Archives

Perfectly Weak

“For my strength is made perfect in weakness…”  2 Corinthians 12:9

[Travels, transitions, family times, grandparenting, border crossings, and more…my excuse for a big, bad case of blogger’s block.  But I can’t wait to share of God’s grace through all this…in between our routine days, like Titus 2sday!]

Last time we ‘met’ for Titus2sday, we were discussing sin, control and being out of control{!}  This sense of being out of control, whether in marriage, parenting, emotions, family matters, health, the work place, finances, or  ___ [fill in the blank], generally makes us feel pretty weak. Or perhaps, like me, perfectly weak!

But this awareness of our weakness brings us to a better place than perceived strength or control ever could—to pure reliance on Him.

These excerpts from Spurgeon (my fave) encourage us in our utter and perfect weakness:

Are you mourning over your own weakness?  Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give you a victory.

Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up.

In seasons of severe trial, the Christian has nothing on earth that he can trust in; therefore, he is compelled to cast himself on God alone.

There is no moment of our lives, however holy, in which we can do without His constant upholding.

~~~

I am SO weak.  I come to the Lord with empty hands…therefore…

“…I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me!”
2 Corinthians 12:9

~~~

Dear Lord,  We are all so weak.  We rejoice in the day when our faith will be sight, and we shall be like him, for we shall see him as He is! (I John 3:2) But until then, our weakness weighs us down, it interferes with our relationships and daily lives.  We need you, Lord, we need Your strength to be made perfect in our weakness..whatever that looks like.  Help us let go of the controls, and trust in the power of Christ that dwells in us.  In His Strong Name, Amen.

Sin in Control

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.”      Psalm 51:4

I’m not a theologian, I don’t read Hebrew or Greek, and I’m not a subject-matter expert about much of anything. There.

But sometimes I’m burdened about something so much, that I’m compelled to step out of my comfort zone (as a warm-fuzzy encourager), and share my heart. It’s my sincerest prayer that through today’s post and future Titus2sdays, you may grow in the Lord, pleasing Him in every respect, and His name would be glorified.

Even though it’s quite clear that the desire of  human nature is to control and be in control, I think women struggle the most with this battle. I  know—I am one.

Genesis 3:16 reminds us why we’re so encumbered:

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

When boundaries are set, we instantly to try to step over them, climb under them, or reason our way around them.  The apostle Paul discusses this inclination extensively in Romans 7.  Specifically, verse 7 says,

For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”

So, just as the Word revealed Paul’s coveting as sin, we too face an uncomfortable fact:  Our desire for control is sin. We don’t want to be ‘ruled’ by anyone, God or man.  Perhaps because we don’t trust others to make the right decisions on our behalf.  Or, we don’t trust God.  And that equates to sin.

But desiring to control is more than not trusting God, it’s attempting to be God.  One of my favourite authors, Paul D. Tripp, discusses this dilemma:

  • The desire to be God rather than to serve God lies at the bottom of every sin that anyone has ever committed…. Sin is rooted in my desire to live for me. [1]
  • Self-sovereignty is the dream of every sinner. It’s hard for us to trust ourselves to the wisdom, power, and control of another. We want to write our own drama, and we want to be the central character of the story. But the spiritual reality of the universe is that we are not authors of our own story. Our story is a part of a larger story written by the Lord. In this story we are never on center stage. That is a position to be occupied by the Lord alone. [2]
  • You and I can change no one. Ultimately, personal change comes from only one source: the gracious act of a powerful God. When people try to change one another, typically the focus is on behaviour. Yet behaviour is not really the issue…the root problem is the heart. When we attempt to do God’s job and change someone’s heart, we only cause frustration to ourselves and pain to the other person. [3]

So try to control others according to our limited wisdom or for our benefit, we become self-serving, we hurt others, and, we’re sinning against God.

“Against You only, I have sinned.”

Thankfully, the Lord is gracious. He is compassionate, wise, understanding, and above all, forgiving. He is able to help us. We can and must depend entirely on Him, yielding our hearts and minds to His control.

What a wretched woman I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!!  Romans 7:24

~~~~~~~

Let’s pray together about this during the week and ask ourselves:

Where do I need the grace of God to say no to the temptation to step over God’s boundaries and control?

How have I sinned against the Lord by trying to control others?

