Trusting God

25 11 2006

Abba, You long for us to truly know You. May we be ever aware of your loving gaze upon us, yes, Lord, even the secret places of our soul. You alone give us life. O Spirit, strip us bare of all pretense. Empty us of self. Cause us to yearn for You alone. As we don’t understand Your ways, Abba, grow our faith in your beautiful Sovereignty. Within You alone may we find a fountain of Life and Beauty that endures. Fill us with Jesus, our True Life. Oh, how we love You! Amen

This morning in my random blog reading I linked to this blog

http://www.lhm.ca/genDisplay2.asp?Car=Just_Breathe

I was blessed with the humble words, “Empty us of self. As we don’t understand your ways, Abba, grow our faith in your beautiful Sovereignty.” Words from a woman that has dealt with a dibilitating illness for the last 25 years. This is what she has to say:

“God has somehow, in the midst of the most trying physical and mental circumstances, transformed me to someone who sees. He has freed me to see from a “glass half full.” For years I have been a person who would say, “Life is hard, but God is good.” I would speak these words to others to encourage them to continue on when things were tough; to remember God is good. Yes, there are many hard things. There is certainly nothing noble about illness, this just happens to be one of the instruments the Lord has used in my life to show me his sufficiency, to profoundly reveal himself, to teach me dependence, to bring about brokenness and to bring yielding to his will. He will do the same working in our lives through good times; bless him, as we yield ourselves to him. One thing we all have in common is that we cannot outrun or hide from challenges in life and the stress attached to them. God knows this about our days, he tells us himself, “…in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV) In the past I would say, “Life is hard, but God is good.” to remind myself God is faithful. But inevitably, the big bad bully life really stole the show in that sentence. Within that statement the very strong implication is, “Life seems daunting and out of control, but in that out of control state God will be good to us.” This is backwards, with the focus being on the hardships in the world, which from what God is challenging me with recently, is a separate thing all together than the blessing of life and it’s untrue because God is in control not this world. He is still sovereign no matter what the day looks like and we will have no peace in our day until the Lord settles this in our hearts and souls once and for all. God has been challenging me thoroughly with this.

Each day now the Spirit of the Lord disciplines my soul to the reality of the sovereignty of God. Each day God brings clarity to this transformation he has wrought. When I was a “glass half empty” person I often joked about being like Eeyore yet wishing I was more like Tigger, but I see now that God took that very seriously. In truth, he has shown me clearly that I was not within my heart and soul settled upon, and trusting upon the Pure Sovereignty of God. In fact, I did not, in the secret places of soul, approve of or to be truly honest with you, trust all he allowed to touch my life or be said about my life. The Holy Spirit challenged me so thoroughly these past months with the realization that my pessimism had its roots in not trusting the sovereignty of God and he could not let that slide any longer because the tendrils of pessimism are too far reaching and far too damaging. In his amazing love God has settled this issue between us of his Perfect Sovereignty and he has truthfully challenged and absolutely thrilled me with the realization that my optimism is not a change of heart, not a new attitude, not new eyes nor rose colored glasses to gaze through. I have not become a Tigger personality or a Pollyanna. Instead, tenderly but resolutely I have been brought by the Lord, in an encounter with him, to the place where my soul feels it is in a restored posture, where as the beloved we are called to live, before my Sovereign God, my Creator, Sustainer, my Redeemer, the Lover of my Soul, “though You slay me, yet will I hope in You. My ears had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen You.” I have found rest here.

God has made me confident in his Perfect Sovereignty; I need not worry. My hope comes from him, in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation. Jesus will rejoice and celebrate with you; he will laugh with you in your joy. He will grieve with you and comfort you. He is able to walk upon those crashing waves in any storm you may find yourself and even though, the time may not be yet for the storm to end, he can say, “Peace, be still!” to the storm raging within so that against all odds, though your circumstances should crush you, you find Jesus instead makes you more whole than you have ever been. He is here alive and well. When he speaks, it is worth it all. He alone is Life. He is Beautiful! Life is Beautiful!”

