Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mrs. Spurgeon : "make my daily life a proof that you are working your own will in me"

What is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe (Ephesians 1:19).

Come, my heart, satisfy and delight yourself, this morning, with the thought of what your mighty God can do for you - the grace he is able to give you now - the glory he is reserving for you - the uplifting, upholding, strengthening, and preserving power which is all invested in his loving hands on your behalf. Here is a store house of riches on which your largest demands can make no perceptible diminishment, and all this is yours!

'Exceeding greatness.' Yes, Lord, more vast and wonderful than my poor finite mind can conceive. Your power bids the sun pour forth his radiant light and heat - your power holds the stars in space, and hangs the earth upon nothing - your power rules the universe with a word! Is it not exceeding great? All nature shows your handiwork, and your wondrous power is as much seen in the lowest forms of life and growth as in the higher developments of your creative hand. All the discoveries of science, all the revelations of its secrets which have of late so surprised and delighted us, are but glimpses of the infinite might and wisdom of the God whose 'love is as great as his power, and knows neither measure nor end.'

But, Lord, it is not on the majesty of your omnipotence as shown in your material world that would meditate at this moment; it is the 'power to us-ward who believe' that enchains my heart, and thrills my soul with joy. Help me draw near to you, dear Lord, humbly and reverently, that I may 'see this great sight'; for though this is holy ground, and the bush burns with fire, there is no barrier as of old, to prevent a near approach to you, seeing that, now, we are 'made nigh by the blood of Christ'.

If I have true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, then the exceeding greatness of the power of the Most High God, 'according to the working of his mighty power', is to me-ward, is on my side, or - I say it with deep reverence - at my service, always at hand to help, to guard, to defend, and to provide for me. My pen pauses as I ask myself, 'Do I believe this? Do any Christians really hold this faith? Is it possible that there can be among the feeble, doubting, self-engrossed, and half-hearted people that I see and hear of, any who possess the assurance that the power of the living God dwells in them, and that they 'can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth' them? If there be any such, why, oh! Why do they not walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called?

Look to yourself, my soul. Is the exceeding greatness of your Lord's power manifest in you as it should be? Blessed be his Name, you can say, 'He has redeemed me from death and hell, pardoned my sins through the shedding of his precious blood, and given me a promise of life eternal in his presence.' But what more? Those are the cardinal gifts of his grace, the cornerstones of his mercy and love. What do you possess of the details of his mighty working, the filling up, as it were, of the great plan of his will and design concerning you? What does 'the effectual working of his power' produce in your heart and life? Are you wholly consecrated to his service? Have you given yourself and all that you have into his loving hands? Are you filled with his Holy Spirit? Does he control every thought and word and deed? Are all the powers of your being and all the possessions of both soul and body subject and surrendered to his absolute sway?

Ah, Lord! Your poor child sorrowfully confesses to falling very far short of the high standard of Christian life to which your Word expects us to attain. In common with so many others, I seem to live at a 'poor dying rate' when I might have 'life most abundantly'. I know the possibilities of conformity to Christ are only to be measured by the exceeding riches of your grace, and the exceeding greatness of your power, and yet I sometimes seem content without a full participation in the glorious experience which your love offers. Lord, enlighten and quicken me, I beg you! Put forth in me the mighty grace which will make my daily life a proof that you are working your own will in me, and giving me to know at least in some measure, 'what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe'.

Susannah Spurgeon, 1832 - 1903

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Praise God!

As of 1 November 2010:

1 year, 3 months, 2 weeks - since being told I would be laid off 3 jobs ago.
1 year, 2 days - since being laid off 3 jobs ago.
7 months - since losing my next to last job.
6 months, 1 week - since losing my part-time (and last) job.

6 months of living off of unemployment.
Countless job applications.
Seemingly countless babysitting jobs.
1 week of cleaning a really big church.
A few weeks of working with a fun lady on a children's ministry project and other cool things.
Random times of volunteering for my church office and 9 Marks.
About a month of volunteering at the Smithsonian!
What felt like not enough interviews, and feeling the weight of the absolute silence from most of them.
What seemed to be closed doors turning out to be huge blessings.
Feeling misunderstood by many people.
Being driven to read God's Word about encouragement, and feeling convicted in how I am lacking in the area of encouraging others.
Praying like I've never prayed before.

