Good Advice.

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“My advice, therefore, is this: When at any time your heart begin to storm and fret at your condition, sit down and seriously consider Who it is that orders that condition. Let your thoughts dwell upon that, and see if it be not to your advantage for the suppressing of all undue perturbations of mind.” –Thomas Jacombe

(It really works. Try it.)

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A Beautiful Trade

John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

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“Father God, what do you want me to sacrifice of myself in order to gain more of you in this situation?”

One of my friends posted that question/prayer, and it’s really been making me think. It isn’t that I’ve never thought of this before, because I have. I’ve just been pondering it, over and over and deeper and deeper.

Less of me = more of Him?? So… let me get this straight. I give up my prideful, fallible, weak, contemptible, foolish, lustful, deceitful self–and gain all the beauty and righteousness and love and power and glory of Christ???

Wow. That, folks, is a Really Good Deal. I still don’t get it, to be honest–why He would do it. But He does.

And the other thing I don’t get is why WE don’t do it–seriously! What do we have to lose? Only ourselves, and we all know, deep down, how worthless we are in and of ourselves. And what do we have to gain? Christ!

I realized, one day as I was washing dishes, (I realize a lot of things while washing dishes) that I actually pitied the flesh in some areas. Not just in my life, but for friends. I had been feeling bad for the difficult results of hard prayers–hard prayers that I myself prayed–even though I knew it was God working, and even though I knew that the part that was hard was the earthly part. Even though I knew that the result would be grand, I was still mourning the process. I felt God saying, then, “Why would you feel bad for them? It is the bad, the flesh being taken and burnt out. Yes it hurts, but they are so much the better for it.” So I decided, then, that I would not pity those in the refiner’s fire–I will rejoice and pray all the more.

Further, I have decided (and am deciding, and will continue to decide) to truly give Him all. That includes everything. Like, for real. Even all the things I can’t see. I’ve already given so much. But there is more. I know it, and He knows it even more.

How can I do less, when He has given all?

I Don’t Feel So Good…

Well, I feel better today, but I didn’t feel very good yesterday. It was just That Sort of Day where suddenly your cute baby sister realizes she has a Will Of Her Own, and also that she can scream–really loud. And your little brother decides (with much wailing and flopping) he ONLY wants to play computer and ONLY wants to eat sugar–Both of which are forbidden at the moment. And when you need a shower but don’t have time. And things keep spilling. And when you’re making supper and you can’t find a can opener OR a peeler. And you feel a little bit sick. And you woke up feeling tired and sore. And you’re getting angry much more easily than usual. And you just don’t want to do anything but sit around and read, but the house is a mess and you really have to do something. And it’s rainy, which is nice if you’re outside, but inside it just makes things feel more gloomy. And there are lots of thoughts going around in your head, but most of them are no good. And you try to focus on God but He just seems far away. And the enemy keeps suggesting all kinds of awful things, and you have to fight so hard it makes you tired.

Yeah. That kind of day.

I’ve been learning, though, that whether or not I feel good, God is still good. He is still Here. He is still loving. He is still just and righteous. He is still True.

He is still God, whether I feel like He is or not.

I’ve been learning to be thankful when the feelings match reality–when I feel loved, when I feel accepted, when I feel God near, when I feel joyful and blessed.

But I’m also learning to be thankful for those times when I don’t feel any of those things–because it is in those times that I must trust God solely based on His word–not my feelings. That is where faith really comes in.

Nope, I don’t have this down. Not at all.

But I am learning.

Love Really is Sacrifice.

So, night before last, I had finally made it to bed. I was settling in next to my sleeping baby sister, when my thirteen-year-old sister came and asked, very pitifully, if I could help with dishes.

It was 11:12pm. I was tired. I said no.

Well. God asked, “Do you need love or sleep more?”

Um…..

He kind of has this way of getting straight to the point, ya know?

And then He reminded me, “Love is sacrifice.”

So I got up and I washed dishes with Cheryl. (I even made up an alter-ego person named Rosemary Juliet who was my twin from Narnia who came to wash dishes in the middle of the night and lived near Centaurs.)

We got them washed in record time (probably like 10 minutes, which, if you are in a big family, you know how fast that really is.) and I went back to my warm bed.

When she came to bed, a little later, she said thank you.

And… she said, “It made me feel loved.”

Oh. So… love really is sacrifice?

Apparently.

In My Name…

John 14:13

And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

I was thinking about this, earlier this morning, and I thought that maybe… maybe it’s rather different than we think. Maybe it’s not just tagging “In Jesus’ name” on the end of our prayers–maybe it means to pray things that are in accord with His character–In the old days, “name” included everything that the person was–their character and reputation.

I have known of many prayers that have been prayed “In Jesus’ name” that He did not do. We pretty much have two options. Either: 1. God is a liar or: 2. We understood it wrong.

God forbid that He should lie. “Let God be true and every man a liar.”

I personally think that we, being human, are far more likely to have erred. And I believe this may be how–this thinking it only means to attach His actual letters-that-make-sounds name to the prayer, rather than praying things that align with Who He is. Think about it. If we ask anything that goes along with His will, His plan, the way He is–obviously He’s going to answer it. So… how do we know? Well, the best way I know is to get to know Him better through His word and through speaking to Him and letting Him speak to you.

The more we know of Him, the better we will know how to pray His mind, His will–in His name.

Loving Him

The questions were
tumbling
and the answers seemed scarce.

In the middle of the questions,
somehow
came the realization
the pause
the smile–
I love Him
He loves me.

So I kept picking up those
green bean tops
and I peeled carrots
and I cut them
and I smiled.

Because
I love Him
and
He loves me.

Yes, I’m still confused,
sometimes.

But over it all,
in it all
through it all
runs the happy refrain

I love Him,
and He
loves me.

And I cook and clean and I read books to little sisters
And in it all, through it all,
I love Him.

Journals

Thanksgiving and Christmas 365

These are all my journals. Well, actually not really. There are at least six others that I didn’t get out for this picture.

Thanksgiving and Christmas 366

11 Finished journals (Plus 3 other finished ones that I didn’t get out, a total of 14).

Thanksgiving and Christmas 372

7 in use or partially used journals. (plus one other partially used one, 8 total.)

Thanksgiving and Christmas 368

And 3 brand new, empty ones. (plus 2 empty ones not picture here, 5.)

For a grand total of… 27. Yes, 27. This not counting all the other notebooks… that would bring us well over 30. 😀 I guess… I like journals and journaling.