Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
"...On my worst days of sin and failure, the gospel encourages me with God's unrelenting grace toward me. On my best days of victory and usefulness, the gospel keeps me relating to God solely on the basis of Jesus' righteousness and not mine."
"Have you ever thought about why you were born into your particular
circumstances? If you are reading this blog entry you are most likely a
Christian whose life has been purchased by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
You are also likely relatively wealthy, at least compared to most people living
in the world. If you have the ability to eat three times per day and have
shelter over your head, you are better off than many people in the world. If you
earn $25,000 per year, you are the richest 10% of the world. You are rich. In
fact if you earn $2,200 per year you are the richest 15% of the world. If you
reading this you are literate and likely had several years of education. If so
you have received more education than hundreds of millions of people around the
...You could have been born as an impoverished child in an unreached nation. Perhaps as a girl born into a Muslim family where you would be forbidden to show anything beyond what can be seen through the eye slits of your veil and could be beaten if you disobeyed even the simplest command of your father. You could have been born in a remote village in Vietnam with little food or education and no opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You could have been born as a girl in Africa who will eventually be sold by your parents into sexual slavery. That could have been you.
But it's not you. Instead you were born into privileged circumstances. Blessed physically, educationally, financially, and spiritually. Why? Only by the grace of God. What is our response then to such blessing and grace?
Certainly God calls us to be thankful. But too few of us are. We take for granted the blessings that we have received from God. Instead of thanksgiving for what we have received, we complain about and lust after the things that we don't have. We covet what our neighbors have. We idolize material things. We are surrounded by clear,
tangible, practical blessings from God that should be so easily recognized and
enjoyed. But our eyes and hearts are too often and too easily diverted toward
what we don't have by the power and persuasion of advertising and social
pressure. Lord, forgive us for our lack of thanksgiving!..."
Friday, November 26, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
...and they do further recommend to all ranks, to testify their gratitude to GOD for his goodness, by a cheerful obedience of his laws, and by promoting, each in his station, and by his influence, the practice of true and undefiled religion, which is the great foundation of public prosperity and national happiness. ..."
Thursday, November 18, 2010
"...I remember what the Farmer said when I first met him and asked why he was so quiet and he quoted Proverbs, that in many words are many sins, and I have spoken too much of late, said too many things, and I question them, wonder, and why not joy instead of a thorn, wallflower instead of brimstone, and I think about this: the making of an ambition of quietness and the way of grace…
I lay on our bed and I liquid murmur that I am not smart enough for any of this, that I fail miserably and everyday and I’m getting so much wrong, and how do you really invest just one life and what about the laundry? And the Farmer he draws me onto his chest and he strokes back my hair, wraps one strand around a finger… and he is quiet. Because sometimes it’s only silence that simply waits that can hear God.
The man is a farmer. He feels wind and he knows rain. He breathes prayers. He pulls me close.
It’s after a long quiet that he whispers it into my caverns,
“Remember? He asks for Praise not Perfection… Grace not Grindstone…”
With a smile and a kiss, that bulk on my shoulders slips, ice to vapor, and I sink into the mattress and sleep comes, tattered relief."
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
But remember, your time with God in the morning is not your meeting with God for the day. It is the beginning of an all day relationship. So often, we pray, ask God for grace, ask forgiveness of sins, make our needs known, and press on into the cruel world that awaits us, with a "So long, God, that was neat, see you again tomorrow" mentality. Your "quiet time" (or whatever you call it) is simply God calling the meeting to order. The meeting never ends. And while it is vital to begin the day with God and realize that "His compassions fail not, they are new every morning," it is just as vital to realize that as you venture out into the world, you will sin countless times against a holy God, either by commission or omission, and the very moment you do, your fellowship is bruised. Don't wait for the next day's meeting to be called to order. Stop whatever you are doing, and ask God to forgive you. No one need know but you. In fact, no one should know but you. But the secret to power in the Christian life is the constant renewal of grace that comes when you confess your sins, and a God who is faithful and just to forgive those sins cleanses you of all unrighteousness. However, when we sin, and it is a whole day until we meet with God again, we tend to ignore it or enjoy it until the moment of reckoning comes. If we're really enjoying it, we may just happen to skip our time alone with God for a day or so until we're ready to confess.
