Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Making Whose Name Great?- Radical Read-Along Chapter 3

I'm linking up today with Marla's Radical Read-Along.  Won't you join us?
Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

My husband and I have been very blessed to spend our entire Christian walk to date in the same church.  It’s where we heard the gospel, received salvation and have learned to walk with God.  Our pastor is a humble man, full of grace and love.  He has always been adamant about our church being God’s church.  He firmly believes that God will provide for His church and if He stops providing then the ministry has fulfilled its purpose and should end.  He teaches through the Bible verse by verse and does not preach on giving unless it comes up in the text we are studying.  We do not pass a collection basket.  There is an offering box in the back of the church and people give as they feel led.  No mention of the offering box is made during services.  He does not care about numbers or church attendance but only about ministering to those who do come- preaching the gospel and discipling believers.  Our pastor has always said that he wants to have a church that looks like the one in the book of Acts- simple, prayerful, loving, led by the Spirit and in the Word. 

Is our church perfect?  No.  Is our pastor perfect?  No.   Is there room to grow, for our ministry, into God's purpose and plan for us?  Yes!  However, I do believe that we have done as Platt suggested the church needs to, that is: "refuse to operate in a mind-set dominated by an American dream that depends on what we can achieve with our own abilities." (pg. 53)

By nature, I am a planner and an organizer.  I believe that administration is one of my spiritual gifts.  I am a logical and analytical thinker who can often see things in black and white.  I am also passionate and anxious to “get it done” as I mentioned before.  The truth is that it has been hard for me at times to operate in our fellowship.  I am often frustrated at the lack of organization and planning on the part of the church leadership.  Chapter 3 of Radical reminded me, though, that I would not have it any other way!  It is better to err on the side of waiting too long to act and be sure we know God’s in it than to act impulsively using our own wisdom and strength and end up outside of God’s plan. 

How does this work out practically?  Doesn’t God give us these gifts to proclaim the gospel and edify the body?  Yes!  The difference lies in working with God to accomplish kingdom work or working on our own to accomplish our goals for the church.  God has seen fit to place me in the role of church secretary where I have been able to use my gift of administration to bless the body.  He has allowed me to minister in support roles to the Women’s Ministry, Orphan's Ministry and Children’s Ministry.  However, He has not given me sole or final authority over decisions though.  I report to the pastor in my role as secretary and I work with the Women’s Ministry Board and Children’s Ministry head in my support roles.  These checks have been important for me- not allowing me to run away with my ideas in my own power.  And in teaching me humility and submission- not exactly my best developed traits :)  These individuals hold me accountable to prayer and godly counsel when decisions are made.  They also give me great freedom to work with God and do things to make His name great!

I must say it was nice not to struggle through this chapter as I did with Chapters 1 and 2.  I needed the mental energy to continue to process those chapters.  My husband is reading along now, too, praise God!  And we are talking about where to go from here, together!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience

Here are some of the things I was thankful for this week:

    Sunday, September 26, 2010

    Praying the Psalms- Psalm 37

    Jenny has begun a journey of praying her way through the Psalms that I have decided to join. Each weekend, we will pray through one psalm and post our prayer and/or meditations on that psalm as the Lord leads. Check out her journey and join us in Praying the Psalms

    Psalm 37

    I've heard it said that the days are long but the years go by too quickly.  And I nod my head in agreement. 

    I've had a week of long days.  I have not refrained from anger or turned from wrath (v. 8) instead I have foolishly given vent to my anger (Proverbs 29: 11).  When each long day was over and sleep had come for my children (sometimes with tears for both them and me), I returned to each one to see peace on their face, to see their chests rise and fall, to touch their cheeks and feel their warm breath.  

    I wrestle with myself and the sins that still live on in me.  I wonder when I will finally have victory over this short temper and selfishness of mine.  I wrestle with God, striving to believe His words in verses 23 and 24 when it feels as if I've already fallen on my face.

    I confess my sins to a dear sister one morning and she lavishes it on me.  When I tell of my frustration and disgust at myself for still not getting this thing right, she responds with it.  "Grace, girl, grace," she exhorts me.  "Live in it.  Forgive yourself.  His mercy is new every morning."  

    And it's enough to keep me pressing onward.  I once again commit my way to Him and trust and wait.
    "Commit your way to the LORD;
           trust in him and he will do this:

     He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
           the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

     Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;"  Ps 37: 5-7

    Friday, September 24, 2010

    Weekend Encourgement

    From the one whose words point me to Him everyday, where in the world, in all this world, is God?

