Sunday, October 23, 2011

Power Thought #8

God meets all my needs abundantly.
[Unlabeled quotes are taken from the book Power Thoughts, by Joyce Meyer.]
This chapter is an encouragement to trust that God does and will continue to faithfully "provide whatever we need in every situation."  My mind springboards to question: Do I believe that?  All the time?  Oh that I would.  How about you? 

I often refer to a quote by Thomas Watson from his book, All Things for Good: "If it is good for us, we shall have it; if it is not good for us, then the withholding of it is good."  In the big picture, when we look back through the clear lens of glory, I am convinced that we will be in full agreement with God that He indeed was, is, and always will be wholly good and that He provided faithfully and abundantly everything we needed in every situation while He gave us breath on this earth.  But how do we fully agree NOW, while yet in this broken world filled with sin (ours and others) that blinds our eyes to His glory, His goodness and His perfect provision?  By faith!  By choosing to see His provision via the lens of His Word, not by the discontent longings of our deceived hearts that have believed the serpent's tongue.

I wrestle.  The power thought is worthy to say out loud, and to labor to weave into the warp and woof of my being.  It's needful.  God does indeed meet all my needs abundantly, and yet so often I don't take care to see it.  I don't take time to thank Him, like the 9 lepers who failed to return after He healed them (Luke 17). Our "grace-sleuth" game is helping (referred to in this post)...helping me to notice what God so graciously gives.  

I read the words in this power thought chapter and in between the author's words, God grafted many others from various sources, and He brought clarity to my mind.  Though parts of this chapter were helpful, I flinched at other parts.  That's okay.  In every book I read, I try to glean what is edible and dismiss that which would not be good to consume.

And as I glean, I find God feeding me, reminding me that He IS good, and He DOES meet all my needs abundantly.  I want to walk with eyes of faith...will you join me in trusting the goodness of our Father to meet all our needs according to the riches of His grace?  

We can glean from the crop of man-books, but we can feast upon God's Word where every bite is nourishment for the are a few passages that will help us put on the power thought "God meets all my needs abundantly."
Phil. 4:14-20
Deut. 8 (all)
Ps. 84:11
2 Cor. 9:6-11
Ps. 36:5-10

Friday, October 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Paul

Ann Voskamp quotes G.K. Chesterton as having said:
“Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world round me;
And with tomorrow begins another.
Why am I allowed two?”

She then goes on to ask “Why doesn’t anyone ask that why question?  Why are we allowed two?  Why lavished with three?  A whole string of grace days?” ~ taken from her book, 1000 Gifts.

Oh how thankful I am to God for a whole string of grace days with my son, Paul, who is seven years old starting today!!!  Last night, the kids and I took a stroll down a photograph laden memory lane…wanna join us for the quick version?

Paul’s homecoming (he was 3 days shy of 7 months old):
We had over 40 people join us at the airport...those moments, though forever etched into this Mama's heart, seem a distant memory. The years have come so quickly.

(oh, was I supposed to eat it?)

(my favorite two guys in the world!)


(rough and tumble, through and through)

(celebrating with a cousin/buddy - they are five days apart in age)

(a park party with a number of good friends)

and today, my son is SEVEN...
He woke up early this morning 
(after having trouble going to sleep last night)...
yes, he is a wee bit excited about celebrating his birthday!  
We'll be doing the celebrating later,
like when everyone else is awake, 
but since he's up I had him pose in all his bed head glory for ya'll.  

Paul is a living, changing, growing gift that God has placed in my open hands to nurture and raise for His glory...every day that He gives is a new gift, a new opportunity to delight ourselves in God.  He has blessed us with a whole string of grace days.  And we are grateful.

Father, thank You for each day you've given, for knitting THIS boy into our family by adoption, for beginning a good work in him and for your promise to finish what You've begun...may he become more and more like a tree, planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season.

Happy birthday, Son!  
We love you!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thanksters or Cranksters?

"The great purpose in life is not to stay alive, but to magnify - whether by life or by death - the One who created us and died for us and lives as Lord of all forever, Jesus Christ."
- The Misery of Job and the Mercy of God, pg 9, by John Piper

Above my kitchen sink, I have a spiral 3X5 card notebook in which I have written various Scripture passages and quotes I want to think on as I do my dishes.  The above quote is currently the one I have it opened to. As is often the case, when I am chewing on a quote, God will lay open from many sources things that relate or add light to the thought.  This morning, I read a few short chapters from Loving the Little Years, by Rachel was titled "Thanksters and Cranksters."  Which of these two labels is characteristically true of me?  Of you?  What magnifies our Lord?  

Let us aim to be "thanksters" today, and to magnify God in our every circumstance, whether by life or by death.

Monday, October 17, 2011

snuggle time

Less than two weeks from now, tickets in hand, my oldest daughter and I plan to go to the Steven Curtis Chapman/Andrew Peterson/Josh Wilson concert.  To say we're looking forward to it is an understatement...we're stoked!

To help us get ready, Mike surprised me last week with Andrew Peterson's more recent album "Counting Stars."  We have most of his older music, and love it!  As is tradition, we curled up on the couch together to listen through the new album, lyrics in hand, sharing our thoughts song by song as they played.  I love any opportunity for snuggle time with my man!  Add good music, and it just gets even better. Andrew is poetic and is able to convey truth through stories and song in a way that reaches me...we both found much to enjoy on this new CD.