That is quenching the grace of God. God has arranged free, unmerited cleansing for us at a moment's notice, and we deliberately choose to postpone appropriating that grace, either by specific choice or by willful apostasy. In either case, God is offended and we lose power. Begin practicing the process of immediate confession. If you offend someone, stop what you're doing and deal with it. If you offend God, stop what you're doing and deal with it. Grace greater than all your sin is yours for the taking; but unless you receive it, it's all for naught." (R. Kelfer)
"...The greatest things are always hedged about by the hardest things, and we, too, shall find mountains and forests and chariots of iron. Hardship is the price of coronation. Triumphal arches are not woven out of rose blossoms and silken cords, but of hard blows and bloody scars. The very hardships that you are enduring in your life today are given you by the Master for the explicit purpose of enabling you to win your crown."
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Right about that time, Mr. husband called me and reminded me he would be gone tonight to a church meeting, and oh yeah..could I cut his hair before he left? What? Didn't he know I was empty? Didn't he know I was stuck in a moment of self? Didn't he realize the world was revolving around me at that very moment? I don't think he did, but I have a feeling my FATHER did. And, as I seethed in selfishness and sin and fatigue, the world seemed to crash in around me. I cried, I pouted, I might have even stomped my feet in a tantrum. (MIGHT have)
The children went for quiet reading time, I finally opened my Bible. ahh. Could that be it? Was I not walking in the spirit because I had not taken time to fill my empty cup yet? ahh. Breathe. Pray. Repent. Lord, fill me. I am empty.
Well, the night got better and worse and then better again. Hubby came home, said he'd stopped to get me flowers but they were all wilted. Sigh. He thought of me, even in my ugliness. He rubbed my shoulders. Sigh. He loves me in spite of me. (makes me cry even now) He never asked me to cut his hair. I didn't offer...still stuck in selfishness. He didn't hold it over me. He loves me unconditionally. Humility.
I finished dinner, got grumpy at child at dinner. Sulked up to my room. Tried to read. Spirit wouldn't let me. Repented again to my FATHER. Grace washed over me. I then was able to extend grace to same child. She cried, we held each other. Our hearts opened up to one another. Ugliness gone. (for today) Hubby left for church. Haircut tomorrow. :)
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Thank you for having given your self in intimate,
You have been the Host to all creation.
Without a dwelling, You have contained the
whole word and habited Yourself in the winds,
the corners, and the depths, inviting us to be
at home with You. Beneath the shadow of Your
wing You bid us hide, and in the depths of Your
Being You shelter and refuge us.
Without meat You have nourished us.
Without beverage You have refreshed us.
By Your very Word came sustenance.
On bread and water without price have we been fed.
You have been manna in the wilderness of our lives.
Without a table You have banqueted us, inviting us, yea, to be married unto you.
Over our heads flies the banner of Your love.
We are entertained with the mysteries of faith,
the songs of the Spirit, holy laughter.
You have garmented us in festal righteousness.
As we wandered in wastelands,
You sought us before we called.
You extended eager welcome
though we had scarcely knocked.
You embraced us when we were filthy
and oppressed and undeserving.
You are the Samaritan who passes not by,
Who finds lodging for us in the warm inns by the way.
You bake fish over coals, waiting for us,
though we have forgotten to wait for You.
With broken hands You break the loaf of blessing.
Those same wounds caress our leprous spirits.
You do not fear to openly accept the intimate worship
of our harlot hearts.
You are the Host of all mankind.
Lifted up, suffering, without breath, You yet
extend greeting to all the masses,
'Come unto me....
