Friday, October 30, 2009

[adoption] a picture of the gospel in my life...

 "but to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of god." 
- john 1:12

"for all who are led by the spirit of god are sons of godfor you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “abba! father!” the spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of god, and if children, then heirs—heirs of god and fellow heirs with christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him." 
- romans 8:14-17

"for in christ jesus you are all sons of god, through faith." 
- galatians 3:26

"but when the fullness of time had come, god sent forth his son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. and because you are sons, god has sent the spirit of his son into our hearts, crying, 'abba! father!' so you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through god." 
- galatians 4:4-7

one of the things that stirs my heart the most about adoption is the picture of my adoption in christ.  i am a part of the family of god, i am a daughter of the king.  i can cry out to him as my abba father!  but that came at a price.  i was helpless and under the law. left to care for myself. to try and survive. to try and succeed. to please others so that i would feel loved. to prove to others that i was worth something.  to try to and be strong and defend myself. i tried to keep all the rules. i fought to be noticed and desired to be wanted.  hoping someone would choose me.

this was the story of my life and as hard as i tried, things never seemed to improve. until jesus entered. he bought me with a price. he paid my debt. he chose me.he chose me in all my filthy rags, failed attempts, dysfunctions, disorders, and he knew that i would even leave him and seek love elsewhere. but he chose me. he loved the unlovable. he has taken the girl who has tried to prove herself and told her that she has nothing to prove. she is fully loved and accepted.  of course i have trouble believing this sometimes, and i resort back to my old ways.  but he even loves the girl who forgets how much her father loves her and runs after other things. he loves the girl who can blow through an entire day without thinking about him, when he has been thinking about her since the creation of the world.

every time i think on such things, my mind goes to think of the millions of little ones out there who have no one here on earth to care for them. they are unknown, unwanted, despised, looked down upon or just overlooked. what a picture of the gospel! my child is out there right now and it scares me to think what he/she is going through right now. i can't wait to hold them in my arms and whisper the love of our redeemer into their ears. to tell them of the one who loves us like no one else can.  the one who really adopted us.

when i think of these things, all the challenges that i will face seem to not be so scary anymore. i know that my kid will have problems and that i am not going to be a perfect parent and together we are broken. but i know i have a redeemer who loves us more that we could imagine! how could i not share that. how could i not tell these little ones that?

oh i can't wait! i want to do it tomorrow!

[valley of vision] living for jesus...

living for jesus
from valley of vision

o savior of sinners,
they name is excellent,
thy glory high,
they compassions unfailing,
they condescension wonderful,
thy mercy tender.

i bless thee for the discoveries, invitations,
promises of the gospel
for in them is pardon for rebels,
liberty for captives,
health for the sick,
salvation for the lost.

i come to thee in thy beloved name of jesus;
re-impress thy image upon my soul;
raise me above the smiles and frowns of the world,
regarding it as a light thing to be judged by men;

may thy approbation be my only aim,
thy word my one rule.
make me to abhor that which grieves thy holy spirit,
to suspect consolations of a worldy nature,
to reprove evil,
to instruct with meekness those who oppose me,
to be gentle and patient towards all men,
to not only be a professor but an example of the gospel,
displaying in every relation, office, and condition
its excellency, loveliness and advantages.

how little have i illustrated my principles
and improved my privileges!
how seldom i served my generation!
how often have i injured and not recommended my redeemer!
how few are those blessed through me!
in many things i have offended, in all come short of thy glory;
pardon my iniquity, for it is great.

trip to phoenix...

a few weeks ago i got a free standby ticket to go see my friend ginger, who lives in phoenix. here are a few pictures of the adventures that we had. love this girl!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


i came home to this yesterday. what it is? i am sure you can't tell. but it is two boxes covered by my doormat so that no one can see them.  our UPS man does this every time we get a package.  i think it only attracts more attention, but hey, he's the professional.  to give him credit, this technique has worked so far. no packages have been stolen. 

