Monday, March 30, 2009

My Thoughts Are Not Your Thoughts

As I sit here wondering what to say, I really don't know what I'm going to write, but I guess I mostly want to share what God has been teaching me through his Word. His Word has always been our only source of truth, but I have needed it so desperately these past couple of days, as it has been easy to fill my mind with untrue thoughts....

Our family received the news that my Grandpa decided to take his own life on Saturday morning. Our family has truly been blessed thus far to have not experienced any close family deaths, so this was a first for many of us. The grief that came over me was not like any I had experienced before. There have been many tears for so many different reasons....the pain my mom, grandma, and aunt are feeling above all others, the fact that I can do nothing to take their pain and sorrow away, and the sad realization of the despair and loneliness my grandpa must have been feeling before he took his life.

The only place I had to turn was the Word of God....which is truly the source of all comfort and truth. It was so easy for me to not want to trust that this is all part of God's good plan. There are so many "whys" I could ask, but it would be to no avail. I realize that I can't understand the thoughts of the Lord, and that the ways he chooses to bring about his perfect plan are not going to be the ways I would choose.

The pastor at church ended his sermon with these verses yesterday, which penetrated my heart, as I was struggling with these thoughts the day before: ""For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."" ~Isaiah 55:8-9~ ... As the heavens are higher than the earth!! God's ways are FAR above any ways man might think of!!!

May we echo with Paul and Isaiah, "OH, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For 'Who has known the mind the Lord, or who became his couselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to Him again?' For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen" ~Romans 11:33-36~

May the suffering and greiving echo the words of David..."I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord." ~Psalm 27:13-14~

May the dear women in my life who are suffering more than myself take great comfort in the only one who can comfort, our Great Shepherd.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quite waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides in the paths of righteousness
For His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for you are with me.
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me
All the days of my life.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
~Psalm 23~
And one thing I would ask of you, as my sister has also asked (on her blog) is that you would PLEASE PRAY! That is the only thing we can do right now. Please pray for: the salvation of the lost; for my mom, aunt, and grandmother to have no regrets, for the Lord planned out all his days before there were none; for wisdom in dicisions that need to be made; for comfort and peace from the Lord in the midst of suffering; for any physical pain that may accompany the emotional pain; and ultimately, that the Lord's glory may shine bright through the midst of an otherwise dark situation.
Praise to Jesus Christ for the great hope we have through the suffering of His son! May the Lord come quickly!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

House Pictures!

Well...for those of you who I have been telling I would put pictures up of our has finally happened!! Pictures sometimes make things look better...and sometimes worse, but this should give you a good idea.

Here are a couple of before pics...the first one gives you an idea of the height of the ceilings.

Here is one view of the living room from the front door....And the whole view from the front door...the dining room isn't as squished as it looks

This is obviously the other view :)This is our kitchen....just big enough for Aaron and I to maneuver around each other! It is small, but suits our needs just fine!This is the lovely master bath area...there are four doors that go into it!! One to the shower, one to the closet, one the the bedroom, and one to the hallway. (The bedroom is off to the right).And last but not least, our bedroom!

Sorry for all the detail, but that's for the family :). The baby/guest room has not been redone and is scattered with my sewing things right now, so I will post a picture of it a little later. And the hallway bath is not finished and you can't really get a good pic of a bathroom anyway! :)

Before I sign out, I just want to say we are sooo thankful to the Lord and to Aaron's parents (who are greatly helpfing us live here) for this wonderful home! We feel incredibly blessed! God would still be the awesome God that he is, even if we didn't have all these blessings, but we give Him all the praise for what he has given us. last really neat testimony of how God has provided above and beyond! Aaron and I had some spare time on Saturday and decided to browse Craig's List for a baby crib (just for fun of course) We weren't expecting to buy anything so soon, but we found what we thought was a great deal! Someone was selling a crib and changing table (oak) for real cheap, and it looked like it was in good condition. These items were located about 45 min. away, but we called our good family friends who live there to see if they would be willing to check it out. Well, not only did they check it out, but they bought it for us so we wouldn't have to go get it and brought it to church the next day. When Aaron tried to pay them for it, they said it was their gift to us!!! We couldn't believe it, and were SO grateful!! Praise the Lord!

We realize our lives our abundant, and it is our prayer that we would never become to comfortable or possessive of what the LORD has given us! May we always be looking for ways to bless others just as the Lord has used others to bless us!

Give Us Clean Hands. Give Us Pure Hearts.

"Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood, and has not sworn deceitfully." ~Psalm 24:3-4~

Clean hands and a pure heart? Right motives and actions toward others? Using my hands (time) for the glory of the Lord? Do these things characterize me?

