Saturday, November 23, 2013

In All Circumstances

She Reads Truth: Give Thanks, Day 6

The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in His way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.  I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.  He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing. 

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."  So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?"

Gracious God,

Thank you that you are the provider of my every need. Even though we may, from time to time, experience a tightness in our finances, you still bless us abundantly. We have never lacked. We can give generously. There is no physical thing that we are in need of. And even the non-physical: friendships, guidance, love, health, these too, you provide. 

You have always been faithful in the past and I can trust you to be faithful in the future. You are a faithful God. 

Lord, help me to store up evidence of your grace and goodness now for the days when I am struggling to trust you. Help me to remember to be thankful in all my circumstances because you never leave me nor forsake me. And therefore, I should not be afraid. 

Oh Lord, you care for all the earth
The flowers and the birds
You provide their daily bread
How much more you have cared for me
You met my greatest need
When Christ hung on the tree
So I know that you'll provide for me

So God, I trust in you
I trust in you, I trust in you
In whatever I must face,
I will trust your sovereign grace
I will always trust in you

Oh Lord, when all my hopes and plans
Are taken from my hands
And I cannot see the way
I will rest in your sovereign plan
And bless your gracious hand
I know your promise stands
That I'll see your goodness in this land

So God, I trust in you
I trust in you, I trust in you
In whatever I must face
I will trust your sovereign grace
I will always trust in you
~Stephen Altrogee

Friday, November 22, 2013

There's a Fountain

She Reads Truth: Give Thanks, Day 5

Think how much grace one saint requires, so much that nothing but the Infinite could supply him for one day; and yet the Lord spreads his table, not for one, but many saints, not for one day, but for many years; not for many years only, but for generation after generation.”
–C.H. Spurgeon, Morning & Evening

The Lord who Provides for us, and provides in abundance. I never lack anything. Not food, nor shelter, nor health, nor family. Not grace, nor strength, nor the Holy Spirit's presence. In Christ, in Jesus, I have access to a limitless, inexhaustible, never ending fountain that flows and flows and flows over me. 

Thank you, God, that your love never fails, that you are an unending source I can draw and draw and draw upon and you never run dry. The cattle on a thousand hills are yours and you own the hills too. Your riches are uncountable, your greatness is unfathomable, your grace is inexhaustible, your mercy is unfailing, your love is limitless, your glory is matchless, your word is true, your promises are unchanging. You never falter, you never fail, you never run dry, you never end. And you invite me, call me, command me, to come and drink my fill, to know you, to lean on you, to trust you, to hold you, to love you, to take of you, and give myself to you. 

Lord Jesus you have offered me a treasure trove of soul satisfying in knowing you and being called by your name. You have stripped away all the sin and born away all the punishment that would keep me from you. Holy Spirit you have opened up my eyes, and changed my taste, to see you, to hunger after you, to love you and run ever onward, following my God. Abba Father, you are all I want and all I need and you offer yourself to me freely. You are beautiful and glorious and wonderful and powerful and soul satisfying and rich and all I want is all of you.

There's a treasure great in beauty far surpassing earth's great wealth
He is Jesus, prince of glory, source of all grace, peace and health
There's a fountain ever flowing, satisfying all who drink
He is Jesus, spring of joy to all who hail him as their king

There's a power, holy power, breaking bonds of captive men
He is Jesus, mighty Jesus, holy warrior and sinners friend
There's a savior rich in mercy, quick to pardon all my sin
He is Jesus, great redeemer, reconciling God and men

There's a glorious Lord returning and all will bow to him alone
He is Jesus, king of nations reigning from his gracious throne
There is one to whom our praises will through every age ascend
He is Jesus, king forever, whose wonderous rule will never end
~Stephen Altrogee 

Thursday, November 21, 2013


She Reads Truth: Give Thanks, Day 4

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

... The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


 [pees] noun, :: freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, anobsession, etc.; tranquillity; serenity.

Abba Father,

You are the giver of peace, the freedom of all anxiety and worry. You call for trust and the cessation of my war with the universe. 

I am finite in everything, my strength, my knowledge, my future, my family, all that I am in contact with is massively overwhelmingly bigger than me. I am at war with time, with sickness, with my child, with other people, with money, with my to do list, with politics, everything around me takes all of me and consumes my mind. And I am anxious over many things. 

But The Lord, my Lord, is at hand. 

Against all my strife and anxiety and worry and above all the areas that I am finite, Jesus stands infinite. You are all strength, all knowledge, all knowing and all seeing; you are The Lord of History and king of ages. You work all things for good. You hold me. You love me. You promise hope and joy and salvation. And you offer me peace. 

