Friday, August 17, 2012

Weekend Links 8/18

It's been awhile since I've had the time to put together a weekend links post. But this week has been a gold-mine of encouraging and convicting posts across the internet.

When We Say "Gospel", Do We Really Mean Spirit?  - Wonderful post from Trevin Wax. "We often talk about the gospel doing stuff when actually it’s the Spirit who is working. So we say, 'The gospel fuels our obedience,' but what we really mean is the Spirit captures our affections with the gospel in order to fuel our obedience."

When Darkness Seems to Hide His Face - Beautiful, beautiful truths. We do stand on a Solid Rock. 

10 Principles for Reading Old Testament Narratives - Julian Freeman does a great job in helping us to study well. 

More Important than Knowing God - "What matters supremely, therefore, is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it—the fact that he knows me."

Thursday, August 16, 2012

More Joy in Him

You have put rmore joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound. - Ps. 4:7
It's easy to look around us and compare what we have with what others have, isn't it? He has more money, she has more friends, more people like him, she is much prettier, the list of things that we can be discontent and upset about just goes on. I often find myself comparing who I am and what I have been given to who others are and what they have.

The problem is that my comparisons don't change anything but my attitude, and that not for the better. It doesn't change what I have...all it does is make me question God's goodness and grace. And then I read this verse from Psalm 4 earlier this week. I have reread it many times because it is so convicting to my heart.

If I truly know the Lord and what He has done for me, none of that matters. Sure, it might be nice to have a car with AC - but my debt before the Lord has been paid! Who cares if I have cool air? Maybe I don't feel as popular as some of my friends. But God has looked on me with favor because of Jesus Christ! I ought to have more joy in my heart than those who have everything that one could desire on this earth.

Tullian Tchividjian explains the impact that the gospel as like this: "When we understand that our significance and identity are in Christ, we don’t have to win - we’re free to lose. The gospel frees us from the pressure to generate our own significance and meaning. In Christ, our identity and significance are secure, which frees us up to give everything we have, because in Christ we have everything we need."

What a glorious gospel this is! We have more joy through Jesus Christ than we could ever have in anything else. In Him, we have everything and that is so very precious.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Final Verdict

Sometimes it's really hard to imagine that the Lord would love me when I see all my sin. And sometimes, I really struggle and wonder whether I could really be saved. But then I come to Scripture and I am reminded that, praise God, my salvation does not rest in my works or lack thereof, but in the completed work of Christ. And nothing can change that because of Him, and only because of Him, I stand justified before God. This quote from J.I. Packer sums it up perfectly:

"[N]obody can produce new evidence of your depravity that will make God change his mind. For God justified you with (so to speak) his eyes open. He knew the worst about you at the time when he accepted you for Jesus' sake; and the verdict which he passed then was, and is, final." - J.I. Packer, Knowing God

Friday, August 3, 2012

The End of One Season and the Beginning of Another

Yesterday was my last day working at the preschool, and as I was driving away after work, I cried. That job and and the kids there have been such a blessing to me over these past seven months. In the last few weeks before I graduated college last December, I was really praying that the Lord would provide a job on campus since I didn't have a car. I asked the preschool, and they mentioned that they had a 12 hours/per week position that was open and they would love for me to apply. That wasn't really enough hours, but I applied anyway...and when I got back from Thailand and had my final interview, I found out that I had a job, not only that, but I had almost 30 hours a week.

I knew going into my first semester post-college, I needed time to rest and really pray about what came next. I hurried through college so fast that I hadn't taken any time to really consider what was next. And so when I came back from Thailand and started my job at the preschool, I had such a peace that this is what the Lord had. I didn't know if it was for a few months or for a year or more, but I knew that I was desperately in need of time to rest, reflect, pray and plan.

I loved that job. The teachers that I worked with loved Jesus and those kids like few that I have met. They have blessed me with their support and encouragement in a myriad of ways. And those sweet kids just squirmed their way right into my heart! The best moments were when a rambunctious three-year-old would run up spontaneously and grab my legs as hard as he could, or when one of my little girls would ask me to read, "The story about the man named Saul becoming the the man named Paul", or when one of my four-year-olds would look at me and say the silliest things in the most serious way.

They are all so precious to me, and this time of pouring into them and loving them has been so wonderful...I pray that they would grow to love Jesus like He has loved them. They are in His hands as I leave, and there is grace and peace in that truth.

And now that season is finished. I'm start working fulltime at a "grown-up" office job as a licensed insurance agent one week from Monday. As excited as I am, I'm sad to be leaving. What God has had has been so good and caused me to grow in so many ways, and I know that doesn't stop simply because my job has changed. I'm encouraged to see the way God has provided, but I also think it's ok to be sad that something that I love won't be a part of my life anymore. More than sadness, though, I feel great joy that the Lord holds my life in His hands, and that He is working all things for my good, holiness and sanctification.