The Self-Sufficiency of Christ vs. The Constant Needs of Me.

Lord, today I lift up to you baby Noah.  This little guy has been through so much in his short life and his parents are stressed and anxious as they wait for results.  I pray that today you will allow him to have an incident that would communicate to the doctors exactly what is going on in his little body.  If the non breathing is the result of seizures, then give wisdom to find the cause and a plan for a quick resolution.  Please give his parents the strength and peace they need as they are in this time of waiting.  May they draw strength from you and know YOUR Peace which passes all understanding.

I also lift up to you Starr.  Today is her birthday and I know it will be a hard one so close to the loss of her beloved, Paul.  Help her family to love her well today.

Thinking about the self sufficiency of Christ today as I read the next chapter in my book.  Meditating on God having NO needs and that He created me a very needy person makes me thankful.  Thankful because if I had no needs,  I wouldn’t need Him!  I don’t have the appropriate words to describe what I’m feeling about this today but I was greatly blessed just thinking about Him today.  How perfect He is.  How he needs nothing.  Sometimes we think that He created us so that He would have someone to love, someone to worship Him, etc.  But He already had that in the Trinity.  He didn’t NEED to create us for any of it.  Yet He chose to.  Wow…I’m grateful.  And going beyond that, He could have created us to be self sufficient but then we would miss out on knowing Him and needing Him and watching Him provide.  I’m glad I’m needy.  🙂

Only God is self-sufficient.  We need to remember this because it keeps us rightly humbled and constantly going to Him.  Prayerlessness reflects that we think we can do it on our own…  He loves us and wants to give to us.  One sentence in the book hit me a little differently-  “Fasting is an express lane to relearning our limits”.  It reminds us that we are needy and our utter lack of self-sufficiency.  I’ve never been a regular “faster” but I’m going to be thinking on that one for a bit and see where it goes.

I don’t think I’m tempted to believe that God needs me.  But maybe so?  Lord, reveal this to me if it is true.  I know how faithless I am.  I know apart from You, I can do nothing good.  But reign me in if I get out of control here.  Humble me.  I am also very aware that I need You but I know for sure that there are times when I act like I don’t.  Remind me that I do.

I think the human need I resent the most is the need for self-control.  I have none.  But need it in every area.  That boundary is good for me because again, it reminds me that I need to come to Him for control over areas in my life where I have none.  Finances, eating, time limits, etc.  So many.  God is glorified in these times when I do depend on Him and through the Spirit I get victory.  Moment by moment.

Lord, show me more of my needs and show me how having those needs can teach me to rely on You more.  Thank you that YOU NEED NOTHING, yet You supply every need I have.  Thank you for Christ- For meeting the greatest need I have in His sacrifice on the cross for me.  Teach me to recognize the blessing of human need as a reminder of Your ongoing faithfulness to sustain me.  I love you,

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God is….Self Existent

Loved this chapter today.  I was greatly distracted while reading it and tempted to skip the meditation/reflection part.  I’m glad I didn’t because each verse had something to help focus my thoughts on Him.  To summarize, I am so awestruck over the fact that He is the Creator of all things and yet He chose to bring me into existence.  He didn’t have to. Yet He did.  Lord, help me fulfill my purpose in being alive and created…and then “created again” once I received Christ.  Thank You that You aren’t finished yet.

Pride is eliminated when we consider that ANYTHING we have or are able to do is ONLY because HE has gifted us and given us opportunities to use those gifts.  It is important to understand that only God is “uncreated” because it reminds us that ONLY God has the power to create.  Anything we do on this earth is just rearranging what He has already created.  This keeps us humble.   Lord, keep this in the forefront of my mind today.

The area I am most prone to take credit for is probably in my ministry with the middle school  girls.  When they show their love or express that they “can’t wait to have me as their leader”, I can be puffed up and think I am really something.  I hate even writing that because it’s not something I would ever say out loud.  But it’s there…always lurking and the pride can well up in an instant.  Lord, any ability I have to connect with these girls is You working in me.  Thank you that serving You in this way brings me joy but I know that my purpose is only to point them to You and encourage them as they grow in their relationship with You.  Help me to ALWAYS point them to YOU and never to me.  I am a mess….But I thank You that You can use this mess for Your Glory.

I am very reminded today that without God, I am nothing.  Thank You that You can bring something out of nothing.  That is the very essence of who You are.  The Great I Am.

I can give thanks to God for what He has allowed me to do.  And when people compliment me, I can turn that right around to thanksgiving to my Creator.

