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Beginning the study Falling in Love Again with Your Lord could not have come at a more perfect time. I have a two month old and, oh buddy, has that little dude thrown me for a major loop. I don’t know why this surprises me in the slightest, but things have just not been what I expected. I have all these feelings or expectations of the way things should go in my home and the things I should be able to get done or what my son should be doing and at what times during the day. When things don’t happen the way I thought they would lately all I do is pout about it or get frustrated or get angry. I don’t even know where all these expectations came from, honestly, or why it’s so important that it happen in this particular way, but it’s very real in those moments when they’re not happening the way I want them to.

In Falling in Love Again with Your Lord we’ve been talking about making the Lord our all, a life totally surrendered to Him and His ways alone instead of ours. Through the homework and lectures the Lord has opened my eyes so much to my unbelief that He can be my everything. Right along with that unbelief comes laziness because I continue to follow my feelings instead of disciplining myself to walk by His Spirit and pride for thinking that my ways are better and that I know what’s best.

Last week the homework prompted us to read through many verses of Psalm 119. I didn’t even want to do it, quite honestly, because it was going to take much longer than I accounted for in my head, but thankfully by God’s grace, I went through it as the homework prompted. Every time I had read Psalm 119 before, or really many psalms where David or another author makes such definitive statements about how they trust in the Lord, I always thought they were being cocky. I would wonder to myself how they could say things with such certainty because I knew that I didn’t trust the Lord all the time and I knew on this side of heaven I would continue to struggle with different sin battles. This time, however, the Lord allowed me to see this differently. He revealed to me how much David repeated himself. It was almost as if David had to remind himself over and over again of how he was resolving to live his life and remind himself of what he believed in. David also followed up many of his definitive statements with the phrase “according to your promises.” I started to realized that David wasn’t cocky at all. In reality David was just completely living out of his trust in who the Lord says that He is and he needed constant reminder of that to keep going. David wasn’t living by his feelings, he was living based on who the Lord was. The Lord revealed to me that I do not live from the reality of who I am in Christ. I’m not believing in my new identity. This is really hard.

Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” What a sweet truth that I could be believing. And really, wouldn’t living as if this were true make all the difference? I desperately desire to believe this with my whole heart. I want the Lord to be my everything. Maybe you do too, and it seems really hard and unattainable. I want to share a prayer I prayed to the Lord the other day, just confessing to Him and begging for help because I possess no power in myself to attain this.

“And believer—understand that if you want to be filled with the Spirit and the risen life of glory, you must first die to self” [Andrew Murray, Absolute Surrender]. Lord, this is so hard and I hate that it is so hard. Why do I want to hold on to my ways and desires so badly when I know yours are better? I guess maybe I really don’t “know” that. I have so much unbelief, Lord, and lack of trust in you, but also, Lord, just such laziness. It’s really hard to have a desire for something and when feeling that desire so strongly to not just go with that urge. In those moments when I choose to just feel those things and keep going with those feelings—like comparing myself or being frustrated with my son because he’s not following my schedule—instead of trying to renew my mind according to your Word, it’s like I’m saying you’re not worth the effort. Or that I am believing the lie that it will never get easier or that I’m “good enough.” It’s so crazy these lies, Lord, because there is never a “good enough.” I will never attain this. Lord, as I sit here I desperately want to believe and live from my new identity in Christ, not from my natural self, a person who constantly looks at herself with self-pity and could always do better, or who has that awful false humility of thinking she’s so great because she sees how awful her sins are and sulks. David had to work for this. He was constantly repeating himself, reminding himself of your promises and how he resolved to live. Lord, I want to surrender my life. I want to meditate on and follow your ways. I want you to be my all. I don’t have to always struggle with these things like I feel I will. Galatians 5:16 says, “…walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Lord, I can’t walk by the Spirit on my own. Please help me. I’m desperate for you to be my everything. I’m so tired of walking in my flesh. Do what it takes and may it be out of love for you alone. 

Most times when I see my sin I have a pity party. Yet again I’ve messed up. But even that is such a wrong perspective because in actuality how sweet it is that the Lord would continue to reveal sin to me, to continue to show me my desperate need for Him, to continue to remind me that apart from Him I am nothing and that I need to rely on Him completely. My instinct is not to rely on the Lord so I know that this isn’t going to happen overnight. I will need constant reminders. I will need to meditate on God’s Word just like David, and that alone takes discipline. How sweet of the Lord to just keep teaching me. May we all be given grace to believe the reality of who we are in Christ and given the discipline to constantly remind ourselves of that reality.