~~~~~~~

Dear Lord, Thank you for the victory we have through Christ! We are incapable of living out this Christian life apart from you.  Sometimes it’s so difficult, we feel like quitting. Please meet us first thing each morning and all day long, with your mercy and grace, to enable us to relinquish our behaviours, thoughts, and words to You. Your kingdom come, Your will be done…not ours. In Jesus’ powerful name, Amen

~~~~~~~

[1]  Whiter than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy

[2]  A Shelter in A Time of Storm: Meditations on God and Trouble

[3]  Broken-Down House

~~~~~~~

Join us next Titus 2sday for more discussion on control, trust, and the help available through Jesus!

One day late..

…on my Titus2sday post for the week! 

For a few weeks, I’m going to delve into something very touchy for us as women. Or at least, for this woman!

Control.  Or…

Before delving into a discussion, I thought the following verses might help lay some groundwork: 

 “The Lord is the stronghold of my life: of whom shall I be afraid?”  Psalm 27:1

“..your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”  Genesis 3:16

“Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight.”  Psalm 51:4

“Your kingdom come, Your will be done.”  Matt. 6:10

I know these seem like a mish-mash collection of verses, but I’m hopeful we can tie them together in a life-changing way that will bring glory to the Lord!  Yes, I’m optimistic! 

And perhaps, you could ask yourself these questions: 

What do these verses mean to you?

Where do you tend to look for security?

How does my kingdom tend to get in the way of God’s kingdom?

 

Some parting encouragement for the week:  This struggle to live for the Lord and not ourselves is not waged with our own feeble weapons.  We are SO weak.  We feel so alone in this battle.  But God’s Word comforts us  over and over again that He is with Us.  He is praying for us.  His strength is made perfect in our weakness.  His grace is greater.  His grace is enough…

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness!”  2 Corinthians 12:9

~~~

It’s my deepest desire and prayer that these verses and questions will bring all of us to a greater and utter reliance on our relationship with the Lord, and away from our perceived strength, stamina, and control.  Looking forward to going deeper with you in His Word, next week!  Blessings!

Short List

It’s Titus 2sday!

Lists.  We love them! We make lists for shopping (even if we leave them at home), lists of chores, resolution lists, etc.  They help us by providing structure and direction, especially on those busier-than-normal kind of days.

But lists can’t be too long, or we get discouraged.  It’s been said that that’s why God gave us only 10 commandments (and even those are tough!)

Perhaps, like me, you’ve read books with lists on how to a better wife, to love your husband, to be kind, and all the things you think you should be great at by now.  But, after all the reading, the lists seem too long.  Maybe you remember one thing, but even struggle with that!   You don’t need another book, seminar, or list.  So, today, I humbly offering my short list:

~~~

How to Love your Husband

1.  Forgive as you’ve been forgiven.

~~~ 

That’s it!  This isn’t meant to nullify all the books and sermons that address the convoluted layers of such a deep and intricate relationship as marriage. But if we don’t start here, if we don’t seek God’s grace for ourselves, and then, by His grace, turn that forgiveness towards our husbands, then all the lists in the world won’t get us anywhere.

Review the story Jesus told his disciples, and ask Him to speak to your own heart:

Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.  “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’  But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.  When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.  “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

 

Dear Father, Thank you for forgiving me! You rescued me when I didn’t even know I needed rescuing.  Through the Cross, you drew me with chords of love, forgiveness, mercy and grace.  So how dare I hold back my love, forgiveness, mercy and grace from anyone else, especially my husband? Help me, Lord, to be forgiving.  Help me to be an instrument of grace in my home, to accept your forgiveness for my own sins, then forgive others, starting with my husband.  I can’t do it alone, but your Word says that You are at work in me, both to will and to do of Your good pleasure.  I need you to make me willing and able to forgive.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

~~~

Please join us every Tuesday as we learn together how to grow, love and serve the Lord by loving and serving our families.

 

Enough

“There is nothing my heart can crave for but He can more than satisfy.”
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

 

Who is ever satisfied?  Who has enough??  I’m not and don’t.  That is, not apart from Christ.

In his book, Broken-Down House, Paul Tripp notes that, “all Satan’s temptations, from Eden to now, come down to 1000 variations on the same lie : You Don’t Have Enough.”

Such craving and dissatisfaction leads to all manner of jealousy, envy, strife, violence, war, anger, bitterness, lust, and _____(your pick). 

