Thursday, September 29, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Psalm 23 is probably one of the first passages of Scripture little children who grow up in church learn, whether in Sunday school or at home. I know it was most likely one of the first passages I memorized. And it’s probably one of the most familiar Psalms, with most adults being able to quote, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…”
Because this Psalm is so familiar, I think it tends to become less meaningful. Not that the words are not meaningful or powerful, they certainly are! However, we don’t stop to actually think about the words or what they are really saying. We just kind of think, Oh yeah, “The Lord is my Shepherd…” and go on to repeat the words we have known since childhood.
This past week, God brought this familiar Psalm to mind. He reminded to take time to think about each and every line, to apply these truths to my life, and to act on the precious promises He has given me.
The Lord is my shepherd,
God will take care of me. I am His sheep, and He takes the time to search for one lost sheep, so He will certainly make sure that I am safe and sound. I need not worry or fear, but simply follow wherever He leads. Not only is He my shepherd; He is the GOOD Shepherd. He laid down His life for me so that I could be His child, so I can be confident that He will continue to love and protect and care for me every day now that I am His daughter.
I shall not want.
God will meet every single one of my needs. I may not have everything I want, but I will definitely have all that I need. Not only that, God usually blesses me with more than enough. So be thankful for all that He has given me, all that He has done for me. Live in gratitude, for He has blessed me abundantly. I may feel as though I am in a state of “want” right now, but I am not. I have to remember what He taught me about perspective a few days ago. When I do that, I realize how truly rich I am!
He makes me lie down in green pastures
Green pastures, not dry brown ones. No, He takes me where the grass is lush and fresh, where there is plenty to eat. He shows me the good stuff and gives me what is best.
And leads me beside quiet waters.
Quiet waters, not rushing rivers that will pull me under. No, gentle streams where I can drink and be filled, where I can rest and be refreshed. This is especially timely given the message our pastor gave a couple weeks ago when he told the story of Jesus and His disciples caught in the storm. I mentioned how I could relate to the disciples feeling as if they were going to perish and drown in the raging waters. Yet, here I am reminded that God leads me beside quiet waters. Granted, the water is still moving; He wouldn’t take me to stagnant water that is putrid and contaminated. The water is fresh and delicious, satisfying my thirst. After all, He is the Living Water!
He refreshes my soul.
Ah, peace. New strength. Hope. He speaks to me and quiets my worried heart. He wipes away my tears. He comforts my anxious mind. He wraps His arms around me and invites me to sit at His feet, to lay all of my burdens down and enjoy sweet fellowship with Him. To rest in His presence. To “be still and know He is God.”
He guides me along the right paths, for His name’s sake.
He is guiding me, not letting me wander aimlessly. He has a plan, a purpose, one that is for His glory. And so, no matter how rocky or narrow or steep or uphill, the path I am on is the one He has led me down. AND He has come with me. Further, He will continue to be with me, every step of the way (as long as I keep on following His lead). Keep on following Him to see where He is taking me, and to find out how all of it will result in His glory (and my ultimate good).
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
Yep, it sure feels like I am in a deep, dark valley. Yet, I can see because the Light of the World is guiding me. He is showing me glimpses of what is to come, of what is after this valley, of what we will see as we top the mountain up ahead. So, I am not alone. I can feel God holding my hand (like the song says, “Oh no, You never let go…You never let go of me!”) and guiding me each step of the way. And I have to keep on moving if I want to get through the valley. I can’t give up and quit because the going is tough. If I do that, I will stay in the valley. I want to climb this mountain and see the glorious future that lies ahead.
I will fear no evil, for You are with me.
The “Oh no, You never let go song,” seems to go perfectly with this line of the Psalm as later on we sang, “I will fear no evil, for my God is with me. And if my God is for me, whom then shall I fear?” As I sang, I pictured Satan up in my face as he has tried so hard to get me to fear and worry and doubt and give up through all that we have experienced recently. At times I certainly have done all of those things, but on Saturday night as I sang, I was punching Satan right in his ugly face and telling him, “Take that,” and “Get lost, loser!” It felt really, really good.
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Discipline isn’t always fun at the time, but God does it for our good. I have no idea for sure why God has allowed us to go through this valley, but I know that I have learned quite a bit during this phase of the journey. I have come to depend on God in a way I never have before, to rely fully on Him, to see my utter and total need for Him. And as God has come through for us, I have been greatly comforted, and amazed. I have grown in my relationship with Him, in a way I never could have if I had not gotten into the boat and begun to “cross over to the other side” with Jesus.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
God doesn’t wait for the enemy to leave, or for the bad times to necessarily end. Instead, He does good in the midst of them. And I have certainly experience that as God has not snapped His finger and “poof” made everything all better in one instant. Rather, He has daily met our needs and shown me that He is at work.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
He doesn’t just meet my needs, He supplies in abundance. My cup overflows. I have more than enough. I am blessed beyond measure!
