faith

Rebellion and Arrogance

Today’s Readings: I Sam 14, I Chron 4, II Cor 13

My Scripture Verse for Today:  I Sam 15:22-23 But Samuel replied: does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifice as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.”

Yes, I know, my verse for today is out of I Sam 15, not 14.  I misread today’s assignment and read 15 and 16 instead of 14.  Oops. But you know what?  God met me in I Sam 15 too.

Today’s reading was about Saul not obeying the admonition of the LORD in the destruction of the Amalekites. He was to destroy everything and everyone, but he chose to capture the Amalekite king, Agag, and he and his army kept the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and the lambs back for themselves.  Saul claimed they were for a sacrifice for the LORD, and that it wasn’t he that made the decision, instead he blamed his soldiers.

Two phrases jumped out at me in this passage. Rebellion is like the sin of divination and arrogance is like the evil of idolatry. Both of these are sins of the heart. When I rebel, I am saying that I know better than God what is best for me. I am claiming to see the future, maybe not verbally, but I believe I can see the future outcome of a situation. When I rebel, I am setting myself up as equal or better to the one I am rebelling against.

The second phrase, arrogance is like the evil of idolatry, again is another picture of a heart set against God. Dictionary.com defines arrogance as “offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.” Idolatry is defined in the second definition as “excessive or blind adoration, reverence, devotion, etc.”. Really, arrogance is setting myself up as a god, instead of humbling myself before the one who truly is God.

Both rebellion and arrogance, I, like Saul, struggle with.  But when I camped on these two phrases today, I saw my rebellion and arrogance for the ugly, black things they really are and myself for who I really am.

My prayer for myself today:  Philippians 2:1-4 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also the interests of others.

 

 

faith

In One Ear and Out the Other

Today’s Readings:  I Sam 3-5, Psalm 77, 2 Cor 8

My verse for the day:  I Sam 3:19 The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground.

I love my parents. They’re awesome!  And as an adult, their words are important to me.  Whether they are meant for guidance, correction or just enjoyment, I hear them.  As a teenager, however, I must confess that I rarely listened to my mother.  (Sorry, mom, but I have to tell the truth.)  Mom was a yeller.  When she was mad, she’d let me know with lots of words at a high volume.  And the reality is, I’d turn down the volume in my head.  She would start yelling, and I’d tune out.  That was never the case with my dad.  My dad is not a yeller.  Even when he was angry, he rarely yelled.  When he was disappointed with me, he would simply say, “I’m disappointed in you…” and explain why.  Man, those words cut me to the core.  I still hate to hear those words.  But they were effective!  I’d hear what my dad was saying and I’d change my behavior (usually with a good dose of being grounded too).

My mother’s words of correction most often went in one ear and out the other, falling off my shoulder, rolling down my back and falling onto the ground.  My father’s were chewed on and reflected on.

Today’s verse says that Samuel did not let God’s words fall to the ground. He meditated on them. He shared them with others, even when they were unpleasant to hear.  Samuel valued the word of the Lord.

I’ll confess, in the past, I often treated God’s words as I did my mother’s corrections.  In one ear and out the other, falling on the ground. It’s easy to ignore the words you don’t like. I could talk myself into not listening by saying “God’s going to love me anyway,” much as I knew my mother would.  The trouble is, God is holy and righteous.  He hates sin, it’s abhorrent to him. God doesn’t just gloss over our sin, he’s not just speaking to be ignored, He is holy and righteous and there is discipline coming if I don’t listen and correct.  In addition, he is the God of the Universe.  Who am I to stand in defiance and say I won’t listen?

My prayer for today is that I will treasure each of his words, pleasant or unpleasant, reflecting on them and letting him change me into the person he wants me to become.

What verse did you choose to reflect on today?

faith

Rethinking Splendor

Psalm 49:16-17 Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him.

When I read this verse and chose it to journal on today, my original intent was to discuss how Americans are overawed with celebrity. There are so many magazines and tv shows devoted to exalting movie stars, sports stars and music stars that I can’t even begin to count them.  There’s the whole reality show industry devoted to finding the next star. And there was a story on the Today show this morning about teens videotaping themselves doing outrageous things in hopes of gaining the attention of someone who will put them on TV.

