Monday, November 30, 2009


recovery is christ centered step program that the austin stone has every wednesday night (similar to celebrate recovery).  i have been going to recovery since january, when i finally admitted that i was living in anxiety and was out of control.  god has used recovery to change my life, and while that is a beautiful and hard story, that is not the purpose of this post.  i want to use this post to talk about what recovery is and who it is for.

i have several conversations with people inquiring about recovery and what it is and if it is for them.  most people say, "i have been debating about coming to recovery, but my issues are not like drugs and alcohol." i totally get that. one of my major hesitations in coming (besides my big huge pride) was that i had this idea of what kind of people were going to be coming to recovery. my judgmental heart was thinking i was not like them, i had nothing in common with them and to be completely honest, did not want to associate with them. i know horrible to type out, but it was true, and i am getting the feeling that many other people have some idea in their mind as to what recovery is like and who will be there that just is not accurate.  thankfully for me, the lord put several people in my life that were walking through recovery at the same time and i felt comfortable with them.  at some point, he also showed me how prideful and arrogant all my thoughts and judgments were.  that i do not get to decide if someone is worthy of my time or worthy of me to share my junk with.  he also showed me that my junk was not less worse than anyone who was struggling with drugs, alcohol, or sexual addiction. i was quite convicted.  i quickly learned that recovery is for anyone. anyone humble enough to admit they struggle and desiring to confront those struggles with the gospel in a community of other people who also admit they are broken.

the longer i have been in recovery, the more i realized that many of us have the same root sin and heart issues. our coping mechanisms are just different.  some are more socially acceptable than others.  programs like recovery have usually been for people who struggle with the sins that are less socially acceptable or more obvious, but really, recovery at the stone is for anyone who wants to get at the root issue, no matter what your coping mechanism is. for example,  because i did not trust god or truly believed that he loved me, i looked to people. and when they failed me, i judged them to make me feel better about not being accepted by them. i lived in anxiety trying to please them and make them want me. to escape this judgmental anxiety that was my hell for so long, i turned to daydreams and let my thought life run wild. after all, being there was way better than being in the here and now. walking through a step study in recovery helped me pinpoint my lack of trust in god. after talking to many of my friends, i realized that we have similar root problems but we just turn to different things for escape, pleasure and comfort. some are just more noticeable than others.

i can hear all the objections you are thinking already, but only because i also had them all.  "who will be there?" "what will people think of me?" "what if everyone is weird?" "i do not have time for this." "i confessed my sin and feel better, i do not need this." "recovery is for weak people" (yes i actually had this very thought). all they while i was hiding in my pride, guilt and shame.

i know recovery is not for everyone, god has used many other methods for healing his people for years, long before recovery was ever in existence.  and i know it is not the program that heals, but rather it is the gospel. but, if you have a struggle that you can't seem to shake, that has defeated you for quite some time, that you have stuffed away and not wanted to deal with, i would encourage you to come check it out. oh it will feel awkward and you will most definitely feel uncomfortable, but i think you will also find a place where your sin has to be confronted with the gospel.

i am still in recovery even though i have experienced many victories, because a) i am not fully recovered and will not be until jesus comes back. and b) i love the community there. the community that knows me and asks me boldly about my struggles, all with the intention of pointing me to christ and steering me from my coping mechanisms! there is also so much encouragement that comes from hearing other people's stories and seeing the lord change their lives.  recovery is important for me and others like me, who are not good at admitting our faults, our need for god, and our need for help. i like to always have it together but each week, when i walk through the doors to recovery, i am openly admitting that i do not have it together.

