Sunday, December 7, 2008

Monday Morning Cover to Cover---God calls things that are not as though they were

Political unrest in Thailand caused their airports to shut down for days! Brooke has been "stuck" in Austin with us and are we ever excited! She just drove off on her way to the airport and I cried like a baby! I am so grateful for the extra week with my girl. We reminisced, and rummaged through sales, and racked up hours and hours of so enjoying her extra-long Thanksgiving stay with us. She's actually been in the states for one month now...see why I bawled??? Pray that she makes it back to Thailand in the midst of unsettling times for their country. The Prime Minister has been ousted and it's a messy situation.

AM I TRYING TO IMPROVE MY LIFE OR SEEK TO LET MY GOD TRANSFORM ME?
One word so lingers with me from our chronological readings this week. Transformed. Don't be conformed to this world, be transformed in this world. Rom. 12:2 I have been thinking a lot about taking a look at what God has done for me and becoming so gripped with what has already happened. In His favor, "I heard you, I helped you." 2 Cor. 6:1. There's no way in life I could be where I am today except to say that God did it---He has so helped me to wake up and be alive in Him. And true repentance brings about a changed life. 2 Cor 7:10 I may not understand what is happening this moment but life isn't about finding answers either. It's about living not working. And I am known even when regarded as unknown. 2 Cor 6:9.

IS IT ALL RIGHT TO BE HARD PRESSED? God says it's okay. I may be hard pressed sometimes on every side but not crushed. 2 Cor 4:8 I so want to be aware of the schemes of the enemy. 2 Cor 2:11. So FIX OUR EYES ON UNSEEN 2 Cor 4:18.

WHAT COMPELS ME TO MOVE INTO THE LIVES OF OTHERS?
For it is the Love of our beautiful Christ that compels us. Wonder if I am living compelled by the love of my God today or being ruled by other things? Where’s my joy? Whenever I am not enjoying my husband, my children, my life---that's a red flag. “In all my troubles, Joy knows no bounds.” 2 Cor 7:4.

IS MY REPENTANCE TOO SHALLOW?
It’s the kindness of our God that leads us to repent. Romans 2:4. And if our lives don’t change, if there’s not a little more rest, a little more peace, a little more solidness…well, I wonder if the repentance was really deep. Wonder if my repentance was self-serving? Sometimes our motives come from economic places in our hearts to make a better life. Not worth a lot. Let God do His Work in me. Because if we try to repent on our own, we usually end up resorting to self improvement or even doing our own penance. We end up saying—tell me everything I need to “do” to follow God and I’ll go do it. We want “lists” to check off. But when God shows up in His Kindness, there’s hope for our sin. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship? Romans 8:35.

IS MY GOAL TO BE AN OVERCOMER OR TO BE OVERCOME?
In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. So what does that mean? Sometimes, we make our goal to be overcomers. What about making our goal to find God and please Him? It’s not about us overcoming the world—HE has already done that. But it is about us finding Him for I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Wonder why we keep trying to make Him love us? He already does just like we are.

DO I THINK ABOUT REJOICING IN SUFFERING? IS MY DESPERATION REALLY A GIFT?
Romans 5:3 - We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. I picture the Holy Spirit in heaven pouring down on us a pitcher of His Love. And it came through suffering. When I have HOPE, I receive that Love lavished on me and release His Power in me to love others. Sounds lofty but it’s not about us trying to figure out how to love people. It’s the Love of God that pours into us and out of us if we are empty of ourselves and our own ambition.

AM I DOING WHAT I DON’T WANT TO DO?
“Count yourself dead to sin and alive to God.” Romans 6:11. “If I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” Romans 7:20. Wretched man! This is my real battle---it’s not with people, it’s the battle of my old nature. Who will rescue me? Thanks be to God! He did. He is. He will. Romans 7:24-25. “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.” Romans 8:9

WHAT AM I BELIEVING ABOUT MY SITUATION---AGAINST ALL HOPE?
The powerful book of Romans was written by a very mature Paul centuries ago for me and for you this day. We learned from James last week in our readings that we need to "receive the Word" and not just listen but take it to heart just like Abraham who was 100 with a wife with a dead womb. Do things look dead in our own lives? Dead promises? Dead relationships? Dead marriages? Dead worship? May we follow in the footsteps of Abraham who was backed into a corner against all hope. May we believe the God Who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. Romans 4. Against all hope, may you find Him in your need this present moment.

7 comments:

Michelle V 12/08/2008  

Bev,

I'm praying for Brook! I'm so glad you got an extended visit! My struggle is with the old sin nature! I often go back to that passage in Romans when I'm struggling with that tendency to do what I don't want to do!

Blessings
Michelle

Nise' 12/08/2008  

I have been struck by wanting to be transformed by Him from the inside (heart, mind) out. Because "I" can transform my outside(self improvement) but it does nothing for my insides. Does that make sense?

annie's eyes 12/08/2008  

I've always so appreciated that God allowed Paul to include the Scripture about Paul, a mature Christian still struggling with his inner man on doing the very things he did not want and not doing the things he should. Even Paul, thank you Lord, fought at letting Christ rule. We are indeed transformed in Him, little by little, and how much more by the washing of His Word this year! It has been a privilege to be with you on this journey and see your beautiful heart for Him. Love you, Annette
Thanking Him for your time with Brooke and praying for her continued safety and provision as she goes back to Thailand.

Laura 12/08/2008  

Oh, Bev! Every single one of these questions spoke to me tonight. Especially the forgiveness and the last one. Do things look dead in my life? The truth is, some things do. Thank you for making me examine these things, friend.

Always love to read your thoughts.

Ang baylis 12/08/2008  

Looking back at the suffering I can rejoice! The desperation really WAS a gift! I wish I had trusted God with my life earlier. I am grateful that He made me better and not bitter! He is my Only Hope! I cannot thank you enough for encouraging me to read my Bible cover to cover this year! It has changed me more than I ever thought possible. I look forward to reading it again when I am done! I'll be praying for Brooke to get back to Thailand safe and sound!
Love you, Bev!
Angie xoxo

Karen 12/09/2008  

"In all my troubles, joy knows no bounds" and "rejoicing in sorrows." Those are words that I need to tattoo on my heart. I've been struggling with health issues lately that seem to be sucking the very life out of me. It's difficult to find joy and rejoicing over these things. (however, I am feeling more joyful since we finally received a diagnosis!) I am reminded that "in all things God works for the good of those who love Him" and surely there must be a purpose in this as well.

praying for you and your daughter this day.

love,
karen

Holly 12/10/2008  

Finding him, against all hope. Amen.

Oh friend, I miss you! I am praying for you! I love you!
Holly

PS Will you email to me your mailing address? I have a Christmas card for you.

Praying for Our Friend Joanne Psalm 131:3 Waiting on God. Hope Now. Hope Always.

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I've met some amazing women through blogging. I would love to hear from you. My personal e-mail is:
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I have another blog where I blog daily as a small group of us read through the New Testament this year. It's called A String of Pearls. We carry each other on mats (when we just can't walk anymore) to Jesus and sweet things like that.

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