"Cast your burdens, Daughter. Cast them on me. I can carry them all." 
"But what about my son, my husband, my health, my future, my family, my to do list, my safety, my ... "
"Hannah, Hannah, you are worried and anxious over many things. But only one thing is necessary." 

One thing: I have peace with God because Jesus stopped all hostility, paid all my debts, satisfied all of God's wrath, and begot restoration. And because I have peace with God, I can have the peace of God. I can cast all my burdens, all my worries, all my anxieties, on Him, because He cares for me. 

You care for me, Lord. You give me peace. And I can cast all, everything I have and don't have and worry about and fight for and fight with, I can cast all on You. With thanksgiving! Thanksgiving! With joy! With the delight of a free woman! No more chains, no more weights on my soul, no more fears holding me down. You have given me peace. It is well with my soul. 

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like seabillows roll
Whatever my lot, you have taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul

Though Satan should buffet, though trial should come
Let this blest assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And He shed His own blood for my soul

You have made it well with my soul
To this blissful trust I will hold
You looked upon my helplessness
My dispondant state, my circumstance
And you have made it well with my soul

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sin, not the part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise The Lord! Praise The Lord Oh my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back like a scroll
The trumpet shall sound, and my Lord shall descend
Even so it is well with my soul!

You have made it well with my soul
To this blissful trust I will hold
You looked upon my helplessness,
My despondent state, my circumstance
And you have made it well with my soul
With my soul!

~by Horatio Spafford, add'l words by Chris Flannigan

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Never Cast Out

She Reads Truth: Give Thanks, Day 2

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."  ~John6:35-40

Lord God,

You have so many reasons to cast me out. So many times I have spurned your grace. So many times I have transgressed your law. So many times I have said "Never again!" only to do it again. So many times I have turned away from you. So many times I have failed to do what you command. So many times I have grieved the Spirit, and put anything and everything ahead of you. 

And yet. 

Here stands Jesus, arms outstretched, hands wounded with my sin, saying "I will never you cast out!" 

Lord Jesus, I come to you, full of filth and misery. I come weak. I come with little faith and much sin. I come willing now to follow you, but with little expectation of my heart remaining in the right place. But I come with a promise that you will rescue and save and keep and sustain me and on the last day you will raise me up. 

Please forgive me of my sin, make me righteous in your eyes.

From whence this fear and unbelief?
Hath not the Father put to grief
His spotless Son for me?
And could the righteous Judge of men
Condemn me for a debt of sin,
Which, Lord, was charged to thee?

Complete atonement Thou hath made
And to the utmost farthing paid
The debt Thy people owed. 
No more can wrath on me take place,
When sheltered in Thy righteousness
And sprinkled with Thy blood. 

Turn then, my soul, and know this peace:
The merits of thy Great High Priest
Have bought thee liberty!
Trust in His effecacious blood,
And fear no banishment from God,
For Jesus set me free!

Jesus, all my trust is in You, Lord!
Jesus, You ransomed us through Your great love!

How sweet the sound of saving grace
How sweet the sound of saving grace
Christ died for me! 
How sweet the sound of saving grace
How sweet the sound of saving grace
Christ died for me!

Jesus, all my trust is in You, Lord
Jesus, You ransomed us through Your great love! 

~original verses by Agustus Toplady, add'l words by Doug Plank

Monday, November 18, 2013

I Will Give Thanks

Ok, trying to get back into a daily habit of reading the Word. I'm really liking the SheReadsTruth plans, because they start a new cycle every couple of weeks. So even if I get so horribly behind I can't quite catch up, I can start afresh and keep going. This time,instead of writing out my own thoughts, I am going to be posting my prayers in response to the scriptures and devotionals that SRT posts. I'll be hyperlinking to the original posts and reference the scriptures as I go. So we start with...

SheReadsTruth: Give Thanks Day 1

(Psalm 30 & Luke17:11-19)

SheReadsTruth: Give Thanks Day 1

Father God,

Oh Lord, I confess that I have the heart of one of the nine cleansed lepers, who were rescued from much misery, but did not turn to thank you. You are the source of all blessing, the one who rescues, the one who restores, the one who loves, the one who pours out undeserved riches. And I am an ungrateful sinner who takes and takes and rarely says thank you. 

Change my heart to match that of the Samaritan leper. Let me see all the goodness you have done for me and pour out my thanksgiving and my gratitude. Not that you need it, though you deserve it. But let it come from a heart that is truly thankful for all you've done. 

Thank you for saving me
What can I say?
You are my everything 
And I will sing your praise
You shed your blood for me
What can I say?
You took my sin and shame 
A sinner called by name!

