Saturday, December 31, 2011

Day 59

Praise the Lord that I survived a lock in. My body is not able to handle these things very well anymore. We talked about plans for reading the Bible over the next year. I am considering continuing my slow study through the Old Testament and adding a run through of the entire Bible in a year. More reading in a day and a little less mediation...haven't decided yet. I guess I should make up my mind by tomorrow.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day 57

There is a family that I would like to share with you about. I do not know them personally but they are believers and they are in need. The town that I am from is rather small and the children of this family are students at the school where my mother teaches, so there is a small connection.

On Tuesday December 20 this family of 8 (1 grandmother, 2 parents, and 5 children) were sleeping when a fire started in their manufactured home. By the time they woke up the house was engulfed in flames. Curtis who is 19 and the eldest of the children helped to get mom, dad, and 3 siblings out of the house but kept going back into the house to try and find his grandmother. The second, Jeremy who is 17 helped his sister Makiah (9) escape from a backdraft, she is in the worse condition. All but one of the children is in the hospital with burns, mostly on theirs hands, feet, and their hair (Curtis lost all of his) Makiah will be hospitalized for around 6 months. The grandmother did not make it out of the house.

Please pray for this family. They lost everything. Curtis did not have a bank account, the money he earned from his job he saved, hidden in his room. They have concerns about losing jobs due to recovery and where they will live and how they will rebuild once they are well enough to take those steps. As I said before, they are believers and they trust the Lord. Their faith is evident to all who visit them and talk with them. There are many people who care for them that do not know the Lord so please pray that God will be glorified through this severe suffering.

Pray also that they will heal both physically and emotionally. I am brought to tears often when I think about the trauma that they all experienced when fighting for their lives, literally. Thank you for praying!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day 56

Here we are again and it is way too late to be doing this. God still blesses though and I read a little more of God's faithfulness to His people in 1 Samuel. It is very encouraging for me to see the horrible sinfulness and seeming hopelessness of the priests Hophni and Phinehas because of God's quiet redemption going on in the background. A boy, Samuel. He came from a barren womb (here is a pattern that I would like to talk more about later) and is quietly serving and growing up, dedicated to God. Nothing else mattered to his mother but that he belong to the Lord. I say this is encouraging because the everyday craziness and sometimes hopelessness and often unrecognized hardships that happen on a regular basis have meaning and purpose because of God's plan for me and my children. He is quietly working through me to bring about His glory, starting with those 5 that I have the most influence over. Even in the most tired and bleak moments of parenting and life in general God has already purposed His plan of redemption. Ultimately in the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ but also in types and Samuel.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day 55

Family has left and my house is almost back to normal. God is good and even through the craziness I was able to get a little personal worship time everyday. I am excited to share how God blessed while there were 13 people and 2 animals staying in my house for a week.

I hope that you Jesus celebration was blessed!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Days 47 & 48

I really don't like this doubling up on days but with the craziness of family in town, it just can't be helped.

Look for more thoughts a nuggets from 1 Samuel coming up in the next few weeks. My Dear Husband brought home a great commentary on 1 Samuel and I am enjoying it greatly. God is so amazing and His word is full of meaning.

I have been able to keep up reading....barely but I am persevering thanks to the grace of God.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Days 45 & 46

Yes, I did spend time in the Word yesterday. It wasn't much but it was sweet. I am loving Psalm 107. I especially like verses 10-16. It is such a beautiful picture of redemption. Some, like me, sat in darkness because of their rebellion, therefore God afflicted them. Why? So they would cry to the Lord and then He delivered them. (this is the purpose of suffering!) He shatters the prison that sin traps us in. A great picture. A great reminder.

I am also on a new quest. As I have talked about earlier I am reading through 1 Samuel. I just read chapter 6. What in the world?!!? Go read it. They seriously made gold images of their tumors as an offering to God? Why? Why is that in the Bible? There is a reason for everything that is in Scripture. I get the part about God sending the tumors...I don't get the gold-tumors-and-mice-as-an-offering part. I hope that I have time, this week, to seek out some answers to these questions which may sound very silly but are completely genuine. I am not going to skip over this. I will keep seeking...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 44

I really need to get back to reading earlier in the day because I just read Psalm 107 and I am loving it. I will be reading it again tomorrow. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so...and then example after example of how He has proven His faithful steadfast love. SO GOOD! I want to meditate on it more.

Please be in prayer for me starting tomorrow. Another test of my resolve and God's faithfulness is here as family starts to arrive. A wonderful addition to our Christmas celebration but also an added distraction that makes alone time, even more difficult. Even more reason to make sure the God and His Word, remain the main thing.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 43

Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 106:1

It is true the Lord is good. He has answered a huge prayer for us here in the decision that we needed to make. I am so excited about how the Lord will show Himself good and loving in and through this decision. I am also blessed that God is teaching me through migraines how not to respond and how to trust is usually through how not to act but at least I am really asking the question: How do I honor and glorify the Lord and find joy in this acute suffering? It is honestly a question I have never seriously asked before.

