Thursday, November 3, 2011

No Greater Love.

"The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love." - Psalm 145:8

There are days and nights where this verse is so overwhelmingly pressed on my heart and mind. Today is one of those days; and tonight is one of those nights. 

I'm thankful that God doesn't leave His children to figure life out on their own, but that "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence..." (2 Peter 1:3). It's His glory & excellence, not mine. I will fail and fall, but He will be gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in His unfathomable loveHowever, after knowing this truth, it is a huge temptation to think that His grace abounds so that I can continue in my sin. What a terrible lie.

 {Lord, may I never take Your amazing grace for granted}. 

"Yes, Lord, thou didst indeed know me in my fallen state, and thou didst even then choose me for thyself. When I was loathsome and self-abhorred, thou didst receive me as thy child, and thou didst satisfy my craving wants. Blessed forever be they name for this free, rich, abounding mercy. Since then, my inward experience has often been a wilderness; but thou hast owned me still as thy beloved, and poured streams of love and grace into me to gladden me, and make me fruitful. Yea, when my outward circumstances have been at the worst, and I have wandered in a land of drought, thy sweet presence has solaced me. Men have not known me when scorn has awaited me, but thou hast known my soul in adversities, for no affliction dims the lustre of thy love. Most gracious Lord, I magnify thee for all thy faithfulness to me in trying circumstances, and I deplore that I should at any time have forgotten thee and been exalted in heart, when I owed all to thy gentleness and love. Have mercy upon thy servant..."
- C. H. Spurgeon

{Amazing love... Amazing grace}

Monday, October 17, 2011

"With thee is the fountain of life" {Psalm 36: 9}

I am unbelievably thankful for the encouraging words said by my dear friends. I oftentimes sit back and wonder how I've been so richly blessed & quickly remember that it is only by the amazing grace of God. The One thing that binds us together is Him, and yet, how often do I choose to seek the comfort, encouragement, & answers from my friends only, rather than hearing the words of the gracious God who first graced me with those sweet friends? I am so often guilty of this. It is so easy for us to find comfort from someone who is visible & tangible, isn't it? We ask people to pray for us; we tell them our hurts, our longings, & our praises, which are definitely important in their place, but then we forget to lift those things up to the One who has the power to change our circumstances and the One who deserves all the credit for life's praises.  
Then, on the other hand, how often do we cling to things that will never satisfy and are temporal, giving them a higher standing and importance in our lives before our kind & steadfast God? It is SUCH a temptation in this world that is filled with way too many distractions. Of course, God knew we would struggle with these things, which is why He has given us His precious Word, but how often do we forget it is, "alive and powerful... sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow... exposing our innermost thoughts and desires" {Hebrews 4:12}. When I read that, I am reminded of how little I have made the Word of God. If I believed this, wouldn't I spend every waking moment reading it & praying to the God who breathed the words onto those very pages, rather than turning on my television or finding any distraction to keep me away from being with Him? I have such little faith. But, how grateful I am to have a Heavenly Father who can't even help His continual faithfulness toward me! 

A thought from C. H. Spurgeon: 

"There are times in our spiritual experience when human counsel or sympathy, or religious ordinances, fail to comfort or help us. Why does our gracious God permit this? Perhaps it is because we have been living too much without him, and he therefore takes away everything upon which we have been in the habit of depending, that he may drive us to himself. It is a blessed thing to live at the fountain head. While our skin-bottles are full, we are content, like Hagar and Ishmael, to go into the wilderness; but when those are dry, nothing will serve us but "Thou God seest me." We are like the prodigal, we love the swine-troughs and forget our Father's house. Remember, we can make swine-troughs and husks even out of the forms of religion; they are blessed things, but we may put them in God's place, and then they are of no value. Anything becomes an idol when it keeps us away from God; even the brazen serpent is to be despised as "Nehushtan," if we worship it instead of God. The prodigal was never safer than when he was driven to his father's bosom, because he could find sustenance nowhere else. Our Lord favours us with a famine in the land that it may make us seek after himself the more. The best position for a Christian is living wholly and directly on God's grace- still abiding where he stood at first- "Having nothing, and yet possessing all things." Let us never for a moment think that our standing is in our sanctification, our mortification, our graces, or our feelings, but know that because Christ offered a full atonement, therefore we are saved; for we are complete in him. Having nothing of our own to trust to, but resting upon the merits of Jesus- his passion and holy life furnish us with the only sure ground of confidence. Beloved, when we are brought to a thirsting condition, we are sure to turn to the fountain of life with eagerness." 

so thankful.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

But WHO Made the Pretty Flowers?

