This Christian life seems hard – about the business of dieing to self and living to God. It is impossible, but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. It is all Christ. As one ages, it seems that one gets more easily tired, more discouraged and that was happening to me. But somehow, as the dreams of this life die, eternity looms nearer and tugs at the longings of the heart, and like a horse nearing it’s barn – momentum, eagerness, and the joyful urgency to be home compels and there is the mercy and speed of the second wind that only increases as the goal draws closer. Father, may the last days be the finest days and all remaining thoughts be thoughts of joyful praise in prayer.
The Christian Life A Doctrinal Introduction by Sinclair Ferguson. Christ seems nearer and dearer after reading this, although I chuckle at the “Introduction” part of the title for it is so thorough.
“Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.” Psalm 119:11
“You diligently study the Scripture because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the scriptures that testify about Me.” John 5:39
It has been a long time since my last post, for God gave me a very happy yet busy year with the opportunity to teach at a Christian School. While family needs necessitated making the difficult decision not to return, I am immensely grateful for the delightful blessing of getting to be part of some very precious little ones’ lives for a time.
Life is full of challenges, and the desire is to be faithful in them and do well for The Lord. Being a weak and wretched sinner, what a blessing to find that when one is weak, God is strong. It is helpful to find Bible verses that address challenges and memorize them. How frustrating to find that as I travel life’s journey and get older, my memory isn’t what it once was. I am hoping to find other sisters in the Lord who also want to do more memory work and who might be willing to meet for encouragement and accountability. Anyone wanting to pray for this, “Thank you and God bless you.”
I am working in Isaiah 30 right now:
In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it (verse 15). Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you, He rises to show you His compassion. For the Lord is a God of Justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him! O people of Zion, you who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious He will be when you cry for help! As soon as He hears, He will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right of to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Then you will defile your idols and throw them away… (verses 18-22)
That’s all for now – Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
A dear Pastor once said, “Truth without love is brutality.” Above all else, Lord give us love.
Far too often I am guilty of self righteousness. I who have been forgiven so much, forgiven ALL! – Lord may I forgive and forbear as You do. Yet also You did not hesitate to speak the plain truth to evil doers – the uglier the sin, the uglier the truth. Put a guard before our lips, that we speak wisdom in love – for the beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord.
I am under conviction to practice trying to walk by faith and rather than by sight in the hard things (2Corinthians 5:7). Practice begets the gift of experience and with experience comes familiarity, and that which is familiar is less likely to throw me as I think, “Ah – I remember this – this is grief, or this is fear and I know that this is beatable in God.” I excel at worrying so this is difficult and I am not good at it and must need a lot of practice for God lovingly provides plenty of opportunity in which to practice and in God, faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Heb. 11:1). ‘Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17) – God is the author and perfecter of our faith. There is a freedom in these truths of God that leads me to dare to dream dreams. So I keep an “if I could do anything list” – and I pray about the things listed and try to pursue them and in the casting out of my net – look for what God might do. Some things are very personal like the running and mine is the responsibility, some things involve others and at times need God’s opening a door, even breaking down a few walls.
God is not some Cosmic kill joy – God gives life! And he gives it abundantly – it is vibrant and oh so worth the living! Is Jesus Christ merely part of life? Or is Jesus profoundly the Lord of all that is life? Self likes to always try and sneak back on the throne and the memorizing of Scriptures helps to regularly remember to repent and ask Him be Lord of all. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain! Our God is a faithful God and He loves us more than we can ever possibly understand. He gives us unfathomable hope and an unimaginable future of eternal glory with Him. Praise be the name of the Lord.
My greatest battle right now is to look for the joy of God in the hard things and that whether I eat, or drink or whatsoever I do, to try to do all for the glory of Him. I think that in the death of self will and self pride there can be found the most stunning beauty and joy – our closest times with God. Like when Paul and Silas in jail sang songs to God – that prison cell was transformed into a music chamber, so I ask myself, what can be brought to a hard thing to make it beautiful? I must look for things in life that in God’s hand will inspire and transform afflictions and trials into that beauty and joy.
