Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The X Factor

I've been in a thinking and writing mood - so that is what brings about so many blogs.
The X Factor (not talking about high school math) - the Unknown Factor...why does it scare me so...why are so many people afraid of it...
I wanna talk about why so many are afraid of the unknown - fearing a life that can be any different than the one they are living now. What if God really worked in the way they wanted Him to? What if God worked in the way that I really wanted Him to?
Trust. Faith. No Fear. Reliance. Faithful. Sovereign.
So, on the ipod right now I've got songs that have to do with trust, faithful, etc. Some of them are the same songs (Tis So Sweet) and then some just have the same themes.
Smalltown Poets, Jeremy Camp, Casting Crowns, etc...
I want to trust in a God so big that He is able to fulfill all my desires just as I would want them. That means that my will must be lost in His - I must be dead.
Let me give up myself, my heart, my desires and trust in a God that has the BIGGER PICTURE in His sight - His Glory.
But, tonight I don't want to use God's glory or His Sovereignty as a cop-out. Please don't hear that. I want to be able to pour out my willing heart to a God who loves me infinitely more than I could ever love Him back.
How God is going to work in our lives though is still an unknown factor. Think of Abraham leaving his land. Think of Moses passing through the Red Sea on dry ground (not even soggy). Think of Paul going to Rome. Think of John the isle of Patmos. Think of Isaiah going to a people who weren't even really going to hear what he had to say. Think of David facing Goliath - not knowing for sure if that rock was going to hit him with enough force.
I just read this on CJ's blog from an Ed Welch book: (Running Scared)
With this in mind, his words should sound attractive, and we should be more and more inclined to listen. We should still like to abolish anxieties quickly, but we are learning that God values strong foundations and gradual growth, and such foundations are established as we feed on him and his words. As we meditate on Scripture and make it our own, we should anticipate slow but steady change. Worriers should be experts in a handful of passages. (p. 147)
How I've proved him over and over - lyrics from Tis So Sweet - Precious Jesus - give me grace to trust you more.
Ps 37.5, 7a: Commit your way to the Lord;trust in him, and he will act. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. He will act - that is a promise!
Ps 40.4a: Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust!
Ps 56.3-4: When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?
Ps 62.8: Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah
*****Ps 143.7-8: Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Is 12.2-6: Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song,and he has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord,call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. “Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth. Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel!"
*****Dt 7.9: Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.
Is 25.1: O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.

Its not that my trust is so great - because I cry out - Jesus, help my unbelief and my uncertainty - but that my trust is in a GREAT SAVIOR - one who is eternally faithful and true to Himself - and He can NOT change!

What Do You Watch?

TV used to be such a big part of my life. I remember growing up watching the Cosby Show, Full House, Mets bball games, sports galore, Law and Order from before the time Jerry Orbach was in syndicate, etc. The list really could go on. College it was Felicity and other random shows I would catch as I walked through the rotunda of Flagler College. I got more into sports and would watch anything really - except maybe the Kentucky Derby and bowling (even though I like to bowl). Then along came the Food Network and other cable networks like that. And I could watch all my fave shows in syndicate - I think I've really seen every L&O, Cosby, Full House, Little House, Knight Rider (the original Kit), Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Kate and Alley, that there was ever made - because TV was such a big part of my life.

Now, thanks to not making a ton of money and wanting to send letters to people rather than have cable, I don't watch much of it. The only channels I really miss are ESPN and the regular ones I can't get (Fox and CBS) with my metal bunny ears. I still spend a lot of time on the computer or watching movies - but not near as much as I did with cable.

All that to say - this blog is not about television shows. This blog is about watching something infinitely more valuable. I went on the girltalk blog this morning in looking for their thoughts on prayer and came across this one that I thought was so valuable to me this morning. It is from about 2 years ago. This is the verse that they reference and here is another one I like.

Ps 5.3

O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.

Jer 29.11-14

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

What are you watching - expecting the Lord to do in His graciousness to you? Are you watching? Do you sometimes just pray thinking nothing will come of it - it is mere duty?

