Thursday, February 24, 2011

Now That It's Over.....

Some random thoughts following my stint on jury duty, in no particular order of importance:

Serving on the jury was actually very interesting. Not sure if enjoyed would be exactly the right word, but now it’s all said and done I’m glad I had this opportunity to serve my community in this way. If you had asked me if I’d be saying such a thing back in December when I received the summons, that would have been a big, fat, “No.”

I’m really thankful that I made a new friend as a result of this opportunity/duty. I went out of my comfort zone and asked my neighbor, who I had met briefly but had not yet gotten to know super well but who has a daughter in the same preschool class as my daughter, if she might be able to help out and watch my girl one day each week for the past two months after I learned the judge would not excuse me for lack of childcare options for my 4-year-old. My friend graciously said she could do all the days I had scheduled, and I’ve gotten to know her better and it’s really nice to have a friend up the street. May I be as willing to be a friend as she was to me.

Drinking strong coffee to stay awake in the afternoon after many hours in a long, long day and hearing lots of frustrating cases causes me to have that crazy undefined anxiety in my stomach and mind later in the evening when I finally get home and try to unwind.

I just realized I have a new-found respect for what my husband does every day in working hard all day and then coming home and engaging with the family. I only had one long day a week with jury duty and I found it so hard to shut off that part of my brain when I got home and be worth anything to my family that evening.

One of the hardest things for a blogger to do is to not talk or blog about some things that are a major part of two months of her life because she’s been sworn to secrecy “for all time.”

If you ever want to know what your community is really like, serve on jury duty. It’s quite eye-opening.

If you are thinking about doing something illegal while in a car, make sure you have working lights/headlights/etc.

On the other hand, disregard that....if you are doing something illegal in a car, I personally hope you ARE caught and have to see your day in court. In other words, don’t do illegal things.

Many criminals are not very smart.

There are some very, very, very depraved people in this world. And there are some very lost people who make unwise choices or have unwise choices made for them by people who have influence over them before they even have the maturity to learn anything different. But what I have perpetually reminded myself is that it is only by God’s grace that I am not walking the same road. Jury duty has helped me to be more aware of the need to pray for my community and to be a lighthouse who will pray for my neighbors.

I live a very, very sheltered life.

I am thankful, so very, very, very, very thankful for my sheltered, ordinary, ‘boring’ life. There are some things much worse than sheltered and ordinary and ‘boring.’

Though my children looked at me like I was a little off my rocker, I came home one evening, looked them straight in the eyes and told them that if any friend of theirs ever got involved with, talked favorably about, even hinted around about flirting around with, or talked about being friends with someone else who used meth or some other illegal drug....that person is not a friend. Period. No questions asked, do not pass Go, you are no longer friends, flee, flee, flee. Both boys told me they didn’t even know what meth is, but yes, ma’am, after I told them a little about what I’d learned. I am not naive enough to think that they do not need the reminder over and over again repeatedly, either.

I now feel really uncomfortable having Sudafed in the house, even though the doctor prescribed it for my sinus troubles.

Methamphetamine is a huge problem. Huge. And heartbreaking.

Paperwork done right and well is important.

Some people really like to hear themselves talk.

I’ve never liked ‘group projects.’ Jury duty is sort of like a really important ‘group project.’ Thankfully, most days we had a good group that gelled well together. I actually felt a little sad saying good-bye to the others today, and I think I may miss seeing them each week. But only a little.

I would not make a very good lawyer. Too complicated, too many things to remember at once, too many messy situations to sort out and try to apply the law to, too much stress over long periods of time. It was all I could do to be the secretary and keep up with the testimony enough to take legible notes for the case file and deal with this stuff one day a week.

Being quite certain someone committed a crime and being able to prove it are two different things.

Often there is a whole lot more to a story than what may eventually become public knowledge. I will remember and apply that next time I become opinionated about the barest part of any story (not just regarding criminal things, but any news story) and the editorializing that follows that I read in the paper or see on the news.