    The Lord has been giving me this message from many sources lately.  Angie puts it so simply and beautifully in this post.  

    Too often, I need a do-over.  God is still working on this issue with me.
    I loved this recounting by Jennifer of a bedtime conversation she and her eight year old had recently.  It reminded me of the whispers in the dark my oldest and I have from time to time.

    Are you looking for a little gift to bless a friend with while helping needy school children in Kenya and here at home?  Then you'll want to check this out!

    Anyone need a time out?  I know I do!  I might even take a cue from Jennifer and blog about it afterwards!

    And this?  This is cool!

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    But God

    Have you ever had a time when you truly just stood in awe of God and what He had done?  On Saturday, we were a host church for the Living Proof Live Simulcast with Beth Moore.  It was quite an undertaking for a small church such as ours.  And quite a task for me as the organizer who is also a mom, a part time employee, a woman who serves in various roles at church and school.  It can and should have failed at MANY points along the way.  But God.

    First of all, we should not have been able to afford it to begin with.  But God.  While a woman from church and I prayed about it, unbeknown to ANYONE else at church, an anonymous donor donated the exactly double the amount to the church.  Our pastor used half for a men's ministry opportunity and half for Living Proof Live.  And we opened our doors to 80+ women free of charge.

    Next, I should not have been able to lead the team who brought the event from the planning stages to its execution.  But God.  He strengthened me when I grew weary.  He gave me the faith to believe that we could do this!  He encouraged me all along that He was going to show up that day.  (Oh, and did He ever!)  He multiplied my time all the week before to get everything done.  He humbled me to ask for help.  And He prepared the hearts of those who did help to say yes when asked!

    Then, we should have had to send the ladies off site for lunch as we could not possibly afford to feed them or even take on the task of providing lunch for 80+ women for a charge.  But God.  He put it on the heart of a family at church, without any outside prompting or hints, to offer to pay for and completely arrange lunch.  The woman told me that she believed that God was telling her to provide lunch on site because leaving the church for lunch was going to be a temptation for some women to cut the day short and go home!

    On the day of the event, we arrived to a work crew prepping the floor outside out front entrance for painting.  The entrance to the building and our front door were caution taped closed!  But God.  The owner of the building arrived just before they were to begin painting and agreed to scheduled that for another day.

    At the start of the live feed, the transmission began to break up and even went blank for a few scary moments.  But God.   He had supplied us with a brother from the church who handled it with confidence and the rest of the broadcast went off without a hitch.

    At the end of the day, as I watched women minister to one another in prayer and through tears, I might have been tempted to pat myself on the back for a job well done.  But God.  He filled my heart with such unspeakable awe for Him and what He had done in that day and all the days leading up to it.  All I could do in that moment was stand in awe of Him.  The idea of grabbing even one iota of the glory was repulsive to me! 

    As I drove home, I was silent, quieted, overwhelmed, thankful.  I had been wearing a t-shirt all day that said, "I Am Living Proof" and I had not really thought of what Am I Living Proof?  But God.  He whispered to me, "You are Living Proof of my love and faithfulness."

    Oh, yes, Lord, I am.  

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    We're Not in Kansas Anymore!- Radical Read Along Chapter 2

    I'm linking up today with Marla's Radical Read-Along.  Won't you join us?

    Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

    And I thought my mind was swirling after Chapter 1?!?

    Chapter 2 was going along swimmingly at first, actually.  David Platt's exposition of the gospel was, in my opinion, completely biblically sound.  He summarizes on page 36:
    "This is the gospel.  The just and loving Creator of the universe has looked on hopelessly sinful people and sent His son, God in the flesh, to bear His wrath against sin on the cross and to show His power over sin in the Resurrection so that all who trust in Him will be reconciled to God forever."
    But the section entitled Radical Revelation to be Radically Received made me feel like wide-eyed Dorothy who had just been plopped in Oz.  Honestly, one of the first things that popped into my head as I read that section was "We're not in Kansas anymore!"  Platt rips apart the notion that for salvation, all one needs to do is pray and accept Jesus as Saviour.
    "Accept him?  Do we really think Jesus needs our acceptance?  Don't we need Him?"(pg. 37)
    Wait, it's not that simple?  Every evangelical church or ministry I have ever encountered has preached this!  I dare say that while the Bible does not use terms, as Platt accurately points out, such as "sinner's prayer" and "asking Jesus into your heart," it does proclaim a simple road to salvation. 