I said this morning to a friend "these days (meaning yesterday through the weekend) will be some of God moving big time in answer to prayer". So far, He hasn't answered exactly like I thought in one situation - but I want my complete joy to be in HIS Highest glory. That should be our goal. Watch - pray expectantly, earnestly! Communicate that with Him - and see what He does for His glory!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

God is so much bigger

Today has been a whirlwind of a day and I still am not going to bed - hopefully shortly though.
The Word/Spirit has convicted of pride today.
A new baby has entered the world and very early - so much prayer and a baby-sized God strong miracle is needed.
I loved the songs we sang at Pendergraph tonight - thanks Rach! Some of the lines were just what I needed.
I prayed/read earlier tonight - I usually don't pray aloud (even when I'm by myself) but tonight I did, and within an hour the prayer was answered - and will await further answers.
These songs:
Jesus, My Only Hope (Sov Grace music): I only bring thanksgiving! I trust your gracious promise! My righteousness - my Great High Priest! Jesus, I trust in you alone! Joy in your glory Lord!
Before the Throne of God Above (I love the Shanes version best): a strong and perfect plea - Jesus ever pleads for me. My name is written on his heart. No tongue can bid me thence depart (Oh, to saturate ourselves in the word and prayer). Because the sinless Savior died - my sinful soul is counted free. God is satisfied. Alleluia!!!!!!!! Shout it! The great Unchangeable I AM! The King of Glory! My soul is purchased by His blood! My life is hidden with Christ on high.
Take My Life (I like the Tomlin version best): Consecrated Lord to Thee. Let me sing always only for my King. Filled with messages from Thee. Here am I! All of me. Take my will and make it thine - it shall be no longer mine. Take my heart - it is thine own - thy royal throne.

ALL to the praise and HIS HIGHEST GLORY! That is where I find peace tonight - that He is so much bigger

Low Self-Esteem vs Pride

So, I've been reading and thinking through the book When People Are Big and God is Small by Ed Welch. Such a good and convicting book.
Today is one of those days - not a self-esteem issue as it related to most girls, but for me, much of my self-esteem issues is in the world of education/ministry/what I do.
So, I looked through John 1 today and the verse at the top of my computer screen convicted me of the sin of "low self-esteem" or the height of pride in one's life.
I think of other passages such as Phil 2 - where Jesus lowered himself and became man and suffered on the cross - and He was Jesus.
But, then...John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”
So, I sit and wonder - who am I? Just because people don't talk to me or ask me what I think or want my opinion on matters of theological/ministerial import - who am I? Does the world revolve around me? No, it doesn't.
Self-esteem is mostly I don't feel good about myself in some way shape or form. People don't talk to me enough, people don't pay enough attention to me. This is the same thing as Pride. Why do I want people to pay attention to me - so they can hear how much I know, and what I think? Who cares what I think?
As I heard in chapel this morning: His highest glory is the aim of my life. No matter what arena... This has got to be the case - my chief end (not in the confessional mindset - just a statement).

Monday, February 25, 2008

Desiring God - Prayer

As I continued to prepare for an upcoming DNOW in St. Augustine, I picked up Desiring God again and read the chapter on "prayer" - since prayer is a key component in our communication with God (communication is the DNOW theme).
Of course there was much that was already highlighted and even more that I underlined. Then I turned the page. Piper, as only he can do sometimes, put patience and prayer in a whole new light for me. One that was totally convicting - as I again am in a place of waiting for God to answer some questions...
"To wait! That means to pause and soberly consider our own inadequacy and the Lord's all sufficiency, and to seek counsel and help from the Lord, and to hope in Him. Israel was rebuked that they did not wait for his counsel. Why? Because in not seeking and waiting for God's help, they robbed God of an occasion to glorify Himself. The Lord says to Israel 'In returning and rest you shall be saved, in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.' But Israel refused to wait for the Lord and said "No! We will speed our horses" - Is 30.15, 16.
Then in verse 18 the folly and evil of this self-initiated frenzy is revealed -
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.
The folly of not waiting for God is that we forfeit the blessing of having God work for us. The evil of not waiting for God is that we oppose God's will to exalt himself in mercy. God aims to exalt himself by working for those who wait for Him. But, is there anything we can give him that won't belittle him to the status of beneficiary? Yes - our anxieties - it is a command. God will gladly receive anything from us that shows our dependence and his all-sufficiency."
How many times have I robbed God, not waited for him, sped my own horses - whatever they might be? Oh, Lord, again, grow in me patience in my prayer life. Knowing that you answer exactly how you have intended and chosen to answer - make my will satisfied with your will.
Then, I kept reading and picked up Catherine Marshall's Adventures in Prayer (an older book I have had for a while and never read):
"Waiting certainly plays an enormous role in the unfolding story of God's relationship to man. It is God's oft-repeated way of teaching us that His power is real and that He can answer our prayers without interference and manipulation from us!" Kim - butt out! :)
Then, kept reading...and kept underlining. This is an amazing book. So convicting - right where I am.
"Always His timing - we force and try to hurry the divine schedule at our peril. God does have his fullness of time for the answer to each prayer. It follow then that He alone knows the magnitude of the changes that have to be wrought un us before we can receive our hearts' desires. He alone knows the changes and interplay of external events that must take place before our prayers can be answered. Thus, the Lord seems sonstantly to use waiting as a tool for bringin us the very best of his gifts."
So, in other words - Kim - keep waiting, don't get impatient. He knows what is best for me!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Thoughts from church

