Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lamps & Finger Pointing

No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light.

A lamp is used to provide light so that others can see in the darkness. This illustration, used in Christianity, has real power. We get confused with judgements, assumptions, accusations, and finger pointing. We think that if we do all of these things, it will bring the truth out. If I just go ahead and say that so and so is something or other, then I am giving the truth! I could not be more wrong. 

What the lamp gives, has been distorted. That light that is given in the darkness is not provided so that we can look at someone else's dirt. It is provided so that we can see the WAY through the dark, not that guy's dirt. Sometimes we use the Light to focus on ugly stuff. This is not the use for the lamp.

Notice what it says at the end of the sentence... that those who COME IN may see the light. The only responsibility that we have with the lamp is that those who come into our lives see the light. We aren't commissioned to point the light in a certain direction or bring attention to their state of existence. All we are supposed to do is provide the light. Leave the rest to those who come in. So where do we get this lamp?

The  lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.

It is pretty clear what is the lamp is here. It would seem clear that light is good and darkness is bad, but at the end there is a warning. That warning describes that there is a certain light that is darkness. What you see or perceive will show others what type of light you possess. When we reflect the Light, others will look to that Light and nothing else. If we spend our time bringing to "light" the ugliness of others instead of letting them focus on God, it keeps them in the dark. We really aren't filled with the Light.

If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.

When we are in a dark room, stumbling around, we flounder around looking for the light switch. We won't do anything else till we have found it. Or say we are lost out in the woods and we see a bright light in the distance, we walk straight for it, without stopping. It is like a magnet, that light. When we reflect the Light of God, people will come. When our life is a reflection of what God's character is all about, those who desire to get out of the dark will come. You might not even have to do anything to get them there or even have to describe the light to them. They will see it and know. You won't have to point out that maybe they are looking a little dirty, because they will see it for themselves. On their own they will desire the Light and will see what they could not in the dark. On their own they will see their need for change. We just have to stand back and watch God work. 

Watching God work is where the power really takes flight. We get so caught up in doing His job that we miss out. That chance that we could have stood by and seen how God's power can change a life, gone. Instead of being used by God to make a difference, we get in His way. What I am suggesting here is that we just be that lamp and nothing else. Even if it means not moving at all. Honestly, it probably takes more effort to stand still out in the open than lurking around pointing out ugliness.

Shine on.

-Luke 11:33-36

Monday, January 26, 2015

Following the Grain

Following Christ. Do I even know what that fully implies? He set an example of extreme superiority. How can I handle this direction? To be like Christ is more than just doing good deeds. After reading about what He had to do to fullfill the testament, I am humbled at what it takes. 

Sometimes I read the Bible and think that what is implied, is for me. Well, today I came across something I have read a million times but now view differently. It wasn't till I read Hebrews 9 that I understood a deeper meaning to Christ's words in the book of John:

The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 

I would have passed these last words, carelessly if it wasn't for what I just learned. Here Christ is predicting His death. He knew His purpose and wished that His followers would understand the power of what He was about to do. He knew that it would be hard to understand, through the world's eyes. They were expecting someone who would over throw the Romans, not a man destined for death. Christ became that grain of wheat. He knew that His death would produce much. 

Remaining alone. Seeing those words makes me realize the extent to which the God head has lost so much. We were created to be with God and commune with Him. Without Christ's death we would be unable to connect with Him again. Forever He would be "alone", without us. 

He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

After Jesus spoke of what He must do, He went on to describe what we are called to do. God has called us to follow Him. What does this imply? We must loose our earthly life in order to gain eternal life. This doesn't mean that we have to physically be killed for Christ's sake, though it does happen, it just means that we need to leave our selfish desires behind. 

Aligning our lives with Christ's life is where we forget about ourselves and live for His intentions. For a little  while it can feel like we are out of control, like it is all crazy. Those personal wants seem so much a part of survival, but when we ask God to align our desires with His, those wants slowly fade. Not by our own efforts do these things occur. Our natural state is selfish and sinful. God won't ask you to give up so much without letting you know what you will gain. 