I don’t really like not getting a lunch break until 2 PM and then not finishing for the day until 7PM and then having to drive home in the low visibility that comes from a winter rain storm that is beginning to turn to snow later in the evening.

If you want to avoid certain people engaging in illegal behaviors, don’t be driving around in the middle of the night.

People who do the kinds of things that get their names known to a grand jury often run with other people who do the same.

It’s heartbreaking how many people go right back to criminal behavior once they are out of jail.

It is really good advice to avoid all appearance of evil. It is wise and it is biblical, and it is one of the best ways to avoid having to ever have your name listed on some future grand jury’s list of cases for their day.

It’s also wise and biblical to choose your friends wisely. Walk with people who are doing bad things, you’ll get tarnished and burned or even sucked into the vortex of their activity eventually. Walk circumspectly and avoid keeping evil doers as close associates and you’ll be much less likely to fall into that trap.

To me, hearing Jesus’ name being used as a curse word is as disgusting and disturbing as the reprehensible behavior we were exposed to that brought forth the blasphemy from a peer in the room. Arguably even more so.

I am burdened to pray for quite a few of the individuals whose cases crossed our path these past two months. I may never know the end results in their lives, but I’m praying for them nonetheless.

Whether people want to admit it or not, we do all have a sense of right and wrong. We know, whether or not we act on that knowledge, that there are things that are just wrong. This is one great argument for a benevolent Creator, in fact the Creator who is the great I AM, the only wise God, and it is what Romans 1 tells us. We are stamped with His law and made in His image, no matter how diligently we sin to deny that law and to tarnish that image. He is Lord and one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Pray for the grace to believe, repent and bow now.

A couple of cases in particular may haunt me for a while. That’s all I can say about it except that I am praying that the truth, whatever it really is, will out in the end, and I am certainly praying for the individuals involved.

I pray I will be a lighthouse in the midst of the darkness that is our culture. I pray for a boldness I have not often enough exercised to speak the word without fear.

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful that it was my last day of my two month jury duty. The judge said today as he was dismissing us that he hoped it had been an eye-opening experience and that we can appreciate better what a necessary service it is to our community. It was definitely an eye-opening experience, that’s for sure. I’m thankful I got to participate, though, and I’m thankful to be finished today, too.

I’m thankful for the rain we are receiving today.

I’m very thankful for men of God who faithfully open His word and teach it well. I’ve been listening to John MacArthur preach on the Lordship of Christ, and it has been refreshment for my soul and mind.

Even more than that, I am thankful that I have God’s word translated into my language and that I can hold in my hands and read and study it. More and more, I am growing weary and distressed with books about Christianity and faith that are not biblically sound, and there are so many of them capturing our attention, ladies. May we be satisfied in Christ, and to seek to know His word with intensity and devotion. It is His word that is the word of life, dig in and feast there, my friends. It is so worth the hard work and time to read and study the Bible. It is in saturating our minds with the truth that we can recognize the error that is so prevalent in Christian books and blogs and thinking anymore as the Holy Spirit opens our understanding and love for Christ and turns our thinking to a biblical and God-honoring way of viewing all things. Let us seek not to be looking for the next emotional high or method or some new thing, but let us ground ourselves in the riches and depth of God’s word and learn to be satisfied in what He has revealed to us. He has spoken to us in His word. Let us drink deeply at the well of the word of life.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Random Mondayness

First box of Girl Scout cookies for this year entered our house the other day. Cute little girl bravely came up to the door and asked if I would like to buy some. I had already ordered some from a friend at church, but I bought one from her, too, since she was brave enough to come to the door herself and not get her daddy to do the asking. Yes, I know this is what the marketing geniuses that are the Girl Scout cookie people are counting on. I don’t even really like Girl Scout cookies.

