When the Mountain of Laundry is Too Big

Usually when I sit down to write a blog I generally just write about whatever the Lord has been teaching me lately. Recently, I was due to turn in a blog post and was praying about what to write as the only thing that kept coming to my mind I felt as if I had already written previously. At the risk of sounding super repetitive, however, I want to share what the Lord has been laying on my heart, particularly in this new season I find myself in with two little boys—one 17 months old and one four weeks old. I desperately need and you desperately need the Gospel.

What is the Gospel? There’s many verses that I could point you to that could sum up the Gospel, lately I’ve been thinking through Romans chapters five and six. “God showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). All of us are sinful at birth, completely dead in our trespasses and sins with no hope of doing anything to reconcile ourselves to a holy, cannot be in the presence of sin God (Psalm 51:5, Ephesians 2:1-5, Romans 3:10-12). Referring back to Romans 5, however, our creator God loved us and had a plan to reconcile us back to Himself—Jesus Christ, who humbled Himself and came to earth as a baby, fully God and fully man and lived a perfect life for us, went to the cross to be crucified, take on the full wrath of God, the penalty for our sins, was dead and buried and then three days later He rose again, defeating sin and death forever and is now seated at the right hand of God. Placing our faith in Jesus and the Gospel allows us to have new life in Christ and we too then die to sin and can live to righteousness by His grace. This is a brief summing up of the amazingness that is the Gospel, if you would like to know more please contact Thistlebend through this post, on our website, or on any of our social media sites for any questions or more information.

The Gospel can sometimes be looked at as something that saves us, but then doesn’t get much thought beyond that. I’m learning more and more that the Gospel is not something that I need just once, but it is something I need every single day, every moment of every single day. I recently asked the Lord why I do laundry every day. I’ve heard people say that even the most mundane tasks matter and can bring glory to God, but in my exhausted mind after no sleep from our newborn and a whiny toddler all day, I couldn’t see how my doing laundry or any other small task that I do every day really mattered in the grand scheme of eternity. I couldn’t understand how that could possibly bring God glory. For the record here, I’m not saying you have to do laundry every day, I’m just giving an example of something that could easily be seen as no big deal. He sweetly brought scriptures from Colossians 3, Titus 2, Romans 12, Philippians 2 and many others to mind and helped me process the Gospel through the lens of doing laundry and why the Gospel makes it matter. Romans 6:13 says, “Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.” I have been brought from death to life and so everything matters because of the Gospel, I am a slave to righteousness in Jesus because of what He did for me. This is so worthy to think on moment by moment because it causes such rejoicing and joy when you really believe it for the reality that it is if you are in Jesus. And this is such a perspective changer when both your babies are screaming uncontrollably, and both are smelling your house up with poopy diapers too ha-ha!

Like I said, I know I’ve written about this before, but if you don’t need to read it again, that’s ok, I just needed to write it out and think on it myself because goodness how easy it is to forget this beautiful, amazing reality when everything else that seems more real in our everyday world, like a mountain of laundry, is right in our face. I recently just finished a book by Gloria Furman called Missional Motherhood she said, “Discipleship is like waking up to remember that we are alive in Christ over and over and over again a hundred times a day, until the day when we no longer need to be reminded that we are in Christ forever because we can see Him.” So here’s one of your hundred reminders for today!

Planted for His Glory

Speaking Truth to My Heart

 

Have you ever thought about the things you believe to be true and why you believe them? Recently, a prank news site released the story that Reese’s peanut butter cups were going to be discontinued (imagine the horror of that story!). Similarly, another site circulated the “news” that Congress had passed a bill which made it illegal to play Christmas music before Thanksgiving, even in private homes! There are so many constant, bizarre stories released as news that there are now websites devoted to reporting whether the news we read is true.

I have been considering what I believe to be true and why. There are many things I simply accept as truth. For instance, I believe the sun will rise each morning. I believe that if I heat a pot of water on the stove, the water will boil.

I believe these things because, in my experience, they are true. But really, don’t I choose to believe because statistically speaking, the vast majority of the time, my stove works and the burner gets hot? Don’t I believe that the sun will rise because it always has?

The reality is, we choose what we believe. We choose where to place our faith.

In a recent lecture, Laurie reminded us that unbelief is one of the major ways the enemy keeps us from growing in our relationship with the Lord. Through this study, I have been confronted with many sins, but unbelief runs fairly deep for me. I am ashamed to say I go through periods of time when I believe more strongly that my stove will heat up than I believe that the promises of God apply to me.

I have struggled for many years with health challenges. I have prayed that God would heal me. He has not. I believe God hears my prayers and that He can act. I just don’t believe He will.

