Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What's On Your Nightstand - January 2012

The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers: A King’s Ransom (F) - Jude Watson.  I started reading The 39 Clues series with the boys sometime back, and this is the latest installment. It didn’t hold my attention as well as the others, but it was okay....and, hey, it’s written for a young teen audience, and, let’s face it, I haven’t been a member of that audience for a LONG time now, so that’s probably why the lack of attention.....
The Limit (F) - Kristen Landon. I liked this one. It is also for a teen audience, I guess, but the story was interesting with a chilling premise. I found it...actually my oldest son found it....through a book order. This book is about a world where “kids are being taken away to workhouses if their families exceed the financial debt limit imposed by the government.” (From the back cover) Believable characters and a scenario that I think isn’t really all that far-fetched --I don’t think it’s too hard to imagine a world where such things could happen. Lots to talk to my boys about while reading it - the dangers of an overreaching government, ahem, and the dangers of materialism and unwise use of credit. 
A Journey in Grace: A Theological Novel - Richard Belcher. This was not intended to be the best novel ever, and it isn’t. But, as a vehicle for explaining doctrines of grace in a biblical and understandable and logical manner, it was very effective. I borrowed it from my dad when we were visiting a while back, and at first I thought it might be kind of dull, but I found when I started reading that I had a hard time putting it down. I also found that the very biblical dealing with the doctrines explained was compelling, interesting, and, ultimately, comforting.  Here’s a blurb from the back cover: “This is the story of a young pastor with a typical twentieth century theology and his pursuit of a burning theological question which was triggered in his first experience with a pulpit search committee. He cannot and does not rest until he has answered the challenge of the question, “Young man, are you a Calvinist?” 
The Fifth Witness (F)- Michael Connelly. One of my favorite authors....another courtroom mystery/drama involving his defense attorney Mickey Haller character. Enjoying it so far. Language caution. 
The Poisonwood Bible (F) - Barbara Kingsolver. I picked this one at the library because my mom told me she thought I’d like it. Reading the flap, I think she’s probably right. She usually is about these things. 
A Tale of Two Cities (F) - Charles Dickens. This was the first Dickens novel I ever read and I LOVED it. I want to reread it now that I’m an adult and have forgotten so much of it. I imagine I’ll understand it even better now. I downloaded a cheap (I think maybe it was free) copy to my NOOK. 
What are you reading this month? You can see and join other lists at 5 Minutes for Books.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Finding Delight - Our God is Jealous For His Own

