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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>Thankfulness

>I absolutely love Milton Vincent’s small, yet fully loaded book of gospel truths: A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love. Back when I first started reading it, I had printed it out from Vincent’s church website to use. Then eventually I got the spiral bound book that was available to buy. Recently, it was published as a larger (more gospel truths!) book and I was excited to purchase it. The expanded edition, although still less than 100 pages is a wonderful supplement to my daily devotions and I highly recommend it if you don’t already own it!

Today I was reading this portion on thankfulness …

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

I pray that I would daily remember the cup that I have been given, and that whatever my circumstances are, I would give thanks in all things!

>Gratefulness

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In case anyone is wondering, we are alive! And I’m even full of faith that the temporary “survival mode” season of life that I’ve been living in is decreasing. Most of you are probably aware that this pregnancy has been unlike all of the others I’ve had in that I have been feeling quite sick around the clock for the past 6 weeks. I’ve had to completely re-evaluate my priorities to make sure that the necessities happen … you know, things like making sure the kiddos eat breakfast, lunch and dinner … have clothes to wear (although they do love pajama days!) … and well that’s about it! To be completely honest, I haven’t been able to do much of anything until this past week. Let’s just say the kiddos have been enjoying Mommy reading from the sofa, Mothering from the sofa and giving lots of TLC from the sofa (if I could’ve made their meals from the sofa I probably would have).

One night after dinner while we were waiting for everyone in our caregroup to arrive, I happened to be sitting on the sofa. Hailey kindly said to me, “Mommy, why are you sitting on the sofa instead of laying?” It gave Brian and I a good laugh … to which I said “that pretty much sums up how the kiddos think of me these days.”

But in all seriousness, as I have sought to walk this season of life in joy amidst somewhat difficult circumstances I have often meditated on all that I have to be grateful for … here are some of those things …

~My love … Brian has gone above and beyond in serving me by doing everything and anything … on top of working hard all week, he comes home in the evenings full of joy in anticipation for the ways he can serve me each and every night. And on the weekends he has been Super Dad entertaining the kiddos so I can rest, doing laundry, meal prep, dishes, cleaning … all of the things that I typically stay on top of during the week.

~My Mom … my Mom has gone out of her way to make sure that I am surviving each week. On top of her already busy schedule, she has come to pick up the kiddos on more than once occasion and take them back to their place for a few days. But of course before she leaves with the kiddos, she makes sure to bring me dinner, get my wash caught up and clean my bathroom … all while have my 3 little kiddos follow her around! Let’s just say they’ve seen so much of Mimi over the past month that it isn’t rare to hear my own kiddos calling me Mimi!

~My Mother-in-law … although in a very busy season where their schedule is full, she has also managed to make a trip to our place and bring with her enough food to last us a few nights. She also regularly checks in on me to see how I’m feeling and encourage me for which I am grateful!

~My Sis-in-law … Brian’s sister, Krista spent almost her entire spring break here at my place while Brian was in FL for a week on business. Not only did the kiddos love having her here, but it served me tremendously as the days are a bit longer when Daddy isn’t around.

~Our Church/Caregroup … as soon as word got out that I was living in survival mode we have been surrounded by the care of our friends. By helping out with the kiddos, babysitting, bringing meals … so many have blessed us time and time again to make this season a bit easier for us.

~Sickness … even though I do pray that one of these days the sickness vanishes, I am aware that feeling sick while pregnant is typically a good sign that all is well with the little one. Since we got pregnant right after we miscarried, I knew that it might be a temptation to worry and become anxious about the baby. However, due to feeling sick I haven’t had much time to worry and be anxious! God has been faithful to answer my prayers and draw my attention to His goodness and trust that He has the perfect, sovereign plan for the little one growing inside me.

~Kiddos … Hailey, Justin and Sydney are so sweet. Hailey regularly asks me what she can do to be a helper … by sweeping the floors after each meal, putting laundry away, dusting, tidying up the house she is the best 5 year old helper I could ask for! They all love to give my belly (yes, I have a little belly!) kisses and ask at least once every day when the baby is coming out. We are blessed!

~I am grateful that my greatest need has already been met and that I have all I ever need …

All I Ever Need
The gospel serves as the means by which God daily constructs me into what He wants me to be and also serves as the channel through which He gives me my inheritance every day of my Christian life. Hence, it could be said that the gospel contains all that I need for life and godliness. It is for this reason that God tells me to be steadfastly entrenched in the gospel at all times and never to allow myself to be moved from there. The mere fact that God tells me to stay inside the gospel at all times must mean that he intends to supply all of my needs as long as I am abiding in that glorious location.
M. Vincent/A Gospel Primer

>Loving my Brothers and Sisters

>The more I experience the gospel, the more there develops within me a yearning affection for my fellow-Christians who are also participating in the glories of the gospel. This affection for them comes loaded with confidence in their continued spiritual growth and ultimate glorification, and it becomes my pleasure to express to them this loving confidence regarding the ongoing work of God in their lives.
Additionally, with the gospel proving itself to be such a boon in my own life, I realize that the greatest gift I can give to my fellow-Christians is the gospel itself. Indeed, I love my fellow-Christians not simply because of the gospel, but I love them best when I am loving them with the gospel! And I do this not merely by speaking gospel words to them, but also by living before them and generously relating to them in a gospel manner. Imparting my life to them in this way, I thereby contribute to their experience fo the power, the Spirit, and the full assurance of the gospel.
By preaching the gospel to myself each day, I nurture the bond that unites me with my brothers and sisters for whom Christ died, and I also keep myself well-versed in the raw materials with which I may actively love them in Christ.
M. Vincent, A Gospel Primer

>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.