Being prepared to enter in with a community of believers on Sunday morning for worship sure does help.
I took the advice listed on the www to meditate on the passage that was going to be preached. I did - and it helped in going on Sunday morning through glass doors into a fellowship.
I am thankful for women who will make you feel welcome when you've only been a couple of times.
I am thankful for a service that is centered on the Word of God - and nothing else - everything is positioned around the never changing word.
This morning: (these were some of my thoughts)
1. Ps 110 and Is 52, 53 - focusing in on the cross. I have concentrating on Easter songs this week as I made a playlist of Easter songs. It is only a month away. Even though we should preach to ourselves the gospel every day - it is especially helpful to wrap our minds around the very events of Easter - and not just get wrapped up in chocolate Easter eggs, sweettart jelly beans, Peeps, colored grass, and vinegar dyes.
2. We sang "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty". My fave version of this song is from Christy Nockels on Ancient Hymns from Passion. Such a good rendition - and I was even listening to the CD on the way to church this morning. "All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near; join me in glad adoration." "Hast thou not seen how thy desires e'er have been granted in what He ordaineth." - That line always makes me think - and be grateful for what I have been given - but also lay all my hopes and desires at His feet knowing His ways are best.
3. They have a time of Prayer of Confession. This lends itself much to placing yourself under the authority of Scripture - even the ones we had already concentrated on. Even this morning, guarding my thoughts and my mind and taking them both captive to Christ. To the Word - I had to again beg forgiveness in that area.
4. "I will Glory in My Redeemer" - such a great modern worship song written by Steve and Vikki Cook. I heard Vikki Cook lead worship at Metro Life (Sov Grace) in Orlando. Such a powerful time of worship. This is a great, rich hymn. "I have no longings for another, I'm satisfied in Him alone." Again, a place I'm not, but a place I long to be.
5. Sermon: Acts 2.14-36. Question of application for me: Do I keep rejecting Christ as Lord because I continue in sin, maybe confessing but not repenting, still struggling?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Desiring God - Scripture

I picked this book up again today. It took me a while to read it the first time (back in college when Bobby suggested I read it). Now I pick it up and read a chapter here and there. There are three I want to read right now - this is the first: Scripture, Worship, & Marriage. I love going back and re-reading books that I read so long ago. This is why I highlight and underline in my books - I can see how far I've come in my thinking and what the Spirit has worked in my mind since I read it the last time. Of course - I think this is Piper's main work - most of his other books summed up in this one. If there was only one (not counting his biography series) to read - this would be it.
Someone said of me one time that I "loved the Bible". After reading this chapter I see how far I have to go. Spirit - work in me an affinity for the Word - the Words of Life and love and power to cancel every sin in my life. Only the Spirit.
I wanna be Ezra and Jeremiah - not in their prophet status - but in their devotion and determinedness to soak in the Word. I want to be like Phyllis who is the person in my life who has known and claimed so much Scripture - to let Scripture shape my life (not the other way around).
"Moses says in Dt 32.46-47: lay to heart all the words which I enjoin upon you this day, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no trifle for you, but it is your lift. The Word of God is not a trifle; it is a matter of life and death. If you treat the Scripture as a trifle, you forfeit life." I pray one day, if the Lord grant me the blessing of being a mother, that I might impart words of LIFE everyday to them - by singing it to them while they are still unborn, by reading it to them during their nap time, by reading it to them before bed time (like Brad and Lindsay do for Shep and Annie), by having it around the house like Phyllis and Kathy do.
"And there is no true joy without faith. 'May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.' (Rom 15.13) 'I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your advancement and joy of faith (Phil 1.25).' How else can we sustain our joy in dark hours except by the promises of God's Word that he will work it all together for our good." My joy and peace doesn't lie in my circumstances. I can't believe in things in that are going on in my life - that is not where my faith lies. My faith can only be placed in One Unchangeable! And no matter how God answers my prayers or where He directs me - I know Rom 8.28 is the truth.
"The more of God's Word you know and love, the more of God's Spirit you will experience."
"How crucial is the Word that breaks the power of counterfeit pleasures
." This is what I pray for my girls - that they would find so much joy in the Word that they might see how unsatisfying the world is. As the quote on the bottom of my email is "until sin is bitter, Christ will not be sweet."
Knowing God's will has been a topic of conversation for me recently - here is what Piper has to say about it in this chapter:
"Of course, the Bible does not answer every question about life. Not every fork in the road has a biblical arrow. We have need of wisdom in ourselves to know the path of lasting joy. But that too, is a gift of Scripture...The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. People whose minds are saturated with God's Word and submissive to his thoughts have a wisdom that in eternity will prove superior to all the secular wisdom in the world."
Even though Phyllis taught me the importance of the Word - it wouldn't do me much good if I didn't take it in and read it for myself. "But what many Christians fail to realize is that we can't draw the sword from someone else's scabbard." The Word must dwell in us. We can't live by the preaching of the Word on Sundays alone - we have to study it for ourselves.
May the reading of this prick your heart if this is a discipline that you need to ask the Spirit to work in you!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Meditating on Scripture