I really love singing in the church choir. Not just the singing, but all that’s involved in being part of this group, especially the midweek rehearsal. Because it isn’t just a rehearsal, it’s an opportunity to worship together with fellow believers in the middle of the week. I’ve been working on this blog post ever since Wednesday because of the comfort each song we sang this week brought to my heart and how I wanted to write it out and think on it. Because this is what I do. I write to think.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I have found myself struggling through a period of malaise and dullness recently and am working through fighting to study the Word and rebuke doubt and not rely on feelings, or lack thereof. Recently I read this quote from Alistair Begg on Facebook: “Allow the dictates of God’s Word to overturn the questions of your heart.” Yes and amen. This is bedrock, solid advice, and it’s where I find my greatest source of joy and comfort....God’s word is true and trustworthy.
So, on Wednesday, while practicing and rejoicing that every song we were working on sang about God’s character and His trustworthiness and pondering even as we sang how very much I needed to remind my heart of these things, we came across this in the verse of one song, and I was almost reduced to tears: “Our God is jealous for His own. None could comprehend His love and His mercy. Our God is exalted on His throne, high above the heavens. Forever He is worthy.” This struck me so solidly I had to stop and copy it on the newletter right under the evening’s devotional thought so I could take it home and remember and ponder some more. As I was struggling through the blues, through the malaise, I am thankful for the reminder that God is jealous for His own. None can comprehend His love and His mercy, and He is high and exalted - on the throne, sovereign. 
You could do a whole, long, indepth study on what it means that God is a jealous God, but I wanted to focus on this one aspect of it. I recognized this thought, that God is jealous for His own to be a biblical thought, but I wanted to find scriptural support and write about it to flesh it out in my own understanding, to be comforted by the Word. Because this is what I do. I search the scriptures. I write to think and understand and receive strength and comfort from the Holy Spirit as He illumines my understanding by His Word. I want to embrace thoughts that are validly based in scripture - but jettison those that aren’t. 
Here’s what I’m finding:
God is jealous for the purity and holiness of those He has redeemed. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20)  If God is for us, who can be against us? Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:22-39) He is jealous to conform us to the image of Christ. (Romans 8:26-30) Jesus is ever interceeding for us. (Romans 8:34) Jesus is the sure and steadfast anchor for our souls. (Hebrews 6:19-20) Because of Jesus, for His sake because of the sacrifice He made on our behalf, those of us whose trust rests in Him alone, we can boldly approach the throne of God. (Hebrews 4:14-16) Jesus is the guarantee of a better covenant. (Hebrews 7:22) He will complete what He has begun in us. (Philippians 1:6) To those of us who love God and are called according to His purpose, He is working all things together for our good and for His glory. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and we are freed from the law and its debt. (Romans 8:1-17) He is our shepherd, in Him we shall not want and He will lead us in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. (Psalm 23) He is jealous to conform our thinking to pure thoughts, godly thoughts, God-honoring thoughts that lead to God-honoring living. (Phillippians 4:8; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 10:5)
Though everything in our culture is screaming at us and trying to steep us in the depressing fallacy that there is no objective truth and truth is relative and you can determine your own truth, we can stand firm in the word of God which will stand the test of time and every wind of philosophy that wages a storm against it. (2 Corinthians 10:5; 1Peter 1:22-25
Our God is jealous for His own. Our God is redeeming a people and equipping us to live lives that honor Him and point others to Him and He frees us to live obediently and to be holy as He is holy. You see, that is an impossible command, to be holy as He is holy......apart from Christ. But all the promises of God are yes and have their amen in Christ, and He is sanctifying us and conforming us to His image. Religion foolishly says, “Work hard, try your best to obey and then you’ll be right with God.” Christianity, true biblical Christianity says, “I have been made righteous, therefore now He has enabled me to obey as a joyful servant, as a redeemed child of God.” I am thankful that God is jealous for His own, that He is actively conforming us to the image of His Son, and I know that the longer I walk with Him, the more I find my appetite for things that weigh me down by taking my eyes off of Him growing less. I am thankful for this, because I know that this is all of grace. 
And I have found much delight in these thoughts this week.

Interesting Discussion About Postmodernism

This audio link is interesting, enlightening and, I'll admit it - disturbing. It really explains why I get so extremely frustrated with conversations I've had or comment threads I read on blogs with people who are steeped in this worldview, most without really even thinking about it.  As Dr. Mohler points out, it may not exist in full-blown form in the larger culture, but it is trickling down....and this speech was made in 2007, so I think it's obvious that it has trickled even more into the culture at large in the past few years. Postmodernism is pervasive and heartbreaking, a rehashing of the oldest lie there is - an attack on objective truth. To my Christian friends, please pay careful attention to his discussion about 1/3 of the way in to how it even infects our thinking in our circles.  I agree with him. And listen to his point about the dominion of therapy: "Everything is reduced to the therapeutic. This worldview infects the entire society. It's all about therapy. When truth is denied all that remains is therapy. The crucial question shifts from, 'What is true?' to 'What makes me feel good?'" If that isn't an ominous picture of our culture and a glorification of the self-centeredness and rebellion toward God that we are bent with innately, I don't know what is. I think you could make the argument that Postmodernism and the denial of objective truth leads to the kind of wrong-headed and dangerous foolishness seen in this article. Like I said, heartbreaking.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thankful Thursday - on Friday