Sunday, October 18, 2009

respectable sins: impatience and irritability

a short chapter that calls out a sin we all deal with. be it with our spouse, our kids, our roommates, behind the wheel of a car, with our co-workers, etc. it does not take a hard search to see this sin in our lives.  we tend to exhibit this sin most easily with those who we spend a lot of time with.

bridges defines impatience as "a strong sense of annoyance at the (usually) unintentional faults and failures of others. this impatience is often expressed verbally in a way that tends to humiliate the person (or persons) who is the object of the impatience"(116).

he defines irritability as "the frequency of impatience, or the ease with which a person can become impatient over the slightest provocation"(118).

impatience exposes our pride. we think our way of doing something is better. we think our time is more important. we think we are smarter, sharper or better, etc. we are hardly putting someone else before ourselves. we do not think that someone else is as valuable as christ would see them. as with pride, in the midst of our impatience, our own faults diminish. 

bridges also points out that someone else does not cause our impatience.  they just provide an opportunity for the flesh to assert itself. "the actual cause of our impatience lies within our own hearts, in our own attitude of insisting that others around us conform to our expectations"(117).

in the latter half of the chapter, the author talks about our response if we are the object of someone elses impatience.  there are two improper responses: 1) start a "war of words." say something back that is sharp and cutting so they will know they cannot talk to you like that. 2)inwardly seethe and resent the person who has sinned against you (i think bridges wrote that one for me.)

he says that biblically we have two options: 1) follow the example of christ who "when he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued trusting himself to him who judges justly" (1 peter 2:23) and 2) confront the person, but "only when you have resolved the issue in your own heart and can speak to the other person for his or her benefit, not just to make your own life more pleasant" (119).

impatience is an easy sin to let slide, but i know this chapter has made me examine why i get so irritated and annoyed and 9 times out of 10 it is purely selfish. 

Saturday, October 17, 2009

respectable sins: lack of self-control

for me this chapter exposed many things that i know, but that i have yet to do anything about. good stuff.

"like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit." proverbs 25:28

bridges opens with this verse, reminding the readers that in biblical times a wall was a city's main line of defense.  if the wall was down, they were vulnerable to so many attacks.  a lack of self-control in any area of our life should be a good warning sign to us that trouble is on the way or it has already snuck in without us knowing it. bridges is quick to tell us that many christians think they have self control because, "we have boundaries from out christian culture that tend to restrain us from obvious sins, but within those boundaries, we pretty much live as we please. we seldom say 'no' to our desires and emotions"(110).

bridges goes on to talk about three areas that most christians fail to exercise self-control. the first is eating and drinking.  he is quick to point out that this is not just for people who have a "weight problem," but for anyone that lets their craving for food or drink or even their enjoyment of food or drink drive them.  be it ice cream, chocolate, alcohol, soft drinks, or whatever. if we cannot live without it or cannot stop after a reasonable portion, we lack self-control. and it is dangerous. secondly he talks about temper. if we lash out quickly with any emotion, it shows a lack of self-control. and finally, he talks about personal finances.  the fact that most americans, yes even american christians, live above their means shows our lack of self-control. and just because someone is not in debt does not mean that this is not a struggle. many affluent people, indulge themselves in whatever their heart desires. this is obviously not a comprehensive list.  there are many other seemingly harmless ones, like too much time on the computer (guilty), watching too much television, impulse buying, watching or playing sports, exercise, etc.

bridges does not talk about this, but i wanted to make this point. this lack of self control can definitely be used to expose what our idols are.  the reason we cannot quit them is because we need them or we need to do them to serve our idol, the thing we consider most important.  it is going to be hard to quit these behaviors or control them without taking a look deeper to expose our idols. 

some of you may say, "i am not doing this because i am enslaved to something. i am doing this because i enjoy it and it brings me pleasure. or it helps me take my mind off of stuff." i would caution you to take a more careful look. look deep!  if you want to see if you are really controlled by something or if it is controlling you give it up cold turkey for period of time.  how many times a day do you think about it or want to do it?  do you have to do something to keep your mind off of it?  then sadly my friend, you are bowing to an idol or using this to numb you to the pain of the world or as a fix to keep you from something else. all wrong responses. if you are bowing to an idol, it often stems from something you do not understand of believe about the gospel.  why do you need that to feel good? wholeness never comes through the blessing, only through the blessor!

so how do i practice this self-control?  it is a bit deceiving because it sounds like we can do it on our own. but we cannot!  to have self-control in all areas of  our lives we need help.  that is why self-control is listed as a fruit of the spirit. the same spirit that raised christ from the dead resides in us and can give us self-control.  we have to be dependent on him.  he is probably going to have expose our idols and why we love some things so much before he enables us to have self-control. he will reveal to us how the gospel is all satisfying and we do not need this.  then our desire for it will be conquered with the sweet taste of the gospel. and each time we battle it, we need to remind each other of just that.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

respectable sins: selfishness...

