Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Psalm 104

1 Praise the LORD, my soul.
 LORD my God, you are very great;
 you are clothed with splendor and majesty.
 2 The LORD wraps himself in light as with a garment;
 he stretches out the heavens like a tent
 3 and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
 He makes the clouds his chariot
 and rides on the wings of the wind.
 4 He makes winds his messengers,
[a] flames of fire his servants.
 5 He set the earth on its foundations;
 it can never be moved.
 6 You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment;
 the waters stood above the mountains.
 7 But at your rebuke the waters fled,
 at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;
 8 they flowed over the mountains,
 they went down into the valleys,
 to the place you assigned for them.
 9 You set a boundary they cannot cross;
 never again will they cover the earth.
 10 He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
 it flows between the mountains.
 11 They give water to all the beasts of the field;
 the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
 12 The birds of the sky nest by the waters;
 they sing among the branches.
 13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
 the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
 14 He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for people to cultivate—
 bringing forth food from the earth:
 15 wine that gladdens human hearts,
 oil to make their faces shine,
 and bread that sustains their hearts.
 16 The trees of the LORD are well watered,
 the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
 17 There the birds make their nests;
 the stork has its home in the junipers.
 18 The high mountains belong to the wild goats;
 the crags are a refuge for the hyrax.
 19 He made the moon to mark the seasons,
 and the sun knows when to go down.
 20 You bring darkness, it becomes night,
 and all the beasts of the forest prowl.
 21 The lions roar for their prey
 and seek their food from God. 
22 The sun rises, and they steal away;
 they return and lie down in their dens.
 23 Then people go out to their work,
 to their labor until evening.
 24 How many are your works, LORD!
 In wisdom you made them all;
 the earth is full of your creatures.
 25 There is the sea, vast and spacious,
 teeming with creatures beyond number
— living things both large and small.
 26 There the ships go to and fro, and Leviathan,
which you formed to frolic there.
 27 All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time. 
28 When you give it to them,  they gather it up;
 when you open your hand,
 they are satisfied with good things.
 29 When you hide your face,
 they are terrified; when you take away their breath,
 they die and return to the dust.
 30 When you send your Spirit, they are created,
 and you renew the face of the ground.
 31 May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
 may the LORD rejoice in his works—
 32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
 who touches the mountains, and they smoke.
 33 I will sing to the LORD all my life;
 I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
 34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
 as I rejoice in the LORD.
 35 But may sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more.
 Praise the LORD, my soul. Praise the LORD.[b]

Monday, October 24, 2011

957-1000!!!

957. A friend who MIGHT join me in blogging her gifts when I get to 1000 (and the fact that I'm almost at 1000!)
958. A pretty severe cold slowing me down and taking the pressure off (something about being sick helps me give myself permission to get less done)
959. An ALMOST two year old little boy!  We celebrated Cole's birthday with his Grandaddy, Ollie, Grammy & Grampy &  (GD & O were visiting from out of town)
960. Cole playing with a Blue balloon for almost an hour - while laughing hysterically
961. A WONDERFUL evening out with Granddaddy and Ollie - if you haven't tried Delvino's in Belfast, it is YUMMY!
962. Beautiful weather
963. Happy, healthy boys.
964. Second chances (I re-read through this list and realized I skipped 964, but that still had time to edit it)
965. Avonlea - my cuddle bug
966. My "Heart & Home" friends (an online to do list that inspires us to grow spiritually and domestically)
967. Our very own ABC song...bet you can guess the first three (Avonlea, Blake, Cole)
968. Cole's love of music
969. Our kitties cuddling
970. The collage full of blessings that hangs above our couch
971. Knowing that "His love endures forever"
972. Procrastination - sometimes its fun (like when writing this list instead of doing dishes)
973. Laughter - and learning that Blake's laugh is just like mine was when I was his age
974. A huge tractor outside our living room window (and 2 very happy little boys)
975. Feeding our neighbor's ducks
976. The beautiful pond that fills our kitchen window
977. Realizing a little bit more each day how much the Gospel applies to my every day life
978. All of the things that I am "behind" on (I wouldn't be behind if I couldn't afford clothes, dishes and a computer)
979. Train Coloring books
980. Bright orange baby girl crocs
981. Ollie, who picked both out :)
982. Blake and Granddaddy playing with legos
983. Avonlea sound asleep on Ollies shoulder (in her bright orange socks & crocs...Avonlea, not Ollie)
984. Realizing that I might make it to 1000 in THIS POST!
985. A friend who reaches out to me regularly, even when I am unreachable
986. Pumpkins, and looking forward to carving them with 2 excited little boys
987. Traci's Diner with our family of 5
988. Lego tractors & a very sweet, thoughtful Grammy & Grampy
989. Alone time with Cole
990. Fall in Maine
991. Matt picking out a new clock and painting for our living room (that he admitted he really likes the layout of)
992. Conversations with my mom
993. Learning that often the very things that cause frustration in my life end up being gifts from God
994. Soft scrambled eggs with cheese (though, this week I'm trying...once again...to lay off the dairy)
995. A home made cho-cho train brownie cake (pictures soon)
996. Things coming together at the last minute (along with the goal to start planning ahead)
997. The layout of the new blog
998. Have I mentioned God's grace?  I will never be able to mention it enough.
999. The book "Respectable Sins" by Jerry Bridges - and the dear friend who lent it to me
1000. One Thousand!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Friday, October 21, 2011

