October 25, 2012

Thankful Thursday

It's been three years since the rug was jerked from beneath our feet. Three years since we started forging a new life. We're starting to grow comfortable in this place that looks remarkably the same and yet radically different. Sometimes I find myself slipping into old attitudes, old desires come stealthily creeping. I don't ever want to forget how the Lord brought us through. I never want to stop praising Him for it.

He is giving us an opportunity to do just that. Dear friends are now walking that same scary path of unemployment. As we approach the Lord on their behalf and seek to minister to them, we reminisce about our own journey and the faithfulness of the Lord. Reading through old blog posts causes me to catch my breath in wonder. How utterly dependent I was upon Him. How far I feel from that now.

And so today I am thankful, deeply thankful. Not just for an opportunity to serve friends, but for His loving call back to a place of remembrance, a place to raise our Ebenezer and say that we are here only by His help.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
~2 Corinthians 1:3-7, ESV

October 16, 2012

Review: On HIs Majesty's Service

Christian Focus for Kids has a wonderful series of biographies for younger readers (ages 7- 14).  The Trailblazers series is a fantastic way for children (and adults) to learn about the great cloud of witnesses who've gone before us, such as John Stott and Charles Spurgeon, and those who are still paving the way, like Joni Eareckson Tada.

When CF4K announced the Trailblazer Extravaganza for the month of October, I was eager to participate. I chose to read Helen Roseveare: On His Majesty's Service. I confess that I'd never heard of Helen Roseveare before. I chose this particular book because she was a missionary in the Belgian Congo in the 1960s, which is the setting for a book I recently read, The Poisonwood Bible. I was curious to know if the fictionalized account of a missionary family in the Belgian Congo during that time was accurate.

From the first pages of On His Majesty's Service. I was drawn into the account of the English girl born during WWII who decided early on in life to become a missionary. Helen studied to be a doctor and went on to serve many years in the Congo, in spite of political unrest that led to her capture and imprisonment for several months. The work the Lord accomplished through her is an amazing testimony to His power. Helen's love for the people of the Congo, her steadfastness in the face of great odds, and her unwavering faith in the Lord are a great example for children and adults alike. On His Majesty's Service is a well-written and interesting book.

Even though the Trailblazers series is targeted to children, I highly recommend them for adults.

Thanks to Christian Focus Publications for allowing me to read this great book.

October 11, 2012

Thankful Thursday

We celebrated my girl's 14th birthday this week. The Lord has given us many reasons to be grateful these past 14 years. This week, I've been thankful for:

~watching her blow out those 14 candles, surrounded by a band of giggling girls

~her stand for something she believes in strongly, even though it's been hard and has pulled her away from people she cares about

~the way God is growing her through this difficult situation.  Watching Him work in her life takes my breath away.

~coming home early from work one day, only to find her studying with classical music playing in the background

~watching her read while I prepared dinner. I nearly asked her to put the book down and help me. Then I remembered all the years I've struggled to get her to read outside of school, and I kept quiet.

~her compassion for those in need

~that her pick for Celebrity Day at school was someone to be admired, rather than one of the many lesser options out there. (True, her decision was made easier because she has the hair to pull it off!)

~picking her up from practice and listening to her enthusiastically tell me about her day. The words come so fast I can hardly understand them all. I drink them in as much as I can, because I fear the alternative.

My girl is far from perfect, but as her Daddy said this week, "She's a good kid." And she is. Not because of her. Not because of her parents. Only because of God.

For you formed my inward parts; 
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
~Psalm 139:13

October 8, 2012

Fighting for Your Girl's Worth: Part I

Today I'm at Out of the Ordinary, confessing my battle with finding my worth in my accomplishments, and in my daughter's.

Click on over to join the discussion.

October 4, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Praising the Lord this week for:

~A long-awaited answer to a friend's prayer. Not happening the way we thought, but happening nonetheless and it's wonderful to see.

~A double date with my man and our closest friends to see this show.

~Football, football, and more football.

~The opportunity to teach and discuss things of the Lord with my girl.

~Friday night in with a good movie.

~A husband who motivates, inspires, and encourages me.

~Our youngest niece's baptism.

~Our oldest niece's birthday.

~Opportunities to guest post for Elizabeth and Jessalyn, and on the same day. As I jokingly told Jessalyn, apparently I'm storming the internet, one blog at a time.

~These words:

...we have nothing. Recognizing our innate destitution and bankruptcy is so freeing. It so strips us of self-reliance that our busy heart is able, at last, to find calming rest. It tells us that what we need to do is stop milling about, trying to find something we can do to make ourselves better. All we can do is sit down & trust that he is handling it. He's got lunch covered. He's got eternity covered. He's got our sin covered. All we can do is sit down & let him serve us. Amazing condescension & grace.
~Elyse Fitzpatrick
Comforts from the Cross: Celebrating the Gospel One Day at a Time

(emphasis mine)
 and these:

"I would to God that saints would cling to Christ half as earnestly as sinners cling to the devil. If we were as willing to suffer for God as some are to suffer for their lusts, what perseverance and zeal would be seen on all sides!

and, most importantly, these:

 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
~Isaiah 55:8-9

October 3, 2012

Review: the life of GOD in the soul of the church

Over the past few weeks I've been enjoying The Life of God in the Soul of the Church: The Root and Fruit of Spiritual Fellowship by Thabiti Anyabwile. The book is actually a series of sermons that Anyabwile preached at his church, First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman, regarding true biblical fellowship.

Anybwile expounds upon the theme of Henry Scougal's
Life of God in the Soul of Man, which urged Christians to practice "genuine, vital, thriving spiritual devotion." (p. 7) By exposition of 1 John 1, Anybwile concludes that "the essence and foundation of all true spiritual and biblical fellowship is the life of God in the soul of man experienced personally by believing the truth and share relationally in the church. (p. 17-18) Part I of the book lays the foundation for Part II, which is the practical application of how church members live in true biblical fellowship with one another.

Anybwile tackles difficult subjects with candor and urgency, as evidenced by this excerpt on the role of discipline in the life of the church:

If the church isn't a place where people are corrected in love and godliness, how will society ever be? What hope is there for an unbelieving, perishing world if not even the people of God are humble enough to receive adjustments? What hope is there for places like California or Cayman if the Christians in churches are not marked by the humility that admits wrong and accepts correction? (p. 110)

He details the both the importance and proper practice of spiritual gifts. Other chapters center on worship, forgiveness, acceptance, and partnership in the gospel. Anybwile begins and ends Part II with the call to love one another.

The Life of God in the Soul of the Church isn't a book for those who are content to sit on the sidelines of church life, whose involvement is dictated by convenience. It gave me much food for thought regarding the significance of the church in the life of the Christian. It opened my eyes to the fact that my life is not my own; I am to share my sufferings, comforts, worship, and gifts with my fellow church members (as modeled by the early church). Quite simply, it is a book that can change the way we do church.

Thanks to Christian Focus Publications for allowing me to read and review The Life of God in the Soul of the Church.