These were the questions running through my head this morning as I read this Psalm, and I am ashamed to say the answer to every question was "not nearly enough". I took the time this morning to think back on my week so far, and realized how easy it is to forget about my Creator in the midst of serving his creatures. So, yes, I may have been doing "good" things with my hands, but I often was doing them for myself. My heart is often far from pure. It is self-serving and proud. How easy it is to forget my first love! As I repent and pray for a changed heart and Christ-centered motives, I am realizing how true it is that I can do no good on my own! It is only because of the perfect righteousness of Christ that I am able to glorify my Father.

Praise the Lord for his forgiveness and his constant faithfullness. The battle between my flesh and the spirit will never cease until the day of glory, but praise the Lord my salvation is not conditional, but secure. I have great confidence, because the Lord has predestined His saints to become conformed to the image of His Son...and those whome he predistined, He also called; and those whom he called, he also justified; and those whom He justified, He also glorified." (Romans 8:29-30) Paul states all those things in the past tense, as if they are already done for me!!!! It is because they are forever sure!! Believers are part of His kingdom forever and ever, and we are being transformed each day until we are glorified.

My heart overflows with immense joy over this! May we strive to have clean hands and a pure heart, and to NOT give priority to anything or anyone above our Lord!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Temptation for Our Good

As I was listening to our message yesterday morning on the omnipresence of God, I realized that there are many times throughout the week and even each day that I do not act as if God is right there with me. The funny (or not so funny) thing is that I thought the same thing last week after the message on the Omniscience of God...I don't live as if God knows EVERYTHING I do and even think!!

I was convicted last Sunday, but I am ashamed to say I didn't act on that conviction by truly repenting. It saddens me that I didn't take to heart the truths I have been learning in scripture. A whole nother week went by and I often neglected to think about obeying and glorifying the Lord in all that I do! Wether I was lazy and took twice as long to clean or organize, or I spent too much time browsing the internet, or I got sucked into a book when I should have been meal planning and making a gorcery list...etc. You get the idea

Well, yesterday's message was like a good spanking! And this morning's desire to once again be lazy was another spanking. I couldn't believe how easy it was to be temted to get on the computer and see what's going on with friends and family, wether it be blogs of facebook or email. Those things aren't bad in and of themselves, but they should never be a priority in my day! I can't live each day thinking my time is my is the LORD'S time! He has given me every minute of every day as a gift to serve him in ALL that do. How exciting should that be??? SOOOO exciting!! How precious that my heavenly Father chose me before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in Him! And He is the one who causes me to be those things!

I was reading today in Romans 8 and was specifically studying verse 28 in MacArthurs Romans commentary: "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." I was discouraged this morning by my temptation to and even giving in to what I was purposing not to do! I couldn't believe I was so easily enticed by my sin. BUT, I realized what pride was in my heart. Who am I to think I can overcome sin so easily, for I can do NOTHING good apart from the power of Christ working in me! Yes, there was much more I could have done to flee from the temptation, but even then, I should never give credit to all belongs the the Lord.
John MacArthur said something in his commentary that really impacted me this morning:

"God [even] uses the evil of temptation as a means of bringing good to His people. Just as suffering is not good in itself, neither, of course, is temptation. But, as is the case with suffering, the Lord is able to use temptation for our benifit. Temptation should drive us to our knees in prayer and cause us to ask God for strength to resist. When an animal sees a predator, he runs or flies as fast as he can to a place of safety. That should the Christian's response when he is confronted by temptation. It should cause the godly believer to flee to the Lord for protection.

God can also cause temptation to work for our good by using it to devastate spiritual pride. When we struggle with temptation , we know that, in ourselves, we are still subject the the allurements and defilements of sin. And when we try to resist it in our own power, we quickly discover how pwerless against it we are in ourselves."

My pride has been humbled and my heart has been renewed. Sin will always be a battle, but God will use it for my good and it is with his Word and righteous power that I can overcome it!
~Thy Word have I treasured in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee.~ Ps. 119:11

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Making Music in Our Home

I just had to share with you how the Lord has been SO good to us and given us a blessing we never expected. We have been talking for quite some time now about getting a piano, and now that we can fit one in our home, we were going to start looking for one, but weren't really sure what we could afford or if we could afford a decent one.

Well, last Sunday, a young guy in our church asked us if we would be interested in storing/using his piano. He lives in an apartment and has no where to store it without paying for the Lord led him to ask US!! Aaron checked it out and the next day a bunch of guys maneuvered it up our stared right into our living room!! It playes great for an old spinut and it has already been so much fun (especially for my husband!) to be able to play for fun at home and practice at home! I should be able to start taking lessons again soon, and hopefully even teach a few students myself. God is so good!! And who knows...maybe in the end our friend would rather have us pay him for it instead of give it back :). Either way, we are so thankful to the Lord for this blessing, wether it be temporary or long-term!!!
Here is a picture...sorry for all the junk on the floor :)
And of course, I can't really resist putting pictures up of my adorable niece (and handsome husband)...we turned her into one cool girl on Friday while mommy and daddy had the stomach flu (poor things)!

"What you looking at?"