Slipping on Ellen and other promises from the World

My previous post was all about the blessings I have recently experienced from the hand of the Almighty God. However, the weeks and months and even year before I experienced the answers to my prayers there was a time of crying out to the Lord.

I recently have been meditating on Psalm 73.

Truly God is good to Israel,

to those who are pure in heart.

But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,

my steps had nearly slipped.

For I was envious of the arrogant

when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

I am ashamed sometimes to admit it, but I do on occasion watch daytime television. I enjoy celebrity interviews. I like watching Nate Berkus, Regis and Kelly, and even Ellen. (My husband often tells me that whenever he has happened to watch day time television he can feel his soul shrinking.) Recently however, I have taken a needed break from watching them. I started realizing I was slipping. I was envious when I saw the prosperity of Hollywood.

One of my favorite parts of any day time television is the giveaways. You know what I’m talking about. When Ellen brings fans on her show and she gives them a brief case full of $10,000. Or when Nate Berkus remodels a room for a guest because they wrote in about their terrible living conditions or “design dilemma”.  As I watched I began to think of ways I could get on the show. I cold make a sad video. I mean after all who wouldn’t want to come and help someone get rid of their cat stained carpet and put up molding in a house where there isn’t any. Isn’t this the way God is going to take care of me. But then I realized I was slipping. I wasn’t seeing God’s care. I was seeing only my desires. I wasn’t waiting for God to work. I was trying to work it out in my own timing. But then God reminded me through His Word that He is the one who is in control, not me, not Ellen, not Nate or any one else, just God.

Whom have I in heaven but you?

And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;

you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.

But for me it is good to be near God;

I have made the Lord God my refuge,

that I may tell of all your works.

And here I am understanding more fully what these verses mean. All I need is the Lord. He is taking care of us, and as He does we can boast on Him and no one else.

Emergency Room Visit and Many Other Events

Hi Readers,

Once again our lives have been a roller coaster of events that have kept me from the computer and from my dear blog readers. I guess in a way that makes for good interesting blog posts, but not always consistent ones. There are a few lessons I have been wanting to share as well, but I will fill you in on the events first and see what room we have left for the lessons. I might have to save some of it for another post.

Our roller coaster ride started in the beginning of the week. We were able to sell our car for a great price. Of course, our car had to give us grief one last time before the final sale. Derick got into the car with the buyer to head over to the auto tag shop to change over the title when the car wouldn’t start. It figures this would happen. It was almost like our car was saying, “I would like to cause you trouble one more time so you remember what I am like.” At least it made it easier for my husband to say goodbye to his first car. Thankfully, it was a $10 fix and that afternoon the buyer came back. Truly a miracle from God. He bought the car for the same price agreed to before the mishap. This started our life as a car-less family. In Philadelphia this isn’t too bad. It also helps that we are able to borrow my in-laws car for emergencies. We are now starting to save for a car. We are off to a good start. It has been humbling and amazing to see the Lord provide. Thanks to some very loving friends and even from some strangers the Lord is giving us what we need when we need it. There are just no words for the emotions that bubble up within me as I think of the goodness of God. It still isn’t easy right now to be without a car, but the Lord is showing us that it is in His hands and that He is in control and will always meet our needs.

The next thing that happened is that we just had our hardwood floors redone. We really needed to get rid of our carpeting. It was making me sick and it seemed the cat smell (from the previous owners cat) was getting worse. The company we used was another provision from the Lord. We moved our furniture, removed our cat stained and very smelly carpet. (I say we but really I mean Derick and some friends. I would never have been able to help with my over active sense of smell). Derick removed all the staples, and there were a lot of staples, and the work began. We moved out of the house for a few days to my in-laws basement and let the company go to work. The man who did our floors was very professional and very nice. The floors were in worse condition than anticipated, but he decided to charge us the same price originally quoted. He took pity on us (since he could smell the carpets too and could even smell cat as he was sanding the floors, YUCK). The Lord is taking great care of us.

We were planning on moving the furniture back into the house on Saturday, when I started having some cramps as well as some other pregnancy complications. So, yesterday instead of moving back our furniture, we spent the afternoon in the emergency room. Praise the Lord, the baby is still looking strong, and very active from the ultrasound. The only thing we weren’t able to see from ultrasound was the sex. This was a bummer. The umbilical cord was right in the way. The heartbeat is normal and everything else checked out normal. I am going for a follow up in a couple of days to my doctor and hope that everything continues to go well. This morning unfortunately I am home taking it easy, but rejoicing in the Lord.

