I am no longer the things of my past...I am the daughter of the Great I AM.

Exodus 3:14
And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"
2 Corithians 6:18
I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Face to Face or At His Feet

Through the years, I have studied the stories of Mary and Martha. There are three events recorded in the Bible that discuss these sisters. You can read them in Luke 10:38-42, John 11:17-44, and John 12:1-3. As I have studied each of these, I have noticed the way each sister approached Jesus each time.

I am going to start with Martha. She always approached Jesus head on. At her house, she was in the kitchen fretting over the meal, and upset with her sister for not helping. She went to Jesus, and told Him what He should do. She said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." Notice, she did not ask Jesus, she told Jesus. The next event is when Lazarus has died. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet Him. She met Him face to face to tell Him that her brother was dead. The final event, does not record Martha speaking with Jesus. It only says that she was there and she was serving. It is very important to note that Martha believed that Jesus was the Christ(John 11:27), and that Jesus loved her (John 11:5).

Now let's look at Mary. At the house, Mary was at the feet of Jesus worshiping and learning. At this Jesus said that "Mary has chosen the good part, which will not be taken away from her." At the death of her brother, she did not approach Jesus until He called for her, and then she fell at His feet. Seeing her weep caused Jesus to "groan in the spirit and be troubled." Finally, in John 12 we see that it was Mary that annoited Jesus' feet with fragrant oil. You see, Mary always approached Jesus at His feet.

Face to Face or At His feet ... How do you approach Jesus? Are you like Martha? Do you meet Jesus head on with the solutions you have already decided are best? Or are you like Mary? Do you worship at His feet and know that what He has is best?

(This blog was originally posted in April of 2010 as "How Do You Approach God?")

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Practicing Self Control Around Annoying People

Everyone knows someone who annoys them. Does your reaction reflect that you are a Christian? If you are practicing self-control, it does. You cannot always change someone else, but you can change the way you react to someone.

Galatians 5:22-23 The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentileness, and self-control. Against such there is no law.

If you are a Christian, you have the Spirit of God inside you. When someone is annoying you, the Spirit inside you still loves that person. No matter what our flesh is feeling, the Spirit is still kind and patient toward that person. If we allow our spirit to direct us, we can have self-control. Then our reactions will be in line with what God expects from us.

How do you practice self control?
In John 2, noticed what Jesus did before he drove out the money changers.

John 2:13-16 Now the Passover of the Jew was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers' money and overturned tables. And He said to those who sold doves, "Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!"

Before he cleaned out the temple, He made a whip. He removed himself from the situation first, and took time to make a whip out of cords. When you find yourself around someone who annoys you, excuse yourself and evaluate the situation.

While you are away, ask yourself and God these questions...

1. Is it really them, or is it me?
Have you done something to them that you need to get right with them? or Are they reminding you of something that you need to get right with God?

2. Is is something that needs to be addressed?
If so, what is the best way, time, and place to address it?

3. Is it something that you need to overlook?
Somethings just aren't worth the hurt it may cause. You need to ignore it and move on.

As you spend time "making your whip," God will help you better understand both yourself and the person who is annoying you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tip/Gratuities = Thankfulness for service

Ok, I am going to try to write this without the venting I feel like doing... please forgive me if I do not accomplish this completely.

Let me begin by sharing that my family enjoys tipping at restaurants. We are regular 15%+ tippers. On the occasions that the service is poor, we still tip. We figure that we don't know what the waiter/waitress is going through, and tip anyway. I honestly cannot remember when we have not tipped... that is until this Monday night.

We were in McKinney, Texas for my son's final golf tournament of the summer. Most of our meals during tournaments are quick and cheap (well if there is such a thing for a family of 4). However, we decided on Monday night to go to a nicer restaurant and be waited on. We decided on a Tex-Mex restaurant that we have never tried before.

The restaurant was nice, and the hostess was very friendly as she seated us. Then we met our waiter. First of all, he looked put out that he had to wait on another table. (By the way, it was a little later in the evening, on a Monday night... it wasn't busy at all.) As we were ordering our drinks, my husband ordered a half and half sweet tea. (In case you don't know, that is half sweet/half unsweet) He orders those every where we go, and has never had a problem. The waiter looked at him as if he had ordered something illegal, or maybe even immoral. Erin and I ordered sweet teas, and then Ethan also ordered a half and half sweet tea. The waiter snorted... out loud! I couldn't believe it. When he brought our drinks, he set Jason's in front of him, and stated in a rather rude tone, "here is your special blend." After placing our order, we laughed about it, and then visited over our chips and salsa.

Then... we needed refills.... As he refilled the drinks, he refilled them all with sweet tea. We decided he didn't like the "special blend" of having to pour from two different pitchers... but we didn't complain. We didn't even complain as he kept leaning over Erin, who was coloring, to pour the tea. If she had raised up, she would have been looking at his arm pit... can you say gross!?!?

Next came the meal... Erin is a very picky eater. If she doesn't like something, she doesn't want it on her plate. So I had ordered her meal with no rice. When her meal arrived, not only did it have rice, it was in the middle of the plate so that it touched everything. This is another no-no with my picky eater. (and yes, we are working on it.) I told the waiter that we had ordered no rice. After checking the ticket in a very indignant manner, he responded, "yes, yes you did." He handed out the rest of the plates. Then he said, "Well, is she allergic to rice?" I bit back my first thought of, "No, are you allergic to tips?" Y'all just don't know how hard that was not to say. Instead, I said no she is not. I then asked Erin if she thought she could eat around the rice. She agreed thankfully, and we did not send the plate back. After the waiter left, Jason and I just looked at each other in amazement.

We didn't see the waiter again until he dropped the ticket at the table. My writing is just not doing justice to the arrogant and rude manner in which this man treated us. The kids know that we are tippers. They also know that we pay with a debit card, and usually include the tip on our card. Ethan noticed that Jason left the tip line blank, and asked about it. Jason explained that a tip is given in appreciation of services rendered. We did not appreciate the manner in which we were treated, and therefore were not going to leave a tip this time.

You would think the story had ended there... nope! This morning, as I was checking our bank account online, something I do daily, I noticed that the waiter had given himself a $10 tip on our card! (For those of you wondering, that would be a 25% tip!!!) So, not only is this man a poor waiter, but he is also a thief! Yes, I will be calling and speaking with a manager today!

As I have thought about this event, I have thought back to one of my first jobs as a waitress. I was taught that I had to earn my tip. Now I realize that wait staff are paid less because the tips are figured in with their salary. I do not believe this is fair... however, I still believe that a tip must be earned. Even with the most disagreeable customers, the motto used to be, "the customer is alway right." Now, you rarely see such a thing.

I feel like this lack of service, and not just in restaurants, is just a sign of the society we live in. We have become a self serving society. We no longer recognize the need to serve others. If it does not benefit us, we are not interested. This is clearly against Biblical teaching. We are to serve one another in love. This is a lesson we all need to remember... yes, including me.

For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13