Thursday, July 5, 2012

Birthday Cards - What God Would Write In Yours

Click here to order this card
A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Its funny the value we give to a paper card with some caring words written on the inside. (The card to the left is one that I designed, I have it for many different birthdays. Click the link below the photo to be taken to my card shop.)

I guess I wanted to share with you today some of the caring words that God has written to you. The vast collection of these verse can be found in your bible but here is Psalm 139.

Here is just one Psalm that expounds on how God knows and cares for us. I'm going to break it up into chunks. The word of the Psalm will be in bold mine will be in italic.

Lord, you have searched me and you know me.
2You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
There is nothing about you that God does not already know. Even when we are like Adam and Eve and try to hide behind fig leaves, God fully knows. He knows your wonderful attributes as well as those places you fall miserably short of His standards. What ever that "thing" is that keeps you from fully turning to God. He already knows but he will wait till you ask Him into that place. You want to talk about intimacy if anyone can truly know you it is God. He can see into the very depths of your heart and mind. Even when I am in the middle of my own mess, I am talking to God about it. There is no point trying to hide it he sees, he knows and only he will really be able to help me turn it around. 

4Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. 
5You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
So a really cool thing happened this week. I got a note from my friend Terri. I've written about her in other posts. She is the poster child for me of what it means to be an over comer. So she was here at the site the other day putting a note in the Birthday Guest Book and it occurred to her to search the site for a song I had posted a while back called Holdin' On. I had written in that post about the anguish of not knowing what had happened to her brother a truck driver who was found missing. Now this is what is cool, the day recently that she searched the words Holdin On was her brothers birthday. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. I have no idea who will stumble on to any of these posts. In fact much of what keeps me writing and sharing my own struggles is knowing that there are others who need encouraged. It is knowing that the Holy Spirit can lead people to the right post at the right time and through them do some amazing work in their heart. There are days when I struggle under the weight of tremendous oppression and I push through it to write. When I hit the publish button the oppression lifts. Honestly I covet your prayers because what God is doing with this blog is so much bigger than me. How I have managed to post every weekday for a year is beyond me to grasp. I just know he has given me this to do and so I write and I try to share openly. I have no idea how it is or will impact anyone. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. 

7Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
8If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
God knows your address even if you have decided to resist him and live in the belly of a wale. No matter how far you run - He will run farther and desires to be with you in that place. Sometimes our shame, or failures cause us to run. Sometimes life becomes overwhelming an more than we can process. There are a number of ways to run away. I am famous for building walls and insulating myself from pain. Its a lonely place but if I open the door just a crack God is waiting to come into that place. If I have hidden things away in the dark corners of my heart and even locked them up securely with chains in a trunk. Eventually the chains begin to rattle and shake. Eventually, I'm going to have to deal with those things and I can only do that with His help. 
I am so thankful that as I have gone through many of those dark places over the past few years that even there his hand guides me and he holds me fast as I finally allow myself to feel the pain and process by repenting and forgiving and putting those memories away clean. There is no where that I can flee from His presence. 
11If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
12even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.  In the darkest, ugliest places where I cower and wrap myself in the cloak of shame and guilt. Even there he will find me. 
13For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, 
I know that full well.15My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,16your eyes saw my unformed body. Quite often I feel a little bit out of step with the world around me. I've got more creativity than I know what to do with most days. I don't know why God decided to wire me this way. He knit me together in my mother's womb. He picked out my family in advance. He knew me and saw me when my own body was yet unformed. That is hard for me to even wrap my brain around. He knows the exact people that I need around me or who need me around them at this particular time. He knows when I am feeling alone, and odd and different. He loves me just as much on my good days as he does on my bad days. He desires to know you right where you are today in this moment, with all your problems and pains. You don't have to put on your game face for God - just be you and let him worry about how to transform you into his image. 

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.17How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
18Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. Can you even imagine the multitude of Gods thoughts. Psalm 40 says something similar to this passage Psalm 40:5 "O LORD my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them." 
19If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
20They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
21Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord, and abhor those who rise up against you?
22I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. So then we get to this little passage. It seems so out of character with the rest of this beautiful Psalm of praise and trust. So cut the "Oh I just love everyone" bit. Admit it already, there are some people that you could do with out. I have a few myself. How many times does it say I have to forgive them? Uggh seventy times seven. Thats a lot of forgiving. I'm not saying that we should remain in abusive situations but I don't see what God sees. That one thief on the cross did not make the decision to follow Jesus til he was hanging there besides him on the cross. Here's what I love about this passage, the writer does not have to pretend to not have these thoughts. He is able to be honest before God about how he feels about his enemies. We don't have to be all holy and religious in our conversations with God. There have been times when I have been mad at God and flat out told him why I was mad. Does he love me any less - no. Our God is big enough to handle our anger, frustration, and miss understanding and still love us. 
23Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Boy there are days when I get myself it quiet an anxious place. I can worry about money, I can worry about the future, I can worry about my kids, my marriage, my friendships, my job.... Oh come on - quit playing games with everyone because you are like me and have your set of things that push your buttons. Just like me you need to be reminded that God already has it all figured out and you and me spending our energy on worry is doing no one any good. That worry is an offensive way in me and in you. But you might as well be honest with the Lord about it. Take it to him now and ask him to help you. Its not like he will suddenly zap you and worry will never enter your mind again. Its a journey and I have to crucify my thoughts and cause them to be obedient to Christ. I have to decide when those worry thoughts start up that I will put them down. I have to decide to make Jesus my focus and not those things that worry me. I have days that I do well and others that I fail miserably. It is on those days that I am greateful for friends who remind me that its really not as bad as I am making it. People who remind me to find my smile. (Thanks Tonia).

So there you have it I pray that the Lord will bless you and keep you. That he will make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. That he will give you his wonderful peace.

Your Birthday Party Favor
Here's your party favor for the day. Its a kind of fun idea that would be nice for an evening party. Glowing/Neon Balloons. Put a Glow stick in a balloon before you blow it up. Pretty simple. 

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