You give us the mystery of Your presence
in this supper of the ages, this remembrance of
Your ultimate hospitality
Make my hospitality as unto Yours,
Be forever my archetype of endeavor,
My firstfruit of harvested goodness;
Love for the battered, misused child,
Grace to bind running ulcers of flesh and soul,
Eagerness for the wealthy without servility,
And for the poor without superiority.
Through eternity You have been and will be
poor, faltering, unfeeling me,
to be like you,
with breath-beat and soul-heart
to be given to hospitality."
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
A good thermometer as to whether pride was rising in me was to ask two good questions: Am I nervous? Am I fussing? These were pretty good indicators of the true nature of my intentions. If I was nervous, getting jumpy before that sit-down dinner for eight, I could assume something had gone awry within. Was I afraid the new recipe would flop, or that someone might wander into an unclean room-and people would think less of me? For me, nervousness stemmed from nothing more than pride.
What did it matter if the centerpiece was less than spectacular, if the rolls were slightly more brown on the bottom, if the door to the little boys' room was closed because to enter was to take one's life in one's hands?
If I found myself fussing too much about spots on the glasses, getting upset because I had to clean the bathroom sink again, going wild because someone had walked on the freshly vacuumed shag-what did it mean? Who was coming that I was trying to impress with all these efforts? Didn't my over-concern indicate that I was depending on my human efforts to make the evening a success? Hadn't I forgotten that undefinable spiritual quality which found its source in the Holy Spirit? Again the answer was pride, pride rearing it's subtle and manipulative head, forcing me to think self..." (Karen Burton Mains, "Open Heart, Open Home:How to find joy through sharing your home with others")
Sunday, November 07, 2010
"I don’t open my eyes…. To my dust and my smudges and my grime and my love-smeared mess. Why can’t I remember…the state of my space doesn’t reflect the state of my soul...I don’t have to have smudgeless windows and empty laundry baskets and gleamy toilet bowls! I don’t have to have a perfect life, all problems solved! ......I simply need have a grateful heart to give Him glory.." (A.V) (whole blog post here)
* When I am anxious about some risky new venture or meeting, I battle unbelief with the promise: “Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God; I will help you, I will strengthen you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
* When I am anxious about my ministry being useless and empty, I fight unbelief with the promise, “So shall my word that goes forth from my mouth; it will not come back to me empty but accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
* When I am anxious about being too weak to do my work, I battle unbelief with the promise of Christ, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9), and “As your days so shall your strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25).
* When I am anxious about decisions I have to make about the future, I battle unbelief with the promise, “I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8).
* When I am anxious about facing opponents, I battle unbelief with the promise, “If God is for us who can be against us!” (Romans 8:31).
* When I am anxious about being sick, I battle unbelief with the promise that “tribulation works patience, and patience approvedness, and approvedness hope, and hope does not make us ashamed” (Romans 5:3–5).
* When I am anxious about getting old, I battle unbelief with the promise, “Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” (Isaiah 46:4).
* When I am anxious about dying, I battle unbelief with the promise that “none of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself; if we live we live to the Lord and if we die we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose again: that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living” (Romans 14:9–11).
* When I am anxious that I may make shipwreck of faith and fall away from God, I battle unbelief with the promise, “He who began a good work in you will complete it unto the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:6). “He who calls you is faithful. He will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). “He is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
I just saw a link from Money Saving Mom for this 30 day Giving challenge for the month of November. I thought it was a great idea to focus on others and realize how much God has blessed us with that we can give..even if it's just a batch of cookies or a note of thanks.
I find that, staying at home, I am alone alot more than I'd like to be (being such an extrovert) and that can often lead my thoughts to be focused on...ME! Now, I know some of you love me and have nice thoughts of me, but these thoughts I have often start with either how I'm failing in one area or another or they are just thoughts that are not gospel-centered. I often have to stop, remind myself of the gospel, pray, and move on. I also often pray that God would give me someone else to think about so that I get my mind off myself. This challenge fits so well with that prayer! So, I have printed off the calendar to fill in and praying that God would help us to be a family that gives out of a greatful heart of all that He has given us. Would you join me in this challenge?