A few, but certainly not all, of the things I’m thankful for today, and I didn't get around to writing a post on Thursday, so here it is "Thankful Friday":
One hour delay this morning.....I didn’t get the call until this morning after I’d already gotten up at 5AM, my normal wake-up time. However, the call was early enough that I had not yet gotten the kids up, so I got an extra hour this morning to read my Bible and have some coffee. With the earlier schedule here I have really missed that early morning quiet time. And the kids all woke up on their own, happy and ready to go (some more ready to go to school than others seeing as the boys went to bed just sure we would have a snow day today. But I enjoyed the quiet house for a bit this morning, and I really like that time. 
The roads are not nearly as icy and slick as I was fearing last night that they would be today. Yesterday it went from drizzling and raining and wet all morning to snowing and dropping temperatures all afternoon/evening, and during the 45 minutes I was at gymnastics with my daughter yesterday afternoon the doors to the van froze shut and the roads felt pretty slick on the way home as I felt the anti-lock breaks engaging often and slight slides on turns. Roads are better today, it seems, and I’m thankful because....
My husband is flying home for the weekend. :-) Kids and I get to drive to Louisville to pick him up at the airport this evening, and this Florida girl is really glad the roads aren’t slick, after all. I have yet to get used to driving in winter weather. I’m thankful he gets a long weekend break from the Army school he’s doing this winter and gets to come home. 
A simple and easy app for my phone that helps me track calorie intake and exercise so I can get on track to a healthier lifestyle. I do want to lose some weight, but the main reason is that I want to feel healthier and more energetic and less sluggish from the extra pounds. Day 3 using it today, and it hasn’t really been too bad. I’ve managed to stay within 20 calories of the daily goal the first two days. I do think it will be even better if I get up and exercise more because it allows more calories when you’re burning more. Anyway, it adds just that added bit of accountability I needed because I have to think, “Do I want to type that in?” or “Do I have room in the calorie budget for this?” before I put something in my mouth. 
A lack of desire for soda and chocolate. I know, right? But I can honestly say that I don’t crave chocolate at the moment. This is huge for me. The last bit of chocolate I ate made me feel so....ugh...that I don’t really crave sweet stuff so much. And I haven't had a diet Coke since about January 3. I'm actually craving water to drink and drinking lots of it rather than empty calories and chemical-laden drinks. And I’m thankful, because that sweet stuff really eats up the calorie budget quick.
Real friends who love my family in the name of Christ. I am so thankful for my church family. We really have found a home here, and I pray for my church often that God will protect us and guide us to love and honor His word in obedience. Northside Baptist is a really sweet body of believers and I’m so humbled and thankful that God used this move here to answer my prayers that I’ve prayed for years in allowing us to be here for this season in our lives. I have prayed for years that God would bring a kindred spirit kind of friend to me who would share not just regular life stuff but that I could share about Him and have a real bond as sisters in Christ together, and after all the wilderness years, God has provided and beyond here with not just one friend to share and love and confide in, but several. And I am so very thankful.

Thankful I read this post the other day. 
God’s word, and a desire and hunger to know it and heed it. I have been struggling through a kind of malaise again where I feel like I don’t feel anything. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but if you’ve been there, you know exactly what I mean. But I am thankful for sound doctrine that helps me to know that lack of feeling doesn’t equate to lack of faith. My hope, my rock, the anchor of my soul is Jesus, and He is ever faithful, ever interceding for His people, even when I feel distant and cold and that indescribable thing that I’ve got going at the moment where I feel so guitly because it seems I’m just going through motions. Have you ever noticed these betraying feelings tend to come right when you have come through some kind of spiritual victory? But because we don’t trust in feelings but in Christ, I don’t have to become discouraged. Because our purpose in this life is not to seek after some experience or to feel some special thing but to give honor to Him, He grants faith to persevere and lay aside the weights that entangle us. It is not in my ability, or lack thereof, to feel something that I rest my confidence. It is in Jesus, in His sacrifice on my behalf, in His priesthood and kingship, in the fact that He is my advocate who has made me His own. He is faithful and so much more. Jesus is the anchor for my soul and His kindness real and His mercies are new every morning. Yes and amen.
And for that I am thankful.