See those words? See where it says that God the Father will give honor? See where it says that we will have eternal life if we hate the earthly life? This is where God gives His promise. We have something to set our feet upon. With His promises and His power we can follow Christ. Where Christ goes we may also go. 

John 12:23-26

Friday, January 23, 2015

Three Dimensional Strength

I don't really know how to speak out about controversial topics. I don't really want to create discord where it really isn't necessary. I don't want to be hard headed, pounding words into anyone's head. So I won't. What I am wishing to discuss here is something that has greatly impacted my perspective on Christ's coming. Like the severity of what we must do to prepare. Not really for the salvation He has to offer (that we have already gained in acknowledging His gift and taking it), but for the trials we will face in those days. Those terrible days.

When I was a kid it was engrained into my heart the fear. The "end times" were threatening and luminous. I would have nightmares of fire in the streets, grabbing one thing from my house, and running into the night. As I got older I still had the fear, but none of us really talked about it all. I just figured it was because we didn't know how to handle the idea of it. Like what does one do with all this information? We don't even know how we will respond at that point. It was all rather hypothetical.

In the last couple of years I have had glimpses of what it will be like to have strength in those times. Not because I went through "end time event" like scenarios, but more like I experienced the strength that I picture going along with the faithful. Hmm... questionable right? Well, most of the time when I have thought about the "end time" I have felt it ALONE. My heart felt powerless thinking about it. I did not picture a community. I felt like I would be the only one struggling through to the end. What God ended up showing me, was an encouragement.

I am a part of an all women's Bible study group that meets every other Wednesday night. Before I moved away, I experienced the most powerful sense of community in that last meeting. We usually get real with each other, but this time was different. Our prayers together had matured from the first time I was with the group, or maybe it was just my own prayers in my heart. As I took in the moment with all of them for the last time, I felt a strength in numbers. I felt the Trinity. Not just Jesus, or God the Father, or the Holy Spirit. I felt every sense of the words together, community, not alone, family. I pictured the apostles of old in the book of Acts and how they supported one another.  You know after Pentecost? I felt what Paul felt when He wrote to His brothers in Christ as he was imprisoned in his home.

For so long, I felt that following Christ was a lonely venture. Maybe it is because I have seen so many Christians walk the life alone. I am not sure if I am just blessed or if this is really how God wants it. It is so three dimensional! Walking the rode alone with God is definitely powerful. You have the chance to hash out real stuff with Him. You can trust His wisdom and power to protect. What I have found is that God wants more for me. He wants me to expand that relationship with Him. He wants me to invite others into the circle so that the "cord" of life is strengthened! Developing relationships with people outside of my family circle has greatly matured my trust in God as well.

I know that He will challenge my beliefs through the eyes of other faithful followers. He can reach out to me with an embrace by the hearts of those physically around me. He can show me what family is really about. God is community. So, with that being said, in those last days I know that I will look back on these experiences with a full heart. Even if all these women are not a part of my life at that time, I will remember that strength. It will fill my heart in prayer and help me face what may be ahead. I saw God in those moments, more than I ever would alone. Ultimately, He is my strength.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Finally Proof

For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead; since it has no power at all while the testator lives. - Hebrews 9:16-17

In  this chapter I was struck by these words. Everyone should have the ability to agree with the definition of a testament. Put simply, it is proof that something exists. In  order to put the proof into play someone needs to die. It was not till I read these words did I even understand why the Bible was split up into the Old and New Testaments. Ya, kind of naive, but sometimes when you grow up with something you do not really think about it. 

In order to proove God's goodness to the universe, Christ became the ultimate testator. As an example God commanded that the blood of goats and calves be sprinkled until the ultimate sacrifice could be made for the new testament. Once Jesus came to the earth and gave His life all those sacrifices made with goats and calves, became unnecessary. It should have clicked in the people's minds. 

Christ's death has so much power that I think we underestimate what it can do. For one it tells Satan that he was completely wrong and that he can no longer deceive. It puts out there in the open the motives of God and Satan. Secondly, it provides a way out of sin for the sinner. What Christ's death means is that He can now purify my being. He can stand before God and tell Him that He  has already died in my place and now have the ability to return Home. 