Wisdom Vs. Folly

Update on Noah:  They found that he has some swallowing issues that are treatable.  Still in the NICU but at least there is a plan now.  Thank you, Jesus!

Update on Lisa:  We are meeting tomorrow to talk.  I’m praying for her to have the words to formulate the right questions and that God would give me wisdom to answer them.

Started a new book today.  Jen Wilkins, “None Like Him”.  Aaron bought it for me as a thank you gift.  I’m excited to begin it.  In the prologue I was struck by two things:

  1.  There must be a balance between the familiar “our Father” and the fact that he is “in heaven”.  It’s awesome that we can come to him as little children and call him “Abba Father/Daddy” but necessary to remember that He is also “in heaven”.  He is so far above us.  He transcends all.
  2. I love that the author compared, side by side, that the “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” with “the fear of man is the beginning of folly”.  Wise or foolish.  We have some great clues in these verses as to how to gain the wisdom and avoid the folly.

Chapter 1, Infinite

1 Kings 8:27, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!”

God, you are limitless.  We, as humans are limited.  Help me to extend grace to the limits of others and be reminded of my own limits.  Protect me from the pride that can swell up when I think of myself as limitless.

Psalm 119:96, “I have seen a limit to all perfection, but your commandment is exceedingly broad, “

Thank you that their are no limits to Your perfection and that Your Word is broad enough to cover even the vilest sin.

Isaiah 40:12-13, “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?  Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel?”

God, You alone did that.  You have measured things exactly as you want them.  Your Spirit is immeasurable and you need not our counsel.

Lord, I am grateful that You are a God that cannot be measured.  You are huge.  You are above all, over all.  And yet, you love us and care for us so perfectly.  Thank you.

Forgive me for those times when I attempt to place limits on Your Will.  You alone get to decide the measures of my life.  I trust You.  You are limitless in Your Power to do with my life what you will.  I am willing.  Help my heart to remember to trust You when I am fretting and trying to manipulate You with my own desires and will.

The boundary that I most likely to attempt to cross is becoming prideful in myself.  I constantly seek to please man which is folly.  Let my only concern today be with pleasing You and fearing You so that Your Wisdom would abound in my life.

Help me to accept the limits of others and extend Your Grace to them as you have so much done that for me.

Show me ways that I have tried to “take measure” of  You.  Help me see how my own limitations can bring You glory.  This is the purpose of my life and the reason I am breathing today.  Show me ways that I have thought of you as having limits on who you are and what you can do.  Praise you for your limitlessness!  And Praise You for your love towards me.

 

 

 

 

Baby Noah

Lord, please protect baby Noah.  Yesterday was scary.  Trusting You for some answers today for this sweet family.  Or better yet, news that this was just some fluke and will never be a problem again.  I know you have a Plan for this baby.  Please give Aaron and Lauren peace today as they walk this road and look for answers.  Even as I began my time this morning got word that he had a rough night.  I can’t focus on much right now.  This is hard.

TPDL thoughts:

I underlined so much in today’s chapter.  It is talking about God transforming weakness in us by His Strength.   Trusting You to turn this worrier into a warrior

Yesterday was rushed and I wasn’t able to really read John 4 where I had left off.  I read it today and it’s not coincidence that it is regarding the healing of the official’s son.  By the words of our Lord Jesus, the son was healed.  I’m praying this is the story for Aaron’s son, Noah today.  Lord,please,  heal this little boy.  Help him to breath.  We believe Your Word that You are able to do this.  Use this to bring glory to Your Name.

 

I’ve had notifications of some who have “liked” these posts.   I’m glad for that but need to clarify that these are just my own random thoughts during my devotional quiet time with the Lord.  I use this blog as just a place to focus my thoughts and tag things so that I might be able to find them later.  I do not proof read or correct grammar as I go.  It’s just rough draft thoughts.  I’m glad if it blesses someone.  

Blessed …SO I Serve.

TPDL Thoughts

Chapter 34 was a good one.  They all are really.  But I love that God meets me right where I am every day through this book and His Word.

Praying about the anagram for JOY today.  Jesus, Others, You.  So cheesy/corny but so true.  Lord, help me get this right so that I might be closer to you, know Your Joy in new ways and bless others.  Help me be aware of the needs of those around me and stop focusing on my own selfish needs.  You know that pride is an issue for me.  And people pleasing.  My “love language” seems to be words of affection but when they are given, I need to constantly examine if they are filling my pride bucket or my love bucket.  

It makes me very uncomfortable when people compliment me.  I hate it actually. Because I don’t know what to say or where to even look.  But at the same time, I crave it.  I want to please others and have them like me.  Lord, help me to practice true humility as I think of others more and my self less.  Examine my heart and cleanse my motives.  Help me to patiently love others in spite of my own selfish self.  Get me out of Your way and please use me in new ways today.