Monday, January 09, 2012

On a Lighter Note....Once Upon a Time

On a (much) lighter note.....anyone watching “Once Upon a Time”? If not, you’ll probably want to go ahead and skip this post. It’s a pretty frivolous post anyhow. If you do watch, there’s a tad bit of a spoiler from last night’s episode at the end, fair warning. My husband and I really enjoy it, which, sad to say, usually means it won’t last and they’ll pull the show leaving us with a cliff-hanger and no resolution. I don’t understand why trashy, crummy shows like, oh, say, “The Bachelor” (No, I don’t watch it, can’t stand it, hate it, hate the whole premise of it, saw a bit of it the other day by accident and was reminded why I hate it) keep coming on season after season, but smart and interesting shows like, oh, say, “V,” “The Event,” “Flash Forward,” “Jericho,” and “Earth 2” to name a few, don't last (anyone remember “Earth 2”? I still feel all out of sorts over the way NBC left that one hanging and it’s been at least 16 years or so....).    :-) 
I don’t think I can name one 30-minute sitcom on any of the networks that I like or even try to tolerate at the moment. Most I’ve tried are - again - trashy in one way or another. But I do like creative, well-plotted mystery/story type shows, like “Once Upon a Time.” I’m also really enjoying “Downton Abbey” on PBS Masterpiece Classic, if you’re interested, and I could share a few other shows we enjoy if you care to know.  I liked LOST for most of the show’s run until they totally ruined it with the ending, which I hated, by basically saying ALL of the mysteries and storylines were so many red-herrings and pointless, IMO. I still find myself trying to remember what was the point of that dishwasher scene with Sayid, Hurley, the knives, and the bad guy, whoever he was, because I think about it every time I load the silverware into my dishwasher. I am weird like that. And the Others.....I don’t think that really got resolved to my satisfaction. Saw a funny video about that the other day, though, and it made me laugh.
Anyway, we’re enjoying “Once Upon a Time” and the way the backstories of the characters are peeling away each episode. 
Last night’s episode was really good, too. I found myself saying, “Oh, maybe Rumpelstiltskin won’t be so bad, after all.” And then, “Whoa....maybe not. Evil he is...and scary to boot,” And I keep thinking maybe, just maybe the queen/mayor won’t be totally corrupt, but then I think, “Nope, wrong again.”
So, now I’m thinking Emma Swan is going to one day find herself faced with the same decision Rumpelstiltskin had in last night’s episode...only I’m hoping she makes a better choice. 
If ABC is patient and lets the show unfold and stay on the air long enough to answer such questions, that is.....

Sunday, January 08, 2012

The Sacrifice of Praise

I was listening to a current popular Christian musical group yesterday, doesn’t really matter who - it is not the point of this to criticize anyone in particular, and I was struck with a thought that I’ve been struggling to put into a blog post ever since. Actually I was struck with several thoughts in rapid succession. One was that I used to like some Christian music that was popular and played on the radio, but I’m finding that I don’t so much like much of it anymore. Don’t know if that’s because I’ve grown up or because the music has changed, but here I am. I do know what I don’t like about the songs I don’t like, though, and that’s where I’m going to go with this post. 
The song I was listening to that sparked this post was kind of a love song about Jesus with the phrase, “I’m falling for You,” in it. I have grown weary of shallow love songs about me, me, me and this sappy kind of love that could be for a boyfriend/girlfriend or could be for Jesus - you have to listen really closely to know who the singer is falling for or loving or whatever to determine if it’s a ‘Christian’ song or just a love song. Jesus isn't my boyfriend.
I have to tell you that the songs that lead me to fall on my knees in worship aren’t sappy love songs that endlessly proclaim my feelings for and about Jesus but don’t really point the singer/listener to what is lovely about Him. The songs that move me to the kind of passion these songs seem to want to generate, but don’t no matter how many repetitions of the proclamations of love there may be, are songs that talk about His character, about His attributes, about the depth and height and breadth of the gospel. The more the song is about me and my feelings, the more I’m left feeling empty and distant, but the more the song is about Jesus and His attributes and what He has done for us, the more I’m prompted to worship. What I’m saying is, for example, singing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and thinking on the majesty of the gospel that is proclaimed in those verses does so much more to prompt me to worship than a million repetitions of a more shallow this-is-how-I-feel kind of song. This has really nothing to do with music style, by the way, but everything to do with lyric content. One thing I'm thankful for is that our worship leaders at church tend to choose songs that do focus on who God is and lead us to that true worship.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and I have a theory. I am becoming more and more convinced that we in the ‘evangelical’ movement have a very shallow understanding of what love is. I think we have somehow bought into the notion that if we don’t feel some emotional giddiness or deep emotional passion that we aren’t feeling love. I think in our culture, our notion of love begins and ends with romantic love, which elevates feelings over all else. If I don’t feel a certain way, then it isn’t love. The thing is, biblical love isn’t so much about a feeling, but about commitment and covenant.  Sure, emotion is involved, and even important to an extent, because we are emotional beings, but it doesn’t end there, and it isn't the end to which we need to be aspiring. 
We are absolutely commanded to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Yes and amen. And sometimes deep and passionate feeling accompanies this love. But what about the times when I feel nothing? What about times when I pray and I feel a dullness that I can’t even describe? Does that mean that in those moments when emotion is at an ebb that I don’t love God? No. That is not what that means. I really think that to expect to always live at an emotional peak is folly. We don’t live there. We live down in the trenches, in the every day plugging along of faithful living, whether we feel it today or not. 
Why do you think it’s called the sacrifice of praise? I believe it’s because praise is not easy. I believe that some of the deepest worship happens when we don’t feel whatever it is we seek to feel. Love for God is displayed in obedience - whether I feel like it or whether I don’t. Love for God is displayed in learning Who He is and in worshiping Him for Who He is - when I feel it and when I don’t. Love for God is displayed in believing His word and acting on that belief, believing in His Son whole-heartedly and placing our trust and hope in Him alone- whether I feel it today or whether I feel dull and distant. 
Really, feelings can be determined by so many other things that have nothing to do with real faith. My feelings are fickle and fluctuating and I have no control over the dry and dull times that are so unnerving at times. But, by God’s grace, God has granted me faith that supercedes my feelings so that in those dry, dull times when I honestly feel nothing, I still am able to offer up a sacrifice of praise. I still am able to read His word and be reminded again and again about His awesome grace, and the emotions usually follow. But when the dry times hit, I am no less His, I am no less saved, the praise I offer is no less valid than the times when I feel overwhelmed by emotion. Because my faith, my salvation, even my love are based in the fact that I have rested everything upon Christ. My hope is in Christ alone, in the fact that He is my Redeemer who ever lives to intercede on my behalf. It is by His grace alone that I can stand, by His grace alone that I can even offer the sacrifice of praise, it is all because of Him and what He has done on my behalf to cleanse me from sin and clothe me in His righteousness to stand before Him.
I think we err when we focus too much on seeking a certain feeling and emotion, and I think our songs are impoverished when they focus more energy on me, me, me and my feelings and less on the One who deserves our affection. I think our songs are shallow when we describe our love for God as "falling for Him". I think sometimes we are guilty of worshiping a feeling rather than our God. I think often times we have too shallow a view of what love is - love isn’t really an emotion we feel. Love is a commitment we live. 
I’m a little hesitant to post this, because I’m not at all sure I’ve adequately said what I’m trying to say, and I have a feeling I’m going to be misunderstood. This is something I think about a lot, and there’s so much more to be said, but I’m stopping here for now. 