Psalm 103

1 Praise the LORD, my soul;
 all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
 2 Praise the LORD, my soul,
 and forget not all his benefits
 3 who forgives all your sins
 and heals all your diseases,
 4 who redeems your life from the pit
 and crowns you with love and compassion,
 5 who satisfies your desires with good things
 so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

 6 The LORD works righteousness 
 and justice for all the oppressed.

 7 He made known his ways to Moses,
 his deeds to the people of Israel:
 8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, 
 slow to anger, abounding in love. 
 9 He will not always accuse,
 nor will he harbor his anger forever;
 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
 or repay us according to our iniquities.
 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
 so great is his love for those who fear him;
 12 as far as the east is from the west,
 so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

 13 As a father has compassion on his children,
 so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
 14 for he knows how we are formed,
 he remembers that we are dust.
 15 The life of mortals is like grass,
 they flourish like a flower of the field;
 16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
 and its place remembers it no more.
 17 But from everlasting to everlasting
 the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
 and his righteousness with their children’s children—
 18 with those who keep his covenant
 and remember to obey his precepts.
 19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven,
 and his kingdom rules over all.
 20 Praise the LORD, you his angels,
 you mighty ones who do his bidding,
 who obey his word.
 21 Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts,
 you his servants who do his will.
 22 Praise the LORD, all his works
 everywhere in his dominion.

 Praise the LORD, my soul.

Emphasis mine.
Click Psalm 103 for more insights into this scripture (by Matthew Henry)

Monday, October 17, 2011

931 - 956

931. A dear friend spending an entire day (and more) helping and encouraging me as I redesigned (and renamed) Grace in the Midst
932. Letting the boys stay up later than usual one night because I was enjoying them so much
933. Reading books to Blake, Cole & Avonlea in our big blue rocking chair
934. Singing
935. Spontaneity
936. Looking forward to a visit with my Dad and Stepmom
937. Cole falling asleep on Krissy's lap during church (and all of her help on Sunday mornings!)
938. A room full of children singing praise to God
939. Finally finding the perfect place for all our living room furniture - and Matt actually agreeing!
940. An evening of encouragement with dear friends
941. Letting Go and letting God
942. Blake - "Daddy, these leaves are for you...you can keep them all day"...He had filled a cup with fallen leaves - Somehow children realize that the simple things truly are gifts
943. Talking on the phone with my soulmate for almost an hour
944. Learning that a bad morning doesn't have to equal a bad day
945. Forgiveness
946. Avonlea loving veggies - I CAN'T BELIEVE my little princess is already eating solids!
947. Blake and Cole riding around our living/kitchen circle on their tricycles
948. How much being a parent is changing me
949. Matt making the time to start watching the Parenting Matters videos we got at the conference
950. Judy, the owner of Aunt Judys Uniforms, watching the boys for me while I brought Avonlea to her hip ultrasound
951. Ugly/Beautiful - the car breaking down in the hospital parking lot/kindess of strangers and friends
952. The servant hearted people at our church who go out of their in the kitchen and beyond (thank you for 3 Sundays of meals...it is such a gift to have a break from cooking!
953. Cole and Blake being really good during worship practice
954. Worship
955. Learning how to make even the simplest tedious tasks into acts of worship
956. The fact that my God, my family and my friends love me despite my imperfections.







Thursday, October 13, 2011

Psalm 102

1 Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee.
2 Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily.
3 For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth.
4 My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread.
5 By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin.
6 I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert.
7 I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top.
8 Mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me.
9 For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping.
10 Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down.
11 My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.
12 But thou, O LORD, shall endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations.
13 Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.
14 For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof.
15 So the heathen shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.
16 When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.
17 He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.
18 This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD.
19 For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth;
20 To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death;
21 To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem;
22 When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
23 He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days.
24 I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations.
25 Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.
26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:
27But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.
28The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.




