Praise Project, Week 29

It’s been about four years since my husband and I started our getting-out-of-debt process. I’ve said before that debt was just a symptom of a much deeper spiritual problem. I will never forget that moment of realization and the subsequent phone call I made to my Bible study leader. Over the years she has become much more than just a facilitator for a Beth Moore Bible study. She has become one of my dearest friends, who though we don’t see each other often, when we do it’s like time never existed between each coffee date.

We met for coffee yesterday. Well, I had coffee. She had something much less desirable! This week’s Praise Project is the result of the two hours I spent with her and the fabulous reminders of why this Praise Project exists in the first place. Praise God for:

1). Freedom from captivity . To be free from captivity is to be free to live the life God has designed for us.

2). Laughter

3). Freedom to be truthful with a non-judgmental friend

4). Mutual edification-one of many built-in benefits of being a member of the Body of Christ

5). The reminder that I am not the only one on the planet with physical ailments! Misery loves company, doesn’t it?

6). Opportunities to watch God do amazing things in a challenging situation

7). Both of us agreed that one of the greatest gifts in life is coming home to a spouse that actually likes us and wants to be with us.

 

 

Praise Project, Week 28

This week has been a week of me having to lean on what I know to be true about God. I’m praising God:

1). That He doesn’t steer us in the wrong direction.

2). That giving us big things to do is more about showing us who He is and what He can do through us and less about us. Life is only about us to the degree that we are willing to obey. Everything else is about Him.

3). That He’s teaching me about abundant living. By the way, it begins with humility. Weird, I know. More on that this fall.

4). Just when you think you’ve conquered a particular area of life that has been a constant battle, watch out. Praise God that He is always teaching and pulling back layers of our stuff and revealing the need for Him…again.

5). That my sister finally has internet again after her move! Getting an email from her yesterday was like Christmas.

6). For my health. I have enough aches and pains that would make me an orthopedist’s dream patient. But I’m not bedridden like so many I know.

7). As I’ve been preparing to teach non-English speakers this language, I have been reminded of the creativity of God. He put together an entire language out of only 26 letters. With 26 letters, people have written books, given speeches, spread the gospel, spoken words of encouragement, and changed the world. Stunning.

Praise Project, Week 27

What a week! I’m keeping it simple this week because it’s the simple things that I’m appreciating more than anything. This week I’m praising God for:

1). Goals met. There is nothing quite like setting a goal, going after it with ferocious determination and then meeting that goal. Brilliant.

2). Rest.

3). The local church. Over the years church has managed to get my knickers in a stitch quite unlike any other institution. Despite that, the value of being involved with a local body of believers cannot be overstated because when it comes down to it we need each other. Life is simply too hard to walk it alone.

4). Simplifying. My husband is busy. Very busy. However, he’s realizing that he can’t do it all (he actually said that, but I can’t prove it b/c I don’t have it on tape). “I need to narrow my focus. I need to spend more time with you and the kids.” Did my ship just come in? Feels like it.

5). “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent” Exodus 14:14, ESV. I think we saw that with the recent court ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby in the latest battle to protect our religious beliefs.

6). My sister and her family moved to a big city in Germany from their little town of Ansbach. They made it safely and will have an even bigger group of kids to minister to. I’m so excited to see what God is going to do in this next chapter of their lives.

7). The french press. I know. Is it really praiseworthy? I think so. Thank you Rachel for introducing me to an even better way to feed my addiction, thereby morphing me into an even bigger coffee snob than I thought possible.

Have a great week! By the way, anyone else out there praising God for big things or just little things? Leave me a comment. I’d love to praise Him with you.

Praise Project, Week 26

Can you believe we are halfway through the year (and halfway through summer, bleh)? Time flies when you’re counting by weeks! It’s been a crazy week, and if you are friends with my husband on Facebook you have heard the latest Nielson drama. If not, you’re in for a God story of epic proportions.

