Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Just Wasn't Thinking.

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love." 2 Peter 1: 5-8 (NIV)

On Saturday, my sweet husband was out running errands, one of which was to stop by this really wonderful bread store and pick up a loaf of bread for which he had a coupon. Well, this really wonderful bread store often sells out of their most popular items pretty quickly (something I've experienced firsthand, much to my dismay)...and especially when they are handing out coupons for something FREE! Now this really wonderful bread store always has the most delicious loaves of bread out on their breadboard for customers to sample...oh, so yummy! Imagine cinnamon bread, white chocolate cherry bread, pepperoni bread, cinnamon rolls....Can you tell that I'm writing this when I'm hungry? So on this day, they were out of the FREE loaves. My hubby called me to tell me the bad news. And I said, "So, did you get me a sample?" He said, "No. I'm sorry. I just wasn't thinking."

Okay, before I go on...I must say that my husband is really very thoughtful. And if I asked for the moon, he would do his best to deliver! long as he didn't taste the really was fine, because I sure didn't need the calories.

But since Saturday, those words "I just wasn't thinking." have tumbled over and over in my mind...and not because they came from my hubby's luscious lips. (He has been out of town....Can you tell that I miss him?) Those words, sadly, often typify my actions. [Surely much more so than his....That was just the example that was fresh (like cinnamon bread) on my mind!]

How often have I neglected to make a phone call, send a card, do a good deed, minister to, or reach out to someone because "I just wasn't thinking"? I want to be more of a thinker...yes, I want more knowledge...and memory...but I want to be one who thinks of others and acts.

I so love how God directed me to the Scripture in 2 Peter 1. Read those words above another time. And then listen to what follows those verses..."For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (v. 8) I want those qualities!! I want to be effective and productive...yes, most importantly in my knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ...but also in all He calls me to do...all He places on my heart. I want to be like Him. I want to think like Him!

Lord, help me. 2 Peter 1:3 says that "[Your] divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness." Pour on your power. Pour on your knowledge. "Show me Your glory!" (Exodus 33:18) Please allow Your goodness to flow through me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Maintain the Joy!

"Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me." Psalm 51:12 (NIV)

My daughter, Evie, had her first day of Nursing School yesterday. I called her to see how her class went, and she was just jubilant! She loved it! She was talking so fast I could hardly process what she was saying. She has a great advisor! She knows a couple of girls in her clinical group! She can't wait for labs and clinicals!! There was more...but I don't need to recount it all for you. Just know, the girl was excited!

It just made me to know that my baby girl has found her calling, to know that God has gifted her to minister to others, and that she has found the place where all that can be realized. Then I lifted a prayer for her, that when the day comes and the work gets tough...or the task gets yucky...or the patient is unappreciative...or she just gets tired...that whatever happens, she'll remember the calling, remember the joy.

That caused me to think about the sermon I heard on Sunday evening. The pastor was reading from Revelation 2:4 and talking about the danger of losing our "first love." At the point of salvation, there is an indescribable joy that we just want to share with others. We could just bubble over with it. But as we walk the pathways of life, sometimes we forget that joy...perhaps can't even find that longer share with others about that joy.

That's when we need to trigger that memory. We need to get into His Word and be reminded of His unfailing love. (Do you know that in just a quick search, I found 26 times in the book of Psalms the mention of God's unfailing love!?!?!?!) That's tremendous encouragement! We need to remember that "Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed (no matter what life throws our way), for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is [His] faithfulness." There is no limit to His love, His compassion, His mercies, His grace, His forgiveness. And do you know what else there is no limit to? The Holy Spirit within us (John 3:34)! And do you know what the second fruit of the Spirit is? JOY!!! Let's maintain the joy through His Word!

Our precious Heavenly Father, thank you for your unfailing love! We ask that You "restore to [us] the joy of Your salvation"! And please sustain that joy by Your Spirit within us and through Your Word to us! Draw us to Yourself...don't allow us to forget the thrill of our "first love." And don't ever let us forget that You loved us first!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

God Waits Too

"The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9

In the days since my last post (on waiting) something just keeps lingering in my mind...that God understands what it feels like to wait. He waits too. As the Scripture above states, God waits for everyone to come to repentance, to salvation. Revelation 3:20 says, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in...." (I love that exclamation mark after "Here I am!") He knocks at the hearts of everyone...and waits...not wanting anyone to perish.

The whole chapter of Isaiah 55 is an "Invitation to the Thirsty," not just the call to accept salvation, but to receive continual satisfaction. We read, "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David." (v. 1-3)

He also waits for us daily...even hourly...probably even come to "Seek Him first...." (Matt. 6:33) Have you ever imagined Him watching you sleep, waiting for your eyes to open? Do you wake with thoughts that flow toward Him? Do you wake with a thankful heart? Do you begin your day with prayer...conversation with Him? And do you seek a Word from Him to start your day? I think He waits each morning. Can you fathom that? The God of creation waits for you.

And I think He continues to watch over us and wait throughout the He asks us to " upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Whether it's thoughts of gratitude and praise, or the need for help...yes, He wants us to ask for help when we need it. He says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28) In Luke 11:9, we are told to "Ask and it will be give to you; seek and you will find...." He waits.

And you know what else I think He waits for? Do you know the song "The Midnight Cry"? There is a line that says, "I can almost see the Father, saying, 'Son, go get my children.' And at the midnight cry we'll be going home." Yes, I think He waits for that.

Lord, so often when we think of waiting, we just think of how you are developing patience within us or working for some higher purpose. We don't often think of how much you understand the concept. Thank you for the waiting that you do. Thank you for your amazing, unfailing love for that waits...for us to accept you, to "come after [You]...deny [ourselves], take up [our] cross and follow [You]. (Matt. 16:24) Thank you for the promise that we are your children...and that one day we will be going home to spend eternity with you.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What are You Waiting For?

"I say to myself, 'The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him." Lamentations 3:24 (NIV)

Do you have a hard time waiting? I think most people do. I know that I do. I have a hard time just waiting for the coffee maker to deliver the goods!! Aren't you thankful for that little pluggy thing that stops the flow so that you can stick your cup right under there when you simply must have it now??

But, you know, it's rarely that simple. Most things of real significance take time...and for a purpose. There are lessons to be learned (and perhaps re-learned)...matters of the heart to be and trust to be developed...some things that just can't be accomplished without actually plodding through. James 1:4 tells us that, "Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." I want to be mature and complete...not lacking anything. Don't you? And we've been promised in Philippians 1:6 that He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it!

So savor the moments. Stay in His Word. Pray without ceasing. And, yes, wait. Remember, "Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides You, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him."

Lord, You are our portion. We will wait on You. "Yes, LORD, walking in the way of Your laws, we wait for You; Your Name and renown are the desire of our hearts." (Isaiah 26:8)