Friday, July 23, 2010

Letting go of hurtful habits

Hello friends. I'm glad we are spending this time together seeking God's Word.
Let's pray before we begin:

“Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us access to You through this great love letter we call the bible. Open our hearts, Lord, and change us from the inside out today. We want nothing more than to be in your presence and feel your Holy Spirit guiding our way today. Lord, forgive me for the way I have lived my life selfishly and for my own comfort. Help me to see others as you do, and desire to help them as you do. Amen”

We are mid-way through the first chapter of The Revoluton Devotional Workbook and Field Journal, by Joyce Meyer. Some of you are doing this journal along with the Joyce Meyer video; others are working through the journal on your own, then meeting here for more discussion. Many more are simply following along with us online and writing insights and verses in a notebook. I am thankful for each of you! It is not so important how we get into God's Word, but that we do get into it.

However you got here, I am so glad you made it. Get your coffee and let's get started!

Let's read Mark 8:34.

Jesus said in order to follow Him, we must _______ ourselves, take up the ______ and follow Him. To deny ourselves means to forget, disown, and lose sight of our own interests. This in no way means we are to stop caring about our daily needs or hygeine, it means to stop thinking about ourselves first and foremost, and start devoloping a heart of compassion for others.

What is the hardest cross to carry, meaning the most difficult thing to deny in ourselves? _________________________________________________


I wrote: to stop thinking about my own comfort and every day start out praying for the ability to give myself over to God's will and God's desires for my day.

For example, when I am sitting comfy on my bed, laptop just right, cup of tea or coffee all cozy, the last thing I want to hear is “Can you help me with something?”

Normally, my first reaction is irritation. OK, that's still my first reaction. But, I've decided to become a person who can be interuppted with grace. I used to act so put upon when anyone interuppted my writing time. I'd start out with a dramatic sigh, then an irritated stare. If that didn't shame the offender into backing out the door, I'd start in complaining and grumbling as I pushed everything off my lap and got up, demanding to know if there was an emergency or not.

I'm sure my family's favorite reaction was for me to attend to their needs in the midst of a long dialogue about “How come the minute I sit down to write is when someone in this house has to have blah, blah, blah. . .” Sound familiar to anyone? Come on, I know I'm not alone.

Now, I am not suggesting we allow our children to be rude, consistently interuppt others, or accept inconsiderate treatment on a regular basis from our spouses, but I do think we can get out of balance by thinking we should never be interuppted or inconvenienced by our family.

God showed me that although I wanted to carve out time for my own needs (a good thing) and to teach my kids to develop patience and consideration, I was teaching them more about having a spoiled attitude and an unwillingness to be kind when we are inconvenienced. Ouch.

When God revealed to me how I was hurting the people I love the most, I was broken. I was utterly ashamed of my self-centered attitude. I sobbed till my t-shirt was wet and moved on to my husband's.

I'll tell you, it didn't feel good at first, but the thing about repenting, which is realizing you've been wrong and being truly sorry, and wanting nothing more desperately than to change, is that it's really pleasing to God. Think about the times when your kids really understand and feel remorsful about their bad behavior, or when they flat-out go out of their way to be kind to a sibling. Don't you just hug them up and feel so proud?

The second I've confessed my sin to God and asked for His forgiveness, I experience a wave of what I can only describe as a tingling, uplifting sensation of absolute joy! It feels just like a hug from the Holy Spirit. It's like God is speaking right into my spirit words I can only feel, not hear, words that say, “Well done, daughter, I am pleased and I love you.”

If you've experienced what I am talking about, write down what happened:
and if you feel comfortable, share it with us in the comments section. I love to see how God is working in the lives of my friends, it inspires me and reminds me that He is working all around me, even when I'm struggling to see it myself.

Homework: Choose one hurtful or negative habit you will give to God this week. Are you like me, too important to be interuppted? Or are you the one who interuppts others, always wanting everything to be done now, now, now?

I'm giving my habit of _______________________________________ to God and asking Him to change my heart in this area.

It won't be easy at first, but I promise if you confess what you're doing to God every morning, and ask Him to change your heart in this area, He will. By the way, don't be surprised if the first couple of days seem overwhelmingly full of temptation. After all, Satan has enjoyed ruining your day in this fashion for quite some time. He's not going to just let you leave the game without a fight.

Lucky for us – God promises if we seek Him first, all we have to do is resist the devil, and he will flee! James 4:7

Let's prayer together:

“Father, I am sorry for the way my selfish attitudes have led people around me to feel less important and less worthy of love. Give me a desire to love with my attitude and actions, instead of merely my words. Thank for always helping me to become a more compassionate and wise friend to all those I encounter, at home and in the world. In Jesus' name, amen.

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