I also praise Him because even with a day out, not getting anything done, everything is still moving along very well. Praise Him! Praise Him! He is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do.

Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart. Psalm 119:2

Day 42

Read Psalm 105 and 1 Samuel 5 today. The Psalm was a good reminder of God's greatness and faithfulness during a particularly bad migraine. More blessings today as I woke without a headache and much energy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 41

Tonight God provided two great reminders about His purpose and His priorities. One is an excellent post from Desiring God about Christmas and small children. Please take the time to go and read it and be encouraged to live this season with joy!

The second was a difficult and good gospel conversation with Christian. It was painful for both of us. By the end of the conversation I could do nothing else but pray with him and cry. After he prayed we talked about what was going on inside him and he said, "It felt like there was a knife cutting my heart open." I empathized, greatly and then we talked about the joy and freedom of forgiveness. He sat close to me as I crocheted and we snuggled enjoying forgiveness until it was time to go to bed. He prayed again...twice on his own, because he wanted to.

Thank you Lord for loving Christian more then I do.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 40

I read Psalm 104 tonight and now I cannot get Fernando Ortega's "Creation Song" out of my head. I am going to post a link for you to hear it. I wish that I could just play the song for you but I am not gifted enough to make that happen. This video is the best that I can do. 

I am feeling the panic of all that needs to be done creeping up again. It seems to always be there, crouching like a lion ready to pounce as soon as my guard is down. I want to give in so badly and quite literally FREAK OUT! I want to stay up all night so that I can work on my projects. I want to forget everything else in the house: laundry, dishes, meals, school etc and just put one movie after another on for the kids and work on my stuff BUT God is good and He has allowed me not to give into those urges. He has been so gracious to keep me calm, trusting in Him and in my husband to know when too much work has been done and it is time to go to bed. He has been good to keep me in His word and therefore meditating on it and praying as I crochet. I do not think that it would honor Him to forget everything else to try to impress someone who is buying my work and that is from God because my fear of man can be crippling at times. 

Please pray that God will sustain me and keep me peacefully trusting Him. Please pray also that He would be honored to bless me with the ability to accomplish the projects that I have taken on and that I will do them well, to His glory.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 39

It is very interesting to me that I can read a part of Scripture and have no memory of ever reading it before. I have not read through the entire Bible as many times as I would like but I know I have done it more then once. There are also certain books within the Bible that I have read over and over and yet I think that one way Hebrews 4:12 proves to be true is that God allows certain portions of Scripture to convict or encourage us while letting other parts slip from our minds quickly after they are read. God knows when a part of another is more appropriate and applicable then another. I am not saying that sometimes Scripture is not appropriate or that it is not profitable at times but that God in His infinite wisdom knows when and what to emphasis depending on our situation, suffering, joy or maturity. 

I am not sure what all that has to do with what I read tonight but I am telling you I know I have read Acts before. I also am very aware that Paul was shipwrecked on his way to Rome. I did not know there was such a detailed account in Scripture. It is captivating, reading more like a suspense novel then instruction. Suspenseful yet also not since God's sovereignty is clearly evident throughout Paul's life and this journey in particular.

Being reminded of God's graceful guidance of Paul through this time is encouraging to me and also a little frustrating. I know that God has my steps planned and that He is guiding me. Sometimes though when there is a decision that needs to be made, I wish His guidance was a little more clear. I praise Him that I have a God-fearing husband to make these decisions with and will continue to act in faith.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 38

I love our fellowship group. I am so encouraged by the fellowship of believers and the connection that is created by grace. This group is able to counsel, encourage, carry each others burdens. It was a good evening.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Day 37

I am growing in my love for God as He is revealed in Scripture. His Word is coming alive to me in new and exciting ways. Therefore it was a delight to watch these videos tonight. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

To see more check out this link.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 36

I am very busy with all my wonderful crochet orders so writing is taking a little bit of a hit. However, let me encourage you that I am loving soaking up the Word. I read my chapters from 1 Samuel, Psalms, and or Acts and then I sit and crochet and meditate.  I have never really enjoyed the benefits of meditation before, at least not on such a regular basis. It is wonderful to be constantly pondering and remembering God's Word, not memorizing always but thinking about it. My struggles and fights for joy have been different, in a good way, because of it. I still need to fight for it, but I am more hopeful in the battle, less likely to accept defeat, even though the stress is higher. Keep praying!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 35

Too tired to write. Read Hannah's prayer. Distracted by the sinfulness of Eli's sons. Need more sleep for brain power to process and hear and see God in His Word. Good night all.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 34

