Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Sum of a Million Little Things

"Holiness is the sum of a million little things — the avoidance of little evils and little foibles, the setting aside of little bits of worldliness and little acts of compromise, the putting to death of little inconsistencies and little indiscretions, the attention to little duties and little dealings, the hard work of little self-denials and little self-restraints, the cultivation of little benevolences and little forbearances. Are you trustworthy? Are you kind? Are you patient? Are you joyful? Do you love? These qualities, worked out in all the little things of life, determine whether you are blight or blessing to everyone around you, whether you are an ugly spiritual eyesore or growing up into a good-looking Christian." - Kevin DeYoung

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Tale of Two Cities

While I was taking my insurance class last week, I had lots of time to read during lunch and breaks. So I finished two and a half books, one of which was Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities". I read it during high school and loved it, but it had been so long that I wanted to reread it, and I am so glad I did. Though I have a really hard time picking a favorite anything, this is, without questions, my favorite book.

Set in the time before and during the French Revolution, it follows the lives of the Manette family and their close friends. It is a beautiful, beautiful story, a story that thrills and saddens, that excites and encourages. It leaves its readers with a picture of the best and worst of humanity. And the best, without giving away the endings, are those who willingly sacrifice themselves for the good of others. It is a story that, both times I have read it, leaves my heart yearning for this kind of greatness. And that's when I am reminded of what C.S. Lewis wrote about in "Mere Christianity":
Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise. The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning, can really satisfy...There was something we grasped at, in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in the reality...something has evaded us. 
 When I finished "A Tale of Two Cities", there was something that evaded me that I knew was the most perfect and right and good thing in the world. And that is why it is my favorite story, because causes me to yearn deeply for the one story that I love even more, the story of the True Reality, who does satisfy just like He promises, the Lord Jesus.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy

This will be a quiet week on the blog, as I'm taking a seven day class to prepare for my insurance licensing exam next week. Exciting but exhausting stuff. Essentially my life has been consumed by a 200 page textbook and all of the terms, questions and answers echoing through my head. Ever wondered what indemnity is? Or the five ways to deal with risk? Or what a complete insurance contract consists of? Or about how you become eligible for IRA funds at age 59 1/2, for a 30-day free look period at age 60 and Medicare at age 65? Yeah...me neither. Until now.

Anyway, I'll be back at a later time when there is room in my brain for anything other than insurance.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Weekend Links 7/21

Some Proven Weapons in the Fight for Holiness - From Desiring God. "It is a beautiful thing to be the instrument of God’s word-wielding power to kill sin."

Why Disabilities? - "Let’s grieve over humanity in its vicious depths, even in our own prejudices. Let’s continue to pray for God’s deliverance of our society from its terrible crimes against these little ones. And let’s encourage, appreciate, and imitate those who show us humanity in its heights of selfless love."

A Starved Soul - "The table is already set. All we have to do is partake of its goodness. How foolish to scrounge as a beggar at the door of the banquet hall that we have been invited into! Oh how we grieve  the bread of life when we allow our souls to feast on junk."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Worship: The Goal of the Church

I love this quote from John Piper in his book "Let the Nations Be Glad". 

"Missions is not the ultimate goal of the Church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever." 

If worship is the ultimate goal of the church, it ought also to be the greatest goal of my life. Does the way I live and love and work lead display worship and cause others to glory in Christ? Not as I would like. Praying always for more...

Monday, July 16, 2012

More Sure

16 For we did not follow zcleverly devised amyths when we made known to you bthe power and ccoming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but dwe were eyewitnesses of his majesty.17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, e“This is my beloved Son,9 with whom I am well pleased,”18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on fthe holy mountain. 19 And gwe have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention has to a lamp shining in a dark place, until ithe day jdawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. - 2 Peter 1:16-19
Sometimes I'm tempted to think that things might be easier if I lived when Jesus walked on the earth, when I could see Him and talk with Him. I think that it would be easier to trust Him if He was here. But this is not the truth. Peter begins in this passage by talking about how he had seen and walked with the Lord Jesus. He was an eyewitness of that to which he testified.

But rather than arguing that this is the best basis for knowing the truth about Christ, he continues: "we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed." Did you catch that? Peter's point is that, sure, he had seen and walked with Jesus, but what is found in Scripture is more confirmed than his eyewitness testimony! The foundation of Scripture and the Spirit that our faith is built upon is more fully confirmed, more sure than it would be if we merely lived when Jesus did.

Praise God for that. The foundation that He has provided for us is more certain anything that we could imagine. That is good news, indeed.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Five Things

It has been a long, busy, wonderful week. Hence, the lack of posting. But here are 5 things that I'm stoked about right now:

1. A baby falling asleep in my arms. The sweetest thing in the world.

2. I'm getting my insurance license!!! So exciting! Plus I get to spend an extra week with my family while I take my class to prepare for my exam.

3. My brother is juggling at the fair starting today! And this past week, he juggled at my family's church's VBS. The theme was "Once Upon a Time", and so he had to dress up like a jester, tights and all. So stinkin' proud of that kid.

4. Turkey burgers with garlic herb cheese and guacamole. Try it. You'll never go back to regular burgers. Plus, they taste even better when enjoyed with lovely friends.