No more can the devil tell me that I am worthless and without hope. No more can he try to convince me that God is not love. The proof is out there on the table for the world and the universe to see. No questions, no wondering, no doubt. Not even the unbeliever will be able to doubt the character of God. When all is said and done there will be a clear definition for what has transpired. The war has been won.

Each individual battle that we face with the devil can be conquered. There can be an end to the lies he tells us. God, like a father wishing to protect His wandering children, invites us continually. He wants the opportunity to take you in His arms, put out a hand to the devil, and say "He/She is mine. You cannot lie to them anymore! You great deceiver!" He wants you to finally rest and let His presence soothe your soul. He is my strength. He is my LIGHT. He allows me to face the battles of life with confidence. 

I am struck by His fine word.

Here is a song that goes perfectly by Rend Collective:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Stiff Necked Christian

Greatness. Importance. We  align ourselves with these terms in order to gain success and fulfillment. What determines this position is sometimes beyond us. We follow a standard that was set generations before in hopes of gaining ground, but then are puzzled when we fail. What are we failing and what exactly are we trying to obtain? 

I like rules. Unlike some I find order and precise direction unquestionable. For some this makes being around me easy. I will do what you say without question. For others this just does not make sense. How could I go on doing things without knowing why? I am pretty insane with my exactness and it is rather annoying for some. Ya, sometimes it is good to stick to your guns but when is it important to back down? When are following the rules just rules and not principles?

The writer of Hebrews had a major task. He had to convince the Jewish Christians that it was OK to set aside the rituals and services in the tabernacle. It was OK to stop giving offerings in the form of livestock. No more did they have to go through ceremonies to cleanse their sin. All of it was now obsolete. How do you remove this from someone's culture? How does one untie their heritage and step into a new way of life? I can sit here and say that these Christians were stiff necked and thick headed for being afraid of their Jewish accusers. I have no right because I too have found it hard to get out of today's rituals. The ceremonies that my forefathers created in order to show their adoration towards God in worship, are engrained in my head. Ways of pointing out sin creep into my mind constantly, making it hard to not judge another believer. I know all of the rules of my church, but do I know the principles behind what my church was founded upon?

We have to focus on the kingdom of God. That means we need to set aside the beliefs we have been told in regards to our earthly "sanctuaries" and "rituals." We have to understand why they were put in play in the first place and then evaluate whether this still aligns with God's heavenly kingdom. For some this is freeing and brings life. For others being freed feels like falling and being out of control. It takes a faith stronger than our earthly sights, to believe in something grander than our eyes can see. 

All of the grand ideas that the writer speaks of should melt our hearts. Christ's sacrifice, His redeeming love, the power of the second covenant, is where we should find security. Christ, once and for all, paid the price. All we have to do is daily remember and commit ourselves to Him. I have to remind myself of this every single day.

It took me a while to get past the set ideas in my mind. Even when I had some idea of what God was calling me to do, I still found myself accusing others. Even when I thought I understood love I was stiff necked and selfish. It took time and patience to unwind my habits and ways. Slowly I became less paranoid of someone else's motives and sin. Slowly I became less consumed in my own sin and gave it to Christ. Painfully slow, I learned what it meant to fill my heart, soul and mind with Christ. I know it is easy to ease the conscience of sin with rituals, but this is not how one rids their being of it. Christ is the way, the truth and the LIGHT. Trust me, it took me a LONG TIME to understand this. I am one of those stiff necked Jewish Christians. 

I hope that in the end these new Chrisitians finally got it. Actually I am certain that some did because where would I be today, right?

-Hebrews 9

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Angry Artist

Being an artist sounds freeing for some. You can create something out of nothing and express what you feel, think, or see using different tools and mediums. As a human, I have found that with every green pasture comes a past filled with digging out stones, weeding, and maintaining. No one sees the pain it takes to make something beautiful. I am not sure if it is a failure on our part. What I actually think is that we believe it to be obvious. The desire to perfect and get past the failure is so strong that we think others see the struggle. Every artist goes through a period where they HATE their work. Like a dead end that you cannot fully turn away from. I have felt this for a long time now. 

