Monday, January 14, 2013

I Lift Up My Soul

I am totally guilty of being a joy seeker. When I don't have joy, I am very aware of it, and I can't go too long without it before asking God to restore His joy in me. If I am not living with joy, I am not living in His hope. Without hope, well, we all know what it's like to not have hope and it's not pretty.

So, when I read this post on John Pipers blog, It very much spoke to me. A Very Short Prayer for Joy Seekers by Tony Reinke:

At the very points in my life when my soul feels most dry and joyless, I often find myself most spiritually speechless. I'm stuck. And when I get stuck in this inarticulate joyless state I turn to the Psalms. There my plea finds its language.
In a lot of ways, Psalm 86 is like the Lord’s Prayer. It's a ready-made prayer for our daily lives — short and simple, yet deeply profound. In it we read this plea:
Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. (Psalm 86:4)
Short. Simple. Articulate. And life-giving.
What is the psalmist praying for?
First, he asks to be gladdened, gladdened to his core, gladdened to every corner of his life. He seeks happiness, even in the midst of what appears for him to be painful life circumstances. Like all of us, he seeks joy for his life. And to find his joy, the psalmist prayerfully lifts up his soul to God.
Lifting the soul is a metaphor of childlike dependence and trust. It is also an act of confidence, a focused and single-hearted act that pushes away all rivals. But even more specifically, it is an act of eager anticipation. Lifting our souls to the Lord includes all of this — dependence, trust, confidence, anticipation.
Which is why Psalm 86:4 is such a beautiful and simple prayer for an often-dry, often-speechless, joy-seeker like me. Using the compacted language of the psalmist, my prayer is essentially this: “God, I lift up to you my dry, languishing soul. I turn to you because I believe you can restore its joy. I want you alone. I want you to fill me, to fill my soul — to fill my whole being — with joy. Where else can I turn, if not to you? To you alone I lift up my soul, for in you alone will I find the true gladness my soul longs for.”


"Where else can I turn if not to You?" No where. No one. Nothing else can satisfy. So, to the Lord, I will lift up my soul.....

-Amie

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

I first heard Libera years ago in a coffee shop. Right away I had to ask the barista who it was. Libera, an all boys choir out of London is as close as you get to hearing angels on this earth...in my humble opinion. It really is music to listen to all year long but I especially enjoy them during Christmas and New Years season.

Sanctus by Libera




A prayer for the New Year:

Make Me An Instrument of Your Peace
 
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
R. Amen.

--St. Francis of Assisi

Monday, December 17, 2012

Music Monday ~ O Come O Come, Emmanuel

This Christmas I have been experiencing a new season within me. It is such a joyous time for many and I have always loved it. However, I am aware of many families around me going through a lot. Cancer, divorce, death of loved ones, marriage separations, and emotional hardships. As I hear of other's battles right now, I am praying for hope to be in their hearts...the hope that only He can give. There is a reason He is called a Redeemer. He redeems His people's hearts from ashes; He brings life as we cry out to Him and run to Him.

For this sacred and beautiful time as I think of Him and what His soon anticipated birth represents, this song has been a favorite this season.

O Come O Come, Emmanuel by Phil Wickham

 

Truths to Stand By:

Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulders, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Zechariah 9:9
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Matthew 1:23
"Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,"
which translated means, "God with us."

Job 19:25
As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.

 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tis the Season

I love to hear of other people's Christmas and holiday traditions. I have little children and I am all about learning to create special ways to celebrate and observe those holidays. On Christmas Eve for example, we are finally not having to travel hours out of town like we used to so we are starting to enjoy going to our church's community Christmas Eve service downtown. We also have a Pajama Ride which includes packing the girls in the car on a random evening with hot chocolate and driving around looking at Christmas lights. Recently, however I have learned of some friends observing the Advent. It sparked my interest and I researched what it was about.

Advent is the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas and observed by some Christians (it's optional) as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus.  (Wickipedia.com, Merrian-Webster Dictionary).

My friend Christen who you can find at ourlifestyled.com created an Advent calender for her family. She is artistic, crafty, and purely talented and weaves that into her motherhood as a stay at home mom. She is very inspiring mom and she shared her calender with her friends. Enjoy!

