Sunday, January 22, 2012

Day 81

Yes, I know it has been a while since I posted. I am not slack on my personal worship but I am a bit tired. It is exhausting to constantly be examining what God is doing in my life and then sharing it with all of you. I want to be an encouragement but I am just plain tired. I read this quote today on Facebook from John Piper: Bacon born 1561.Reading makes a full man; conference a ready man; writing an exact man. Essays free:  I want to glorify God better by being more specific, purposeful, and clear but I am getting lost in the details and checklists of my mind and heart. I need to also enjoy and experience God's work and my family. Therefore I will take a break (no more then a week) to pray and renew my cup so I can overflow on y'all.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 77

There is so much to learn and then to re-learn. I continue to make the same mistakes and sins and then have to learn again, God's Truth. Today was a day of little victories: enjoying the children, not sweating the small stuff, time for everything in it's "right" order and yet as I sat down tonight I remembered that this was the same feelings and thoughts that I had when I started this journey a few months ago. How do I forget so quickly? How does my heart deceive me so completely? I am so grateful for God's patience and His grace! Tonight in youth group we talked about Samuel and one of the girls asked why God didn't make Samuel hear His voice the first three times He called. I know there is a deeper reason that only God knows but I am sure that one reason is so that I will continue to trust Him and know that He is patient. I sure don't hear God as often as He speaks to me. Humbled by my sin and so grateful for Jesus Christ's righteousness!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day 76

In an effort to continue to battle my sin I listened to a great sermon on the Word of God, working in me. So encouraging and convicting! I guess I should say that since I ended up in a heap of tears on the couch exhausted by my efforts to be perfect to gain a pain free life, it was more on the convicting side. (Thank you Lord, for a kind and patient husband to not laugh at the ridiculousness of my sin but to graciously encourage me back to the Gospel and Truth)

It is good that I am in the Word every day but I need to also commit His word into my heart so that it is there for me to draw on when I am faced with the battle. As we all know that doesn't normally happen when I am sitting down, quietly studying the Word. So here is the plan that Bethlehem Baptist Church uses and one that I am seriously looking into. I would like to do this because these are verses that help to battle specific sins with specific promises. As Piper says in his sermon a "specific, tailor made, BLOOD BOUGHT promise." I need those more readily at my disposal.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Day 75

Well, it happened. I missed a day for the first time. Granted I was so sick that Sunday morning I pulled myself out of bed late, sent my kids up to church, took a shower, got dressed, put on make up and sent Anna to bed, took off all my jewelry and my shoes and went right back to bed. I slept until about 3 in the afternoon when I got up and made did a little work around the house. I certainly had time to read the Bible but somehow kept thinking that I would do it when I went back to bed. Going back to bed was accompanied by a severe sinus headache, medication and pleading for sleep. I was very disappointed when I woke today and realized what had happened. Now I am off to read Matthew 18 and 19 for the day and try to get back to bed.

*On a confession note-do not think highly of me because I have thrown a huge tantrum in my heart tonight. Tommy is working on school and so I had agreed to let him study. Of course it was 7:50 and I still needed to put the kids to bed, do the dishes, change a load two loads of laundry, read the Bible, sign up the kids for some online programs, crochet some orders and episode 2 of Downton Abbey is up now. Clearly this was a ridiculous and selfish outburst in my heart as there is a very obvious order of priorities versus desires in that list of "have to's".

Now, I am off to the study of God's Word!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Day 73

Sick. Haven't read anything yet. Taking my Bible to bed. Praying for healing over night.

Day 72

Yesterday was a very difficult day. I am thinking and praying about how to share with you what God is doing. It is good but it is usual. I am also happily distracted by the great date night I just had with Tommy. We will have been married 10 years on February 2 and tonight we started celebrating early by getting our wedding rings tattooed on.  They are a crown of thorns because our lives are all about Christ and our marriage is a picture of the Gospel...both in forgiveness and grace.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 70

Reminded about how little I value God especially in respect to how valuable He is. Reminded that there is enough time in the day...because "I don't feel like it" is not an acceptable reason to not serve God or my family. Also reminded that there are times when I should not make a decision...I just need to wait a day or two. Will keep praying and seeking first His Kingdom...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day 69

Considering backing off this blog to every other day, once, twice a week? I am reading and praying very consistently but sitting down and putting thoughts together every night is very difficult. It is a great exercise and I pray an encouragement to others but is it the best for me and my family? Praying.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Day 68