Emphasis mine.

Click Psalm 102 for more insights into this scripture (by Matthew Henry)

Monday, October 10, 2011

914 - 930

914. 8 years with the love of my life (no, honey - I am not being sarcastic - promise.)
915. Making the boys laugh while pumping gas
916. Blake having a blast on a new friends trampoline
917. The boys "washing" the kitchen window
918. A friend who inspires me spiritually, physically, and entrepreneurially (not sure if that is really a word?)
919. Blake singing Hallelujah while playing with a box car around matt's sleeping head
920. Resting on our hammock while the kids slept
921. A family walk across the Belfast bridge
922. An absolutely GORGEOUS weekend
923. Enjoying our backyard
924. Long conversations about faith and life with my sister
925. My grandmother thinking about our family on her shopping trip
926. 2 friends getting settled in their new houses (on the same weekend)
927. 3 day weekends
928. Matt letting me move the living room furniture - AGAIN
929. A man capturing the moment (examining a caterpillar crawling across his finger) on the Belfast Bridge
920. Seeing a seal
921. Replacing the words "have to" with "get to"
922. Singing
923. Growing
924. Learning
925. Loving
926. Friends who go out of their way to help
927. Routines
928. Blogging
929. The fact that every day is a new day, a new beginning, a second (third, fourth, fifth) chance
930. Grace



Linking up with Ann Voskamp, as she hosts this wonderful community of believers, all counting, and slowing down to take notice of the beauty around them.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Sins List?

      Don't worry - I'm not going to publish a running sins list :)...however, I have been thinking about my sin a lot more than usual lately.  And I don't mean that in a bad way.  I'm feeling convicted - not condemned.
      I want to lead a blameless life.  There was a time where I found the word blameless frustrating because I had it associated with perfection, which - though God's word tells us to strive for perfection, we all know is actually impossible on this side of heaven.  I do believe, however, that God's word indicates that we can lead blameless lives.  Though I am still in the process of figuring out exactly what that means, I have a feeling it has a lot to do with bringing our sin before the Lord on a regular basis.  I just started reading a book called "Respectable Sins" by Jerry Bridges - I am only half way through the first chapter and I'm already feeling excited.  Yes, a book about sins is exciting me.  The book, so far, seems to be focusing on how much the gospel applies to our daily lives.  It is easy to think that the gospel is for non-believers and forget how much we need to hear it.  He died for us.  Not for our neighbor (though He died for them too), not for our family (yes, of course he died for them too), not for the blatant sinner that we may or may not spend time judging and feeling sorry for (yes, He died for them too) - but for US.  Really, "us" doesn't even communicate the point of what I'm trying to say. He died for me! (When read by me, the "me" means me...when read by you the "me" means you.) I am coming to believe that we/I spend way too much time thinking how much others need to hear the gospel, and way too little time thinking how much we/I need to hear the gospel.
     I have thoroughly enjoyed the practice of counting my blessings and I hope that I do it for the rest of my life.   The Lord pours them out abundantly.  But as I have begun to do so, my love for Him is growing,  and so is my  vision of who He is.  He is so perfect, so pure.  Next to his purity, my sin is becoming so much more obvious. Thankfully, he has paid the price for my sin!  I think, for me though,  the temptation is to think - ok, good - sin paid for.  Next.  However, lately (perhaps because of "Respectable Sins", I have started (and this is definitely a new thing) to think through my transgressions and confess them individually. Here is a list of the "Respectable Sins" that Jerry Bridges mentions - these are sins that we each are full of yet can easily forget about.ungodliness

anxiety and frustration

discontentment

unthankfulness

pride(fulness, revealed specifically in self-righteousness, even in a pursuit of theological accuracy, in prideful motives behind our achievements and revealed in a spirit of independence)

selfishness (with our interests, time, money and inconsiderateness)

lack of self-control (in eating, drinking and temperament, finances, entertainment and shopping)

impatience and irritability

anger (even anger towards God) and
the weeds of anger (underlying roots of anger in resentment, bitterness, enmity, hostility and holding grudges

judgmentalism (and a critical spirit over differing convictions and doctrinal disagreements)
envy, jealousy, competitiveness and being controlling

sins of the tongue (like gossip, slander, lying, harsh words, sarcasm, insults and ridicule)

worldliness (shown financially, by our idolatry and in “vicarious immorality,” that is, the enjoyment of watching or reading the sinfulness of others)