Trusting the LORD
Learning about His character:
How He provides,
Is sufficient,

Back to 1 November 2010:

I start a job! YES! God has answered the prayers of so many people. At just the right time! It's a 3 month contract, at the end of which I will be evaluated for a full-time position. BUT I have a job! God has provided! :) And I am not anxious about the end of January. God has certainly taught me how to trust in His provision. I pray that I will not forget.

:) :) :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Encouragement Shout Outs - LB

After I posted my Encouragement post, I put it on my Facebook status. Not long afterward, my friend Lindsey posted on my Wall this passage:

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words! (1 Thes 4:16-18)


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Babysitting & Bumps & Honeysuckle

Babysitting. Lots and lots of babysitting.

Last week

Monday from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm (Paige, Maggie, William & 'Sizie' - really good, fun, imaginative kids!)
Tuesday from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm (Beckett's day changed because of the Federal holiday)
Tuesday through Friday from 7:25 am to 8:00ish am (Will & John - easy and fun and earrrrrly)

This week

Monday from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm (Becks!)
Tuesday from 9:45 am to 1:00 pm (Adelaide!) & 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm (Benjamin!)
Thursday from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm (Drew & Evelyn - two cutie pies)

And I've turned people down. Mainly because I had other plans set already. But also because it's tiring. For me it really is. I think it's partly because:

1. Babysitting different kids from different families is so interesting. I'm trying to learn how each child is. And they certainly are all wonderfully different! :)
2. It's humbling, which is easy to ask for, but hard to realize. Seeing my pride hurts. Kinda like growing pains - hopefully.
3. It's difficult, because I really do want my own children some day (which means the hubby first, naturally).

But it truly is the LORD's provision for me through His people (all families from my church). It's sweet to know that they trust me with their children. It's sweet to get to know their children. It is overall FUN. So it's worth being tired over.

Funny thing is, I eat better at houses where I babysit!

Just this week

Monday lunch - Butternut Squash Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwich.
Tuesday lunch - Carnita Burrito Bowl from CHIPOLTLE(!) and I was sent home with frozen brisket chili (YUM!).
Tuesday dinner - short ribs and baked potato

Lessons learned:

1. God is in control of my life. Even when there are big bumps ahead, He is leading me home. :) And I can trust His leading implicitly, because I trust in His Word.

2. Stop and smell the honeysuckle.

Oh and PS: I had a phone interview for a job today!! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Encouragement Shout Outs - AA

I've decided to share when people are encouraging;

1. Because I really do intend to study the Bible more on this and share what I learn on this blog, and;
2. Because I'm sinful and forgetful, and need to be reminded - and to continue to be grateful.

This is from my friend Alexis.* She let me know that she sent this before reading my encouragement post. And that's just awesome!

* I just googled the title of her blog, it's Yiddish for hopelessly lost. You're welcome.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Encouragement Defined

By man (aka Websters Dictionary), because words matter:


1: the act of encouraging : the state of being encouraged

2: something that encourages


Synonyms: boost, impulse, goad, impetus, incentive, incitation, incitement, instigation, momentum, motivation, provocation, spur, stimulant, stimulus, yeast

Antonyms: counterincentive, disincentive

Definition of ENCOURAGE

1 a : to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope : hearten

b : to attempt to persuade : urge

2: to spur on : stimulate

3: to give help or patronage to : foster

en·cour·ag·er noun

Synonym Discussion of ENCOURAGE

encourage, inspirit, hearten, embolden mean to fill with courage or strength of purpose. encourage suggests the raising of one's confidence especially by an external agency. inspirit, somewhat literary, implies instilling life, energy, courage, or vigor into something. hearten implies the lifting of dispiritedness or despondency by an infusion of fresh courage or zeal. embolden implies the giving of courage sufficient to overcome timidity or reluctance.

I feel as though my legs would dangle from a throne

Ephesians 2:6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

The Ephesians verses are just after a description of our former selves, and how God saves us. The Colossians verses are right before a description of how to live a holy life.


Life is hard. No really, LIFE.IS.HARD. It's hard for everyone. And I would venture to say that we are all tired. Every single one of us; the newlywed, the widower, the single person, the barren, the parent of a newborn (or really, a child or children of any age), etc. If we are Christians, we are all fighting the SAME good fight; we are all persevering to the END of the SAME race. We're all sinners saved by grace. And we are all tired. If we aren't tired, then maybe we are too happy with this world.