I’ve enjoyed the fact that my husband got today and Friday off from work. One benefit of working Active Army Reserve on post - he usually gets the Friday before a Monday holiday also. Kinda sorta makes up for a year in Bosnia, six months in Iraq, etc. and etc. Boys had to go to school, holiday being used as a snow make-up day for one of the eleven (!!) snow days we’ve had this winter.

Though I do like the snow and winter, I’m really, really, really ready for spring now. Our little corner of the globe wasn’t all that warm the past several months and the past few days of warmer weather have whetted the appetite for more. Apparently some of my little bulbs are thinking along the same lines - I’ve seen a few tentative sprouts peeking up out of the ground this week. Looking forward to planting some tomatoes and herbs, too.

Bought my little girl a size 6 dress today. And it fit. A tad big, but only just a tad. Could we slow this time down just a little for just a little longer? Sigh.

Sidewalk chalk is a fun thing. So is a point.

Enjoying reading Anne of Green Gables again. I think I’ve always been just a tad in love with Gilbert Blythe myself. C’mon, Anne, forgive him already! I love it when she finally does.

Had a date night with my husband the other day. Found a babysitter we and the kids just love. Drew and I went to see The Eagle, and liked it. I like when the hero is really a hero, honorable from the beginning. Definitely would not be called a girl movie, but then, I’m not really a ‘chick flick’ kinda girl anyway, my love for Anne aside. At least not the modern versions of chick flicks, that is.

Really enjoying the Christian History class I’m getting to take on Sunday nights at our church. Discussion of Paul’s address to the Athenians in Acts and the meaning of ‘Logos’ in John 1:1 has really helped me to have a much deeper understanding and awe of just how awesome our God truly is. Wish I could go into more detail here, but, just incredible stuff.

Am more than ever thankful that our God is mighty to save and that the good work He has begun in me He will bring to completion at the day of Christ Jesus.

Tomorrow and Thursday are my last days of jury duty. Woo-hoo! We were joking the other day amongst ourselves that if there is ever a drought around here, they should just call our group back to serve again. It has rained or snowed almost every single Tuesday during our term. We’re supposed to be getting rain tonight.

I think I have come to the conclusion that while I still enjoy a little coffee with my creamer and sweetener, I think I really just like tea better. Especially when trying to lose weight, coffee isn’t too hard a thing to cut out. Girl Scout cookies are also not too difficult a thing for me to forego.

However, I have also come to the conclusion that I cannot have candy in the house. I can’t stay out of it, so it undermines my healthier eating efforts. So, sadly, the chocolate has to go for a while.

Laundry never ends, but the satisfaction upon folding the last piece of it for one more session is still a big one. I have miles to go before I sleep on that one today, however, and I hear that the washer has stopped, so I must go and take care of another load now.

Happy Monday.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for warmer weather. It was about 70 degrees yesterday and high 60’s and windy today. We’re expecting rain tonight, but I’m sooooooo thankful it is not snow.

I’m thankful for the good time my son and daughter and I had walking around the neighborhood yesterday as my boy was trying to sell candy bars for a fundraiser.

I’m thankful for the neighbors who were kind when they chose to open their door to this kid selling candy bars and were nice to him. It’s sure I’ve bought my fair share of neighbor kids’ fundraiser items in my time.

I’m thankful for sidewalk chalk. What fun.

I’m thankful for the lively imagination of my little 4-year-old daughter. She makes life sparkle around here. Actually all three of our kids make our life sparkle in some way.

I’m thankful my son was able to spell all of his spelling words when I quizzed him today. You have no idea......

I’m thankful for Philippians 2:5-11. Read it, you’ll see why.

I’m thankful my husband got home safely from last weekend’s business trip, and I’m thankful for Thursday evening....the first evening of the week when no one in the family has anything we have to do in the evening.

I'm thankful for my husband, who loves me in spite of my faults. He demonstrates unconditional love toward me, and I am blessed to be his wife.

