Sunday, November 30, 2008

By His Grace

I believe a new chapter of my life is opening up. The title of my whole blog, "Live Worthy of the Gospel", comes from Philippians 1:27. Most of you who know me know that that has been my life verse since summer of 04. I sign every email with it. The truth of it is still amazing but I'm seeing it in a whole new light now. Before this summer I lived out that verse by doing missions. Now, I'm daily faced with the challenge of living worthy of the gospel in the ways I conduct myself such as in humility, patience, forgiveness, gentleness, love, etc. I would venture to say that I have realized that walking daily in those Christ-like qualities is harder for me than doing missions. So, now the phrase that seems to be coming to mind is, "By His Grace...". I will be honest...I have never been tempted more in my life to walk in anger and bitterness and pride and laziness and selfishness as I have in the last four months. I have given in many times to those sins and I have often given over my joy to Satan without much of a fight. I also have not been so pummeled by Satan's many lies before as I have in the past four months. He is the father of Lies and he is good at what he does. BUT...By HIS GRACE, we are more than conquerors! He has given me the ultimate victory over sin and death and Satan's lies. I spoke with a good friend of mine yesterday and realized we were both in the same boat spiritually. Married, single, it doesn't matter...when we don't choose the Lord we grow cold. Sin creeps in and brings death. But By HIS GRACE He never lets go of us. My friend said to me, "He chose me when I didn't want Him so I need to choose Him." That is so good to remember. Well, we sung a hymn this morning in church that I think applies perfectly to the situation. Here are the lyrics:

O great God of highest heaven, occupy my lowly heart;
Own it all and reign supreme, conquer every rebel power.
Let no vice or sin remain that resists Your holy war.
You have loved and purchased me-make me Yours forevermore.

I was blinded by my sin, had no ears to hear Your voice;
Did not know Your love within, had no taste for heaven's joy.
Then Your Spirit gave me life, opened up Your word to me;
Through the gospel of Your Son gave me ENDLESS HOPE AND PEACE.


Great lyrics huh? All I know is that BY HIS GRACE, and dependent on His grace alone, I will live a life worthy of the gospel of Christ. Once again (and my heart has been cold) my heart only desires that He be known, worshiped, and glorified. Praise God that He is a gracious and loving Father that displays incredible patience with us as sinful, adopted children. I pray I will rightly reflect the image of my Father in the way I display patience and love and forgiveness towards others.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Humility Homework....100%!

So, last week I decided that I would pick Jason up from school and surprise him by taking him to the driving range. He loves golf and recently bought some great clubs at Golf Galaxy for a great deal. I loaded those in the car and headed to Southern to pick him up. Instead of going home I took him to the driving range and bought the biggest bucket of golf balls available. We went out and found a spot and he started hitting. He said, "Do you want to try?" I said, "Absolutely not!" And then I remembered what C.J. said about playing lots of golf to cultivate humility and weaken pride and I kind of wanted to swing a club and whack a golf ball anyway. I took him up on 'trying' to hit a golf ball. First swing and a....MISS! Pride was shot out of the sky and humility was beginning to set in. Second swing and a...HIT! I couldn't believe it! Well, that was followed by about 20 consecutive swings and misses! I finally grabbed a couple of balls and another club and went to the spot next to Jason to go at my own pace while he steadily whacked the balls clear across the range. Needless to say, I killed two birds with one stone in cultivating humility and weakening pride (see post on humility): I played 'lots' of golf and I laughed, at myself, a whole lot!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 actually is a season!

Just for the friend Kristin Booth took these pictures...I had the privilege of driving around with her as she took these amazing photos! Isn't God a beautiful and creative God?

Monday, November 10, 2008


My heart is so full right now but I'm going to attempt a short, without further ado:

13 Ways to cultivate humility and weaken pride (Humility by C.J. Mahaney):

1. Begin your day by acknowledging your dependence upon God and your need for God.
2. Begin your day expressing gratefulness to God.
3. Practice the Spiritual Disciplines (He mentions: prayer, bible study, and worship)
4. Seize your commute time to memorize and meditate on scripture (God knows I have a pride issue which is why he gave me a job at a hospital 20 minutes from my apt.!!! He is so good!!!)
5. Cast your cares upon Him!
6. Reflect on the wonder of the cross of Christ.
7. End your day by reviewing your day and carefully assigning all glory to God for the grace you experienced that day.
8. Receive the gift of sleep from God and acknowledge His purpose for sleep (that we are finite creatures and will collapse if we attempt to stay awake too long!!! We are dependent on much more on Him who sustains us while we sleep!!!)
9. Study the attributes of God
10. Study the doctrines of grace
11. Study the doctrine of sin
12. Play golf (seriously...his rationale is that he stinks at golf so it is humbling to play it!!! I hear ya C.J.!!)
13. Laugh often, and laugh often at yourself!

These are from chapters 5-7 in C.J. Mahaney's book on Humility. Here are a few other quotes from guys C.J. quotes in his book:

"Fill your affections with the cross of Christ that there may be no room for sin."
-John Owen-

"How can anyone be arrogant when he stands beside the cross?"
-Carl Henry-

"Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?"
-Martyn Lloyd Jones-
(Quote from his book "Spiritual Depression")

Last night Nick Bateman gave the devo at Sunday night church. He cried (I would say wept but I think he was holding back a little for the purpose of not having snot bubbles during the rest of his sermon!!) over what Christ has done for us. He quoted most of "Before the Throne of God Above" through tears. He went on to admonish us to consider, "Who or what steals your mind's attention and your heart's affections?" So, may we wake up and lie down with our mind's attention on the Savior and our heart's affections set on Christ and our perfect and sure hope that we have in Him!!!