Here is a facet of the most recent of my "being tired" story

It's been over a year since I was told I would be laid off - that was three jobs ago. I've had over a year of employment uncertainty. I've been unemployed for 4.5 months. I'm single. I'm 33. I'm exhorted to - serve more serve more serve more - to help all of this. That is my prescription. Service. Trust the Lord and serve others.

And the little Pharisee in me loves service! The little Martha in me loves serving others! But I really feel like I have a bigger Mary in me. I want to sit at my Savior's feet. And it's funny how the servant (Martha) and the sister (Mary) are at war within me.

Luke 10:38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

41"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."


Look at all of this time I have! I can volunteer at my church, and read my Bible plus other great books, I can go and spend time with stay-at-home Mom's! Woo hoo free time! Oh what fun it will be to find other things I can do!


Look at all of this time I have. I can sit Jesus Christ's feet. Now... How do I do that? Quiet times, books, listen to sermons, singing worship music. Let's see... oh yeah! I can pray! And... Let's face it - I'm attempting to do this all alone. And that's hard. But you know what's easy? Serving! Do do do, go go go!

Is this war becoming a little clearer to you? By God's grace I think it is to me.

It is so easy to forget what I've been saved from. One of those things is a futile mind. Now what is a futile mind, you ask? Good question! In Ephesians 4, Paul teaches us to put off the old self, and put on the new self.

Ephesians 4:22to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,23and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

According to God's word, the new self no longer has a futile mind (v. 17), which is marked by being deceived by desires. Our minds are to be renewed. But we are still sinners, and are easily deceived by every little thing. And I really do think that one big desire for me it to look to my works. To depend on the Law and forget that Christ came to fulfill it. To think that if I am 'good' enough, God will bless me. Which is funny when thinking about the BIGGEST blessing God has given me - being saved from His eternal wrath and spending eternity in complete and joyful reconciliation with Him - had nothing to do with any 'goodness' in me. I didn't do one thing to deserve that. It is only through Christ's work that God blesses me with my salvation. So why in the world would I think that He would bless me with any other thing because of my works? Do you see the problem here? The problem is that I am a sinner. And I want to do do do. Because that's easier than sitting.

Thank the LORD that He redeems everything! Because it was after my extended quiet times and reading Genesis + doing the hard and humbling work of cleaning my church that I had this thought (that I conveniently typed in my trusty iPhone on 6 October while I was vacuuming the 4th floor):

God uses His people as a picture of His faithfulness. Do you see how He is using you?

This thought was so comforting! It called to mind the story of Ruth (although let's face it, her labor was harder than mine). For about two days, that is. But here I go again, sliding into "how long oh Lord... will it be until you bless me." And yes, that can be a call for Him to return and for Heaven to be my home, but invariable it is a call to well-if-you're-not-going-to-return-any-time-soon- (according to my timetable) -then-please-make-this-life-easier-for-me. And let's face it, that's lame. It reeks of unfaithfulness to my God. To His good plans. To His sovereignty. To His love for me. It showcases my distrust of Him.

And that's so frustrating! I KNOW all that He has done for me in Christ! And yet I keep going back to these old ways of thinking. Is this a futile mind, or one that has been renewed in spirit? Yeah...


Back to those two passages from the top of the post. Being raised with Christ suggests something that's already happened. Being raised with Him. Where He is now. Which is at the right hand of the Father. For real? Because I feel as though my legs would dangle from a throne, so... Really? I'm already there? But I'm such a mess down here! Another thing I wrote on 6 October (along with the picture of God's faithfulness) is this:

Whole new level of trust.

This life on Earth is my childhood.

Apparently the thought of my life being a picture of God's faithfulness gave me a whole new level of trust of Him, and made me think that my life on this planet is my childhood. It's funny to think about eternity, and that our years on earth (no matter how short or long) seem like an eternity, but are a mere drop compared to the reality of eternity. I mean, why do you think God keeps disciplining us? Because we need it. Because we are His children. And I don't have a clear picture of what Heaven will be like, but I do know that it will not be like this life. This hard life. That I do know is true. Thank you Jesus! But what I do know is that through this life, God seems to be readying us for our inheritance. And one day we will reach that full maturity in Christ. So yes, my legs are dangling, but it won't always be that way. Come, thou long expected Jesus, come!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

12 October 2010

I had two, count em 2 babysitting gigs today!

