Monday, June 21, 2010

By His Grace

God has been good and faithful beyond what I can even express. He has opened the door for a good job developing software quite close to home. Thank you for your continued prayers and encouragement. It was a hard four months without work, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. God has done so much work in my heart through teaching me to trust Him more fully. I pray that learning to trust Him would not be a lesson that needs to be relearned all the time, but rather that I would continually trust Him more and more. He has never failed even once. I have no reason not to trust Him fully. Oh for grace to trust Him more!

I was reading in 1 Corinthians 15 this evening and I loved the example of Paul's heart in verse 10.
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.

Whether we live in the reality of it or not, we are here only because of the grace of God. Any good in us is because of His grace. Oh for a heart that would work harder than anyone I know for Christ's sake and yet fully depend on Him knowing that it is only by His grace that I am able to do live, move, and breathe. I am so prone to take credit for things that only He has done. I pray that He would not allow me to depend on anyone or anything except for Him and His infinite grace. I can identify so much with those lyrics by Laura Story... "My heart is so proud. My mind is so unfocused. I see the things You do through me as great things I have done. And now You gently break me, and lovingly You take me, and hold me as my Father and mold me as my Maker. I ask You how many times will You pick me up, when I keep on letting You down. Each time I will fall short of Your glory, how far will forgiveness abound? And You answer child, "I love you, and as long as You're seeking My face, you'll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace."

Monday, June 14, 2010

Setting Standards

It is looking like God may be opening a job opportunity for me in the near future. I am excited about this and yet trying to maximize the end of my pre-job time to be as prepared as possible to enter that job and live in light of 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.
For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

To have the mind of Christ is my highest goal. I want His love to control me... and by His grace, I am free to live for Him because He died for me to do so. I know that when I get out there in the workplace, some of my standards will be pushed and probably broken. How I respond to that is dependent fully on how hard I am leaning on Him... through time in the Word and prayer, reflecting in my day-to-day decisions. The communication of my standards will be tough since we are aliens and strangers in the world (1 Peter 2:11-12). It will not make sense to others... it will probably sound legalistic. I am continually amazed at how God speaks through my pastor directly to my heart. He spoke on this very issue on Sunday. It is impossible to live in this world and be holy without having standards based on His Word. Our standards are not things that depend on who we are with... it defines who we are. These standards must be determined carefully, prayerfully, and Biblically... and yet we must be humble about our standards. It is a difficult balance to "stand firm in the faith" and yet be humble and listen to others, but if our standards are based on our view of God, they will be centered around His character. The goal of having "high standards" is not for attention or to look good in front of others, but because we must live holy and blameless before Him in a world full of perversion.

God, I desperately need You to control me with Your unending love. Help me be fully submissive to You. Give me the grace and wisdom needed to stand firm in Your ways with humility. Give me a passion for You that is so strong that the evil things of this world are not in any way attractive. Strip away any false humility that I have, show me the sin of my heart, and help me to live no longer for myself, but for You--every moment of every day.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Moving Forward!

I find it increasingly amazing just how busy you can be without a job! However, that is soon to change. :) The Lord opened the door for me to have an internship with a local city (in the city hall). I start tomorrow morning and am quite excited about it. It is not a paid internship, but I see it as great practical experience... plus they have lots of connections. I had a surprise interview yesterday. This was the first time that I had received a call from one of those job placement companies. I was beginning to think that they didn't actually exist... but apparently they do! Today I had the blessing of getting to help a friend out with an excel spreadsheet macro. I totally didn't expect to be paid, but that was a great blessing. I received another call today for a second interview for a company in the area on Friday. God has been so good!

Yesterday, my sister and I went out for a few hours and passed out fliers for the new church that our church is planting this fall. God opened several doors for me to talk with people. I have found it such a joy just to pray for the people in the houses that I am putting fliers on as I do so... praying for opportunities to talk with people about Christ... etc. He has a way of turning what could be a boring and somewhat uncomfortable task into sheer joy in serving Him.

I have been thinking a lot about the different areas of my life and how I can press forward in a Christ-like manner within those. It is a continual battle to not grow stale. I know that I gravitate toward the easy path and desperately need His continual grace in pushing me to continue to "learn what is pleasing to the Lord." He has been growing my faith a whole lot these last couple weeks especially... just seeing Him come through time and time again without fail as I have trusted Him. Oh how I wish that I would never again lean on my own understanding! I just finished studying 1 John and chapter 5, verse 3 really jumped out at me.
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

As He has been gently teaching me to trust and obey Him, this verse has rung truer and truer in my heart. I long to obey Him fully... and it is not a burden, it is a joy to love Him in this manner! I think of how James talks about faith being dead without works... it is so true! The rubber meets the road when you are forced to get beyond talking about trusting Him... and actually being obedient when it's hard... and it feels like it's going to hurt you. His ways are always best, let's obey Him... it's not a burden, it's a joy!