Inexpressible Joy

The small book, A Gospel Primer has blessed me time and time again.  Recently, this portion on thankfulness was incredibly encouraging to me.

Thankfulness Enriched by Relief
The more absorbed I am in the gospel, the more grateful I become in the midst of my circumstances, whatever they may be.
Viewing life’s blessings as water in a drinking cup, I know that I could discontentedly focus on the half of the cup that seems empty, or I could gratefully focus on the half that is full. Certainly, the latter approach is the better of the two, yet the gospel cultivates within me a richer gratitude than this.
The gospel reminds me first that what I actually deserve from God is a full cup churning with the torments of His wrath. This is the cup that would be mine to drink if I were given what I deserve each day. With this understanding in mind, I see that to be handed a completely empty cup from God would be cause enough for infinite gratitude. If there were merely the tiniest drop of blessing contained in that otherwise empty cup, I should be blown away by the unbelievable kindness of God toward me.
That God, in fact, has given me a cup that is full of “every spiritual blessing in Christ,” and this without the slightest admixture of wrath, leaves me truly dumbfounded with inexpressible joy. As for my specific earthly circumstances of plenty or want, I can see them always as infinite improvements on the hell I deserve.
When I look at any circumstance that God apportions me, I am first grateful for the wrath I am not receiving in that moment (the empty part of the cup never looked so good!).
Secondly, I am grateful for the blessings that are given to me instead of His wrath. (Life’s blessings, however small, always appear exceedingly precious when viewed against the backdrop of the wrath I deserve.) This two-layered gratitude disposes my heart to give thanks in all things and it also lends a certain intensity to my giving of thanks. Such a gospel-generated gratitude glorifies God, contributes to peace of mind, and keeps my foot from the path of foolishness and ruin.
M. Vincent – A Gospel Primer

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>my life.

>My days are somewhat crazy, chaotic and mundane these days. I feel like I pretty much do the same thing all day long, every day. Things like making breakfast, cleaning up messes, homeschooling the older kiddos, training a toddler, caring for a baby, making lunch, cleaning up more messes, keeping said toddler out of trouble, doing more school, wearing said baby on my hip when she’s a crank, making dinner, and then welcoming home my wonderful hubby with joy, kisses and any extra energy I have!

I’m more convinced than ever that being a mom is really all about my own personal sanctification process. It is in these daily, mundane moments that I know God is after my heart in so many different ways. Here are some things I’ve been learning and reminding myself of recently …

1. I need to be dependent on God each and every day. “In the end, our highest goal each day is not flawless execution of our plans or increased productivity. It’s our relationship with God, walking in dependence upon Him throughout the day. We should not be more consumed with the completion of our to-do list than pleasing and glorifying the Savior. Whether we’re sitting down to map out our day, simplifying our to-do list, or receiving an interruption as a “sovereign delivery,” we must, above all, plan to depend.” Carolyn Mahaney

2. I need to grow in patience. “Impatience is a form of unbelief. It’s what we begin to feel when we start to doubt the wisdom of God’s guidance. It springs up in our hearts when our plan is interrupted or shattered. The opposite of impatience is not a glib denial of loss. It’s a deepening, ripening, peaceful willingness to wait for God in the unplanned place of obedience, and to walk with God at the unplanned pace of obedience – to wait in his place, and go at his pace. And the key is faith in future grace. … the strength of patience hangs on our capacity to believe that God is up on something good for us in all our delays and detours. This requires great faith in future grace, because the evidence is seldom evident.” John Piper

3. I need to remind myself of what I deserve; I have been given so much more than I deserve. “Jesus died as my substitute. He went to the cross in my place. Therefore, the cross proclaims this truth: I deserve crucifixion. I don’t deserve good things from God. Anything short of crucifixion is infinite grace bestowed by a loving God on someone utterly unworthy. The cross not only removes just punishment, it brings all joy … so, rejoice! No matter how bad your circumstances, you are getting better than you deserve. Anyone who sees self-pity through the lens of the cross will increasingly detest this sin and flee it. The alternative to the self-imposed misery of self-pity is God-given joy and thankfulness.” William Farley

4. I need to daily remind myself of my primary responsibilities as a mom:
~Use every opportunity to point my children to their need for Christ
~Train them to obey God by honoring and obeying their parents
~Teach them wisdom
~Train them in righteousness
~Pray for them
~Be a godly example

*This means that it is ok when the house doesn’t look perfect, the laundry isn’t caught up, the kitchen floor is sticky and we have breakfast for dinner (for the 2nd time in one week).

He will tend to his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom,and gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11

I am so thankful for my daily portion of grace.