if you have anymore questions, please feel free to ask away! i would be more than happy to answer them.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

respectable sins: anger... [part two]

so sorry that posts have been so slow in coming these days. i have had trouble finding time to write, which means that i am too busy. here is the second post on the anger chapters.
"we tend to think of anger in terms of episodes. we get angry and then we get over it. sometimes we apologize to the person who is the object of our anger, and sometimes we don't. but somehow the other person, apology or not, gets over his defensive response, whether an angry outward retort or an inner resentment, and life goes on as usual. the relationship has been scarred but not broken. its not a great way to live with one another, but its tolerable. that seems to be the way far too many believers view the sin of anger. they've just come to accept it as part of life" (129).
this quote describes my life. being prideful and non-confrontational has made this the only acceptable response for me.  i am too prideful to admit when i have wronged someone or when i lashed out in anger or passive aggression.  and i am too non-confrontational to tell someone when they have hurt me, i just try to take it and get over it, all the while, most of the time i am just stuffing it. this formula creates the perfect storm for me, which leads to what bridges calls the weeds of anger.  that is what this chapter is about, anger that goes on, never being dealt with.

in the last post we talked about how most of time when we are angry, it is sin because it is not righteous anger.  ephesians 4:26 tells us that we are not to let the sun go down on our anger. this is because most of our anger is sin and when we let sin go, it just leaves an open door for other sin. scripture calls us to put away our anger quickly, but not to stuff it as i often do, but to confess it, seek forgiveness and address the root.  if not it will only cause trouble. weeds of unresolved anger will appear.

the first of these weeds that bridges addresses is resentment.  bridges says, "most often it is internalized. it arises in the heart of a person who is ill-treated in some way but who does not feel in a position to anything about it"(130).  it is "more difficult to deal with than outwardly expressed anger because the person often continues to nurse his wounds and dwell on his ill-treatment"(130). (i am a pro at this because i know it is not socially acceptable to blow up at someone, so if i keep it inside it is better).

the second "weed" is bitterness.  bridges defines bitterness as "resentment that has grown into a feeling of ongoing animosity. whereas resentment may dissipate over time, bitterness continues to grow and fester, developing an even higher degree of ill will"(130). you often hear people say, "i have forgiven them, but i do not want anything to do with them." this is not forgiveness.  bridges points out that "true forgiveness results in a restored relationship, not continuing animosity"(131).

the third "weed" is enmity and hostility and they "denote a higher level of ill will or animosity than does bitterness. ...[it] is usually expressed more openly. often it is in the form of denigrating or even hateful speech toward or about the objects of animosity. ...[it also] usually spreads its poison outward to involve other people."

the fourth "weed" is a grudge. bridges explains that the word grudges occurs 5 times in the bible and it is associated with taking revenge. most of us do not get to the stage where we carry out revenge, but "people will plan, if only in their minds, ways to get revenge against the person they hold a grudge against. they usually do not execute those plans but they get a perverse enjoyment out of going over them in their minds"(132).  ashamedly, i can say that i have been here before. imagining conversations or situations and what i would say that would cause them to feel the hurt that i have felt. this brings some sense of relief or enjoyment, but really only place more shackles on you.

the fifth "weed" is strife.  bridges says this "describes open conflict or turmoil between parties, usually between opposing groups as distinct from individuals" (133). this is where we see church fights/splits and family feuds.

reading this quickly reveals that anger when held on to can become VERY dangerous and destructive! thankfully bridges moves on to give us some pointers on how to deal with anger.  first he reminds us again that anger is never static and must be dealt with. this has been a bit overwhelming to me as i examine my life and see how deep my resentments go and far my anger is stuffed inside of me. but the lord has been faithful over the last year to make me address stuff even though it seems enormous, rather than just continuing to pretend it does not exist.

next, bridges tells us that we must always look to the sovereignty of god. we have to trust that god is sovereign and in control and that he has allowed this harm to happen for some purpose that we do not see. now this can sound like a cop out, but i have found that when i really stop and think about this, it is the ONLY thing that brings me comfort and hope. for me, i have seen that these circumstances have often caused me to learn more about my savior and my need for him.