I was so encouraged by these words my prayer is that all who read this will turn their eyes to the Lord and trust Him. He is a good and trustworthy God!

-BT

 





How does God respond to His rebellious people?

24 11 2006

For this week, I have included the link to the message from Isaiah. There is so much meat here that I can’t do a quick summary.

The title is: Judgement and Hope

http://sovgracefairfax.org/home/audio/
Here are the questions that we will be asking in our care groups. I would encourage you to ask the same questions of yourself after listening to the message. I would ask these questions in a the context of community. I don’t think they can all be answered honestly apart from the care of other believers.

1. How would you evaluate your current intake of God’s word? Can you describe one way God has spoken to you through His Word in the past week?

2. Is there an area of your life where you are aware sin may be blinding you? What is one step you can take to gain God’s perspective?

3. Is there a person in your life whom you have been seeking to address about something, yet without success? How can Isaiah 1-5 help you?

4. How does Jesus Christ emerge as the hero of Isaiah 1-5?

Next Week: CJ Mahaney will be preaching a message from Isaiah 53 entitled: “God Crushed His Son”.





Losing my life

16 11 2006

“And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”  Matthew 10:38+39″

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; You hold my lot.  The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”  Psalms 16:5+6

Have you ever found yourself in a place continually striving to find “real life?”  Asking, why am I here, who am I supposed to be, what am I supposed to do?   I believe we ask these questions at all stages of our lives.  From the teenager going to college, to the college graduate, to the single professional, to the young married couples, to young families and old, to grown and seasoned times of life.  I was inquiring of the Lord over the weekend His purposes in my life during this season, and in my daily reading came across the verses in Matthew.  We so often seek to find our life!!!  When “real life” is only found in surrender to Christ.  We are reminded that it is not in much labor or works on our part, Christ gives us rest.  And then this morning as I was signing on to write about these things I noticed my mom had posted a comment about Ps. 16.  The Lord holds our lot in life.  I want to take a moment to write out all of Psalms 16.  It is worth our time and meditation.  May you set the Lord always before you, and have the path of life made known to you.

 1Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
2I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”

3As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.

4The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.

5The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
6The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

 7I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

 9Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
10For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.

11You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

-BT

   





The Week in Review

13 11 2006

So much is taking place right now, I must start blogging more often then once a week! But alas last week did not allow for much free time. Carson was sick all week and Grace didn’t have school on Friday so I ended up nannying more hours. But in this all I see God’s grace, I was laughing with my mom last night when realizing that when you have kids of your own there is no checking out of work at the end of the day! I love these kids though. . . how could you not???

p5080084.JPG

p5080089.JPG
Last week was absolutely beautiful here, it is definitely the end of fall, but what leaves are left are gorgeous and there are definitely many leaves to rake and jump in (did that with Grace and Carson!).  Josh and I enjoyed a great meal of crock pot beef stew, had ham, squash, spinach, and beets one night.  I just wish the veggies had come from Grampy B’s garden!  I also made homemade cranberry juice which is a must try for anyone who likes the stuff! Pictures and recipe below!
Here’s the recipe

1lb Cranberries

3 cups water

Pinch of salt

1/2 sugar

2-3 orange slices

Wash the cranberries then place in pot with water, salt, and orange slices (optional). Boil over medium heat until the berries burst (about 10 min). Pour mixture into a cheesecloth lined sieve and strain juices into saucepan. You may also use a wire mesh strainer like I did but will have more pulp. Add sugar and return to boil 2-3 minutes. Taste, and add additional water and sugar to your liking.
apartment-and-cranberries-012.jpg apartment-and-cranberries-015.jpg

Here’s Josh enjoying a meal!

p5010082.JPG

Another highlight of the week was a trip to “The Barns” (you can check it out at http://www.wolftrap.org). Joshua surprised me with a ticket to see “The Battlefield Band” a Scottish contemporary band complete with fiddle, guitar, keyboards, piano, multiple flutes and of course the highland bagpipes! We weren’t allowed to take any pictures but the music was absolutely amazing! Here’s some info about the band.
http://www.battlefieldband.co.uk/

Anyhow, that’s a look into the Taylor Family world. We are filled with joy in regards to where God has us now and are learning to enjoy His presence more and more. God is good!





