Archive for April 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

Why Can't Life be Like a Resort?

Yesterday, I shared about Paul Tripp's article, "Grumbling-A Look At A 'Little' Sin." Why do we complain? The first reason that Tripp gave was this: we want a life without obstacles. But, God is up to something when we face "roadblocks" in our day. God wants us to be conformed to the image of His Son, and trials are a big way that He accomplishes that work in us.

But why else do I complain? Tripp's next point is this: we want a life that doesn't ever require us to trust. We want to be capable in and of ourselves to face whatever comes our way, without needing God's help. Here's what Tripp says:

"God will cast us into situations where there's no hope for us but to trust Him, where we're beyond our strength and wisdom. Our hope is not that we will get our act together, but that a Redeemer has come and has filled us with His glory and grace."

My heart rebels against that. I don't want to have to rely on God's grace. I just want everything to be easy. I want to be able to do things in my own strength! When I'm in a situation where I know I'm too weak to handle it on my own, I want out of the situation. In my pride, I don't want to have to trust God! But...

"His grace is sufficient; His strength is made perfect in weakness. However, I am scared to death of the delusions of human strength that would keep me from relying on the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. I'm not smart enough to parent my kids. I'm not wise enough to be a good husband. My life balances on a lively trust in the Lord who has come." (pg.49)

Amen. One huge reason that I complain is because I don't want to be in situations where I have to trust God. But in reality, I can't do anything in my own strength. I need His help for everything! My entire life is dependent on His grace.

Tomorrow, I'll share about the third reason Tripp gives for our complain-based lifestyles: we seek to find life in the creation rather than in the Creator.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Why Can't Everything Be Easy?

I've been freshly aware of how quick I am to complain after re-reading one of my all-time favorite JBC articles: "Grumbling-A Look At A 'Little' Sin." I've probably read this article 10 times but it never gets old. In it, Paul David Tripp talks about the Deut. 1:19-35 passage where Israel was complaining against God so grievously that He swore that they would not enter the promised land. That section of scripture alone shows that grumbling is a pretty serious thing.

Here are some things that I find particularly helpful from the article:

"Why do we complain? First of all, we want a life without obstacles. Can you relate to that? We want kids that are self-parenting. We believe that God actually made a mistake in marriage, that sanctification was supposed to be completed before marriage, not after. We want fully glorified people to be in our lives." (pg.48)

"It doesn't take much to spoil our day. For some of us, a flat tire will do it. We want an obstacle-free life." (pg.49)

Um, anyone relate? I know that I do. I really don't like it when something "gets in my way" of what I want from my day. Be it a crying child, a mess I need to clean up, or the inability to find my keys, obstacles aren't something I enjoy. So, why do we have to have any obstacles in this life? What's the point?

"God wants obstacles in your life for some very important reasons. Those obstacles are His primary way of completing His work in you. God is not done with you yet. He is doing something awesome. He's taking us poor sinners and conforming us to the image of His Son." (pg.48)

"But a complaint-based life doesn't want obstacles. It doesn't see the value of obstacles. It wants life to be a resort." (pg. 49)

Yep folks, that's me! I still have days where I think, "Seriously. Why can't things just be like they were in Maui back on our honeymoon? What I wouldn't give to be sitting by the beach, listening to the waves, having Josh all to myself, with awesome food for dinner, able to sleep in late. Is that really too much to ask for?" :) I really want life to be a resort. But, um...wake up call: it's not! I need to start seeing the value of obstacles if I am going to be characterized by gratitude towards God.

More from this helpful article tomorrow (or whenever I actually get to it!).

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

We Need Each Other

Hebrews 3:13 says, "But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." This is a rich verse with tons to talk about but today I'm grateful for this point: we need to be exhorted because sin is deceptive. Sin deceives. And because sin is deceptive, we do not see our own sin clearly. We need the help of others to see our sin that we might not be hardened by the deceitfulness of it-that we might turn and live for Christ.

Today I am just so grateful for the way that my husband exhorts me every day to live for Jesus. He is so kind to speak the truth to me, "Be careful not to complain. God has been so good to us!" And he is faithful to do so even though it isn't always fun for me to hear. And to top that off, he's even faithful to do it at crazy hours of the day when I'm struggling w/being up with Owey.

