THBBloomBlogForgetMeNots

I’m a new momma. While I’ve tried to keep life from changing as much as possible, because I hate change, I’m realizing that it’s inevitable that things have to. I’ve struggled more than I would like to admit with this, mainly because I feel guilty that I keep wanting/mourning my old way of life before my little buddy came into it, and I feel as if I should just have all these mushy gooshy loving feelings all the time for him.

I’ve been praying about this to the Lord. I know feelings don’t determine the ultimate truth (i.e., just because I really liked the way things were before him doesn’t mean I don’t love him and love this new life). But I have been asking the Lord to help me fully embrace and press on in this new life and I’ve been asking Him to help me feel the feelings as a comfort to me.

A really cool thing happened the other day. This past week of Falling in Love Again with Your Lord was all about God’s power. We read Scriptures from Job where God was asking him, “where were you when I did…” fill in the blank of the million and one things (everything around us) that God has created. I was struck by some other Scriptures in Psalms about how even the lions going out to get food is not something that just happens by chance; it’s because God is controlling nature and providing their food. Literally the entire universe at this very moment is being held together by God’s power. It’s amazing to think about and just to attempt to wrap my feeble mind around. I was talking with a friend who is also participating in the study this semester, and we were just talking about the amazingness of all of that truth. She started to share with me that the Lord revealed to her a while back that she had a fear of missing out. Missing out just on another way of life—what the world could offer her that seems so great while we’re here in the moment. She shared, though, that the Lord was revealing to her and helping her to believe the amazingness of who He really is and that while she may be missing out on something in this life, she’s now seeing that it’s okay because she’s gaining something so much better—a relationship with the God that literally holds and makes the world go on.

As she was saying this I literally looked at my son, who was sleeping in my arms and it was like the Lord completely opened my eyes and gave me new understanding. I have a fear of missing out too. Missing out on what life would be like without kids—my husband and I would be comfortable, life would probably look a lot easier. We already had our routine down by ourselves. In my mind right now, because things are changing so much, it seems as if we didn’t have kids, if it were just me and my husband, we could coast and always keep things the same. (I know this isn’t completely true because things would still change over time.) Because I want this perfect life, I want it “all” by the world’s standards, that would be a lot easier to maintain. But the Lord revealed to me that my son is so much better! That he’s worth laying those fears aside; he’s worth going through the changes for. What’s even sweeter is that my son is worth laying things down to gain something so much better just like the Lord is worth laying my entire life down because HE IS SO MUCH BETTER!

I want it “all” in this world. To me, having it all means having a perfectly clean, decorated house, having a very strict routine that you follow the exact same way every day, that the way people look at you is always good and you never show weakness. What the Lord is opening my eyes to is that if I really want it “all,” it’s through Him alone. Jesus wants to be my all.

Philippians 3:4-14 says:

…though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Paul had it “all” here on this earth, but he knew that knowing Christ and living out of his identity in Him was so much better. By God’s grace I’m learning that too. And just like Paul I don’t know this perfectly or live this perfectly and never will this side of heaven, but by God’s grace alone I press on, because Jesus far surpasses anything that I would miss out on or have here on this earth.

Planted for His Glory

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We have all had bad days. Some days, the mishaps are so numerous they are almost comical. Like the time I overslept. Then my pants split a seam…in a noticeable place. I wore one black shoe and one blue shoe. My gas gauge was almost on “E,” so I pull into the gas station only to discover I left my wallet at home. And, of course, there was the major lose/lose scenario of spilling my coffee on my laptop. No coffee to drink and no way to work.

We chuckle at these stories because most of us can relate to such days and because most of the circumstances we experience are harmless. But what about the true stories of bad days where the circumstances are life threatening and could even seem hopeless? That is what David of the Bible experienced. A shepherd, then mighty warrior, then great and beloved king, forced to flee into hiding by his own son, who hunted him to kill him. A king, who went from a castle to a desert cave.

These are David’s circumstances as he penned Psalm 63. Psalm 63 is the basis for our current Thistlebend study, Falling in Love Again with Your Lord. This week we studied how David turned his eyes from his horrific circumstances to His mighty God as he wrote, “So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and your glory” (Psa. 63:2). This verse is preceded by: “O God, you are my God. Earnestly I seek you. My soul thirsts for you…” How could David utter such worshipful words amidst such trials?

I have thought a lot about David’s circumstances this week, and as Laurie pointed out to us, David’s circumstances did not worry him. No…they made him long for God all the more. David chooses to place his faith and trust in what he KNOWS, not what he FEELS. He fixes his gaze upon His God, His Deliverer, His Rock, and His Shield.