bridges then tells us to pray that god would enable us to grow more in love, love life he loves us. "the love that overlooks an offense doesn't just happen, it comes as we pursue it diligently in dependence on the holy spirit"(135). remember 1 corinthians 13 teaches us that love is not easily angered, nor does it keep a record of wrongs. if you keep thinking about the wrongs that have been done to you, you have not forgiven yet.  forgiveness takes time.  when we are hurt, our natural inclination is not to absorb the wrong. but the more we know christ and his love for us and the more we depend on the spirit, the more this will come.  i am in need of some serious growth here! 

the final direction is to learn to forgive as the god has forgiven us. again matthew 18:21-35 pretty much kicks my tail here.  my unwillingness to forgive others shows my lack of understanding of christ's forgiveness of me and the amount he has forgiven me.  when i dwell on the enormity of christ's forgiveness of me then my heart of bitterness begins to melt. until i am truly able to acknowledge that i am the worst of sinners, then i will always be in a place to hold a grudge or demand repayment for a wrong done to me.  a long-term unwillingness to forgive is a flag that perhaps we do not understand or believe the gospel.

bridges again makes a point to remind us that he is writing this that we may be able to bring our sin, even our respectable sins into the light and be healed. that we may be free from the bondage of sin. i know that anger is one of my favorite respectable sins in my life.  the next chapter, judgementalism, is another favorite.  lord, forgive me for all those that i have hurt in my sin of anger!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

[adoption] finances and picking an agency...

i have had many people ask me where am i in the adoption process and what am i still thinking.  well here is the latest update.  last week, i met with a couple from our church, some dear friends of mine, to look over my finances, get some advice and set some goals. as i said before, i still have about $8000 worth of dumb credit card debt to pay off and that is looking much more feasible than ever before.

i also went to an event where i had the opportunity to meet and talk with 5 different foster agencies.  i really like 2 of them (pathways and arrow). i am still praying about it, but i really felt a connection with the staff from pathways, so that might be the one i go with.  in general, i got a lot more information about where to start and how long classes are and such.  it was really great, but i initially walked away discouraged.  i realized that the paper work for my homestudy is going to take longer than i thought.  you see i was really hoping to be getting matched at this time next year, but i cannot start the homestudy paperwork until i have a place of my own (which i knew) and the homestudy paper work can take 60-90 days i was told (which i did not know).  if i was out of debt already, i could get my own place sooner and the start the homestudy sooner, but alas, it looks like it will be spring 2011 before i will begin the matching process.  i left, sad that it was going to take so long. the lord was quick to comfort me that this has been his story from the beginning and that is was his idea and that he is writing it on his timeline with his provisions.  i need to just seek him and trust.  in reality this longer period will allow me to be more prepared, but i don't like to wait.  2011 seems to far away. 

so please pray that the lord will continue to provide for me to get out of debt and that i will continue to trust him, rather than take matters into my own plans.  also, please pray for my kid out there somewhere.  pray that they already will begin to feel the love of the savior!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

rejoice in trial...

rejoice in trial. ya, i think we all know that we are supposed to do that, but if we are honest, most of the time that is the last thing we feel like doing.  so we usually resort to two things. 
  • we either fake it and make up some kind of begrudging joy, all the while stuffing how we feel and not admitting that life is really hard right now. of and we for sure don't tell anyone how deep this struggle is. after all, good christians, rejoice - so pull it together. so rather than truly rejoicing, we sink deeper and deeper into despair and isolation. 
  • the other response is to give up on god. this suffering stuff stinks and there is no way i can rejoice, christianity must not be for me.
how can we truly rejoice? 1 peter 1:3-9 tells us. verse 6 is where peter tells us to rejoice, though now for a little while we are being grieved.  what are we to be rejoicing in? our trial? partly, because through our trial we are being made more like christ and we are glorifying him. but i will be honest, but that is not usually what causes the rejoicing in my sinful heart. 