I don't really know how to describe my recent times in the Word. Sometimes I think I'm doing well by how much I read or how much I journal. Lately I haven't done much of either one - but I think my times in the Word have been real rich. I seem to (only by the grace of the Holy Spirit) be meditating on, claiming, and memorizing more of Scripture.
Here is what I mean. I just randomly started reading 1 Corinthians the other day at the dining room table (I love having a dining room table, partly for that reason). The last two verses really caught my eye - and I've been re-reading and meditating on them ever since. Just really soaking them in. Here they are: (1.30-31)
And because of him (God) you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.
So: Christ Jesus is my wisdom (I have known of it on my own), my righteousness (I have no good thing or good works on my own, my sanctification (He continually makes me more into His image, one that is pleasing to His Father), and He is my salvation (Praise God!). Then - Paul has to kind of rub it in my face - really clarify what He is saying (I love Paul!) - Hey you - Jesus is all that for you - it is nothing you can do - so don't even start your boasting in yourself.
What does it look like for Christ Jesus (Messiah, human, perfect, Lord) to be my wisdom, perfectness, holiness maker, and Redeemer? I am not any of these in myself - none of it. I am worthless without Christ.
Then, I heard these verses read aloud tonight at a women's event I attended. I love hearing the Word read. To be honest - I want to hear it read with some excitement. The hearing of the word, the preaching of the Word, the proclaiming of the Word, should not be boring. I get that from my Young Life days - it is a sin to bore a kid with the gospel - how true. The gospel is our LIFE! Anyway, I digress:
Ps 145.15-19:
The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.
Here is what these verses are saying: (and the you is God) - You give food, You open your hand, you satisfy, you are righteous, you are kind, you are near, you answer, you fulfill desires, you hear, you save. God does all these things for us - His children. He loves us! He loves me. He wants me to be intimate with Him. He wants me to cry out to Him. He wants me. He loves me. Have I said that enough? I'm saying it because I am need of hearing it. God is so good. God loves me. God loves me. God loves me. God loves me. God fulfills my desires - God cares for me - God is my perfection when I fail and mess up and fail again. When you think you don't believe - tell Satan to get away from you and repeat things to yourself: God loves me, God loves me. God loves me! This should make us excited! This should make us want to love Him in return and to love other people and to obey His Word and to tell others and to sing and cry out to Him even more.
I say what I type in my head -its really funny. Some of my girls say, I can hear you saying that. I can hear myself saying this and I love hearing those words but it is so hard to hear sometimes. It is so hard to believe. How arrogant of me that I think I'm too good for the love of God - or too bad for the love of God. God's arm is not too short that it can't save. JD always reminded me of that passage.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Nascar Strategy