That was the original intent.

Instead, God pointed out that I have a problem with splendor and it needs to be dealt with.  You see, I love jewelry. I mean, I really love it.  And not just any jewelry, but glitzy jewelry designed to attract attention. And I have lots of it, and I want more, and more, and more.  At what point is enough really enough for me?  None of my sparkle-filled jewelry from earth will follow me into heaven.

In fact, I have so much jewelry that I had to buy a floor chest to house it all. None of it is real, but that doesn’t really matter does it?.  I have it because I, well, if I’m going to be honest, I like to show it off and myself.  A lot of this jewelry, I earned for free from a company I used to sell it for.  So, telling people I earned it for free because I had high sales, makes me look like a hotshot salesperson – at least in my head it does. Again, so what? The jewelry itself isn’t the problem, but my attitude towards it is.

Why do I need earthly splendor?  What does it really show? I think it shows my predilection for this world and its riches instead of those not of this world.  When I wear it, do people see me pointing to Christ or to myself?

Today, I’m rethinking splendor.

debt, loans

Financial Wisdom from the book of Proverbs

Thought I’d share a little ancient wisdom for you to ponder today.
  • “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.”  Proverbs 21:20  (NIV)
  • “The poor are always ruled over by the rich, so don’t borrow and put yourself under their power.'”  Proverbs 22:7  (MSG)
  • “Do not wear yourself out to get rich.  Have the wisdom to show restraint.”   Proverbs 23:4-5 (MSG)
  • “Don’t agree to guarantee another person’s debt or put up security for someone else.  If you can’t pay it, even your bed will be snatched from under you.”   Proverbs 22:26-27 (NLT)
  • “Know your sheep by name; carefully attend to your flocks; (Don’t take them for granted; possessions don’t last forever, you know.) And then, when the crops are in and the harvest is stored in the barns, You can knit sweaters from lambs’ wool, and sell your goats for a profit; There will be plenty of milk and meat to last your family through the winter.”  Proverbs 27:23-27 (MSG)
  • “Committed and persistent work pays off; get-rich-quick schemes are ripoffs.”  Proverbs 28:20 (MSG)
debt, weight management

Discipline

Now this is an area where I struggle.  I’ve fought it nearly all my life.  I like to think that I’m spontaneous and fun-loving, and a bit free-spirited, so discipline is not a quality I’ve sought to acquire over the last 47 years. And isn’t it interesting that when I see someone else with no discipline, I’m completely annoyed by them.  Kind of an instance where I’m trying to pluck a sliver out of someone else’s eye while completely ignoring the log in my own.

I’m finding that my avoidance of discipline in all areas has created some major issues in my life such has too much debt and too much weight. Now, I’ve been on the road to discipline with our finances and we’ve paid off 85% of our debt since January 1, but there is still room for improvement.  It’s the weight that is my biggest issue now and to which I am turning my focus.  I am 100 pounds overweight and frankly, I’ve got to change.

So, to help me on the way to a disciplined life, I’ve implemented some new game plans and asked for some things for my birthday.  A new pedometer that resets itself every day at midnight and counts my steps – a birthday gift I’ll use everyday.  Where’s the discipline in that?  I’m setting a goal this week to average 6,000 steps a day.  I will walk every day until I reach 6,000.

In addition, today is the first day of a new diet which my husband and I will be using for the next 40 days.  We both know quite a few people who have tried the HCG diet and found that it works.  So, I’ll let you know.  We began this morning the first of two gorge days where we get to eat the fattiest, greasiest stuff we can get our hands on.  Monday starts the 40 days.  This will really take discipline!

To help me stay on this diet, I am going to ask my children to participate more in dinner preparation.  So I’ve pulled out my trusty e-mealz meal plan and am on my way, as soon as I finish this post, to purchase this week’s meals from Aldi.

E-MEALZ Easy Meals for Busy and Frugal Families

To help me maintain my focus, I’m grabbing my copy of Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles.  Today is success principle #1 – Take 100% Responsbility.

I hereby take 100% of the responsibility for my lack of discipline and 100% of the responsibility for changing it!!