December 1st ~ Watch the Christmas Parade
December 2nd ~ Sing Christmas Songs with Friends
December 3rd ~ Make Snow Playdoh
December 4th ~ Donate Warm Clothes to Those In Need
December 5th ~ Go Hunting for Christmas Records & Play With Them
December 6th ~ Make Nativity Scene
December 7th ~ Make Presents for Grandparents
December 8th ~ Write Letter to Santa
December 9th ~ Make Santa Clothespins
December 10th ~ Make Popsicle Stick Reindeer
December 11th ~ Make Gingerbread Playdoh
December 12th ~ Paint Ornament
December 13th ~ Make Cardboard Gingerbread House
December 14th ~ Make Pom Pom Pinecone Trees
December 15th ~ Take Picture with Santa
December 16th ~ Drive Around to Look at Christmas Tree Lights.
December 17th ~ Make & Eat Reindeer Cookies
December 18th ~ Make Construction Paper Christmas Trees
December 19th ~ Make Snowman Pancakes
December 20th ~ Make Cotton Ball Snowman
December 21st ~ Cut Out Paper Snowflakes & Hang In Window
December 22nd ~ Polar Express Party
December 23rd ~ Read the Christmas Story
December 24th ~ Make Cookies for Santa
December 25th ~ Merry Christmas Open Presents 
 
Christen's Advent Calender

Here's all the links for the activities you'll need for the month:
Day 3, Snow Playdoh
Day 6, Nativity Scene
Day 9, Clothespin Santas
Day 10, Popsicle Reindeer
Day 11, Gingerbread Playdoh
Day 13, Cardboard Gingerbread Houses
Day 14, Pom Pom Pinecone Trees
Day 17, Reindeer Cookies
Day 19, Snowman Pancakes
Day 20, Cotton Ball Snowmen
Day 21, Snowflake Cutouts

I love teaching my children that Christmas is about celebrating Jesus' birth; finding ways to do that in creativity and activities make it fun. This Sunday we will be going to Sisters to chop down our Christmas tree. That evening we will fill our home with Christmas music, decorate it and have some cherished time. Tis the season to enjoy family, friends, and joy that His Presence makes possible.

May this Christmas season be filled with His joy and peace for you and your family!

- Amie

Friday, November 30, 2012

Saved & Sanctified

My husband woke up early this morning and was spending some time with the Lord.  After reading  the Word, he grabbed a devotional and it spoke to his heart. He passed it on to some friends and myself....It's by Oswald Chambers.
 
 
By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain . . . 1 Corinthians 15:10.
The way we continually talk about our own inabilities is an insult to our Creator. To complain over our incompetence is to accuse God falsely of having overlooked us. Get into the habit of examining from God’s perspective those things that sound so humble to men. You will be amazed at how unbelievably inappropriate and disrespectful they are to Him. We say things such as, “Oh, I shouldn’t claim to be sanctified; I’m not a saint.” But to say that before God means, “No, Lord, it is impossible for You to save and sanctify me; there are opportunities I have not had and so many imperfections in my brain and body; no, Lord, it isn’t possible.” That may sound wonderfully humble to others, but before God it is an attitude of defiance.
Conversely, the things that sound humble before God may sound exactly the opposite to people. To say, “Thank God, I know I am saved and sanctified,” is in God’s eyes the purest expression of humility. It means you have so completely surrendered yourself to God that you know He is true. Never  worry about whether what you say sounds humble before others or not. But always be humble before God, and allow Him to be your all in all.
There is only one relationship that really matters, and that is your personal relationship to your personal Redeemer and Lord. If you maintain that at all costs, letting everything else go, God will fulfill His purpose through your life. One individual life may be of priceless value to God’s purposes, and yours may be that life. 
 
- My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers
 
"Thank God, I know I am saved and sanctified." - I loved that as it's claiming His promises for our life;  believing and agreeing with God and praying the scriptures. When we start to take God at His Word our faith will be transformed.
 
-Amie
 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

As I Wake

May the need I feel - be a need for You.
If I hunger - let my desire be for You.
As I cry out, I know you hear Me.
You have already satisfied, Give me eyes to see.

Touch our hearts, heal the pain.
You are our Master.
Have mercy upon my weakness; For I am strong only in You.
 
 By Your Spirit, guide me according to Your Word.
I pray for those in darkness, sin, hurt - open my eyes and give me the words You may have for them.
 
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me.
 
- Amie