Monday, February 27, 2012

Psalm 119 - Week 7


This section this weeks takes on a very personal meaning to me. I have been crying daily because of the situation we are in with this sweet little boy. Honestly it is so hard to watch his parents sit back and do nothing to try to get him back. I cannot imagine not having a fight in you for your own children. It breaks my heart and lays heavily on me in this season. I know I will move pass it and be able to live in thankfulness that God rescued him from neglect into our loving home. But for now I sit in ashes and dust. My heart grieves for the entire situation.

 Plus this is the season of Lent where we do reflect intentionally a bit more on the heaviness of the cross. The weight of it, how God loved us so much He went to the cross despising the shame yet doing it for the joy set before Him so you and I can be free in Him. How amazing He would bear every sin we would ever commit, every pain, every tear. What a horrific thing, yet He did it in great intense love for us. May that love change us. May we live our lives bearing our own crosses and follow in His example. He is our Everything! 

Remember your word to your servant,
in which you have made me hope.

Honestly in tough seasons this is the only thing that gets me by. As I remember what He has already done and the words of promise He has given us. I wait in hope. It sustains me. Is there something specific you can share here where His promises has given you hope?

This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.
Again the only comfort I have in affliction is His word, His promises to me. They are what truly give life to the full despite our circumstances.

The insolent utterly deride me  but I do not turn away from your law.
There will always be those who are prideful and think they know best for us. Don't get me wrong, there is wisdom in many counselors like the Proverbs says, however, make sure they line up with HIS word. No matter what do not turn from His law. In faith move in those steps even if you have to do it alone. There are some hard decisions we are having to make at this time in our lives. We must do it in faith despite what others say. They do not always know the entire situation at hand and cannot view it in the proper perspective. The narrow road is not easy but completely worth it.

When I think of your rules from of old,I take comfort, O Lord.
I do indeed find comfort in His rules. From His laws. From His promises. They are to protect and sustain us. He is good. His ways are right. Let us be quick to follow in them.

Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked, who forsake your law.
I love this verse because this is how I am feeling about the wickedness I am experiencing in my life first hand from the consequences of others. This hot indignation means literally in the Hebrew, raging or burning heat. I feel these emotions intensely now and I find comfort in this because God is not afraid of my emotion, He can handle it, David felt it so it is normal. 

Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning.
Oh that as we walk the path before us, His words fill us with songs in our heart. May we continually praise Him for His wonderful word to us.

I remember your name in the night, O Lord,and keep your law. This blessing has fallen to me, that I have kept your precepts.
When life is hard and I cannot sleep because of it, I will remember His law and dwell on it. I will keep it fully because I am in Christ. Where I mess up, Christ has paid the price for that so I can get up and walk it out again because He exchanged His life for mine. So in the great exchange I have kept His precepts because I am hidden in HIM. Oh how glorious that is!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Psalm 119 - Week 6


I am loving the study of this Psalm. I pray it is fruitful for you too. Of course any study of HIS word is. Just keep it up. I am asking the Holy Spirit to really speak to us this week and move hugely in our hearts. I love how the Spirit loves bringing glory to Jesus. Let us see Him clearer this week as we study. May it please Him to open our hearts.

Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord,
your salvation according to your promise;

First, I just praise our Savior in this. His love did come down to us through Jesus Christ in the flesh. And His salvation came upon a cross, for the joy of our salvation on the other side of it. He was raised up defeating all sin and death. He exchanged His righteousness for our sin stained lives. This amazes me. This is true love. This is the true love that is steadfast. We did nothing, He did everything! May we see this more and more in the depths of our hearts and be grateful!

then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.

God's word is true. He is faithful. He does what He promises. We have His reputation. We can trust in Him even when an enemy tries to slander us. We are His. He is our defender. He gave us His reputation. That is enough. By Faith we believe this because of what He has done.

And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for my hope is in your rules. I will keep your law continually, forever and ever and I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts.