If anyone ever tries to blackmail me with this blog post - I'll deny everything.
I actually enjoyed listening to my first (almost entire) 500 today. I know, I know - I can hear the gasps now! Lisa - you were right! Anyway, I tuned in via radio (MRN) at lap 57, I think I missed 5 laps total between filling up with gas and grabbing a drink in Berea, but it really got exciting around lap 100 then about 188 or so.
But, I do have questions:
1. Track temperature - what does that have to do with anything?
2. If you band with another guy to push out another guy (I know there is a name for that but my mind is drawing a blank right now) - how do you know he won't turn your back on you?
3. What is the strategy in racing single file vs 3 side by side? How is the inside lane different then the outside lane? Is it like "keep right except for passing" on I-64. Speaking of 64 (which I was on tonight listening to the race, there is a Peytona, KY - were they trying to be cool like FL and mimick Daytona?
4. How do you choose who you are going to cheer for? I mean, Jeff Burton - family goes to the Summit, do I pull for him? He was good to go until the yellow flag went away and then the lead slipped by him going into lap 197. Do you pull for the car? I like Dodge Chargers - I think they are really cool,. I have no clue who to pull for - Lisa - we cheer for the Gators and the Bucs - who do you go for in racing?
At least I now know there is strategy and excitement in this sport - and it is a sport - just different then team sports. But, is a team sport because none of the drivers would be anything without their pit crew. I now know there is more than just going around and around in circles. And, Talladega has camping - Lisa - when we going - we can camp for free and then watch the race...that'd be fun (and you said it would be more fun to watch it live). That may have to be a trip this racing season!
Anyway, if anyone has answers to any of these questions - and more, just to give me insight into Nascar strategy - please feel free to share! I would be grateful.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A dissatisfied Messiah

I got this quote from Carolyn McCulley's blog today and she was quoting Paul Tripp - who is a Biblical Counselor (for a lack of better terms). At first, I had to read the name (used in title of blog) again and again, and I'm not quite sure I totally agree with the word usage, but today I have thought much about these two paragraphs:
This side of eternity you and I are called to wait. We're called to recognize that the most important, most essential, most beautiful, and most lasting things in our life are things over which we have no control. No, these things are the gracious gifts of a loving Father. He never is foolish in the way he dispenses his gifts. He never plays favorites. He never mocks our neediness. He never plays bait and switch. He never teases or toys with us. His timing is always right and the gifts that he gives are always appropriate to the moment. He is kind, faithful, loving, merciful, and good.
The One on whom we wait is a dissatisfied Messiah. He will not relent, he will not quit, he will not rest until ever promise he has made been fully delivered. He will not turn from his work until every one of his children has been totally transformed. He will continue to fight until the last enemy is under his feet. He will reign until his kingdom has fully come. As long as sin exists, he will shower us with forgiving, empowering, and delivering grace. He will defend us against attack and attack the enemy on our behalf. He will be faithful to convict, rebuke, encourage, and comfort. He will continue to open the warehouse of his wisdom and unfold for us the glorious mysteries of his truth. He will stand with us through the darkness and the light. He will guide us on a path we could never have discovered or would never have been wise enough to choose.

We sang in chapel this morning Praise Him Praise Him! Jesus our Blessed Redeemer, yet many people in the world today (vday) have waited and pined for lovers (whether married or single). As our culture can verify - most marriages aren't satisfying to those in them. Single people call this Single Awareness Day. I have used today not to pout - but to love on some of my girls (be looking in your mailboxes) and friends. It has been a blessing to me!

God awaits the day - Jesus stands expectantly - for His glory to reign supreme throughout all the earth. As a friend said this week: here (earth) is such a short time in comparison of eternity. As was sung in chapel this morning - When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we've no less days to sing God's praise, then when we've first begun. And I guarantee and am quite excited about the fact that worship will not be boring in heaven. I long for the day when all my needs, wants, desires, will be fulfilled by seeing His face! Come, Lord Jesus. Until then...make me a servant, make me desire closeness to you, make me holy - no matter what that might take. Love me Lord Jesus - make me steadily aware of your love.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Repentance, Change, and Obedience

Three little words that I went to bed with and woke up with. I need to add a fourth - but am getting ahead of myself. Our half snow day is allowing me to write this blog from the comfortable oversized chair in my living room. Now, I would like to get stuff done, but again, I'm getting away from the topic of this blog:
Repentance, Change, and Obedience - those are my three words today

Repentance: My favorite verse on repentance: Acts 3.19-20
Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus.

Change/Obedience: Once the heart change has come - then comes the changing of the habits that have held you enslaved for so long. And make no mistake about it - sin is enslaving - not freeing. Most people think that living by rules or "commandments" is like a ball and chain - what they don't know is the freedom that comes from being obedient. A verse in Paul's writing that says this quite clearly: Rom 6.16-18
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

So, I know my sins that have held me bondage. I know what needs to be done about really two particular sins. What are your sins - where is God convicting? What do you need to repent of and change and obey the living God who frees you?