this is not one of my favorite chapters in the book, not because it was the most convicting, but because i think it could have addressed more and pointed us more to the gospel. bridges does tie it in a little bit at the end, but for a behavior oriented moralist like me, this chapter sounds all to familiar to the "change your behavior stuff" i grew up thinking.  i will go ahead and summarize, but i am also going to expound a lot too.

bridges starts the chapter with an illustration about kids not wanting to share and taking a toy and saying, "mine," or "i don't want you to have it." children hardly looking out for the interests of others.  he points out that as we get older, those thought patterns do not go away, they just flesh out in more socially acceptable ways.  none of us would throw a temper tantrum if someone else got what we wanted, but i think we could all admit to a time when we were jealous or mad that someone got some thing that we did not. we all struggle with selfishness.  and it is much easier to point out in someone elses life rather than our own. in fact we can identify it easily because we act and think the same way.

he addresses four specific areas of selfishness in this chapter, admitting that there are so many more!

first, he talks about being selfish with our interests and talking about ourselves and what we like rather than listening. i think we do this for many reasons. a) we like ourselves. we are our favorite subject. everyone should know about something as great as us. b) we are insecure. if we sell ourselves as great or noble or generous or whatever, then people will like us and think we are great and affirm us. c) or we just do not care about someone else and don't want to get involved with listening to them, so we will just keep talking. we are indeed "lovers of self" (2 tim 3:2).

secondly he says we are selfish with our time. "i am entitled to my time and don't ask for any of it. "do you know how busy i am? i have things to do." "that is not my job. someone else needs to do that." the root of what we are saying can boiled down to this, "sorry, i have my own kingdom to build." bridges points out that we are called to bear one another's burdens (gal 6:2). sadly, we often do not want to or we are just too busy to even notice others burdens.

thirdly, bridges talks about being selfish with our money. i don't think anyone could argue against that.  the bible tells us over and over again how we are to care for those in need (the poor, the widow, the orphan, the homeless) but how much of our budget actually goes to that?

lastly, he talks about being inconsiderate. we often do not think about the impact our words or actions have on someone else. we are often so concerned with our agenda or our pressing need, that we do not think about how we express it or we trample over others in the process.

bridges writes, "the selfish person not only is indifferent to the needs of others but actually expects them to meet his needs and desires" (106). so true!

so what is the gospel response to this? it is more than just "quit thinking about yourself and think about others." it is a call to look at the gospel. not only is jesus a perfect example of someone who was unselfish, but his gospel frees me from my selfishness. because i am loved by him, i do not have to worry about talking about myself, i can actually listen and hear others. because i know that he is on control, i do not have to worry about interruptions to my plan or my time. in fact, the notion of my time does not exist. i know that all is his and that the reason i am here is to glorify him and if there is an interruption, i know that he has something that will bring glory to his name, more than my plan, even if it ruins all of my plans. his power and provision in the cross and resurrection free me from the love of money. rather than storing up here or working to buy things here that will make my life more comfortable, i look for how i can use all that i have so that he can be glorified and i trust that he will provide.. and because i do not have to worry about myself, the gospel causes me to think of others to want them to know love like this. as i look around, i seek ways to build the body and serve others so that christ can be glorified. i am not worried about me because i know that christ is more than enough.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

[adoption] so now what?

so if i am going to adopt, what are my next steps? well, first things first, i need to finish getting out of debt. i still have about $8000 worth to pay off. i am meeting with a couple who does financial counseling to get a better grip in this and pay it off faster, hopefully by may!

i will also need to take some classes/training required by the state. my lease is up in may, so i will need to find a new place to live that has a room for a kid. then i will need to have a home study done and then just wait. i am not sure if i will foster or if i will just wait to adopt. i have heard that for older kids, if you do not care about race or gender you could get a kid like 2 weeks after you have your home study!

please be praying for me as i follow the lord on this new venture. i am going to need lots of support and prayers. when i doubt or question, or worry or freak out i am going to need you guys to point me back to the gospel and to remind me that the lord is big enough to take care of all the impossibilities.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

