Thursday, May 31, 2012

{One Thousand Gifts}: the dare begins

"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me." {Philippians 4:11-13}

The first time I walked through the book of Philippians was in the Spring of 2010 with my TVC How to Study the Bible group. I immediately penned in my journal this secret Paul revealed and wrote on a stone to add to my collection to battle against the thief...forgetfulness.

 In 4 sentences, Paul had unpacked the secret to life. "I have learned in whatever situation....I can do all things through him who strengthens me." He learned, in all circumstances the secret to joy and contentment is by abiding in God. This was the beginning of my quest to live abiding in God, praying for God to show me what that looked like, and how to walk with Him. 

In April 2011 we walked with God through Genesis. It was there that I fell deeply in love with Joseph's heart, and I prayed the "dangerous" prayer. Joseph explained, "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good" {Gen. 50:20}, and I responded in prayer "Yes! God give me a heart like Joseph!". And God heard.

I read Spectacular Sins in the Fall of 2011 and I am forever indebted to John Piper for his weighty truths! I shared my heart on Spectacular Sins and how it inspired me to create a "Thankful Tree" for Thanksgiving here.

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him." {Colossians 1:15-16}

 "God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him." -John Piper

"...that is, everything exists to display the greatness of Christ. [...] from the greatest saint to the most wicked genocidal dictator--everything that exists, exists to make the greatness of Christ more fully known" -John Piper 

"In the end, everything and everyone serves to magnify the glory of our Savior and increase the gladness of his people in him." John Piper

God used Piper to unpack weighty truths that made the scales fall off my eyes. God is good, in both gifts and suffering. God began to answer my dangerous prayer for Joseph's heart. 

Most recently, I've shared my walk through Numbers and my struggle with waiting on the LORD. 

During this time of "waiting" I've come back to the spiritual truths Piper revealed:

Eight Things to Do with Evil
On the one hand:
1. Expect evil. “Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Pet. 4:12).
2. Endure evil. “Love bears all thing, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7; cf. Mark 13:13).
3. Give thanks for the refining effect of evil that comes against you. “Give thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:20; cf. 1 Thess. 5:18). “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance . . .” (Rom. 5:3–5).
4. Hate evil. “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Rom. 12:9).
5. Pray for escape from evil. “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:13).
6. Expose evil. “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Eph. 5:11).
7. Overcome evil with good. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).
8. Resist evil. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (Jas. 4:7)

And finally, Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts was given to me by a sweet friend last fall, but it was only until now that I finished this daring book. A dare to give thanks, to live thanks, to live fully and full of grace.  

This has been a 2 year journey learning to abide in God, to get more of Him. I have learned that His Word is necessary, to be in it constantly, because it is more essential, more important than bread. "Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." {Matt. 4:4 & Deut. 8:3}

And now, I accept Ann's dare to take pen to paper {or blog} to list 1,000 gifts. 1,000 blessing, the good, the ugly, the bad, the happy, the learn contentment in all things, to rejoice in all things, to see God's hand in everything. To find joy in Christ alone.
This List of Thanks, one thousand gifts, is the active play of Piper's Christian Hedonism {Philippians 1:20-21}.

So here begins my List of Thanks {#1-1,000}, the pursuit of satisfaction in God...for my joy and His glory. 
"You show me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy, in Your right hand are pleasures for evermore." {Psalm 16:11}  
"We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is 'good,' because it is good, if 'bad' because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country."--C.S. Lewis

One Thousand Gifts:
1. For God's grace and love for sanctifying my heart
2. Kate--for the gift of One Thousand Gifts, for her heart, her friendship and blessing


  1. GREAT POST!! Thank for the reminder & inspiration <3
    I TOTALLY NEED to read this book...I'l have to grab it the next time I get to Barnes & Noble!

    Thanks for linking up to First Day of My Life's Thankful Thursday <3

    Be blessed :)

  2. I love this post! Thank you for sharing and for linking up with me today!

  3. This looks like a book I need! Thanks for linking up :)


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