Thursday, January 24, 2008

I Am An Angry Person

"That just frustrates me."

"I'm just irritated."

"They disappointed me."

"It's just that time of the month."

"I'm just being hormonal."

"She just knows how to press my buttons."

"If she would obey the first time, I wouldn't have to raise my voice to get the point across."

"He just rubs me the wrong way."

"That just hurt my feelings."

Oh my, how many times I have uttered those phrases. Too many to count. I always thought they were legitimate claims. But, I'm learning they're cop-outs.

"What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder (according to Jesus in Matthew 5:21 that is the same as being angry in your heart toward someone). You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." James 4:1 - 3

All of the statements I listed above are just expressions of my dislike for not being the center of the world. I'm frustrated, irritated, disappointed, irritable, rubbed the wrong way and hurt because things don't go MY way. It all boils down to that. I get angry because I don't get what I want.

Can I say that it is a hard thing to admit that I am an angry person?? It sounds so...harsh. But, man, it's true. Thankfully, the text goes on to say...

"But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, 'God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you. Do not speak evil against one another brothers. The one who speaks evil against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?" James 4:6 - 12

Lord, thank you for your grace...your beautiful, scandalous grace...the grace that covers my sin...the grace that forgives...the grace that exposes my broken and deceitful heart...the grace that enables me to repent and draw near to you...the grace that enlarges my heart to love and serve others instead of wanting to only be loved and served by others. Thank you for the wonderful cross by which all of this is possible.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Night with Buzz Light-year, Jasmine and the Carebears

Tonight was a low-key family night. It all began with a mid-afternoon trip to Grapevine Mills, where we snagged super cheap Disney costumes (Buzz Light-year cost $2.50!). After a couple of rides on the carousel, we headed back home with a few stops on the way: dinner, Wal-Mart and Blockbuster. The trip to Blockbuster resulted in renting The Carebears' Movie and Pan's Labyrinth. I'll let you guess who rented which. Happy Friday Night, everyone!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Weight of Sin: My Reward and His Joy

A few posts ago I mentioned Venture, the gathering of the people of our church to fast and toil in prayer for whatever purpose God designs. It has been gloriously painful. There's just something about fasting from food the whole day, feeling the hunger pangs, sipping on water or lemonade or Dr. Pepper trying to curb it (yes, when I fast I still drink Dr. Pepper...I have fasted from Dr. Pepper was good...and I might do it again...emphasis on "might") but just not being enough. My soul aches as my body aches.

Now, I'm kind of a grumpy person when I don't eat food. Ask Matt or Audrey, and there's no "kind of" about it. It literally breaks me down. That means that when I walk into our sanctuary at 7 o'clock without food all day, I am raw. My spirit is raw, my emotions are raw. I am just plain vulnerable.

So last Wednesday, I had a breakdown of sorts. Opportunity to sin crept in and my flesh reacted with ferocity. Sitting in the 90's-style teal-blue chairs in the sanctuary, I broke into tears. A flood opened up. I felt the weight of my sin. The weight of self-pity and striving to live life on my terms. It was heavy. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't control the tears, they just poured forth whether I liked it or not. Little did I know that that was my reward.

I ran across this text yesterday: And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:16 - 18)

Our reward may not come wrapped in the package we think it may not have pink and white polka dotted paper or beautiful might be a little bit ugly. It might come wrapped in toilet paper. Or tears. Or heaviness. Or feeling the weight of our sin.

So I was thinking about the weight of sin. And I was thinking about Jesus. And I was thinking about the cross. The full weight of my sin, of Matt's sin, of the woman caught in adultery's sin, of the thief's sin, of Saul, the murderer's sin, of countless number of other people's sin fell on Jesus. The weight. The heaviness. The same heaviness I felt squeezing my chest tight and wringing the tears from my eyes times a billion.

But He was innocent. Completely blameless. Yet He chose it. He chose the suffering. He chose to feel the full weight of sin.

So, my heart aches, but it finds joy and solace. It is my turn my attention from my sin to the perfect work of Jesus. Feeling a godly sorrow that leads to repentance. But..."forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize (the reward) of the upward call of God in Christ."

"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us..." Galatians 3:13

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1 - 2

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Word to Sustain the Weary

Today has been a heavy-hearted day for me. I am thankful that He supplied me with a word to sustain me...a beautiful word...Grace.

"He's a God of glorious grace. God's grace means that I can rest assured that I'll have everything I need to be what he wants me to be and to do what he wants me to do in the situation in which he's placed me. I'm no longer restricted to the limits of my own strength and wisdom. By his grace, I've a new identity and a new potential. I'm a child of God; the risen Christ now lives inside of me. I need no longer fear people or circumstances; I don't have to feel weak in the face of suffering or temptation, because I no longer rest in the resources of my own ability. I'm in Christ and he's in me. This new identity gives me new potential as I face the realities of life in this bent and broken world. God's grace gives me reason to 'take heart.'"

(Taken from Paul Tripp's blog)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Our first family experience at Kobe Sushi & Steaks...

Family Pic!

The walruses.

Reid's reaction to the chef catching the cooktop on fire. Terror & Awe.

Monday, January 7, 2008

My Prima Ballerina

Audrey started a ballet/tap class today. Aside from taking a few classes last year, this is pretty new to her. Though she loves to dance, she loves what she gets to wear even more.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Venture 2

Our church has this thing we do every once in a while...pretty much whenever we feel the Lord moving us that way. We think we know how it will go...what will be said...what we will ask of the Lord. Then God steps in and says, "Here's why I've gathered over 500 people in your building for an hour and a half." That sort of happened last night.

Last night, we praised and worshiped the Lord in His Greatness through song and through intercession. Particularly, we interceded for three families in our midst who are experiencing the Greatness of God through the trial of pain and suffering. That almost sounds like a paradox...surely a juxtaposition within the sentence. I can't begin to imagine the ache of their experiences but I can feel the heartache of laboring with them in prayer. And how it is labor.

If you're up to it, I would appreciate your prayers for the following families:

The Ledbetters (whom I have posted about before)
The Steinbachs
Del & Gerry Steele (Del is an elder and a "father" of our church; he is battling an aggressive cancer.)

Thank you.