How important is our correct perspective of God! It frames everything! If we know, truly know, that God is God and we are not, that His ways are higher than our ways; we can rest in the sweet knowledge that He holds everything together.

So, how David KNOW the power and glory of God? David knew God. In the first verse of Psalm 63, David says, “O God, YOU are my God” (capitalization added). And this was true for David. His kingdom was not his god. His children were not his god. His wealth or possessions or comfort – none of this was David’s god. David’s God was GOD.

David knew God so personally because David knew God’s Word. He meditated on it day and night. He hid it in his heart (Psa. 119:11). He lived by it. He thirsted for it. And as a result, he knew peace when faced with peril. His praise of God was not dependent on how happy he was or how great his life was.

Once again, I think how absolutely critical it is to have the right thinking about who God is. Laurie gave us the following list of words I plan to use to help me set my mind on the right course:

1. Behold – Know Him by immersing myself in His Word daily, seek His will, then fix my eyes upon Him every day.

2. Believe: Believe what God says.

3. Bow & Bask: Bow before God and bask in His presence.

4. Boldly Go – confidently go forward in the Lord’s strength.

5. Boast – Boast of the Lord’s faithfulness. I am weak. He is strong.

I must work out these steps to adopt the correct posture of reverence and awe before the Lord. I want the correct perspective of God! David knew His God. And it made all the difference.

Growing in Grace

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by Scott Kaczorowski

There are a lot of statements in the Bible about God’s love and care and concern even for His enemies. There are also statements throughout Scripture of God’s impending judgment on those who will not repent and receive His grace. A particular example of this type of passage would be what are called the Imprecatory Psalms, so called because they call down imprecations (or curses) on the enemies of God’s people.

Christians don’t always seem to know how the Imprecatory Psalms fit into the larger ethos of Scripture.* If we are supposed to love and pray for our enemies, how does calling down God’s curses on them fit into that framework? As Christians who are called to love, what are we to do with these prophetic poetic songs that call down curses on God’s enemies? Should we remove them from the Bible?* Should we relegate them to that shadowy period known as the “Old Testament” and try to forget they are there? Or as God’s Word, do they have some abiding use for us today? And if so, what might that be?

One thing we could do with them is pray them outside of an abortion clinic. Sometimes love takes the form of rescuing the oppressed from the oppressor. While our heart’s desire should be for the repentance and salvation of the oppressors, when they will not repent, we can and should pray that God would intervene. The Imprecatory Psalms give voice to this cry for justice.* As such they form a legitimate part of Christian experience and piety.

On my second trip to pray outside the abortion clinic down the road from where we live, I felt led to bring along my Bible and pray a passage of Scripture. Pulling up a list of the Imprecatory Psalms, I asked the Lord which passage He would have me pray. From the list in front of me, I felt like He spoke to my heart, “Psalm 10.” When I read that psalm, I was astonished at how fitting it was.

1 Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? 2 In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised. …8 He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent. His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless; 9 he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket; he lurks that he may seize the poor; he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net. 10 The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might.11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.” 12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted. 13 Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”? 14 But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless. 15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none. …17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear 18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more. (Psa. 10:1-2, 8-15, 17-18)

Murdering the innocent in hiding places. The oppression of the poor, the helpless, the fatherless. The call for God to rise up and act when it seems that He has been silent and standing far off for so long. These words could have been written about an abortion clinic. So I stood once again in front of the Northeast Ohio Women’s Center and prayed this ancient prayer of Scripture against it.

I also asked the Lord for something else. God told the prophet Jeremiah that He had given him authority “to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant” (Jer. 1:10). I asked the Lord to give me authority to speak to the walls of the clinic and command them to fall down. Then I spoke to the walls. Out load, I said, “O walls of the Northeast Ohio Women’s Center, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to fall down.”

There was no lightning from heaven or earthquake under my feet (although that would have been cool). But I felt that small voice in my heart say, “You will not have to return. Watch the newspapers.”

If the Lord sees fit to close this clinic soon in response to the prayers of His people, it will be but a token victory. There are other abortion facilities that continue to operate. There are other forms of oppression that continue to exert their power over the poor in this fallen world. But the day will come when God will arise and put a definitive end not only to the Northeast Ohio Women’s Center but to all other forms of oppression as well. He will give judgment for the afflicted and hear the cry of the helpless. He will do justice in the earth.

How we pray and long for that day.

*In these places I may be echoing another writer/speaker.