The first was about 40 minutes, so I almost feel as though it doesn't count. I got to hold smiley little John and watch cutie-pie Will be a "soldier" in his knight costume. :)

Then I had Becks again, such a cutie! I think it's pretty awesome that I will be learning from him. Take today for example. He wasn't happy at all. It was so pretty outside that I decided to take him for a walk. His crying stopped as soon as we stepped out the door. Then about halfway through our walk he got fussy again. As we walked home, I kept saying "we're almost there. Then you can take your nap (REST!)" It made me think about how God knows exactly when I will make it home to Him. About how He's guiding me there. And how I groan about it - and for the most part don't even realize I'm complaining!

Now, I realize that's he's 3 months old, and doesn't understand, but it made me think of the sermon that was preached last Sunday at much church. Click here for the audio. He uses the illustration of kids on a car trip saying "are we there yet?" as how we are as we are on our journey to heaven. Keep in mind he's a lay member of our church, a full time lawyer! We have such depth in our pulpit, such a blessing!

And I think Becks likes "I Will Glory in My Redeemer." :)

Oh yeah, and here is my lunch from Em, beef stew yummmmmm!

And FYI, here is what 4 hours with Becks looks like. He's only awake for about an hour or so. But keep in mind (especially if you don't know much about newborns), this schedule is repeated over and over again almost 24/7. Let me repeat, 24/7. Two-Four Slash Seven. I only do it 4 hours a week. Sheeesh...

Oh yeah, and check out the Encouragement in there. I have a sweet small group! :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

8 October 2010

Lovely day.

After volunteering at the Air & Space Museum,
I saw this:

Sailboats in the reflecting pool! Could it be that tiny humans were sailing on this fine day?

Nope, just some folks sailing by remote.

And here is a picture from my walk tonight:

Yep, lovely day. :)

Studying Encouragement

Thinking about my post last night (which was pretty late, I was tired, and wish I would have thought it through more), I have decided to do a biblical study on encouragement. I really want to know what God says about it. So I will be putting my read-through-the-Bible-during-quiet-times on hold, and concentrating on encouragement passages.

And I do want to reiterate how grateful I am for practical help. Of course it is appreciated, and is ultimately a provision from the LORD. But just as God has been teaching me about how to trust Him as my Father, He is teaching me oh so much more! I've realized that maybe I don't do all that I can with encouraging others. That sometimes I feel like there isn't much I can do, and may not do anything at all. And that's not as it should be. Especially with fellow Christians. Reading Hebrews 3 last night just really hit that home for me. (as for non-Christians, I'm convinced that sharing the hope of the gospel is the best that I can do as far as encouragement).

Any thoughts or suggestions on this matter would be greatly appreciated! :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I've been thinking lately about encouragement. Being unemployed and needing it is an interesting place to be. I've found that people either tell me that they've been praying for me or they try to fix my problem by giving me advice on job searching, thinking of ways to help me financially, etc. The former is great, the latter is not so helpful* (see below for more about that, here's a preview - it's not so great if that's all you get).

So I decided to look up the verse about 'encouraging one another daily.' Here it is:

13But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.

Then I read the surrounding text:

7So, as the Holy Spirit says:
"Today, if you hear his voice,
8do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
during the time of testing in the desert,
9where your fathers tested and tried me
and for forty years saw what I did.
10That is why I was angry with that generation,
and I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray,
and they have not known my ways.'
11So I declared on oath in my anger,
'They shall never enter my rest.' "

12See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. 14We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. 15As has just been said:

"Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts,
as you did in the rebellion."

16Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 18And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

It seems to me that encouragement is a means to help one another keep from disbelief, which points to there being a danger of this happening. Therefore, our encouragement to one another is to keep us from turning away from God. It's to keep us from being hardened against sin and its' deceitfulness.

