Monday, March 7, 2011

Sunday Snippets

My notes from church today might be a little hard to read.  They changed the bulletin from a booklet style to a one-pager.  It's great for the environment but it was at the sacrifice of the handy notes section on the back.  So I just tried to squeeze in my notes on the front:

We are starting a whole series on Luke which our pastor describes as the "Gospel for skeptics".  Today we focused on people who wonder how there can be a good God who loves them because of all the hurt and disappointment they have experienced in their life.

We went through the story of Zechariah and Mary getting the news that they were going to have children in Luke 1.

Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth were old and had not been able to have children which was huge back then because that meant they had no one to take care of them in their old age and just not being able to have children in general is really sad for those who want to.  An angel comes to Zechariah and tells him his wife is going to have a child but he had doubts in what the angel said because they are so old.  Since he did not believe what the angel said he was made mute from that moment until after Elizabeth had the baby.

In the middle of Zechariah's story is the story of the angel coming to tell Mary she is going to have a baby and he is going to be "Son of the Most High".  Mary had her reasons to doubt too.  She was not married and she was a virgin.  But she responded with wonder and amazement instead of scorn and doubt to what the angel told her.

Do you trust God's promises?  Do you really believe that He will work all things for good in your life?  Do you believe He can do anything?

The main takeaways I had from the sermon were:

1. God does not punish you for your sins.  Jesus paid the price for your sins on the cross.  So if he were to punish you for your sins that would be unjust and God is not unjust.  He will however discipline you like a coach would.  If you ever played on a sports team, you know that if a coach is pushing you to be better it is a good thing.

2.  Sometimes God may withhold things in your life that keep you from finding your joy in HIM.  We try to find our joy in all kinds of things- romance, children or having the perfect family, our jobs, our physical appearance...but you will never find your true joy in those things.  If you keep trying to chase your joy by pursuing those things at the expense of everything else, God may hold them back from you so you will realize where you need to look for your true joy.

3. People normally have 4 different reactions to disappointment in their lives.  In my case I will relate this to my disappointments with romantic love:
- Blame the thing itself: Love doesn't really's all a lie.  I hate hurts too much.
- Blame yourself:  I suck at relationships.  Something is wrong with one will ever love me.
- Blame the world: There just aren't any good guys out there.
- Realize you were meant for more and who you are in God's eyes- God loves me more than any man ever will.

I'll do another one that I bet a lot of other women can relate to- being skinny enough:
- Blame the thing itself: If I was just skinny enough I'd be happy.  I hate my weight.  I want to throw the scale out the window.
- Blame yourself:  If I could just eat only 5 grapes and run 10 miles/day...why can't I make myself skinny?  What is wrong with me that I can't get skinny enough?
- Blame the world: All those stupid beauty magazines and skinny models and actresses have made me this way.  Why is the world so obsessed with being skinny??
- Realize you were meant for more and who you are in God's eyes- God gave me this body and I should be more concerned about what is on the inside than what is on the outside.

(trust me I realize how superficial these struggles and disappointments are, but they are two of the biggest issues I find myself complaining about consistently.)

It doesn't mean God doesn't want me to pursue those things at all, but they will not fill that void in my life.  Only my relationship with Him can do that.  And I need to trust that God is working ALL things for GOOD in my life.  He wants good things for me.

And I need to keep in mind that this life is not all there is.  When I die, no one will remember whether I was wearing a size 2 or 12 or if I had never had a movie love moment or that picket fence and 2.5 perfect children.  And at that point it won't even matter and it will seem silly that I even wasted time worrying so much about obtaining them at all costs.


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