>Growth in Grace

>There are some of your graces that would never be discovered if it were not for your trials.
For how can you know that you have faith until your faith is exercised? Depend upon it – God often sends us trails so that our graces may be discovered and that we may be convinced of their existence. Besides, it is not merely discovery; real growth in grace is the result of sanctified trials.
God often takes away our comforts and our privileges in order to make us better Christians. He trains His soldiers not in tents of ease and luxury, but by turning them out and subjecting them to forced marches and hard service.
Is the Lord bringing out your graces and making them grow?
It is for this reason …

Trials make the promise sweet;
Trials give new life to prayer;
Trials bring me to His feet,
Lay me low, and keep me there.

C.H. Spurgeon – Morning & Evening – 2/18 a.m.

>Growth in Grace

>Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – 2 Peter 3:18

Grow in grace – not in one grace only but in all grace.
Grow in that root-grace, faith.
Believe the promises more firmly than you have done.
Let faith increase in fullness, constancy, simplicity.

Grow also in love.
Ask that your love may become extended, more intense,
more practical, influencing every thought, word and deed.

Grow likewise in humility.
Seek to lie very low and know more of your own nothingness.
As you grow downward in humility, seek also to grow upward
having nearer approaches to God in prayer
and more intimate fellowship with Jesus.

May God the Holy Spirit enable you to,
“grow in … the knowledge of our Lord and Savior.”
He who grows not in the knowledge of Jesus,
refuses to be blessed.
To know Him is “life eternal,”
and to advance in the knowledge of Him
is to increase in happiness.
He who does not long to know more of Christ,
knows nothing of Him yet.

… If you do not desire to know Him better, then you love Him not,
for love always cries, “Nearer, nearer.”
Absence from Christ is hell;
but the presence of Jesus is heaven.
Do not rest content without an increasing acquaintance with Jesus.

Seek to know more of Him in His divine nature,
in His human relationship, in His finished work,
in His death, in His resurrection,
in His present glorious intercession,
and in His future royal advent.

Live close to the the Cross,
and search the mystery of His wounds.
An increase of love to Jesus,
and a more perfect apprehension of His love to us
is one of the best tests of growth in grace.
Spurgeon – Morning & Evening – 1/4 a.m.

As I read this entry during my devotions I was freshly challenged to grow in grace. I pray that my love will be come more intense, influencing every thought, word and deed. I pray that I grow in humility and know more of my nothingness, so that in turn I can have nearer approaches to God in prayer and more intimate fellowship with Jesus. I long to know more of Christ.

May this be the desire of your heart, so that you can grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

>Grace

>On the opening night at New Attitude, Curtis Allen (aka the Voice), who is a christian rapper spoke a word meditation on the word grace. As I have meditated on these truths it has blessed my soul and given new life to the word Grace.

Grace …
Unmerited favor toward those who deserve wrath.
Unmerited favor toward those who because of sin wouldn’t desire to ask.
Unmerited but given, inherited our sinning.

Grace …
Is salvation from predestination, Christ gave his life to change our destination.
Is good health, when we deserve bad.
It is unmerited favor to those who deserve wrath.
Is good relationships with God and with others.
Is the reason we call each other brothers.
Grace forgets mistakes and gives new air to breathe.
It the reason we sing, we pray and we read.
Grace is the warm breeze when it’s cold and the cool breeze when it’s hot.
Grace would be everything but some things it’s not.

Wrath …
Intense hatred for sin.
Is God righteous judgment for crime against him.
Is just as much God as Mercy, Love, and forbearance.
It is Holy and Just and will make it’s appearance.
Is that reality we like to forget, when we lie, when we steal, when we hate God.
Is the result, of the sins of our faults becase of the fall.
Is Jesus, who did nothing, who said nothing but is everything,nbeaten 39 times with a whip that rips with an incredible sting.
Is having a crown of thorns pressed down to your eyes.
Is being innocent but yet crucified.
Is real as said in His word.
Is toward those who deserve.

Toward you …
Do you think you do not deserve when God says judgment comes at every careless word?
Do you think wrath is somewhat true?
Do you realize that wrath should come after you, but yet, no, where wrath says goodbye grace says hello.

Unmerited favor ..
You did not, you will not, ever earn.
It is a gift that is free, it is a gift that is learned

Grace, grace, grace paid for my sins and brought me to life.
Grace, grace, grace paid for my sins and brought me to Christ.
Unmerited yet inherited, ah, grace amazing grace.

Grace …
Is God’s Response At Christ’s Expense.
Is God Remembers All Christ Events.
Is God’s Reaction Against Creation’s enmity.
Is God Relents Against Christ’s enemies.
Is what the world sees but does not grasp but for us.

Grace is unmerited favor toward those who deserve wrath.