let's look at what verses 3-5 tell us.  they say that we are born again to a living hope, that we have an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, and that we are being guarded by god's power (THE most powerful).  i think peter is telling to rejoice in those things. when trials come, and they will again and again, peter is telling us to look to the gospel for comfort, not just try and be happy in our circumstances. he wants us to remember. remember that we were brought from death to life and that we have a god who is always with us and always in control. sometimes things are so dark that we cannot figure out what god is doing or we cannot hear him, but we can cling to what we know.  we know he was pierced for our transgressions, conquered the grave, and there is now no condemnation in christ.

so, when i am faced with the dark times and trials, please preach the gospel to me and remind that i have cause to rejoice.  rejoice with a joy that is inexpressible because my god will not withhold anything from me.

we have so much trouble rejoicing because rather than turning the gospel for comfort, we turn to friends, drinks, tv, isolation, relationships, etc. all things that will fall short of producing inexpressible joy in us.

Monday, November 16, 2009

christmas music already...

i broke the seal and started listening to christmas music this past sunday. i love it! i know that it is not even thanksgiving, but if there was good thanksgiving music i would play it. there just simply is not. so instead i will roll out my 22 hours of musical joy!  what do i like?  well check this blog post from last year where is listed my top 25 holiday favorites. enjoy it! after all, 'tis the season to be jolly!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

psalm 136...

i know i have written on this passage before, but it gets me every time i read it. his steadfast love endures forever! his steadfast love endures forever!  in each verse, the author of this psalm proclaims something about god's majesty or reminds us of his provision in the past and then follows is up with "his steadfast love endures forever." this repetitive passage is quick to remind my doubting and fearful heart that his love never changes and it lasts forever.  just like he worked in mighty ways in the bible, he works like that today! he is the same yesterday, today and forever. he is unchanging. what i know about him in the past i can cling to in the present and for the future. his is still the god that speaks and things happen. the god who let one million people walk out of slavery after 400 years. the god who parted the red sea. the god who provided water from a rock and manna on the ground.  the god who stopped the sun. the god who shut the mouths of very hungry lions. that same god is still that powerful and faithful today!  i just need that reminder like everyday!

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
2Give thanks to the God of gods,
   for his steadfast love endures forever.

3Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
 4to him who alone does great wonders,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;

5to him who by understanding made the heavens,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;

6to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;

7to him who made the great lights,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;

8the sun to rule over the day,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;

9the moon and stars to rule over the night,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
 10to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;

11and brought Israel out from among them,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;

12with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;

13to 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;

15but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;

16to him who led his people through the wilderness,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
 17to him who struck down great kings,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;

18and killed mighty kings,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;

19Sihon, king of the Amorites,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;

20and Og, king of Bashan,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;

21and gave their land as a heritage,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;

22a heritage to Israel his servant,
   for his steadfast love endures forever.
 23It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;

24and rescued us from our foes,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;

25he who gives food to all flesh,
   for his steadfast love endures forever.
 26Give thanks to the God of heaven,
   for his steadfast love endures forever.
- psalm 136

Friday, November 13, 2009

[valley of vision] paradoxes...

from the valley of vision

o changeless god,

under the conviction of thy spirit i learn that
  the more i do, the worse i am,
the more i know, the less i know,
the more holiness i have the more sinful i am,
the more i love, the more there is to love.
  o wretched man that i am!

o lord,
  i have a wild heart,
  and cannot stand before thee;
i am like a bird before a man.
how little i love thy truth and ways!
i neglect prayer,
  by thinking i have prayed enough and earnestly,
  by knowing thou hast saved my soul.

of all hypocrites, grant that i may not be
  an evangelical hypocrite,
  who sins more safely because grace abounds,
  who tells his lusts that christ's blood cleanseth them,
  who reasons that god cannot cast him into hell,
    for he is saved,
  who love evangelical preaching, churches, christians, but lives unholily.

my mind is a bucket without a bottom,
  with no spiritual understanding,
  no desire for the lord's day,
  ever learning but never reaching the truth,
  always at the gospel-well but never holding water.

my conscience is without conviction or contrition,
  with nothing to repent of.
my will is without power of decision or resolution.
my heart is without affection, and full of leaks.
my memory has no retention,
  so i forget easily the lessons learned,
  and they truths seep away.
give me a broken heart that carries home
  the water of grace.