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Finding Delight - Week 1: I Know That My Redeemer Lives

I’ve decided to join Leslie in her blog carnival, Finding Delight. She is going to be blogging as she discovers the word “delight” in the Scripture during her reading.  I hope to share instances where I’ve found delight as I read the Bible each week, too, though I may not be as conciously looking for the word ‘delight’ each day. 
I mentioned in an earlier post that I am using a chronological reading plan this year to read through the Bible. For quite a few years now I have read through the Bible each year, but I’ve pretty much just gone through it in order, reading some from the Old Testament and some from the New Testament each day, and I also read one chapter of Proverbs each day. This year I wanted to try reading it chronologically because I noticed last year that I found the books of the prophets difficult and I’d really like to read them alongside the history books and get a better understanding of what each prophet was speaking to as the Word of the Lord came to him. 
Anyway, my reading this week has me in Job. What I found particularly delightful in reading Job this week is found in 19:25-29: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me! If you say, “How we will pursue him!” and, “The root of the matter is found in him,” be afraid of the sword, for wrath brings the punishment of the sword, that you may know there is a judgement.” 
In the midst of great suffering, in the face of being vastly misunderstood and wrongly judged by his friends, even in the midst of questioning God to some extent, Job expressed his solid faith that God is his Redeemer. That is delightful.  Job’s faith held in the midst of the storm. Job’s faith held in the face of his accusers. He knew that his Redeemer lives and that he would see Him. Though he did not understand his situation and he had questions, and I confess some of his questions make me very uncomfortable, but he does not lose his faith that God is his Redeemer. 
When God answers Job, which I will be reading shortly, we see so much about God’s sovereignty. This, too, is delightful to read and know and embrace. 
Because another delightful thing I’ve read this week is Proverbs 1:7: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”  It is in the right fear of the Lord that I learn to trust my Redeemer, and to know that Jesus is the anchor of my soul, and nothing in my hands I bring, but simply to His cross I cling. 
Please join us over at Leslie’s to see what others share as we are Finding Delight in God's Word.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Status Report - January 2012 the kitchen.
Drinking....water from my new pitcher. It’s a fruit infusion pitcher, in which I put slices of orange, lemon, and lime in the center core to flavor my water. Makes drinking more water tasty, thereby helping me to drink lots more water. Part of the “I need to lose weight” regime I’m starting. I’m also drinking the (unsweet) tea I poured so I could take the picture to make my new header up there. I was feeling like a change. Like it?
Wondering...if I’m lying because the tea in the cup in the picture is actually unsweet while the title of the blog is “Sweet Tea With Lemon.” My daughter noticed the discrepancy and keeps asking me why I’m not drinking sweet tea when it clearly says it’s sweet on the title. have the Christmas decorations organized (better than I’ve ever organized them before, which means they weren’t thrown haphazardly in the boxes) and put away and the routine back to sort of normal. House is even cleanish. 
Sad...that I’m an Army-induced single mom for a few months while husband attends a mandatory Army school thing. The first day is the hardest, then you just get about the business of living and routine. At least he’s not overseas.
Reading....the Bible through chronologically this year. I’ve always wanted to read it this way. I use the ESV.
Also reading...Book 2 in the Vespers vs. Cahills series from The 39 Clues - I’ve read the whole series along with the boys. Finding this one kind of boring.... Next I’ll be reading a book called The Limit by Kristen Landon, another book I found through my oldest son. Looks interesting. The boys got a lot of good books for Christmas that I’m interested in reading, too.