As I think of this, and of needing encouragement at this time of my life, and how the most helpful is when I'm reminded of God's promises - through His word. Trying to fix my 'problem' is fruitless, because I don't see unemployment as my biggest problem. My biggest problem has already been fixed - through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ - who died for my sins - taking on Himself the eternal wrath that I deserve. I now have an inheritance of an eternity with Christ. Praise the LORD! However, there is a danger for me personally, through this on-going trial, that I may start to be hardened towards my God. That I may start to believe the lies of this world and of Satan. This is what I need most help with. And by God's grace and through His Holy Spirit, I'm persevering! But as I just read in Hebrews, we are to help each other with that.

Where God has me in my life right now is not a problem at all. It's a privilege! It's right where He has planned** for me to be. Where is the problem in that?***

5 LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.

6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.

7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.

8 I have set the LORD always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,

10 because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One
see decay.

11 You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

I think from now on I will seek to encourage others in the gospel, in the hope of their salvation, using God's word and pointing to them how He works.

Think I will be looking into encouragement some more. Stay tuned...

*I do want to stress that offering to help is great! But I thing that sometimes it's just easier for us to offer solutions to a problem, instead of maybe giving more of ourselves for someones spiritual good. I think a balance of both is good. Personally I'm getting more of this kind of help, and would really appreciate more encouragement for my heart.

**Psalm 33:11 But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purpose of his heart through all generations.


Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.



***The answer is the hazards to my heart.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Love Lines

I gave the following (solicited) advice to a brother in Christ yesterday about dating (summarized):

* Look for someone who reads God's word.

* When considering asking someone out, PRAY about it.

I told him the first suggestion, because that is what I'm praying for in a husband.

Psalm 1

BOOK I : Psalms 1-41

1 Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.

4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

(emphasis mine)

I mentioned the second suggestion, because talking to the LORD about it is just the wise thing to do! :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

4 October 2010


Today was my first day to babysit for the cuteness that is Beckett. He is 3 months old. And adorable. And he taught me a lesson. Let me rewind.

Last night was just a hard night for my heart. Incredibly frustrating. I couldn't sleep. My mind kept racing with untrue thoughts of God. It literally felt like Satan was shooting fiery arrow after fiery arrow - it all seemed out of nowhere. But strangely, wonderfully, I felt God's presence. As I prayed through this time, I knew that He was holding on to me; faithful and loving as always.

Then this morning I got to babysit the above mentioned adorableness. :) He was so sweet this morning, and in such a good mood. Giving me cute little smiles... Oh my! I started out holding him during his playtime, but then thought he might want to lay down on his cute John Deere tractor blanket. Well, he didn't. He absolutely did not. He was inconsolable. And the funny thing is, I really wanted to just hold him. Who doesn't love baby holding time? But I thought it would be better for him to lay down. But he certainly didn't!

It made me think of last night, and how I felt with all of my doubts, and how I knew that God loved me and was protecting me, but how my soul couldn't just be still, be calm. Just like my little buddy Becks. And I was thinking how funny it was with this little boy; how I didn't even want to put him down, but thought I was doing it for his good, and how he seemed to not like it at all! And that when I picked him back up, it took him quite awhile to calm down - even when I held him close and tried my hardest. (although, and this messes with my analogy a little bit, he may have just been cranky and tired!*).

And I just can't help but be in awe of God's patience with me. To think of how He sees me struggle; with sin, with trust, with hardheartedness - and yet He remains infinitely patient with me - perfectly and lovingly patient - all the while working all things out for my good, despite myself. Oh how thankful I am that in Christ I am now God's daughter, and that He delights to treat me this way!

By the way, Emily left me the perfect lunch for such a cold, rainy day. :) (that's chili, if you can't tell).


I had a second first today - cleaning my church. I'm doing it this week while the regular folks are on vacation (not by myself, by the way). I had it relatively easy, getting to clean the sanctuary - which by the way took 6 hours, and I wasn't even done when I left (but almost!).

It was humbling. Incredibly humbling. I'm vacuuming and dusting and taking out the trash and picking up cheerios from the floor - and I'm thinking "did I go to grad school for this??" It's a funny dichotomy to be aware of being humbled during the actual act of it, and to be grateful at the exact same time. Very odd and strange and wonderful... and humbling. ;)

I am constantly and gratefully amazed at how (yes, I'm using this word) DELIBERATE God has been with teaching me over the past few years. I feel very well cared for - as if He is pursuing me to know Him better. Yeah... thankful.

*Ha! I just reread this and had the thought "maybe I was just cranky and tired!"