In This Chair

Chair

this chair

In this chair, I rock;
My sweet baby I see.
Eyebrows, ear lobes, toes that wiggle;
A frown, a smile, and a giggle.

In this chair, I nurse;
Day, and nighttime, too.
She roots and pats and even whines;
For the comfort that I provide.

In this chair, I weep;
Such tears I’d never known.
Tired, weary, and petrified;
Yet even these things pass with time.

In this chair, I pray:
God, keep this little one.
Protect her slumber, day and night;
Reveal to her Your shining Light.

In this chair, I love;
How much? Words cannot say.
What precious moments that we share;
I rock my baby in this chair.

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About That Day or Hour

There is no need to worry about when the world will end. It will not end before the Son returns. About that, Jesus said this:

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Matthew 24: 36-44)

Jesus tells us to not worry about when He will return. We should only consider that He will and we must be ready. It is wise, therefore, to always be ready.

Do not fret about the signs of the end times (you cannot predict His coming).

Do not worry about predictions man makes (not even Jesus knows the day or the hour).

We should not worry about when it will happen. We already know that it will.

Are you ready?

The Heart: Part 2

Yesterday, I told you that from our heart, our emotions escape us (most often out of our mouths, but in other ways too).

In the same way that we can follow emotions from the heart to our outward expressions, we can trace every behavior and expression back to the heart. In this way, every sin or foolish act is a heart issue. If we want to deal with that sin or folly, we have to examine the heart.

A murderer first sins in the heart, usually by allowing anger to dwell there. An adulterer first sins in the heart, by not repenting of jealousy or lust. A thief first sins in the heart, coveting; a glutton, maybe by allowing sadness to take up residence in the heart. By not evicting negative emotions, we sin.

In fact, Jesus said that anger in the heart is akin to murder (Matt. 5:21-24); that lust in the heart is equivalent to adultery in the flesh (Matt. 5:27-28). By allowing negative emotions to reside in our hearts, we pollute our bodies and minds, and our lives become tainted with them.

However, it is not sufficient to address the behavior or sinful action (as many behavioral counselors attempt to do)–we must consider the heart. To rehabilitate a murderer, it is not enough to say “don’t murder again.” That sinner needs to know Jesus because only God can cure the rage in the heart. For the adulterer to have any hope at all, that sinner needs to know Jesus, as only God can reorient the heart back home. You cannot simply tell the glutton to stop eating so much; the glutton needs Jesus to change the heart, so that the sinner seeks God instead of food, for comfort!

I struggle with sin in my life, but I know that I cannot help myself. I need Jesus in order to have a change of heart (a phrase used too loosely today). Without God, I can do nothing to save myself. But through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God’s grace covered me and gave me a new heart. Amen!

The Heart: Part 1

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
Proverbs 4:23

I have begun a new journey of discovering who God is and how I am supposed to live my life. My textbooks? Psalms and Proverbs. The palms teach us about God, His miracles and His character. The proverbs teach us about the Christian, his nature, his sin and his purpose. I have set a new goal of reading Psalms and Proverbs daily, finishing both every month, which requires that I read 5 chapters of Psalms and 1 chapter of Proverbs each day. Some months, I will have to read more than that to finish (30-day months and February).

Today, the above proverb resounded with me and, amazingly, many verses in the psalms I read coordinated with this “heart” theme.

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Psalms 19:14

Jesus echoed the proverb many times over in His teaching. “For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34); “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean’ ” (Matt. 15:18); “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks” (Luke 6.45). And those are probably only a few examples.

Therefore, we can follow every sinful thought/feeling up and out of the heart. Every thought and feeling is expressed in some way: speech, tone of voice, facial expression, body language, conduct and behavior. When your husband angers you, maybe you don’t yell at him, but you withhold your affection for a while, or slam doors and cabinets, or punish him with silence. When he saddens you, maybe you don’t approach him in tears, but you mope around the house or comfort yourself with food.

I am a cabinet-slamming, comfort-food-eating, pout-er. That is how I usually express anger and sadness, unfortunately. But it is not healthy to allow these negative emotions to dwell in my heart. The proverb says my heart is “the wellspring” of my life! An angry or sad heart yields an angry or sad life. Surely you’ve met women like this… you wonder how their heart even beats, it seems so calloused and rough. I do not want to be that woman, that complaining woman whose face is void of laugh lines, but filled with valleys from constantly crinkling her nose and eyebrows!

Where is my hope, then? In God! He can redeem my negative emotions! If I open my heart to His teaching and discipline, I can learn to be filled with joy, instead. I have seen this miracle at work in my life, when God has convicted me of pride and taught me humility. He illuminates my sin and folly and brings me to repentance.

Are you asking how this happens? The answer is prayer. When I get angry, I pray. After a few minutes of ranting to God about whatever my husband has “done to anger me,” the inevitable happens: my sin and folly is exposed before me. Oh. So it’s not his fault, but mine? So it doesn’t matter what he did–it’s my reaction that is the problem? I repent to God and ask for the strength to humble myself before my husband and ask his forgiveness, too. And when I do that, another miraculous thing happens. Usually, my husband is encouraged by my humble heart to also repent of his sin and folly!

Whether we want to admit it or not, our actions are usually the outbursts of our hearts. Every emotion can be followed out of the heart, and most often, out of the mouth. We can cut off this highway by erecting a barricade of prayer, and God will redirect traffic appropriately. Blessed is He!

Tomorrow: tracing actions and speech back to the heart.

Bible Challenge: Week 13

This is another installment to my weekly Bible Challenge posts. Choose the category “Bible Challenge” on the right to read more entries, and read the Introduction post for some background.

Monday:
I didn’t read.

Tuesday: 1 Timothy 4:1-16, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Galatians 5:1-15
Since the Bible study I’m using actually goes by the date, I decided to play catch-up today from not reading Sunday or Monday. I am journalling about this study on my computer and am enjoying it so far. The lessons are brief, but thought-provoking, and the extra questions on the side are interesting. The two questions that went along with 1 Corinthians actually stumped me for a while, but more reading and quiet thinking produced some answers.

I hope to maybe revisit this journalling in the future as I gain more understanding of the scripture. I am curious to see if my answers would change.

Wednesday: Romans 8:28-39
This day’s reading was about “discipline with direction.” Instead of elaborating here, I’ve posted a separate blog post about today’s reading.

Thursday: 1 Timothy 1:1-11

Friday: 2 Timothy 3:12-17
These few days I’ve spent a lot of time in 1 and 2 Timothy, which I have read before, but not studied much. These two letters are quite interesting though, and I am learning a lot.

I am enjoying the daily Bible study I’m doing. Each day’s reading and accompanying passage is short and includes two questions at the end. I’ve been journalling through this, discussing the passage and my thoughts and then answering the two questions. Some of the questions have been difficult, but I’ve managed to answer them all and have learned a lot in the process.

I’m not doing my reading in the “Shirkers and Slackers” program, just the study stuff. I didn’t want to overwhelm myself and take on too much at once. I may pick up the other again later on. I hope that Nate and I will start reading out of the S&S program each night, while I do the other study on my own.

Saturday: 1 Timothy 4:1-16
Yes, this passage is the same as a few days ago, but the focal verse was different.

Sunday:
I didn’t read or do my study today. Nate and I spent the entire day being lazy, as I like to do before starting another semester. It was an enjoyable day and before I knew it, we were in bed falling asleep and I realized I hadn’t done my study. I plan to do today’s study tomorrow along with that day in order to catch up.