I haven't been sleeping very well lately. I wake up in the middle of the night rather often. Now being a prime example. :) I usually either just lie there until I fall back asleep, read on my Nook some, or just piddle on Facebook and Instagram until my eyes are droopy again. But a friend suggested that maybe God was waking me up for a reason, wanting me to talk with Him and spend time with Him. Duh, Ellen.
When I woke up about an hour ago, 52 in 52 came to mind. Ouch.
Remember those great stories and great times I mentioned earlier? Yeah. They've taken the place of my 52 in 52. Now they seem not so great.
So I have 4 scriptures to share with you this morning. Enjoy! :)
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:18
Actions speak louder than words, right? What have you done today to love someone with your actions? Have you prayed for (with) them? Offered help or council? Brought someone needing some extra love a special surprise?
These questions are as much for me as they are for you! Teacher workdays started on Wednesday for us, and I've been so extremely focused on my own classroom, my own Meet the Teacher needs, and my own list of last minute craziness that I haven't been very available for the new teachers on our grade level -- or the "old" (not old in age!) teachers either. I need to leave my room and be of help to them.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus a Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Our church has a new pastor now that started at the beginning of July. Friends, this man is amazing! He is so open, honest, personable, and challenging. After being without a pastor for awhile, it is so refreshing to have this leadership in our church! I am so very excited to see what God has in store for our church! (Side note: Our previous pastor was great as well, but then he left. :) And our interim was too, but there's something about having a pastor in the church.)
Okay, all of that to say...he's been taking us through Colossians lately. I don't actually get many chances to be in the service because I'm with the precious little ones about 2 or 3 Sundays each month, but I try to soak up and internalize as much as I can when I'm able to be in the service. This verse really struck me when he was walking us through it this past Sunday. (The following is what I took from this sermon after pondering it during the service and then after getting home and looking through my notes. The basic points are pulled from what our pastor said, but when I say "I", that's me. Not him.)
He started with the "continuing." The life and walk of a Christian is not a one time thing. It is not something you decide one day, and then the next you stray away from it. Of course, we all sin, but that's where "continuing" comes in. It's a continuous walk of seeking Christ, repenting from our sins, obeying God's Word, living out our faith in our lives. It's daily. Every minute of every day. Sounds daunting, eh? Just remember 1 Corinthians 10:13 (God gives us direction and ways out of sin) and Philippians 4:13 (our strength comes from Christ).
Then, he painted a picture of the "rooted and built up in Him" portion. Ever seen a large oak tree? There's one by my parents' house that has been there forever. It's huge. Ginormous, even. We used to have a tire swing hanging from one of the limbs when I was little. It's kind of one of those trees that we never ever (ever) want to see cut down. (Okay, I'm pretty positive it's an oak! ha) Actually, my parents had a neighboring tree cut down not too long ago, but I thought they were cutting down "the tree" and almost climbed it in protest. But I diverted my plan and kept on driving down the road when I realized they were cutting down a different one.
Anyhoo, so this massive tree that sits on my grandparents' (now my parents') property probably has just a few scrawny roots, right? Uh, no. The roots on this thing are just as massive as the tree itself. Roots grow underground just as wide as the limbs on the tree. There's no way it would stay standing if it worked any differently. So if you're living a life for Christ, striving to please God in your life, it would be pretty difficult to stand in this faith without having roots that go deep into God's word, right? Without having roots that go deep into your faith, your prayer life, your continuous growth in Christ. Without those roots, you'd topple over like a rootless tree.
Just like a tree's roots, a building has to have a pretty strong foundation, right? One of the most pivotal steps in the process of constructing a building is the foundation. If it isn't laid correctly, the strength of the building is compromised. When I was growing up, our church began constructing a new building. It would serve as a gym/sanctuary, and it was pretty big! Once they laid the foundation and did some other "constructiony" type things (I'm no architect!), we all met at the building site with chalk. Lots and lots of chalk. I think it was chalk! Maybe we used markers. Lots and lots of markers.
In any case, we had a lot of writing utensils, and we covered that foundation with God's Word. We wanted the foundation of that building to be covered in scripture and prayer, because that is the foundation of our lives. Now, did our scribblings actually help the construction of our new building? Probably not. But was it a perfect example of our lives? Absolutely. When our foundation is built on and covered with scripture, prayer, obedience, and repentance, we are able to stand firm in Christ.
And then overflowing is something that has always just been a neat illustration to me. I usually think of an overflowing cup, an overflowing swimming pool (why in the world? lol I've always thought it'd be cool to have a pool that is just continuously overflowing for some reason. But then there'd be a ginormous sized water bill and lots of muddy/soggy grass. Sad.), or an overflowing bathtub. But a pot of boiling water came to mind this time for some reason.
I love mac and cheese. I seriously could eat it every single day and not tire of it! (kind of like my love of Chick-Fil-A, I reckon) Actually, I did eat it almost everyday during the summertime in highschool. Cheese and pasta. Two of my favorites, all mixed up together. Yum! (Hmm...early morning snack?...) But I have this problem in that I get very distracted very easily, and I sometimes (ahem...often times) have an overflowing pot of boiling water before I realize it! I step away for what I think is only a minute or two and return to a mess.
But what if that mess was a glorious, thankful, God-praising mess? What if my love for Christ was so active, so hot and on fire that it bubbled up inside me, out of my daily living, and splashed all over the people around me? Of course, it wouldn't actually be scalding hot, so there would be no real physical harm to others (I couldn't hurt a fly! A spider, yes...I can do some serious bug spray damage there. But other creatures are safe), but there would be effects. Others would be splashed with my overflow, hopefully creating a bubble inside their own lives and hearts. I want to be infectious and overflowing. With thankfulness and love.
Phew! That's a lot more than what Pastor Dave said, but he of course expounded on the surrounding scriptures as well. I didn't expect to go so far with that, but that's why I love sharing my 52 in 52 on here. It makes me reflect and really think about the scripture, and sometimes more comes out than I had originally internalized about the scripture.
So, with that, I'm going to share the remaining two later. It's not almost 4:00AM, and I have to be at my grad class in just 5 hours. Eek! Another 3 or 4 hours of sleep would be marvelous!