Sunday, October 24, 2010


My thoughts have been all over the place the last couple days. It seemed like I had thoughts about everything with a resolution to nothing. I'd start to pray and find myself thinking, perhaps even worrying, about one of the many other things I had on my mind. Last night, I decided that it had to stop and spent some time on my knees in prayer... all of which was extremely unfocused. It was a battle, but a battle worth fighting. He must continually be at the center of my thoughts and actions. I set an alarm earlier this morning in order to pray some more, and He graciously helped me in focusing more on Him. Church also helped in the refocusing my eyes on Him. I am so thankful for His help.

I was reading this evening in John 6 and blessed by Peter's response to Jesus asking him if he was going to leave Jesus along with the others that had left Him.
Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.
These words ring so true in my heart right now. Who have I but Christ to depend on? In Christ alone, my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

His Joy

I was just thinking today about the incredible joy that He has given. My boss and I went to deliver test materials to four schools today and had them in the back of his truck and it started raining. We pulled off and attempted to throw the main boxes inside trash bags and others on my lap. If it strikes you as weird, that's okay... because it does to me too, but truly, I couldn't help but enjoy it. It was one of those times that nothing can irritate you because of the overwhelming joy in Christ. At one of the schools (that was just letting out), this little boy shook the tree right when I walked under it... making me about twice as wet as I was. I found it quite hilarious (totally something I'd do). My poor boss was pretty frustrated by the whole thing, but it was neat to see how some of that joy rubbed off on him by the time we got back to the office. I kind of feel like I am learning to be a kid again... but one with a much larger understanding and more of a conscious choice concerning joy... taking joy in the little things... a healthy carelessness about things that don't ultimately matter. I am truly finding that His joy is my strength. This evening as I was thinking over the activities of the day, I was reminded of Psalm 89:14-15.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You. How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O Lord, they walk in the light of Your countenance.
This verse reminded me of Proverbs 29:2...
When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, But when a wicked man rules, people groan.
So here is the question... who is ruling our hearts? Are we groaning? If we are, why are we groaning? Is the Author of all righteousness on the throne? Is His love and truth penetrating our hearts? Are our ears hearing the joyful sound of redemption?

God, cause your love and truth to run before You so that Your children, whom You redeemed with Your precious blood, would walk in Your ways out of sheer joy. It is not because of any lack of provision from You, but because of our hardness of heart that I ask that You would break through with Your unfailing love and truth into these hearts of stone and grant us full joy in You once again. Make us dependent on Your joy for strength. Pour it out in abundance so that we would serve and glorify You.

Monday, October 18, 2010

How Much Does It Cost?

This is one of the blog entries that is not fun to share. It exposes my heart and it's sinfulness... but, I care too much to not share it. I fear for my own heart that somehow I will find pride in "doing what is right" when this is nothing to be proud of.

God, give me Your grace to accurately express these things with the humility that You have implanted in my heart. I cannot even express these things without my sinful heart getting in the way were it not for Your grace.

Over the last several weeks, I have been praying specifically that God would reveal to me any areas of sin in my life and give me the grace and courage to deal with them. I had asked several godly young men to pray this for me as well. God answered those prayers. It all started last night when I was praying and God reminded me of some music that I had recorded illegally several years ago. I didn't know it was illegal at the time and hadn't listened to it in years, but God brought it to mind and so I decided that now was the time to deal with it. I spent 35 or 40 minutes going through all my music and making sure that all of that stuff was gone. God was gracious... and this was easy. I wasn't in any way attached to it. I thought that was it. After praying some more, God reminded me of something I had ignored for a few months. The copy of Microsoft Office that I had was from the company that I worked for previously. This was completely okay while I was working for them and I just never bothered to uninstall it once I stopped working there. It would be one thing if I just didn't realize it, but I admit, the thought crossed my mind a couple times and I quickly threw it out. I "needed" Microsoft office... and they did give it to me... they would even say it was fine for me to keep it if I were to ask (just wouldn't be legal)... no one would know... etc. I had all the justification set in my mind for why I should be able to keep it. But God graciously reminded me that it is no longer mine and so I uninstalled it last night. I wish that I could say that it didn't hurt at all to part with this, but honestly... it was painful. Without needing to pray any more, He reminded me that I had the software that I develop other software with... this is extremely expensive... but this too, I got from the company that I used to work for. I quickly threw out any thought of turning back and uninstalled it. I was reminded of what Jesus told the rich young ruler in Luke 18:22-23.
When Jesus heard this, He said to him, "One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.
As much as I'd like to say that I am not like this rich young ruler, it hurt to part with these things. It truly is only an act of His grace that He empowered me to do these things. It was a test of trust... how much do I value Christ? After spending much more time in prayer and trying to think through everything I have, I couldn't think of anything else that was displeasing to Him. Knowing the sinfulness of my heart, I am sure that He will reveal more things soon, but He has given me a new courage to do whatever He asks regardless of what the cost may be... for my life is not my own! There can be no dollar amount assigned to Christ, He is of infinite worth... what a pitiful thing it is that my heart was clinging to these things. The fact that I had ignored these things and that they didn't even come to mind when I was trying to think of sin in my life speaks to just how desperately wicked my heart is.

