October 24, 2011

Proud of Myself

Posted in Christianity at 8:53 pm by Staci Hart Mauney

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” (Matt. 23:25-26)

As Christians, it is easy to become proud of who we are in Christ. We believe that because we are saved, we are better than those around us. We become puffed up with pride, and we forget that were it not for Christ’s sacrifice, we would not have the opportunity to become close to God. We become self-righteous, self-centered, always pointing our finger at others who do wrong. We focus on the sins of others, never realizing that we are guilty of those sins in our own lives. We tell others that they need to “get right with God” so that he will hear their prayers, not realizing that our self-righteous attitude is something that the Lord detests. We demand justice, not mercy, and God’s love is far from our hearts. When we talk to the lost, they don’t hear us because all they see is a person who demands they change, but who refuses to change herself. Read the rest of this entry »

October 18, 2011

Answered Prayer

Posted in Christianity at 8:17 pm by Staci Hart Mauney

“He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.” (Deut. 10:21)

After a summer of record high temperatures and drought, we are finally experiencing cooler temperatures in Oklahoma. And a couple of weeks ago, we received the blessing we’ve been praying for since last fall – several inches of rain. While we still need more rain to fill the lakes and provide foliage for the wildlife, we rejoice that God opened up the Heavens to send refreshing rain to clear the air of dust and provide enough moisture for the crops to grow. Read the rest of this entry »

October 16, 2011

The Threat

Posted in Christianity at 3:26 pm by Staci Hart Mauney

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

When I took my dog, Lilly, outside for her morning ritual a few weeks ago, we came face-to-face with the pit bull from down the street. Somehow, the dog had gotten out during the night and was roaming the neighborhood. Because it was still dark out, I couldn’t see that there was anything unusual outside until we stepped out of the door. However, Lilly had barked at me a couple of times to warn me, but I thought she just wanted me to hurry up. As soon as we got outside and the pit bull ran up to the porch to greet us, I knew differently. Lilly and the pit bull stood nose to nose, with Lilly barking her ferocious, high pitched bark that makes me cringe, while the pit bull just stared at her curiously. She thought she was just as big, if not bigger, than that pit bull that was at least five times her size and who had a mouth as big as her head. She was determined to protect me, and her territory, from this intruder. Seeing that she wasn’t backing off, I quickly scooped her up and ran into the house, thanking the Lord for his protection. Read the rest of this entry »

October 10, 2011

Our Forgotten God

Posted in Christianity at 8:07 pm by Staci Hart Mauney

“Does a maiden forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number.” (Jer. 2:32)

When I was a child, I knew that on Sunday, my family would attend church. It was just something that we did, and my brother and I knew not to argue with my parents about it. Once we became adults, we could make our own decisions about whether or not we wanted to go to church – and more importantly, whether or not we wanted to accept the Lord. While the Lord doesn’t keep track of how often we attend church, he does tell us to fellowship with other believers: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb. 10:24-25) Since we make up God’s church, we should take advantage of opportunities to gather with other believers, to discuss shared beliefs (as well as any differences in our beliefs), and to allow the Lord to use these times to strengthen our faith: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Prov. 27:17) Read the rest of this entry »

October 7, 2011

Choose Your Words Carefully

Posted in Christianity at 9:01 pm by Staci Hart Mauney

“For, ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.’” (1 Peter 3:10-11)

We use words to inform others and to gather information from others. We also use words to harm those around us. A few carefully placed words cut as sharply as a knife and dig into the heart as deeply as a dagger. Why don’t we watch our words more carefully? We know they can wound. We can lift each other up or tear each other down. Why do we insist on destroying each other without ever lifting a finger? Read the rest of this entry »

October 3, 2011

Starting a Wildfire

Posted in Christianity at 8:12 pm by Staci Hart Mauney

Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down. As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife… (Proverbs 26:20-21)

When rumors begin flying, we are often quick to believe the first person whose side of the story we hear, even though we know that gossip is unreliable and there are two sides to every story. Instead of ignoring the stories we hear, we jump at the chance to pass along a juicy tidbit of gossip. Recently, someone shared a morsel of gossip with me about the behavior of a longtime friend. The information that was shared seemed very out of character for that person. The friend sharing the information insisted it was true because she had heard it from another friend who had heard it from another friend. I asked her, did information that had been passed along the grapevine really mean that it was true? Did anyone go to our friend to ask her if what was said about her was true? Reluctantly, my friend told me that no one had. Instead, gossip and innuendo were spreading like wildfire with nothing to substantiate the claims behind them. Read the rest of this entry »

October 1, 2011

Moving Forward

Posted in Christianity at 7:23 pm by Staci Hart Mauney

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. (Psalm 112:7)

I enjoy trying new things, but often the fear of the unknown holds me back and keeps me rooted in place. Recently, however, I decided to move forward and do something different: I enrolled in a Spanish class. I took Spanish when I was in college, but I have forgotten most of what I learned. During the last few months, several events in my life have converged to convince me that this would be a good time to relearn this skill, including starting a new job (another step to which I’m adjusting). Since I’m meeting new people who sometimes don’t speak English very well, I hope I’ll now be able to carry on a conversation with them with my broken Spanish! Read the rest of this entry »