I'm also grateful for the way that my friends encourage me and help me not to be deceived by my sin. I'm thankful for friends who ask questions like, "You might want to consider if you really are convicted about this in your heart. Do you just want this sin to go away or do you truly feel sorrow that this is something Christ had to die for?" Or, "Are you feeling hope for change or are you going down the road of condemnation?" I'm grateful for friends who pray for me when I call and for their prayers that are full of scripture to fight for faith.

I don't know where I would be apart from the help of others. Surely, I would be even more deceived by my sin. Thank you, friends and family, for your prayers for me, your encouragement, your words of truth spoken and emailed, your rebukes, and your reminders of Christ's work for me on the cross. I am grateful and I thank God for you today.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

On the Mend

Here are some pictures to brighten your Thursday!

p.s.- Sissy is back in full force (aside from the now SIX incoming teeth slicing through her gums). Thanks for praying for all of us!

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

He's Serious about Sanctification

Josh doesn't take his sin lightly; he attacks it head on with the power of God's Word and seeks to put it to death by the Spirit's power. Of all the things I have learned from my husband, I consider this to be the greatest lesson he has embodied for me.

Josh often reminds me of a quote by John Owen, "Be killing sin or it will be killing you." (Hope I got that right! My hubby is the quoter in our marriage; I paraphrase.) When the Lord shows Josh how he has sinned, he is quick to repent and "take his soul to task," eager to grow more into the image of God's Son. He is not content to merely see his sin and just feel bad about it; he wants true conviction that he might really see what is at the root of his sin and turn from it.

It is from my husband that I first heard about making a plan to grow in sanctification (see this post). Before I met Josh, I really thought that trying to grow in the Christian life was about trying hard not to sin in the same way that you always had, maybe memorizing a verse or two, or just letting God work. It's not that those things are unimportant, it's just that change has to begin in the heart if it's going to last. True change, though empowered by the Spirit, does take effort on our part. A lot of effort. Josh is the one who showed me what that looks like by his own example of digging deep at roots on pride in his heart, seeking to see his sin the way that God sees it-as so wicked and vile that Christ had to die to redeem us from it, and making a plan for change. Josh is the one who showed me that I can't just ask God for forgiveness from my sin and then hope that it won't happen again; I must daily pray and meditate on scripture to grow in Christlikeness at the heart level.

And it is Josh who showed me that seeking to "kill sin so that it's not killing you" is worth the work. I have seen time and time again in his life the beautiful fruit that comes from daily meditating on God's Word and seeking to apply it. He is much more humble, patient, prayerful, and at peace than he was when I met him back in January 2004. A large part of this the Spirit brought about through Josh's careful attention to apply God's Word to his own soul.

Thanks for your example, Josh. I have learned so much from you!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

He's Fun

Ok, it's not the most interesting title but it's true; Josh is fun! I am so grateful for the fun that my husband brings to my everyday life and especially to dates. Even in this season where he's got to be a little creative, he makes date nights fun. (That is a challenging task given how tired I am, the fact that I'm a nursing mom, and the time constraints we have when we leave Owen.) I think this is a great example of how Josh lives out 1 Peter 3:7: "Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way..." My hubby really seeks to be cognoscente of what will bless me and what won't in this season.

For example, on Valentine's Day he gave me an "at home date" when he brought me several different courses of food from various restaurants so that I wouldn't have to cook. He had to do some hard work to find good food that didn't have dairy & that would stay warm until we could eat it. :)

One date evening when I was particularly tired, we just drove around and looked at houses and talked about which ones we liked before heading to dinner. It may sound simple but it was a huge blessing to me because it didn't require much alertness on my part (thankfully he was alert as he was the one driving!).

On our anniversary last month, my parents kept Tali and Josh planned fun and relaxing stuff for us to do at home. We watched the DVD of our wedding, he cooked breakfast, we talked about the houses for sale that we'd visited, and other fun things but I'm getting too tired to write anymore.

So, suffice it to say that my husband is fun and he does an awesome job of being mindful of where I'm at right now energy-wise and plans accordingly.

Thanks, Babe! Sorry this is a little jumbled but I need to head to sleep.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Slow to Speak, Quick to Hear

This week my husband is at T4G, enjoying awesome teaching and great fellowship with friends. Being without him always makes me appreciate him more and I want to take the next couple days to honor him on this blog. There is much to say that is worthy of honor, but today I will highlight just one thing. Josh is an incredible listener.

James 1:19 says, "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak..." In our marriage, my hubby lives this out commendably!

