Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Heirs of Grace

This evening I had a softball game... always lots of fun.  I got pretty rocked in the back of the head by a softball as I was coming into home plate which is probably the reason I'm still up.  Considering I was safe, it was well worth it, right? :)  It's been a fun season.  I'm thankful for the opportunity to get some exercise and hopefully be a light to some of the guys in the community.  A few weeks ago, one of our players died.  He was diagnosed with cancer just three weeks before he passed away.  It was a really sad situation... wife and a 2 year old.  It sometimes makes me wonder... why not me?  Why someone with a family depending on him and a baby?  But, God knows best.  Obviously, I am very glad to be alive... just reminded that He could take any of us at any time.  It ended up being a good opportunity to pray with the guys on the team.  One of the guys bought shirts for all of us with that guy's last name on them to honor him.  It is very sad... but God knows what He is doing.

I was reading in Titus 3 this evening and was reminded of the reason we are empowered to love when we don't feel like it or do good to the one that uses us, etc. 
Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
We can go back and remember how much we have been forgiven... how much grace has been given us in Christ... how much hope we have in Christ... how much of our good works (none) helped us earn favor with God... etc.  When we consider these things, our desire to love and obey the Lord and serve others increases greatly.  We have been given great grace and mercy--we can extend the same to those around us!  We were encouraged on Sunday by Pastor Tim to pray big prayers for ourselves.  I am praying that I would grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and that it would be evident to others in the way I pass on some of that amazing grace that I have received.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

An Option

Sunday school this morning was about Exodus 33.  I was so challenged by verses 1-3 and 12-16.

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Depart, go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up from the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give it.’ I will send an angel before you and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, because you are an obstinate people, and I might destroy you on the way.”... Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people!’ But You Yourself have not let me know whom You will send with me. Moreover, You have said, ‘I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people.” And He said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then he said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”
God told Moses that He was sending an angel before them to in a sense "fix all of their problems".  But, God wouldn't be there.  This is staggering to me!  God sometimes will give us the option of "an easy way out" that is not His best.  It comes down to this: when we are facing a trial, are we going to take the "easy way" without God, or are we going to hold firmly to Him and not compromise our relationship with Him no matter what pressure may be around us?  By God's grace, may we "mourn" before the Lord when we are faced with the option of the "easy way" and may we hold fast to the Lord knowing that His way is always best.  We can't go on in life without Him.  We can't pretend that everything will be fine.  Sure, the angel would have been able to drive their enemies out and things would have felt fine and dandy for a little while, but what happens after that?  Is all well when everything is smooth and easy, but without God?  No!  We need Him to be central in absolutely everything.  It doesn't matter how hot the fire gets or how hard a trial may be, if God is at the center of it all, we can say, "it is well with my soul".

Friday, April 12, 2013


I was reading this morning in several different passages and still had the browser tab open from the last one from this morning: John 14.  Those first words jumped out at me as I was reading again tonight, "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me."

Christ was finishing His earthly ministry.  His disciples had grown close to Him, walked with Him for years, were taught be Him, encouraged by Him, rebuked by Him, etc.  They had left absolutely everything to follow Him and now He was going away.  These are the words that He gave them: do not let your heart be troubled.

How quickly my heart is "troubled".  It really shows me how weak I am in the flesh... how dependent on the Lord I am for strength. I am reminded of those words from Psalm 63:8--My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.  It is not about how strong I am, but rather about how strong He is. My heart becomes troubled when I am not believing in God. That sounds super cliché, but when we see things from His perspective... when we trust Him fully... our hearts need not be troubled.  When we know and understand that His plans are perfect and that no plan of His can be thwarted... when we know that God is using sinful human beings to accomplish His perfect work, we can find rest in Him.  We need not fear His plan being changed by the actions of man.  We don't need to know why, but we do need to believe Him with all of our hearts.

Great is Thy faithfulness,
O God my Father.
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not,
Thy compassions, they fail not.
As Thou hast been,
Thou forever wilt be.

Pardon for sin,
And a peace that endureth.
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide.
Strength for today,
And bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine,
With ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness,
Great is Thy faithfulness,
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed,
Thy hand hath provided.
Great is Thy faithfulness,
Lord, unto me!