Goodbye Ordinary

I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us. Isaiah 63:7

A “Word” from the Lord January 12, 2012

Filed under: Faith,Life — Lori @ 12:20 pm

It is my belief that the way the Lord continues to speak to His people is through His Word, the holy scriptures.  What a blessing and comfort that is!  Our only disconnect from His words to us are when we do not read them, memorize them, meditate on them.  It is to our detriment that we do not.  Because it is through His alive and powerful words in scripture that He teaches us, admonishes us, comforts us.  His words are life.  How powerful are God’s words?  Well, he spoke and all creation came into being!

I shared the following story with a friend and decided to share it here as well.

I was feeling a bit overwhelmed last week as I was getting back into our school routine and feeling like the task God has given me is more than I can handle.  In my daily Bible reading I read the first two chapters of Joshua one day.  The words that were meant for Joshua from the Lord, to give him confidence and strength for the task ahead, were just what I needed the Lord to speak to me.

Joshua 1:7-10  7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

I needed the reminder that God’s word is all that I need and I cannot turn from it – looking for answers somewhere else.  It is because He is always with me, always guiding, always supplying, that I can be strong and courageous in the face of what sometimes seems like an insurmountable task!

The verses mention prospering and success.  It is very important that we see those words in context.  If we see those words in the verse as a promise, well, they come with a condition – that we obey perfectly all of God’s law.  That is not possible.  However Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior did obey God’s law perfectly!  Praise the Lord, it is Jesus’ righteousness that I am wearing before God and not my own!  Of course, this promise was made to Joshua and in turn for the Israelites.  God had a plan for them and He was telling Joshua that His plan would have success.  There is a principle in that for us as well.

I believe God has given each believer a task that He has prepared for us:

Ephesians 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

If God has called us to do something, He will prepare us and He will provide for us and He will give us success.  We will always reach the end of our own ability – probably quicker than we are willing to admit.  We will prosper and have success in those tasks God calls us to because they are the Lord’s tasks and He will accomplish His good and perfect will as the sovereign and almighty God.  Will the world measure prosperity and success as God does.  Probably not.  But, if I have faith that in all things God is at work for my good and His glory, I can see God accomplishing His will which will ultimately be success in my life.  It may not look like the world sees prosperity and success.  But, we must have eyes that look beyond the temporal of this world.

I have always loved 2 Corinthians.  Even before I had really suffered much in my life I loved that book.  I think it was God’s way of preparing me – as I said, He is always faithful to do that!  I want to quote some of the fourth chapter of 2 Corinthians, but can’t decide where to start. 🙂  There is so much there that pertains to what I am thinking about today.  Honestly, I should give more room to God’s words than to mine.  His are much more effective.

2 Corinthians 4:7-18; 5:1-10

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.

13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Hear the word of the Lord!

 

 

Wrap-up of 2011 January 3, 2012

Filed under: Adoption,Faith,Family — Lori @ 12:33 am

I left y’all hanging at the end of 2011 and there were some things I would like to share with you.  We had Levi’s adoption finalization on November 9.  The judge did a great job making it a special day.  She had made a sign congratulating Levi.  She brought cupcakes for all of us who who attended – there were about fifteen of us!  She also let Levi use her gavel.  He liked that.

He was rather confused by what we were there for.  He kept saying, I am already Levi Schneider; I am already your son!  He sure was, it just wasn’t quite legal in the U.S. 🙂

We laughed and were a bit nervous when the judge showed Levi a button and said to be sure not to push it because it called officers into the courtroom.  I am pretty sure she has forgotten the psychology of a seven year old.  Don’t say, “Don’t touch this really cool button that will make something really interesting happen.”  Okay, that isn’t what she said, but I bet that is what Levi heard!!  Anyway, we did keep him from pushing it, but he wanted to. 🙂

Once again we were reminded how very fortunate we are in the support that our family has.  We were so thankful for family and friends who made the not so easy trek to downtown Portland to attend the adoption ceremony.  We were watching a 2011 photo show at our church’s New Years Eve service and included in the photos were Kevin and I coming home from India with Levi last March.  One of the photos showed a picture of all the people who came to greet us – there had to be about thirty people.  It was truly overwhelming at the time to see all those people, but even after nine months seeing that photo brought back this rush of emotion and tears remembering all that we have to be thankful for.

We traveled to Medford for Thanksgiving.  It was a very special time with Kevin’s family – especially because his Dad has been battling cancer.  When someone you love is fighting a serious disease it really makes you reflect on life and what is important.  We had a time of sharing what we are thankful for and all of us could agree how thankful we are for Kevin’s parents and for the example they have been for all of us.  I so appreciate how the cousins have embraced our children and all of them enjoyed spending time together!  Here is a photo of the “kids” table which includes our Kelsey who is 22 and a cousin who was married just this last spring.

We had fun decorating the Christmas tree on December 3.  As Levi’s first time he was a mixture of excitement and confusion.  What did all these decorations mean?  There is so much to learn in a new culture!

The girls were in a Christmas musical play in December.  They had so much fun practicing for that and really loved performing it.  I got to watch them twice as they did two performances and it blessed my heart to see their happy faces as they sang about the true meaning of Christmas.   Here they are with two of their biggest fans, Grandma and GG.

We were so thankful that Kevin’s parents were able to drive up to see their play as well as spend time with three of their four kids’ families who live in this area and celebrate an early Christmas with us.  What was so exciting was the fact that Kevin’s Dad felt good enough to travel and it didn’t set him back.  Praise the Lord for that answer to prayer!

It has been our experience after losing our son Grant, that there are certain times of the year that bring your grief to the surface.  Christmas is one of those times.  A few weeks before Christmas I was sitting in church with the three younger kids beside me, listening to their voices singing out and I was just overwhelmed with how much God has blessed us.

I think of Job and how he had lost every one of his children and how he grieved for them.  In the end, God blessed him with more children and restored all that Job had lost.  I have often thought about how Job must have felt.  I think I now know.  He would have never forgotten the children that he had lost.  I am sure that as he looked around and smiled at the children God gave him after the tragedy he still had an empty place in his heart and pain for the children that were no longer there.  The new children did not replace the ones he had lost.  But, the presence of those children must have given him hope and filled him with awe at the faithfulness of God.  Well, I don’t know if that is what Job felt, but it is what I feel.  I am so blessed by the addition of our three special delivery children and thankful to my core for our precious daughter Kelsey.  But, I also miss Grant beyond words.  I miss how much he would have loved these new siblings and what a great big brother he would be.  Levi builds a special creation with his Legos and comes and wants to show me – just like Grant used to.  There is a mixture of happiness and loss in that memory.

Psalm 9:1-2   I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;   I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you;   I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

 

 
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