Shortcomings

Some days I simply feel like I'm falling short. Like the Apostle Paul, I don't do the things I know I'm supposed to do, and I do the things I know I'm not supposed to (Romans 7). I'm often at war against my flesh and I often come up short. 

This morning I ran across a prayer in my Valley of Vision prayer book. It's a great little book filled with prayers from the Puritans. If you don't have it, I highly recommend getting it as it is a great prayer devotional. The old english language is beautifully poetic and causes one to think deeply about God and the Christian life. I'm going to share the prayer I read this morning. It's called Shortcomings.

Shortcomings

O Living God,
I bless thee that I see the worst of my heart as well as the best of it, that I can sorrow for those sins that carry me from thee, that it is they deep and dear mercy to threaten punishment so that I may return, pray, live.
My sin is to look on my faults and be discouraged, or to look on my good and be puffed up.
I fall short of thy glory every day by spending hours unprofitably, by thinking that the things I do are good, when they are not done to thy end, nor spring from the rules of thy word. 
My sin is to fear what never will be; I forget to submit to thy will, and fail to be quiet there.
But Scripture teaches me that thy active will reveals a steadfast purpose on my behalf, and this quietens my soul, and makes me love thee. 
Keep me always in the understanding that saints mourn more for sin than other men, for when they see how great is thy wrath against sin, and how Christ's death alone pacifies that wrath, that makes them mourn the more. 
Help me to see that although I am in the wilderness it is not all briars and barrenness. I have bread from heaven, streams from the rock, light by day, fire by night, thy dwelling place and thy mercy seat. 
I am sometimes discouraged by thy way, but though winding and trying it is safe and short; Death dismays me, but my great high priest stands in its waters, and will open me a passage, and beyond is a better country. 
While I live let my life be exemplary.
When I die may my end be peace.

 

Dirt

We've recently moved back to the little city of Twin Falls, Idaho. Our reason for moving back (as many have asked, Why would you do that!?) is to establish a new church in the city. We love Twin Falls and are thrilled to be here.

God has blessed us with the opportunity in this season of life to live on a farm. We're surrounded by acres of grass, dirt, and cows. The field behind us has begun to see the green buds of soon to be full grown potato plants. The field in front of us is a pasture filled with cattle. Our mornings are frequently filled with coffee cups in our hands and smiles on our faces as we watch the little calves frolic and play in the tall grass.

It's a joy to learn again how to enjoy the simple things. Watching potatoes grow. Watching baby cows sprint after each other through the grass. The sound of a pivot turning in a field. The feel of dirt in my fingers. The scrapes on the knees of my little boys. I love it.

The world wants us to be busy. We're told that there is always something to do, and we never have time. Our calendars are often full and our eyes are often glued to little 3-inch screens that dictate our every thought and move. So often, we're simply distracted.

I believe our God wants us to learn simplicity again. He wants us to know how to rest. To be free from distractions and truly know who he is. I'm reminded of the Psalm of the Good Shepherd. "He makes us to lie down in green pastures. He leads us beside still waters" (Psalm 23:1-2).

If you haven't done so lately, take a moment to slow down. Stop worrying about what's out in front of you and focus on what's before you. Stop to enjoy the sounds and smells that nature provides. Live the moment that God has given you right now to know him. Stop worrying (don't stop planning) about tomorrow. He already has it taken care of.