    "That if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."  Romans 10: 9
    "And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18: 3
     Now, I hate to argue with the words of a Bible scholar and a man who is clearly smarter and more experienced than me.  I fully accept that I could be wrong.  My objective in writing this here is to hash this out in community.  But I wonder if Platt has combined two steps of the Christian's journey into one; calling salvation what I would call salvation and discipleship.  Platt writes on page 38-39: 
    "Biblical proclamation of the gospel beckons us to a much different response and leads us down a much different road.  Here the gospel demands and enables us to turn from our sin, to take up our own cross, to die to ourselves, and to follow Jesus.  And salvation now consists of a deep wrestling in our souls with the sinfulness of our hearts, the depth of our depravity and the desperation of our need for His grace."
    Yes, we are called to all these things!  But isn't this "wrestling" sanctification?  And how would one like a "little child" be capable of this kind of wrestling?  My understanding is this- after we turn from our sin (salvation), by the Holy Spirit's power we take up our cross, die to ourselves and follow Jesus.  Then God brings the rest through a process of sanctification, in which we work out our salvation. 
    "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."  Philippians 2:12-13
    God is not in us before but after salvation.  Am I right?

    Maybe I am missing the point.  I'm probably just splitting hairs.  In the end, I agree with Platt's assertion that "Jesus is infinitely worthy of our immediate and total surrender." (p. 39)  And for that reason, this quarrel is not one that would cause me to reject the entire premise of the book.  But I would love to talk this out together.

    What do you all think?  Were you surprised by the same things I was?  Did you end up accepting Platt's assertions about salvation or rejecting them?  What were your reasons?  Am I missing the forest for the trees? 

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    Multitude Monday

    holy experience

    Here are some of the things I was thankful for this week:
    • 658. Rightly dividing the Word of truth
    • 657. Birthday celebrations at school, at our favorite restaurant and at the dance studio!
    • 656. Baby girl's FOURTH birthday
    • 655. Digging into scripture- "She opens her mouth with wisdom and on her tongue is the law of kindness" Proverbs 31:26
    • 654. Being reminded of God's love for me - personally!
    • 653. Seeing God work during Living Proof Live- to Him be the glory!!!
    • 652. A team of women and men who labored in love to make it such a blessed event
    • 651. Preparing and praying for Living Proof Live at church
    • 650. A week full of appointments that went like clockwork
    • 649. Her excited grins and shouts
    • 648. Baby girl's first day of pre-school!
    You can find my running list of 1,000 gifts in the sidebar and read why I got started here.

    Saturday, September 18, 2010

    Praying the Psalms- Psalm 36

    Jenny has begun a journey of praying her way through the Psalms that I have decided to join. Each weekend, we will pray through one psalm and post our prayer and/or meditations on that psalm as the Lord leads. Check out her journey and join us in Praying the Psalms.

    Psalm 36 

    Without the fear of God, there is conceit, blindness to one's own sin, wicked and deceitful words, foolishness and a lack of good deeds.  The one who is without fear of God is consumed with plotting evil and committed to a sinful course.  She does not reject what is wrong.

    I was this one.  I had learned about God all my life.  But it was a watered down version of Him.  And I watered it down even more.  Until I had molded Him into a God who He loved me but was not really concerned with my sin.  Actually, I did not even think the things I was engaged in were sin! I was blind.  As long as I was a generally "good" person- doing well in school, kind to my friends, compassionate to the poor- I could behave just as any heathen did.  And I did.  I was conceited.  My language was foul.  Gossip and mocking flowed freely from my lips.  My mouth was full of wickedness and deceit.  
    I had no fear of God.  

    But God.  I had no fear of Him but in His unfailing love for me, He brought me face to face with Himself.  He shattered the image of God I had molded and replaced it with the One True and Living God of Scripture.  He also shattered the image of myself I had molded.  He gave me eyes to see my own wickedness.  And He gave me a way out through His Son.  So, I sing with the psalmist:
    "Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens,
     your faithfulness to the skies.  Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
    your justice like the great deep."  Ps 36: 5-6

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    I Was This Close to the Mission Field- Radical Read-Along Chapter 1

    I'm linking up today with Marla's Radical Read-Along.  Won't you join us?

    Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

    Swirling.  I think that's the word that best describes my thoughts and emotions right now.  As God would have it, my reading of Chapter 1 of Radical coincided with my reading of the Compassion Bloggers' trip to our daughter's birth country, Guatemala.  The intersection of the two was enough to make me start taking mental stock of all our stuff and start imagining what they might go for on eBay!  And the adding up how many children we could sponsor with the money.  And then contemplating to which third world country we would be moving our family in the near future.

    And then I ran smack dab into my two my sincere concerns about this journey: making impulsive decisions I cannot or will not follow through on and getting ahead of my husband in this process.  I am a passionate person.  When I know something is right or needed, I am ready to jump in with two feet.  Prayerful consideration, research, weighing options are often neglected in my zeal.  This has led to burn out and stress in many areas of my life as I've often taken on more than I should.  While I do believe God has placed in me this passion and zeal, I also recognize that I must learn to bring it under His authority before acting on my every whim.  And then there's my husband, he would probably like some say in the selling off of all our worldly goods and the dramatic relocation of his family, right?

    I've come to the conclusion that, for now, I will do four things.  Two were suggested as preconditions for this journey by the author, David Platt: commit to believe whatever Jesus says and commit to obey what I have heard.  To those preconditions, I am adding two of my own: commit to pray for God to reveal how that obedience will look for me and my family and commit to encourage my husband to read along or at the very least to share with my him what I am learning so we walk this journey together.

    Oh and we are going to write to the child in Uganda we sponsor through Watoto Childcare Ministries once a month.  When I read about the impact sponsor's letters had on the children, I was so convicted about how little effort we have put into corresponding with our little man.

    I'd love to hear from you if you are reading along or if you've already read Radical.  How did Chapter 1 affect you?  What are you hoping for from this journey?  Have you sold everything and moved to Indonesia already???

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    Multitude Monday

    holy experience

    Here are some of the things I was thankful for this week:
    • 647.  Seeing God grow the vision for our Children's Ministry at church and raising up the workers for it!
    • 646.  Seeing God work surprises for our upcoming Living Proof Live event at church
    • 645.  The honor of being In the Spotlight
    • 644.  Reading and pondering Radical
    • 643. The privilege of praying along with her for her requests
    • 642. Knowing someone else is faithfully praying along with me for my requests
    • 641. Smooth mornings all the first week of school
    • 640. Lockers, your own desk, writing with pens!!!
    • 639. Learning to experience JOY in the little things by watching my children do the same
    • 638. Seeing my fears fade about the make up of his fourth grade class as he fit right in
    • 637. First day of fourth grade
    • 636. His excitement over being a first grader
    • 635. First day of First Grade!
    • 634. Two little Zumba workout partners
    • 633. Fresh, crisp air for bicycle rides and basketball after dinner
    • 632. Daddy with us on Labor Day instead of laboring at work!

    You can find my running list of 1,000 gifts in the sidebar and read why I got started here.

    Saturday, September 11, 2010

    Praying the Psalms- Psalm 35

    Jenny has begun a journey of praying her way through the Psalms that I have decided to join. Each weekend, we will pray through one psalm and post our prayer and/or meditations on that psalm as the Lord leads. Check out her journey and join us in Praying the Psalms.

    Psalm 35

    Honesty.  He desires honesty.  Not eloquent prayers made up of carefully chosen words.  But honesty.  He knows what our hearts are experiencing.  He is not afraid to hear it.  He put it in His word.  Often.  The uncensored, demanding, angry, desperate cries of His children.

    Because He desires intimacy.  And intimacy cannot exist without honesty.

    And because He longs to heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.  But He cannot if we do not offer that broken heart to Him.

    I struggle with this.  Raw honesty can seem irreverent.  I find myself wanting to follow up statements of distress and disappointment with quick expressions of faith in His goodness and power.  And that He is- good and powerful.

    But unless I pour out what is really in my heart, I am only fooling myself.  He knows already what I often dare not utter.  He knows.  Once I pour it out, it can be discarded.  My heart can be filled with His truth, His love.

    Father, help me to be honest with you.  Help me to cry out to You as the psalmist does.  To pour out my heart, my hurts, my disappointments before You.  Help me to offer my broken heart completely to You.  To receive Your healing and instruction.  Thank You for wanting me and for wanting an honest, intimate relationship with me!  In Jesus' name, amen.