How's that for a short blog? Fall pictures coming soon!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"Live Worthy of the Gospel" REDEFINED

Identity Crisis:
1. a period or episode of psychological distress, often occurring in adolescence but sometimes in adulthood, when a person seeks a clearer sense of self and an acceptable role in society.
2. confusion as to goals and priorities: The company is undergoing an identity crisis.

This could be me the last couple of months. Lets have a rundown.
Jan 08-moving home to be with my parents
"Feb-March 08-teaching at CPCP and in Mexico on a short term mission trip
March-April 08-visiting friends and family
End of April/beginning of May 08-in Mexico on a short term trip
May 08-dated and got engaged
June 08- camp counselor in Ecuador
July 08- camp counselor in Canada
August 08- married and living in Louisville as a seminary wife on the hunt for a nursing job and a church
Sept. 08-joined 3rd Avenue Baptist Church (praise the Lord, Hallelujah and AMEN!!)

Needless to say I have asked myself in the last 3 months: "Who am I?"

I won't lie. I have struggled with significance and purpose. I went from single female missionary to jobless seminary wife. I had way too much time on my hands to dwell on sin and no church to serve in. I could clean the apartment so that Jason can have a calm, nonchaotic (I guess that would be the meaning of calm) refuge to come home to but that takes all of an hour or so. The apartment was clean, Jason's needs were met, and still I had so much time on my hands I didn't know what to do with myself. I was battling sin more than ever in my life it seemed like and I felt like I was losing most battles. What I was doing for the Lord felt insignificant. My definition of a life worthy of the gospel was missions. Going to the hard places and willing to be martyred for the sake of the gospel. That certainly is a life lived worthy of the gospel. No doubt about that. Paul was in prison for the gospel when he wrote Ephesians. But it's not limited to that. The second time we visited 3rd Ave God brought me a friend named Mary. God has used her big time every time we meet to help me along. I was telling her of my struggle and she said, "You know...there is a similar verse (similar to Phil 1:27) in Ephesians that stuck out to me the other day. Paul was saying that he was urging the Ephesians to walk in a manner worthy of their calling and it didn't go on to say what I thought it would say like 'lay down your lives for the gospel, etc'. It said to walk in humility and patience, etc." That hit me square between the eyes. Humility. Good grief. I need a loading dose of humility and then an IV of humility fluid hooked up to me on continuous flow. I have so much pride I can't stand it! So, missionaries are indeed people who live worthy of the gospel IF their lives are also characterized by what SCRIPTURE says is a life lived worthy of the gospel in Ephesians 4. So, my identity crisis I believe has come to an end. I am first and foremost a child of God set apart for His purposes and His purpose for me right now is to be a Godly wife and a witness to the gospel everywhere I go. THAT is significant. So, whether missionary or mom (no I'm not pregnant...yet!), a life worthy of the gospel is defined by humility, gentleness, or to put it plainly: Christlikeness. For me, that is harder than going to the ends of the earth and dying for the gospel. I would even venture to say that I need more grace to live here and walk in humility and go evangelize than I would to live on the mission field, although I need his grace anywhere I am. So, I mapped out Ephesians 4 in a list of do's and don'ts (what's worthy and what's not):

*tolerate eachother in love
*be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace
*speak the truth in love
*lay aside old self
*be renewed in the spirit of your mind
*put on the new self (which is created in the likeness of God: righteousness, holiness, and truth!!!)
*lay aside falsehood
*speak truth to your neighbor (because we are members of one another!!!)
*be angry and not sin
*do good labor that you may share with others in need
*speak words of edification
*be KIND, TENDERHEARTED, FORGIVING (as Christ forgave you...ALL your sin)

*walk as the Gentiles walked
-futility of mind
-darkened in understanding
-excluded from the life of God because of ignorance and hard hearts
-given over to sensuality and every impure act
-greedy for impure deeds
*let the sun go down on your anger
*give satan a foothold
*let unwholesome talk come out of your mouth
*grieve the Holy Spirit.

Then, Ephesians chapter 5 starts with, "Therefore be IMITATORS of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma."

I wrote a blog earlier about how our church search came to an end at 3rd Avenue Baptist Church (3abc) and how we need the local church. It doesn't surprise me that after Ephesians four begins with an urge to live lives worthy of the gospel that the middle part of the chapter talks about how Christ appointed by his grace apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers FOR THE EQUIPPING OF THE SAINTS FOR THE WORK OF SERVICE, TO THE BUILDING UP OF THE BODY OF CHRIST. Verses 15-16 say:

"but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together BY WHAT EVERY JOINT SUPPLIES, according to the proper working of each individual part, CAUSES THE GROWTH OF THE BODY FOR THE BUILDING UP OF ITSELF IN LOVE."

I have truly experienced this through the local church, the body of Christ. God used Mary to speak truth in love into my life. God used Dan Diffey to speak truth in love into my life as he called the church to be prepared for Christ's return by living a holy life, evangelizing, and bringing about the kingdom in our lives and others. God has used Kurt, our pastor, every Sunday as he preached through Genesis to show me the foolishness of walking in sin, God's judgment on sin, and God's mercy and blessing on His children. God has used the church, His body, to build me up in love. So, let us live worthy of the gospel and walk out this verse:

Therefore, laying aside all falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, FOR WE ARE MEMBERS OF ONE ANOTHER!
Ephesians 4:25

Whoever you are and whatever you are doing, the calling on your life is to walk in humility, gentleness, be like Christ. In all simplicity, that is a life worthy of the gospel.

So...I'm off to read Mahaney's book titled, "Humility." Adios!!