Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Yesterday, Tomorrow, and Today

Sunday after everyone left and we had returned from Church I headed out for a little breather to the Christian Bookstore to browse around a little by myself :) I decided to purchase a new devotional for the New Year so I picked out Oswald Chamber's My Utmost For His Highest. It is one that I had looked at before but never bought. I have read it the last few days and have already been blessed by these words written so many years ago but even so they seem like they were written just for me.

Today's was entitled we finish 2008 and embark on the adventures of 2009 I want to share what Chambers has to say and hopefully it will strike you as it struck me.

"You shall not go out with haste...for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard" Isaiah 52:12
"Security from Yesterday. "God requires an account of what is past" (Ecclesiastes 3:15). At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future, and yet anxiety is apt to arise when we remember our yesterdays. Our present enjoyment of God's grace tends to be lessened by the memory of yesterday's sins and blunders. But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual growth for our future. God reminds us of the past to protect us from a very shallow security in the present."
"Security for Tomorrow. "...the Lord will go before you..." This is a gracious revelation-that God will send His forces out where we have failed to do so. He will keep watch so that we will not be tripped up again by the same failures, as would undoubtedly happen if He were not our "rear guard." And God's hand reaches back to the past, settling all the claims against our conscience."
"Security for Today. "You shall not go out with haste..." As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in haste of impetuous, forgetful delight, nor with the quickness of impulsive thoughtlessness. But let us go out with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ. Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him."
I love that He is my rear guard as well as the one that goes before me. I know as I look back on 2008 I have made my share of mistakes and blunders but I also know that I'm forgiven...I take heart in this as 2009 begins! Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Well the 24th has finally arrived and I have managed to get everything prepared for our Christmas celebration. The last few weeks and days have been filled with times spent with good friends, lots of laughter and really not a whole lot of stress. I was feeling it a bit earlier today as I rushed out to buy one last minute gift but over all this has been a very peaceful preparation time for Christmas. As we prepare to celebrate the Lord's birth I am filled thankgiving for all that this year has meant to our family. It has been a year filled with memory making and as we gather together tonight and tomorrow I'm feeling peace about what we have accomplished in the recent weeks and all this year. I pray that as you celebrate with your families that you will remember the meaning of the season and feel the peace that surpasses all understanding that our Lord offers. Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Purposeful Preparation

As we are preparing for Christmas I am trying to keep in perspective the reason for this season and not get too stressed in the process. Staying focused on finishing my Bible study and spending time in prayer has helped a great deal. I just finished another wonderful Beth Moore study with my Bible study girls and it was truly awesome. It was all about the Psalms of Ascent which I had never even heard of before but they are the grouping of Psalms from Psalm 120-134. They were written as songs that the Israelites would sing as they made their yearly pilgrimages to the feasts in Jerusalem. Within this group is a Psalm that I have always held dear but it became even more dear to me after studying it more and it is one that I will cling to throughout this season to help me stay grounded in what is truly important during these busy days.
Psalm 127
Unless the Lord builds a house its builders labor over it in vain; unless the Lord watches over a city, the watchman stays alert in vain. In vain you get up early and stay up late, eating food
earned by hard work; certainly He gives sleep to the one He loves. Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord, children, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in
one's youth. Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them. Such men will never be put to shame when they speak with their enemies at the city gate.

I love that God wants me to get sleep!! That was such a revelation to me when studying this Psalm. Many times I get so caught up in all the things to do, especially at this time of year that I forget to rest and I forget that God wants me to rest. The other part of this psalm that I truly love is the part about my children being a Heritage from the Lord. I need to remind myself of that from time to time as well. When I get frustrated with behaviors or caught up in the busyness of getting school accomplished it is easy for me to forget what a blessing they truly are to my life. And my quiver is truly full with arrows for serving Jesus. I need to also remember to always build my house on the firm foundation of Christ so that I am not laboring in vain.

In the last session Beth talks about laying down things that we think are necessary but are not necessarily what God wants us to be doing. This is something that over the last year I have actually worked very hard to do. I know that I still could use some work on this but I'm pleased to say that He has taught me to pray much more fervently before I take something new on, and to make sure that it is really His will and not my own. My prayer for all of you that read this blog is that you would take the time to evaluate the "things" in your life that take up your time and be prayerful about whether or not they are truly what God wants for you. In the coming weeks as we prepare for Christmas I want to be purposeful about the things we choose to do and remember as the days pass why we celebrate this holiday we call Christmas, I hope I can pass some of that on to my quiver in the process!!