Steven sings a song to Mary Beth, his wife, to remind her she is changing the world one little heart beat at a time.  Andrew wrote the same theme from a different angle in his "Planting Trees" encouraged to change the world, to plant trees...snuggle up with someone you love and listen to this:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Power Thought #7

Speed...more to whirling past.  Duty driving, joy eluding.  Fatigue unending.  Gasping for air.  Tears falling without warning.  Weeks ago, in this unstable state, I asked my husband if I could go spend a few days with Bible and notebook, in a place of quiet rest and beauty.  He nodded agreement and plans were made.  Our children stayed with friends and family, my husband worked hard each day and endured a lonely house out of love for me, and I went to prostrate myself before my Father where He tenderly massaged my aching soul and refreshed me in His Word and love.  This was the view from my window:
Lovely, isn't it?  Three days/nights of the ocean's roar and beauty, lesson's from God's Word and prayerful walks, simple meals and rest, yes rest in every way.  I came HOME, breathing peacefully and focused and ready to enter into the life God is giving me with joy once more. 

The next day, the kids and I sat down to open up our next Power Thoughts chapter.  Turning to it, I laughed out loud.  As soon as I read the title to them, we were all laughing, and giving God thanks for continuing the good work He has begun in me (and all of us).  There is no denying it, I am certainly a work in progress!

Power Thought # 7 is: "I am content and emotionally stable." Of course there would have been zero humor to the title had we begun it a couple week's prior when I was an emotional wreck, but THAT day, it was funny!  Let's dive has become my pattern, any unlabeled quotes are taken from the book Power Thoughts, by Joyce Meyer.

I think the  heart of what she has to say in this chapter is that though emotions are here to stay, we need to learn to manage them and not rely on them.  We need to live by principle in contrast to our feelings, like trees firmly planted by the waterside.  She talks about emotion's power to deceive and how they can wrongly "urge us toward haste" whereas God tells us to be patient, to grow in wisdom and self-control and to walk according to His sure Word.

She makes an insightful connection between emotional instability and discontentment.  Next time you feel emotionally unstable, ask yourself if you are focused on what you do not have, or what you wish you had.  Discontentment may not always be fueling the instability fire, but I know without a doubt that it does sometimes.  If in a raw moment of honesty you answer "yes, this is true of me," begin a list of all the things God has blessed you with and begin thanking Him out loud for them.  She encourages us to count our blessings.  

At our house, we've been playing a little "grace sleuth" game for the past couple of weeks where we remind ourselves each morning that since God is holy and we are sinners, we deserve His holy and eternal wrath, but instead (because of His overflowing love and grace) we get:  cozy beds and abundant food and tastebuds and hugs and carpet squishing under our bare toes and gifts of knowledge and forgiveness of sins and transformation by God's good grace, and on and on.  We're all recording our "grace gifts" in a journal and sharing them with each other, joining hearts and hands in giving Him thanks.  Instead of instability and whacked emotions, we are experiencing joy and a growing trust in our Sovereign Father who gives us every spiritual blessing and provides our every earthly need in Christ.  Thankfulness to the Giver, trust in God's unfailing goodness toward those who call upon Him, and contentment are mighty stabilizers!

I do not recall her mentioning this, but I've found in my life as I reflect on this power thought that there are certain warning signs...signs like when I begin to press so hard and fast that time in God's Word is laid aside, rest is minimized, convenience foods become my body's only fuel and there is no time to exercise (not to mention sharp tongue, clenched jaw, tightness of chest, etc)...and when these warnings, these signs that I'm growing discontent are unheeded, instability is surely my frame or soon will be.  And thank God!  This too is grace, a tool in God's loving, disciplining hand to awaken us to the insanity of our racing down the road that leads away from Him.  Jesus tells us in Matt 11:28-30 to "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." 

Here are a few other verses to meditate on as you put on "I am content and emotionally stable":
  • 1 Tim 6:6-8 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content."
  • Phil 4:11-13 "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:  I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
  • 1 Thess 5:16-18 "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

When does your day begin?

Mike and I were in a bookstore recently (shock, I know!) and he handed me a book that he thought I may like to peruse so I stood there in the aisle and skimmed it didn't take long for me to determine that I didn't want to read the whole book, but one thing I read spoke a word of encouragement to me.  The author posed the question: When does your day begin?  Is it when you drag your hiney out of bed?  Is it when you pour a cup of that beloved drug of choice, coffee?  When?  What does God tell us about when our day begins? From Genesis 1, we read...
·         So the evening and the morning were the first day.
·         So the evening and the morning were the second day.    
·         So the evening and the morning were the third day.
·         And so on…”evening and the morning” = day.
Our day begins with rest, not a cup of coffee.  God gives rest, He strengthens first.  It was simply an encouragement to me to be reminded of that.  Perspective matters.

In the Old Testament, man was commanded to work six days and rest the seventh…isn’t it beautiful that with the coming of Jesus who is making all things new, our week now begins with rest and then we work 6 days.  In God’s original creation He gave us rest first in the day, and in the new creation He gives us a day of rest/worship before asking us to do a single lick of labor.  Our week doesn’t start with a to-do list, it starts with gathering with our Savior in our Father’s house with all our family in heaven on earth to worship and praise the God of all grace!  Our day doesn’t begin with the “drug of choice” to get us moving and able to take on the day, it begins with rest given by our Father to prepare us for the new day He is graciously giving us to live out in His presence open handed to receive all He gives, with joy, for His glory.

To God be all glory!  May He give you rest as you gather with His people to praise Him today!