i know that you can do all things...

then job answered the LORD and said:
"i know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
'who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?'  
therefore i have uttered what i did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which i did not know.
'hear, and I will speak; i will question you, and you make it known to me.'
i had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you; 
therefore i despise myself,
and repent dust and ashes." 
- job 42:2-6
how many times have i questioned god and his timing or his method or his goodness? i know that god is good and that he reigns. well at least i know that in my head, but my heart still says "why god? why this? what are you doing? this is unfair. i never wanted this. i mean if you are good, wouldn't you do this?" for me, this questioning often reflects an attitude of my heart that really thinks that i know better, or worse, an attitude that would rather have my desires filled now and in this way, that have god and his plan.

the reason my heart has those attitudes (and more) is because i am prideful and forget how little i know and understand.  i forget that his ways are higher than mine. that he is always working. that he is not a reactive god, but a god who has a plan. how many times like job have i questioned or complained about something that i do not understand. things job reminds us that are too wonderful for us  and things which we do not know.  job 38-42 is a wonderful rebuke and reminder for me of god's control, power, plan and faithfulness. i recommend reading it (and rereading it and rereading it) if you find yourself questioning god, doubting his goodness, wondering if he is out there, etc.

how limited is my knowledge, how limited is my thinking. lord i repent! i know that you can do all things that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.  help my unbelief and forgive my arrogance.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

fight or flight...

fight or flight. a psychology term used to describe how we react in scary situations. can you guess what i am? i am hands down a fighter. i had my first real fight in kindergarten. it was against a boy, one of my best friends, matthew.  we were at the bus stop, which happened to be in front of my house, waiting for our bus. matthew told me he was going to get on the bus first. i quickly replied that ladies got to go first and stepped in front of him.  he then proceeded to pull my hair, and i am SUPER tender-headed (my family should have owned stock in no-more-tangles because it hurt to even brush my hair, or so i said). so i promptly turned around and punched him to the ground.  no one pulls my hair. in fact, once i had him on the ground i continued to punch him to teach him a lesson. my mom came running out and broke-up the fight just in time for the bus to arrive. i clearly had one, but sadly neither one of us got to board the bus that day. i was in big trouble.  i had taught matthew to respect ladies, but it came at a cost!

i have not been in a physical fight since kindergarten, but i have wanted to be. the thought crosses my mind a lot. it does not usually involve an argument any more though.  (thank you jesus for sanctifying me) it now involves wanting to defend those that i love or myself. for example, a few weeks back there was a really rough storm that blew through at like 5:00am.  it made our screen door open and slam.  my roommate rachel was already up for school (god bless her soul) and she thought someone was trying to break in.  she freaked out and wanted to come wake me up because she was so scared.  my response when i heard the door was, "who the heck is breaking in? they will pay for waking me up!" and i began to look for a weapon before i realized it was just the storm. had it been a person coming in, i think i would have charged at them with a bat, knife or something.  no fear! no flight, just fight!

i also find myself wanting to defend my friends. sometimes it goes beyond defense to payback. a totally non-gospel centered response, but a frequent thought in my mind.  i get to hear people's stories a lot (a great bonus to my job) and when  hear about someone hurting someone else, be physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, my reaction is usually a thought along the lines of "if i ever see them i will punch them in the throat." as much as i hate conflict, this changes when you hurt someone i love. it is like my pwn incredible hulk expereince, minus the green and the muscles.  if you hurt someone i love and i am not walking in the spirit, watch out!

the funny thing is that i have not been in a physical fight since that day at the bus stop, but in my fight or flight mode, i do not seem to care. i have no idea how i would do, but in my visions of granduer, i always seem to think i will win!i have realized that this is of course a gift and a weakness. my strength is that i will not cower and i will protect, but my weakness is anger and acting on my anger rather or wanting revenge rather than trusting the lord.

just a little random fact for you. no wonder i am always going around hitting and pushing people. i have not been in a good fight in like 24 years. want to fight?

post script: this need to fight may be traced back to the karate kid movies i saw as a kid.  i wanted to be karate kid when i was a child. went as him one year for halloween even.

respectable sins: anger... [part one]

bridges addresses anger in two chapters and acknowledges that he is only scratching the surface.  i really liked these two chapters. very convicting for me. anger is for sure one of the sins that i continually fall into and then sweep it under the rug or just dismiss it. so let's dive in.