Over the past couple of days I have prayed through the list (not necessarily the whole thing) and gotten more specific than the descriptive word for the sin (as Bridges encourages us to do).  In other words I don't say "God forgive me for my lack patience" but something more like "God forgive me for snapping at Blake when he really needed a hug...I am an impatient person in need of your forgiveness"
Though it would be easy to read through the list and get discouraged,  to do so would be missing the whole point.  No, we should not ignore these sinful attitudes and actions, we should bring them before the thrown.  Once we do so, the list looks a bit more like:

ungodliness
anxiety and frustration

discontentment

unthankfulness

pride(fulness, revealed specifically in self-righteousness, even in a pursuit of theological accuracy, in prideful motives behind our achievements and revealed in a spirit of independence)

selfishness (with our interests, time, money and inconsiderateness)

lack of self-control (in eating, drinking and temperament, finances, entertainment and shopping)

impatience and irritability

anger (even anger towards God) and
the weeds of anger (underlying roots of anger in resentment, bitterness, enmity, hostility and holding grudges

judgmentalism (and a critical spirit over differing convictions and doctrinal disagreements)
envy, jealousy, competitiveness and being controlling

sins of the tongue (like gossip, slander, lying, harsh words, sarcasm, insults and ridicule)

worldliness (shown financially, by our idolatry and in “vicarious immorality,” that is, the enjoyment of watching or reading the sinfulness of others)

Does that mean that we won't continue to struggle with these sins?  No, of course not.  We are all sinners and will always be on this side of heaven.  However bringing our sin before God reminds us of our desperate need for the gospel (and hopefully keeps us humble and less tempted to judge others).  He has paid the price for our sins, once and for all - but we need to be reminded regularly.  The gospel isn't just for unbelievers - it is for us.  It is for me.

P.S. See "comments" for some pretty incredible verses regarding sin

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Psalm 101


1 I will sing of your love and justice;
   to you, LORD, I will sing praise.
2 I will be careful to lead a blameless life—

(I am thankful that we can be blameless by bringing our sin before the Lord on a regular basis...)

  when will you come to me?

   I will conduct the affairs of my house
   with a blameless heart.
3 I will not look with approval
   on anything that is vile.

   I hate what faithless people do;

 (I  hate, or strive to hate what they DO, and I DO - not hate myself or the people who commit faithless acts)

  I will have no part in it.
4 The perverse of heart shall be far from me;
   I will have nothing to do with what is evil.
 5 Whoever slanders their neighbor in secret,
   I will put to silence;

(I'm afraid at times it is my very own lips that I am having to put to silence...and thus far I haven't had much confidence when it comes to stopping the gossip of others)

whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart,
   I will not tolerate.

(Hmm, once again it is often the sins of my own heart that I am learning not to tolerate)
 6 My eyes will be on the faithful in the land,
   that they may dwell with me;
the one whose walk is blameless
   will minister to me.

 7 No one who practices deceit
   will dwell in my house;
no one who speaks falsely
   will stand in my presence.
 8 Every morning I will put to silence
   all the wicked in the land;

(Hopefully I will bring my own wickedness before the Lord, ask Him to purify me - and then be sure that I do not listen to the lies that wickedness would love for me to believe about myself and/or others)

I will cut off every evildoer
   from the city of the LOR
D.

(hmmm...I'm sure David knew exactly what he was talking about, but I have no idea what he meant - how we are supposed to do that, and even if we are supposed too?)

Monday, October 3, 2011

891 - 913

891. Ugly/Beautiful - Boys are up earlier than usual this morning/they are healthy and happy
892. Ugly/Beautiful - It is Monday morning and I'm feeling behind already/everything I am behind on is in actuality a blessing (we have clothes, we have dishes, etc...)
893. Starting to understand the words - A sacrifice of praise
894. Long overdue catch up conversations with dear friends
895. Cole playing contentedly with a toy train for 45 minutes
895. Worshipping with the praise team
896. Chrissy Martin helping with the boys (which made worshipping with the praise team possible) 897. Denise Martin helping me stay on track with the music (I regularly lose my place)
898. Enjoying my morning routine with the boys (even on a Saturday morning)
899. Decluttering our electronics @ during the free Ecylcle day
900. Conviction
901. Tanjas post responding to my post on pride
902. Learning about the Incourage blog, specifically the bloom book study on Sabbath
903. Remembering that rest is a command 
904. A family date @ Pizza hut
905. Learning how to be real - even with church members I don't know (yet)
906. Hearing testimonies

907. Cole and Blake playing with Play-Dough together at Cubbies
908. Running into the Dodges at my chiropractor's and enjoying watching the boys play together
909. Marriage
910. Being refined (theres a lot of refining needed in this crazy heart of mine)
911. Bloggers automatic drafts - I thought I just lost this whole list
912. Skyping (well Google Video Chatting) with my dear friend and fellow blogger, Meredith
913. Grace. My children's grace with me.  My friends grace with me.  My extended family's grace with me. My husband's grace with me.  God's grace with me.


