When you Walk Along the Way

Just a place to share my thoughts as I seek to serve my husband, raise my children and Glorify my God!

Are you dancing? September 30, 2008

Filed under: Quiet time reflections — A Relevant Old Soul @ 9:08 pm

Psalms 30:11-12 (NIV)

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

12 that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.

Psalms 30:11-12 (NLT)

11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!

This morning while in my quiet time, I was drawn to Proverbs and Psalms.  Although that is not where I am currently reading I felt led to go there.  After I finished my normal study I decided to go to the 30th chapter of each book and maybe get a glimpse of what the Lord wanted to show me there.  Here I have listed a very familiar verse (probably due to a familiar song) but really stopped and meditated on this verse.

I went and started looking up “sackcloth” which is what they used in the NIV.  It is not the image I had thought of.  I thought of a grain sack.  But it is a mourning cloth.  But wait.. It is also used as an outward sign of repentence.  So in applying that the question is…Where are you?

I have to admit that I sometimes have too low a view of God.  It is so easy for us to put him on our level as just some really “good” one of us but that is not who God is.  He is God!  He is Sovereign over all things!  He is Everywhere and knows Everything (as we have been learning in school bible time)!  He is King of Kings- the king above all other Kings!  Lord of Lords- Lord above all other Lords.  Emmanuel-HE IS WITH US!

If you know that God, not the Santa Claus God of “cultural Christianity” but the God of ALL, how can you continue to walk around in your sackcloth.  A couple of days ago I posted on the boredom of church goers.  Clothed in sackcloth. A hum-drum meandering through life with no real Joy or LOVE of Christ.

Why I wonder did God want me to read that verse today.. Why did it stand out?  I think we all need a reminder every now and then of true repentence and letting go.  Repentance is taking off that sackcloth and the freedom from mourning.  The JOY of the Lord.  Seeing the Christ as he is and not as who I want him to be.. It is a NEW PERSON.. Do I walk around in my daily life in the freedom of dancing or do I walk in sackcloth?

Honestly, the latter.  Too many times, I allow circumstances and not Christ determine my actions and attitude.  The morning routine goes like this.. I fall out of bed, with the kids already at my side fighting and quarreling.  I get them breakfast while I try to read my bible and after about 25 interruptions I close it and move on.  I head up stairs (having lost the ability to shower with the kids up) and dress for the day…. At this moment, I am mourning the day that could have been.  I am already frustrated and not in a good place.  I pull on my sackcloth and hit the ground running… I am edgy and snappy, irritable and anxious, grouchy and greedy, impatient and unloving.

How quickly do we forget what Christ has done for us.. Why do we still own sackcloth!  It is part of the old us.  My choices, my laziness in the above scenario led to each circumstance that later place me in bondage to my emotions.  We have got to each and every single morning MEDITATE on the VAST GREATNESS of God.  A true remembrance of whence we have come!  Only in looking on him in the true light can we view our own circumstances through him.  And then and only then will we truly be FREE to DANCE!

I feel like I am all over the place in this post but I really felt I needed to share this.  I hope that God can use this for you today.

 

Reading by the Spirit

Filed under: Everyday thoughts — A Relevant Old Soul @ 12:21 am

Have you ever picked up a book and the minute you started reading you begin to feel as the author is speaking directly to YOU!  Boy lately that has been the case for me.  I am currently reading two books, which I am sure were written specifically for me..LOL

Isn’t it amazing how the Spirit works, how everyday reading outside of scripture can become a ground for conviction and contemplation.  I am a huge reader.  But these two books are definitely tools God is using in my life alongside his Word as a tool to shape me into his image.  I have tons of books that I can recommend to anyone but these by far have had a huge impact on me.  So..

Knowing God by JI Packer with the separate study guide/workbook is awesome!  If you hear others give deep insights of God and you often wonder how you can know these deep truths this is the book for you.  (Well along with Systematic Theology that is..)  This should never take the place of studying scripture but it has really hit me on motives and heart issues.  It is a great book and a good starting point, I think, for some new to really studying God.

The Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas.  Ok I will begin this one with a disclaimer.  I not a big topical study person.  I read also his Sacred Marriage (ok) and Sacred Parenting (too topical).  But this book was geared for ME!  It is how a wife needs to be before she can influence her husband.  We have many wives today that are trying to change their husbands into Spiritual Leaders and Spiritual Giants but are trying to do it in their own strength.  This book is not about how to change him.. It is about how to change YOU.. the wife.  Every chapter I feel more and more conviction on how I have approached my husbands spiritual walk.  If you are a wife of a non believer, an addict, your spouse cheated on you, or is just not the spiritual leader you desire, this book is definitely for YOU!

Well my bookshelves are piling up again so I am sure I will have more to share later.  I ordered like 5 or 6 books before we move so that I do not have to pay such outrageous shipping overseas once I am there.

Just remember, if you are seeking God in all things you will find him in all things.  He will use any means necessary to grab hold of you and mold you into his image..

 

Missing Church blues… September 29, 2008

Filed under: Everyday thoughts — A Relevant Old Soul @ 1:54 am

Well for those of you that do not talk to me everyday, I have been down and out with Strep Throat.  I am now on day 3 of my antibiotic and as today progresses, I am feeling a burst of energy coming down.  But because of my sickness, we were not able to attend corporate worship today and were forced to join many Americans and watch TV church instead.  So as I lay in my recliner cuddled up under my warm blankets and my kiddos playing at my feet, I worshiped with two local churches and one from another state.  Even being without a church home right now, I still miss the time I spend in corporate worship on Sunday.  Other than being fed from the word in both Sunday School and Church, I love the singing together and getting even the tiniest glimpse of what it will be like to praise and worship our Father forever in Glory!

Today, I was more of a spectator on the worship of others, and being such I was quickly stricken by the apathy and ambivalence of many church goers.  I have heard it said by multiple persons, “Sunday morning is the largest day of idol worship,” and today I glanced at what that truly means.

Hum drum… Repetition.  Going to church out of obligation.  Stand up sit down, sing and read, Pass a plate, hear a sermon, invitation and then go home.  I have often heard it said from my fellow evangelical brothers and sisters that the “other” religions are too mechanical and ritualistic.  After the spectacle I witnessed today… So are we!

Have you grown up in church?  Do you attend regularly Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday services?  Why?  Why do you go?  Is it because you have always gone.. Is it because you are a “Good Baptist” and that is what we do?  Is it as commonplace as getting ready for work each day?

As I watched one particular service this morning, I was awestruck on the behavior of the congregation.  A minister read from James.. Here is the passage..

James 5:13-16 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

After the rendering of this reading, the minister asked the leaders of the church to come to the front and then opened the altar for a time of prayer either alone or with one of the leaders.  They asked everyone to pray silently as they searched their hearts and prayed for one another.  As the camera panned this congregation I was astonished…

People checking their watches.  Chatting amongst themselves.  Flipping through magazines (likely some Open Windows or something).  Staring at the front to see who was up there.  Do you know what I did not see?  In a congregation of roughly 350 people, I saw maybe 10 people earnestly in their pews in prayer.

Have we become so accustomed to our traditions and corporate worship that we can not even spend 15 minutes with our eyes closed and heads bowed to our Savior?  Have we become so cold to the things of God that we are bored with a time of prayer?  I am the judge of no man, but I would venture to say that if one can not spend a few moments in prayer during corporate worship, how can you ever face God alone in your prayer closet.. Or do you?  I already know that answer.

I found myself getting angry.  Angry at the hypocrisy but also angry at the spoiled brats I watching take for granted their worship time of my Savior!  Here I am sick, longing for my time at church, and instead I am forced to watch this reality show that is Church in America today.

When will a generation rise up and declare… ENOUGH!!!! Enough of your “churchiness”!  Enough of your “Traditions!”  Enough of your hypocrisy!  Enough of your cavalier ungrateful worship!  Christianity is not about your rules and regulations!  It is not about your order of worship or your times or places of meeting!  Fall in LOVE with Christ!  RETURN to your FIRST LOVE!  You sing Amazing Grace with face as somber as someone who received a death sentence!  Is his grace still AMAZING too you?

Isn’t what Christ has done for you enough!  Can you not take up your cross and sacrifice your own feelings and thoughts for one day of the week?  I am utterly disgusted with what I beheld today.  Churches being run like businesses and Members acting like they are trying out for some reality show.