"anger is a universal problem, prevalent in every culture, experienced by every generation. no one is isolated from its presence or immune from its poison. it permeates each person and spoils our most intimate relationships. anger is a given part of our fallen human fabric."
- uprooting anger by robert jones

bridges defines anger as "a strong feeling of displeasure, and usually of antagonism. [and]... it's often accompanied by sinful emotions, words, and actions hurtful to those who are are the objects of our anger"(121).

he pauses here to define righteous anger so that we can differentiate between sinful anger and righteous anger.
"righteous anger arises from an accurate perception of true evil - that is, as a violation of god's moral law. it focuses on god and his will, not on me and my will. second, righteous anger is always self-controlled. it never causes one to lose his temper or retaliate in some vengeful way"(122).
nine times out of ten, my anger is somehow about me and how i have been wronged. it is not because my lord is being defamed. and my lack of self-control is proof that it is sinful.

bridges then comes at us with a dagger and says:
"no one causes us to be angry. someone else's word or actions may become the occasion of our anger, but the cause lies deep within us - usually our pride, or selfishness, or desire to control" (122).
boom! i often play the blame game with anger.  i am so angry because so and so did this... when in reality, when so and so did such and such it made me look bad, embarrassed me, let me down, or hurt me.  bridges reminds us that we chose how we respond to someone's sinful actions towards us.  [1 peter 2:18-20]

so when we find ourselves angry, we need to stop and acknowledge and confess the sin.  we need to ask ourselves, why are we angry. what is the deeper issue here?  take time to examine what really made us angry and what would a gospel centered response look like? we need to remember how scripture teaches us to treat one another. [1 corinthians 13:4-8, ephesians 4:32] if we have expressed our anger toward someone, we need to seek their forgiveness.  i do not do this well. i just hope that it will just blow over and that they will know that i am not normally like that, or that they will not do that again to make me mad. lastly, bridges points out that we need to trust god and his sovereignty over everything, even the affairs of our daily lives. when we remember that god is in control of all and that he is all powerful, it makes it a tad easier to see the current situation as a way to make us more like christ in our response.

bridges takes a brief section of this chapter to point out that anger towards god is a sin. i think we can all think of a time when we were angry with god about something. sometimes it is something big and life changing but most times it is something that we do not understand and it begins subtly as questioning. then the questioning turns into a manipulation of proverbs 3:4-5 "god i need/deserve this and if you were real you would provide it."

a specific example of this in my life is singleness. i have wrestled with this a lot. "god, why have you not brought me someone? why do you say that it is not good for man to be alone, yet you have no one for me? you have given me this desire, you owe it to me to fulfill it." the lord finally humbled me and showed me that what i was essentially saying was, "your plan stinks. i don't trust it. i want to be married now, in fact i should have been a long time ago." after this humiliation, i had to remind myself that the lord withholds no good thing from me and that he is in complete control and knows what is best and will provide for all my needs. see what this anger revealed? thankfully after much wrestling, the lord has brought me to a place where i trust him with my future mate or future singleness.  he changed my view from wanting to live this life married to wanting to live this life for the kingdom, married or not.

so when you find yourself angry at god, and you will if you are human, we need to acknowledge it as sin and repent.  why is it sin? god is big enough to handle it right?  it is a sin because "it is a moral judgment, and in the case of god, it accuses him of wrongdoing" (127).  bridges is quick to say that the solution to this problem is not just stuffing away the feelings because we know they are wrong, but rather to focus on the heart issue: not trusting in god and his sovereignty and power. 