I was over analyzing why I was feeling so angry with my work. I read books with advice on how to revitalize the spark, took pictures when it felt pointless, rethought about my approach, and sometimes just wanted to hang the bag and start over. I was jealous of my old novice self who was excited by everything. I was and am negative central about the whole thing. No one else thinks negatively about my work. I am a one man band in the pity department. 

Why am I mentioning this conflict in the midst of solving it? Well, this morning I came across something that hit my soul. Last night Chris laid it out to me that I need to stop being so hard on myself. Everyone enjoys the work that I produce, but I am there just sulking in my perfectionisms. Why should I be here discontent with what I produce when I have made so many people evoke emotion? Why should I feel this way when I have a gift? I am wasting my time running myself into the ground discounting what God has given to me.

With this thought in mind, I was reading about God at creation. At the end of each day He would stop and say how good everything was. A mini celebration for each section of creation. Then at the end of creation week He gave an extra special celebration by creating the Sabbath so that we could enjoy everything and how well it all worked together. It was perfect, beautiful, and all that He expected. He enjoyed all that He had done. There was gladness in His being and all He had done He wanted to share with us. So powerful was His excitement that He consecrated a day just for it. Even here in our sinful state He asks us to keep that day just to remember what He has done. We need to enjoy creation. We are asked to bask in His goodness, a blessing given just because He is good.

God not only gave me the blessing of the Sabbath, He gave me a gift. Created in His image He gave me the ability to create. All I have been doing is sulking at my inability when I should be praising Him for what He has done so far, through me. Even if I am not particularly excited about what I am capturing I still should find happiness in making someone else feel happiness. I enjoy looking at beautiful pictures, so why can't I be satisfied that someone else is being blessed as well? I have been ungrateful, nothing more. God wants me to experience the happiness developed while creating. Every bad feeling that I have had toward what I make has not been of Him. I am humbled and moved. 

I hope that this enlightens another burdened heart, distressed artist, or unsatisfied mover. In this world it is hard to create, but when we finally realize that it is all grander than our own notions, life makes more sense. Celebrate. Live. Give thanks. Enjoy. Love. Laugh.

Friday, January 16, 2015

I Have To Wait?

I have been thinking about purpose for a while now. I guess the older you get the more you do it. Either that or we always do it just in different ways. At this point in my journey I have options. God has blessed me with the opportunity to sit back, reflect, and figure out what He wants me to do with my life. There is no pressure and with that comes the limitless amount of choices. Narrowing down what I am supposed to do for Him has not been particularly easy. Here are some thoughts I have had while waiting for the right answers:

Feelng satisfied with where I am at has greatly impacted my life. For the past few months I have been at home being a "house wife." At first I felt guilty for being home, planning my own hours, and not having to answer to anyone. For the first two weeks I would be in the chair falling asleep at 8 in the evening because I had spent all day moving, not wanting to stop my duties. What Chris ended up explaining to me was that it may seem like I am getting the better part of the deal, but in reality a burden is lifted for him as well. He does not have to worry about paying bills at work or mailing out that package. In the evenings and on the weekends I am not running around like a chicken with her head cut off trying to get everything done. We  can relax together in the evening and on Sundays. After spenting all this time in this scenerio I have learned to "chillax" and spend time for what it is, not what it could be. It does take some sacrifice not working, but the pay off for the present moment is worth it. It is all that we have.

The more that I was satisifed with my present condition, the more I could sense when I was ready for new things. After spending several months learning this new lifestyle I began to see the benefits of my potential. No longer was I living for an expectation, I was deciding what was good for my life. It made me stop, breathe, and reflect on what God wanted me to do next. I felt a nudge for a new direction. I learned the power of living life instead of being ruled by it. I started to feel a sense of purpose while searching for it.

At this point in time I feel the desire to have a part time job somewhere. I feel that it is good to have a little structure developed by outside demands (this can also include raising children), other than caring for my husband. I also found that after I had become settled in our new home, I was starting to fill the empty hours with no brainer activities. I would get everything done and then feel a "what then" experience. So now I am waiting for what God has in store. I am presented with options and am thankful for what God has done so far.

