Monday, November 8, 2010

I Peter 1:15-16

I Peter 1:15-16 But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy because I am holy."

(From chapter two in The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges)

  • Because God is holy, He is perfectly conformed to His own character.
    • Are my thoughts and actions consistent with God's holy character?  I am called to be holy simply because God Himself is holy.
  • It is impossible for God to ever be unfair in His actions because He is holy.
    • I often believe that lie, as Eve did, that God is being unfair because of __________.  God is always fair; fairness often looks different, though, as God works in people's lives differently
    • Complaining against God is to deny His holiness
    • "Acknowledging His holiness is one of the ways we are to praise God" (page 25)
  • God's holiness doesn't allow for personal character flaws
    • I often use the excuse:  "I'm still growing in that area..."
    • Hebrews 12:14 "Make every be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord."
  • God hates sin
    • The more we love and treasure God, the more we will hate sin
    • Live my life in reverence and fear (I Peter 1:17) of God, hating sin and treasuring Christ more and more.

Laying Down My Life

Life here in Iowa is much better.  My new-found contentment lies from what I recently encountered as I did my lesson for the Working Women's Bible Study.  Romans 5:8 hit me in a new way:  God not only sent His only Son to die for our sins on the cross, but He sent His perfect Son.  I can't imagine having to sacrifice my son and my son isn't even close to perfect! In bible study, the question that followed Romans 5:8 was, "How does knowing that God loves you unconditionally and that you are His child affect your response to Him?"  It hit me like a ton of bricks at that moment (oh, how it excites me that the Holy Spirit is at work in my life!):  Lay down my life.  He laid down His life for me.  I'd always heard that, but I never truly understood what it meant until now. 

God has called me to lay down my life:  lay down my desires to live in a big warm city (San Diego!), lay down my desires to be with my best friends, lay down my desires to...  That moment was revolutionary for me.  God has called me to this tiny town; my life is not my own, but His to dispose of as He pleases.  I have found so much comfort and contentment once I was able to "let go" of my own life.  Colossians 1:16 struck me, "...all things were created through Him and for Him."  Even me!  For Him to do as He pleases with my life.

That truth gives me such peace because I trust in God's promises.  His promise in Psalm 145:16 to satisfy the desires of every living thing.  He will satisfy my desires!  His promise is that He is kind in all His works (verse 17).

The last few days I've been reading Noel Piper's book Faithful Women & Their Extraordinary God.  Those five women (Sarah Edwards included) truly knew how to lay down their lives, and they have been such an example and encouragement to me.  None of my 'little' hardships are anything like what these women encountered.

Thanks be to God!  I am blessed beyond measure and content as I joyfully seek to lay down my life and glorify Jesus Christ in all I do...even in a tiny Iowan town.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Romans 6:14

Romans 6:14 "For sin shall not be your master because you are not under the law, but under grace."

In Jerry Bridge's The Pursuit of Holiness chapter 1 [Holiness is for You], I was reminded:

Holiness is to be separated from sin and consecrated to God
  •  Holiness is expected
    • I can walk in obedience to God's word and live a holy life.
    • Sin shall not be my master (Romans 6:14)
  • Holy living
    • Conforming to moral precepts of the Bible
    • Living in contrast to the sinful ways of the world
  • Why we, as Christians, often feel constantly defeated by sin
Why do we, as Christians, often feel constantly defeated by sin?

1. Our attitude toward sin is self-centered and not God-centered
  •  We're not striving for victory over sin, we're striving for obedience
  • Victory is a by-product of obedience
2. We misunderstand 'living by faith'
  • We do have a personal responsibility to 'live by faith' and it is hard work
  • Must put away sinful habits
3. We don't take all sin seriously
  • All sin is serious and we must not compromise on the small stuff
  • Don't categorize sin (such as respectable sins)
  • God must be obeyed in all things
Being gripped by the awfulness of sin against a holy God is the first step toward holiness.

My 'New' Life

Last May, my husband graduated from Westminster Seminary California.  After six years of intense study, he was ready to enter the ministry, ready to faithfully preach the Gospel.  An evangelical and reformed church in Iowa called Brian as their senior pastor, and we accepted.  Three weeks after the birth of our son, we moved across the nation into our new lives: as parents, as pastor and pastor's wife, as Iowans, as a stay-at-home-mom part of our lives remained the same.  We've been here three months now.  I adore my son and love being his mom.  I love that God called me to be this perfect little boy's mom.  I love all the space the house has.  I love that my husband is now my pastor.  I love his sermons.  I love being within driving distance of our families.  But there are so many things that I miss. I miss my friends.  I miss deep, meaningful, Christ-centered conversations.  I miss having people truly care about me.  I miss people who know me.  I miss the palm trees.  I miss the weather.  I miss the beach.  I  miss cities.  I miss Starbucks, Chipotle, and Panera Bread.  I miss the busy-ness of stores and restaurants.  I miss my sixth graders.  I miss my colleagues.  I miss California and all it has to offer.  I am lonely.  I busy myself by playing with my son and being the best mom I can be to him. I busy myself by striving to be a good wife.  I busy myself by meal planning and cooking [something I used to hate! but am starting to enjoy].  I busy myself by doing a house-chore each day.  I busy myself by laughing with my sweet boy as he coos and giggles.  I busy myself by trying to get together with women in the church at least a few times a week.  I busy myself by spending time in God's Word.  I busy myself by memorizing Scripture [I just started memorizing the book of Philippians.].

This move will be the best thing for me:  I cling to Ephesians 3:20, "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us."  Time and time again, God has made true this verse in my life.  I know that His calling us to this tiny town is GOOD.  He will do as He has promised in Ephesians 3.  I pray that this move and life here will be better than I could have asked for or even imagined.  Simply knowing that our Sovereign Lord and Savior has brought us here has kept me sane.  I am in the center of His will for my life; so how am I going to respond?  With bitterness and a constant feeling of discontentment because I'm not where I think I want to be?  Many days I wake up like this.  But this new life has brought me to my knees and given me a desire to know God like no other experience in my life.  And it IS good.  The goal of my life is not happiness, it's holiness [although, I definitely would love to be happy!].  I began reading Jerry Bridge's The Pursuit of Holiness.  Holiness is my life's goal and I am excited to learn from Jerry's book.  For my own sake, I will detail important parts of each chapter on this blog.  I have a terrible memory, and this will enable me to grapple with and remember important concepts, truths, and promises of God.  I am not sure about blogging, but I do need a place to document what I am learning in my walk with the LORD.  I don't know what this blog will become.  Maybe a place to share pictures of our sweet boy?  Maybe a place to post curriculum ideas and goals?  Maybe a place to post my weekly menus?  Maybe a place to share life's happenings?  Not sure yet, but I pray that God may be glorified in my life, even through my insignificant ramblings on this blog.

Psalm 145: 17 was of great encouragement to me today in regards to my 'new' life:  "The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works."  Whatever happens in these next years, may I trust and cling to the promise that God is "kind in ALL his works."

My sweet boy.  3.5 months.