Monday, January 22, 2007

Hi, I'm back...finally...and with some explanations

Perhaps I should explain my longish absence from this page. After the big push to blog every, every, every day throughout the entire month of November, I began to feel like my life was becoming consumed by the internet. So, with the start of the new year, in addition to the New Year's Resolution made by Everyone-In-The-World to Get! More! Exercise! I decided to get back to reading more real books. Books with actual pages and ink and even covers. Which I have been doing lately (reading, that is) and it's been positively lovely. There's nothing like curling up on a cold winter day with an engrossing book!

Most recently, I've read some of Maine's John Gould, some of the excellent Staggerford novels by Minnesota's Jon Hassler, a bunch of books on planning for retirement, and currently I'm reading James Michener's Recessional and a couple of others but I'll talk more about them in a later post.

All that said, the biggest reason for (finally!) posting is because I want to share with you a book given to me as a Christmas present by my small group leader (who'd been so impressed with the copy that had been gifted to her so much that she ordered books for everyone in her groups). It's called 31 Days of Praise--Enjoying God Anew by Ruth Myers with Warren Myers.

The back cover says, "Every day a different Scripture-based devotion helps you cultivate the "heart habit" of praise and worship. You'll be gently inspired to appreciate and adore the Lord in all things, even in the midst of pain, heartache, or disappointment. A deeper intimacy with God--and a greater love for Him--is the sure result."

Here's an example of this powerful little book, from Day 20 (which I read on January 20):

"Father, I thank You for the people in my life who seem to bring more pain than joy, for I believe You have let our paths cross for important reasons. Thank You for the good things You want to do in my life through the things that bother me (their irritating habits? their moodiness? their unloving ways? their demands? their insisensitivity? their unrealistic expectations?). I'm grateful that You are with me, to meet my needs when others--even those close to me--fail to do so. I'm so glad that You are also within me, working to make me more like Jesus--more patient, more gentle, more loving--through the very things I dislike.

"Thank You too that You love these people, and that Your love is adequate to meet their deep needs and to transform their lives, however willful or unwise they may sometimes be. Thank You that You care for them deeply and that each of them has the potential of being a vast reservoir from which You could receive eternal pleasure. And so, though I may not feel grateful, I give thanks fo them by faith, trusting Your goodness, Your wisdom, Your power: and Your love for them as well as for me.

"And I praise You that I need not fret about these people, or be envious, or mull over angry thoughts to prove I'm right. Than You that by Your power I can receive them as You receive me: just as I am, warts and wrinkles and hang-ups and all...that I can choose not to judge them, but to forgive them...to cancel any debts I feel they owe me--any apologies, any obligations...that through Your grace, I can choose to wipe clean any slate of grievances I have within me, and to view these people withg a heart that says, "You no longer owe me a thing." Thank You for YOur Spirit who empowers me, so that I can do them good, delight in You, and commit my way to You, resting in You as You unfold Your good purposes in these relationships--in Your time."

So...how can one remain cross with another after thanking and praising God for them and for how they are helping one grow?

Oh, there are also scriptures to back everything up:

Paragraph 1: Romans 8:28-29; I Peter 1:6-7; James 1:2-4, Phillip; Psalm 27:10; Isaiah 49:14-16: Psalm 142:3-5; I Thessalonians 3:12; Philippians 1:9-11

Paragraph 2: Matthew 5:43-45; Hosea 3:1

Paragraph 3: I Peter 2:1; Romans 15:7; Ephisians 4:31-32; Matthew 7:1-3; 6:14-15; 18: 21-22; Psalm 37:1-7.

Whew! Okay, next post will include pictures and updates on the sand painting project. I promise!

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