Friday, January 26, 2007

I was robbed at church. I know that may come as a shock to some of you and you may be thinking, who would do such a thing? I wasn't literally robbed, as in someone stealing my purse. My robbing was a different kind, and completely my fault.

Before I get to my robbery story, let me fill you in on where I'm coming from. A few weeks ago I received a wonderful book from a dear friend entitled Lost Women of the Bible. This WONDERFUL book highlights different women from the Bible and shows how they got lost in their famous stories. As I was reading the chapter on Esther, I began to realize that I wasn't as familiar with this passage as I thought I was. The author was describing things I had never heard of and I was floored to say the least! The entire time I was reading I kept thinking to myself, "I don't remember that part." Completely frustrated, I put the book down and began to recall what I had learned about Esther in the past. From my review, I realized that most of my encounter with the book of Esther was what I learned in Sunday School, what I taught in Sunday School, what I had heard preached in church, or what I quickly skimmed during my Bible reading time. Most of those things were bits and pieces of the entire story and there were many things that were left out of my "learning". That's when I determined I had been robbed at church.

Now don't get me wrong. I am not blaming the church. For the most part the church did it's job teaching me about the heroic Esther (although some of it they "censored", which is understandable). However, I take full blame for my lack of knowledge of the complete story. I was the one who was content to let others do the learning for me. I was the one who failed to open my Bible and read it fully for myself. I was the one who listened and believed what was taught to me without studying it on my own. I was robbed at church all right and I am the thief.

Please understand my heart in all this. From this experience I have learned that if I want to know the Word of God as I need to, it is my responsibility alone to learn it. None of us should solely rely on the teaching of other people, no matter how good the teaching may be. God calls each one of us to know and obey His Word. Don't rob yourself of one of the greatest gifts God has given to His beloved children -- the Bible. Don't be content to sit and eat what others have chewed on themselves. Open up the Word, read and feed on it for yourselves! You will never go hungry and you will always be satisfied. Please, don't be another robbery victim statistic....

My quote collection

Monday, January 15, 2007

When I first entered the world of "blogging" I wasn't quite sure what I would say or write. I just knew that I wanted this forum to be an inspiration to others. Thinking about that, I thought I would share with you some of the things that inspire me. One of my greatest inspirations, other than the Bible, would be quotes. I love to collect quotes people have said or written, quotes that encourage me to propel forward, or quotes that change my thinking and attitudes. I thought that I might share some of my favorites with you here and hope that they have an impact on you as they did, and still do, with me.

" In order for a great people to do great things, they must not be bridled by timidity" - Discovery Shuttle astronaut, in the first shuttle launch after the Columbia disaster

" I have a job to do that is not very complicated, but is often very difficult. My task is to get a group of men to do what they don't want to do so that they can achieve the one thing they have wanted all their lives." - Tom Landry, famous football coach of the Dallas Cowboys

" What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" - Dr. Robert Schuller

"The thing that is really hard & really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself." - Pulitzer prize winning journalist & author Anna Quindlen

"Success is found in much smaller portions than most people realize" - runner Michael Johnson, who spent 10 years trying to shave 2 seconds off his time.

" No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"We must remember the past but live in anticipation of the future" - Casper ten Boom, Corrie ten Boom's father

"Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds" - Albert Einstein

"Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right" - Henry Ford

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" - British statesman, Edmund Burke

This is only a short list....I will post more quotes on my next blog. Until then, be inspired!

A different kind of fear

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy New Year! It's hard to believe it is already 2007 and that it has been almost a month since my last post. I'm not being hard on myself, it's just amazing how quickly time passes. I hope and pray you had a blessed Christmas season and are enjoying the new year!

Of course with the new year comes all those fun "resolutions". Clint and I resolved not to have any resolutions this year....we decided to be different. Not that there's anything wrong with resolutions! In fact, I think they can be very rewarding and motivating. I even like how my friend, Susie, labeled hers. She called her resolutions her "Spiritual Health Plan for the Year". Isn't that great? As I read her "plan" I loved that she decided to be less afraid this year in her endeavors and opportunities. We should all strive to make the most of every opportunity and not let anything hold us back. Which got me thinking.....

Just the sound of the word FEAR brings negativity. It conjures up images of pain, hurt, and discontentment regardless of what we may be facing. It causes us to shrink back, give up, and remain hopeless in our situation. I know that is not the kind of lives we were meant to have. When fear rules in our hearts and lives we are imprisoned in ways we could never imagine. As a Christian I am not to be in bondage to anything, less Christ's sacrifice for me was in vain. I want to be brave (as the Nicole Nordeman song goes), how about you?

But what about a positive fear? Does such a thing exist? Of course, the Bible tells us we are to have a "fear of God", which means a respect and reverence for who He is; but is there another? I didn't think so until just a few days ago. I was watching the Larry King Live show (which wasn't really live here in China) and Oprah was his guest. Larry asked her what her greatest fear was and this was her response: "I fear not fulfilling my life's purpose on this earth." Oprah's statement has really stuck with me because this is the kind of fear I should have -- a fear that motivates me to action, and has a positive purpose. I know that God created me for a purpose, He has a plan for my life and if I am to fear anything, it is not living up to that calling. I hope as you prepare yourself for this new year, that you will ponder all of this. I pray you will look at things in a different light and choose not to be trapped by fear, but propelled by it for the glory of God.

A new year always invites opportunities for new beginnings. How are you starting out? Happy 2007 to you!