The last word - the fourth word - is grace. We can't do any of this on our own. I am thankful for grace, but as a puritan pastor said long ago: until sin is bitter, Christ will not be sweet.

Friday, February 08, 2008


I've been reading many books lately on the Proverbs 31 woman, because that is most decidedly what I strive for - and it is a daily striving. My latest re-read is The Gentle Ways of a Beautiful Woman (Anne Ortlund).
In her short chapter on looks (outward appearance) she goes to say that out of 22 verses in P31 - only one of them is about her looks. But, when you total the whole thing - she looks great! :) So, the inner qualities enhance the outer qualities - but the outer qualities definitely have their place of importance!
This is how she signs off the chapter:
The heart of her husband trusts her: Trust is something that is very important to me. It is something that I find hard to give, but once gotten, hard to lose. Odd, I know. But, in a day where there is so much room in marriages for mistrust - I want a marriage or any relationship that is built on trust. I don't want my friends/husband to worry about what I say about them, how I treat them, what I think about them, what I do, who I'm with, etc.
Strength and dignity are her clothing: What does it mean to be a Strong Woman, to be dignified? I'm not talking about "I am woman, hear me roar" - I'm talking about a strong woman. This would definitely not be strength in and of herself but in her Lord.
She smiles at the future: This speaks of a godly woman's theology. She doesn't mind what the future will hold because she knows that God's got it all in control anyway - so there is nothing to worry about (like Sarah in the OT).
She opens her mouth in wisdom: As I've gotten older and continued to pour my life into younger women, this is what I want them to hear. I want them to hear words of truth and grace and wisdom come out of my mouth. Not only in words - but also that they can see wisdom in my life.
The teaching of kindness is on her tongue: Wow - that one is tough - it has to do with mercy - Lord, continue to grow me in your mercy.
She looks well to the ways of her husband: I do not know how working women do it? I do love my job - but I pray one day that if I am given the grace of marriage - that I won't have to work a full-time demanding job. Of course, if possible, I would love to stay home and do what this portion says: looks well to the ways of her husband. In marriage: after submitting to God first and foremost - I want this to be my job description. This entails everything - without room for holes.
She does not eat the bread of idleness: Two people I know: Patty Crum and Angela Sims. Patty has demonstrated this over and over with her two kids and work and household and ministry. Angela has demonstrated it with her 3 girls, ministry, and her house. Another tough one for me - always being busy?
Charm is deceitful: Charming people know how to say the right things at the right time. I don't want to be a woman who just knows how to say the right things - but I want to daily strive to be a woman of the right thing!
Beauty is vain: An issue in my life - more so when I'm at a weight I want to be.
Woman who fears the Lord, shall be praised: - That fear has to be there - for God not men.
Just something to think about!

We Will Sit at His Feet

Sitting in the balcony yesterday during chapel, I picked up a hymnal. I really do love hymnals - because most of them have rich lyrics that proclaim the gospel (with little notes attached). One of the songs I go back to frequently is one I learned in elementary school and we sang regularly at my little church growing up and I could play on the piano basically without look at the book. It is Trust and Obey. The simplicity of the words and tune. I read it yesterday and then one random line in the last stanza stood out to me. I craved what it said.

"Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;Never fear, only trust and obey."

I would assume this line is referring to the time once Christ returns or I die one - but I thought about it in another way.

Let me paint you a picture:

Setting: my living room - Foster - Louisville KY

Furniture: Big chair and a half, in front it (move the coffee table) and place a bean bag chair (this I don't have, but a denim one or red one would be perfect)

Cast Members: me and Jesus

Cue: Jesus in the chair, me on the bean bag chair in front of Him on the floor.

Yesterday, which didn't happen in reality, but I wanted it to. All I wanted to do was to sit there, lay my head on Jesus' lap and do a couple of things: talk to him, just lay there, cry, sleep, rest, be still.

Ps 46.10 "Be still and know that I am God, I will exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

I have learned the meaning of that being still and letting God be God in one area of my life the past few weeks. You know what I have discovered - life is much easier! :) Try it sometime!

But, this week: I was 0-2 in bball games, work has been stressful, my weekend (although fun) is full with no time to rest (I do love traveling and seeing friends though).