    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    In the Spotlight

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Not too long ago, Michelle and the sweet ladies from Gather Inspirit asked to interview me for the Gather Inspirit blog.  I was honored to be asked and happily accepted.  They posted the interview today.  

    To whet your appetite:
    My husband and I met in 1996 in Club Med. (I like to refer to this time period of our courtship as B.C.) We got married in 1999 and had our first child, a boy, in 2001. We both came to faith in Christ...
    Won't you hop on over and check out the rest?  While you're there, learn more about Gather Inspirit's ministry to Christian women bloggers, too!

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    Did I tell you about this?

    Radical Read Along

    Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

    You're not too late!  Get a copy of the book and read chapter one by next Tuesday and join the conversation on Marla's blog and here.

    Monday, September 6, 2010

    Multitude Monday

    holy experience

    Here are some of the things I was thankful for this week:
      • 632.  Partnering in prayer with my sisters
      • 631. Bike rides and baseball on Sunday afternoon
      • 630. An impromptu time of fellowship with two families over ice cream
      • 629. Listening as they told about the only One who really matters

      • 628. Meeting NY baseball superstars

      • 627. Remembering His faithfulness
      • 626. Passing afternoon playing board games with the kids
      • 625. Preparing my ammo for battle
      • 624. Time to catch up on blogging/reading blogs
      • 623. Time to catch up on laundry, work at church and work for husband's business
      • 622. Two weeks our from the Living Proof Live event and we are almost at capacity for it!
      • 621. Time to work on preparations for a Living Proof Live event at our church in September
      • 620. Getting ready for a new school year
      • 619. A week at home to catch up before school begins again
      You can find my running list of 1,000 gifts in the sidebar and read why I got started 

    Saturday, September 4, 2010

    Praying the Psalms- Psalm 34

    Jenny has begun a journey of praying her way through the Psalms that I have decided to join. Each weekend, we will pray through one psalm and post our prayer and/or meditations on that psalm as the Lord leads. Check out her journey and join us in Praying the Psalms.

    Psalm 34

    In mid-February of 2007, T and I were anxiously awaiting news that the final step of the adoption of our daughter from Guatemala had been successfully completed and we could travel to bring her home.  Then we received devastating news that I shared it in an e-mail asking for prayer.  Here is an excerpt of that e-mail:
    "For a myriad of reasons, many of which include money and political
    power, some in the Guatemalan government are trying to put an end to
    intercountry adoption. This would be devastating to the orphaned
    children of Guatemala as there is no system for social services in Guatemala. There would literally be no place for these children to go and no services to care for them. The powers that be are attempting to pass a law through congress effectively ending intercountry adoption and the first vote is reportedly this Friday."
    A few weeks passed before the vote actually took place on March 1, 2007.  Those weeks passed with much anxiety and prayer.  On the morning of the vote, I received an e-mail of encouragement from a dear friend and prayer warrior with this Scripture:

    "The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to
    their cry; the face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut
    off the memory of them from the earth. The righeous cry out, and the
    Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in Spirit"  Ps 34: 15-16

    The words of this psalm gave me such peace!  I had been wrestling with God for two weeks.  And the words of this psalm helped me to finally surrender.  Later that day, we learned that the result of the meeting, which while not good news for the future of adoption in Guatemala, would NOT affect adoptions in process.  Here is an excerpt of the e-mail I sent in response to my dear friend:
    "I feel compelled to give some of my testimony here since you have
    been so faithful in prayer and encouragement for us. You should know
    that God is not only working in the BIG things (i.e., the powers that
    be in the US and Guat governments) but He is also transforming me
    through this process! Two weeks ago, when this Protocol business
    first emerged, I was shocked and terrified. I questioned God and how
    He could even allow the hint of such trouble. I did not lean on HIs
    strength during those anxious days but instead begged Him to
    intervene. I had DEFINiTELY lost my focus and was looking at the
    enormity and gravity of the circumstances and NOT on Him and His
    perfect plan. He was faithful to save us from the circumstances that
    first time anyway but I was left brokenhearted, crushed in spirit and
    just plain afraid.