Praise the Lord for the energy to get up this morning, earlier then usual, so that I could have time in quiet prayer as well as reading the Word. I am totally exhausted now and am ready for bed. The Lord is good though and my struggles with fear were dealt with first thing this morning and did not come up again all day. Praise Him for that but asking for strength again tomorrow because this fight isn't finished until we reach eternity...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day 67

Another worshipful Lord's day. A sermon exulting The One who knows our suffering and has numbered the days, reading of Jesus' words from Matthew 10, and a great motivation for more prayer-the ugly faithlessness of fear. Oh how I loathe that sin in me. Here is to mortification and prayer!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Day 66

"Now when the Philistines heard that the people of Israel had gathered at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the people of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines. And the people of Israel said to Samuel, 'Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that he may save us from the hand of the Philistines." 1 Samuel 7:7-8

And God did. The Israelites, after trying to manipulate God into saving them back in chapter 4 have truly repented and acting in faith they rely on God through prayer to save them. And God did.

"More and more God's people must walk the way of desperation-prayer. Once we see this, we will no longer regard prayer as a pious cop-out but as our only rationale activity." 1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart by Dale Ralph Davis

Friday, January 6, 2012

Day 65

Evidently this is a big deal...mortifying my sin and making a list of practical disciplines to love and enjoy my family more. I say that because it has been very difficult to sit down and think, pray, meditate, write, plan what that looks like and do what comes next. Praying that tomorrow I will make it happen!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Day 64

God is so good. I have been struggling with an issue I have. I speak very unkindly to my family, angry, even when I am not angry. I know that often, I am angry...when there is reason and when there is not a reason. I am missing much in enjoying them and being thankful for them. I have been asking God to show me how I can address this issue in addition to confession and repentance. What practical exercises of discipline can I do?

Here is how He answered me tonight.

Not Putting Sin to Death - take seriously the implications of my actions!

10 Steps to Stay Alive to the Beauty of God's World - or 10 steps to stay alive to the Beauty of God's creation in the form of my family.

Here we go...Let's see God work!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Day 63

The Old Testament is coming alive to me in exciting ways. I must admit that I need help training my mind to see what God is doing throughout the history of Israel but I rejoice when clarity is given and am thankful for the people who share their insights. Tonight, in addition to reading a Psalm and Matthew 6 I went back and read a commentary on 1 Samuel 5 and 6. At first I was motivated by hearing more about what was up with the tumors of gold as an offering to God. Then I was distracted by the possibility that the plague God sent was the bubonic plague...creating tumors in the armpits, groin, and neck and being carried by rats. Then God gripped me!

The Philistines had the ark in their possession. They suspected that Yahweh was behind these plagues and they wanted to be rid of His heavy hand...but they wanted to be sure. Seeking the help of the priests they made their offering and carted the ark, yoking two nursing cows whose calves were penned up. I never made the connection before that any nursing mammal would immediately return to their baby, thus making it nothing short of a miracle if they went instead, straight to Israel. This was the Philistines test. The part that gets me is that God condescends to speak to the Philistines through these cows. Bellowing all the way, the cows head off to Israel.

This grips me because it is grace! It is love for Israel's enemies-God's enemies! God revealed Himself to pagan gentiles and gave them the opportunity to repent and worship the One true God. What mercy! What kindness! Their response is too often my response. I was with the Philistines, an enemy of God, suffering under His heavy hand. Then He called me out and I repent but I also am satisfied with relief that the suffering is over instead of fear, trembling, and wonder at this AWESOME, GRACIOUS GOD...who pursues me and purchases me with His life and blesses me. Great thoughts to meditate on as I fall asleep.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Day 62

God often uses my children to show sin and grace. Tonight one of the children was confronted with their sin. It was heart wrenching to watch the battle ensue. They knew they were a sinner and freely admitted it but defended the specific sinful actions as being misunderstood, adamantly.

As Tommy took over the situation I sat back and reflected and repented for my sin in the situation and for how I was tempted to do the same thing. I know I am a wretched, vile sinner...I know what is deep within me...and yet the Word says in Jeremiah, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can understand it?" I struggle to defend myself in my own heart because I am the parent. I am right and this child should not argue with me.

Now, I don't really believe that and I went and I asked for forgiveness for exasperating the situation but it is only by God's grace that I am able to see the truth about me...that I deceive myself. It makes Christ so much more precious to me, to know that He can see rightly how wicked I am...better then I can see, and still forgives and then rescues me from myself. Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Day 61

Everyday it is something. Today was supposed to be a huge prep day for school starting back tomorrow. The Lord had another plan. I made reference a while back about a decision we needed to make and how God had blessed us with an answer. Today a new opportunity came up and we were flung back into the tumult of discerning what would glorify God most out of two very good choices. I am not complaining, I am thankful that both options were good but that was almost more difficult. This consumed our afternoon.

