Praise & Thanksgiving

sing-praise-thanksgiving-550x320“O My God,

Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects, my heart admires, adores, loves, thee, for my little vessel is as full as it can be, and I would pour out all that fullness before thee in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with thee

  • ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
  • ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
  • ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart, crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless thee for the soul thou hast created, for adorning it, sanctifying it, though it is fixed in barren soil;

  • for the body thou hast given me,
  • for preserving its strength and vigor,
  • for providing senses to enjoy delights,
  • for the ease and freedom of my limbs,
  • for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;
  • for thy royal bounty providing my daily support,
  • for a full table and overflowing cup,
  • for appetite, taste, sweetness,
  • for social joys of relatives and friends,
  • for ability to serve others,
  • for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
  • for a mind to care for my fellow-men,
  • for opportunities of spreading happiness around,
  • for loved ones in the joys of heaven,
  • for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.

I love thee above the powers of language to express, for what thou art to thy creatures.

Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.”

~ The Valley of Vision

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Go hug your wife.

How-To-Love-Your-WifeGentlemen: Your responsibility in your marriage is not contingent upon how well your wife fulfills hers.

Joy is loving and serving and delighting in your best friend – for the glory of God alone.

Go hug your wife.

“Let your clothes be white all the time, and let not oil be lacking in your head. Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 9:8-9

What do you see? SHEEP!

Many people look at the people around them in their church and see:

often confused,

easily wandering,

mostly dirty, 

sometimes gullible,

always needing to be hand-fed,

SHEEP.

This is more like what I see…

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If all you see when you look at your brethren in Christ is their mistakes and missteps – then you are not looking at them as God looks at them; through the soul-cleansing blood of Christ.

From God’s perspective His children are clean, colorfully unique and on their way to heaven.  Not because of anything that we have done in order to earn heaven, but rather because of what God has done through His one and only begotten Son, Jesus Christ (see Acts 4:12; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 10:9-10; 1 John 5:10-13).

The Apostle Paul, speaking to and about the PEOPLE in Thessalonica, said: “For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not YOU? For YOU are our glory and joy.” 1 Thess. 2:19 (emphasis added)

Are you kidding me, Paul?  People should be our glory and joy?

Yes.

The only thing we can take with us into eternity are other sinners – by grace alone, through faith alone (see Ephesians 2:8-10).

Blessed & Challenged

931210_617913124887606_615344544_nWhen Jenny and I were first married we had all kinds of ideas, goals, and plans. After twenty years I am so glad that God is in control and not us! Among our various conversations during the first few years was something like this: “So. When we are ready to have children, how many do you think we should have?” And the response, “Oh, I don’t know…definitely three, maybe four.” (As though it were entirely up to us rather than God; see Psalm 127:3 & 139:13-14.)

Thinking back I can’t help but cringe at our brazen audacity (that’s a nice way of saying self-centered, self-serving, thinking). At the same time, it is equally wonderful to think back and recognize God’s patience with us and amazing grace extended to us!

Today? Well, today we have the joy of seeing God’s manifest blessings in our home. Each one is totally unique and individually an absolute treasure. Nathan is a poet. Jordan is an athlete. Hannah is a voracious reader. Josiah is a hard-working cowboy. Lydia is gentle and sweet and tender and sometimes not gentle. Grace is an aspiring princess. And Caleb is beginning to reveal a very complex (and fun) personality.

To top it all off, God has blessed me with a beautiful, wonderful, long-suffering, spirit-filled, Christ-exalting, God-honoring wife whom I adore, favor, and love passionately! Oh wait…I was talking about the kids.

Anyway. I wanted to share a couple quotes that really blessed and really challenged me today:

“In the family, life is brought not only to our doorstep, but into our kitchens, bedrooms, and dens. In the family, life is happening all around us, and it begs to be questioned, evaluated, interpreted, and discussed. There is no more consistent, pregnant, dynamic forum for instruction about life than the family, because that is exactly what God designed the family to be, a learning community.” ~ Paul David Tripp

“An ideal Christian home ought to be a place where love rules. It ought to be beautiful, bright, joyous, full of tenderness and affection, a place in which all are growing happier and holier each day. There should never be any discord, any wrangling, any angry words or bitter feelings. The home-life should be a harmonious song without one marring note, day after day. The home, no matter how humble it is, how plain, how small – should be the dearest spot on the earth to each member of the family. It should be made so happy a place, and so full of life, that no matter where one may wander in after years, in any of the ends of the earth – his home should still hold its invisible cords of influence about him, and should ever draw resistless upon his heart. It ought to be the one spot in all the earth, to which he would turn first, when in trouble or in danger. It should be his refuge, in every trial and grief.” ~ J.R. Miller (1882)