--"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." Oh I just love that! While doing these things (reading the Bible, serving the poor, etc) is a part of our sanctification, we DO NOT do it to earn His favor--we are already justified by His grace!!!! Isn't that just incredible??? He is just so amazing!!!
A few weeks ago my pastor shared a prayer with us (can't remember who it was from)--"Lord, help me make a difference for you that is utterly disproportionate to who I am." That is my prayer--I can't love people by relying on myself, but I pray that He will use me to make a difference in spite of myself.