[adoption] the adoption conference...

since i had been feeling led to adopt and i wanted to know more about it, i decided to go to an adoption conference in tennessee with several other couples on staff who are interested in adopting, have adopted or want to adopt. the conference had a lot of info on adoption for you personally and info on how to mobilize your church to care about adoption.

most of the main sessions taught about adoption in reference to the gospel. which were great! i am sure i will write another post about that, but where the Lord really revealed himself was in the breakouts. one of the breakouts i attended was called beginning your adoption journey. i learned all about different kinds of adoption (embryo, domestic, international and through foster care). as i read over all of the descriptions, foster care stuck out to me. i read this quote "Withing the foster care system, there are 135,000 children who are legally free for adoption." i kept rereading it. then the lady leading the breakout said that if you wanted to adopt older kids the foster care system is full of them, because typically, people want to adopt babies. my heart broke! i had felt the lord leading me to think about adopting an elementary school kid and now the thought of them being unwanted broke my heart. then she went on to say that if you adopt a child through the foster care system, it is free. the state pays for everything. i began freaking out inside. then before she moved on to the next type of adoption, she tagged on that this is a great type of adoption for single parents. excitement was building. i knew this was right and this was just the beginning...

another breakout i attended was a panel of people who spoke on foster care and adoption. my friend jamie and i snuck into this one. i had to hear more about adopting through the foster care system so i skipped out on the one i had signed up for. there were 4 people on this panel, but 2 really stuck out to me. on was a single guy who had adopted 3 boys out of foster care. he was sharing stories. i think the lord put him on that panel just to tell me, "see, it is possible." the other person that stuck out to me was a woman who had grown up in the foster care system. she was never eligible for adoption because her mom would not give up her parental rights. so this woman bounced from foster home to foster home until she was 18. 4 out of the 5 homes she was in, she was abused. she was pleading with us to get the word out to have christians either foster or adopt. her story broke my heart. i teared up as i tried to imagine how she must have felt growing up. then to top it off jamie turned to me and said, what does she do for thanksgiving? where does she go for holidays? she has no family.

i could not bear the thought of kids growing up like this that had the freedom to be adopted. kids that no one wanted. that no one loved. kids that had no one to call family. kids that will will never experience what it is like to be wanted and chosen. kids that do not have the opportunity to know christ's love.

as i flew home that night, i just felt the lord continuing to affirm what he had already told me. as i thought about this, i could not help but think about my adoption in christ. and i wept. i love crying on planes.

so, i am moving forward with this in faith. daily questions arise in my mind about all of this. and i just feel the lord saying, "trust me."

[adoption] how i came to this conclusion...

so how did i come to this decision to pursue adoption? great question. it has been a process over the last few years. a couple years ago, i started thinking about adoption. i thought it would be cool and i thought it would be good for health reasons. it would be easier on my diabetic body and i would not have to worry about passing my diabetes on to my kids. but i always thought, i will cross that bridge when i get married.

well, several of my friends and co-workers have been talking about adoption, and i feel like i hear about it constantly. it was on my mind quite a bit. this past summer, i was reading crazy love by francis chan. in one of the chapters, francis poses the question, "what part of your life really requires you to live by faith?" i was totally convicted. even being on church staff, i realized that aside from being healed from my junk, there was not really any part of my life that i was desperately depending on the Lord for. i realized that when the lord does big things through people in the bible, it is always when they totally had to rely on the lord. so i started praying, asking the lord to reveal what needed to change in my life.

as i finished up the book, there is a chapter at the end where francis chan writes some stories about people who the lord has used to impact the kingdom. there was one story about a girl that moved to tanzania right after college and ended up adopting a baby... as a single woman. as soon as i heard this story, i felt the lord say that is what i want you to do. and i was like, "sure, i will adopt when i am married." then i felt him say, "no, i am not calling you wait, i am calling to you start this process now." i told the lord, "um, but i am still single." and he said back, "i know. i will take care of things." then there were a series of questions that i shot back at the lord (typical of my independent and controlling personality). i quietly submitted to the lord, but i was still really unsure.

i got home from the gym (where the lord and i had this conversation) and i had an email from a friend, inviting me to go to an adoption conference in tennessee. i freaked out! what? why would she send me that? i decided that night to go and see what this was all about and see what the lord was doing. no harm in going right?

