Psalm 42:1
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Experiencing Simple Joys, experience a simplified life.

Do you ever stop and “smell the roses” literally? I just love going to the Fresh Market or someplace where there are lots of fresh flowers and absorbing all their splendor of color, shape, and smell. They are complex yet simple. Complex in the making perhaps, but simple to stop and enjoy them. You could say the same for sunsets; leaves as they change color and fall away in the wind. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night-to-night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their measuring line goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun.

Excerpt taken from John Calvin’s Heart Aflame on Ps 19:1-4.When a man, from beholding and contemplating the heavens, has been brought to acknowledge God, he will learn also to reflect upon and to admire his wisdom and power as displayed on the face of the earth, not only in general, but even in the minutest of plants.

As we enjoy the earth and the vast beauty it contains, we need to acknowledge God even more so in our hearts. It’s a form of worship that took on a whole new element for me when I began to find contentment from things that money can’t always buy.What artwork is free these days? As you drive around, notice the leaves, the breezes, how trees stand, how they grow. Have you ever noticed the flowers on the interstate or at rest areas? Everything that God created is “good”. Gen 1:25b.It’s not that I never enjoyed God’s handiwork before, but that’s as far as it went. Take it deeper, reflect on God’s glory and acknowledge Him as the Architect.

Once we acknowledge Him, our minds must necessarily be ravished with wonder at His infinite goodness, wisdom, and power. After this latest epiphany, I noticed a change in my heart, a yearning to get my mind uncluttered so I could reflect more on God. This is what I call simplifying my life so I can enjoy God’s Simple Joys of His handiwork. We have too much stuff that gets in the way of worship, then we have to maintain it and whatever energy we have left, then we may go outside and look at the moon and stars. By the way, it’s awesome to watch a moon get fuller each night until it becomes full. I just don’t understand evolutionists. So getting back to my thought, I started getting rid of extra things in the house, in my life to make way for time and energy to spend enjoying God mentally and physically. Walking and hiking are wonderful ways of exercise for stewardship of the body, but what about it being worshipful as well? Oh my, the countless ways just walking and hiking outside has affected me spiritually. Next time you’re out breathing in fresh wonderful air, take your Bible and read Psalms 104. It’s exhilarating to read Scripture outside in the quiet creation.

Our family went camping for Justus’ birthday and in the morning we all sat around the fire to keep warm and trying to make coffee in the middle of the woods. It was early and crisp and cool, and the men all took turns reading a passage of Scripture. The fire was cracking and it was still and peaceful. It made sense, Jesus went up in the mountain to pray and have quiet solitude, so why shouldn’t we? It is worship for the soul totally uncluttered, totally energetic towards the things of God.

Psalms 143:8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

Have I stirred up some thoughts in your mind? I sure hope so, mine are always stirred up when I stop and smell the roses literally.This idea of simplifying my life is a process; there are always things to change as the Lord sees fit to show me. It’s a mindset, a heartset to unclutter my life and mind and take notice of things I generally took for granted.
It’s not just “knowing” God made the earth, but “living” it out and teaching our children to observe and take joy in God’s handiwork. At this time of year, look at the pumpkins, the mums, all the fall d├ęcor that grows in nature. It’s beautiful, how sharp the colors contrast with the leaves changing and falling. God had a plan and an order to His creation. We are to enjoy it by glorifying Him in it. I haven’t mentioned everything wonderful in the world to observe like the animals, mountain lofty views, waterfalls, landscapes, snow, rain, storms, cornstalks, the list could on forever, but I wanted to give you a glimpse, a taste, for you to discover your own joys in living out a simplified life. A wonderful date is to watch a sunset together and read Scripture. There are simple low cost ways of enjoying time together with our Lord. Only by His Grace, Jen

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Something 2 Share

Do you ever have one those striking times "when it clicks in your mind" when something is made real to you? Well, I had one yesterday in church and it has rolled around in my head that I woke up this morning with it on my breath. It's quite exciting to me and I wanted to share with you all.

Take Time to Be Holy

2 Peter 1:5-11
2Pe 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,
2Pe 1:6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,
2Pe 1:7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
2Pe 1:8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2Pe 1:9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
2Pe 1:10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.
2Pe 1:11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

These qualities that the verses mention keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful. Specifically knowledge of the Lord struck a cord with me. The more I read, the more I realize how much I don't know and the more I want to know, to dig, to understand, to have more striking moments in my mind. By making the effort to be diligent in our study of Him and making our calling sure, we will never become blind to what Christ did for us. In fact, we are more humbled, more thankful, and more frustrated at our own sin. We must take the time to become Holy. This has been a revelation in my life, a molding, a process, by this, I mean, the time I spend in secret with God. It has changed the more I understand and see and taste! It's hard to get up early for me, but I woke up this morning thinking "Take the time to be Holy" and I rolled out and had a hour to myself. I've been doing this for a few days now. Before, I had some time in the morning to read and pray, but for me there is something still about being up in the quiet of the morning. (with my coffee) =)) All the while this has been going in my mind and I came across this quote on the bulletin:
The one true victory over inward sin is a trusted Christ, in all the Divine simplicity of those words...However, the rest of faith is anything buy a way to contrive for us a safe "slackness" in the Christian course. Rather, the promise of it is the greatest possible stimulus to diligence. For it is an assurance that real diligence, applied at the right point, is immensely worth the while.
What is the highest and at the same time the simplest purpose of the means of grace-secret prayer, self-scrutiny before God, the Holy Scriptures, the sacred Supper of the Lord, (the Lord's Day), the public worship, family devotion? Mainly a twofold purpose, two aims converging into one; a growing knowledge of our need, and a deepening and ever-developing sight of our Lord Jesus Christ as "all our salvation and all our desire," so that we both love His will and rely upon His power. If we neglect "all diligence" in the spiritual life, then, let us be sure of it, we shall decline in the deep desire to be conformed to His image and follow His steps. Further, we shall decline in the conscious activity and persistence of the faith which rests in Him for peace and power. Handley C. G. Moule

When I read this, it just summed it all up for me. The clicking was going off in my head and I was exhilarated. It made me yearn for the next morning when I could get up and spend time in secret with my God. It's becoming easier to get out of bed no matter what time I went to bed. One more thing to chew on:

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God's children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

This familiar song became real to me in light of what I've been thinking and reading. The Lord in his Grace has given me an understanding, has turned the light on in a dark place. Can you feel my joy, do you follow my thoughts? Perhaps you know exactly what I'm talking about and can be encouraged. Thanks for reading and feel free to share your thoughts with me too.

Joyfully Jen