Thinking...this is a strange winter. It's been warmish with very, very little snow so far. No sticking snow to speak of yet. It was 16 degrees yesterday, but supposed to be in the 50's this weekend. I'm not complaining, but I'm wondering if this year or last year are the norm for this area. Last year we had already had several snow days and it was cold with no respite until maybe March. Again, I'm not complaining, though. Maybe if the milder weather holds I can do some walking. "I need to lose weight." 
Fighting...the temptation to stay home tonight. Kids have Awana, but I don’t have choir practice. We’re going.
Planning...on leftovers for dinner tonight. The chicken and noodles I made last night were so good we need to have them again tonight. :-)
Looking....forward to a new year, and glad our church got to welcome our new pastor and his family on Sunday. Looking forward to the exciting days ahead for our church.
Happy January!

Monday, January 02, 2012

A New Year

I’ve never been one to make New Year’s Resolutions, though I haven’t really thought through why, exactly. We were discussing it in Sunday School yesterday, and our teacher made the comment that really we ought to be making resolutions every day, not just on the first day of the year. I think that’s why I feel the way I do about New Year’s Resolutions, too. Dates on the calendar can be arbitrary and man-made distinctions, when you think about it. There is nothing magical about the turning of the calendar from 2011 to 2012.
The beginning of a new year is a good reminder to reflect and think, though, bound by time as we are in this life, and it doesn’t hurt to evaluate where we are and where we need to be going.
During the worship service yesterday, I found myself praying this, “Father, I know that You, our Creator and Lord, are not bound by time, and our calendar dates are things we have devised to help us to measure time and live in this world. But I am bound by time here, and I pray that 2012 will be the year I seek You whole-heartedly. Please put in me an ever growing desire and hunger to obey Your word and to seek You and to live in the light of the gospel, in 2012 and for however many days You have designed for me. Help me to love You more and to live in that light all my days.” I do know that the longer I’ve walked with Jesus, the more I’ve grown to love Him and to long for a gospel-saturated life, and the less desire I have for things that just a few years ago seemed important, and the more I’m able to enjoy the things of this life in a right way.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not seeking to live some mystical, heady, emotional existence where I have my head in the clouds on some 'higher plane' all the time. And I’m not seeking to have a purely intellectual faith where I can give all the correct doctrinal answers and enjoy my much learning, but have it not impact my living. This life is hard, and what I desire is to live the life God has called me to live well and for His glory, to glorify Him in obedient living and in going for it when I’m called to step out of my comfort zone and talk to my neighbors and others and live a gospel-saturated life, running the race well and with zeal for my Lord. I’m not looking for a spiritual experience in doing the laundry. But I do want to live each day without forgetting that I belong to Christ and that my heart’s desire is to glorify Him. We talked in Sunday School yesterday about how fleeting our life on this earth is and how differently we would live if we go about our daily walk keeping an eternal perspective. 
I saw this video the other day, and it has really stuck with me. I just love how the drawings symbollically capture the message of the song and the mindset we are to have in this life. 

“Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:13-16