Tuesday, October 12, 2010

End Notes

After arriving home from ladies' Bible study this morning, I realized we'd left loose ends in Sunday school, Young Adult Fellowship, and this morning's study.  Here are the resources and biblical references I didn't have on hand when they came up in discussion:

Sunday School—Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp: Here’s a book that biblically confronts the deceit of self-esteem: Raising Unselfish Children in a Self-Absorbed World by Jill Rigby http://www.amazon.com/Raising-Unselfish-Children-Self-Absorbed-World/dp/141655842X.

Young Adult Fellowship—Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges: The book, The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence was mentioned. Inside the cover it says, “‘Lord of all pots and pans and things…Make me a saint by getting meals and washing up the plates!’ Thus Brother Lawrence was able to turn even the most commonplace and menial task into a living hymn to the glory of God.”  http://www.amazon.com/Practice-Presence-God-Brother-Lawrence/dp/0800785991

Ladies’ Bible Study—The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges: Amos was referred to this morning as an example of someone who was taught by God (i.e. Titus 2:11-12 “…the grace of God…teaches us….”.) The reference is Amos 7:14-15.

Household management—my top pick is Bonnie’s Household Organizer by Bonnie McCollough. There are a lot of good resources out there! Although this is an older book, it is family-centered (not house centered) and has more practical ideas than I could ever use--there's always something I can improve on even if I learn s-l-o-w-l-y.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Quiet Discovery

I woke with a song this morning--more than that of the lovely owl who hooted in the dawn through our open window--there was a tune in my head...and words.  A tune and words I hadn't heard before.  The clock read 4:01.  And, instead of saying "Speak, Lord, for your servant hears,"  I seem to recall saying, "You've got to be kidding, Lord.  It's 4:00 a.m."

And the song continued.  I thought about stopping it and rolling over, but the thought that we actually have a notation program on the computer stopped me.  I tried recalling the notes and words--perhaps I would remember them at a more godly hour (!).   But the prompting in my head said, "Obedience is obedience--no matter what time of day."

So, I climbed out of bed, made a pot of coffee, fed the cat (who wakes me routinely at 4:30--my husband's cat, mind you), and sat down at the computer with ear buds.  It's not an earth shattering, gotta-hear-it-cause-it's-the-next-Keith-and-Kristyn-Getty-song (http://www.gettymusic.com/).  But it's the gift God gave this morning.

And the realization came that, after reading a brief encouragement in World magazine (http://www.worldmag.com/index.cfm, October 9th issue), I stopped listening to audio books as much this week.  And, in the quiet, God spoke.  Maybe not when I would like, but in the quiet, unbroken hours. 

So stop already.  Make some quiet in your life today.  Wait and listen.  God is there.

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 59:16

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Repentance or Remorse? You Choose

How often we say or do something we wish we could change later!  Some of us go to great lengths to fix a problem we've created--perhaps we slandered someone and that person found out, perhaps we denied a situation existed only to suffer the consequences later.  No matter what the offense, we have two choices.  We can admit our sin and turn to God, through Jesus, for forgiveness.  Or we can try to fix the problem ourselves.

Matthew 26:69-27:10

v. 75, 3-5: And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself.

Observation: Our sin is manifested personally, with huge consequences. No one else shares my guilt. No one else shares my despair. No one else shares my penalty. Sin is real. The results of sin are real. Both Peter and Judas sinned against Jesus personally. Both of them sinned against Jesus publicly. Both of them felt great remorse and shame and despair. But Peter knew Christ enough—had the grace to return to Jesus—and receive forgiveness. For Judas there was no faith that Jesus would forgive and receive. There was no returning. There was only death.

Application: Repentance is a repetitive act of faith in returning to the Lord Jesus Christ for acceptance and forgiveness. Repentance does not erase the sin, but Jesus covers the sin. Repentance  does not remove the consequences, but Jesus provides Himself through the consequences. Repentance does not apply to anyone but myself. The opposite of repentance is remorse—grief over having to suffer the consequences apart from the faith to return to Christ humiliated and stricken. Repetitive repentance grows and demonstrates faith. Peter chose repentance. Judas chose remorse.  It is the appeal to man for acceptance and removal of consequences that hinders faith and brings destruction.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Have you ever been so consumed with a thought, or a problem, or a person that you struggled to get something, anything, done?  That is an annoyance of the human condition--to be overcome, emotionally, and struggle to get free.  As I read today's Scripture, I couldn't help but think that this woman was consumed with thoughts of Jesus and a driving passion to love and honor Him.  And, no, in this case, its was not an annoyance, but a God-directed prompting that could not be put aside.

Matthew 26:6-35

v. 10: But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me.”

Observation: The woman who anointed Jesus with the costly perfume did it because she loved Jesus. Her thoughts were no doubt consumed with Jesus and she could not think of anything less. She could not do the next thing until she had expressed her love for Jesus.

Application: How often am I so consumed with love for Jesus that I must do something to serve Him? How often am I so burdened to do something, anything, for Jesus that I can do nothing else until that has been accomplished? Is my life characterized by Jesus-centered words and actions? No. Too often it is full of self: self-focused thoughts, self-focused actions, self-focused plans and agendas. How does this change? Jesus said, "Ask and you shall receive" (Matthew 7:7).
So, is it simply in the asking that God will grant my request?  Yes, if it is aligned with His will (1 John 5:14). I know it is because I have the assurance of His Word that He wants me to love Him with all my mind, soul, and strength (Matthew 22:37-38).  So, I'm asking.  God, will You change my focus, my thoughts, my goals, my words until You are at the center—the only One at the center--and I am peripheral. If I were simply the tool, the vessel, the conduit withYou as the content— the way You've always intended—what a different life it would be…. To make Christ seen, known, preeminent. Be the center, Lord, be my passion.