Time for a writer's block diversion!
I thought it would be interesting to review the words that tumbled out of my head and onto the "page" a year ago, two years ago, three years ago, so I checked in with my archived #thereyougothinkingagain posts from January 2016, as well as posts and articles from various other venues. There were a few from 2014 that I found as well, but none from 2015 -- the year of the unfettered brain (and the retrospectively self-diagnosed concussion).
The peek into past Januaries proved to be more than an interesting diversion. No quick scans here, but journeys through faith revisited as I read again about a never-changing, eternal God dealing with the Laura of 2014 and 2016 through experiences, afflictions, trials, celebrations -- just as he has throughout the 28-year walk I have had with him.
from Warmed from the inside out. "The presence of the Lord is not so present to me. I am cold to him, and I need something to thaw the chill." Well, that's disappointing. The condition I've been struggling with the last few months robbed me of my joy a mere three years ago as well. Am I advancing at all in holiness, in likemindedness with Christ? Is there any progress? There must not be if while reading my own writing from just three years ago that I comment to myself that this is the truth I've been overlooking. I am reminded through the account of Jesus talking with the disciples on the road to Emmaus how the heat that thaws a frigid faith must spread from the inside out. "Drawing near to Christ by meditating on [the Word], the coals in my heart are stirred by his divine hand, they begin to glow, and with his expert tending of the fire, my heart burns again, warmed by his presence." The oft-repeated error: "Don’t look for it in the vast vault of feelings and emotions you carry around with you and which offer only temporary, surface warmth. Look for it in the words of Jesus and the Scriptures." (1/16/14, 3RG)
from Is there a chokehold on your heart? If I let my heart simmer and grumble over discontentment or get distracted by attachments to this world, it will not serve as ready ground for the "Spirit's prodding, comforts and rebukes -- even the Gospel message of grace and promise." Question: "Is my heart murmuring, fretting, vexing? Does it go about unfettered on unstable, disquieted, and tumultuous jaunts?"
"The worries and cares of this world and its affections can choke out the Word as surely as invasive vines can throttle a plant or journeying roots can undermine a tree. ... 'God would have us depend on Him' [Jeremiah Burroughs] despite the eternal events that ight cause our hearts to fret or be disquieted. The contentment of the soul governs how I look to His word." (1/29/14, 3RG)
from A prayer for the New Year. This could -- should -- be a prayer for every new day . . . an excerpt from The Valley of Vision prayer of the same name:
O Lord, Length of days does not profit me
Except the days are passed in thy presence,
In thy service, to thy glory.
Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides,
sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour
that I may not be a moment apart from thee,
but may rely on thy Spirit
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire
to show forth thy praise;
testify thy love
Advance thy kingdom.
from Ctrl + fear. Memories are triggered as I read this post. I wrote about the pranks I was subject to growing up with all brothers. It made me a control freak, you know (Because external causes and all, and not original sin), and honed my expertise in controlling my surroundings in order to abate fear. "This is a mixed-up, upside-down, delusional view of the world because only God has any control," I wrote. Oh, how God in his timing uses words of the past to provoke deeper digging into him in the present. This January my thoughts are on my brother who has just suffered a massive heart attack and faces bypass surgery. As Charles Spurgeon said, "When you go through a trial, the sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which you lay your head."
What comfort knowing the sureness of God's providence as opposed to the lie that I am master of my fate. "In His kindness and goodness, God is able, through the work of His Son, to rule justly and show mercy to condemned sinners like me. He is patient and longsuffering in dealing with my weaknesses and follies. He wisely and powerfully brings to completion all of His intentions in a way that is supremely good and eternally satisfactory. His holiness knows no depths, no boundaries."
What wondrous peace there is in this truth: "The bogeyman or my brothers or cancer or the terrorists or the economy or chaos are of no concern to this God. They are, in fact, completely under his sovereign control. HE is Whom I should fear."
