Thursday, April 25, 2013

Things to be thankful for...

Recently I read a small book about the sovereignty of God in the sweet and bitter times of life. What a blessing that was to read...

To remember that God is working all things for good. Anxiousness adds nothing to our lives. It only takes away. It drains us. But if God cares for the grass and lilies of the field {and He does}~ what have we to worry about?

Aren't we showing that we don't believe there is a God in those moments? Could worry show a momentary atheism?

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. {Matthew 6:31-33}

What if, instead of worry, I were thankful for each moment God gives. Seeing that He is everything we need.  And knowing that He loves His beloved far more than we can imagine. His sovereign hand is ruling everything... and it is all for our good and His glory.

That truth gives hope, yes?

I found this in A Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent (yes... I'm enjoying this book so much! :-) )...
This is a wonderful list of things we can be thankful for.

1. My God is immense beyond imagination. He measured the entire universe with merely the span of His hand. {Isaiah 40:12}

2. He is unimaginably awesome in all of His perfections, absolutely righteous, holy, and just in all of His ways. {Deuteronomy 32:3-4}

3. He has also been unbelievably good and merciful to me as the Creator and Sustainer of my life.

4. Every breath, every heartbeat, every function of every organ in my body is a gift from Him.

5. Every legitimate pleasure I experience is a gift from His loving hand to me. {1 timothy 6:17, Acts 14:17}

6. All that I am and all that I have I owe to Him and to His goodness. {James 1:17}

7. My life in every way is, and will continue to be utterly dependent upon Him in whom I love and have my being. {Acts 17:28

8. This wonderful God is the most supremely worthy Object of admiration, honor, and delight in all of the universe; {Psalm 96:3-7, Revelation 4:11, Psalm 16:11, Psalm 37:4}

9. And He has created me with the intention that I might glorify Him by finding my soul's delight in Him and by living in joyful obedience to Him in all of my ways.{Psalm 37:4, Deuteronomy 5:28-29}

We have a great God. We have a sovereign God. And we have much to be thankful for, friends!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

~All Things Crucified~

This morning I sat at the end of my bed before joining my family at the breakfast table. Picking up a new book I recently bought called A Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent. I read. Read until my eyes rested on these words:

"... When called to do something I don't want to do, I must die. When I wish to be selfish and serve no one, I must die. When shattered by hardships that I despise, I must die. When wanting to cling to wrongs done against me, I must die. When enticed by allurements of the world, I must die. When wishing to keep besetting sins secret, I must die. When wants that are borderline needs are left unmet, I must die. When dreams that are good seem shoved aside, I must die.

"Not My will, but Yours be done," Christ trustingly prayed on the eve of His crucifixion; and preaching His story to myself each day puts me in a frame of mind to trust God and embrace the cross of my own dying also."

I know that could sound gloomy, but it was exactly what I needed to read. And I have had many opportunities to put this in to practice today. What peace it brings!

Saying yes to all my Father brings me each day... saying no, to the road of ease.

I could write on, but this is something I'm learning and grasping. Instead of writing more I'll leave you with this verse to ponder along with me...

"...He said to all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me." ~Luke 9:23

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Caring, loving, and speaking for those who cannot.

It was late 2012. I sat in church listening to a missionary share about her mission work in Brazil.

I was at a point in my life of desperately wanting to get into something mission related. The desire to see shackled souls freed, and spread the joy and peace that the gospel brings and rescue and care for the orphan...

As this missionary talked and answered questions, it lead to the topic of children that go missing in the streets of Brazil. Children who go missing from child sacrifice in black magic. My heart broke and the urge to rescue these precious children bubbled within me...

And then it occurred to me. Right here, right now in my own country and in my own backyard thousands of innocent lives are being slaughtered on the alter of pleasure. How can I turn a blind eye to this? Should I not be faithful to combat the evil that is at hand, right where I am?!

That's when the Lord showed me something that He cared about deeply and something He wanted me to care about as well. He patiently took me through misgivings and fears and in an amazing way lead me straight to volunteering at a pregnancy resource center.

The facts of abortion and the extent of it is staggering and incredibly grieving...

"America, as a nation, is highly committed by law and by practice to a form of mass murder…. This nation, which certainly prides itself on its humanitarianism, is in a murderous cycle of violence that makes the Nazi Holocaust look mild by comparison. Nearly 2,000,000 babies are aborted a year in America. Every third baby conceived now is being murdered. Among teenage women there are 736 abortions for every 1,000 births. Among married women abortions now exceed births! More babies are killed than are born. Some would tell us that there is an abortion about every 15 seconds in America." -John MacArthur

So I share all of this for a few reasons...

To encourage any of you with a heart for reaching out to the hurting, to pray specifically for God to show you ways to help. God will answer your prayers for direction even if you don't think the road He's taking you on is exactly what you had in mind at first!

Remind yourself of the promises of God so that  fear and your feeling of inadequacy won't grip you and hold you back from the joy of serving. Over and over God uses weak people in the Bible. He still does. His grace is sufficient.

Ask God to open your eyes to the cry of the innocent. There are so many ways to reach out. Not only is abortion a huge issue, but modern day slavery is sweeping this world with injustice and cruelty like never before. There are many ways to help right in your near surroundings. May our hearts beat for what our heavenly Father's heart beats for, and may we each in our sphere of influence be the hands and feet of our Savior to spread His immeasurable joy and the good news of the gospel to all!

Open your mouth for the speechless, 
In the cause of all who are appointed to die.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And plead the cause of the poor and needy. 

~Proverbs 31:8-9

After writing this I listened to a talk given by David Mathis on Mission and Disciple Making. I highly recommend it!! Super encouraging and goes along the lines of the "heart" of this post. :)