5. This beautiful quote from David Powlison: "We are meant to long supremely for the Lord himself, for the Giver, not his gifts. The absence of blessings - rejection, vanity, reviling, illness, poverty - often is the crucible in which we learn to love God for who he is. In our idolatry we make gifts out to be supreme goods, and make the Giver into the errand boy of our desires."

On Seasons

I love summer. Shorts, bare feet, ice cream, warm sun, swimming, picnics, warm evenings, beautiful blue skies...it's wonderful. And we are right in the middle of it, which makes it even better. But as much as I love summer, I'm so looking forward to fall. In fall, many dear friends return to San Diego for school. There are crisp mornings that make you want to curl up in a blanket, beautiful leaves (even here in East County, surprisingly enough), Thanksgiving, a time of refocusing and so much more. But then I love winter and spring just as much and am equally excited to look ahead to when I will enjoy them again.

As I sit here enjoying what looks like is going to turn into a summer thunderstorm, I'm excited for what is to come. I'm excited that things do not remain the same. For though there are beautiful blessings that are found in each season, there are also many things that I don't enjoy.  I love the reminder that though the season of life I am experiencing now is not always easy or fun, it will not be here forever - change is coming, often sooner than I anticipate.

I'm also reminded that since this season, both physical and personal, won't last forever, I need to be intentionally looking for and taking advantage of the blessings that are found in this season. They are good, and they will not always be here. 

So I love summer. And I'm not ready for it to be over quite yet. There are many things still to be enjoyed. And I know that the Lord is using the place where He has me right now or I would not be here. There are many blessings yet to be discovered and pursued. It is good and right. And it won't always be here. The more I realize that, the more I will begin to see the beauty of where the Lord has placed me. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Weekend Links 7/7

10 Tips on Solving Mysterious Bible Passages from Sherlock Holmes - This is strangely helpful and really enjoyable to read.

Teach Children that the Bible Isn't About Them - Excellent article from Desiring God. "When we drill a Bible story down into a moral lesson, we make it all about us. But the Bible isn’t mainly about us, and what we are supposed to be doing — it’s about God, and what he has done! When we tie up the story in a nice neat, little package, and answer all the questions, we leave no room for mystery. Or discovery. We leave no room for the child. No room for God."

Gospel Reflections - Oh, how my heart resonates with this. "I'm learning that the more I see of the gospel, the more I see how little I see it. For every inch gained in gospel understanding, I gain a foot in seeing how little I grasp it. I peer over the ledge of grace and see a new hundred foot drop, which enables me to see also that the cliff extends another mile beyond that."

10 Things to Remember when Your Child is Disobedient - Clearly I don't have any kids yet. But I found this so helpful to remember my priorities with my preschoolers at work.

Saturated with Christ - This is so beautiful. "The point is clear: The Old Testament is utterly saturated with Jesus Christ. He is the purpose behind the sacrifices and feasts and laws and all the rest."

Friday, July 6, 2012

David McIntyre on Sanctification

So encouraging. 

"While we abide in Christ, we ought not to allow ourselves to be discouraged by the apparent slowness of our advancement in grace. In nature, growth proceeds with varying speed. Sibbes compares the progressive sanctification of believers to the increase in herbs and trees, which 'grow at the root in winter, in the leaf in summer, and in the seed in autumn.' The first of these forms of increase seems very slow; the second is more rapid; the third rushes on to full maturity. In a few days of early autumn a field of grain will seem to ripen more than in weeks of midsummer."
- David McIntyre, The Hidden Life of Prayer

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The God Who Never Lies

Paul, a servant1 of God and aan apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and btheir knowledge of the truth, cwhich accords with godliness, din hope of eternal life, which God, ewho never lies, fpromised gbefore the ages began2 and hat the proper time manifested in his word ithrough the preaching jwith which I have been entrusted kby the command of God our Savior;
To Titus, lmy true child in ma common faith:
nGrace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. - Titus 1:1-4
The Bible study that I'm apart of just started going through Titus, and this was the section that we studied last night. I am so excited to spend time in this book if just the first four verses are such a blessing.

Paul is writing the for the purpose of the faith of God's people, that they may grow in their knowledge of truth. And as they grow in their knowledge of truth they will begin to know more and more the God who never lies, whose promises are sure and whose plans always come to fruition. Nearly all of the sin that is an issue in my life is a result of the fact that I don't believe the Word of God enough. I don't trust His promises or His good purposes enough. But here Paul encourages me that the more I grow in the knowledge of the truth and in my faith, I will grow in my belief in and love for this God who never lies. And the more that I begin to know this faithful God, the more I will live a life that is marked by godliness and a life that is marked by and lived in the sure hope of eternal life. 

I love that. It's easy to get discouraged that I don't see enough growth, but I was so encouraged in studying this by the goodness of the God that I serve and reminded of the importance of the little things, like spending time in the Word and hearing the Word faithfully preached. Because as I do those things, I will grow in my knowledge of this God who never lies, which will lead to a changed life and heart, that live for His purposes and not my own. The Lord's work is not done, and He will not stop until He has completed what He began. For He is indeed the God who never lies, and that is a sweet, sweet promise. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

My brother...

spends most of his free time juggling. 

And he is very, very good. It's cool. And then sometimes it gets even cooler...

when someone realizes how good he is and asks him to juggle to help illustrate a point, to entertain during the halftime of a college basketball game...or to perform at the fair. In five shows a day. And I'm related to that kid. It's a great life.