On Sunday, Bruce drove to a town nearby to buy a box spring for our guest bed. It was the one time since selling our gas guzzling truck that we could have used it. Instead, he tied the box spring to the roof of the van and drove away. The wind took over and blew the thing off the van. He put on his hazards, got out and started securing it. A nice older gentlemen and his wife stopped to help him putting their hazards on too. With no shoulder to pull over to, the two vehicles sat in the middle of the lane while my husband and the stranger worked to get the box spring in place.

For some reason the car that came up the hill didn’t see my husband’s car or that of the man who’d stopped to help. The driver barreled into the man’s car moving it several feet up from where it sat, deploying her own airbags and sending her, her daughter and the wife of the man who’d stopped to the hospital. You can imagine how badly we felt that a stranger’s kindness had cost him his car, which is most likely totaled, not to mention sending his wife to the hospital, all to help my husband. He said he stopped because of the dangerous road my husband was parked on thinking that by having two vehicles with their hazards on oncoming traffic would see it and slow down. It didn’t work. Here’s what this week’s praise project entails:

1). The car of the man who stopped to help my husband is the only thing that stood between life and death for Bruce. After my husband apologized profusely to the man,  he simply said he was glad they’d stopped. If they hadn’t my husband could have been killed. I am beyond grateful that I was not made a widow that day. Twenty years with Bruce isn’t enough.

2). “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16). God decides when, where, why, and how we move from this life to the next no matter the actions of those around us.

3). I’m praising God for the attitude of servanthood that was displayed to Bruce. Our service to others will always cost us something: time, convenience, money, cars, sometimes our very lives.

4).  While watching my son’s game the other night, a huge rainbow appeared in the sky. I was reminded that God does keep His promises, and in case there was any doubt, shortly after He sent a second one that sat just above the first. How cool that something God said way back in the Old Testament still holds true in the 21st century.

5). I’ve been praying that God would call my children, and that when He does, they would listen and obey. My daughter will be a junior this fall, and college visits loom ahead. I am praising God that she is responding to His call on her life for ministry and looking at schools specific to it.

6). We never study the Scriptures alone. We are never left to try and figure out what it is God is saying to us. Praise God for the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives and illuminating His Word to us.

7). Joshua 18:3 “So Joshua said to the Israelites: ‘How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?’” Wow. Don’t I feel sheepish! How much time do I spend busying myself with mindless tasks avoiding the things God has given me to do? He has given me possession of certain tasks and ministries, and I have yet to take hold of them and run with them. What are we waiting for? What inheritance has He given you that you need to take possession of? Praise God for His Word. That’s all I can say.

Praise Project, Week 25

This week has been mixed but wonderful. God is so good to spend time teaching us things that will draw us closer to Him and make us more effective workers for His kingdom. This week’s praises:

1). “Blessed are you , O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord?” Deut. 33:29. What a distinction! God is busy teaching me to understand and live by my distinction of who I am in Him.

2). I’ve always wanted to be an oversees missionary. I love other cultures. As I sat in on another English class for adults last night, I met and talked to people from Morocco, Peru, Columbia, Mexico, Pakistan, and Brazil. I fell in love, and I realized that with the privilege of teaching a group like this in fall, God has brought the mission field to me.

3). Despite my political leanings and penchant for following rules set up by our founders, I am a believer before I am an American. Why is this a praise? Because in looking at people with Jesus-eyes rather than American-eyes, I am free to love them unconditionally simply because they are people created by God.

4). God is teaching me what abundant life really looks like. Hint: it has nothing to do with external circumstances. While I realize this is a no-brainer for a Christian, some of us are a bit slow on the uptake. Look for a series on this topic I am working on for the fall.

5). My sweet son injured his elbow when he rolled on it going for a ball in centerfield last week. We are praising God it didn’t end up being more than a sprain.

6). My sweet husband injured himself taking out a toilet. He has three stitches. Again, we are praising God it’s not worse.

7). Finally, you may remember last summer I burned my feet with 22 cups of boiling water. This year it was hot grease on my arm but nothing like last year’s disaster. Praise God. As usual, my daughter is the only one who’s got it all together.