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Is it Any Wonder They Call it… Amazing Grace – a Ragamuffin Blog

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Hope

Monday Morning Armor

It is Monday
– My oldest son is in the final stages of getting a job
– My second son just moved out by himself and starts college today and needs a job
– I have a son in running start who also needs a job
– My 13 year old is in public school and needs to have a good year in school
– Christie is homeschooling to youngest two which is great but requires a lot from her
– I have good news to deliver at work today
– The Moses Lake branch is in the final push of winning the cup for the year
– It is the end of the year at the bank and the stress level across the division is higher than normal
– I have a ton of work to do to prepare for the new fiscal year
– I would like to try something new with my division this year but I’m not sure how to implement it – and will required a lot of creative energy to work through
– I have friends in difficult places in their lives and I am burdened for them
– In my own life I feel restless and unsettled this morning.
– I have internal questions around my ability, stamina, adequacy to be enough for my family, friends, colleagues, church – and even for myself.

This is a typical stream of consciousness that hits me right away in the morning – especially Monday mornings. It seems as though the expectation of me in life is to make it all work and walk through unfazed by its challenges. But I know from a long history of looking internally to my own resources for help that they are in fact inadequate. And so am I – at least on my own.

Yesterday I taught on Psalm 33 and discussed specifically this “morning battle” Here are a couple thoughts that particularly struck me.

The Psalmist begins with praise. Praise requires me to look outward and away from my own self reliance. Praising God when you are feeling overwhelmed is hard but also even more needed.

Secondly as the Psalmist begins to describe the power of God he says: “He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.”
The Psalmist MEANS for this to strike awe in me and it does. God is heaping the depths of the ocean and containing them like we do grain in a grain bin (which happens to also be beyond my ability). This reality is meant to fill my heart with awe and fill my mouth with praise.

But then he says this: “No king is saved by the multitude of an army A mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety Neither shall it deliver ANY by its great strength.” This means my own resources (even if were a king with a mighty horse and great army which I’m not) are INSUFFICIENT to meet my problems BUT the God who scooped the ocean into grain bins….. He “might” have the strength, knowledge and wisdom to. But will he help me in my need?

Psalm 33:18: “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death, And to keep them alive in famine.

Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name.

Let your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, Just as we hope in you.”

Anxiety piling up? Feel stretched thin? Worried? Worn? Defeated? – Lift your gaze in praise! Look away from your own resources and look to the maker of ocean storehouses. Look with awe and delight at the creator this Monday morning. And remember that for those that know him – who hope in his mercy (and if you don’t you can right now) – He is our help and our shield.

Monday Morning Armor = God: Ocean-Container

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When the Light is Fading and the Darkness Will Not Lift

fading light

Sometimes the darkness seems to be winning – and you wonder if there is light to be found.

Sometimes it is a chore just to lift your head and trudge through the day and you wonder if there is any meaning to be had.

Sometimes the storm seems too daunting – the pressure too much – the loss too hard.

In the darkness we can easily lose perspective and our enemy seeks to destroy…

but…

But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope – The Steadfast Love of the Lord NEVER CEASES….

His Mercies are NEW every Morning.
Great is His Faithfulness.

Whom have I in heaven but YOU?
There is nothing I desire besides YOU

My heart and my flesh my fail but God is the Strength of my Heart and my Portion forever.

Even at the end of your rope when your grip is fading God is holding on – He is there like a strong tower to run into and be saved.

Don’t let despair overcome – rest in the one who has overcome death itself – cast your cares on Him – He Cares For You.

God of the Ordinary

If I could just have the passion and wisdom of John Piper, the fortitude and exegetical prowess of John MacArthur, the practical insights of Paul Tripp, the spiritual depth of Larry Crabb, the mind and theological grasp of Michael Horton, the thunder of Paul Washer, the grace of Brennan Manning, the knowledge of Tim Keller and the ministry reach of Billy Graham…Then…Oh then I would truly be satisfied…. ¬†And God would Really love me…
Or
Maybe
Probably not…
But maybe…
God uses ordinary people
Maybe God loves sinners
Maybe my chronic measuring of myself is a detriment to any ministry and hinders my sense of the extraordinary love of God for me.
And maybe the stamp of approval on my life will not be earned either by my actions or results but has been bought for me by His Son on the cross – Jesus who loved me and gave Himself for me..

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