I’m thankful for the healing that time brings. I accidentally walked down the baby aisle at the grocery store one day over the weekend and had a small little twinge when it suddenly occurred to me what was happening during this weekend last year, but God’s grace has brought peace and acceptance and, yes, even joy and that little walk down the baby aisle resulted in a time to thank God for His blessings, of which there are so very, very many.

I’m thankful to be able to put dinner on the table for the family for whom I am also thankful. Chicken quesadillas and fiesta rice tonight. Must go get it onto that table right now.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hints of Spring

The snow is melting! The snow is melting! Dance of joy, the snow is melting!

Waiting for the day I can use this Narnia quote: "This is no thaw. This is Spring." Probably a little premature at the moment, but it's nice to see the white stuff disappearing for now. Don't know about y'all, but we've been having winter around here, and our little part of the globe hasn't felt very warm in months. This Florida girl is cold. Supposed to get into the 60's later this week. That will feel positively summerish after the winter we've been having.

It's been cold, I say. Cabin fever has ensued in a big way around these parts, so hope is springing at any hint of spring.

Thoughts From This Weekend

Our church had a Family Conference this weekend that was just absolutely excellent. I love my church family. I really and truly do. I’m very thankful for all the hard work that went into making last night and this morning possible, and the speakers were just all so good. The sessions on discipline and family worship this morning were especially helpful to me. Wish my husband had not had to be out of town this weekend for work, but I took good notes and can’t wait for time to sit down together and discuss and pray together about what I’ve learned over the weekend and how we can implement it in our home so that we can be even more diligent about building a Christian home that has the fragrance of Christ and glorifies God.

The session on discipline was a breath of fresh air and conviction as I realize this is an area I have been needing some reminders in. It is the root of that issue I mentioned in an earlier post that I discovered with one of my children. I realized while rereading that post that I made the situation sound more dire than it actually is, but it is something that needs addressing. It is serious, but I realized that without context and detail, it sounded worse than it actually is, and I have now edited that post. It’s a matter of learning how to be organized and first time obedience and taking responsibility for things that need to be done. And what I realized is that we’ve been lax in training in these areas, and in consequence I think we’ve exasperated our boy. Anyway, very thankful for the practical, biblical sessions this weekend.

Last night the elementary age kids had a camp-in at the church led by our student pastor, and my middle boy had a great time. My older boy got to volunteer with the preschool childcare so that I could go to the conference sessions. That is not really ‘his thing,’ but I’m so glad of the way he did it cheerfully and without complaining anyway.

Anyway, that’s a really long lead up to get to the little story I was actually writing this blog post to share. As I was checking my son in for his camp-in, the college student who was volunteering with that area kept calling me, “Mrs. W_________.” Inside I always feel so funny being addressed that way, because inside I still feel like I’m right there with that college girl as a peer. But I’m not. I’m old enough I could have had a child close to her age had I gotten married and started just a little bit earlier, so it’s all kinds of appropriate that she address me in that way. I’m also not one of those that feels the need to be all hip and cool and make her call me by my first name. I actually find it pretty refreshing that this kind of respect still exists in some corners, even if I don’t internally feel old enough to be “Mrs. W_________,” and think it’s good not to discourage it. The fact is I am that old, and we really should encourage the respectful attitude that sweet young lady exhibits every time I’ve ever had any dealings with her.

I applaud her parents for teaching her well, and I know her parents and I’m sure they did. I also am glad to know there are still young people who understand respect and courtesy and exercise it genuinely. May I teach my kids to be respectful from the heart, as well. I don’t want them to just behave well outwardly and legalistically, my goal and hope for them is that they will want to do well and be respectful and courteous for God’s glory and because they have learned to love and fear Him. I want it to be a heart issue. This needs to be my aim in training them and it is my heart’s cry in prayer for them as well.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Thankful Thursday on a Friday

There’s no time that isn’t a good time to be thankful, and I’m thankful for that. I forgot all about Thankful Thursday yesterday. I even got around to writing a rather lame blog post yesterday, blog posts of any sort being a fairly rare occurrence anymore it seems, but I forgot about Thursday and thankfulness going together in a blog post. So, I figure I’ll be thankful today.

