Tuesday Challenge-Be present today (Brooke)

I think a lot about the verse in Colossians that says, “Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the BEST use of the time.”(Verse 5, ESV)

Or as the New Living Translation says, “Live wisely among those who are not believers, & make the most of every opportunity.”

I want to live a life that makes the m o s t of every single opportunity.

My prayer is the I would grow today and this summer in making the best use of my time. to be present. to serve and to watch. to listen. to put down my phone & love. to enjoy those that are right in front of me. to notice the needs that God has brought across my path. I’m convinced that God wants us to meet needs every single day.

I want to be awake//aware//present so that I don’t miss those.  I think the deep joys of life are found when we move past ourselves and focus on loving others. This is a struggle for me, but I’m learning.

On Thursday night I was standing under an overhang outside of P.F. Changs(with our dachshund dottie). Brian was inside getting our takeout order and it was pouring down rain.  the all of a sudden crazy rain. A older lady poked her head out the door and saw how horrible the rain was… I asked her, “I have an umbrella here–can I walk you to your car?”  She looked kind of surprised and quickly said Yes.  She grabbed my arm and we went for it together with the dog in my other arm.  We did some small talk and laughed about rain, and hair and her dog back home. And I got her to her car dry! It was a sweet moment.  The kind of moment that makes you smile for the rest of the day.  She was so thankful and I was so happy.

I want to be aware of those little moments & the big moments that are surely always around me.  I get so caught up in the days agenda that I miss SO many little moments…I don’t want to look at instagram too much that I miss living real life moments with those around me. {I love instagram by the way- it’s a favorite…I just have to be careful how much time I spend with it;)}

Join me in praying today and this summer, “God help me be present.  To be aware of the needs around me. Help me not MISS one thing you want me to do today. Help me be sensitive to your Spirit. And help me be present with you God.”

I think as we focus on Him and pray to be AWAKE to the moments we will surely see sweet things happen.

PSYC 101: Cognitive Dissonance (Lindsey)

                                    Definition of cognitive dissonance:
psychological conflict resulting from simultaneously held incongruous
beliefs & attitudes
(as a fondness for smoking and a belief that it is harmful)
“The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the feeling of discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs. When there is a discrepancy between beliefs and behaviors, something must change in order to eliminate or reduce the dissonance.”
A great example of this is found in Paul’s letter to the Romans. This blog will pull a lot from Romans 7:1-25, which I encourage you to read.
Imagine Paul, a former persecutor of Christians, now sold out for the Kingdom of God.
On the road to Damascus, Jesus revealed Himself to Paul in such a way that he changed his belief system entirely and accepted Jesus as the resurrected messiah-a concept he had previously rejected in thoughts, words, and actions.
As he was led to fervently make Jesus’s payment for guilty sinners known, he also made controversial claims that God’s covenant with the Jewish people was also for Gentiles. Paul probably came from a family line that found Jews superior to Gentiles and they certainly did not believe that God was making a separate covenant with Gentiles. He shaped much of early church thought about how Jews and Gentiles as he enduringly asserted that all people are united in what Christ had done.
God worked mightily through Paul’s shift in worldview. Then in Romans 7, we see how after radically changing his deepest beliefs about the Jesus and the church, Paul still struggles with desiring what is good but not being able to carry out good works. He deals with a powerful cognitive dissonance over knowing what is right but still committing sin.
Many of us experience this same sentiment as feelings of confusion, frustration, guilt, shame, or learned helplessness. The good news is that we don’t have to remain in these feelings. Our Dad calls us to wake up and experience His freedom.
One day we will experience His freedom perfectly but until then, we will wrestle within what Paul expressed as desiring to serve the law of sin with his flesh and the law of God with his mind. We can both look forward to our complete freedom while experiencing daily victories through combating lies of the world with God’s Truth (John 8:32-36).
Regardless of our awareness, each day the world is washing our minds with debilitating lies. We absorb the messages from radio, TV, magazines, our peers, etc. about our identity and our role in the world. These messages are often not congruent with what God says about us.
In a world full of rebels who reject God, rebels like we use to be but only by God’s grace are now daughters, we must guard our minds. We need the refreshment of scripture in a land that is thirsty.
To sin or to obey will be a decision we will struggle to make each day. We will choose to obey God out of loving and knowing Him (1 John 2:3 & John 14:23).
God warns Cain in Genesis 4 that sin desires him, it’s waiting for him, but he must choose what is good and rule over it. What habitual sin will you rule over today? What temptation will you combat with Truth?
Remember that as 1 John 1:9 promises, God is faithful and just to forgive us when we confess our sin.
End your cognitive dissonance today. Confess what thoughts, actions, or beliefs are contradictory to God’s Word and bring them before Him. Be at ease knowing that your beliefs and attitudes are solidly built on what God has said.
I pray that you would experience peaceful freedom
that can be found in drinking deeply of Truth.

China & the Bible (Brooke)

I love this video!  Have you seen it?  It’s the one where Chinese believers get their own Bible for the first time.  I have a feeling they really believe these verses:
“Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet & a L I G H T for my path.”  Psalm 119:105
“The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul.” Psalm 19:7
“I have hidden your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”  Psalm 119:11
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting & training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16
“For the Word of God is alive and powerful.  It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”  Hebrews 4:12

Take a moment and spend extra time in the Word today.  It will revive you, train you, guide you, & light up your path.  What could be better?

If you are wondering what Scriptures to spend time in today consider these:
John 11:25-26
Philippians 2:5-7
1 John 4:7-11
Psalm 73:28
Romans 5:8
Isaiah 61:1
John 15:4-7
Psalm 103