My mother's heart is also greatly burdened because Ashley is in Costa Rica on the mission trip with our church and seriously ill. Worry and concern, coupled with sadness for her that she can't participate with the team have mixed with my frustration and discouragement of being here for two weeks with no progress in obtaining the birth certificate.
With a heavy, burdened heart I opened my Bible this morning, seeking redirection and refreshment for my anxious thoughts. Writing out God's words today are more for my benefit than anyone else's as this activity forces my thoughts and mind to focus back on truth and not circumstances.
Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget none of His benefits.
Who pardons all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit; who crowns you with lovingkindess and compassion.
Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice! Let your forbearing spirit be
known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am…I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.
(if Jesus learned obedience through suffering, can I expect to learn it any other way?)
Through Him let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to his name.
As I was trying to find the reference to this last verse, I came across a sermon by John Piper on this passage. It is worth reading, if you have the time, but it was the Spirit's working, even in my google searching, to redirect my heart.
Because I want to post this before we head to church this morning, I will just share two of his points:
1. "the fruit" of lips that praise him must begin in the heart. It is an overflow of the heart.
2. "lips" I need to be speaking and singing God's praise with my mouth…an audible sound…not just thinking the thoughts in my head.
3. we need to praise God corporately as church body.
As Psalm 103 instructs, I will talk to myself this morning and remind myself of God's benefits:
1. My best friend is with Ashley on this mission trip, caring for her and being her mama in my place. Daniel is also there with her.
2. God connected me with another American here in Kiev last night, and today we are going to a Calvary Chapel with her, her son, and some other American families.
3. All of our needs are being met.
I want to post this now to recruit prayer warriors especially for Ashley. It is very concerning that she is so sick and not getting better. The team is trying to take her to the hospital as I type, and the thought of medical care in Costa Rica poses a whole new set of worries.
Continue to pray that we can get the birth certificate and finally be able to begin applying for the passport and complete our embassy appointments.