I am fed up with excuses and I am fed up with divisions!  People…. It is not about you!  It is about Christ!  Him and him crucified!  Take off your “Baptist” blinders and see what has been there all along!  Christ DEMANDS more from you than some traditional ritualistic worship!  You condemn Catholic Rituals while still partaking of your own under your Baptist Steeple!

You can spend hours watching a presidential debate.. You can have no problem watching the season opener of Grey’s Anatomy or Dancing with the Stars but you shun the idea of the service going past lunch!  LIFE IS NOT ABOUT YOU!!!!! GET OVER IT!!!!

The church in America is broken!  It is not broken over Arminianist/Calvinist debates.  It is not broken over Mega Church/Small Church.  It is broken because its members act just like the WORLD!

If you are bored during Corporate Worship.. Please stay home!

Revelations 2:4-5 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

 

The depth that is Spurgeon September 24, 2008

Filed under: Everyday thoughts — A Relevant Old Soul @ 10:59 pm

Sometimes we run across statements, sermons and quotes that hit us in our souls. This is an excerpt of an excerpt of a sermon preached by CH Spurgeon when he was only 20 years old. I have taken it from the book Knowing God by JI Packer. Although I am usually more than willing to add my own take on things I read, this needs no other words.. In fact I would only lessen it if I even were to try.

“Oh there is in Contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore. Would you lose your sorrow? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in its immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of sorrow and grief; so speak winds to a trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead.”

Enough said…..

 

The blessing of the Bible September 23, 2008

Filed under: Quiet time reflections — A Relevant Old Soul @ 11:07 pm

Today after my quiet time I was sitting there thinking about the blessing we have been given in the ability to read and spend time in God’s word.  I remember a time when really the only bible exposure was from the preacher, Sunday School teacher and occasional family devotions.

But when you are able to hold in your hand, the Keys of Life, it is so alive and so real to you.  This morning, I was reading through Galatians.  It was such a joy to read the entire book rather than one verse here or there.  I sat and read as it was written.

I read a letter that Paul wrote to ME.  When we can sit and read God’s word the way it was written it is so much easier to understand and puts things in clearer context.  I guess that is why I enjoy expositional preaching also.

But have you ever really thought about the early believers who did not have access to the bible.  They learned the bible through their leaders (who were often times sinners preaching bias for profit).  They learned the bible through the pictures and sculptures on the walls and floors and their churches.

Imagine what it must have been like when they first were allowed to really read and consume this book for themselves.  No wonder all the heresy and all the doctrinal differences.. These people were being awakened to the reality that is the WORD of GOD!

We are so blessed to have this opportunity and yet how many times do we squander it.  How can we grow in Christ if we are getting a “sermon full” of God’s Word?  Sermons for me are a challenge to implement the Word of God but my true growth comes from my personal time with the Lord in his word.

I challenge everyone to remember the sacrifices made in order that you may have a bible collecting dust on the shelf.  And if you want to KNOW God, not Know OF God, then dust it off and count the blessing of the BIBLE!

 

Book Ends: Putting First things First September 22, 2008

Filed under: Springs of Grace Home School Group Articles — A Relevant Old Soul @ 9:20 pm

Well everyone, I am  participating in writing a monthly article for our Homeschool Group at Springs of Grace Baptist Church.  There are four of us writing encouraging articles on Monday’s with each of us having one week.  I am the last of the month hence the title Book Ends and will mainly be reviewing and recommending books.   I will post on here the ones that I write and ones from the others when they really hit me.  Here is my first post.

Hello ladies,
I think I have officially met most of you already. If we have not met
just look in the crowd and find the loudest, most Cajun woman and that
will be me. I have really enjoyed the past weeks encouragements as I
know you all have.

My week for monthly encouragement is titled “Book Ends.” It is the
last one of the month and I will mostly be reviewing and recommending
books for us as homeschoolers, mothers, wives, and parents. I pray
that the things I say would help to encourage you and that God would
be honored and Glorified in them.

There are so many wonderful books available these days. Books on
parenting, books on being a better wife and mother, books on teaching
and books on learning. There are internet sites to buy cheap books
and there are Christian book stores a plenty. But on this, my first
post I thought I should put first things first.