Waiting can be painful, but only to those who are in a rush. For so long I rushed through life. I was constantly wishing for or dreading the next thing. Yes, for some reason dreading made me rush and be anxious. You know, hurry up and get this next awful thing over with so I can breathe, scenerio. Now that my soul feels more still I can focus on developing my life around what God has planned. I find it easier to see His power when I feel weak, feel His presence when I fear, and understand His plans when I am not sure what to do. It makes me stop to think instead of react. When I think, it allows me time to figure out if how I am feeling is accurate. It saves me a LOAD of troubles. We are all happier because of it.

So while waiting, I would suggest taking that TIME to enjoy it. Like I said earlier, it is all we have in existence. We can get so focused on the future, that we forget to notice the moments God is speaking to us right here, right now. Even if it means waiting for those things He is telling us to evolve. Take it from the best worrier. If I can get to this point, so can you. It is like a permanent vacation for your soul. Embrace the wait.

You keep him in perfect PEACE whose mind is STAYED on You, because he trusts in You. - Isaiah 26:3

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fair Weather Friend?

Being in the presence of God is a personal experience. For me I have these expectations of how it will occur. Those times I figure out a new idea in His word or get a strong emotional reaction, I equate with a spiritual experience. But what about those times I just do not feel anything overly powerful or new? Are these not God moments? Communicating with God has not been easy. Making it a habit to express myself to Him continually seems a fail. Even taking the time to listen for His wisdom is infrequent. It can get pretty discouraging trying to develop a relationship with Someone I cannot see. 

What I have found to be extremely helpful is that God is also there knocking on my heart and putting reminders in front me. Not really to remind me to talk to Him, but that He is still there. He  reiterates the fact that we do not necessarily have to talk. Just acknowledging His presence is enough. Those moments that I am happiest also reminds me of His power on my life and where I am at. My feable attempts to know Him,  He triples with His own power. 

When I read about the seemingly impossible task it took for Christ to become human and die in my place makes this connection seem more possible. I might have to continually ask for forgiveness or have Him pick me up when I fail, but Christ only had to die ONCE. With His blood I am fully redeemed once and for all. He did not mess up, fail, have a do over, or forget. He was the ultimate sacrifice for the sins I have committed. When He said "it is finished!" all of heaven saw immediately that YES He was the testator for the human race. I no longer have to believe that death is my destiny. I have an out. 

We get so wrapped up in earthly accomplishments, rituals, and functions that we fail to see what the power of God has done. What we can do is nothing in comparison. If we take the time to meditate on the idea that God conquered the grandest battle/war there ever was, we would know that He can transform our lives. Yes, it takes some effort to spend time with God. Our society does not make it easy. What I am saying is that even though our attempts seem inadequate, God can turn that into something beautiful.

I get overwhelmed thinking about the "end result" or what I think it would look like to be a good friend with Christ. What God has told me, within my scatter brained attempts, is that the end is not the destination. He has reinforced in my mind that spending time with Him even when it is not emotional and full of warm fuzzies can really test my faith in Him. What it will show me is that God is real. He is there even when I just do not get it. He is there when I am struggling. It is a commitment. Have you heard of a fair weather friend? Well, God wants us to be more than that. 

Hebrews 9 (reading this book has really made me see how close God wants to be with us)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Power in Place

I wanted to go on this little adventure, down a deep embankment of wonderful thought. I wanted to rein in my education and discover insights about the mind in hopes that I would find something that would cut to the core of why we follow Christ. I wanted to understand what it took to have the new covenant piercing through the darkness of my sin, taking power of my life. What ended up happening was simple. 

To study the mind while simultaneously using it seems like a hopeless endeavor. Like you are getting too close to becoming like the enemy while getting to know how they tick. Well, the first part about studying the mind is that I needed to discover that my mind does not need to be my enemy. Once understood, I can push it to its full potential. Asking God to take power over my mind and strip it of the parts where it fails, plugging in His design, and pushing me to see what He wants me to see... ignites that potential.

So what did I find in my search? I decided to write down several verses found in the Bible that had to do with this new covenant: committing our mind, soul, and heart to God (basic description). I then highlighted action words (verbs). The similarities that I found were heart warming, soul lifting, and mind blowing. I found powerful, positive, and directional movements of God. If negative action was described it was preceded by a negative (nor, not). Words like trust, prosper, give, stand, rejoice, bring, and guard abounded. 

