Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Because and Therefore

Thank you to everyone who has been lifting me up in prayer this month. I am hopefully expectant of what God is going to do in my heart. I am still trying to soak in the things I have been learning. My heart is still more empty than it is full, but I can sense the Living Water beginning to bubble inside. I'm not full - I'm still far from full - but He is pouring into me drip by drip each day. The things I write below, I am trying to preach to myself. I am trying to fill and saturate myself with Truth. Please continue to join me in praying these very specific truths into my life. And if you're reading these words as a broken, empty individual yourself, I pray that God will use this to begin to fill your heart and put the pieces back together. Please click on the links to any songs or sermons I mention, as I have found God is using them in my own life. Thanks for joining me!

I've exercised two days in a row now, and oh my, my muscles are screaming at me! But it's such a good pain. Exercising really does something for your mental health as well as your physical health. Somehow, I've even been inclined to try and eat healthier as well and bought some fruit to make smoothies!

1 frozen banana
2 large strawberries
8 blackberries
Handful of spinach
2 heaping spoonfuls plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup milk (or enough to thin)

Combine in blender and enjoy!

I hope this month will jumpstart a new lifestyle for me of exercising regularly and taking care of my body.

I've listened to three sermons by John Piper over the last 3 days - all related to suffering. I really enjoyed today's message. I've shared with you before the Shane and Shane song "Though You Slay Me" in which they inserted an excerpt from a Piper sermon called "Do Not Lose Heart". I chose to listen to that particular one today, and I feel so blessed by it.

He preached on the passage of Scripture from 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away,
our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight
momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory
beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen
but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are
transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."

A few things really jumped out at me.

1. "our inner nature is being renewed day by day."

God created us in such a way that we need to be renewed every single day.
The fact that we need renewing means that our bucket leaks everyday.
Everyday we fade. Everyday we get depleted.
I can't run today's life on yesterday's newness!
In Matthew 6:34 Jesus tells us that each day has enough trouble of its own. And Lamentations 3:21 tells us that His mercies are new every morning. Today has its troubles, and today has its mercies. Tomorrow will have its troubles, and tomorrow will have its mercies!

Why did God set it up in such a way that I have to be renewed every single day?
To show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to myself! (2 Cor. 4:7)

Beautiful!

2. PAY ATTENTION to the "because's" and "therefore's" in Scripture!

SO (therefore) we do not lose heart (v. 16). Anytime you see the word "so" or "therefore" check out what came before it! There is a reason we do not lose heart!

FOR (because) this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory (v. 17). Anytime you see the word "for" or "because" check out the text around it! THIS IS THE REASON we do not lose heart!

I did a little more research around the text of these verses and found many reasons why we do not lose heart in the face of trials and suffering. Here they are...
  • I am a jar of clay - I was created to crack and leak in order for God's glory and power to be displayed (2 Cor. 4:7)
  • I'm not supposed to be able to handle this on my own (2 Cor. 1:9)
  • I will not be crushed - by God's power (2 Cor. 4:8)
  • I will not be driven to despair - by God's power (2 Cor. 4:8)
  • I will not be forsaken - by God's power (2 Cor. 4:9)
  • I will not be destroyed - by God's power (v. 9)
  • The life of Jesus will be shown in my life through this (vv. 10-11)
  • I will be raised with Jesus and brought into His presence (v. 14)
  • God is glorified (v. 15)
  • I am being prepared for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (v. 17)
  • I look to the unseen, to the eternal (v. 18)
Why do I not lose heart? Because GOD.
God is my strength.
He has the surpassing power.
He is glorified.
He has greater things planned that I can't see right now.

If I do not look to what is seen, which is really hard, I will not lose heart. But the very second I allow my focus to settle on the fact that I lost my mom. My mom is gone. My mom won't be with me in the delivery room someday. I can't call my mom. I can't text my mom. I won't see my mom in her office at work anymore. I can't hear my mom's voice. The very second I focus on these things - I lose heart. But the very second I focus on the unseen, that God has a greater purpose and that His surpassing power is at work within me and that He is preparing for me an eternal weight of glory that is beyond all comparison... I will not lose heart.

This doesn't mean that I will never miss her.
This doesn't mean that I will never be sad.
This doesn't mean that the hole in my heart is gone.
This doesn't mean that I'm perfectly okay.

But what it does mean, is that my joy can never be stolen because my hope is not placed in anything here on this earth. My hope and my joy are found in Christ. This earth is temporary. These trials are light and momentary in comparison to eternity and the joy we will experience there.

Last thing! Here are a couple resources Piper mentioned in the sermon I listened to yesterday (That We Might Gain Christ). I haven't read these books yet, but I plan to and wanted to share them with anyone who might be walking through a difficult season. And if you have read either of them, I would love to hear from you what you think about it!

Click here to purchase

Click here to purchase

Okay, I think that's all for today! Thank you for your prayers!

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

8 comments:

  1. "I can't run today's life on yesterday's newness!" Oh Jordan Street God speaks through you when you don't even realize it. Such wisdom, His wisdom spoken through you. There will be better days ahead, there will be victories, there will be comfort upon comfort and healing balm for this wound. Hold on sweet girl and keep doing what you are doing, one day at a time one step at a time. Praying in this month ahead that you will literally hear the songs that He sings over you and find rest in the shelter of His wings. Praying for you to find His mercies new every morning and feel Him sustaining you through each day. Thank you for the reminder that I must keep focused on the constant renewing process and "love exchange" in each new day. Your blog is powerful.

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    1. Thank you! It really is all the Lord's wisdom. And that quote you mentioned wasn't from me - it was from John Piper's sermon so I can't take credit for that either :) But thank you so much for your prayers and your encouragement. You have been such a blessing to me!

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  2. I don't know you, but I believe the Lord used you to help save my life tonight. After 2 miscarriages last year (our first 2 pregnancies), I've recently hit rock bottom. I was born and raised in church, but after what happened, I've questioned 'why' so many times. My heart's desire has always been to be a godly wife and mother and I just don't understand. But like you, tonight I feel a dripping into my soul. I listened to Pipers' sermon you posted the link to and am encouraged. Thank you for your post. I feel as though I just might make it after all.

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    1. Courtney, thank you so much for sharing. I am so sorry to hear about the losses you have experienced. I truly can't imagine, but somehow God gives us the grace to make it through. I never imagined I would be able to "make it through" the loss of my mom, but somehow He keeps pushing me along even in my weakest moments when I don't want to keep going. I am so thankful to hear how the Lord spoke to you through my blog. I really can't take any credit for it at all. My prayer has been that God would speak to and encourage whoever happens to stumble upon it, and it looks like He is faithfully answering that prayer. I pray that you continue to find His mercy each new day (as I am trying to do myself). Don't give in to the lie that you are alone - you are not alone! I am not alone! We are not alone! Sometimes it is hard to keep speaking Truth to ourselves, but we must press on! We know the end of this story, and praise the Lord that what we see here and now on this earth is NOT the end. I can't put into words my excitement to finally see my mom again in heaven, and YOU will get to see those little babies of yours. These thoughts make my heart ACHE to hurry and get there. It's almost an unbearable longing - but I hope and pray that we will not miss our purpose here while we have this time. Keep fighting! I feel like we are in this together even though, like you said, we don't even know each other :)

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  3. I listened to that same sermon last week and was blessed by it as well! I continue to pray for you to experience His new mercies each and every day.

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    1. Thank you so much for your prayers. I can't put into words how thankful I am for the many prayers being offered up on my behalf.

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  4. Praying for you as you work thru your grief.

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