I found myself offering up small, quiet prayers to the Lord as we discussed the options. I wish that these prayers had been bold and out loud. I wish that my personal prayer life was more then it is. I wish that I was more comfortable and determined to take my thoughts and requests to God that it overshadowed my fear of man, fear of rejection, fear of anything. Unfortunately, it is not.

This has been my concern lately. I have been blessed greatly by this daily personal time in the Word but I am  concerned at how quickly it can turn into a good luck charm. During my study of 1 Samuel 4 I was struck with how Israel expressed their "rabbits-foot theology" when they brought the Ark into battle against the Philistines because God was not winning for them. Dale Ralph Davis cautions us today to be wary of this fallacy. If we do what we are supposed to do (read the Bible everyday) then God will bless me and my life will be wonderful. I don't really believe that but it takes work to keep reminding myself that that is wrong thinking. It takes work to renew my mind and counsel myself to seek God because I love Him and study His Word so as to know Him...not to do better for Him, as if to make myself holy. I can't do that on my own. That is the crazy part. I need God's grace to seek God rightly.

Grace Lord, please give my grace. Help me to love you and strengthen this seeking of You in Your Word with seeking You in prayer!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day 60

Today was another interesting day. It was brought to my attention that I sound like I am running out of things to write about. It made me pause and think. Well certainly there are plenty of things that God is exposing and teaching me...why am I not talking about them? A list of reasons raced through my head. It's been busy. I am not feeling well. It is always too late. I realized that those were all excuses. The real reason is that it is painful to confess my sins and failings AGAIN and I have just been too weary to deal with that pain.

Today is a good example. I lost it this morning. Tired and fighting a sinus infection I woke up to four disrespectful children. This has been a growing problem over the last few weeks and it seemed to come to a climax today. I was offended. I was angry. How dare these children continue to talk back to me and Tommy! They know our expectations and they know what the Word says about children honoring their parents. Outrageous! Lets just say that the kids were in tears by the time we left for church and I was horribly ashamed.

These are not things that I enjoy letting you all know. However, I do know that I was wondering if so-in-so ever lost it like I just did...or you-know-who....what I wouldn't give for someone else to be humble enough to confess when, how, and why they lose it. I know there are others out there craving the fellowship of needing grace. So, I am letting you know that I need grace too!

I also want to encourage you because I know God blesses the humble who repent and I was blessed by our Lord through the service today. Constant reminders of how God knows I need grace and it matters so much to Him that He sent Jesus...the sermon was from Hebrews 2:16-18

16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

So encouraging to someone who was not only tempted but failed. There was also the music.Receive the Glory by Sovereign Grace. All I Have is Christ by Sovereign Grace. and Mercies Anew:

Every morning that breaks
There are mercies anew
Every breath that I take
Is your faithfulness proved
And at the end of each day
When my labors are through
I will sing of Your mercies anew

When I’ve fallen and strayedThere were mercies anew
For you sought me in love
And my heart you pursued
In the face of my sin
Lord, You never withdrew

So I sing of Your mercies anew

And Your mercies, they will never end
For ten thousand years they’ll remain
And when this world’s beauty has passed away
Your mercies will be unchanged

And when the storms swirl and rage
There are mercies anew
In affliction and pain
You will carry me through
And at the end of my days
When Your throne fills my view
I will sing of Your mercies anew
I will sing of Your mercies anew

© 2001 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

The morning was just full of these wonderful reminders that the only good that comes from me is actually Christ in me. Fruit from parenting...not me, Christ. Resisting temptation to sin...not me, Christ. Humility to repent...not me, Christ. So as I go to sleep tonight, I will sing of Your mercies anew. Tomorrow morning when I wake up, I will sing of Your mercies anew.

Decision made about what to read this year. I have decided to continue with my slow trek through the Old Testament and Wisdom Literature for the year because, I want to get to the prophets. I have always failed in the past at reading through the Bible and so I never make it to the prophets so I am just going to keep moving on from here and not go back to Genesis yet. For the New Testament though I am going to follow the ESV reading plan called Outreach New Testament. It will take me through the New Testament in 6 months and the plan is to go through it twice. If you need some ideas or help with a plan there are 10 options here that you can follow and they have different ways of reminding you (email, print, google calendar).