so over the next several weeks, i prayed. i told a few friends and asked them join me in praying for this. everyday, my mind was flooded with a million questions. how could i adopt and work? when would i work out? is it right to adopt a kid into a single home? what would i do on the weekends or for vacation? what would i do with my kid on a sunday? (i mean i work like 14 hour days) where would i live? can i afford to live by myself? i really don't want to move again. how would i still invest in the lives of my kids at church, families at church and my volunteers if i have a kid? i would not have my evenings free anymore. can i do this? there were many more questions and every time i felt my mind reeling, i heard the lord say, "trust me." and every time doubt crept in, i had a conversation with someone that pointed me towards adoption or encouraged me to do so.

after weeks of praying, i still felt as if i was supposed to adopt and i began to feel led to adopt an elementary school age kid. so where do i go now? what do i do now? i was excited to get to the adoption conference and see. i will write about that in the next post.

Monday, October 12, 2009

adopt... yes i am going to...

this series of posts has been in the works for several months now. as the title indicates, i feel the lord leading me to adopt. yes, adopt children, well at least one for now, let's not get crazy. yes now, not later. no i am not married. no there is no man in the picture right now for me to marry. yes, i realize that this seems crazy. yes i have thought about how much i am going to have to give up as a single parent. yes i know how much it costs (free through the foster care system). yes i know my life will look radically different. if you have a question or an objection, feel free to ask or comment, but i can almost guarantee you i have already thought of them all.

so i am going to write a few blogs that explain how i have come to this decision and what i am going to do now and how you can help, if you feel led. rather than just writing one big long blog, i will break it up in chunks. this is going to be a great journey, really hard at times, more than i can imagine for sure. so here we go...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

respectable sins: pride

this is another chapter in jerry bridges book, respectable sins. he does a pretty good job of talking about a few aspects of pride, but he for sure cannot cover them all. in fact, if he did, it would be a book. i tend to define pride, not just as arrogance or thinking highly of yourself, but as any time you do not acknowledge god. so really all of these sins that bridges addresses, stem from pride or as he calls it, ungodliness. but here is a recap of the chapter.

bridges addresses pride in 4 areas. all of which i can see active in my life.

moral self-righteousness
this form of pride "expresses itself in a feeling of moral superiority with respect to other people."

"because we don't commit those sins, we tend to feel morally superior and look with a certain amount of disdain or contempt on those who do."
"But though it is so prevelant amoung us, it is difficult to recognize because we all practice it to some degree. in fact, we seem to get a perverse enjoyment out of discussing how awful society around us is becoming. when we engage in this kind of thinking or conversation, we are guilty os the pride of moral superiority."
some where inside of us we think we are stronger than those sinners. if they only were like us, and could get it together. but we forget that where we are has NOTHING to do with us. but for the grace of god!! i am always 2 seconds away from committing the most heinous sins without god. a good assessment of this is to look at paul. can we like paul say and believe that we are the worst of sinners? if not, we think we are morally superior and we have forgotten the cross and grace. until we understand the depth of our sin and what christ did for us, we will ALWAYS think we are better than someone else.

pride of correct doctrine
this is "the assumption that whatever my doctrinal beliefs are , they are correct, and anyone who holds another belief is theologically inferior."

we must be careful that our knowledge does not puff up, but rather we use our doctrine and theology to sustain us in our calling. to equip us in our kingdom work. if we are just storing up our knowledge, we will do damage to the body rather than strengthen it. [good sermon on that here]. those with this attitude often teach and speak with selfish motives and actually rarely care about others, we just want them to think we are right.

pride of achievement
these quotes pretty much sum it up:
"paul wrote, 'who sees anything different in you? what do you have that you did not receive? if you then received it, why do you boast s if you did not receive it?' (1 corinthians 4:7). so what do you have that you did not receive? nothing. you have nothing that did not come to you as a gift from god. our intellect, our natural skills and talents, our health, and our opporunties to succeed all come from god. we have nothing that will enable us to achieve success that we did not receive from god."
"another aspect of pride is the inordinate desire for recognition. all of us appreciate commendation for a job well done or for many years of faithful service on the job or at church. but what is our attitude when we do a specific job well and don't receive recognition? are we willing to labor in obscurity, doing our jobs as unto the lord, or do we become disgruntled over the lack of recognition."
"luke 17:10, 'so you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, 'we are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.' when we have done a job well or served faithfully over a long time, our attitude should be, 'i have only done my duty.'"
an independent spirit
bridges is talking about those who show a resistance to authority, especially spiritual authority, and an unteachable attitude.

how do we respond to authority? are we eager to soak up wisdom from others are always thinking about how much we have to offer. or even worse, how they are disqualified from teaching us anything because of such and such... (yikes, i do this.)

so there is a recap of this chapter. i only wish he gave some practicals to battling these sins. like i have mentioned before, piper's book battling unbelief is a great resource for this and so is beth moore's book, praying god's word.