I’m thankful for good books, new and old.

I’m thankful for strawberries, one of the few things I find to really like about February, this most wintery and drear of months. Good thing it’s the shortest month. But, oh, how I love those first strawberries of the season, and how excited I am when they appear at the grocery store.

I’m thankful for Psalm 116:15: “Precious in the eyes of the LORD is the death of His saints.” A sweet lady from our church family went home to be with Jesus this week. Mrs. ‘Lib’ was a precious lady and I will miss her sweet smile and welcoming hugs. She and her husband brought us a plate of cookies the day the moving van arrived at our new house here to welcome us to the neighborhood and the church. I feel I didn't get to know her long enough, but I'm thankful for the privilege of knowing her a little bit for a little while. She will be missed, and though tears fall as I type this, I’m glad to know her voice is joining with the great Hallelujah Chorus of Heaven now, and she is whole and healed in the presence of her Lord.

I’m thankful for Lamentations 3:22-24: “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!’” And for 2 Corinthians 12:9: “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” And for Philippians 1:6: “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” And for James 1:5: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

The reason I am thankful for all of those verses is that today I am having one of those days when I realize I am failing in some areas as a parent. But I am thankful that though I am failing, my Savior will never fail me or my kids and He will give me the wisdom to know how to do this mom thing well and for His glory. I am thankful for the mercy of His allowing me to recognize failings and take steps to correct them. I'm also realizing the need to sleep on emotional posts before posting them as this is now the edited and toned down version of the previous post which because of lack of context and details presented a more dire picture than I intended.

I’m thankful for the privilege of prayer. And I’m going to end this post now and go get on my knees and petition the throne for the wisdom to parent well and for His glory right now.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Old Books Are Like Old Friends

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” - C.S. Lewis

“No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally - and often far more - worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.” C.S. Lewis

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” - C.S. Lewis

“I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.” - C.S. Lewis

Well, I’m not fifty and beyond, but I am reading Anne of Green Gables yet again for I’ve lost count what time this will be. It’s one of my all-time favorite books and one of the reasons I can really relate to Mr. Lewis’s sentiments that I’ve shared up there. Those sentiments of his are probably why he wrote his Narnia books so well and why they are a series I have also lost count of how many times I have read as well.

For all the good books out there I have yet to read, there is something comforting and familiar about picking up a cherished old favorite once in a while, kind of like reuniting with a long, lost old friend. And I love the gentle and whimsical world of Anne’s and how I can almost see how achingly beautiful the world looks through her eyes. I love the story of how Marilla and Matthew take in the poor little orphan girl who had never been loved and immediately fall in love with her and give her a home and how she just blossoms there and finds so many ‘kindred spirit’ friends whose lives she touches. And Gilbert Blythe....watching their friendship grow is wonderful too. I can’t wait until my little girl is old enough to read this book together and I can share it with her. But for now, I’m going to curl up and enjoy it another time this winter.

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” - Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Sharper Than Any Two-Edged Sword

My little girl may just have a promising future career as a cartoon character. I’m listening to her converse with her stuffed animals. Each one has a different voice and personality. It is quite funny. Even funnier is when she tells one of them to shush. Given that she’s the one doing all the talking, that is. Sometimes I get a little scared that she might actually believe she’s having these conversations, that’s how active her imagination is.

It’s really funny until we tell her to tone it down a little, be a little quieter. Lady Dog can be quite shrill. Then it is not funny because then she inevitably will say, “It’s not me. It’s Lady Dog.” Disobedience is still disobedience, just because she’s being cute at the time doesn’t mean we let it slide. I’ve already told her that, no, it isn’t Lady Dog, it is Rachel and Rachel needs to obey when we tell her to be quieter. Next step is that Lady Dog is going to be taking a time out when a certain little someone decides cuteness and having fun trump obedience.