Sorry for all the information, but this is my life right now. But as I look around my house, as I feel the baby starting to move, as I watch my husband take care of me and Sophia and the house and his job. As I see our friends generously give of themselves to help us, as I see my family loving us and caring for us, I am overwhelmed by God’s goodness. I am amazed at His provision. I am rejoicing to be called a child of God. I am overjoyed as God works all things for our good and His glory.

Sunday Sermons and lessons from every day this week

Over the last week or so I have been bombarded with the ideas of prayer and discipleship. These themes have carried over into my personal reading, Sunday’s sermons (all three of them), our Friday night Youth Group training (getting ready to start this coming Friday) and conversations.

I was blessed with such encouragement from God’s Word this past weekend that helped excite my heart for the Lord and after today kept me from being discouraged. During our Sunday School hour we started a series by Paul David Tripp called “Your Walk with God is a Community Project”. The main truth that was so great and so profound and yet such a “duh” moment was this: “If we do not apply the Gospel to the here and now of life we will always shop horizontally for things we were only meant to get vertically.” Our acceptance, our hope, our provision, our love can only be sought from the Lord to fulfill us in our lives. This is to help us realize that we don’t need anything from anyone but Christ alone. This idea doesn’t push us away from people, but destroys the fear of man and helps us to pursue others no matter what they may say, think or do to us.

This fit in great with our Sunday night service of fulfilling our calling to make disciples of others. It is Christ’s calling in the New Testament, but was God’s design and plan from creation. His heart towards us has always been that we would be looking to help others become like Christ. In the Garden of Eden He made us in the image of God, we marred that image, but it was restored through salvation and sanctification in Christ.

Lastly, what helps all of this to happen. What gives me the strength and ability to do this is prayer. Our church has just started a 4 week series on prayer focusing specifically on the Lord’s Prayer. Sunday morning’s focus was on the beginning of the prayer “Our Father”. He is our Father and I can confidently ask His help for the above things and so much more. Knowing that He is a real God who is all mine. Not to do my biding but to fellowship with Him, asking Him to give me the grace to do His will.

I needed these truths. People let you down, we have a calling in our lives, and God is there through all of it. May I remember to come to Him often and in His will. I leave you with two incredible quotes from yesterday,

“We all need to confess our sin, but some of us need to confess our prayers.” (Pastor David Scudder)

“Prayer means speaking to God, forgetting ourselves, and realizing His presence.” (D. Martyn Lloyd Jones)

Catching You Up

Dear Readers,

It has been a while since we have talked, but I was away last week on a trip to Cape May, NJ. Our final Summer vacation before the routine of the Fall settles in. At first we weren’t sure we would even be able to make it to the shore since Hurricane Irene was scheduled to hit Cape May head on. However, it just turned out to be just a storm. We were able to make it to our destination by Tuesday.

Before we left I was really struggling with my thoughts. Thanks be to God there was a struggle. I was fighting with God’s help to keep every thought captive and obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), but it was still a struggle. I was feeling discouraged by how sick I have been and also struggling with some financial issues that had recently come. But the Lord knew that I needed a refuge. Not from the Hurricane it turned out, but from life and He became my refuge.

We went to a special place called “Seaside Homes” in Cape May. It was a home established in the 1800s as a place where low income families could come and enjoy the beach. Everyone is required to be there for breakfast and dinner and for devotions afterward. There is a rising bell in the morning at 7:45 and curfew at night to be in your rooms by 10:30. These traditions are still instituted today. I didn’t mind the curfew since having a two year old basically means you have the same rules anyway.

Derick was asked to be the speaker for the week. It was so enjoyable to hear God’s word twice a day and to be around other believers who were thirsty for God’s Word and were so encouraging to our family. There was also a man there named Bill. He was a Scottish man who had a thick Scottish accent and was in his 90s. He sang special music twice in the week. It was such a blessing to my heart. He sang “Because He Lives” and “Be Still My Soul”. The latter song he sang dedicated to his son who had died a few months earlier. The man had a heart of gold and you could see the love he had for God through every song. You could see the longing for Heaven on his face and know he couldn’t wait to meet Christ. Through his song ministry he made me yearn to be nearer to Christ and have that same longing to be with Him.

I wish I could describe how refreshing this week was to my soul. The Lord was my Refuge and Strength. He changed my heart this week.