by Debbie Altman

A pastor at our church shared a challenge that he was practicing.  “As you lay down to sleep every night, ask yourself…Did I love God today?  And did I love my neighbor?”  These are the two greatest commandments and the Bible says that they encompass all the others.    

It made me think about how easy it is to pray to God to ask Him for all the things that I need, (and want…) rather than ask Him how I did today at loving Him, and loving my world.  Or to ask Him if there is anything that He might want from me. Ouch! 

“Search me Oh God and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”   Psalm 139:23-24    

jumbo_shot52315672It takes an attitude of humility to ask God on a regular basis to reveal to us where we might need to change. It might take a lot of courage.  It may even hurt.  But honestly, one of my favorite things about the Lord is that He loves me so much that He doesn’t want to leave me the way I am!  How pitiful that would be!  As painful as it is sometimes, I would so much rather be made aware of areas where I am falling short and given an opportunity to change, than to go through life messing up with no one caring enough to tell me…before I suffer the consequences. That is so much more painful.

This principle is so important to us, that my husband Craig and I have established a habit over the years of  “state of the union” talks.  We affirm one another,  and also share areas where we feel our marriage could be improved.  (Not always in that order! ) And we also had “state of the family” talks to allow our children to share their thoughts about how we could improve as a family.  Be careful what you ask for!  But it is so good and healthy.

At other times, we are fully aware of the areas we need to change, yet we feel that we fail time after time. I definitely have those areas in my life. Help! 

“I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.” Phil 4:13

“Greater is the Spirit in you than the spirit that is in the world.”  1 John 4:4

“He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  Hebrews 11:6

You’re right…you can’t do it!  But His power in you can.  We must surrender…

-willingly admit what needs to change,

-ask for forgiveness, and

 -persistently cry out to the Lord as a little child for His help.  

This is a journey ladies, and none of us have arrived…at least I know I haven’t.  And this is where His amazing grace covers us and washes us. But I hope that I never take this great love for granted, and never stop asking Him to “search me…”

debbieDebbie is the wife of Pastor Craig Altman, and together, they founded Grace Family Church 18 years ago.  She is a former RN and mother of a 27 year old married daughter and 26 year old son.  She is also known as “Nona” to her precious granddaughter. Debbie enjoys family, reading, the beach, and is inappropriately competitive at board games.  

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