Then I get to thinking about my own tendency towards obedience or not. God’s word has a way of really cutting to the heart when you spend time pondering it and memorizing it. As you do, you begin to see areas that need repenting when you realize you can’t keep memorizing and saying a certain passage over and over with a clear conscience because there’s something there in your heart that needs dealing with. When I come to see that something I am doing or have done, or am not doing or haven’t done, doesn’t measure up to God’s word and I’m not walking in a manner worthy of the gospel, do I try to be cute and justify it, try to make it more acceptable, or do I own up and confess and repent? Disobedience is still disobedience, no matter how pretty or justifiable or acceptable I may try to make it.

I count it a mercy that the Holy Spirit lovingly searches our hearts and convicts us and speaks to us through His word and leads us in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake, to conform us to the image of Christ. And speaking from experience, when such a thing becomes clear and you finally surrender and do what you know you need to do, it is really freedom.

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Standing Firm

Philippians 1:27-30

27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,

28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.

29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,

30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

Week 5 of the Partnering to Remember project found us in this passage of Philippians chapter one. I have been mulling over the exhortation to let my manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, and I am more and more convinced that the only life worth living is one that is devoted to and saturated by the gospel. The whole focus of Philippians chapter one is Paul’s prayer for the Philippians to be living faithfully to the gospel and the fact that all that has happened to him has served to advance the gospel. We cannot be too spiritually, too gospel minded. In fact, I find that much of the time I am not nearly gospel minded enough.

The amazing thing about the gospel is that it does not stop at the point of a person’s conversion to faith in Christ. This is not the end result of the gospel, but the beginning. It is the gospel that saves us and brings us into right relationship with God, and it is the power of the gospel that keeps us and produces the fruit of righteousness in us that allows us to live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Growing up with a decisional, walk the aisle, pray this prayer and all is well kind understanding of the gospel, I have not always appreciated fully enough what it is to live with a gospel saturated mindset.

Spending five weeks with Philippians chapter one, rehearsing it over and over and over as I’ve sought to memorize it and think on it, I am seeing more clearly that the gospel is deeper and richer than we often present it as being. Proper understanding of the gospel is vital to justification, but also to sanctification. I am saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus, and I am also kept by grace through faith in Christ Jesus, and it is His working in me that is leading me to a fuller understanding of His grace and to be shedding the things that weigh me down from running the race He has called me to run. It is through Jesus Christ that the fruit of righteousness begins to fill my life.

One thing I’m taking away from this section is how Paul really wanted to hear that the Philippian church was striving side by side for the faith of the gospel. We’ve been encouraged to pray daily for our church here, and we really want to see God be glorified, we want revival. I’m convinced that what the church needs to be about is this striving for the faith of the gospel - not about programs per se, or a cool and fun youth group, or about making me feel....whatever it is I think I may want to feel based on my so-called ‘felt needs,’ or about making sure the music is all I would want it to be in whatever style I think is most what I want, or about being entertained, but about striving for the faith of the gospel. Striving is a strong word. It implies work, and not ease and comfort and fun and games and entertainment. I have not fully apprehended this in my approach to church membership yet, but I want to. I want to be much more about striving side by side for the faith of the gospel than about warming a pew or going through churchy motions or being entertained. Church really is not about me and my entertainment, but very much about turning our attention to our God and worshipping Him in spirit and truth and coming in line with His will. I want to be alive in Christ and busy about His business. I am thirsty for revival, and I’m praying for this for my church, too.

I go back to verse 22, “If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.” As I’ve been saturating my mind with this, it has come clear to me that this has not been my attitude toward my life in the flesh. Most of the time I pretty much muddle along through life, getting through the busyness of each day, but not actively, purposely thinking about fruitful labor in the gospel in the midst of the busyness. How much time I waste. Will I change? Can I change? Please, God, grab my heart and help me to change!

