September 2008 Archives

Heart of Humility for a Proud Woman

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How does one go about writing a post on humility without sounding proud? Answer: I have no idea! As a follow-up entry for the “personal retreat series” I wanted to include how I answered the question: “what is one area where I believe God is calling me to grow?”. I suppose the problem comes in when I try to put my thoughts down and no matter what they come across as... full of pride. So why this post then? Well I think it is important for me to make a somewhat public statement about the condition of my heart. Maybe part of me is hoping that someone else out there is just as proud as me... secretly I don't like to be alone in my sin... another part of me just wants to have those close to me praying for humility to enfold my heart. That being said if anything comes off as pride here, please know from the beginning that is not my intent.

So I answered the question this way: God is calling me to grow in godliness by putting to death the sins of pride and selfishness. Yes that's right I'm not just the worst sinner I know... I am also exceptionaly proud of my true state. Oh how abusrd is that!! I can manage to be proud of the most ridiculous things: all that I accomplish in a day, how well I can grow my gardens, my abilities in the kitchen, the way I raise my children, how I serve others... are you noticing the pattern? That's right it's all about me! What do I have that God hasn't given to me? I have nothing. My pride shows up in areas I wasn't expecting it too. You see I actually thought that I like serving. Which I guess a part of me does, but sin has destorted it so much that when the true test comes, when I am treated as a serant, I go into what I now call pride-plosion. Yup, it turns into a rant about me, and how can anyone not see how poorly I'm being treated right now. I know... seriously ugly stuff here. What gives me the right to think that I some how deserve better than Christ! I don't. If I were ever to be treated as poorly as my Lord it would still be better than an eternity away from Him.

All that to say... yes I'm proud and selfish and God has been gracious to point that out and in His strength I hope to continue to battle against it. Since opening my eyes to the severity of this particular sin God has also pointed in the direction of some great instruction. A couple of years ago at our church's 6th anniversary my hubby and I were given a copy of Humility: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney (there is also a sermon on Humility)... yes I know that I probably should have finished reading it way back then!! This has been a good place for me to remember that I'm not alone in this sin, but more importantly it takes me back to the best example... Jesus Christ. I have also some soul benefical advise from a blog post written by John Piper on 6 Aspects of Humility and a sermon he did on being humble enough to be care-free. Our pastor Paul came back from his sabbatical and the first message I heard from him was Humility.

I thank God that he is unwilling to leave me in my prideful state. He is always bringing things my heart needs just when it needs them.

Growing in godliness and my devotions?

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A little after 7am I was heading out on my retreat... might I add a little nervous. After all I was embarking on what could have been a rather stressful time. I was trying to evaluate my current heart condition and plan the next year for my family. With all that in my mind I was reminded by a friend to not stress out if I couldn't squeeze it all in. As she said... God plans things far better than we ever could, so go with his plan. What an awesome tidbit of truth I needed to remember. I can do all the planning I want, but it is God's will that will be accomplished. So upon my arrival I met with my Lord and asked that He would govern my day. As I sat there one single thought kept coming to my mind: Oh Lord how thankful I am that you chose to save this sinner and how much more thankful that each day is filled with new mercies and grace abounding!

 

So, I began at the beginning. In Shopping for Time, they list a set of priorities, from scripture, that they use to evaluate their own lives. Since I wasn't sure how to start, I found myself using their list:

 

  1. Growing in godliness

  2. Love my family

  3. Serve in the church

  4. Fellowship with Christians

  5. Evangelize non-Christians

  6. Attend my work

  7. Care for my physical health

 

So I began my day evaluating my ability to growing in godliness. I quickly realized God was going be working on my heart in great and convicting ways. You see I came to see the true sin that comes from not being in the word as I ought to be. I need to know the word in order that I might preach it to my own heart. I also need to know the word in order to know my God. Not reading as I ought has become a sin pattern in my life. I've been told that if you do something for a few weeks it becomes like a habbit. Not so with my daily devotionals... well maybe it would if I could actually do a few weeks without my sin getting in the way. So I had to make the decision that early mornings we no longer optional. No more excuses of my kids are still young, I need the sleep... I'm not really a morning person. No, I need to rise early to meet with my Lord. It is little wonder why I seemed to have become stagnet in my spiritual life. I mean really... if I'm not sitting at Jesus feet every morning and not meditating on his good word how can I ever effectively live a life for Him and to His glory? I resolved to rise early and prepare my heart for the day, each and every day. I found a Bible plan that I thought would work for me. I also decided to make a few notes to try and help me remember what I learned about my God that morning. One of the biggest things God was showing me was that far too often when I read early is to read the Bible as a story. With taking notes I am trying to focus on what God is revealing about himself and then looking to see how I need to be responding in accordance to the revealed truth (all of this is in Shopping for Time... have I mentioned you should read it?). So with my coffee in hand I plan on beginning my mornings at the best place I know... Jesus feet.

 

It is now more than a week after my retreat... oh can I count the ways I have failed already!!! I have stayed up late, slept in and put my reading off until I have forgotten about it all together. No excuse... sin plain and simple. Strange that after spending so much time in the word and loving it... how quick I am to revert back to my old ways. It is true I am the worst sinner I know! I have a great deal of catching up to do, but have resolved myself to the fact that I just need to continue. Funny... one of the last notes I jotted down while away was... “Don't give up!”. Maybe I do know a little something of my heart afterall?

 

More to come on the other newly adopted priorities.

 

 

Shopping for a Retreat

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Alright so it's been far too long since I posted last. At least I know that's what my SEO hubby would say. I have been pondering what I could possibly have to write about. There are so many possible topics to choose from. I could write pages of things I had learned through our rather convicting sermon series through the book of James. Or I could write post after post on the wonderful reminders of the Gospel of Christ as seen through Paul's letter to the Galatians. Please don't misunderstand me, both topics would be of great benefit, but I am feeling drawn to write a little more personally. You see in our evening sermon series Gleanings from Galatians, my dear brother reminded us time and time again to preach to our own hearts. So after a little encouragement from a faithful friend who sharpens, I was encouraged to do something I am not typically accustomed to doing... I took a personal retreat.

 

Now to some this might seem a little odd or even selfish. I assure you that was not the motive... well at least I don't think it was. The more I thought about preaching to myself the more I relized I don't know my own heart very well. Cue... the personal retreat. Before I could go on the retreat I needed to prepare. What was I going to do? Where is a good place to start when it comes to examing one's own heart? I was feeling overwhelmed. Cue... my new favourite book.

 

 

Shopping for Time.jpg

 

Before I reveal the true darkness of my own heart, my I reccommend a book to you? The title alone may grab your attention... that is if you're anything like me! It's call Shopping for Time: How to do it all and not be overwhelmed. Sounds like a great concept doesn't it? I thought so. It was written by the wonderful ladies at the girltalk blog: Carolyn Mahaney and her daughters, Nicole Whitacre, Kristin Chesemore and Janelle Bradshaw.

 

In this book we are reminded that our money is not the only thing we need to spend wisely. After all we really don't know how much time we have, so we should be going for the best deals for the days God has granted to us. After reading this book a few times through (that's right... it is not overly long!) I knew my friend was right, it was time for some alone time. So I was off to take on Shopping Tip number three: Sit and Plan.

 

Stay tuned to what  happened next :)

 

Verse of the day

"who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,"

  Psalm 103.3 (ESV)

 

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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