Planted for His Glory

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It is so easy to get swept away in today’s political war. I can feel my flesh burning with anger when I think of our candidates. My mind races about all of the possibilities that could occur if either of these candidates are elected. It is not until I stop and pray that I realize that no matter what happens I am safe. I have a protector. I do not have one thing to worry about because I have my Heavenly Father on my side. This campaign does not decide my future. God decides my future.

Revelation 19:16 says of Jesus, “On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” My leader is the King of kings and Lord of lords.

God has the power to change the hearts of our leaders. God has laid on my heart to pray for our leaders instead of feeling angry or disappointed that these are our choices.

God pointed me towards Romans 13:1-5:

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.

Heavenly Father, I praise you for you are good. You are faithful. You do no wrong. Lord, I confess that I have not trusted in you during this political time. I have been angry, disappointed, and frustrated. I have not looked towards you for guidance but I have looked towards my own worldly thinking. God I thank you that you have revealed this sin in me and that you have given me this Scripture to pray over. I thank you for you have shown me comfort even though I am undeserving. I ask that you would continue to do your will, God. Give me the knowledge to know it is your will being done. Father, please be with our leaders during this time. May they be servants to you, Lord, and look to you for guidance. I ask that you will guide them in the right direction. Lord, I thank you for you are the only good in this world and you have all the authority in heaven and on earth and you are our King of kings and Lord of lords. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Showered in His Love

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God is so good! I am so excited that our fall Bible Study has started! It is truly a highlight of my week to study God’s Word alongside my Thistlebend sisters!

Our study this semester is Falling in Love Again with Your Lord. The study was written by Laurie to help women to desire and learn to love the Lord with all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength. She herself has persevered and learned the sweetest joy that comes from making the Lord her all in all.

The Scripture we are using through the study is Psalm 63. This week, our memory verse was literally the first sentence: “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you” (Psa. 63:1a). As I meditated on these words this week, I felt my spirit stirring with conviction. You see, I have been asking the Lord to reveal my sin to me, to show me where I am falling short. And He did just that, this week, through this verse.

I was actually convicted after the first words, “O God, you are my God.” I believe that God is my God, that there is no other God. But I felt God asking me, “Am I really your God? Am I your all in all?” And I was forced to confess that He was not. The truth is God does not reign on the throne of my heart. I do. I stubbornly want to go my own way.

I sadly contemplated how I have allowed certain commitments to take priority over my commitment to the Lord. I thought about how I would never consider not picking up my children from school, yet I pass on or abbreviate my quiet time with the Lord. Now, I am not suggesting that anyone not pick up their children from school. We must honor our commitments. I am just confessing that my commitment to others takes priority over the Lord.

I then went on to the next part of the verse: “…earnestly I seek you.” And again, I had to admit this was not true for me either. There are times that perhaps I do earnestly seek the Lord. But I must be unhurried, unstressed, and undistracted, and these times of stillness do not occur with great frequency. Instead, I am more likely to be seeking after other things, such as:

  • My comfort
  • Rest
  • A clean home
  • Approval and/or acceptance from others
  • Distractions from life – by reading, being on the computer, Netflix, etc.
  • My way

Praise God that I do not have to try to “fix” myself. In fact, I know I am completely and utterly incapable of doing any good on my own. It is God’s Spirit within me that allows me to do any good. In my natural state, my flesh will always oppose God and seek to gratify itself. Only God can change my heart. But I must ask Him to grant me the desire to make Him my first and greatest priority, and to love Him with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind and with all my strength (Mark 12:30).

I know it will be hard. I will have to sacrifice what I want. No person is naturally wired that way! It requires being willing to deny our flesh what it wants; saying no to ourselves and YES to God. I want what David had – such a great longing for the Lord that he said his soul thirsted for God (Psa. 63:1)! I want to know what that feels like and to know the joy of that sort of close relationship with the Lord.

I am so grateful to God for bringing me to Thistlebend! I am so grateful for Laurie’s teaching, and for my Thistlebend sisters, who I know will pray for me, encourage me, and hold me accountable. We are not meant to walk the Christian life alone. I know that I will be studying alongside women who also wish to earnestly seek the Lord. What a gift and blessing that is from our great God!

Growing in Grace