Good morning, Mini-Women! It is a GORGEOUS spring morning in Tennessee and I have a big ol' grin on my face. But not as big as the one you see here, because that day, I got to meet one of YOU. She and her family were in Nashville one weekend, so I suggested she and her family meet me for coffee. It was a special time for me, and once again it made me wish I knew all of you. And yet, God has made us all sisters and brought us together here, so what am I whining about? (OKay, so maybe I could whine that I wasn't have a good hair day in this pic . . .)
Whining is actually one of the things we're going to talk about today. As I told you on Tuesday, we're turning to the second commandment:
" You shall not make for yourself an idol . . . You shall not bow down to them or worship them."
Well, now, du-uh. I mean really, when was the last time you made another god for yourself and started praying to it the way the Israelites did while Moses was up on the mountain getting instructions from God? I bet I could drop into any of your homes and not find you bowing in front of a statue of some god you made up!
But Jesus reminds us that we CAN bow down and worship idols without even realizing we're doing it, which is why he said:
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth . . . But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. . . . For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)
"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." (Matthew 6:24)
"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:24)
You've been posting your comments about the possessions you treaure and the choices you make and the money you spend and the way you like to worship. And let me just say that there is nothing wrong with valuing your notebooks (like LEXI) or your journals (HANNAH) or your computer so you can write stories on it (I'm right there with you , ORH and TALIA and BECKY and KATELYN and HANNAH and MEREDITH!), and appreciating books, the way TIGERLILY and TALIA S. and BETH do and treasuring the cards people have sent you (like ABBIE) or the stuffed animals your parents have given you (as do KATIE and BROWNIE GIRL and ASHLEY) or, like ALISHA and BOOKWORM, little mementos of the past . SARAH says a cell phone would be great to have (and she's working hard for one), and MELODY and GINNY dig their iPods; both of those make life fun and interesting, and, again, there is no sin in that. God wants us truly happy, and fun is part of happy. Many of you said you prize your Bible (KEITHTISHA, ABBY, CAlLIE, HOLLY, LILY FAN to name a few), and we can definitely find no fault in that!
It's the same with how we make our decisions and spend our money and worship -- all the things you've said are good and unselfish and make me proud to be associated with you. It's just that there's a fine line between liking and enjoying those things, and letting them become more important than God. So -- imagine Jesus saying these things and see if any of them apply to you:
* "Do you beg and whine and drive your parents nuts to get you every new style or fad or trend that comes along? Remember -- I am what makes you aceptable, not your hipness to the latest thing."
* "Do you wear clothes and do things you don't even enjoy just so you can be like your friends? Remember -- I am what makes you lovable, not the crowd you hang with."
* "Do you let people you don't even know tell you from inside a television set who you ought to be? Remember -- I am what makes you special, not the girl in the ad."
* "Do you come to me first when you have a problem? Remember -- I am your comforter and your counselor, and I guide your parents and other wise people to help you, too."
* "Is money way important to you? Do you always want people to buy stuff for you? Treasures are okay, but remember -- I will provide everything you REALLY need."
* "Do you ever try to act like somebody else? Remember -- I can help you lose your false self that is trying to imitate other people and help you find out who you really are."If any of those seem to be things Jesus is saying to you, those are the things you'll want to "store up." You don't have to give away your laptop or your books or your iPod or your stuffed animals. They're gifts to enjoy. But when it comes to what makes you who are and what guides you in making decisions and what determines how you spend your money and even worship, the real treasures are God's -
acceptance of who you were made to be
love for your soul
gift of your specialness
comfort and counsel
care and protection
help in shedding the false you and becoming the real youOne of the reasons we don't ALWAYS worship God before everything else is because -- um -- it's HARD! You can say clothes aren't important, until you feel like a total geek and definitely not like yourselfin what you're wearing. You can swear only God's opinion of you is important -- until everybody's pointing and laughing. That's why it's so important to follow the FIRST commandment we've been talking about: having quiet time with God to talk about those things. You'll be AMAZED how being honest with God about how tough it is will somehow make it easier.
Another reason is because our culture tells us the good things we do and own and are come from our own hard work, rather than from God. Spending time with God helps remind you that your talents and gifts and personality are from God, not from you just being all that. If you dance or play soccer or paint or write stories because you want people to see God, that isn't worshipping the idol of your talent. If you do it because you want people to see YOU . . .
So basically, it's all about whether you're making a God-Choice or a You-Choice. You'll know you're really connecting with the Lord when the God-Choice and the You-Choice are the same thing. How do you do that? You make room in yourself for God so that God takes up most of the space in you -- more than your friends' opinions, more than what's popular, more than your thoughts about money and what it can buy.
In the next four posts we're going to be making some lists (like Lucy does!) that will help you with this. You won't be posting your lists as comments (you'll see why) but I will also give you a question you CAN post your answer to -- because I know how much you love to post, and that's what keeps us together.
Ready for the first list? Make a list of the people you CHOOSE to spend time with (not the people who live in your house or sit around you in your classes and activities) but the ones you have choices about. We're going to talk about your list on Tuesday. (rembmer, don't post it)
If you want to post a comment between now and then, let's have some fun. Tell us the most ridiculous, bizarre, now-it-seems-stupid thing you ever bought or begged for or secretly wanted, only to realize later that it was ridiculous, bizarre and kind of stupid! Mine, at your age? I saw an ad in a magazine that said for $1 you could get 100 dolls. I was a doll FREAK, so I sent in my dollar, and received 100 tiny plastic figures that didn't even have faces! I HAD to have them -- and when I got them I felt like a dweeb! Share yours -- and we'll all giggle and snort.
P.S. Saying you love the blog isn't off topic! We ALL like to hear that!