I share these things not because they are fun to share, but because Christ is of too much worth for me to hide for the sake of me "looking good". The greatness of my sin points me to an even greater Savior. He is all sufficient and of infinite worth. God forbid that such small things would steal any part of my heart from being completely His. The call is to come and die so that I might live.

God, help me to value Christ so much that the idol factory of my heart turns into ruins. By Your grace, not only strip away any idols that are in my heart, but break down any desires to create them. Thank You for Your unending faithfulness and the forgiveness which comes from Christ alone. I am in no way deserving of it, but I am forever grateful. Take all of this heart of mine and continue shaping it into the image of Your Son for Your glory.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Mind of Christ

One of the songs that I listen to quite often on the way to work and back is called, "The Mind of Christ". It talks about living a life of sacrifice... putting others first regardless of what they do... to give grace... to never quit doing right... to give all without regret... to have the mind of Christ. It is one of my favorite songs to meditate on as I roll into work in the morning because it helps me focus on the things that matter. Honestly, today was not an easy day. It was one of those days where a coworker was trying to frustrate me (and succeeded, though I didn't show it). Usually during such days, I am able to refocus during lunch break, but I ended up not really taking a lunch break... and it was just a struggle to keep my heart fixed on Him. I am thankful for His grace and help in helping me to respond correctly, but I know that my heart wasn't matching my actions. I so much want to have the mind of Christ, so that it is not just my actions that are following Him, but my actions are following my heart... a heart that is fixed completely on Him. I was reading tonight in Romans 12 and found great encouragement in verses 14-21.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay", says the Lord. "But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I don't think I'd call this "persecution"... or that he is my "enemy"... but it still very much applies. I am to have an understanding heart... rejoicing with him in his successes, bearing his burdens in his failures... to make peace, to overcome any bad intentions he has with giving of myself for his benefit. Oh, how little such an act of grace is compared to the grace of Him who died for the sin that I commit against Him every day. I need that constant reminder of the gospel so that my heart would be fixed on Him. These are such little things, but I so much need His help. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak. God, help me to live in the reality of the gospel. I want to love how You love. I want Your heart and your mind. Transform me more into the image of Your Son that others would see You through me. Strengthen me with Your Spirit and the joy that comes with true fellowship with You. Cause Your Word to run free in my heart, stripping me of my selfishness and pride and longing to see You glorified.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Fruit That Doesn't Hide

This last week, I had a bit of a change at work. I was asked to code several parts of one of our newest reports. I have also been given the responsibility to fix the bugs in our software as I find them. For some of you, this may sound like a bad thing, but I actually really enjoy it!

Thus far, my programming has been limited to mostly in-house programming and other tasks anything from running a huge printer and organizing thousands of test booklets into boxes to entering pages of numbers into databases to delivering boxes of tests to schools. I was just thinking today about the work that God has done in my heart over the last several months through these things. I love programming... really everything about it! The Lord saw fit for me to do very little of that in these first few months at work. He gave (through my boss) me many different jobs and responsibilities... many of which I would have said that I do not enjoy at all! Yet, through these things, He has showed me that the joy of the Lord is not based on circumstances. It is not based on my job, the people I work with, the tasks I'm asked to do, how my car is running, if life is going "as planned", etc. The joy of the Lord is based strictly on knowledge of His complete faithfulness and full contentment with what He has given. I am very thankful for His wisdom in not just giving me exactly what I wanted right away, but rather using these circumstances to make my joy a little bit more complete in Him.

True joy in the Lord is not something we can fake. It comes from the heart... and it just flows out in abundance. One of the days at work, I was "stuck" running the printer all day. This job is extremely boring... pressing "print", loading paper, and stacking test booklets. It ended up being one of my favorite days at work... I got to sing to Him almost all day (since no one else was in that office)... got to spend much time in prayer and thinking through things. When was the last time that you had 8 hrs to just think, pray and sing... and got paid to do it!?! The key to this joy is not "just trying harder"... it truly is a work of His grace in my heart to find lasting joy in Him regardless of the circumstances. It starts within the heart and from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks! I see just a glimpse of what Paul was saying in Philippians 4:11.
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
I wish that I could say that for myself, but He is constantly revealing to me areas in which I am not content. I need His continued work in my heart to give me lasting contentment in His grace and faithfulness so that the circumstances in which He places me don't matter when it comes to my joy. His joy will be my strength, for I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

Friday, October 01, 2010

His Temple

I was reading in Psalm 29 the other morning and the phrase at the end of verse 9 caught my attention.
And in His temple everything says, "Glory!"
Immediately, that well-known passage in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 came to mind...
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
... and 1 Corintians 10:31...
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
These passages served as a great challenge to me to really think through everything I do... is it saying, "Glory!"? If it is saying, "Glory!", is He the object of that glory? God, would you help me to live no longer for myself but for You who died and rose again on my behalf so that I would truly be Your temple, that everything within me would say, "Glory!" You are infinitely more deserving of the glory that I can give, but help me by Your grace to use all that is within me to glorify You. I want You to have joy dwelling here, in Your temple.