I just want to sit, or walk (when its not freezing), or go drive a boat out into the middle of the Suwannee River and sit there looking up at the sky with nothing around by trees, water, and fishies, or be on the beach at St. Augustine with my feet in the water and the sand wiggling in between my toes.
I know the picture up top isn't quiet the living room scene, but I loved the front porch feel!
I do love peace and quiet - it helps me to remain peaceful and quiet. Maybe one of these days I'll get productivity and time management down so I can grasp that in a scheduled look. Or wish I could take a nap out under some trees when the weather is warmer here in L-ville.
Many quiet blessings!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Storms - literal ones, not figurative, spiritual ones.
Ask anyone - I love storms! I love hurricans, thunder storms, lightning display shows, etc. To me, they represent the powerful display of God's mighty works and power of nature. He is the orchestrator of it all - the master conductor. I've seen such devestation of storms, but here and abroad. I know He is the One who oversees everything.
One thing I am not used to though is tornadoes. I remember maybe 2 tornadoes in all 31 years before moving to L-ville in September. I can't even count the number of thunderstorms and hurricanes. To me, those are more easily pinpointed - even if it is a 400 miles radius. You know its coming.
Last night I had five different tabs open on my internet explorer: facebook, yahoo, the Gator game live broadcast (but they just quit playing the entire second half), Fox News for Super Tuesday results, and the weather. We were under a tornado warning. It started about 11p - why this can't happen while its light outside is beyond me.
But, about 12:15a the sirens in St. Matthews (my part of L-ville) started going off. So, I just figured I would stay in my room - I know to get to a inner closet if I hear anything resembling a train. But, then got a call and said - hey, come join the party in the basement. So, I did.
Then it was over - the wind part. Then we were left with lightning and finally put me asleep around 130a.
Some people in this area weren't as fortunate and some areas in neighboring states weren't either. But, like I said, God is in charge. I was praying last night when I went to bed: God, I have no reason to fear, you are in charge, you made all of this, keep me safe, I dwell in safety in the shadow of your wings (Ps 91.1) - He is a good and protective God. Thank you Jesus.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Sacred Influence - Gary Thomas

To all of you women out there who are married - may God richly bless you in your marriage. After reading this book - I am even more assured that this task should not be undertaken without Jesus. Sacred Influence is a must read for all married women and women who want to be married one day. Gary Thomas also wrote Sacred Marriage, Sacred Parenting, etc.
Here are just some of the quotes that I felt were extremely challenging or uplifting - and some Scriptures that I found very pertinent:
"Women tend to be more invested in their relationships and marriage than are men. Woman are bent to their husbands." (p 19) - He went on to say that this wasn't a good thing - it was a result of the fall - that women would desire their husband's place.
"Some women never rise above a sinful propensity to define themselves according to their likability or acceptance by men." (p 20) Man, how true is this (no pun intended). In the many years that I have ministered to women - I find this to be incredibly true (sadly in my life at times as well). I've seen women stay with men who aren't good for them just because they can't see their lives single. Oh, but we have a Husband!
"If you're trying to find your primary refuge in your husband, if you've centered your hope on his approval, if you will do almost anything to gain his acceptance, then you've just given to a man what rightfully belongs to God." (27) - I spent much of one relationship this way - it is not the right way to go about it. God is the only ONE who can satisfy you - whether married or single. The life of hurt that comes from doing the above is not worth it. God brings so much more joy!
"A good marriage doesn't happen by accident, and a good marriage isn't maintained by accident." (35) - Both are the work of the Spirit and the foundation of Jesus and His unchanging truth in the life of the 2 who are married.
"This should be the goal of every husband and wife - a man aspiring to be worthy of his wife and vice versa (38). I think I learned a lot of this from Phyllis and Billy. They once told me something back in college when Chuck and I were doing a project together. Pursue Jesus - love him - and out of that you will be able to love your spouse. The thing they want most is for the other one to love Jesus more. If Phyllis was loving Jesus - then she would be serving Billy in the ways that he needed - and vice versa.
"Nothing compares to being married to a godly woman - nothing. Nothing gets more tiresome more quickly than living with a narcissistic, weak, and fearful one." (39) - Oh, God - make me like the first one - make me more like You daily!
"Fighting your husband's irresponsibility with irresponsibility of your own is like pouring gasoline on a fire" (p?) - Something else he said in line with this is how much easier it is to sin when we have been wronged. How true is that? But, that is when peace, patience, a gentle and quiet spirit, one wrapped and soaked in grace and mercy comes in handy (all given to us by a gracious and loving Father).
"That's why forgiveness is so crucial - we need to let go of the past so we don't keep coloring the present with it" (137) - Oh, forgiveness - how I need it every day, and so do others. Mercy, there it is again!
"Someday, a young woman will have the opportunity to make me one of the happiest fathers-in-law who has ever lived - simply by loving my son well - by being generous, kind, and encouraging, by helping him become all that God intends for him to become, by forgiving him when he sins, lifting him up when he's discouraged, comforting him when he is sad, and sharing in his glory when he succeeds." (241) - This is what I want to be - this is what I encourage all of you wives to do - love your God well - in order to love your husband well.
Ecc 9:17, 2 Cor 7.1, 1 Cor 7.17, Phil 2
May you strive to love Jesus and love your husband

Monday mornings...