Monday, October 5, 2009

respectable sins: unthankfulness

ever blown through a day, an afternoon, an hour, or moment without thanking god? me too, all the time. we are so arrogant aren't we? forgetting to acknowledge that god is all.

"how often do we give thanks for our salvation? have you stopped today to give thanks to god for delivering you from the domain of darkness and transferring you to the kingdom of his son? and if you have given thanks, was it in a mere nominal way, much like some people give thanks at a meal, or was it an expression of heartfelt gratitude for what god has done for you in christ?"
this is a flag that something is going on deeper. we think we are in control, we forget the gospel and what christ has done for us, we don't see our need for god, we are too busy to take time to thank him (therefore we are too arrogant to thank him), etc.

"most people acknowledge that everything we have comes from god, but how often do we stop to give thanks to him?"

bridges uses deuteronomy 8:11-18 to remind us that if we do not take time to thank and acknowledge god. when we forget to acknowledge god, we slowly begin to forget where our provision comes from and we start doubting or questioning whether or not god will indeed provide. this has been a major problem in my life. i struggle with anxiety because i do not take time to remember each little thing the Lord has provided for me.

okay, but can we give thanks in all circumstances? yes. bridges quotes paul in 1 thessalonians 5:8, saying "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of god in christ jesus for you." he also quotes romans 8:28-39.
"In other words, paul is telling us that god intends all of our circumstances, both good and bad (but in the context paul has in mind, especially the bad ones), to be instruments of sanctification, of growing us more and more into the likeness of jesus."
do i believe that god is in control? do i trust his word? do i want his glory and fame more than what i want? if the answer to questions like these is yes, then even though we may be grieving, our spirit will be submitting in thankfulness, glad to be a part of his plan and to be rescued by the cross. even if we never understand why, we can know that he is greater and his sovereignty rules.

help my unbelief. when i cannot be thankful, i do not see or believe. help my unbelief. it is truly amazing how our perspective changes when we take time to thank him. we actually begin to see how he has been working all along.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

his steadfast love endures forever...

the lord's steadfast love is mentioned over and over again in the psalms. it surely was something the psalmists clung to. something they had to remind themselves of over and over again as they endured trials, hardships and temptations. today i read through psalm 136. i noticed that every other phrase, says "for his steadfast love endures forever." i figured there must be something to this repetitive phrase, so i decided to read it out loud.

as i heard it over and over again, i choked up. i could not finish the psalm. the idea that his love is steadfast and does not change is incredible, especially since my love changes every day. then top that off with the idea that it endures forever!! forever! i do not have to worry if it will be enough for today, it will last forever!

as i read through this psalm, i was reminded of just a few ways the lord was faithful in the old testament, which lead me to think about the ways he has been faithful to me, which lead me to tears. it would be really cool if i could write a psalm like this, for all the events in my life also shout, "for his steadfast love endures forever."

there is something about speaking god's word out loud! it is powerful. i would encourage you to try it. here is psalm 136. all of it.
1Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

4 to him who alone does great wonders,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
5 to him who by understanding made the heavens,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
6 to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
7 to him who made the great lights,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
8 the sun to rule over the day,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
9 the moon and stars to rule over the night,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
11 and brought Israel out from among them,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
12 with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
13 to him who divided the Red Sea in two,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
14 and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
15 but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
16 to him who led his people through the wilderness,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

17 to him who struck down great kings,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
18 and killed mighty kings,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
19 Sihon, king of the Amorites,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
20 and Og, king of Bashan,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
21 and gave their land as a heritage,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
22 a heritage to Israel his servant,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
24 and rescued us from our foes,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
25 he who gives food to all flesh,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,
for his steadfast love endures forever.