Monday, November 26, 2007

Examine the Day

Yesterday we had a beautiful sunny morning here in NYC, but I did not feel very sunny in my heart. I had been focusing too much on myself and maybe also part of the problem was that I had run out of one of my dietary supplements.

The message at Trinity was a good reminder that we need to continue to admit how helpless we are to change ourselves from the addiction to ourselves. (Ray's blog has more notes from that message) Later we watched the DVD of the service at Eastview from the previous Sunday, which was very encouraging and had some more stuff about the kingdom of God.

Examine the day, an article that I read today in our church paper was very thought provoking . "As Christians we need an examine, the Latin word for the pointer on a scale, to help us discern the truth about our lives...Self-examination can debilitate us with crippling guilt, paralyzed decision-making, or glib self-praise. We need a more truthful and more loving examine. 1 John teaches us two complementary practices... with which we welcome God to inspect our lives, freeing us to live in peace."

"The first part of the examine is acknowledging to God our sins...the habit of naming our specific sins and confessing them to God...we'll discover that God is so faithful and righteous that he'll forgive and purify us through Jesus Christ."

"The other part of the examine is acknowledging to God our acts of love. (1John 3:18-24). " This was kind of a new thought. I don't think I've heard very many sermons about that. He goes on to say, "This is necessary whenever we feel inwardly accused of failing God and others, especially when this is due to self-doubt or excessive scrupulosity. (Whatever that means!) Our loving actions are God's love moving through us to others. When we see this our inaccurate hearts can be reassured in God's presence. We can be at rest, knowing that the Holy Spirit is at work through us."

"Whenever we practice these two habits...we rely on god to show us which realities we need to see. Left to ourselves, we are blind to the truth of our lives."

To learn to pray an examine true to 1 John we need to take a few moments every evening to become quiet before God and ask ourselves, "For what moment today am I most grateful? For what moment today am I least grateful?" These two questions open the door to God's loving examine and should help us to avoid self-condemnation and self deception and they can help us in times of decision making, to discern the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Another adaptation of the examine is to retreat each day for a five part prayer. "Recall that you're in God's presence. Give thanks for God's gifts in the past day. Ask God by the Holy Spirit to help you to look at yourself honestly and patiently, without condemnation or complacency. Review your day's actions and attitudes, noticing where you acted freely and where you were swept along without freedom. Lastly, talk to Jesus about your day: thank, confess, resolve, rest. (Limiting the prayer to 15 minutes helps us to avoid becoming self-absorbed."

"God has destined us to be joy-filled instead of guilty, righteous instead of sinning, and confident instead of merely optimistic. "

This reminds me of a quote I read in the hymn book at church by C.S. Lewis. "Real Prayer - The prayer preceding all prayer is, 'May it be the real I who speaks. May it be the real You that I speak to."

There was something else I copied out of the hymn book which captured very well how I felt yesterday. That will have to be my nest blog. Maybe I should have done that one first.

Monday, November 19, 2007

God is Great, God is Good

The worship service yesterday morning at Trinity Baptist was again a WOW! experience. The first song was "To God be the Glory" which is a very special song to me. This was followed by "Forever God is Faithful" and "Great is Thy Faithfulness." There was no sermon, just singing with the choir and testimonies. The pastor said a few words and read Romans 8:35-39. That's when the tears came, tears of joy, rejoicing in the goodness of God, His great faithfulness. No matter how unfaithful we have been, He is always faithful, always keeping His promises. Nothing can separate us from His love. In other words, there is nothing we can do to make God love us less.

One of the remarks the pastor made was, "The more grateful we are, the more expressive we are in our giving of thanks, the more God will delight to lavish His blessings on us." Later on in the service we sang a song by Tommy Walker - "We Will Remember". "Throughout the ages you have been our Shelter, our Peace in the midst of the storm. You have been so good to me." Another song was, "Think about His love, Think about His goodness, Think about His grace, That's brought us through. Great is the measure of our Father's love."

I know as the weeks will turn to months, the weariness of going through all this stress will not be easy, but I want to keep looking for little wow! moments to keep me going.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

No one is hopeless whose hope is in God.

Affliction for God's people can be the pruning knife to prepare us for greater fruitfulness.

Is God using pain in your life to lovingly persuade you to change? The season of trouble may not be easy, but if we let ourselves be trained by it, new growth will result as we become more like His Son.

Joy comes from the Lord who lives in us, not from what's happening around us.

Righteousness in the heart produces beauty in the character.

Like a compass, the Bible always points you in the right direction.

Many of us struggle with our thoughts of God, especially during illness. Can we trust Him? We turn to the Gospels for our reason to trust God. And we find it in His Son Jesus, who was unfailingly compassioate toward those who were afflicted, regardless of the reason. So we pray, "Deliver us from the belief that by our sin we have forfeited God's goodness and mercy." The Great Physician knows our natural infirmities, and knows the weight of our sins, for He paid a dear price for them.

The cross of Jesus is the supreme evidence of the love of God.

If we could earn our salvation, Christ would not have died to provide it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

God is a God who wants to meet you where you are!

That is so awesome!
I'm thankful for:
- the promise that God will never leave us or forsake us. He is with us here in NY, with our family at home and with all of you.
- that we got the apartment close to the hospital.
- that Renee didn't have to go to the hospital during the night with fever, although we had gone the previous evening because of extreme itchiness from the chemo. She was already at the hospital when the fever started. Fever is pretty scary when the white cells count is zero.
- that the nausea and fever didn't last very long
- that there a lots of people praying. Thanks a lot.
- God is our strength.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Inch by Inch

I started a crocheting project - an afghan - from a book called Mile-a-Minute Afghans. The subtitle is Inch by inch, anything's a cinch. That is kind of symbolic of our life now, minute by minute. How many minutes are there in a day? Quite a few! I don't know about the cinch, but it sure makes it easier if you don't think too much.
Dr. O' Reilly, the head Transplant doctor - we have known him since she was a baby - has Renee's treatment plan all figured out, with back up plans and everything. He just came by to see Renee and he is very confident that she will go into remission again like last time. In the mean time , getting chemo sucks and I wish I could take her place. She got the first 2 bags of chemo in the day hospital and had to be admitted for the last 2 since the clinic is not open on Saturday. If all goes well, she will be discharged later today after the chemo is done.
I sure hope that we will be able to get the apartment that we looked at yesterday - 2 bedrooms and 2 baths - right next to the hospital. It is just a question of getting the finances arranged on time. Sure would be an answer to prayer, if we could get in there. Better than we could have even imagined. It is only available on the 12th, but Renee agreed that we would gladly wait till then if we could just get that one.
The Daily Bread devotional for today was very good again. "We are not equipped to handle all the problems we face, but God is. That's why He told us to give them all to Him - to 'cast your burden on the Lord'." "We can walk through the darkest trials when we walk with God in the light." We have to keep reminding ourselves, that God is bigger than all our problems, bigger than all our fears.