Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I Would Have Despaired...

God blessed in that while dad is working down in San Diego and has a hotel paid for by our tax dollars, my mom is able to join him for a couple days. :) These are hard financial times... and what an incredible blessing it is that they are able to spend this time together on a "vacation" without paying for it even! God's blessings are unending! After I dropped mom off to be with dad late this evening, I went for a walk on the beach for a good while... I honestly don't know how long I was there. I love being able to enjoy the beauty of His creation and being able to pray and sing to Him without the distractions of the world. It is so true that the things of earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. I decided to read Psalm 27 to my siblings this evening. To be honest, this last week has been a bit of a struggle with waiting on Him. I really had my hopes up that I would have an interview on Monday and that didn't happen. In fact, I have yet to hear back. I was a bit worried even, but I am thankful for that time tonight where I was able to release that to Him. Psalm 27:13-14 rings so true in my heart.
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.

It is true--without Him, I have no hope. This morning, God blessed me with the opportunity to talk with a neighbor boy that had been kicked out of his house [for good reason]. It really served as a reminder to me of the fact that we really have no hope without Him. As I was praying this evening, I was thinking one by one through the fruits of the Spirit and how they are only because of Him. I tried to think of anything good in my life that didn't fit under one of those categories... just to prove to myself that He is indeed the source of every good and perfect thing. I'd challenge you to do the same.

All true love is from the Lord. All true joy is from the Lord. All true peace is from the Lord. All true patience is from the Lord. All true kindness is from the Lord. All true goodness is from the Lord. All true faithfulness is from the Lord. All true gentleness is from the Lord. All true self-control is from the Lord.

Can you think of anything good that doesn't fit in there? I don't even know why it is called "self-control". In reality, it is the Spirit controlling us when we have "self-control". Oh that God would humble us to see how short we come of His glory... that we would realize that the only good in us is because He is the One doing it! I would have despaired if I had not believed in the goodness of the Lord!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Give Me the Word!

You may or may not be surprised to know that I really don't like reading. For this reason, when I do read, I generally read the Word rather than some other resource. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good authors out there that have spent much time in the Word. Their insights are very helpful! At the same time, these people are not infallible. I have been challenging myself to read some of these resources. Some have been Word-filled and great... others seem to be more of mans wisdom with some scripture attempting to back it up. I have a couple pet peeves... teachers that choose different translations of the Bible to fit their purposes and teachers that try to cram God's Word into the box of their ideas. I was reading one of these resources tonight. While it frustrated me to read some of these things, it also served to push me more towards the Word. It is such a temptation when we have a good idea to try to make God's Word support it rather than reading God's Word and letting it shape our ideas. God, don't let us mar Your truth with our "good ideas". Let us communicate as You have written it. What can we add to Your Word that is not already there? He has given us the divine power for everything pertaining to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him which comes through His Word and the Holy Spirit! (2 Peter 1:2-3) May we not grow tired of His Word to the point that we spend more time listening to the "good ideas" of man than we do of the Creator wisdom and of man.

God has continually brought Ephesians 3:14-21 to mind as I work hard at waiting on His perfecting timing concerning many important aspects of life.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Oh that God would strengthen us with His Spirit so that Christ would be at the center of our attention. Oh that He would open our eyes to see how great His love is for us so that our love for one another would flow from the abundance of love He poured out on us at calvary. God, we need You to pull the blinders off our eyes to see that You are able to do far more than we can even think of! Help us by Your grace to cast our cares on You in full dependence on You, the One who is able to do far more than we can ask or think.

Monday, March 08, 2010

The Foremost of Sinners... Me?

Last week was an incredible blessing. Dad and I got to attend the Shepherds' Conference and listen to a lot of different godly men talk about a lot of different things. God definitely had some work to do in my heart and still has a whole lot more. I am thankful for my lack of a job right now because it is enabling me to spend more time seeking Him and taking the time to be quiet enough to hear His still small voice. I was reading in 1 Timothy 1:12-17 today and God needs to do much work in my heart with these things.
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

I'll be honest, I have battled the concept of being the foremost of sinners for quite a while. I like to think of myself as a "good sinner". I sin, yes, but I am saved, and I truly want to please Him... so I like to make myself feel good about that. The reality is that when I actually look at the depths of my heart, it is impossible to see more sin in anyone else than there is in my own heart. This is why I can say with Paul, that I am the foremost of sinners. I really need God to do this work in my heart, because I am so self-righteous... and yet so sinful. I need to see my sin as deserving of death so that I value the cross how I ought to value it. I need God to reveal my sin and humble me before His throne so that I can approach boldly as a broken vessel, ready to be reformed into likeness of His Son.