Great is The Lord
Great is The Lord
For we know your truth has set us free
You've set your hope in me

Mercy and grace are mine
Forgiven is my sin
Jesus, my only hope
The savior of the world
Great is The Lord we cry
God let your kingdom come
Your word has let me see
Thank you for saving me!

Great is The Lord
Great is The Lord
For we know your truth has set us free
You've set your hope in me. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Show No Partiality

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "You sit here in a good place," while you say to the poor man, "You stand over there," or, "Sit down at my feet," have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

I read these verses and think "What's the big deal about riches? Why are they so evil?" Especially when most of the Old Testament shows riches and material blessing being the rewards of obedience, and the New Testament shows over and over again God promising rewards to those who follow hard after him.  But there I think is the crux of the matter. God pours out blessing on us when we pursue Him for His own sake. But when we turn and pursue God's gifts or pursue God for his gifts sake, is that not sin? 

Money is not evil in itself, but the pursuit of it leads to all kinds of evils.  Placing faith in material things to save me is idolatry. Accumulating wealth will not protect my health or my family or my life; it will not make me happy or satisfy my soul, because I was made for something greater than things. I was made to be a pursuer of God. 

So money could be a stand in for a whole host of things that I try to put in place of God when I am in difficulty. I seek comfort in my husband, my family, my friends, food, quiet, rest, games, coffee, leisure, people's good opinion of me...

Ah, is this what James is driving at? Showing partiality is another form of idolatry. Either because we place certain people up on pedastles to be admired or because we want something from them (ie, my opinion/worship becomes a kind of currency: I bestow it on you and you thank me with some kind of favor).  So it would make sense that we would be partial to the rich versus the poor; the mighty versus the weak, the beautiful versus the ugly; the influential versus the reserved. In any group of people, bestowing my attention on one to the exclusion of others either makes them god to me or makes them a source of good to me.  And both places are places that God alone will have, must have, in my life! 

Oh Father God, 
Please keep my heart free from idols. I was created and saved to worship you and you alone, not money r fame or power or people or even the good things you have given me.  Thank you for the gifts you have graciously given: home, family, safety, health, financial stability, a husband who works hard and serves my family, a healthy and happy baby boy, a strong church where the Word is preached, a free nation where we can worship unafraid....these and many many more are all things that I do not deserve. But I am grateful for them. 
Please help me maintain a heart of gratitude, not one of idolatry or entitlement. And keep me from elavating certain friends over others for what they can do for me.  Help me to live on the level ground at the foot of the Cross. 

Be a Doer Who Acts!

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. 
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

All of last week, I did my lessons on the book of James, on the truth that God uses adversity to make us dig into Christ, with the result being that we become like him.  And all of last week, I was going through a trial of struggling to feed my little boy.  S had decided that he wanted to eat with bottles, not nurse as he had been, and I was fighting him to feed him my way, not his way.  Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday we made progress to the point that Sunday he nursed well all day with little to no fussing afterward. Then, that evening, J and I left him with my mum so we could go to a Chris Tomlin concert.  Mum gave S got a bottle, as per my instructions, and all my hard work came crashing down.  Yesterday and today were battles with my little boy, trying to get him to eat what is best for him, not what is easy for him. And it all culminated in my crying On the couch in frustration, calling my husband and mum in angry tears, complaining of my furiousness at S and my despair at ever being able to nurse him ever again.  

And when I finally snagged a moment to catch up on She Reads Truth, here comes dear brother James. "[Be] slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires. Therefore put away all filthiness [...] and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.  But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, [...] But the one who looks into the perfect law, [...] and perseveres, [...] he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless." 

Did my anger produce any fruit in my son or my self? No, my anger produced more anger, frustration, rage and then guilt that I was angry at a three month old little boy who does not know better,  
Did I receive God's word with meekness? No, my heart was filled with the pride that I knew what was best, that trials should not last this long, that I had already learned this, God, why am I still having to fight this war? 
Was I a doer of the word I had been studying? No, my faith was not reaching towards God in his promises.  My faith was in myself, my strength, my ideas, and my will to power over my son.
Had I bridled my tongue? No, no, no.  My tongue was running on an anger fueled, rage induced, streak of madness; yelling at my husband, bitter at my mum, furious at my child, and not doing anything. 

I read these verses and my heart grew heavy with conviction.  S needed a patient mommy to help him learn and I was being anything but.  

Please help me to bridle my tongue, to act on the promises of your word, and to put away my anger and frustration.  Let me receive with meekness your imparted gospel, which is able to save my soul.