I can rest easily tonight knowing "What a wonder it is that He who executes judgment and holds the key to eternity has taken on the task to reconcile man to himself by stooping to man's level, taking on man's weaknesses, and making himself subject to the law so that man would be made free from the penalty of the law. He is not obligated to save. He does not have to do this. He would lose no glory, no stature, no heavenly and eternal adoration. But He did. And if it were even possible for Him to be greater and more magnificent, that Sovereign God would do what He didn't have to do for the sake of undeserving man -- I being chief among them, Paul's claim notwithstanding -- makes Him greater and more magnificent." (1/4/16, #tygta)
from The sin equation meets higher math. Some remedial arithmetic:
I'll just leave this here:
Regeneration = Faith + Repentance ---> Obedience and Eternal Life
from Mercy! it's snowing! "God's infinite mercy finds its illustration in the snow, but also in the solo warbler I heard yesterday morning. Grace covers sin and makes us spotless before a holy throne, but in my life, I know there is still a battle with sin. This body of mine is buffeted about by the winds of iniquity and the temptations of lust and hatred, 'evils,' as Spurgeon says, 'which my sin has created and nourished in me.' May I sing out to Jesus, who sustains me in the storm, who makes me able to stand steadfastly against the gale forces of sin still fighting to control me. May my song be one that heralds the dawn with a melody of hope for the day of resurrection when He will complete His purifying bath of my soul." (1/13/16, #tygta)
from Leaving the weights behind. The pursuit of holiness involves laying aside the weight of sin. How I loved the Hebrews study that stirred up reflections on God's contract with a perfect Savior to redeem a blemished people. Jesus the perfect mediator removes our stain and makes his holiness ours, but our inclination is to try to run with the weights still attached. An examination of how to make good progress on that pursuit: "The way to make the best course, the best speed, the straightest path, is to rid yourself of sin. It won’t be easy; it will cling to you, beset you, refuse to be dismissed so easily. Sin will whisper in your ear and try to convince you that these hindrances are merely weaknesses, that you’re entitled to them because you’ve worked so hard at obedience, that everybody makes mistakes and nobody can be perfect." And what are these weights? Not what the memes of the world might convince me: "Weights are things which 'mar communion with Christ,' and we enter into communion with our Savior when we are content and obey his commands. As tempted as I may be to get rid of unpleasant or difficult circumstances -- or difficult people -- they are often the very thing that I need to progress in holiness." Ouch. (1/20/16, #tygta)
from My children are saved, so now what do I do? Well, anyone with adult children knows the feeling of having reins in your hands suddenly snatched away and the buggy under control of another. Of course, as the above (and past) snippets reveal -- I'm delusional if I think that I've been driving the parenting train at all (I'm so out of control, I switched metaphors!). But here is the encouragement I found then and know today:
"So, now that your children are saved, what do you do?
Savor the grand story, and remind yourself and your children of the promises it contains each and every day. Cultivate anticipation and joy. Lead them through the mercies available to you and them -- forgiveness of sin, adoption by God, confidence in Jesus's righteousness, indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the living Word in the words of Scripture, protection and governance by His decrees. Demonstrate how the doctrines affect you, your life, your walk, your relationships, your calling." (1/29/16, #tygta)
God never changes. His patience with me is everlasting. His kindness knows no end. In this journey through Januaries, I might not be cured of my writer's block, but I am humbled by the goodness and mercy that the Lord has shown me over the past few years. May he be the fountain that waters and brings to bloom future Januaries -- however many more he has reserved for me.
Laura Miller aka mrsdkmiller
Looking for a list of articles published around the web?
Looking for posts written in response to 5-Minute Friday prompts? Click here:
Her March Isn't Over
Across the River
When God Pries My Fingers Off My Children
Life's Defining Moments
To the Christian Wife Who Berated Her Husband in Front of My Daughter
Zeal and Grace in France
An Unconventional Love Story
Seeing What's in Front of Our Eyes
Remembering Why I Called You Hannah
Love Your Sister.
Because He Came Home
Go Valiantly! A Prayer for New Homeschooling Moms
© lauraenglandmiller, #thereyougothinkingagain, Laura E Miller
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