Archive for July 31st, 2007

I woke up very tired this morning…too short a night that followed a week of very long days and short nights. Perfect prescription for crankiness. But God is greater and I am thankful.

I woke up with a lightness in my heart this morning. I am singing to the Lord and finding nuggets of wonder in His Word. I haven’t felt this lightness of heart in a long, long time.

So my mind wants to know “what changed?” “what did I do that made the difference?” Was it our study in Philippians (the “book of joy”)? We made a hard decision last night, but was it having the decision behind us that brought a certainty (in the midst of uncertainty) that lightened my heart? Was it a major new project that I’ve committed to that has given me joyful energy this morning?

I think the most accurate answer to the question “What did I do that made the difference?” is that I did very, very little. God is sovereign and in His sovereignty, He said “now.” He said “enough” to the heaviness and “now” to the joy. Yes, I obediently and to the best of my limited ability put myself in a place where He could bless me — I continued to read, pray, join with other believers, worship, journal and study — but I have been doing those things all along with seemingly little impact or result. But God.

In that last paragraph is one of the biggest lies the enemy feeds us — “with seemingly little impact or result.” Last week as Phil & I talked about this decision we needed to make I said (clearly speaking through the Holy Spirit because my heart was discouraged at the time) “We are fools if we don’t believe in our hearts that God is working behind the scenes in this and has or is preparing a perfect answer for us.” Those little actions that seemingly have no impact have impact in the spiritual world — impact that we can’t always see or know. But they have impact! It just takes God’s timing for us to see the result.

Yep, I know this is motherhood, but it’ motherhood that I need to be reminded of over and over again. That God is moving on my (and your) behalf and that my prayers and my obedience have impact even when when I don’t see it.

Because one day I woke up with a lightness of heart. Will it stay light or will the first three phone calls snuff it out? I don’t know, but I do know that it’s lighter than it’s been and I trust that it’ll be lighter still as I continue “keeping on” in Christ.

Grace and peace! Coming to a heart near you…

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A small group of us are studying the book of Philippians. Last night we did chapter 1. So much good stuff, I had to blog a little about it. Today I’ll share briefly about Paul’s greeting. Tomorrow (or at least some day soon), I’ll share about “abounding in love.”

Paul’s greeting in the letter is twofold — a salutation and a blessing. The blessing is “grace and peace to you.” Pretty simple. But we looked at the words.

Grace — The word for grace is “charis” which means not just the unmerited favor we receive from God, but also it’s “reflection in [our] life” according to Strong’s Greek Dictionary. I don’t often think of that when I think of grace. When I pray “grace,” I’m not just praying for God’s favor to be shown to someone (or myself), I’m also praying for the reflection of that grace — the outward expression of it in our lives. That’s pretty cool! It’s like the prayer is doing double-duty or has double power. I’m not sure why, but this has me pretty jazzed.

Peace — Not the absence of conflict, but a restoration to oneness, quietness and rest. That sounds a whole lot more like a spiritual thing to me than a relational thing. My spirit so often needs to be restored to oneness with God, to experience quietness and rest in the midst of a crazy world. I’m reminded of the spiritual formation “exercises” or practices that I’ve largely allowed to fall by the wayside.

Paul blessed the Philippians with grace and peace at a time when they were experiencing persecution — being falsely accused, arrested and thrown in prison. He was saying “may your soul be at rest with the Father and your life be a reflection of His grace in your life.” Wow! all that in just 3 words — “grace and peace.”

Grace and peace, friends.

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