The Supreme Attribute of God

12 11 2006

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

-Isaiah 6:1-5 (ESV)

This morning we continued meditating on God who is holy. We learned that the supreme attribute of God is His holiness. Even last week we meditated on the fact that God’s very name is HOLY. When we see that God is holy we understand that we are not. God’s holiness is His separateness, otherness, and absolute moral purity.

Isaiah gazed at the Lord who is holy and broke. “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

If we read on in Isaiah, verses six through seven, we see that God doesn’t leave Isaiah cursed and lost, but makes provision to take away his guilt and to atone for his sin. Sound familiar?

In verses eight through nine Isaiah then answers the call to passionately and faithfully devote himself to God and his will.

Isaiah then eagerly serves God because of the passionate devotion shown to him through the grace given when earlier Isaiah found himself totally lost (undone, broken, and unclean).

As we see God, we know we are broken and lost, but there is hope because God has made provision for us through His Son, Jesus Christ who took away our guilt and atoned for our sin. Glory be to God who is Holy. Father, help us to passionately serve You!

“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”

-Hebrews 1:3-4 (ESV)





HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL, RULER OF HISTORY

6 11 2006

“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
-Isaiah 57:15 (ESV)

Yesterday in church we started a series in the book of Isaiah. Mark (senior pastor) brought us through a survey of the text. We looked at four important places, four important dates, and four important names to keep in mind as we move through the book. The story was summed up with the phrase: “God delivers, trust Him.” We looked at who God is, what hinders our trusting God, and what God promises to those who trust Him. Our banner text was the scripture above.

As the message was preached, Jesus, our Servant King took center stage as our ultimate deliverer; the rescuer of our souls. The following scriptures were shared and have increased my love for and trust in God.

Magnificent, all powerful

“Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.”
-Isaiah 40:21-23 (ESV)

He predetermines

“Have you not heard that I determined it long ago? I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass that you should make fortified cities crash into heaps of ruins.”
-Isaiah 37:26 (ESV)

Who can thwart His plans?

“He has taken away the covering of Judah. In that day you looked to the weapons of the house of the forest, and you saw that the breaches of the city of David were many. You collected the waters of the lower pool, and you counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall. You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water for the old pool. But you did not look to him who did it, or see him who planned it long ago.”
-Isaiah 22:8-11 (ESV)

No partiality in judgment

“Behold the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the slave, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the creditor, so with the debtor. The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered; for the Lord has spoken this word.”
-Isaiah 24:1-3 (ESV)

Absolute victory through Jesus Christ!

“He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from the earth, for the Lord has spoken.”
-Isaiah 25:8 (ESV)

I hope you too are encouraged to put all of your trust in God who created you, rescued you, and who will swallow up death forever.

-JT





A Promise to My Mom

5 11 2006

I promised my mom I’d post some pictures of our apartment. Here are the “before pictures.” As in before we paint. Painting is scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend. . .be sure to check back for some very exciting home improvements.

apartment-and-cranberries-004.jpg

Our Dining area with my dried roses on the wall -I have such a great husband!

apartment-and-cranberries-005.jpg

Living room #1

apartment-and-cranberries-006.jpg

Living room #2

apartment-and-cranberries-007.jpg

Living room #3

apartment-and-cranberries-008.jpg

Our Bathroom

apartment-and-cranberries-009.jpg

Our bedroom

apartment-and-cranberries-010.jpg

Our messy office/spare bedroom

apartment-and-cranberries-011.jpg

So there it is. . . the tour of the Taylor household!!!