Shocked to see this sentence, “How you manage your money affects how much God can bless your life.” (Read yesterdays entry as to why this timing is so perfect.) Help me manage money well so you can bless us and we can use that blessing to glorify You and serve others well.  Let my spending not be on selfish wants.  Giving does bring great joy but rarely is there any to give since we are usually struggling to just get through to the next paycheck.

We have family members who have criticized and questioned our service to Jesus.  But this has never bothered me.  It does bother Becky.  Lord, help her to not be so affected by the family members who look at her life of service as failure.  Help her to finish her degree and serve you well… Even if it is at Target.  You love those people.  Help her to bring Light to them.

Jesus as our example was a Servant.  I loved that the author included this verse, “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power and that He had come from God…SO (he got up and washed feet of the disciples).  It was because He knew who He was that He served.  If anyone had the “right” to be served it’s Him.  Yet he served others.  What an example!!!!!

Also loved this part “…He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him BY CARING FOR OTHER CHRISTIANS”.  Once again, “My Brother’s Keeper” is affirmed in my life,

I am rushed out the door by a Monday morning.  I want to read more…but the day begins.  Lord, help me live for you today and do Your will.  I love you.  You have blessed me in so many ways but even if I lived in a box on the street, alone, You would still be worthy of my absolute love and service.  You are enough.  I praise You today.  Yes, I am blessed So I serve but I wouldn’t need another blessing on this side of heaven to absolutely OWE YOU my life, love and service.  Thank you…


 

No Title-Random Thoughts

Spent  a good part of the night awake worried about bills.  I messed up somewhere…again…and I’m not sure if we will make it to the next paycheck.  Trusting God to provide what we need and wisdom to make good choices to stretch things.  Would really love this paycheck to paycheck thing to be done.  It’s been 27 years of it.  We aren’t good at money management and have had some major setbacks.  I’m tired..

Reading on the IDisciple app today and two of them were about anxiety.  It frustrated me though because it was very basic stuff I already know.  Am I doing it though?  No, probably not.  Lord, help me.  I’m going to re-read them now.  I need Your Peace.

The Bible says to present our requests to God WITH THANKSGIVING.  I do miss that part.  So Lord, thank You today for your MANY blessings.  My family, my church, my job, our home, food you give every day, our cars, the fact that every month you DO make things work and we’ve never gone without any need.  I am truly sorry for my materialistic living and the foolish money choices I make.  Please help me to grow in this area and have self-control.  Thank You most of all for Jesus.  For the greatest need I have is to be forgiven and saved and you took care of that.  And that was hard!  These easy things I worry about so much are nothing for you.  Please continue to provide for us and help us be good stewards so that we aren’t living paycheck to paycheck every single month.  I know it is not because you haven’t provided…it’s because I have no self control with spending on food.  Help me make better choices.

Devotion notes:

John 4:27- the woman at the well didn’t have all the answers but she just said what she did know and people responded.

John 4:31- Jesus concerned Himself with doing the will of God, NOT what he would eat next.  Prioritize.

TPDL- I love where I serve.  Lately, my heart has been stirred to possibly lead a ladies group.  I would want it to be a time of growth for believers no matter how long they’ve been a Christian, as well as evangelistic opportunities to invite neighbors.  Would they even come?  Trusting God to work this out if it is in His Plan.

 

Saved to Serve

In thinking about yesterday and realizing that my hearts desire for ministry helping Christians overcome some of life’s struggles with the power of God, I was blessed.  It’s nice to realize two things:

1.)  I am already serving in “My Brother’s Keeper”.  It doesn’t have to be a counseling ministry as I had always envisioned but it is encouraging and teaching my junior high girls as they travel along this road called middle school.  I won’t be in this ministry forever but for now…it’s where I am and I am grateful.

2:) I don’t have to feel “less than” because my ministry area right now seems to be with Christians.  I struggle with “getting out there” and proclaiming Christ to the lost, dying world but for right now that just isn’t the season I find myself in.  God has given me this area for now and I love it.

I’m reading chpt. 30 in TPDL.  I am journaling today from the anagram “SHAPE” that Rick Warren uses.

