Monday, June 21, 2010

God is Near- Rejoice!

Philippians 4:4-7 (New International Version)
4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Rejoice in the Lord for He is near. Even in times of trouble and anxiety the Lord is near. Rejoice and with thanksgiving bring the Lord my troubles and trials. Rejoice for He is near and ready to handle it all for me. This is a time to feel His presence and to allow Him to shape me into the girl He wants me to be. He is near. He hears my requests and cries, even if I feel unworthy and undeserving. He is near. Feel His peace, His comfort, His presence in my life. He is near. I can not control anything and when things seem to be on the verge of collapse or even when everything is out of control in my life, He is near. He is in control of it all. I may not understand the plan or the reasons, but He is near and He is in control. He is near. Rejoice - Again, Rejoice in it all! Even when I don't feel like rejoicing, Rejoice, He is near!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (New International Version)
16Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

71. My incredibly amazing and hunky husband
72. A beautiful little girl full of laughter and love
73. An adorable little boy who loves his mommy very much
74. Three devoted felines, ever patient and loyal
75. The homey and comforting feeling generated by sun as it reflects in the afternoon on the fireplace mantle
76. The diamonds created on the pond by the same sun throughout the day
77. The wildlife enjoying food, water, shelter and the freedom to play provided by the pond and the trees in our backyard
78. Safe travels for our family
79. Hubby's job
80. Anticipation of reuniting with family in summer
81. Peace and Comfort in knowing God is near
82. Comfort of soft jammies and my bed
83. Praise and worship music by Kari Jobe and Travis Cottrell
84. Resolve in being the mom, wife and child of God only I can be
85. Peace in knowing that is what my ministry really is
86. Joy in starting a new Bible study in the book of Ruth
87. Quiet reading of Southern Sister novel by Anne George
88. Hearing amazing hubby call me incredibly beautful woman and children darling before good night
89. Knowing God is near and waiting on me to decide to be still and wait on Him
90. A passion/desire for children and family ministry despite not knowing where the passion/desire should lead me
91. For each of my struggles today - I give thanks
92. My inability to control and fix things for hubby
93. God's perfect ability to control and arrange things
94. For God's perfect will for me and my precious family
95. God's love, presence and comfort by staying near to us

Thursday, June 10, 2010

First, Let Me.....

Yesterday, my Proverbs 31 Ministry devotional arrived in my inbox with Hold That Thought! as the title. I quickly scanned it and found as usual, but in a particularly strong way, it strike a chord within me. So, I printed it out with the intentions of reading it more intentionally and meditating on it later in the day- when all was quieter. At the time, one screaming baby and two rambunctious kiddos were afoot. Well, needless to say, my day quickly fell apart. At the end of the day, I had sent my first born off to her first church camp, soothed and comforted the little brother left behind, cared for a friend's newborn, picked up Co-op veges, dealt with many phone calls and computer scans that are brought on by a very nasty link sent to ALL of my contacts without my knowledge and definitely without my permission. Laundry still in the dryer, dishes in the dishwasher and sink and ministry emails unsent, devotional not read, meditated on and with the exception of a few prayers sprinted upward in the day as the chaos spilt out, time with God was again last on my list.
All that is said not because I wanted to share my crazy, harried day, but to give one snippet of the things that end up ahead of God in my life. You see, everyday I am dealing with laundry, dishes, menu, fussing, crying, needy children, some errand or other responsibility that screams for my attention and action. Everyday I end up telling God, "First, let me....then I will sit and talk to You. I will then let You talk to Me after I .....". This is exactly what Luanne Prater was talking about in her Proverbs 31 devotional. Putting God second, third, fourth, etc. on the list of things to do and He never gets to on the list.
Like a Good Bible Study Girl, I know better. I know what I need to do. But it is so stinking hard! I have quite a few things I need to change including, developing a new ability to say NO! to additional commitments no matter how good they seem to be. I need to trust others to do the jobs I have been doing. Pray for more leaders to take over some of the tasks I do. Basically, learn or execute some improved leadership skills. My priorities are upside down, inside out, backwards, twisted, out of proportions.
Am I surprised that I feel used up, dry, lost, desperate for God? God made us to need Him, to worship Him, to rely on Him for our every need. I am and have been trying to do everything on my own again and call on Him in my spare time for a that bonus time. Now I know that I can't just dump everything I am committed to or tell everyone who depends on me to deal with it. My kids and husband do need the Mommy around. But I can start by making some better choices by saying, "First, let me spend time with my Father God, then I will...... I will .......after God and I have our time together talking."
This morning as I debated getting up at 5:30am to have that time with God. (My lazy bones won. Hence, exercise and better bedtime hours are needed choices). I tuned into a station that shows nature scenes with scripture and soothing worship music. My eyes managed to focus on a verse that encouraged me to find yesterday's devotional right away.
Psalms 143:8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
What this verse tells me that first thing in the morning I need to sit down so that God can speak to me through His Word, the Bible. I need to be reminded first thing in the morning that God's love will never be taken away from me. He is faithful to provide what I need for the day if I seek Him first (Matt. 6:33),First thing in the morning to start my day off right. He will give me the strength and ability to accomplish what I should be focused on for that day. By seeking His Will for my day, He will show me what/who needs my attention for the day. I will more likely find the blessings or "manna" from heaven that I can be joyful and thankful for throughout the day. I will be able to recognize God's presence in my life and my kids and others wil likely be able to see God do some amazing things in the midst of doing life. I just need to give God my first moments of the day.
I long so for that comfort and reasurance that only God can give. Today's Proverbs 31Ministry devotional by Lysa TerKeurst showed up in my inbox with some thoughts about that. It goes hand in hand with yesterday's thoughts and the verse from Psalms 143. Read the whole Psalm 143 though first and well, God is speaking to me. It is great when I say, "First, let me read this in the Bible, then I will ....." Please don't be offended if I put you off till later in the day or the week or even say "No, I can't". You see, I NEED God to come first in my daily, crazy, harried, busy mommy/wife/ministry leader/etc. life.