Thursday, May 16, 2013

Gratitude Lessons from Oswald, Jimmy, and Edward

Looking at just me, there's not much to see.
If I'm on the stage - trouble. Complaining. Discontent.
But when He shines through, no spotlight will contain this glory.
I see Jesus, and all His gifts.
And I'm thankful.

No sin is worse than the sin of self-pity, because it removes God from the throne of our lives, replacing Him with our own self-interests. It causes us to open our mouths only to complain, and we simply become spiritual sponges - always absorbing, never giving, and never being satisfied. -Oswald Chambers

May my selfish mouth close long enough to ponder His love before I reopen it in thanks instead.

If He's the only One on my stage, my focus will be directed rightly. My hands will open in applause instead of clutching for control or attention.

Edward Mckendree (E.M.) Bounds reflects on a person lacking in dedicated prayer:
He has not in himself the mighty life-creating forces. There may be no discount on his orthodoxy, honesty, cleanness, or earnestness; but somehow the man, the inner man, in its secret places has never broken down and surrendered to God, his inner life is not a great highway for the transmission of God's message, God's power. Somehow self and not God rules in the holy of holiest. [emphasis mine]
If self rules ... He's no longer my God - I am.  And let me tell you firsthand - I make a horrible savior. I'm no good at being sovereign. I fail every time I'm in a position to be the one to change hearts. Oh no. Only One can do those things. Give those gifts.

And it will never be me. But I'm so incontestably, overwhelmingly, undetractingly thankful to know my One True God who reigns and gives and forgives every day.  Here are a few of the grace-gifts He's given me lately. Thank you, Dear One, for the privilege of sharing them with you on Thursdays.  

- fun laughing and relaxing with a friend and catching up on each other's lives together over a soda

- sunshine to open the blooms and draw out the sprouts of seeds

- my mom, and the way she encourages me and believes in me

- the shocking privilege and joy of being mom to my two sweet nestlings

- Mother's Day lunch at a Mexican restaurant, a delicious burrito, and the privilege of giving to another mom

- silly laughter with our friends and our kids

- for the strength and love you put in my heart so I can love like You love

- a red cardinal perched out on the window

- my Life Group, and vulnerable tears with other women

- three laps around the block - time, energy, and motivation to exercise

- a long, groggy, sweet hug from J, and that he finds me first thing in the morning, seeking my arms and nearness to my heart

- the feeling of satisfaction I get when I can be helpful to teachers while I'm working

- for waking up to You and Your grace again

- the privilege of sharing Your Word with my Guy

- throwing the baseball in the yard with all four of us as the sun goes down

Lord, You should be the only One on my stage, the only God I worship, the only Being of my focus. Would You help me to take myself and my self-pity off of that glory-podium? I know I matter to You, and I don't have to make You prove that any more.  I'm so thankful for all these gifts of grace, and so many more I haven't even had the time to write yet. You alone are worthy. You alone are good. You alone deserve my life as a willing bond-slave to Your purposes. May I live to serve You and not myself. In this moment, and every one hereafter.

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