Monday, December 5, 2011

Coming Before His Presence With Thanksgiving

Psalm 95:1-6
"O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker."

I am thankful for...

...this passage I highlighted in Ephesians (2:6-7): "And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show us the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus."  When things seem heavy it's time to read these Scriptural reminders. Our time on earth is so short compared to eternity. Heaven is forever. Perfection is forever; the brokenness of earth is fleeting.  Dwelling on hardship and pain only weakens us as workers for Christ Jesus. "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesian 2:10)  We must reset our gaze on heaven and get to work for God. 

When everything is going well it's harder to comprehend the concept that things are fleeting here. We want to hold on to our success and our personal empire, for we've deceived ourselves into thinking we're a self-made wonder. I have one child for whom everything comes easily. He struggles with pride and it's understandably hard for him to remember that even the inner workings of his brain are a gift from God, and not of himself. I've seen his ego puff up when his brother struggles with something. Of course boys are competitive, but pride is dangerous. Self-esteem is the world's buzzword. God's buzzword is self-denial. We are most foolish when we fail to bow down before Our King and say "Thank you; I am your servant." (Every child presents unique parenting challenges!)

...watching my children perform puppet shows at the library on Sunday afternoons.

...that Sunday afternoons at the library led to Sunday night Family Movie-Popcorn Night, which allows us to relax together in one room. As parents of four we rarely rest and I love just sitting down and holding one of my children on my lap, or having my husband hold me, while we enjoy some wholesome entertainment together. Simple family traditions bond us together, but when wiggly babies and toddlers are around, it's harder to set up relaxing family time. We've arrived at a time when everyone can sit still for a 30-minute kid movie.

Dinner and devotions are the most valuable tradition, but there are many others that bind us. What are some of your weekly family traditions?

...the postman bringing some new clothes for the girls' birthdays--gifts from Grandma. Beth was born Dec. 8 and Mary was born Dec. 14. The girls (and the boys) have tiny waists and rarely does anything fit unless I pick it myself, unfortunately, but grandmas love to send clothes.

Shortly after we lost our first baby a friend told us about a dream he had, in which we had a Christmas baby. He believed it was a message from the Lord. He was almost right; Mary was given a December 25th due date. According to the ovulation schedule this was correct, but she came 11 days early. (I had them all early.) Just a neat fact that will delight Mary some day. boys, who never run out of things to do on rainy days.

...first-time library cards for Peter and Paul, who left the library feeling like proud young men, with their very own computer receipts tucked into their pockets.

...this gingerbread pancake recipe Jess shared.

...the Bible, which never stops speaking truth into us, via the Holy Spirit. Without regular readings it's easy to struggle and fall in this life. The Word is the wisdom that keeps us on track. Why forgo this wisdom and blessing? Remember the hardest part? Opening your Bible. Just go right now and do it. Open your Bible and be freshly blessed. Mark and date what blesses you.

...children who love and appreciate their Daddy for his hard work and hard play.

...a note from Peter. On the outside it says, "Open this note." And on the inside it says, "Dear Mom, This is a gift to you from Peter, Mary, and Paul. Thank you for your hard work." 

I hate to say it, but I think the timing of this note has to do with my unattractive complaining on Saturday that the kids don't appreciate all the laundry work I do. They throw barely-worn clothes around, leaving piles here and there.

...the children's Christmas book Silent Night: The Song and Its Story, by Margaret Hodges, with beautiful paintings by Tim Ladwig. What a lovely story about the writing and first singing of this classic Christmas carol.

Silent Night: The Song and Its Story
Amazon Image

...the cute Christmas book Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas, by Julia Rawlinson. Throughout the reading, I raved to the children about the painted illustrations. I found the artist's depiction of a frost over the land quite beautiful.

Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas
Amazon image

No comments: