Wednesday, January 8, 2014

R1211 part 1.1

Time for some more ZEAL talk!

Romans 12:11 - Do not be slothful in zeal; be fervent in the Spirit; serve the Lord.

Zealous living is living with PURPOSE, PERSPECTIVE, and PERSISTENCE.
Today, we will focus on PURPOSE.
Purpose - "that which a person sets before himself (herself) as an object to be reached or accomplished"
Purpose = Goal

What gives you purpose in life?
What things do you set before yourself to accomplish?

It could be your New Year's Resolutions.  It could be your bucket list.  It could be a day to day thing or a weekly or yearly thing.  It could be something you never think you'll achieve but you keep trying.  It could be something you achieve everyday. ... For me, my greatest purpose in life is to love and honor and serve Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord.  This is my greatest goal.  I work on it everyday.  I fail at it too.  But I keep working on it.  Some of my other purposes are loving and serving my husband, loving and teaching my SoZo kids, being an encourager, continually growing as a person and a Christian, making better habits for myself concerning my health, and learning to be more thankful and more faithful.

Go grab your Bible, and read Exodus 1:8-22.
Now read verse 17 again.
"But the midwives feared God ..."
Purpose for the midwives who saved the Hebrew babies was to please God, not men.  I love that PURPOSE!  I want that purpose to be MINE!  I want to focus on pleasing God no matter what the cost.  'Cause it was probably pretty dangerous for those midwives to disobey the Pharaoh.  I bet some of them were mistreated, at the very least, because they disobeyed.  But I bet many were also tortured and even killed!  That's serious!  But they FEARED GOD and did the right thing.  Awesome!
Check out Colossians 3:17, 1 Peter 1:3-4, and Titus 2:11-14 before you go.  These are some great verses that give us PURPOSE to live by!


Monday, January 6, 2014

R1211 part 1

Romans is an incredible book of the Bible!  If you haven't read it (or read it recently), you need to and very soon!  Romans 12 is probably my favorite chapter of the book, and verses 9-21 are full of awesome and practical ways to live for the Lord.  I recently got stuck on verse 11 when it says, "Do not be slothful in zeal; be fervent in the Spirit; serve the Lord."  So, as I often do when God teaches me something cool, I've been sharing my ponderings about this verse with my SoZo-ers.  I originally started out thinking I would teach three separate lessons, seeing as the verse is broken up into three distinct parts.  Well ... the study started the first week of December, and we haven't even gotten to "be fervent in the Spirit" yet.  Haha!  Being zealous for the Lord is loaded!  And we've been digging deep, thinking about what that means and how to BE ZEALOUS in our everyday lives.  So my R1211 posts, as I'm going to call them, are all about my ponderings about Romans 12:11.

Romans 12:11
Do not be slothful in zeal; be fervent in the Spirit; serve the Lord.

Zeal means "eager interest and enthusiasm or passionate devotion."  Pretty cool, huh?  What are you super interested in and enthusiastic about?  To what or whom are you passionately devoted?  Really ... think about it for a second.

--- I don't get to dance these days, but I'm super enthusiastic about dancing!  Ballroom and West Coast Swing dancing were so cool when I had the chance to do 'em!  I was entirely interested in learning how to dance.  I was at the dance studio every week night and most Saturdays for about a year and a half.  And when I transferred to a new studio, I was there every Tuesday night for a lesson and two Friday nights and two Sunday afternoons a month for nearly another year.  I was probably considered passionately devoted to dance.  It was so cool! ---

I want to say I'm that excited about and devoted to Jesus.  I think I can say that ... now.  This year is off to a great start!  I've been excited about the 60-day reading challenge that my church is doing.  I've been reading really great books about all kinds of ways to grow in the Lord.  I'm growing (slowly) in my prayer life.  I'm learning to be faithful and thankful.  And I've just been excited and content in the Lord lately. ... But, maybe you struggle with this too, my zeal for God comes and goes.  Blah.  I hate that, but it does.  In some seasons of life, I am super zealous.  In other seasons, often when things are "hunky dory" or I'm frustrated with God or prayer or something going on in my life at the time, not so much.  Sometimes, I am slothful in zeal. ... And I don't wanna be slothful ... ever.

Here are a few ways we can be zealous INSTEAD OF slothful ... you may need your Bible for this part! ;)
~ We need to run from being lazy in our faith (Acts 6:1-4)
~ We must stay focused ... we need to get rid of the things that distract us from Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2)
~ We must be unafraid ... let's not worry about what other people think about us or be afraid of the future or things that are unknown to us; but instead, let's do what's right and live for Jesus (Deuteronomy 31:6-8)
~ We need to get excited about what Jesus is doing in our lives and let it show (Philippians 4:4) ... Oh!  And if you don't know what Jesus is doing in your life, you need to pick up your Bible and READ IT more often!  You need to TALK TO Jesus some, yo! :)

And why is it so important to live zealous (passionately devoted) lives for the Lord?
Look up John 3:16 and Romans 5:8 to find your answer!
Even when we were totally separated from Him, even when we were His ENEMIES, Christ died for us ... so that we can have LIFE ... and live that life abundantly and zealously. :)

Stay tuned for more ponderings about ZEAL :)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

SoZo: Jesus was Fervent

Hey, SoZo!

We were so sad to have to cancel Sunday School AND our Sunday night group today because of the snow.  We miss you guys!  But the snow sure is beautiful, and maybe you get a day off school?  I know I got the day off work tomorrow.  Haha!  Anyway ... I wanted to share a devotional with y'all.  And don't forget to check out the Calvary 60-day reading challenge (provided at the end of this post) ... let's get into God's Word all the more this year, shall we?

Here we go ...

I've been reading through Matthew as part of the 60-day challenge, and here is one part of the reading I thought was pretty cool ....

Matthew 4:1-11 - Go grab your Bible, and read this passage.
We're studying Romans 12:11 on Sunday mornings, and the middle part of that verse says "be fervent in the Spirit."  This temptation of Jesus passage reminds me of being fervent in the Spirit because Jesus was fervent in the Spirit.  Now, He was (is) GOD, so He had just a bit of an advantage here (haha!), but He had to be fervent in the Spirit (focused on His Father and in constant communication with Him) in order to say NO to Satan in these situations.  He was stinkin' hungry afterall!  I love His responses ... take a minute to think about each one.

- "Man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." (v. 4)
What does it mean to live on every word out of the mouth of God?
HOW do we do that?

- "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test." (v. 7)
What does it mean to test God?
Why is testing God so serious?

- "You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only." (v. 10)
Why should we worship God ONLY?
What idols (things you put before God) are in your life now that you need to get rid of?
HOW will you get rid of them?

God is so faithful, you guys.  He loves you so much and has such plans for you.  One of the many plans He has for you is to GROW in your love for and understanding of Him.  He wants a personal relationship with you!  So take the time to get to know Him better this year.  Let's GO DEEPER!

Love you all! :)

Day 1 - Matthew 1-4 /// Day 2 - Matthew 5-7 /// Day 3 - Matthew 8-13 /// Day 4 - Matthew 14-18 /// Day 5 (today!) - Matthew 19-25 /// Day 6 - Matthew 26-28 /// Day 7 - Ephesians /// Day 8 - 1 Peter /// Day 9 - Titus /// Day 10 - 1 Corinthians 1-8 /// Day 11 - 1 Corinthians 9-16 /// Day 12 - Mark 1-5 /// Day 13 - Mark 6-11 /// Day 14 - Mark 12-16 /// Day 15 - 1 John /// Day 16 - James /// Day 17 - 1 Timothy /// Day 18 - Romans 1-4 /// Day 19 - Romans 5-8 /// Day 20 - Romans 9-11 /// Day 21 - Romans 12-16 /// Day 22 - Acts 1-3 /// Day 23 - Acts 4-7 /// Day 24 - Acts 8-11 /// Day 25 - Acts 12-15 /// Day 26 - Acts 16-20 /// Day 27 - Acts 21-24 /// Day 28 - Acts 25-28 /// Day 29 - Colossians /// Day 30 - Philemon /// Day 31 - Galatians /// Day 32 - Luke 1-5 /// Day 33 - Luke 6-10 /// Day 34 - Luke 11-15 /// Day 35 - Luke 16-21 /// Day 36 - Luke 22-24 /// Day 37 - Hebrews 1-3 /// Day 38 - Hebrews 4-7 /// Day 39 - Hebrews 8-10 /// Day 40 - Hebrews 11-13 /// Day 41 - 2 & 3 John /// Day 42 - 1 Thessalonians /// Day 43 - 2 Corinthians 1-7 /// Day 44 - 2 Corinthians 8-13 /// Day 45 - John 1-3 /// Day 46 - John 4-6 /// Day 47 - John 7-9 /// Day 48 - John 10-12 /// Day 49 - John 13-15 /// Day 50 - John 16-17 /// Day 51 - John 18-21 /// Day 52 - 2 Thessalonians /// Day 53 - Philippians /// Day 54 - 2 Peter & Jude /// Day 55 - 2 Timothy /// Day 56 - Revelation 1-5 /// Day 57 - Revelation 6-9 /// Day 58 - Revelation 10-13 /// Day 59 - Revelation 14-18 /// Day 60 - Revelation 19-22

Currently (January 2014)

Yay!  These posts are so fun!  I'm stealing this idea from Emily again. :)

Currently, I am ...

PROUD.  Yep.  I am a prideful person.  Haha!  I've been learning a lot about myself in this first year of marriage.  Partially 'cause it's my first year of marriage and partially 'cause I've been growing in my walk with Jesus.  Always a good thing, right?  It's always good to grow, but sometimes, we find ugly things in our spirits when we grow.  And God's been teaching me a lot about my prideful spirit.  I am learning that being a perfectionist is, beneath the surface, a heart issue ... and ultimately, pride.  So I am striving to overcome my perfectionist/prideful tendencies.

THINKING ... about how ungrateful I can be at times.  About 3 months after we moved into our apartment (around June or July of last year), we put up some long-awaited home decor that I was oober excited about!  I've been wanting to put up the rest of our picture frames and wall decor for months and months, and today, I convinced Darrell to help me ... I got my hopes up.  But then our power screw driver didn't work, so we couldn't put anything up.  And instead of just letting it go and finding something else to do, I sulked.  And all of a sudden, I started feeling bored and mad and woe is me and just plain ungrateful.  Isn't it funny how a bad attitude can hit so hard and so quick sometimes?  Lame.  So I prayed for some perspective, and I got this ... I am bored and upset over picture frames on this snowed-in day while probably thousands of people around Indianapolis are living on the streets in this quickly-accumulating snow and soon-to-be frigid temperatures!  Double lame.  So needless to say, I started feeling thankful.  Thankfully.

FEELING ... incredibly blessed!  Ha!  I was feeling unthankful and frustrated and bored, and now, I'm feeling so blessed for our cozy, cute, little apartment, for extra time with my hubby today because we're snowed in, for extra money to put on debt this year (we took some time to look at our budget earlier today), for salvation and purpose in Jesus ... and so many other things.

WATCHING ... at this very moment, we're watching the Cincinnati Bengals lose to the San Diego Chargers (27-10) ... sorry, Cincy. .... Darrell and I have been watching a decent amount of Dr. Who, and over my break from workin' at the school, I've been watching some fun animated movies - Lilo and Stitch 2, Kronk's New Groove, and Pocahontas 2.  Nice ...

EXCITED ... about growing in Jesus and spending time with my SoZo kids and being married to the most wonderful man in the world and reading lots of good books and paying off more debt ... all in 2014 :)

READING ... Ha!  What am I NOT reading right now?  Wow!  I am trying to read several books right now.  My Bible ... Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst ... Jesus Calling by Sarah Young ... Conversation Peace by Mary Kassian ... Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman ... and I think I'm gonna return The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers to the church library until I can get some of these other books read.  Haha!

MISSING ... my friend, Emily, Pastor Mike and Shelley, my size 14 jeans (but I'm gonna get 'em back!), the Higher Ground group from back in the day, our 20somethings group (but we should be meeting again this Wednesday - yay!), and church ... it was cancelled for the first time in like 7 years!

WONDERING ... what the future will bring.  We've been looking into prophecies and seeing the signs of them being fulfilled lately ... Jesus is coming back SOON!  So thankful GOD is in control, not us!

WORKING ... not much lately.  I've been off from my job for just over two weeks 'cause the kids are on Christmas break.  And I get another day off tomorrow because of all the snow!  But I've been thinking a lot about SoZo for this year and doing some work with that ... and I've been cleaning the apartment a bit more on break and cooking a bit more.

STRESSED ... thankfully, I haven't been stressed for quite a while.  Just been growing in thankfulness ... and it's just a great season of life.

WANTING ... to be more of a servant and faithful and thankful and purpose-driven and encouraging and intentional and loving.  I also want to pay off our debt completely and have our little Zeke and Hadassah sometime in the near future.

DRINKING ... more water and all kinds of TEA!!! :)  My mom's bookstore/cafe'/tea shop is going out of business, so she ordered a bunch of tea for me before closing day.  I've got at least 8 POUNDS of yummy tea leaves ... all kinds of great flavors ... ready to drink away!  Mmmm ...

EATING ... fewer carbs and less sugar and more meat and veggies.  And I'm about to make some steak and veggies and potatoes for dinner.  Wahoo!

WISHING ... we could get out and do something today ... just kinda antsy today.  But we're all snowed in, and everything is closed.

LOVING ... my beautiful, loving husband ... my church family ... my godly and generous parents and in-laws ... our cozy, cute, little apartment ... and just feeling thankful and content these days.

You all should steal this post too!  Have a great Sunday, and stay safe and warm if you're snowed in too!

Friday, January 3, 2014

My Turn :)

I read Emily's New Year's post and Hannah's New Year's post ... now it's my turn to write one! :)

Life is crazy!  Life is constantly changing!  Life is so unstable ... unstable if you don't have Jesus, that is.  And life on this planet is only gonna get crazier and less stable because Jesus is coming back - and soon!  His return is closer than ever, and that is exciting and scary at the same time!  In 2014, I want my life to be all about growing to be more like Jesus ... finding ways to love and serve more intentionally, going deeper in my personal Bible study and prayer times and challenging my SoZo kidos to do the same, being more of an encourager.  I wanna do and be all of these things for God's glory, so that I will grow and be challenged, so that other people will see the power of Jesus through my life!  It's so exciting to live for Jesus! ... I think we, Christians but me the most, lose this perspective on a regular basis.  Being a Christian is an adventure!  There is room to grow in every circumstance, in every relationship, in every personal quiet time.  We just have to dig deep and focus on the Lord instead of ourselves.  I am a professional selfish person, but I am growing into more of an others-centered person slloowwly but surely. :) I try everyday.  And I will keep trying!  And I am so excited to see what EACH DAY of 2014 has to bring.  Not only is 2014 an adventure with God, but EACH DAY of 2014 is an adventure!  Moment by moment, let's fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith AND our lives!  Let's go deeper, live more abundantly, and be even more thankful EACH DAY of this New Year, shall we?

This is where you say ... YES!  Yes, we shall. ;)

What are some of your hopes and dreams for this year?  Here are some of mine ... :)

GO DEEPER --- Follow through with my church's 60-day Bible reading challenge and then keep going! --- Become a prayer warrior --- Read more books --- Grow in thankfulness --- Grow in faithfulness --- Do good --- Send more letters of encouragement --- Find ways for the youth group to serve more consistently --- Help our youth group and college-age kids go deeper in their faith --- Provide daily devotionals for the SoZo-ers EVERY week this year --- Keep learning to communicate WELL with my husband --- Make better choices concerning food and exercise --- Be more intentional in my relationships --- Drink more water --- Follow the Dave Ramsey plan wholeheartedly (and with our whole wallet) --- Pay off debt --- Visit some old folks --- Blog more --- Sing more with my husband --- Get some perspective about my perfectionism (pride) --- Be more of a servant --- Give more

I'm sure the list could keep going if I thought long and hard enough ... but that's a great start, don'tcha think?  Let's keep growing and overcoming and loving EACH and EVERY DAY, okay?? :)  Okay!  Happy New Year, y'all! :)