Who can compare?

Yesterday was a wonderful day. . .so wonderful that I’ve had a hard time deciding which was the REAL highlight of my day: reuniting with some of our church family from South Carolina, hearing RC Sproul and Mark Dever speak, or noticing some lilies of the valley (our wedding flowers) blooming out my window!!

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Jeremy and I have been married 12 years and I’ve tried growing these flowers before, and it has just never worked. We’ve lived seven different places, and this location is, by far, the worst location of those seven, when it comes to nature (we are in the city in a tiny apartment). But outside my little kitchen window I can see a mass of these beautiful flowers, just growing wild on a CLIFF pushing through wild ivy and other stuff!  It feels like a special gift straight from the God who made me and knew I would see it as a personal gift from HIM (Matthew 6:25-34).  RC Sproul and other great men spoke to over 7,000 people today, BUT God, HIMSELF speaks straight to me. . . how can that compare???  My heart worships more humbly tonight.

A prayer of thanksgiving

This morning I took my dog for a walk.  She has put on some weight over the winter and needs the exercise!  As I headed out I began to pray.  While this is nothing new, I often pray while I walk, I decided this morning, I would only offer prayers of thanksgiving.  You see we’ve been studying the book of Colossians and we’ve had an emphasis on thanksgiving.  I wanted to try applying some of what we’d been learning about thankfulness. To only pray prayers of thanksgiving  took a little discipline, as I was tempted to make requests as well, but it was a blessed time.  I thought a brief version of that prayer might encourage you…

Father,

     Thank You for my two good legs (I begin with the obvious, usually physical), thank You for the beautiful sun shining, thank You for the awesome path in my neighborhood to walk on.  I am not thankful for this wind, so I confess that sin to You, I know I should be thankful for it, please make me thankful (oops a request!).

     Thank You for the runner on the path, because human interaction is good.  How awful it would be to be all alone.  Thank You for my eye sight which allows me to see this beautiful creation.  Thank You for the beautiful black and red bird.  Thank You for all you have made.

     I now move to pray about the tasks I have today…being thankful for how I will accomplish them and the reasons behind why they must be done…

     Thank You for my in laws, who are coming today and how they love us and desire to be with us. Thank You for my car that will take me to my errands.  Thank You for my family and the opportunity we have to have a photo taken.  Thank You for the photographer.  Thank You for Nathan’s Court of Honor this weekend.  Thank You for all the things he has learned over the years as a boy scout.

     My thoughts now begin to lean to spiritual matters…

     Thank You for the ladies in the class (I thank Him for all of the ladies by name and the things I see Him doing in their lives).

      Thank You for our Bible study teacher, Kristie and how she brings us Your Word, and how she loves us.  Thank You for the teaching I have received lately on thankfulness (now I focus on what He has done in my life).  Thank You for my salvation.  Thank you for the work You’ve done in my heart.  Thank You for the areas where I still struggle, because they remind me that I need a Savior.   Thank You for the little victories in the areas that I struggle…

     As I round the corner to my house I see the white house belonging to Bob and Karen Atkins.  Thank You Lord for Bob and Karen, and how they minister to our church and to me personally. 

     As I approach my house…Thank You for this wind!  I am now hot and sweaty and this wind cools me off!!

     I am now ready for the day…

New!

With the coming of the new year, I am reminded of the good gift of newness.  New books, new places, new-fallen snow, new clothes, new ideas…there is an anticipation, an unspoiled-ness about “new.”  

As we celebrate the new year, let us remember that God is the Master at making new things:

  • He created all things.  He continues to create even today. (We’re looking forward to some good friends’ new babies in 2010!)  
  • His mercies are new every morning. (Lam. 3:22-23)  
  • He gives new spiritual life to His people (”Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Rom. 6:4; “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Cor. 5:17)

God’s people look forward to a new heaven and a new earth. He will be with us, and will make all things new. (Rev. 21)  As we anticipate the time when He returns (see Adina’s post below) and makes ALL things new, we rejoice in the new things He has already given.  May you and yours see His abundant blessings this new year.

A Worship Lesson from Toddlers

O LORD, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all;
The earth is full of Your possessions.  Let the glory of the LORD endure forever;
Let the LORD be glad in His works. 
-Psalm 104:24, 31, 34

As a mommy of three, I have been recently amazed at the raw joy, hearts of worship and innocent awe toddlers can have about creation.  This weekend we went to the beach and I watched as they ran down the beach with unbridled glee, splashing, looking amazed at the waves, as they collected treasures. 

“OOOH!  Look at this Momma!”  My Elijah who’s almost four says to me repeatedly, followed quickly by, “What ‘dis?”  He has no idea what it is - he’s never encountered anything like it before, but somehow it’s awe-inspiring to him (to us it’s a wet yucky piece of driftwood or a squishy sea cucumber.)

When did I get too old to gasp in wonder at what God does?  

Lord, teach me to notice Your greatness, change my rituals to worship, and teach my heart to stand again in awe of all You are and all You do.

Accustomed to Greatness?

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For those of us who have grown up in strong Christian homes, or who have been believers for many years, the greatness, majesty and unsearchableness of God can come to be almost as commonplace as chocolate chip cookies and a hug from mom. We serve a great God. We know it. We tell others.

However, just as easily as we can tell of His greatness, we can cease to wonder at it. We take for granted the power God displays in creation. We tell the stories of the battle of Jericho or the raising of Lazarus but too easily tell them with the same admiration we might display for a beautiful new building. It’s not that we aren’t impressed by God, it’s just that we have allowed His greatness to become common place.

One of my sister, Connie’s, photos (taken at dawn from the top of a mountain) reminds me how easily we can cease to wonder at things that are “wonder” full: things like the sun and clouds…and the God who made them.

Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
That an abundance of water may cover you?. . .
Who can number the clouds by wisdom?. . .
Does the hawk fly by your wisdom,
And spread its wings toward the south?
Does the eagle mount up at your command,
And make its nest on high? . . .
Have you an arm like God?
Or can you thunder with a voice like His?
Then adorn yourself with majesty and splendor,
And array yourself with glory and beauty.
[Selected verses from Job 38-40]

May we never cease to wonder at the greatness of our God!