Friday, January 22, 2010

Do not stifle...

SCRIPTURE REFLECTION: “Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit.” 1 Thes. 5:17-19 NLT

Of all the scriptures my grandparents could have chosen to put in the front of the bible they gave me on my 17th birthday, this is the one.

I don't think it is to big of a stretch to assume this is who they hoped I would be.

This recent focus on being grateful has helped me to see how I have stifled the Holy Spirit in the past. This is yet another example of why it is so important to pay attention when you believe God is asking you to obey a command in scripture. Until you obey the command, by and through God's grace, you will not know the benefits of obedience. It's all theory without obedience.

But once your willingness to and your love for God unites with God's expectations of how He invites us to live; Then you will truly know a changing heart. A heart that is being conformed to the likeness of God. It happens in layers, it happens over time. But just like scriptures says that it will happen. It happens.

Thank goodness for all the people in my life who have said out loud these words are true. Their faith through actions and words have helped me risk believing and walking by faith too. To my grandparents, I don't think it was an accident that you wrote those verses in my bible. Thank you. May I stifle the Spirit less and less. Amen.

One Life Letter created for

From Discontentment to Gratitude
By Cheri Hudspith, oneLifemaps Facilitator
Related to the Reviewing My Days Map, Desires & Longings Map, and Valley Experiences Map from Listen To My Life: Maps for Recognizing and Responding to God in My Story by Sibyl Towner and Sharon Swing.

Last fall, I was troubled by the fact that I could not arrive at a contented place in a very big part of my life. I wanted desperately to live without the tension and burden of discontentment. I noticed that when I talked about the future, my voice was filled with angst and struggle. It was not the voice of a trusting daughter. I desire to be a trusting daughter of the Most High God. I started asking the Lord to show me the cause of my discontentment.

Apparently, this was something the Lord was pretty happy to supply an answer to. Through a series of events - a retreat in Colorado, questions asked by others in a bible study on Colossians, a serious physical trial being faced by a friend and a book called Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, I discovered a hard truth. The Lord both gently and firmly with His still small voice said, “Cheri, you are demanding. In the places where you choose not to be grateful in all circumstances, you only know discontentment.”

Through the use of the Reviewing My Days Map, I have discovered that God is moving in this area of my life where I have been discontent. He's just not doing it the way I want Him to do it or at the speed I want. My arrogance in this way of thinking is so profoundly heart breaking. Who am I to tell God how or when to do anything?! Now, it is more clear to me why I have resisted the Desires & Longings Map. I was afraid of being disappointed and being tempted to get bossy with God. I instinctively knew that I would be in potential conflict with God when I dared to give voice to what I desire and long for.

I am now making use of the Valley Experiences Map. What events in my life or ways of seeing the world need to be reframed by truth - truths about God and truths about me? While praying through this map, I'm having a series of new realizations that are helping me understand how my past hurts contribute to my tendencies toward ungrateful discontentment.

God has done a work in me. I can honestly say that I have moved from discontentment to contentment, angst to peace, bossiness to submissiveness and ungratefulness to gratitude. I have known the deep love of the Lord for me in the midst of the revelation of truth. I'm so grateful He heard my cries and has answered them. Praise be to God!

SCRIPTURE REFLECTION: “Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit.” 1 Thes. 5:17-19 NLT

QUESTION: Will you trust the Lord to show you where you struggle to be content or grateful? Are you being invited to discover how to be grateful in all circumstances?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Watching and Waiting

I have a prayer request.

I start working again as an accountant in February. I'll be working Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. I'll be preparing tax returns. I'll be back at Owen's office. It's definetly one of my second homes. I worked for Owen for six years or so before I started my journey into seminary and beyond.

I'm very grateful for the income. We are in need of it. I'm very grateful that my skills as an accountant will help provide for our needs. Owen understands that I'm skilled as an accountant but that its not my first love. That gives me flexibilty that not all accounting offices would provide. A blessing indeed!

My prayer request is that I'll know what do do after tax season is over. Its our belief, at this point, that I need to continue generating a stream of income. Do I see about staying on at Owen's office? Do I look for a ministry that needs an accoutant cause that's what gets me in the door? Do I get my CPA license back? I let it go when I entered seminary. Am I waiting and watching for a surprise that's beyond my ability to imagine?

I plan to take one day at a time and to watch and pray. One of my prayers is that I wont panic and do something rebellious and controlling. I'm learning to get more comfortable with the idea that my story really only makes sense to God. I have pretty crazy resume of life experiences at this point. As do so many of us.

I like knowing that time will march on. Someday I'll be able to write a post about the answer to this period of watching and praying. I like this season of gratitude that I have been in. My heart is truly in the most trusting place it has ever known.

What are you watching and waiting for in prayer? God bless us all.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Books read in '09

George Mueller of Bristol by Pierson
Strengthening the Soul of your Leadership by Barton
Soul Feast by Thompson
Crazy Love by Chan
Talking with My Father by Stedman
The North Face of God by Gire
Christian Meditation by Finley
Creating a Life with God by Wolpert
Seeking God Together by Fryling
The Great Emergence by Tickle
A Tale of Three Kings by Edwards
The Echo Within by Benson
A Grace Disguised by Sittser
Sacred Companion by Benner
Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care - Talbot School of Theology
The Furious Longing of God by Manning
The Cure for the Common Life by Lucado
Hinds Feet on High Place by Hurnard
Fanny J. Crosby by Crosby
The Best Question Ever by Stanley
Choosing Gratitude by DeMoss
Life Together by Bonhoffer
The Book of Acts

Great way to remember a year!

Some of these books came my way because I needed help understanding something.
Some came to inspire me to walk by faith in the Lord.
Some came because I need to understand the questions of other people better.
Some came because they are a part of a larger conversation that God wants me involved in for reasons that are more clear to God than me.
Some came to help me introduce ways of seeing that I care about to people I care about.
Some came because I'm immature and blind and their written by people steps ahead of me that aren't so immature and blind.

I totally understand that reading this much isn't for everybody. But I'm extremely grateful that I know it is good for me. And I'm thankful I have the education and resources to do so. It kinda cracked me up to look at this list. Prior to typing it I was kinda feeling like I hadn't read much this year.