Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dying To Self

How I hope this will one day describe me!  It sure doesn't yet.  (I'm sure most of you have read this but it's such a good reminder.)

When you are forgotten, or neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you don't sting and hurt with the insult or the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ.

When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take in all in patient, loving silence.

When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any impunctuality, or any annoyance; when you stand face-to- face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility-and endure it as Jesus endured.

When you are content with any food, any offering, any climate, any society, any raiment, any interruption by the will of God.

When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good works, or itch after commendations, when you can truly love to be unknown.
When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances.
When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart.

Are you dead yet? In these last days, the Spirit would bring us to the cross.
"That I may know Him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death."

Psalm 38:11

"My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague, and my nearest kin stand far off."

If you're starting to think that I'm saying this verse describes me right now, don't worry!  Not in the least!  But this verse did stand out to me when I was reading it in Psalm 38 just now and I keep thinking about it.

I would NOT want to be in that situation.  I can't imagine much worse at the moment.  Trials are in their very nature, hard, but generally I can say that I at least have my family if not friends around me to make it easier.  Their words often bring much comfort and encouragement and help make the trial easier to bear. 
But many people today are in the midst of this situation.  In particular I think of people in the Middle East who love the Lord and stand for Him and His Word and are therefore hated by friends and family alike!  What an extremely hard place to be!

But these people, our brothers and sisters, are not alone.  They have the strongest Defender, the most comforting Counselor, the greatest hope right by their side.  Actually INside of them.  God does not forget these friends.  Verse 15 goes on to say, "But for you, O LORD, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer."  And verses 21-22 say, "Do not forsake me, O LORD!  O my God, be not far from me!  Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation."

Not many of us face the trial I'm talking about here.  Right now, we don't face too much persecution.  The trials we face are more minimal but still real to us and painful and we can often still feel the way David does.  But I hope we can learn to rely on Him now in these lesser trials, because we never know when we will face severe persecution here in America.  It could be much sooner than we think.  But we have a loving, faithful God, who will never leave us.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

God's Elect

I love the following excerpt from Spurgeon's devotional because it is so clear and concise.  I remember my own days of wrestling with this truth, and I have heard of so many who say they are not believer's because they know they are not chosen.  May it encourage you!

C. H. Spurgeon

"Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God."—1 Thessalonians 1:4.

ANY persons want to know their election before they look to Christ, but they cannot learn it thus, it is only to be discovered by "looking unto Jesus." If you desire to ascertain your own election;—after the following manner, shall you assure your heart before God. Do you feel yourself to be a lost, guilty sinner? go straightway to the cross of Christ, and tell Jesus so, and tell Him that you have read in the Bible, "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out." Tell Him that He has said, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." Look to Jesus and believe on Him, and you shall make proof of your election directly, for so surely as thou believest, thou art elect. If you will give yourself wholly up to Christ and trust Him, then you are one of God's chosen ones; but if you stop and say, "I want to know first whether I am elect," you ask you know not what. Go to Jesus, be you never so guilty, just as you are. Leave all curious inquiry about election alone. Go straight to Christ and hide in His wounds, and you shall know your election. The assurance of the Holy Spirit shall be given to you, so that you shall be able to say, "I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to Him." Christ was at the everlasting council: He can tell you whether you were chosen or not; but you cannot find it out in any other way. Go and put your trust in Him, and His answer will be—"I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." There will be no doubt about His having chosen you, when you have chosen Him.
"Sons we are through God's election,
Who in Jesus Christ believe."

Friday, July 12, 2013

Why we're having a baby right away

I never thought my blog would completely die after getting married; if anything I thought it would thrive because I would have so much more to write about! Obviously, I was mistaken.  In reality I do have a lot to write about, just no time!  But I better get used to it because I will need to keep it updated once we move to Malawi.

Today I thought I would talk about...babies.  Most of you know I'm pregnant.  Yes.  Already.  It's kind of funny how many people act like it's scandalous to be pregnant right after your honeymoon, when I'm pretty sure that all couples...well let's just say that I'm pretty sure all honeymoons are very similar. 

With that said, I have experienced many reactions to the news:

"Don't you want to enjoy some time with your husband?"
"That was fast."
"Your life is really going to change!"

Most of the time I feel like I need some really good excuses to answer all these questions.  And believe me, I have them.

"Well, we wanted my mom to experience the joy of being around while I'm pregnant."
"Kwacha's not getting younger."  (And truthfully, neither am I.)
"It would be nice to have my first baby in America."

And while all of those statements are true, the main thing is, we are just ready to have kids now.  We want them!  We both love kids and are excited to raise our own!  We are just so thankful that God was gracious to allow me to get pregnant so fast.  To be honest, before we got married I wasn't so sure I would want kids so soon, but as soon as we got married, I realized that I might actually be disappointed if I WASN'T pregnant.  Crazy as that might sound. 

Thankfully I haven't felt sick and so Kwacha and I have a full 9 months to enjoy life as just the two of us.  I think it's kind of funny actually that people bring up the whole "enjoy your husband" thing.  If I know anything of Kwacha's character, I know he's going to make an awesome dad, and I truly believe that will lead me to enjoy him even more! 

Maybe life will be challenging, but isn't the Christian life always challenging in one way or another?  Are we ever supposed to be truly comfortable here on earth? 

My husband likes to point out that in the Bible people got married and had kids.  Now I know Mary had to be a virigin, and Jesus didn't mike life hard since, you know, He never sinned.  But having Him right away sure didn't mess up her and Joseph's marriage.  What else does the Bible say?  That "children are a blessing from the Lord."  Also, nothing happens outside of God's will.  We could have tried and tried and not gotten pregnant.  Obviously, God planned to form a baby inside me now.  (Which is super mind blowing by the way.  It already has fingerprints!)

All that to say, we'er super excited to have kids.  Right away.  As long as it fits in with God's will, we're very excited to welcome a baby in January.  Just in case anyone was wondering. 


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