but what about the sin against us? what about how we were wronged? don't we have a right to be angry about that? i will let scripture answer that for us. matthew 18:15-35 ought to be convicting enough. this is a VERY convicting passage for me. i always want to look at how someone has wronged me and i forget how christ has forgiven me. that my wrongs meant he had to die for me.  bridges poses a great thought.
"do i believe that this difficult situation or this unjust treatment is under the sovereign control of god and that in his infinite wisdom and goodness he is using these difficult circumstances to conform me more ot the likeness of christ" (124). hebrews 12:4-11 romans 8:28
that is enough to read and think on for one blog post. i will write another that covers bridges second chapter on anger: the weeds of anger and how to deal with our anger.

Monday, November 9, 2009

[valley of vision] the "nevers" of the gospel...

i have been praying through this prayer from valley of vision for the last several days. i love it! it has become another favorite.

the nevers of the gospel
from valley of vision

o lord,
may i never fail to come to the knowledge of the truth,
never rest in a system of doctrine, however
scriptural, that does not bring or further salvation,
or teach me  to deny ungodliness and worldy lusts,
or help me to live soberly, righteously, godly;

never rely on my own convictions and resolution,
but be strong in they and thy might.
never cease to find thy grace sufficient
in all my duties, trials, and conflicts;
never for forget to repair to thee
in all my spiritual distresses and outward troubles,
in all the dissatisfactions experienced in creature comforts;

never fail to retreat to him who is full of grace
and truth, the friend that loveth at all times,
who is touched with feelings of my infirmities,
and can do exceeding abundantly for me;
never confine my religion to extraordinary
occasions, but acknowledge thee in all my ways,
never limit my devotions to particular seasons
but be in thy fear all the day long;
never be godly only on the sabbath or in they house,
but on everyday abroad and at home;
never make piety a dress but a habit,
not only a habit but a nature,
not only a nature but a life.

do good to my by all they dispensations,
by all means of grace,
by worship, prayers, praises,
and at last let me enter that world where is
no temple, but only thy glory
and the lamb's.

(i promise, i will finish the respectable sins blogs. they are coming, i just have been too busy to write.)

Friday, November 6, 2009

[valley of vision] the great discovery...

i read this prayer on monday this week. tuesday i attended a hard funeral in the morning and a baptism service that night. then i read this again and it made me weep in gratitude to remember my salvation. to think of life without christ (as i saw at the funeral) and to remember that i LIVE in christ (as i was reminded of at the baptism). thank you jesus!

the great discovery
from the valley of vision

glorious god, 
i bless thee that i know thee.
i once lived in the world, but was ignorant of its creator,
was partaker of thy providences , but knew not the provider, 
was blind while enjoying the sunlight,
was deaf to things spiritual, with voices all around me, 
understood many things, but had no knowledge of thy ways, 
saw the world, but did not see jesus only.

o happy day, when in they love's sovereignty thou didst look on me, and call me by grace.

then did the dead heart begin to beat, 
the darkened eye glimmer with light, 
the dull ear catch thy echo, 
and i turned to thee and found thee, 
a god ready to hear, willing to save.

then did i find my heart at enmity to thee,
vexing thy spirit;

then did i fall at thy feet and hear thee thunder, 
'the soul that sinneth, it must die',

but when grace made me to know thee, 
and admire a god who hated sin, 
thy terrible justice held my will submissive.

my thoughts were as knives cutting my head.

then didst thou come to me in silken robes of love, 
and i saw they son dying that i might live, 
and in that death i found my all.

my soul doth sing at the remembrance of that peace;

the gospel cornet brought a sound unknown
to me before that reached my heart - and i lived -
never to lose my hold on christ or his hold on me.

grant that i may always weep to the praise of mercy found, 
and tell to others as long as i live, 
that thou art a sin-pardoning god, 
taking up the blasphemer and the ungodly, 
and washing them form their deepest stain.