Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Praises in the Morning

Patterned After Psalm 52:8,9
April 8th, 2004
By Judith

But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God:
I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.
I will praise thee for ever,
because thou hast done it:
and I will wait on thy name;
for it is good before thy saints.
Psalm 52:8,9 (KJV)

The olive tree is a simile representing that the one who trusts in the mercy of God is productive and secure.  I can see how it is not only “I” but “I am” and if the Holy Spirit dwells in us, we will flourish and grow like an olive tree as He dwells in our house, which is within us.  The following is patterned after a Psalm as the thought came to me one morning that David had set a wonderful example of prayer and praise to our God.

But I am like an oak tree in God’s garden;
Which spreads its branches over the yard,
Providing shelter and protection.
Like God, the large oak offers much to us;
It was cut down one day and milled.
Like the oak, God sacrificed His only Son;
I will trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.
He has blessed me beyond measure,

Praise His name!
I will praise Him forever.
He brought me out from heading the wrong direction.
Because You have done it,
I will praise Your name!
I blundered along through the years,
Making many mistakes.
He quietly guided me,
He gently lead me along the way.
Praise His name!
He put me on the right path,
But I still didn’t have everything ‘right’.
He quietly guided me,
He gently lead me along the way.
Praise His name!
He brought me closer and closer,
And sometimes I strayed off the path.
He quietly pulled me back,
He gently lead me down the right path.
I will praise His name!
Here I am after 25 years;
With a very special husband,
And seven wonderful children!
Have I made many mistakes?
He continues to quietly guide me,
He constantly leads me with His gentle hand.
Praise His name!
It has ALL been worth it!
Every difficult day, every wonderful day!
Have I sometimes strayed off the path?
He has brought me back,
And I will continually hear Him calling,
I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.
I will praise You forever,
Because You have done it;
And in the presence of Your saints,
I will wait on Your name, for it is good,

Because here I am . . .
And the Husband and children You have given me.
I will wait on Your name,
How good Your name is!
How about you?!

Change Me, O Lord!

 (This article was originally written over 16 years ago,
 in about 1994 for a newsletter I used to edit)

Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to thy lovingkindness:
According unto the multitude of thy tender mercies 
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me throughly from mine iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
Psalm 51:1 & 2

As with most of us, I am inspired by things I read or hear.  I am most influenced by the kind of books, magazines, or tapes that are brought into our home.  These days, more than ever before,  we need to be keepers at home who guard the spiritual quality of all our children *see* or *read*.  Yet, without inner cleansing of our hearts, the outward cleansing of our home will be just that.  Outward!  O Lord, Change me!

This past week I read an article in the Home School Digest called, “Change Me, O Lord!”  (sorry my title isn’t original ;-) by David Wilkerson.  As a busy homeschool mom with 5 children learning from sunup to sundown, I tend to doze off at the end of the day when I read.  As I read the article over the course of three days, it was impressed more deeply on my heart as I needed to re-read much of it (forgetting where I had left-off).   May what we read always influence us for His eternal glory.  Our days are numbered and each moment counts for Him.

As homeschool moms, we spend much time reading  ‘about’ curriculum, seeking academic advice from authors or friends who have  ‘been there, done that’.  As a seasoned homeschooler (because I have learned along with my children) I can tell you that although I have enjoyed reading those kinds of books and having those kinds of conversations; the most important aspect of homeschooling is how God is working in the lives of my children, right?! Wrong!! Instead, it is how He is working in MY life. How He is changing me.  O Lord!  How I need that!

When my children make mistakes, I often tell them that they cannot change themselves.  Neither can we as moms change ourselves as that is exclusively the work of the Holy Spirit.  As God changes us the veil that covers our eyes, deceiving us of the sin in our lives is lifted as we are transformed into His image.*

Once we have the veil lifted from our hearts, our eyes are opened and the Lord can set us onto a true course, turn us around, and our lives will never be the same again. As we learn to trust fully in the Lord’s leading on our lives, all our ideas and plans are laid aside as we rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us.*

Walking before our God with an ‘open face’ so that He can totally cleanse every hidden thing in our hearts so that we can be delivered from it.  Asking God to “Try me, Lord –see if there is any wicked way in me.  Show me where I’m living contrary to Your Word.  I want to be delivered from everything that’s unlike You.  Away with all my pride, my ambitions, my selfish intellect, my reasoning.  I know I can’t think of a way out of my situation.  Holy Spirit, I need Your power and wisdom.  I lay down every hope of solving things my own way.” *