Like most women, I am a talker. :) From the moment Josh enters the door in the evening to the time when we close our eyes in sleep, I want to talk to him. Probably very little of what I say is actually interesting :) but Josh always listens avidly, asking thoughtful questions along the way. I am especially grateful for the way that he listens when I'm sharing something that has been a struggle for me.

As you know, I've been fighting to trust the Lord and find joy in Him, not circumstances. A couple days ago, I was sharing with Josh some details about my day and all about how "hard" it was. Josh patiently listened, though I'm sure it wasn't pleasant to hear me complain and complain. He didn't interrupt. He didn't accuse. He waited until I was finished and then lovingly asked me how I was doing in my heart. After we talked about that a bit and I began to see that I really wasn't honoring the Lord in my attitude, Josh kindly encouraged me to turn away from complaining and start thanking God. This sort of quickness to hear and slowness to speak is one of things I'm most grateful for about my husband.

(p.s.-Josh, this doesn't change the fact that you are "not a man of few words." :) Just wanted to add that in case you were wondering.)

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sick Sweet Girl

We'd love prayers for Tali's quick recovery from the flu & that the rest of us would be spared. (Particularly Josh as he leaves tomorrow for Together for the Gospel.) Thank you!

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

All is Grace

"Here dies another day

During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world around me;

And with tomorrow begins another.

Why am I allowed two?"

- G.K. Chesterton

Seeking to fight the fight of faith, trying to put to death complaining and see God's mercy to me. Oh Lord, help me to rejoice in my salvation and the gift of another day to glorify Your name!

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Looking to the Savior, not my Circumstances

In His kindness, the Lord has been showing me my need to turn away from the sin of unbelief and put my faith in His sovereign goodness. I am so quick to look at my circumstances of crying children, Owen in pain, lack of sleep, a messy house, many areas where I see that I'm falling short, etc. and become overwhelmed. The thought that often comes into my mind is, "I can't do this." Sometimes it seems completely impossible to me that I could have joy or peace in the midst of my circumstances. But, circumstances don't determine my response-my heart does. What's been in my heart lately is unbelief that God is going to give me grace and that He's being good to me. That, my friends, is sin and that is what is leading to me having the feeling of being overwhelmed.

As usual, it's my husband who God used to graciously help me see what's been going on here. He sympathized with me in the challenges, but also encouraged me to look at God in all of it and to think about what being faithful to God looks like right now. Oh. God? Hmm...I think I'd been too busy looking at myself to look at Him. (Thank you for your loving help, Josh!)

Not surprisingly, as I've looked up at Jesus instead of around me at my circumstances, I've been finding more peace and joy to endure with thankfulness to God. As I fight to set my mind "on things that are above, not on things that are on earth," (Col. 3:2) I am beginning to be filled with faith that God's grace is indeed, sufficient. My circumstances haven't changed, but my heart is beginning to.

Here's a really simple plan I'm praying through each morning to renew my mind:


Lord, help me put to death an evil, unbelieving heart
“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you and evil unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.” - Heb. 3:12

  • If I'm not believing that God will give me grace, I'm sinning in unbelief
  • Unbelief is serious; it's a sin that Christ died for

Lord, help me to trust You, having faith that You will give me grace
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” - Philippians 4:13

  • Christ is strengthening me and through Him I can do whatever He calls me to today
  • He will give me all of the grace I need to care for my husband and children as I rely on Him

Lord, help me to put on thankfulness
“giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” - Colossians 1:12

  • I have much more to be grateful for today than to complain about
  • I have been saved from God’s wrath and I am now His child!
  • My children are a blessing and an inheritance-a gift!
"May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light." Colossians 1:11-12

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Another Day in His Hands

Another day ordained by a loving God that is utterly in control and kindly orchestrating my steps...

Another day of:
* Owen screaming in agony (not sure if it was reflux or his tummy this time)

* Tali chewing on everything in sight to ease the pain of 4 incoming teeth

* Scrambling to make dinner while carrying Owen around and trying not to get food on him

* Falling more in love with my husband when he surprised me by coming home early

* Enjoying Colossians and the truth that I can pray in confidence that God will fill me with the knowledge of His will

* Feeling exhausted and crying out to the Lord to give me the strength to keep loving and caring for my kids

* Surrendering my idea of a "good day" and resting in the knowledge that every day in His hands is a good one

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