When I see what God can do for the mind, I feel the security that is described. All of the guidance needed to make our minds well, is spelled out word for word in the Word of God. His counsel sinks deep into my center and creates a burst of energy. It gives me the confidence to move and know that with Him I have the power to overcome sin. 

Today anxiety fills so many hearts. It yanks at life, presses down on the spirit, and stops our breathe for little increments of time. Here in Philippians 4:4-7 it says, Rejoice in the Lord always. And again I will say rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

God is making a promise through these words. If we stay positive and exude a softness of spirit to everyone, the Lord will be shown. He promises that if we bring everything to Him with a thankful heart, His power will protect the deepest part of us and we will feel an ease that we cannot describe. Why fear (have anxiety) when we have this at our disposal? 

In my search, I thought that I was looking for a better understanding of the mind, but what I found was more than that. It was discovering God's promises and character. What I thought was about me, was really about Him. The more that we spend our time looking at what God can do, the more our hearts will be open, our souls filled, and our minds prepared. I hope that you will find what I have found today. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

At His Gate

It took me a while to wrap my mind around the concept. I had fallen away, felt that I needed to take my own way. Nothing crazy really, I just wanted to figure out life on my own. Without Him. But here I was a few years later sitting outside His gate wanting to unlock the door that I still had the key to. I could not raise my hand to reach the handle, I still felt the shame. I had turned my back upon His goodness. I had not spoken directly to Him for months. How could I just come now like nothing had happened?

I do not know whether it was pride or stubborness that kept me distant for so long. Thinking about speaking to God in such an intimate way curdled my blood inside. It hurt to breathe thinking of the possiblities. Maybe it was the devil playing tug of war. My mind was clouded, fatigued and forgetful. I knew that I needed to open that gate in order to gain freedom from my darkness. I was not myself. I did not want to live anymore. 

So this is the part where you would think that I decided to unlock the dreams and walk through the gate of God. No, I made an even smaller step. I did what I knew I could not do on my own. I asked that God would come to the gate, open it, and walk through. I asked that God would come to me and help me get up, go through the gate, and spend time with Him. I could not get up. I was unable to unleash my soul. Looking back I know that that is all it took. It was actually the biggest little step toward communing with God. Even if it meant Him coming to me.

He came to me in simple ways. He showed me trust in the faith of fellow believing women, laid in deep the determination to break old habits in the words of my husband, and guided me through trials that used to overtake me. He slowly gained my trust. It is sad really, that I needed to gain His trust. He is the last one to break a promise. But He did what it took to gain just a simple moment with me. He showed me beauty again, that blessings abounded the whole while I was in gloom. 

The more my heart lined up with His will for my life, the more I felt solid. The motivation started to melt into my veins and quench the thirst of my soul. I was beginning to understand the covenant He was making with me. He was promising that with Him, I can go far. He also promised me that I would not have to face life alone. I had a belonging. I am now inside the gate. Honestly, my mind still has new concepts that it cannot wrap itself around. The moment I gained freedom, was the moment that I would spend eternity trying to understand the mind of God. 

Logic says that I do not deserve this, that I needed to make more of an effort to gain His approval into His gate. I still find myself wanting to feel the familiarity of the gloom, but know that the laziness it possesses will take me down. Despite what logic says, He has written upon my heart redemption. Even though the devil tries to pound into my mind that I will never be enough, he still cannot deny that it is wrapped in the glory of God. My soul desires selfish ambition, yet God holds it back and tells me to try again. Try again and see what your life can do in My will. 

It is all simple really. Belonging to God is more than functions and ceremonies. Letting Him move you, mold you, and letling His spirit flood your veins is what makes your a part of His kingdom. Your efforts are minimal in comparison to what He has planned for your life. What He has done for me, despite myself, has made me acceptional in His eyes. 

Blessed is the man (woman) who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, or stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his (her) DELIGHT is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he (she) MEDITATES day and night, he (she) shall be like a tree PLANTED by rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall PROSPER. - Psalms 1:1-3