Surely Your goodness and mercy/love will follow me all the days of my life,
All the days of my life, including this one, including this entire time of difficulty. God doesn’t disappear when times are tough. He doesn’t abandon me when I encounter trials. No, He pours out His faithfulness fresh every day. He shows me His goodness in ways I had never experienced before this. He helps me appreciate Him all the more!
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
What a promise! No matter what may come here on earth, my future is certain. And it is worth any struggle or trouble I face during this life. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Wow, I don’t think I thought through the Psalm like that when I memorized it so many years ago. I am glad God helped me slow down and take it line by line so that I could fully appreciate the meaning of David’s words. And apply them to my life, holding on to these precious promises and living each day as though I believe them to be true.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
As usual, and as our pastor says, "Where you are at in life is where you are at in the Word." So, so, so true.
Now this is one of those stories where you can know it backwards and forwards, teach the Sunday school lesson complete with flannel graph illustrations, and still learn something when you read it for the 10,000th time. In fact, I learned (or was reminded) of quite a few valuable lessons. Of course I felt obligated to share them with you :)
First lesson: In the version we used at church the story begins, "Now on one of those days, Jesus said to His disciples, 'Let's cross over to the other side of the lake.'" Pastor Michael talked about how he loved that it was "one of those days" and mentioned how some of us probably feel like we are having one of those days, or maybe even one of those weeks, or months, or lives really. Lawrence and I can certainly relate to the feeling of being in the midst of one of THOSE times right now. Work is kind of stressful for Lawrence, I have less daycare kiddos than planned so the budget is super tight, and we are getting ready for a new addition to the family, who know life goes. But, even on "one of the THOSE days," Jesus had a purpose for all that He did, a plan that would result in massive amounts of glory being brought to His name. Good to know that even on the seeming worst days (or weeks, months, etc) God can do His thing! :) And little did the disciples know what was ahead of them. Just think, "one of those days" was just about to turn into "one of THOSE days!"
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
While I am thrilled that she is growing up and becoming a big girl, I am also kind of sad that she isn't my little baby anymore. Good thing we're having another baby in just a couple of months, huh? :) THREE months actually, and we will be a family of FOUR!
But for now I am enjoying my little "big girl" and all the joy and adventure she brings to our lives. There's certainly never a dull moment in our house. :) This past month has been full of both laughter and tears. I love the giggles and squeals and shrieks of excitement as she discovers something new, shows me one of her "tricks," learns a new word, says an entire sentence, or just cracks up laughing for no apparent reason. The tears are harder, of course. I don't enjoy calming her fears over the Chick-fil-A cow or soothing hurt feelings or consoling her after she's gotten hurt or trying to figure out why she started crying at the top of her lungs for no apparent reason.
Thankfully, we have more laughter than we do tears. We have more excitement than drama, more joy than sorrow, more good times than bad.
Coralyn is back to sleeping in her big girl bed, for which I am extremely thankful! She doesn't really have a choice as both of the beds in her room are toddler beds (until we have to change the crib back to its original state when the baby comes). She does get to choose which one she sleeps on, for now. And in even bigger news, she took a nap today without asking for "Boppers" (her pacifier)! I have started giving it to her at nap time and bed time only when she asks for it. Every day she has remembered her precious binky and requested it, and I hesitantly give it to her, figuring we will master the whole big girl bed thing before we take away her dear "Boppers." But this afternoon she amazed me...she climbed right into bed, closed her eyes tight, and didn't make a single sound (not even a little peep) as I left the room. And when I went to check on her 10 minutes later, she was still in bed, asleep, and stayed that way for almost 2 hours, when she had a bathroom emergency :)
I was impressed not only because she got right into bed without "Boppers," but that she didn't fuss one little bit. The best part was that she actually stayed in bed and took a nap. The last few days she has been a little stinker and managed to not only get out of bed (not that difficult), but turn her light on, and proceed to play with every imaginable item in her room. So when she "wakes up" from her nap, I find piles of books, band-aids, bottles of lotion, random clothes, and all of her stuffed animals (and baby dolls) on her bed. She may have had lots of fun, but by the end of the day she's not as fun to be around :)
My most cherished moment (or moments) in this past month though would have to be when Coralyn asks (without any prompting at all) to read her Bible. The other day we finished breakfast, and she wanted to get down from her chair and read her Bible. Of course I was happy to comply. Later that day she ran in her room and got her Bible for me to read to her yet again. She did the same thing that evening before bed. Another fond memory was having the opportunity to explain the gospel to Coralyn and Carson as they sat reading her Bible together (because she went and got it for them to read). They reached the story of Jesus' crucifixion and were asking why Jesus was on the cross and why he had so many boo-boo's. They sat and listened to me tell the story of Jesus dying on the cross, His resurrection, and the promise of His return. Then I got to tell them about heaven. Although Carson is adamant that Jesus hasn't come back yet because He is off getting money. :)
I could go on and on telling stories about Coralyn. I love her to pieces! But I should probably go hang out with Lawrence and my mom (who happens to be visiting). Plus, I am about ready to fall asleep as I type. I guess that happens when you are ONE month away from having a TWO year old and THREE months away from having a family of FOUR. :)
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