An Honest Account of Love, Grief and Walking With God
Finding God's Goodness in Life's Disappointments

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself


Kerrville Daily Times Article
May 2014
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie

     Often times in life, we get so busy we forget the amazing strength and peace that is in us when we have Jesus in our hearts and lives. I have discovered thru hard times, the value of drawing on that strength and peace that is in me because as a little girl, I gave my heart to Jesus. He is the one constant in my life that I can trust with my heart. Walking with God and remembering that all I need is with me has become a well that I  continually tap into more and more. 
     What comes out of you when things get crazy in life? Faith or stress? Life in this world often times interrupts with the unexpected. If we do not have the issue of faith settled, and Christ in our hearts, we are certainly at a disadvantage as we are more likely to be tossed around by circumstances. 
     I have not always handled the unexpected that easily. Seeing God’s faithfulness to me, when crisis arrived on my door step 4 years ago when my late husband got cancer and died has given me an unshakable confidence in God’s ability to handle the little things as well as big things in my life. Walking with God in that crisis has given me experience that has forever shaped me. This is not a journey I would have chosen but nevertheless, the experience has made me rich and given me tools and a confidence I wouldn’t trade.
     II Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you- unless of course you fail the test? And I would trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.” (NIV) From this scripture we can conclude that we need to check ourselves frequently and see what is on the inside. Does faith and trust rule your heart and life or do your circumstances? 
     Several years ago, I worked was working with youth and young adults.  We started and ended each day with a chant. The chant ended with a statement that summarizes the above scripture to me. “Check yourself before you wreck yourself.” When I read II Corinthians 13 I was challenged to check myself and make sure faith in Him was ruling my heart. God’s faithfulness to me as a young widow has brought healing to my heart as I’ve learned to depend on Him and look to him for all I need. Fortunately for me, this scripture helped lift me up above the adverse circumstances that could have stolen the joy. II Corinthians 13:11-14 further challenged me by stating, “...aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you...May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (NIV)
     Perfection in this passage means to aim for maturity not being perfect. Do you need to grow up in some areas? Is God challenging you to handle things in a better and more mature way? What comes out of you when life presses in? Bitterness, anger, frustration, or stress? Stress is always an inside job. I think stress is not so much our circumstances but how we look at the situation. Do you have a godly perspective or not? Maybe the adverse circumstances can help you mature in a way you wouldn’t otherwise learn? Don’t waste the opportunity that is yours. Perhaps like me, you need to examine yourself.
     Living in the peace he provides takes practice. Keep practicing, and when you fail the test, confess it and get back up.
     He absolutely adores and loves you and has provided incredible peace for each of us. It is our choice to tap into that wonderful well of life!
     Christ in me gives me lots of faith, hope and peace. Will you join me in regularly checking yourself? Are you remembering that Christ, the living God, is in you if you ask him? The grace He provides along with the love of God and the Holy Spirit are all we will ever need. Check yourself before you wreck yourself!
     
    Kathleen is a native of the Hill Country and is a writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping people discover their value and worth. Contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or visit her blog on www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com



Thursday, May 15, 2014

You Have a Package to Open


Opening the Gifts God Gives Us
May 2014
Kathleen Maxell-Rambie
Newspaper article

One of greatest thing next to God’s great love for us, is the gifts He continually gives to us each day. God’s gifts come with no strings attached, simply because He loves us and wants us to have the best life possible. He is good.

Often times I have witnessed people trying to earn brownie points with God instead of resting in His love and walking in the righteousness that He provides. Sins and failures,  can keep us trapped in the in the cycle of guilt and shame; they are not from God. The guilt and shame cycle can get people trying to do good things to earn His love and favor.  Another one of life’s traps is  the sin of self righteousness...which sounds like this: “I’ve done this right, I have done that right, therefore, I am righteousness.”There are many Christians that walk around in this religious mindset instead of being honest and transparent. The root of this is pride, and God is not impressed with pride.  All are traps that keep us from the gifts God wants gives us.

Pride is something God put his finer on in my life years ago and continues to show me when I’ve stepped over that line again. What does a proud person look like? Typically, they must prove they are right and have their own way. They have to prove that they are right instead of asking forgiveness and admitting their wrong. They are critical and fault finding instead of being compassionate. Proud people are quick to blame others instead of accepting personal responsibility and looking at where they are wrong in situations. Self righteous proud people have a hard time saying,”I was wrong. Will you forgive me?These are just a few characteristics of pride. 

God tells us plainly in I Peter 5:5 “...and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”(NIV) The more we walk in humility, the more grace we receive.

Scripture tells us in Romans 5:17, “...how much more will those who receive God’ abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” (NIV) Right there we see that righteousness and grace are gifts from God. The are not earned, simply gifts that we have the honor of opening each and every day. God provides the ability and the power (grace) to do what is right in any situation. Grace and righteousness are precious gifts to open.

Other gifts God gives are found in Galatians 5: 22. He gives us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We always win in life when we open and use these gifts He gives and use them. It is a choice each of us has daily. We should never give someone's the power to rob of the gifts God supplies. 

I had a situation recently where I had worked on a project for several months. We were a week before the deadline and I was told it could not be submitted due to the fact there was no time for review. In the moment I received word, I was extremely frustrated. Then I remembered the gifts God had provided for me. I took a deep breath and said alright, but I am going to begin praying God would make a way. Within 24 hours I received word that the project  would go through. I had to smile at God’s goodness. Opening His gifts of peace and kindness reaped great rewards in this situation.

I challenge you to get rid of guilt, shame and self-righteousness. You can expel them from your life by simply confessing your sin to God and asking forgiveness. Never forget God’s wonderful gifts of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, and self-control and open them daily. They are right there, and don’t forget to ask Him to help you to use them. When you do, it will be a great day.

Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie is a native of the Hill Country and passionate about encouraging others in their walk with God. Other articles can be found on www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com. You can contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com