    What a glorious place to be, I discovered this week! I had no more
    strength in me to bear this anxiety anymore, I had no more hope
    in "the system." At the Chris Tomlin concert and then the retreat, I
    was able to get back focus back on HIM and turn over this trouble
    completely to Him! I took my eyes off the dire circumstances and
    remembered that He longs to be gracious to us! Praise Him! I
    remembered how awesome and holy He is and today when that dreaded
    meeting was taking place, I cried with Him telling Him that now I am
    at the point where I truly want HIS will to be done. I honestly felt
    that He would sustain me no matter the outcome.

    Now don't get me wrong, I am praising Him for the positive outcome
    and rejoicing in it. We still want Arianna to come home with every fiber of
    our beings! We still covet your prayers that her file will come OUT
    of PGN even today! However, I have enjoyed the peace that surpasses
    understanding and I am so grateful for God. To Him goes all the

    Praise Him with me! The righteous cried out and the Lord delivered
    us from our troubles!!!"
    On March 6, we heard that our case was out of PGN, the final step in Guatemalan adoptions at that time.  Two  months later, our daughter was home with us!

    I still cannot read this psalm without tears stinging my eyes as I remember God's faithfulness to us, to me.  In reading it, I am reminded of the first time I learned to truly surrender and trust God.  This psalm is a stone of remembrance for me.  One of my Ebenezers.  The Lord had helped me thus far- not only in bringing our daughter home but also in teaching me to allow Him to mend my broken heart and crushed spirit!

    Friday, September 3, 2010

    Praying the Psalms- Psalm 33

    Jenny has begun a journey of praying her way through the Psalms that I have decided to join. Each weekend, we will pray through one psalm and post our prayer and/or meditations on that psalm as the Lord leads. Check out her journey and join us in Praying the Psalms.

    I am catching up from last week when we were away and posting my meditations on both Psalm 33 and 34 this weekend. 

    Psalm 33
    There is so much comfort here in this psalm, so much to rest in!  
    "From heaven the LORD looks down
           and sees all mankind;
     from his dwelling place he watches
           all who live on earth-"  Ps 33:13-14
    The same mighty, powerful God who spoke the worlds into existence, looks down from Heaven and sees all mankind.  He not only sees us but He watches us.  Seeing someone is passive- it just happens when your eyes pass over a person.  But watching is active- you have to pause and focus to watch someone.  And our God watches ALL who live on the earth.  He is not passive in anyone's life- believer or nonbeliever!

    "But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
           on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,

     to deliver them from death
           and keep them alive in famine.

     We wait in hope for the LORD;
           he is our help and our shield.

     In him our hearts rejoice,
           for we trust in his holy name.

     May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
           even as we put our hope in you."  Ps 33: 18-22

    And for those of us who fear Him, for those of us whose hope is in His unfailing love- He is ON US! Oh, how I needed to hear these words today.  I am going through a rough patch emotionally right now.  I feel distant from the Lord but the truth is He is ON ME.  I am not in danger of physical death or famine but I am feeling dead and hungry inside.  He has not turned away from me, He is ON ME.
    "But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever,
           the purposes of his heart through all generations."  Ps 33: 11
    Thank You, Lord, for this reminder.  My heart rejoices in You this morning, Lord, for I trust in Your holy name.  No matter my momentary feelings or trouble, Lord, my hope is still in Your unfailing love.  You are my help and my shield.  Your plans for me stand firm and the purposes of Your heart will never change.  Bring peace to my heart, Lord.  Bless my family, friends and whoever may pause to read this.  In Jesus' name, amen.

    Thursday, September 2, 2010

    Doing Battle

    circumstances expose this life as a battlefield.
    circumstances of daily life.
    the state of my own heart.

    attacks abound when i am up more often than down.
    why do i always forget that?
    as i proclaim God's glory in my life,
    the enemy quietly sticks out his foot.
    he trips me as i run past.

    do i let his schemes silence my testimony? no!
    but how do i celebrate victory without wandering into the next trap?
    and if i've wandered in, how do i escape quickly?

    how do i do this battle?
    how to put on the armor?
    how to be shrewd yet innocent?

    in the quiet of the morning, while little ones sleep in peace,
    i pour over the war manual.
    make ammunition out of index cards.
    and i do battle.

    i speak truth over circumstances.
    i believe the truth over circumstances.
    i summon the Lord of hosts.
    i remind Him of His promises.
    i remind myself.

    we fight together.
    He brings victory.
    my only duty? to believe that.

    Joining Emily in celebrating redemption and making a theology of the arts through my imperfect prose.


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