If we walk in humility before our children, keeping in mind that we are shepherding them for all eternity.  They are an eternal being and they will be spending eternity either in Heaven or Hell.  Every moment we spend with them, every word and action we share with them will effect them one way or the other for eternity.  O Lord, change ME!!  Putting our lives as homeschooling mothers in that perspective shifts the emphasis from the academic (choosing curriculum and standardized testing, etc.)  to the Spiritual realm of their character through Jesus Christ.  Are we as mothers demonstrating the meek and gentle personality of the Lord?  Can they see Jesus in our actions?  Our actions tend to speak much louder than all the things that we say or all the wonderful books on character building that we might read to them.

Have you gone to the library lately with your children and found that many of the books  are filled  with trash even in the junior section?  I have found that even science books are a disappointment, presenting facts from a Unitarian (evolution) perspective instead of Castastrophism (creation).  We want to raise up a godly generation but we can’t do this if we are not constantly on guard, protecting our children from worldliness. 

Worldliness bombards us everywhere we go and even invades the privacy of our homes.  We often think of worldliness as residing at the mall or Walmart.  How often do we guard our children's reading material...both from the public library or our own bookshelf?  Satan uses what families reads to invade thoughts and hearts, drawing them away from Jesus.  I had to first change what books “I” read before I noticed that my children’s reading material needed cleansing.

If you ever go on the internet for your homeschooling support these days, you will find an email loop for every philosophy or approach in education that exists.  When we get involved with these daily ‘chats’, we too often neglect our own families in the pursuit of these conversations with women we will never meet.  We start out only spending a small amount of time on the internet.  As the months progress, we are drawn into spending more and more time, just like that extra cup of coffee or sugar fix that is ‘calling our name.’  Whenever my life gets out of balance, I *see* it first in my children’s demanding, whining, bickering behavior.  Change me, O Lord!!

Over the years, I have watched my children interact and play while listening to music. My oldest son was toddling when I first noticed that whenever I listened to a certain musician he ran all the faster through our house.  Once we had several toddlers, I continued to search for music.  It has been quite a journey until we have found music that reflects a quiet atmosphere, bringing peace to our home.  I have had to cleanse our home of music over and over as the Lord continued to bring me to the point He desired to have me.  The Lord sometimes asks us to do things that are hard to give up but once we are willing to yield, giving up what we thought was ours to keep comes easy.

Whether it is a situation between my children, between them and me, or my husband and I; I need to consider if it is me that needs to change (FIRST!)  We always think it is the other person who needs to change!!  When we are willing to lay down our lives for the life of another, laying down our wishes, wants, and desires, we are ready to allow the Lord to fill us and use us for His glory.  My desire is to sit at Jesus’ feet and learn of the Lord instead of being like Martha.  We need to serve our husband and children with our hearts as well as physically doing the tasks we have set before us each day.  Too often the reason we run into problems is because our tone reflects the wrong motives of the heart.  Maybe we are annoyed that our dear children are needing help with something now when we wanted time to ourselves.

There is so much the Lord is continually showing me that “I” need to change.  I keep taking baby steps towards being a more righteous person and giant steps backwards more often than I’d like.  These are just some of the things that the Lord has shown me through the years.  Once I stopped expecting others to change, He was able to begin His miraculous work in my heart. He will show you what he wants you to change if you just ask Him.  Change me, O God!

By Judith
April, 2004 (published on a website I used to have)

*(I used nuggets from this article as I just didn’t have better words to convey my thoughts: Change Me, O Lord!  By David Wilkerson)

The Haven of Rest

My soul, in sad exile, was out on life's sea,
So burdened with sin and distressed,
Till I heard a sweet voice saying,
"Make me your choice,"
And I entered the haven of rest.

I've anchored my soul in the haven of rest,
I'll sail the wide seas no more;
The  tempest may sweep o'er the wild, stormy deep --
In Jesus I'm safe evermore.

I yielded myself to His tender embrace,
And, faith taking hold of the Word,
My fetters fell off, and I anchored my soul --
The haven of rest is my Lord.

The song of my soul, since the Lord made me whole,
Has been the old story so blest
Of Jesus, who'll save whosoever will have
A home in the haven of rest.


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