Friday, September 27, 2013

For His name's sake...

"...he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake."
Psalm 23:3b

Father, help us to understand that all you've said and done, past, present and future have been for the glory of your name. Let us not be so quick to sing "just for me" when we know that you have said in your word that will not share your glory with another. Remind us that we carry your name wherever we go if we call ourselves Christian's and help us to paint a better picture of who you are for the world. It is true that you died for us. It is true that in all your actions you have our best interest at heart, but we think we know our best interest and that's why we get so confused. Ultimately all that you do is to direct each eternity seeking soul to the one true God, eternity's creator...You. Thank you for always leading us to paths of righteousness, for always providing a way out of temptation. If not for you, we like sheep would graze the same fields of sin and death without relief. We would go our own way, and Lord we battle that still. It's hard to admit at times. Most of us would much rather and much more quickly admit that we're disciples of Christ then admit that we're seeking to bend your will to ours with our prayers and our actions. Please lead us to your paths Lord... your pastures. I know you do this anyway, because that's your grace for your people, but help us to walk in them Lord, the paths you choose for us. Help us to carry your name in truth. Help us to live uprightly and with integrity OF HEART, not just an outward appearance that keeps everyone thinking we're your disciples. Make us your disciples. Help us to lie down in the pastures you've provided by the still waters you've led us to. Remind us to look to you in everything for your leading and your glory. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

He Restores My Soul...

I read it in another translation. Psalm 23:3 said, "He renews my life..." This language sank in deeper with me. As I've always read, "He restores my soul," and often thought, yes, He has and will restore all things lost on a spiritual level, concerning my soul.

When I read, "He renews my life," it made me think of daily renewal and refreshment. Renewal in the midst of life happening. Something the attentive shepherd offers the oblivious sheep. Even the details of my personal sin. He renews, or gives me a new chance, daily, by the moment, if needed.

He certainly renewed my life when His message of sin, grace, forgiveness and love hit me square between the eyes in college and still today those same messages need constant renewal in my life. As I catch myself responding harshly, thinking judgmentally, or being selfish with my time. Not giving of myself as He would have it, but instead trying to make something of myself when He simply wants me to be like Him. He always renews my life when I come to Him with an open and honest heart.

"If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sin, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:8-9

It's always available, this renewing, this clean start... Thank the Lord, literally.

He renews my life when...

I feel like I can't go on because I'm simply physically exhausted,

When I fail to see things from other's perspectives, which may be very different than mine,

When I forget to breath as I watch my children grow,

When my husband forgives me over and over and over for too many things to list,

When I come to Him and cry out for wisdom and patience in raising my little blessings,

When I come to Him and cry out for forgiveness because I lost my temper...again,

When I come to Him for protection from evil and wander if He'll work out the plans He's shown me for our future,

When I tell Him I just can't do this right now, but I'm required to,

When I'm honest with Him, the good shepherd, about the things that are weighing on my heart and mind,

I could go on, but I'll sum it up with this.

He renews my life, restores my soul, in the deepest, most convincing way. Showing me His perfect and unfailing love for His daughter whom He knew before I was born.

"Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet, there was none of them." Psalm 139:16

Jesus had a brother who was in great need of restoration and renewal. Peter had a special and significant relationship with the Lord. Toward the end of Jesus' life being seen as one of His followers became more and more dangerous and Peter failed. He didn't fail once, or twice, but three times-in one day. Really, in probably like an hour of time. Can you imagine that? (I sure can) His failure, specifically, was complete denial that he even knew His Lord.

After Jesus resurrects he has several conversations with many different people, but His conversation with Peter speaks very pointedly to that fact the He restores souls and renews life. What I love about His conversation with Peter is that He restores Him the exact number of times Peter denied Him. He spoke specifically to each occurrence of denial by giving Peter a chance to confess His love (agapeo twice, phileo once) for Him.

I also love Jesus' references to sheep and shepherd in this passage. It leads us right back to the 23rd Psalm. God's word is cool like that! Here's the conversation...or at least most of it. If you want the whole thing, open up your Bible to John 21:15-19

"Jesus asked Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?  Yes, Lord, He said to Him, You know that I love you. Feed my lambs, He told him. A second time He asked him, Simon, son of John, do you love Me? Yes, Lord, he said to Him, You know that I love You. Shepherd My sheep, He told him. He asked him the third time,  Simon son of John, do you love Me? Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, do you love Me? He said, Lord, You know everything! You know that I love you. Feed My sheep, Jesus said."

With each question asked, Jesus gives Peter a chance to confess His love and to show it by obeying His command to feed and shepherd His sheep. Both of those things are so important because Jesus taught that if we love Him we will obey what His teaching. (John 14:23, John 15:14) He gives a us chance to confess with our mouths what we know and believe and then a chance to work that faith out in action, by obeying what He tells us to do. Both of which cause us to feel completely restored.

In what areas do I need renewal today? Are there things I need to confess and obey?

Be assured that our God is faithful to respond to our honest pleas toward Him and go to the Good Shepherd today for the restoration and renewal of your soul and your life for He does indeed restore the believer's soul and then leads us along righteous paths for His name's sake... More about that leading soon!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

It's been a long time...

Whew! It has certainly been way too long since I have taken the time to blog! It was a fast and furious summer at Citikidz. My head is still spinning. We are in the midst of settling into a new schedule for my three oldest kids and awaiting a transition to come sometime around the end of October when we welcome our baby girl (at least that's what they told us) Susanna Grace. (Don't forget to breath momma)

Fall is in the air and I couldn't be more happy about that. Pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING is a favorite of mine! Leaves turning, cool comfortable nights with bonfires, hooded sweatshirts and pumpkins on the porch are just a few of my favorite fall things.

It's been on my mind to write for a solid three weeks now and I've just decided that I need to make time to do it. After all, I never completed "A Mom's Journey Through Psalm 23" and the Lord continues to bring me back to it for encouragement and hope.  As I've said before, blogging totally helps me process life and I often will find encouragement when I look back at posts that I know God has inspired me to write. Most recently, the "Stay Home" post has truly helped me reenergize and refocus.

Soooooo, all that to say, I've really missed blogging, hearing from old friends and new friends on here, and hope to post my next Psalm 23 post by the end of this week...

We'll see.:):)

Here are just a few shots from our summer...

Kayla hanging out in the yard after swimming.

Our trip to Idlewild.

Fourth of July

Judah eating very aggressively after swim time one afternoon.

I snapped this pic walking to lunch at camp one beautiful afternoon.

Special day at the pool with daddy and friends.

 And some projects I finally finished... Before...