There has been much conviction about stewardship over health (Romans 6:13 and 12:1) to offer my body to God as an instrument of righteousness and as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to Him– that this is a spiritual act of worship! So I started running again – this one is a very hard battle and I again ask myself what can be brought to this hard thing to make it beautiful? In running, stuff is not just happening to the body, but also things are going on in the mind and the spirit, so I thank God for the common grace to be found in music and I run to music – it transforms a sweaty misery into “Road Dancing” – really loud music releases endorphins that help mask pain. I am old so some of my play lists might resemble the sound track from a Shrek movie, but when you are nearing the end of the course and each breathe feels like it will be your last and that you are trying to suck your lungs inside out – who can slack off or give up to “Dance – Boogie Wonderland”.
My favorite walking songs are from a group called “Lamb” – their music is full of joy and life and tender worship – sort of a switched on/rocked out Hebrew folk sound (most of the lyrics are taken from passages in the Old Testament).
I have had a new link added for awhile now, and I should mention (forgive the pride), that it is the link to my Mom’s website about the Book Series she has written – including photos taken by my Dad during their “travels”. They have worked hard on this huge project, but then they have worked hard all of their lives, even during their retirement (I am not sure they understand the concept of retirement!). I am very proud of my parents and consider it a huge blessing and privilege to be their daughter. I love you guys. As long as I am being proud of loved ones, I should also mention, that my dear husband built the website for Mom – I love you too hun.
I love to read, though mostly I read the Bible, there are other books out there that have been a joy and a help, they become friends that I revisit throughout the years. Recommended:
IF GOD ALREADY KNOWS, WHY PRAY?
by Douglas F. Kelly
MAKING KINGDOM DISCIPLES
by Charles H. Dunahoo
THE RARE JEWEL OF CHRISTIAN CONTENTMENT
by Jeremiah Burroughs
HINDS FEET ON HIGH PLACES
by Hannah Hurnard
THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS
by John Bunyan
P.S. A precious sister shared this verse with me last week – God bless her!
When Your Words came, I ate them;
They were my joy and my heart’s delight,
for I bear Your name, O Lord God Almighty.
Father in Heaven, I know but little of struggling and wrestling and being persistent with petitions I bring before Your throne, and now, recently, I have been convicted to wrestle with praising You in my prayer life. Lord, at times I get these glimpses and flashes – praises for You – and I don’t want to lose them in the chaos of my inner thought life, so I have begun writing them down, working them into precise words to capture the experience of the thought/feeling I wish to express to You.
At first I thought, “Oh no! Just great! These are the lunatic ravings of an endorphin induced high and I’m turning into a nutcase mystic!” But upon reflection, many of these glimpses from my heart and mind seem to have the sympathy of verses from Scripture, so I ultimately accept them and wrestle with them, trying to make them precise in capturing the essence of what I want to say in praise of You, my God.
Father God in Heaven, You have given us so many blessings in creation that reflect your glory:
The crisp bracing air on a mountain top, full of the sweet fragrance of pine pitch…
The deep rumble of thunder in the sky that shakes the world…
The clean smell of rain upon the earth…
The warm weight and smell of a little baby…
The hugs and tender looks of loved ones…
The music of a pure laugh full of joy…
The soft breeze on the still of evening air…
The still hush of silence upon a sparkling snowy night…
The winter air so clean it freezes the very hairs of one’s nostrils
The utter bliss of rest after deep exhaustion…
The drawing of a breathe, when you thought there could not be another…
These are but reflections of Your glory in creation. The actual weight and Majesty of the Glory of Your unending Holiness seems at times more than I can bear, that the contemplating of You must be the end of me – only it is a beginning – a new beginning with Christ.
Father, You fill us with the power of Jesus’ Redemption and Resurrection, power to becomes sons of God. By Your indwelling Holy Spirit You fill us with the joy of understanding that You love us! When we come together, reflecting corporately the bright glow of our individual walks with You, to give You our worship – O God of all things, strike sparks from us, from our being together in worship, to make us blaze forth with such an almighty fire in our worship, that the light of the blaze can be seen throughout the world – that You will be glorified. Amen