S- Spiritual Gifts.  Every test I take ends up reflecting the same results.  Encouraging and Mercy.  I love that because they are 100% accurate in that they bring me great joy when I am given opportunities to use them.  If the purpose of spiritual gifts are to bless others, am I using them in that way.  This fits in exactly with where my heart is in junior high.  God has also sent Christians to me over the years who really needed someone to encourage them and I love that.  I’m not always perfect at it but I definitely can attest to the fact that He has given me the right words at the right time on numerous occasions.  God doesn’t just love the lost—He loves the Christian too and He knows what they need.  Sometimes life is hard and we all need someone to pick us up.  Lord, help me to use these gifts for Your Glory and not my own pride.  It is you, not me.  Give me wisdom and words.  Help me not be a flatterer. Help me say the hard things when needed.  This is not easy for me but with Your Help, I want to grow to do just that when it is necessary.  

I also found it interesting that last week, I took another one of these tests and scored higher on Hospitality than I have in the past.  Perfect timing to realize that as we now live on church property.  Lord, show me how I can use this home that You have allowed us to live in to encourage and edify others.  Thanks for blessing us and letting us live here.  Please help Chris to love it too and feel at home.  Give us wisdom to know what to do with the Ansonia home.  If we can bless someone else with it, show us who.  

H-Heart– What interests me?  What drives me and brings me joy?  God has given me the unique personality I have with the unique desires, motivations, passions and interests.  I have said many times that I love my job and my ministry with the girls.  I am so thankful right now that God has given me the opportunity to do what I love.  He doesn’t want us to serve out of duty.  None of these things are duty for me.  Although, if I am honest, there are times when I’m tired and maybe don’t “feel like” going but once I’m there, I lose that feeling and there is energy and joy.  I often feel selfish because I felt like I get more out of each of these than I could ever give.  I don’t want to serve for selfish reasons.  Lord,  Thank you so much for chances to serve you that fill places in me that YOU HAVE CREATED that could only be filled by serving in the ways that YOU HAVE PREPARED ME FOR.  I’m so grateful.  And so affirmed that I am right where You want me.  Please help me to be sensitive to Your Spirit.  No ministry is forever.  When I am not effective in this way any longer, remove me.  And thank you that You won’t forget me but You may have a new season of service for me.  I’m willing and trust that You will have me ready to do whatever You call me to do.

Abilities-Often I have felt like I had no special talents.  I am realizing today that God has equipped me to serve Him well in the office at Calvary and now in cleaning the church.  They are grand abilities by the world’s standards but I am doing well at both because that is who God made me to be.  These are the talents/abilities He has equipped me to do.  I have ended up working for the church in some capacity in every church we have attended. (3).   Thank you Lord, for this ability You have given me.  It is fun.  It’s not grand and mostly unseen by all but You.  I am glad to do it.  And I love it.  Thank you so much.

Personality-an Extroverted People Lover.  Again, perfect for the “jobs” He has given me.

Experiences –

  • Family-  Being a first born I am naturally more organized and it is within me to care for the “flock”.  It began with Nancy and Kevin.  Has carried over to my own family and even in the ministry with the junior high girls.  To do the jobs I have in the office, organization is also key to success.
  • Educational – Loved school but had a rough junior high experience.  Not a lot of friends.  Junior High kids need someone to build them up because they spend an awful lot of time tearing each other down or tearing themselves down with negative thoughts about themselves.
  • Vocational- Any job I have ever had has taught me work ethic and a desire to “please the man”.  Now I have learned it’s better to “please THE MAN” in my job. Being a people pleaser can be a negative for sure.  But it does create work ethic and the desire to do whatever it takes to get the job done.
  • Spiritual-So many things to say here.  Not enough time to do it.  But God has taught me SO MUCH through great teachers and preachers.  I’m blessed when I can share that with others.
  • Painful- I think of the “barren years”.  I think of the “loner” years.  I think of losing my dad when I was about to become a mom.  There has been pain.  But He has redeemed it.  Lord, help me trust you with future pain to do the same.

I have enjoyed studying my SHAPE today.  It has affirmed me in  many ways that I am where God would have me.  None of this is written with a prideful heart–God knows that.  I feel weird even writing it unless I emphasize over and over that any good thing in me is because GOD PUT IT THERE for HIS GLORY.  I know for sure that there is “no good thing in me.”  My natural inclination is sin showing itself with selfishness and pride.  And also laziness.  But God is good and He knows all about me.  I read also about the woman at the well again and I love that Jesus knew all about her.  Everything she had ever done and He still chose to meet her where she was and teach her more about Him.  She had heard of God–but that day she met Her Savior.  If God had chosen an introverted person…or a person with no public sin….someone whose life was all together, would they have even listened?  Would they have gone to tell others about Who she had met?  It’s so cool that even in her SHAPE God CHOSE HER to serve Him in this way.  And it’s recorded in the Bible!!!!