Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Serving Christ in the Ordinary Ways of Life

But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me....  
-Galatians 1:15 & 16

How can we serve Christ in the ordinary ways of life?  There are a million and one answers to this question but many times we think of service to Christ as only witnessing to someone or handing out Bibles or preaching / teaching.  While these things are no less important, it doesn't have to be labeled as a spiritual activity for it to be service unto our Lord.  As a dear friend pointed out to me shortly after Lydia was born, "Even if you find yourself washing bottles over and over again, remember you're serving your daughter and in that serving Christ."  What a comfort that was to me.  No wonder many women today find themselves discontent with "just being a wife and mom".  While I am one who would not be happy staying at home all of the time with children I do believe we have allowed ourselves, as women, to see this role as menial. Being a wife and mom is anything but menial.  In fact, it's truly hard work! 
I have been blessed at this point in my life with the best of both worlds, as a mom and as a business woman.  I do not view either one as more important than the other, although my husband & child certainly come before my customers.  Both of these areas of my life include service to Christ Jesus, whether it be helping someone pick out a dress or doing laundry for my family.  This is what it means to serve Christ in the ordinary ways of life.  Where does Christ have you at this point in your life?  Then start taking a look around you to notice the simple ways in which you serve each day.  Any of these acts done for the glory of God will not be in vain.  
This is also one of the best ways to witness to the lost and dying world around us.  As Galatians reads, God has set us apart, let us live our lives displaying that we are different, not by our words, but by our actions.  Yes, we will fail and make mistakes, but how do we handle those mistakes?  Are they handled in humbleness and humility or in anger and bitterness?  
There is so much joy in serving Christ that words to adequately describe it are not in existence.  Let us remember one final thought, however, to keep us in balance.  Mary and Martha; two of Jesus friends while He was here on earth.  One simply sat at Jesus feet and spent time with him while the other scurried about preparing this and that.  In this story, it's important to note that Jesus did not scold Martha for scurrying about but simply reminded her of what she was missing by not taking time to sit with Him.  I have been guilty on numerous occasions of being a Martha and valuing physical, hands on service to Jesus over simply spending time with Him in the Word and in prayer.  Our physical acts of service are all for naught if they are not balanced in a close relationship to our Lord.  If we intend to have a relationship with anyone we must communicate with them.  Jesus is no different. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Voice of God

Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?  Then I said, "Here am I.  Send me!"  Isaiah 6:8

When I stop to think about what God's voice really sounds like the first thought that pops into my head is "the voice of many waters" as it is described in Revelation.  I imagine if I were to audibly hear the voice of God I would faint but just because my human ears can't hear Him is irrelevant in my Christian walk.  If I am truly His child then my spirit can hear Him, the Holy Spirit, speaking to me.  Many times I have to say it is indeed a still small voice and I so quickly dismiss it and later regret it.  
So how do we know it's the voice of God speaking to us in a certain situation?  First we must ask ourselves how familiar are we with His Word? If we aren't reading it daily trying to know more and more of it then we are in danger of confusing the voice of God with something else.  Then we must ask ourselves how much time have we spent in prayer with the Lord recently?  Prayer is perhaps the greatest struggle of my Christian walk, at least at this point, because I let myself get distracted so easily.  However, I am striving and have seen fruit this past week.  I want to teach my little girl who to rely on and I want her to see my praying to my heavenly Father and trusting in Him.  
God will never speak to us something that contradicts His word and anyone, even if it's a preacher, who tells you different is wrong.  God's word is Holy and infallible and it never contradicts itself, although there are many who would argue that point.  We as Christians should search the scriptures for ourselves and pray first of all before seeking outside council.  When we get alone with God and truly seek, then we shall find.  It's a promise!
"The call of God is the expression of God's nature, not of our nature", said Oswald Chambers.  We can only hear the voice of God clearly if the same nature is in us. For many years I totally misunderstood the verse which ends, "and God will give you the desires of your heart."  Today I've come to understand that it was never about me getting what I wanted in life, it was about God conforming me to His ways so that my desires would match up with His desires.  To an unbeliever that sounds like no fun at all but I can't adequately describe what peace that brings to my life.  I can truly understand, although not condone, why people drink to excess.  This life is tough and going through it thinking we have to do it all on our own is a stress the Lord does not want His children to bear.   It's never fun to confront our own flesh and the sin that lives within us but the Bible does teach us that it's better for us to do it in the privacy of our own prayer closets than for someone else to confront us with it. May we examine ourselves to see what is hindering us from clearly hearing the voice of God in our own lives.