Though the Psalmist speaks of hope in these rules, we must remember the Jesus is the word. Our hope really is in HIM. What He has done for us. Period. This is not a legalistic rule keeping phrase. We will keep His law continually as He has written it on our hearts by His Spirit. Yet we cannot do it in our own strength, and not perfectly. We must submit to the Holy Spirit and out of the love we have for Christ, seek to follow Him. He leads and guides us in this. I like how he calls it a wide place. His commands are not burdensome in Christ. It is a wide place of peace, not restrictive like legalists or moralists would like to have you believe.

 I will also speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame, for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love.

When God's word is what really matters then it does not matter who you are up in front of, the love of His word and His testimonies will be enough to share. In doing this we cannot be put to shame in God's eyes. Share it! We must if we love it.

I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.

Oh that His word would be a joy to meditate on and focus our thoughts on! Oh that we would love them and our idle thoughts would move toward them!

What did God illuminate to you this week? What stood out to you?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Emotional Roller Coaster of Sin in Families

The basic institution of the family is falling apart. Everyone suffers for it. I am especially saddened because I am seeing it more and more within my peer group. As I look around there are people my parents age taking full time care of their grandchildren. This should not be! Parents need to step up and be what God calls them to be.

Because of this we see the number of at risk kids rising, we see the number of orphans in incredible numbers. This is not only a problem for those who are poor. The rich also have this issue. Kids are raising themselves today. Parents are starting to fall into the trap of selfishness more and more. It is astounding to me to look around and see this. It is not okay. Kids need to be nurtured, loved, trained, and cared for. It is a full time job that is vital for humanity.

I think this is why this season with our little guy is so emotional for me. Every diaper I change, or nose I wipe, every sleepless night I sacrifice saddens me. Not because it is hard, we can do hard. Hard is what God is calling us to. Yet the sadness comes because I realize this should have been his mother's joy. Her opportunity to serve and nurture. Yet she decided to chose her own way instead. It breaks my heart.

People today say they love with their lips but really where is the action of love? What is accomplished when you are unwilling to fight for your kids? Honestly the pain of it all is frustrating. What do you say one day when they ask, "why am I not with my birth parents?" I guess the appropriate response is because of sin. Everyone has a choice.

This also is not a surprise to God. He commands His children to care for the orphans. This would include the orphans of the living who belong to all of the parents who just don't care enough to raise their kids. As we obey this command and step in He is pleased. I feel God's pleasure in it yet I also feel His grief (because of the sin). Yet it is so important for everyone to know that we do this because He first did the same for us.

When we believe in faith what He did for us we are fully adopted into His kingdom. There is no going back, He will not disown us. We are forever His, in His family. We are secure. I just want our little guy to feel this with us and our family so later he can come to learn and appreciate fully adoption that Christ desires for Him. I pray He sees Christ's love through our care for Him. I pray He will know that though His parents took the easy road of sin God had others step in because He deeply cares for him.

So when I cry daily these tears because of the result of sinful consequences that are altering his life I know God sees and hears. Every prayer, every tear, every burden He lets me carry to His throne. He died for this. He is bringing about restoration. Whether through getting ahold of his biological parents (which can happen because nothing is impossible with HIM) or through adoption by us. God is leading this. His hand is on this little guy. He cares for him. We just get the privilege of sitting back and watching God's plan unfold. And when I continue to see His parents chose sin over Him I can be thankful that Jesus chose a sinless life and painful death for us all. He is the representation of the perfect Father. May we all look to Him in the process. We are all sinners, just some of us are redeemed by His great grace.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Psalm 119 - Week 5

So thankful for those of us persevering through! Study of God's word will be a blessing to you. Hang in there and keep up the diligence!

Spurgeon says about this section, "A sense of dependence and a consciousness of extreme need pervade this section, which is all made up of prayer and plea." I don't know about you but I am in continual extreme need it seems. Which is not a bad thing because it should draw you to God for dependence. That is when we personally experience Him most.

As we experience God more personally our faith is built up. Can you imagine the mighty King David, a man after God's own heart being needy like this? Well he was and if someone like him can be humbled enough to admit that need I think we would be good too as well.

Father, help us understand your word rightly, apply it to our lives, and grow in our relationship with you through it.

 Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end.
We need our Lord to open our eyes and teach us His word. We cannot rightly understand it without HIM. He does this through the Holy Spirit that resides in us who believe.

Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.
Oh that we may understand His law rightly so we can keep it! May we observe it not with a divided heart but with our whole hearts. Desiring to please Him in all things.

Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.
Oh that we may delight in His word!! Can you say this? If not pray this verse. God will move your heart to delight in His word. He will lead us in it. He hears and answers according to His will.

Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!
Oh how our hearts are wicked beyond reason. Oh how the depths of them are beyond what we even know! We must ask God to incline us to Him and His word not for what we get from it but for His glory!

Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.
There are so many things that are worthless that take up our time. Things we wast our time on, may we ask God to give us a desire to stop them. May we truly find true life in HIS ways alone. May we be more concerned about His glory than our own selfish desires and gain. We NEED Him to do this. We cannot do it on our own. We must lean and depend on HIM.

Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared. 
Oh the fear of God. It is lost today. People just sin freely and think nothing of God like spitting in His face. When we grow in His word and believe it as truth more and more we begin to have a right fear of Him. It is right to see Him in His holiness and desire to be holy as He is. His word and the Spirit move our hearts to this.

Turn away the reproach that I dread, for your rules are good.
Persecution or not, God's rules are good and we must have faith in that. Even under mocking and trial. This is a plea for God to turn this away from us. It is dreadful.

Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life! Do we long for His precepts like this? Like we would long for other things? Oh Lord may it be so. This is life, living according to HIS word! May He grant us this ability!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

In a Month Your Life Can Drastically Change - Meeting Little Man

One month ago today we met our little man for the first time. When my friend Kara asked me to find families for these boys my heart was struck. I knew it was something we had to consider or pray about. It was so strange because a month prior to this she asked me if we would consider it and I said, "There is no way, I am sick with Lyme now and cannot even think about this."

This time however I was now well. She did not know this and was not considering us this time. But I knew. So I talked to my husband and we started praying. His thought was, I am not going to turn away any kid in need. It is what we are suppose to do. My thought was, Once I meet him I will know.

Well, on the 8th of January one day before his birthday we met him and fell in love. He is an absolutely amazing little guy. I knew in that short time he would fit very well into our family. With his little unique qualities I could see how perfect he would blend. The girls were excited too.

Off to court we went and in a whirlwind, two court dates, a home study, collecting boy stuff, putting together a room, and baby proofing. I cannot believe it has been a month! And now our lives will never be the same. We are all better for knowing him and bringing him into our family.

Heart ache has been very real too because things keep coming up about his family, more things that need to be worked on for them to be stable. I struggle emotionally because I want to see them fight for their sweet kids. I cannot imagine not pulling my life together for this little guy. Please pray for them. Whether we end up having him for the long run or he gets to go back to them, either way a child wants their biological family to be ok. Especially if they get to see them on a regular basis. I know this and watching at this point is heart breaking.

But in the meantime we take one day at a time. I am blessed over and over by him. I can see God's hand all over this guy. I cannot wait to see the plans he has for him. Where people hear his story we get to share Christ. It is a great witness for His glory. God amazes me so. Knowing just three months ago this guy was homeless, now he is overflowing with clothes, toys, food, and shelter. That is the amazing work of God, Jehovah - Jireh who provides. I am so thankful I get to have a front row seat. May He be praised!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Psalm 119 - Week 4


Listen to this song. It is so appropriate for this section of this Psalm. And after all Psalms are songs. We all fall into times where we feel like we may drown or fall apart but this next section is helpful for us in those times. It gives us hope. The Psalmist remembers His God and the promises in His word despite the circumstances. We would be good to do this as well. God is the same, He does not change.

The Treasury of David by Spurgeon says this of this section, " Here, it seems to me, we have the Psalmist in trouble bewailing the bondage to earthly things in which he finds his mind to be held. His soul cleaves to the dust, melts for heaviness, and cries for enlargement from its spiritual prison. In these verses we shall see the influence of the divine word upon a heart which laments its downward tendencies, and is filled with mourning because of its deadening surroundings."