Do I really love Monday mornings - not quite sure on that - but I do love my job so that helps!
Weekend events:
1. The weather was gorgeous so that enabled me to spend some great time outside walking, reading, listening to the iPod. The swings were full at Seneca so I didn't want to sit around and wait and act like I was a stalker or anything, so I'll have to try for the swings another time.
2. Able to watch some movies this weekend: Devil Wears Prada (which really hits home on coveting things we shouldn't be coveting) and Truman Show (which has a anti-biblical world view I think on creation and who our Creator God is). Always watch movies with a biblical worldview mindset - something I learned from Dr. Keenan, Bruce Ashford, and Jason Wilson!
3. Went to a church yesterday that was so friendly and wasn't full of seminary people. It was very cool to be in a friendly, normal church.
4. Been reading a book called Sacred Influence, will finish it today and get the thoughts up about it. Excellent book! Watch for it later
5. I am so excited the Pats couldn't pull of the perfect season. The game was boring except for the last 5 minutes. Finally, it got exciting. Now, do I really think the Giants are the best team in the NFL - no, but I do think they were the best team in their respective games during the ones they played - but look at the teams they didn't play. Just thoughts.
6. Big week: Super Tuesday, Gators/Vols, Duke/UNC, going to Berea to see a friend - all exciting things.
7. Been reading in the Psalms and Genesis. God is so good. He is our refuge and our inheritance! He is our rock - to which we can call upon HIS Name!

Friday, February 01, 2008

For the Love of Weekends/My walk

this post is written in anticipation of the coming weekend. And I was asked by a friend this morning what my Walk was like these, I'll explain some of that too.
I LOVE WEEKENDS! This weekend is movie night/chicken wings night with a friend. It was supposed to be other stuff, but the cold season is in full affect - gotta love it.
Another goal I have for this weekend is fto finish a book I'm reading and sleep in some tomorrow. I didn't get a ton of sleep last night, so maybe I'll sleep till about 8 in the morning - who knows? As my Dad always says, if you sleep till the sun comes up you've wasted half the day. I don't sleep in much anymore - but I enjoy not having to set an alarm.
More goals (yes, being goal oriented is sometimes a bad thing): play on the swings at Seneca Park, enjoy the sunshine we are supposed to have tomorrow, clean my kitchen and bathroom, read, walk 2 parks (probably Seneca and Cherokee unless I find a new one), mail some cards, read, pray, and journal. Def check out some of the UF/ARK game tomorrow if I can.
Sunday is going to another church and meeting new people. I'm again excited about trying something new. If it is not raining - go for some more walks - how I love to do that - all while enjoying the iPod worship (that is not worship of the iPod, that is singing to the songs coming from the iPod) Just didn't want any confusion there!
Then another SuperBowl! I would rather anyone but the Pats win - but will actually be pulling for the Giants (not just against the Pats).
Now, for the walk: This is what the Spirit has been teaching me:
1. Craving for worship - music, Brooklyn Tab - anything, real passionate powerful worship - like what you would find at Summit, BT, Anastasia's Sat night Edge service, a Shane concert, Passion events, etc.
2. Love for the Word - but not nearly enough time in it. I love focusing on one verse or whatever, but really want to just have it come out of me in everything I say, Ps 34.1. I want it to be true. I want my encouragement and my sanctification process to come straight from Scripture. I want to be saturated in it - but what am I doing about it. I want to start journaling/praying through Scripture - just drinking it in as it is my life line - it is my relationship to Jesus - it is His very precious Words to me. I want so much more of it.
3. I'm learning much about mercy and grace and sanctification - everything is used as sanctification in my life.
4. Subtle sins are just as big as BIG sins - and often less noticeable!
5. I am so opinionated - I'm trying to tone those down (self-control, meekness).
So there you have it. God continues to work even in KY. I have been very thankful for friends this week - they are precious to me. I am thankful to God for them!