Well, a little better planning today, I have ten minutes. I have been meditating on 1 Samuel 1 all day. It is just amazing. Hannah has no children and in her culture that is shameful (something we don't understand in our culture). It is so upsetting/depressing to her that when she pleads with the Lord to open her womb Eli thinks she is drunk. She was fully fixed on the Lord because she knew He was the only one who could rescue her from her shame. I am just in awe of her worship/faith/desperation in Him. When Eli realizes his mistake he essentially grants her request and immediately Hannah is no longer depressed...she has complete faith. If this was not beautiful enough the story continues. God grants her request for a son and Hannah with determination weans Samuel for service to the Lord. I always think that this is a horribly sad and unfortunate sacrifice that Hannah has to make, to take Samuel to serve in the temple. This was the first time that I noticed that not only was Hannah not sad but she WORSHIPED God when she brought Samuel to the temple. She worshiped Him because in giving her Samuel He had saved her, SAVED her from her shame. It was a joy to give back to Him the gift He had give her. I want faith and perspective like that! I can't wait for Hannah's prayer tomorrow.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 33

In an effort to help fight for joy my husband is sending me to bed. Poor planning on my part as I will have to read there and won't be able to share my thoughts with you tonight. Until tomorrow then....

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Day 32

I love Sundays. We don't watch tv or listen to secular music on Sunday mornings. We eat cereal because it is a treat that the kids love and we want to make Sundays special, a time to look forward to, different, set apart, for the kids also. Then the rest of the morning is spent with the body, sitting under the proclaiming of God's Word. It makes for a less stressful afternoon, even when menus need to be planned and other children come to join our party. It also makes for a heart ready to hear more of God's Word.

This morning Pastor Martin described a beautiful picture of Jesus from Revelation 1:9-20. I wish the sermon was posted already because Pastor Martin did a masterful job of showing how this passage paints a picture of Jesus Christ as powerful, awesome, fearful, sovereign, and trustworthy. Then Jesus Christ reminds John that He is the One who has crushed death AND grants life. His victory is the power for a life of faith. It is the power for my life of faith. His death crushing sacrifice and resurrection is the power for loving, persevering, parenting, serving, giving, exhorting, living a set apart life...Jesus Christ's victory over death is the reason for life and hope.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 31

I read 1 Samuel 1 today and could only get through verse 8. Hannah was a woman who knew suffering. At the same time she was blessed to have a husband who loved her and took care of her. There were, probably many reasons for her to be thankful and yet she was unable to eat because of her suffering. I am looking forward to meditating more deeply on this because I often feel like I should be thankful and what God has given me should be enough but I am still sad even depressed because of my suffering. It is amazing how God's providence provides for what we need exactly when we need it. Truth about how God loved and worked in and through Ruth and Hannah. I am excited to dig deeper.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Day 30

I thought I would be ok after a little Truth reminding last night. I thought I would go to sleep and then in the morning it would be a new day and we could move on...but here we go again, drudging up deep pains and habitual wrong thinking. I am struggling with unbelief, mainly about God's specific love for me. I know what all the right answers are but there is still something I haven't given up yet. I'm not sure what it is or how this is all going to turn out. More prayer and Truth and counsel is needed. In all honesty more tears and pain are probably needed too.

My God is big enough though and I know He is not content to leave me where I am.

Here is a little encouragement from John Piper and some direction in what to pray for...for you and me.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 29

I read earlier today, while the kids were napping. It was better for my sleep schedule but for some reason the extra time to meditate did not help in the terrible mood I was in this evening. Anger. It seeped out of me in what I said, how I looked, what I did. I was mad. The kids were noisy and messy, rude and demanding. I felt very entitled to have them and my house be different. JUST ONCE can I please have my house the way I want it and my kids act the way they should????? No, because what I have is better then what I deserve. My life goes far better then it should. Things go my way much more then they ought. Grace abounds in my life. Of course an hour ago those thoughts just made me even more angry and I write them now to remind myself of their truth.

Tommy sent me a blog today and I want to encourage you to read it. I usually love when he does that and I loved it this morning and this afternoon but as the evening wore on the thought of having to be diligent and persevere seemed more like a trap then an encouragement. A trap because I cannot do it. I kept failing moment after moment after moment. Mumbling under my breath about how much I hated dishes and the fact that my floor is always dirty. Impatiently shoving my kids under the shower and washing their hair, indifferent to their screams of protest. I even went out into the hall, stamping my feet, gritting my teeth and repeating, "help me, help me, help me" because, that is the point after all....I can't do it, I need Jesus. It made me think of this little story about needing 1,000 points to enter heaven. As the man rattles off the numerous good works he has accomplished over his lifetime Peter brings the grand total to 1 point. In frustration he blurts out, "Good Lord, have mercy" and immediately Peter opens wide the gates.

It really is more simple then I make it out to be. It is not "do more, try harder" but believe.

"Whoever believes in him is not condemned..." John 3:18