 My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!

Honestly we cannot have life to the full unless we are living by His word. It is never about restrictions but true freedom. It is truth that sets us free, His word is truth. We can truly fly when we abide by it. However, this truth cannot be understood unless by a person who is truly redeemed by His blood.

1-Give an example when you felt your soul clinging to the dust and then how God's word revived your spirit.

When I told of my ways, you answered me; teach me your statutes!
Confession is so healing. Here the psalmist is finding freedom in it. For God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. I find it much easier to work with those who are humble than those who are proud. Do you find this to be true as well?

Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works.

Truth is we cannot fully understand God's word without the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He will reveal these truths to us. Because the Word is a living word the Spirit will reveal more and more to us as we grow to deeper understanding of His word. We must pray and ask God to help us understand and how we can apply His words to our lives. Also we must pray that we love it.

My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!
In sorrow we can truly find rest and peace in His word. It does strengthen us!

2-Give and example of a particular passage that has strengthened you.

Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law!

My pastor shared an interesting Scripture the other day and it applies here. This is God speaking, "It is I who kept you from sinning against me" (Genesis 20:6). This struck my heart deeply. We do have a personal responsibility to take the way out when we are tempted to sin (1 Corinthians 10:13). Yet God can also keep us from sinning. We must pray for God to, "Lead us not to temptation" yet God never tempts us to sin personally (James 1:13). Interesting. And as I stated above we must ask Him to reveal His truth to us. To teach us. We are blessed on this side of the cross because we have the Holy Spirit to teach us.

I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me.
We do indeed have a choice and it would be good to follow in the psalmists footsteps and chose the way of faithfulness. That is one thing that God does give us, the right to chose. We have a freewill. He did not want robots. He wants us and true relationship with people who truly love Him for Him. To truly love Him we must set His word before us. May it be our delight!

I cling to your testimonies, O LORD;  let me not be put to shame!
If we truly cling to Him and His ways we will not be put to shame. Regardless. We must trust this and that His was is right. As stated before we must be diligent about keeping His commands. Even when it is difficult.

I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!
I will end with Spurgeon here. About this verse he says, "When thou shalt enlarge my heart. Yes, the heart is the master; the feet soon run when the heart is free and energetic. Let the affections be aroused and eagerly set on divine things, and our actions will be full of force, swiftness, and delight. God must work in us first, and then we shall will and do according to his good pleasure. He must change the heart, unite the heart, encourage the heart, strengthen the heart, and enlarge the heart, and then the course of the life will be gracious, sincere, happy, and earnest; so that from our lowest up to our highest state in grace we must attribute all to the free favour of our God. We must run; for grace is not an overwhelming force which compels unwilling minds to move contrary to their will: our running is the spontaneous leaping forward of a mind which has been set free by the hand of God, and delights to show its freedom by its bounding speed."

Last week we did not get as much comment participation though I know people are viewing this. Please feel free to enter into the discussion! We need one another. Praying for each of you!!  

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Winner is........

Cherie Z! Congrats girl. I will be contacting you for your address to get it right out to you!!

I put all the names in a hat to draw one and little man pulled out the slip. Come back next month for another drawing for another prize! Thanks for entering!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February Give Away - Let Love Reign


This month we are giving away this beautiful piece from my friend Janelle at Grace tags. She makes beautiful jewelry that I love because I love little reminders about God that are tangible for different reasons. There are many wonderful designs. 
Janelle has sweetly donated one of these for this give away. I chose this one because it reminds me that love covers over a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8). Love is the way. Love is what saved us because of that Love Christ went to the cross for us. Because He loves us so we can in turn pour that love out on others.

1-For an entry just leave a comment about why you like this particular design.
2-For an additional entry I would like you to visit Grace Tags and share here what your favorite design is.
3-For one more additional entry I would like you to promote Grace Tags on your facebook page or twitter and let me know you did that.
The contest will run from today until  Saturday the fourth at midnight. This will be a good gift for Valentines day! So spread the word!
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