This is unbelief.

Unbelief is insidious. It worms its way into the crevices of our thoughts, distorts the lens through which we read God’s Word, and produces wrong thinking and wrong motives. It hardens our hearts. It makes us feel that God is distant.

BUT GOD. God does not leave us alone in our unbelief. God grants us faith in the form of a gift (Eph 2:8). His Word tells us, “in all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one…” (Eph 6:16). The faith God gives us empowers us to believe Him and His promises. It enables us to “walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7). The Bible tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Heb 11:6; emphasis added). We must choose to believe God.

For me, this means I can choose to believe God or I can choose to believe lies. I cannot believe both. Practically speaking, this means I must speak Truth to myself. I have learned to do this more as I have grown in my walk with the Lord through Thistlebend studies. I have been challenged to memorize scripture and to look up Bible verses that apply to me. This has helped “arm” me with Truth I can speak to myself when unbelief hovers:

~ “but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. “(Isa 40:31)

~ “Blessed be the LORD! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; (Psa 28:6-7)

~ “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…” (Eph 3:20)

~ “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Heb 11:6).

These verses are part of my arsenal. They help remind me that God is God and I am not. God is in control. Without faith, I cannot please God. So I go to Him for strength, in prayer and to His Word in order to believe Him even when it’s hard and it hurts, to recount His faithfulness just like the rising of the sun or my stove boiling my water.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Rom 12:2 NLT)

I need God to change the way I think. What are some verses you use to counteract lies in your mind?

Growing in Grace

Who Am I?

My favorite musical is Les Miserables. If you haven’t seen it, the musical follows the life of Jean Valjean, who transforms from a bitter, petty thief to a man who seeks redemption. In one scene, a man who closely resembles Valjean is about to be falsely imprisoned as Valjean, and Valjean has to make a choice: turn himself in, or let another man suffer in his place. Valjean delivers a short but beautiful song called, “Who Am I?’ during which he ponders who he is and what he will do. It’s a turning point for our hero.

Over the past few weeks, during our Heart of a Woman study, we have been looking at, identifying, and confronting the sin in our lives. This study is very illuminating. Like Valjean, we can all identify with having sinned and experiencing the consequences of sin. But we have also experienced God’s grace and goodness, and like Valjean, seek to walk in a way that is worthy of our Lord (Col 1:10 ESV).

During our last week, Laurie asked a series of questions at the end of our lecture:

· Who am I and Whose am I?

· What determines Who I am?

· When did I become who I am?

· Where am I today? Where am I in my walk with the Lord?

· Why does any of this matter (i.e. Bible Study, time with the Lord)?

· How can we do this, live the Christian life?

These are great questions to consider. I am journaling my way through them.

For now, however, I would like to focus on who am I and whose I am. I want to go through what God’s Word alone says about these questions, it’s encouraging for me and I pray it is for you too.

It’s very easy to think through things about myself, who I am and whose I am by personality characteristics or the roles I play in day to day life, but before I get caught up in my human thinking (wrong thinking), I must speak truth to myself. God’s Word tells me (this list is not exhaustive):

· I am a HIS child. (John 1:12)

· I am a friend of Jesus. “I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything I heard from my Father” (John 15:15)

· I have been justified and redeemed. (Romans 3:24) “My old self was crucified with Christ, and I am no longer a slave to sin.” (Romans 6:6)

· I will not be condemned by God. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1)

· I am free. “For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2), (Galatians 5:1)

· I am a fellow heir with Christ. “And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ)—if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him” (Romans 8:17)

· I am a new creature in Christ. “So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away—look, what is new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

· I have been made one with all who are in Christ Jesus. “…for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28)

· I am blessed. “(God) has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3)

God Himself lovingly tells me—all believers—who we are. We may feel we are many things, but God Himself tells us the truth about who we are, and that is what matters.

Now, what does the Bible tell me about whose I am? I am the Lord’s. “…you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God” (1 Cor 3:23). I am not my own. I was bought at a price by the Lord.

It’s hard to walk out these truths. How do we claim them as truth when our culture bombards us with messages that are hostile to God’s promises?

By FAITH. Faith is a gift, given to us by God, to help us live by His Truth and not be swayed by the world or the enemy. Faith is trusting in something we cannot see. Yet God makes Himself very real to believers. His Word reminds me again and again that I am His and He is working all things for good in my life (Romans 8:28 ESV).

May you reflect upon these beautiful Truths. When life circumstances cause you to reflect and turn inward, choose to believe that if you have placed your faith in Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are first and foremost a child of the Almighty God’s. Believing this promise puts everything into perspective.

Growing in Grace