January 2008


We have some good friends who are, rather youthful, parents to ten. Somehow, (incredibly, it seems to me,) Jenny finds time to write inspirational insights that she gleans from being a mother, wife and neighbor. I found the following one to be especially relevant and am using it with her permission. JJB

 

 Joy FULL

The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and JOY in the Holy
Spirit. Yet so many mothers live on the verge of despair. They are
being robbed of the joy that is theirs in Jesus, a joy that should be
spilling over unto their husbands and children. I’ve noticed a
few “joy-suckers” that are like leeches that drain mothers of life-
giving joy:

1. Wounds from the past

We must let our Jehovah-rapha be the God who heals us. Denying past
wounds won’t work. Our memories don’t easily hit “delete” from the
hard drive of our minds. But there is a balm in Gilead, the Lord
Jesus Christ, and He can expose the lies we have believed and give us
the power to be healed, to forgive, and to redeem those wounds into
making us more compassionate people instead of bitter. Satan would
love to exploit anything he can from the past, be it our failures or
the failures of others, into casting a shadow on our present, but we
can turn the tables on him by letting Jesus Christ redeem our past
and using it to help others in the present.

2. Fear of the future

Most of the fear and despair mothers experience is a result of
the “what if” game. We don’t enjoy our children in the process and
moment they are in because we have all sorts of hypothetical futures
playing out for them in our mind when we don’t see instant change in
their character flaws. Someone said that “soul work is slow work”
and we must remember how gently the Savior wooed us and led us to
Himself. We can’t expect our children to have an overnight
transformation. We also tend to leave Jesus out of the future when
we imagine it. He is more than able to deal with any situations that
may come up down the road, so why rob the present of joy by fretting
about the future which we can’t control anyway?

3. Not taking time to be in His presence

Psalm 16:11 says that in His presence is the fullness of joy. We
need to deliberately carve out time to be in the presence of the
Lord. (He is always with us of course, but we need to remind
ourselves of this by focusing only on Him as often as we can!)
Reading His Word, communing with Him through prayer, listening to His
voice, worshipping and praising our Creator and Lord. There is no
substitute for this. No short cuts. We can’t have a relationship
with Someone we never spend time with. We only gain a right
perspective on what can seem like the chaos going on around us after
we have been with our God who is peace. It is more important than
cleaning the house, schoolwork, telephone and internet time, or any
other thing we do. The Lord also encourages us to let the little
children come to Him, and if there is a baby or toddler (or the whole
crew) along with us when we pray and worship I’m sure it delights
Him. While I love “one on one” time with Jesus, I also enjoy the
times when we just push “pause” on the day and spend time as a family
praying, singing, reading the Word, and just reminding one another of
His presence in our home and with each one of us.

We can’t let our joy be dependent on anybody else’s behavior. If it
is then we have an idol in our lives and we need to smash it. Our
joy comes from knowing Who our God is and who we are in Him. We have
to believe Him, believe His Word! He redeems our past and gives us a
bright and glorious future.

1 Peter 1:-8-9 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even
though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with
an inexpressible and glorious JOY, for you are receiving the goal of
your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Father, You have made us to be joyful mothers of Your children. The
news of the coming of Your Son Jesus Christ was great joy for all the
people, and His words spoken brought His joy to us and has made our
joy full. No one can take away our joy, forgive us for setting up
idols in our hearts that we have let rob us of joy. We consider it
all joy when we face trials of many kinds, and rejoice like Jesus for
the joy set before us. Restore to us the joy of our salvation,
anoint us with the oil of joy and may it overflow by the power of the
Holy Spirit to everyone around us. Heal us of the past and cast out
fear of the future with Your perfect love. We ask this in Your Son’s
name so that our joy will be complete. Amen!

Love, Jenny (who was tested on these very words the entire time I
was trying to write, as I had countless interruptions from the
children who were not interested in these words on paper about the
topic of joy but wanted to see the reality of joy on my face and in
my tone of voice!!!)

 

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A song by Five Iron Frenzy

Every New Day


When I was young, the smallest trick of light,
Could catch my eye,
Then life was new and every new day,
I thought that I could fly.
I believed in what I hoped for,
And I hoped in things unseen,
I had wings and dreams could soar,
I just don’t feel like flying anymore.
When the stars threw down their spears,
Watered Heaven with their tears,
Before words were spoken,
Before eternity.

Dear Father, I need you,
Your strength my heart to mend.
I want to fly higher,
Every new day again.

When I was small, the furthest I could reach,
Was not so high,
Then I thought the world was so much smaller,
Feeling I could fly.
Through distant deeps and skies,
Behind infinity,
Below the face of Heaven,
He stoops to create me.

Dear Father, I need you,
Your strength my heart to mend.
I want to fly higher,
Every new day again.

Man versus himself.
Man versus machine.
Man versus the world.
Mankind versus me.
The struggles go on,
The wisdom I lack,
The burdens keep piling
Up on my back.
So hard to breathe,
To take the next step.
The mountain is high,
I wait in the depths.
Yearning for grace,
And hoping for peace.
Dear God…
Increase.
Healing hands of God have mercy on our unclean souls once again.
Jesus Christ, light of the world burning bright within our hearts forever.
Freedom means love without condition,
Without a beginning or an end.
Here’s my heart, let it be forever Your’s,
Only You can make every new day seem so new.

 (I thought that this prayer was good, even if one happens to be a 66 year old retired person.)

A traditional student’s prayer by Thomas Aquinas:

Come, Holy Spirit, Divine Creator,
true source of light and fountain of wisdom!
Pour forth your brilliance upon my dense intellect,
dissipate the darkness which covers me,
that of sin and of ignorance.
Grant me a penetrating mind to understand,
a retentive memory,
method and ease in learning,
the lucidity to comprehend,
and abundant grace in expressing myself.
Guide the beginning of my work,
direct its progress,
and bring it to successful completion.
This I ask through Jesus Christ,
true God and true man,
living and reigning with You
and the Father, forever and ever.

Amen.

 

 

We had another one of those Iowa Winter Mornings this morning; temp. at minus 11, wind chill at minus twenty eight. It’s the kind of winter that makes some older people stop in the post office lobby and talk about it. Like the fellow yesterday.

 

My neighbor yesterday was recalling the winter on thirty-six. (more…)

Think you have to be perfect for God to use you? Watch This!


There is always a market for ideologies that justify breaking things, and the idea that outrage is the expression of righteous indignation is powerful fuel for destruction. William (Beau) Weston

 

The other day I took one of those political surveys that populate the internet these days. Doing so, I learned something about myself that surprised me. According to the survey; my political views are Centrist. I always considered myself strongly conservative. (more…)