Scriptures cover a lot of this ground, but here’s just a few instances of Never-enough:

“The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear filled with hearing.”  Eccl.1:8

“Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, nor are the eyes of man ever satisfied.”  Prov 27:20

“All a man’s labour is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not satisfied.”  Eccl 6:7

[The rich man’s] eyes were not satisfied with riches and he never asked “And for whom am I labouring and depriving myself of pleasure?”  Eccl.  4:8

“There are three things that will not be satisfied, four that will not say “Enough”:  Death, the barren womb, earth that is never satisfied with water, and fire than never says ‘enough’.”  Proverbs 30:15-17

Paul Tripp also brings this up in his book, Whiter than Snow:

Enough is the persistent problem this side of eternity.  Enough is what we seldom seem to get right.  Enough is what trips us up, again and again.  Enough is one of our deepest sources of trouble.  Enough is what we find such difficulty in being satisfied with.  Although the definition is different for each of us the struggle with our enough is that it tends to keep expanding.  And when it does, we never seem to have enough.

What God has given you in the awesome gift of his grace in Christ Jesus is simply not enough.  Christ-satisfied hearts live joyfully inside of God’s will, while dissatisfied hearts fall prey to all kinds of temptations.  Enough is the war that rages inside us every day. 

A Christ-satisfied heart!  That’s what I want!  We can foster this contentment by focusing on Jesus Christ, His sacrifice, and His grace.   What does that look like?

~  We can be satisfied with His mercy/lovingkindness:

“O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”  Psalm 80:14

~ And His goodness:

“I will fill the soul of the ministers with abundance, and my people will be satisfied with My goodness.”  Jeremiah 31:14

~ And through worship:

 “We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple.”  Psalm 65:4

~ By seeking the Lord:

“The afflicted will eat and be satisfied, those who seek Him will praise the Lord.  Let your heart live forever!”  Psalm 22:26

~ And through utter reliance on Jesus:

“Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life!”  John 4:14

 Lord, we want you to be our Enough.  Satisfy us with your lovingkindness, so we may sing all of our days.   Amen. 

Here’s a song to sing today, which is also in the Blue Music box, so you can hear and worship!

Enough

by Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio

All of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough

You are my supply
My breath of life
And still more awesome than I know
You are my reward
worth living for
And still more awesome than I know

All of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough

Youre my sacrifice
Of greatest price
And still more awesome than I know
Youre the coming King
You are everything
And still more awesome than I know

More than all I want
More than all I need
You are more than enough for me
More than all I know
More than all I can say
You are more than enough for me!!!

It’s Our Anniversary!

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine…”  Song of Songs 6:3

1 May, 1976

  

A lovely birthday, Sept 2009

At our daughter, Grace's wedding, 2008

Visiting Quebec City, 2005

Today is our 34th wedding anniversary!  We celebrate it with thankfulness and great humility, knowing that the Lord is the source of our relationship, as well as the sustainer! 

This is a little verse we’re holding onto for this year…and, Lord willing, many to come:

“…to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.”  I Peter 4:2

 

 

Blessing in the Thorn

Many have died and many more are suffering in Haiti, and throughout the world. Many of our loved ones are going through really difficult times.  For today, I chose to encourage and minister with grace, rather than force any pat answers to suffering.  Perhaps a reminder of Christ’s love will minister to you, through this song from Phillips, Craig, and Dean :

Blessing in the Thorn

I read about a man of God
Who gloried in his weakness
And I wish that I could be
More like Him and less like me
Am I to blame for what I’m not
Or is pain the way God teaches me to grow
I need to know

When does the thorn become a blessing
When does the pain become a friend
When does the weakness make me stronger
When does my faith make me whole again
I want to feel His arms around me
In the middle of my raging storm
So that I can see the blessing in the thorn

I’ve heard it said the strength of Christ
Is perfect in my weakness
And the more that I go through
The more I prove the promise true
His love will go to any length
And reaches even now to where I am

But tell me once again

When does the thorn become a blessing
When does the pain become a friend
When does the weakness make me stronger
When does my faith make me whole again
I want to feel His arms around me
In the middle of my raging storm
So that I can see the blessing in the thorn

Lord, I have to ask You
On the cross You suffered through
Was there a time You ever doubted
What You already knew
?

When does the thorn become a blessing
When does the pain become a friend
When does the weakness make me stronger
When does my faith make me whole again
I want to feel His arms around me
In the middle of my raging storm
So that I can see the blessing in the thorn

I want to see the blessing in the thorn.

 

You can listen to this from the blue Music Box.  This version is from their CD, Where Strength Begins, Phillips Craig and Dean.