Linking up with Ann Voskamp, as she hosts this wonderful community of believers, all counting, and slowing down to take notice of the beauty around them.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

SHE TIGERS (RE:ELEPHANTS/PRIDE) - BY TANJA

Wow. This is good stuff. This is what God uses. Yes, I will be the first to admit that I have a major pride problem as well. I started calling it my "she Tiger" when I first started noticing it growling in the corner at me and rising up when things did not go my way.  Scared the living daylights out of me when I realized how bad a problem I actually had. But this is where Jesus steps in and says "Ah, perfect! Now I can use YOU! You are awake and ready.  Jesus is an awesome Tiger trainer! He is the only one that can put that Tiger to sleep. One thing I have noticed was for a season ...it was a long season like two years or so that I thought the Tiger was dead and stuff was happening in the work God had me in. He moved me on and I started realizing I was getting too used to the freedom and the blessings and victory in prayer! Uh-Oh ....as I wandered out to the edge a bit I started hearing something I forgot about and soon enough that tiger was back!! Ack! God, it's not gone!! Why is it back?? And He said " Did you wander?" Gulp, "Yes, Lord." "That is there to keep you close to ME! Stay close to me child. Don't mess around."  "Yes, Lord."
  It is important to remember that noticing the pride in yourself is not sin. It becomes sin when you ignore the Holy spirits prompting and act on your prideful thoughts. That is sin. Don't beat yourself up if you notice the pride. Don't get stuck in that pity party thing...............that would be the enemy doing that. 
  I have learned that when someone says to me, "I don't have a pride problem". I step back and think "You need to cook a little longer in that simmering pot!" We all have it and the more aware of it the more humble we can be and the more useable!!! Amen. God has blessed you with a great treasure sister. Humility scares the living daylights out of the enemy! HE HATES it with a passion.


Later response/post
From Tanja: I had to tell you this what the Lord whispered to me this morning: "Remember, I can use the Elephants and Tigers against the enemy.....................I have the power to turn them around in the opposite direction. What would an elephant look like stomping through the enemy's camp? What would a tiger's teeth and claws do against the lie? What would the trumpeting of the elephant do to the army of the enemy when it is trumpeting the truth? How well do you think the elephant could crush the serpent on the ground?  How much fear do you think the growl of the tiger would create coming against the lie. These are all strengths that can used by Me when surrendered."

Response to Sin's List
You know, I have really struggled with that word as well. Blameless..............I know I'm not and God even tells me I'm not...I'm a sinner saved by grace. So what does it really mean to live a blameless life? I chew on this ALOT! Beth Moore has addressed this plenty of times in her many bible studies and books. Living blamelessly is living a life not RULED by the sins we are so prone to. Having them under our feet and not holding us in captivity. When pride/judgmental attitude, hate or whatever raises it's ugly head and the Holy Spirit is by my side saying " Ok, Tanja , call it what it is." And I recognize this as flesh etc. I have been given God's supernatural will power and can exercise it by saying "No, I WILL not respond to that. It is not truth and Jesus I hand it to you. I will exercise my will and I WILL humble myself and not use words/thoughts to judge and I will surrender myself to allow YOU TO LOVE them though me. Love them with your AGAPE love that I do not have in my natural person. You live in me. Love though me Jesus. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me." This is living blamlessly. I haven't sinned when I recognize what the Holy Sprit has shown me. I have put it under my/Jesus's feet and walked a surrendered life.  A FREE life. A Blameless life. God blesses this and this is how we LIVE BY Faith. It is that constant talking prayer life with God. I have to admit, my life is not always like this. In fact, I hit the deck HARD very frequently.  But I understand what the path is and there is FREEDOM in that. There is so much HOPE in that. HOPE for more victories in the future, more days lived in the promises, more power in my life, more JESUS in my life, more of His LOVE coming though into my life. I SOOOOO desire that. This walk is hard but I have dung my claws (those big TIGER claws amen!) into it and will not let go. This is such an important topic! And yes our walks are with Jesus and yes I do pay too much attention to others. HARD! This is a major issue I have been dealing with the last couple months as well. I'm stuck in a rut and praise God! talking it out helps me. Anyway, these are just my thoughts on this. God, Bless!