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ReflectionOfGrace
September '02

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Read this wonderful devotional about Ruth.

09-19-02
He Lifts Me Up

It amazes me that I continue to have a couple hundred page views a month even though I haven't been updating frequently. Haha, there must be a lot of bored people in this world! Anyway...
 
"The Lord upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down."
Psalm 145:14
 
For about a month I went through a period of discouragement and feeling overwhelmed...mostly pertaining to myself and God revealing a lot of sin and areas I need to grow in and then also dealing with some heartache, and all of it compounded by being sick about that long and classes starting up. So deep in my heart I was struggling for a little while even though I sought to keep up appearances outside. (Have to try for at least a week, anyhow! )
 
Last week Mom and I were talking and she was drawing me out on "how I'm really doing" and of course I spilled it all. But then we had a wonderful conversation and she was able to encourage me and help point me to the objective truth I've been searching after. Sense then the burden feels like it has been completely lifted! God's grace has lifted me up and helped me not to think about the things that were getting me down but instead to focus on his grace and goodness to me. He really is so good to me and there are so many evidences of it for me to dwell upon! And in those areas that were hard for me I can rest knowing that even that is good for me. Makes me want to go around singing that song, "God's been good to me! Oh, God's always been good to me!" And like Seth said during M28 worship last night, God is faithfully good to me even when I do not know it and in so many ways that I am not aware of or unappreciative of. Wow!

09-06-02
Along with the Busyness

"Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways."
Haggai 1:7

I've been very busy with my classes, work, and Mission28 the past few weeks. I haven't been home too much and am always been going from one thing to the next. I like being busy. I do much better when I have a purpose and plan and I love the way time goes faster.  It isn't all good though. Another thing I've noticed is how I will "default" towards being self-focused if I'm not careful. I have to purposefully direct my thoughts outwards.
 
It is a little hard to explain...but for example, if I am with my brothers, am I speaking rashly whatever happens to come to my lips or am I guarding my tongue and considering whether each thing that I say will build them up? There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18)
 
When I am with my friends, am I caught up in telling them something I've wanted to share, or am I thinking about how I can bless and care for them? Therefore encourage one another and build one another up. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

When I am at home, am I looking for ways to serve and help out, or am I too focused on my own tasks to notice? Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philipians 2:3-4)
 
It takes a little more effort when I am tempted to always focus on the next item on my to-do list or calendar, but that is no excuse!!! What a selfish pit I will fall into if I do not take care to turn my thoughts to God and my eyes to others. Help me, Lord, to always be reminded of how you want me to live in every situation. Let me consider my ways and pursue your paths.
 

09-01-02
Longing to Do Good

"An excellent wife who can find?
   She is far more precious than jewels. 
 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
   and he will have no lack of gain. 
 She does him good, and not harm,
   all the days of her life."
Proverbs 31:10-12

The past week or two God has been bringing the above passage to my mind repeatedly, "she does him good all the days of her life." God has been using it to get me to look at areas of sin in my life and think about the effect they'd have on my husband. I do want to do him good - I long to do him good and be the blessing and helpmeet God intends me to be. Yet if this is to be so then I have to make some hard choices...painful choices...so that I can make sure that I am sowing seed now that will produce good fruit.

When my dad is walking me down the aisle on that wonderful day, I want him to be able to give me away with full confidence that by God's grace I will a gift to my husband and not a source of tribulation. (Hehe.) I want my husband to be able to fully trust me, and for my life to bring him gain in every respect. His life should be the better for me - not the worse. Yet if all these high aspirations are to be true, I must take the torch to my weaknesses and sinfulness now.

My parents have spent several hours in coversations with me this week about areas I need to grow in. I can think of more fun things to discuss () but I know this kind of intense digging is what I need. It is very tempting to be overwhelmed - it feels like there aren't any areas left that I don't need to grow in - but I know that God is for me in my sanctification and his grace is available. So I'm crying out to God and asking him to change me from within and transform my heart to be closer to his likeness. Oh, how I long to be like him! Help me, Lord!