Something else that struck me this week was the way Paul told them that it had been granted to them that for the sake of Christ they should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake. I think this is a very hard thing for an American Christian to get her mind wrapped around. It is for this American Christian, steeped in the comfortable Christian subculture of suburban decisional Christianity anyway. I don’t typically look at suffering being something I would want to be granted. Believing, sure, but suffering? Not so much. But looking closely, it is suffering for the sake of Christ. Meaning, suffering because they are obviously being bold and obedient to speak the word without fear. I want to be bold to speak the word without fear. I want to be bold to speak the word at all. I’m not there yet, but I want to be. I don’t even face the risk of imprisonment and yet much of the time I am not out there looking for opportunities to speak the word. Why not? I think it goes back to the striving together side by side. As we as a body will be striving together we will also be bold together. I need to be really engaging with my church family, not settling for being comfortable to be part of it, but actively being busy with them in speaking the gospel of Christ to our community and in discipling those who are in the fellowship.

Anyway, these are just some of the things I’m working through as I partner to remember Philippians. Praying I will be obedient to take them to heart and learn to act on them, not just think about them, and then to stand firm in that obedience and be changed because I’ve hidden this word in my heart.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Status Report - February 2011

Thanking Lisa once again for her most useful status report format. the computer desk in my kitchen with my ice cold hands. This has got to be one of the winteriest of winters I’ve ever experienced.

Eating....nothing. But I just finished having a lunch of spinach, carrot sticks, celery sticks and raw broccoli. Livin’ high on the hog ‘round here today.

Drinking.... “Sweet” iced tea, sweetened with Sweet-N-Low, but just put the tea pot on so I can make a nice cup of hot Constant Comment tea. Got to warm up these icicles I call fingers somehow.

Craving....a diet Coke. It's been over two weeks since I gave them up and gave up aspartame and Splenda, and even though the joint pain I was experiencing in my feet has subsided a whole lot in that two weeks, making me pretty sure those things were the culprits just as I'd suspected, I still crave diet Coke. Crazy.

Mistaken....when I thought my thermometer must be broken the other day. It read 96.5, and that just seemed low so I thought maybe it’s time to buy a new thermometer. When I was at the doctor’s office on Monday to try to find out why I have so much pressure and fluid in my ears, my temperature was 96 there, too. So, if I register 98.6, am I technically running a fever? No wonder I’m so cold all the time.

Lesson learned.....never, ever take Sudafed right before bed time.

Enjoying....the fact that though it snowed furiously all day yesterday, none of it stuck. Woo-hoo! Nice to see something other than white out there again. Could it be a sign spring might actually come one day?

Pleased....that after two weeks of consciously monitoring the calories I consume, I seem to have lost 5 pounds. This is huge, since I’ve not seen the scale needle move leftward in a long time.

Pondering...on Philippians 1:27-30, specifically about letting my manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ. Much to ponder and pray earnestly about in Philippians chapter one where I’ve spent the past 5 weeks memorizing. I want so much to be changed because of this concentrated time focusing on the Word and learning to pray more intently.

Thinking....what my life would be like if I truly mentally acknowledged that HOLINESS TO THE LORD should be written across it, just as the High Priest wore as I read in Exodus yesterday morning.

Wondering...why it is that just when I get serious about memorizing scripture and praying more intently I seem to get hit with a serious bout of the blues.

Thankful....that my salvation is not dependent on my emotions or ability to ‘feel it’, but on Christ’s extreme faithfulness to His promise - His finished work of redemption. Gospel living means trusting Him even when I feel nothing, but knowing, yes KNOWING, that it is only by His grace that I can live the life that is worthy of the gospel and be filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God, and He will bring to completion what He has begun in me for His glory. Yes and amen.

Ending....this post so I can go exercise for a bit. **Well, exercise was the plan. It's been a while since I posted that and I haven't gotten to it yet. Still a little time left this afternoon.....