While all those books are helpful and insightful, we must ALWAYS
remember to put the most important book first. We can have every home
school resource and book available but if we as the mother and
teacher, are not filling our hearts with the Word of God first, then
all those other things will not succeed.

Ladies we all struggle with the balancing act. How can we be all
things to everyone in 24 hours? The only way is if we begin the day
with a supernatural filling of the Spirit of God. When I was a youth
I remember a simple illustration that really made quiet times come
alive to me.

If you take a simple mason jar and a golf ball. The jar is our day
and the golf ball our quiet time. If you put the ball into the jar,
and then you pour sand and rocks (all the things we do in the day) to
the top of the jar then you can screw the top on and the day is done.
But if you pour the sand and rocks into the jar, then put the golf
ball in at the end, it does not fit and the top will not close.

A simple illustration but so true. If we do not begin each day in the
Word of God and in prayer with him the day will not fall into place.
We must remember, God is not a cherry on top of our already full lives
and schedules. He needs to be our center and our schedules and lives
must branch from that.

How can we teach without time with the Great Teacher? I encourage you
each to try to begin each day with quiet alone time with God.
Remember, it may take sacrifice, the Proverbs 31 woman rose while it
was still dark. Rise before your children and have your time with him
and when you children’s feet hit the ground, you will be full of
Christ and ready for whatever the enemy will fire at you that day.

I look forward to spending more time with you all and getting to know
you all more. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this
group. Remember this may be the Book Ends but you have Put First
Things First.

Have a great week!

In Christ,
Danielle

 

The countdown begins… September 20, 2008

Filed under: Everyday thoughts — A Relevant Old Soul @ 10:57 am

Two weeks from Sunday, my wonderful husband will be home!  Yeah!  I am really getting excited.  This has been the most difficult deployment of the many we have had.  I could spend this whole post talking about how much the kids miss their daddy (and they do) but instead I wanted to share why I miss my husband.

Let me first tell you a little about “My Man.”  He is of course handsome but that is not why I married him.  He is sensitive and caring.  He devoted to his country and chooses to put his uniform on and serve it with honor!  He is devoted to me and the children.  He works very long hours and is often away from us but provides for our family.  He LOVES sports and can quote you stats on almost anyone in Football and Baseball.  He is fun and funny.  He loves to laugh and makes me laugh.  He is strong but he also knows how and when to be weak.  He is of course not perfect, but he is perfect for me.  He is the person God has chosen for me to serve him alongside.  He is the GREATEST dad ever.  The children worship him.  He will cuddle with me on the couch and jump on the trampoline for hours with the kids.  He is a perfectionist at his work.  He is very laid back.  He does not rush and stress over much of anything.  He is quiet and reserved but when he does talk it is either funny or meaningful.  He is my best friend.  He knows all my flaws and all weaknesses and loves me anyway.

Anyone who has been married more than 5 years can attest to the “comfort” factor.  Especially after having children, we become very comfortable with each other.  Sometimes it is easy to take one another for granted.  Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of why we are together and that we are a couple and not just a mom and dad.

There are many reasons to miss him in our house.  Most important to me of course is getting my word count in for the day..LOL.  But really.  Talking to him.  Hanging out with him.  Just seeing him come in from work.  Cuddling at night after the kids are in bed.  Cuddling with him and the kids.  Yelling at the TV together while watching football.  Going to church as a family.  Eating dinner as a family.  Looking into his eyes when we talk about something one of the kids has accomplished.  Hearing his laugh…. Seeing him cry over mistakes and weaknesses.

It is so easy to function as a team and when half of your team is gone it becomes to difficult to win the game.  We function well together.  We get things done with little communication.  I have to admit, I do miss having help in the diaper department..LOL.

I could probably go on forever but you get the point.  We like many other marriages have had our moments.  We have had moments so severe and so stressful that I wondered if we would make it.  God has taught both of us many lessons and we both have grown up.  We have learned above all else that God has to be the center.

I love my husband and am blessed for having him as my life partner.  Together we do seek to grow in Christ, and grow in Holiness so that we may bring Glory to God alone.  We fail even after all these years but we know that God has joined us in order that he may be Glorified through our marriage.

If you are reading this honey, I love you.  I love you more today than I did yesterday.  I can not wait to be in your arms again.  Thank you God for the gift of this man.