Because the Lord our God has blessed us.
I have always delighted in a weekend get-away that includes road trips, eating out, laughing with friends, singing with a bunch of saints, and bible study. I’ve been graced with many opportunities to engage in and enjoy wonderful times like this. I usually return home spiritually refreshed (though physically exhausted) and re-energized. There’s something about being together with others in an uninterrupted time of focus like a conference, that unifies us and also solidifies what we heard and learned. The most recent event like this came on the heels of a week spent with my newly born grand-daughter. So, after two amazing weeks, I was exceedingly pumped as I prepared for my re-entry into the world of routine, even as we arrived in the wee hours of Sunday morning after a 15-hr drive home.
Worshiping with my church family at SCBC kept me alert and revived until I crashed for my afternoon nap. I made myself get up long enough to make it to our Life Group last night, and I’m always glad when I do.
But Monday. 🙂
The Monday after such an incredible few days can sometimes be a letdown. In reality, a weekend like I just had could never be sustained. Life just isn’t like that (well, mine isn’t). Getting away, eating at our favorite spots, staying in a really nice hotel, moment by moment being surrounded by thousands of women who desire to grow in the grace of Christ, and hours of singing & praying & studying God’s word … this isn’t what my norm is. Daily life is more like cooking and cleaning and laundry and planning and work (with some nice little coffee breaks sprinkled in).
And today it happens that it’s about 50° and raining … in JUNE!! While that’s great weather for napping all day, it’s not particularly great for feeling motivated and energized.
So when I awakened this morning, I had a choice. I could wallow in the dreary weather of a Monday, or I could bask in the beauty of the Lord. By God’s grace, I have chosen to remember and rehearse all the good things. I decided to fill my heart with the joy of knowing the goodness of God. Even though a weekend like I just had doesn’t represent all my days, I remain in the grip of a God who is good and faithful and true.
It is with that assurance that I have deliberately chosen joy.
I close my eyes and turn my thoughts to those recent sweet days of riding through God’s beautiful creation with my person. And those precious moments of holding my new grand-daughter, of reading to and playing with my grandsons, and of time spent with my daughter and son-in-love.
I smile, thinking about how my sister and I were able to steal a few minutes from our schedule to see our parents and eat lunch with a friend we met in Israel. I always cherish the time spent with my sis. She so enjoys life and even a moment with her always bring silliness and laughter.
I glance over at the stack of resources I gained at the conference, and I know that I haven’t come close to grasping all that I heard from the messages in Deuteronomy this weekend. I have plenty to keep me pondering for days. And what a joy it is to have experienced it all with great friends, which included my sis and one of my daughters!
So on this Monday morning, I’m not sitting here all blue.
I’m standing here, all amazed.
In reflecting on the theme of the conference, which was “Listen and Live”, I can’t help but remind myself to remember these impact words: Listen. Live.
We focused on the bible book of Deuteronomy, and as we did so we considered the promised grace for rebel hearts. I don’t say this flippantly: there was not a weak spot in the conference. Every speaker, panel and song spoke to my rebel heart. Since we have recently concluded a series in Romans at our church, the way that Deuteronomy was tied together with the gospel message found in that NT book, it was even more meaningful to dig into the passages.
It would be impossible to pick a favorite session, but there was a statement by DA Carson that seemed to sum up the conference for me. Actually, it kinda sums up my life. It’s found in Deuteronomy 12:7 and answers the question, ‘WHY has the Lord blessed me so?’ It’s the kind of answer that settles everything, yet leaves us bewildered. It’s the kind of answer that provides deep abiding peace when filtered through the unchanging truths of God, but that provokes angst when in my humanity I try to reconcile things too high and deep for me. It’s not the kind of answer we should always give our children (since we’re flawed), but it is the kind of answer that we must humbly receive from our good, good Father.
Why has the LORD blessed me so? Because He has blessed me! 🙂
The rest of the chapter in Deuteronomy, and really the whole book, contains a picture of a God who keeps His covenant because He’s a covenant-keeping God, and not because we are a covenant-keeping people. We worship God because He is worthy of our worship. We have received grace upon grace because God is a Giver of grace. Every good gift … every single one … has been bestowed on me by the Father simply because He decided to give them. Any other kind of thinking does not grasp the character of the God of the scriptures: Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. By His own choice, He gave us birth by the word of truth so that we would be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
I’m the recipient of God’s goodness and grace, because He’s chosen to be the giver of these gifts. Why? Because He has blessed me.
If tomorrow holds blessing, nothing about God has changed.
If tomorrow holds heartache, nothing about God has changed.
If tomorrow holds gain, nothing about God has changed.
If tomorrow holds loss, nothing about God has changed.
Since He is worthy of my praise simply because He’s God, joy in Him is not limited to certain days. My lifesong is rooted in the truth of these words: “by Thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home”. God has given me the pleasure of pleasing Him with my worship through obedience, driven by His grace. He would never command anything He doesn’t care about. Surrendering our lives to Him in obedience should not be because we desire to make ourselves look good, but because we desire to make Him look good.
Why has He blessed me with such grace – the grace that will lead me home?
Because He has blessed me.
Behold the bright and risen Son, more beauty than this world has known.
I’m face to face with love Himself – His perfect spotless righteousness.
A thousand years, a thousand tongues, are not enough to sing His praise!!