I love finding things when I'm not looking for them. There's a type of excitement when things come along when you're least expecting them. Oftentimes, people will say "It will happen when you least expect it". Of course, that is usually said about the bigger things in life, but I've found recently that this can also be true for the little things too.

As I was looking through the free books on my iBooks app, I came across a little treasure of a book written nearly 200 years ago called, Aims and Aids for Girls and Young Women. Sounds kind of random, but as I started reading, I realized the book was filled with biblical truth. A chapter on beauty really caught my eye and before reading the chapter I assumed it would be about the many struggles and insecurities women have in regards to their beauty, but my assumptions were very wrong. Here's what is written:
"We doubt not that God is a lover of Beauty. We speak reverently. He fashioned the worlds in Beauty, when there was no eye to behold them but his own. All along the wild old forest he has carved the forms of Beauty. Every cliff, and mountain, and tree is a statue of Beauty. Every leaf, and stem, and vine, and flower is a form of Beauty. Every hill, and dale, and landscape is a picture of Beauty. Every cloud, and mist-wreath, and vapor-vail is a shadowy reflection of Beauty. Every spring and rivulet, lakelet, river, and ocean, is a glassy mirror of Beauty. Every diamond, and rock, and pebbly beach is a mine of Beauty. Every sun, and planet, and star is a blazing face of Beauty. All along the aisles of earth, all over the arches of heaven, all through the expanses of the universe, are scattered in rich and infinite profusion the life-gems of Beauty. All natural motion is Beauty in action. The winds, the waves, the clouds, the trees, the birds, the animals, all move beautifully; and beautifully do the joyous light-words of the skies dance their eternal cotillion of glory. From the mote that plays its little frolic in the sunbeam, to the world that blazes along the sapphire spaces of the firmament, are visible the ever-varying features of the enrapturing spirit of Beauty. All this great realm of dazzling and bewildering beauty was made by God.
What shall we say then, is he not a lover of Beauty? Is it irreverence thus to speak? No; but rather reverence. What reverent soul does not love to look at God in his works? Go out in the still morning, when the golden gates of day are turning slowly back to let the morning king come in with a great crown of rosy light streaking half around the heavens, on his brow; or at noon, when the whole firmament and the joyous earth are bathed in a golden flood, soft, and warm, and life-inspiring; or at evening when even the zephyrs are folding up their wings with the little birds, and the trees, and the fields, and the smiling mountain tops are bidding a sweet good-night to their heavenly king as encurtained in diamond glory he sinks to rest; or at night, when the stars come out to keep their vigils over the sleeping earth; go out at such times, and what heart is not bewildered with the sense of Beauty that steals over it like a divine charm? and through that beauty is not carried up to God the beautiful and bountiful author of it all? God hath made every thing beautiful in its time. I envy not him who is undevout in the presence of so much Beauty. How easily can the devout spirit go through nature up to nature's God. Who loves nature should love God. Who admires Beauty should reverence its Author. Natural beauty inspires piety in a good heart. To commune with nature intelligently is to commune with God. Whoever loves a flower, a bird, a landscape view, a rainbow, a star, the blue sky, should love God. God is in them all. He is in the aisles of the forest, the waves of the deep, the solitudes of the mountain, and the fragrance of the green fields. Beauty is of divine origin, and we should admire, ay, and love it too. It should fill us with sweet thoughts of God, with worshipful emotions, with reverent aspirings. The love of Beauty we should cultivate within us as a gift of the good Father, and a shrine at which we may worship him acceptably. He has not given us this delicate sense of Beauty to be neglected. It is our duty to preserve it well and cultivate it diligently.
None of us love Beauty too much, if our love is enlightened and devout. He who has no love of Beauty in his soul is a great way from God, and very near the earth, the animal. The love of Beauty is refining and elevating in its tendency. Yet it is too often indulged without a thought of God or a reverent emotion. It is a love which may be united with earthly desires, or with heavenly aspirations. It may lead us downward or upward, according to the use we make of it. It may pander to pride and vanity, lust and appetite, or inspire to virtue, religion, and inward life. It is a love which should be brought within the sphere of moral government as much as the passions of our lower nature. It is a love, too, which perhaps leads as many astray, corrupts as many lives, degrades as many natures, as almost any feeling we possess. Its abuses are fearful in their character and wide in their influence. It is a power of mind lovely to behold, and even when degraded it is like a diamond in the dust. So far as the love of natural things is concerned, there is but little danger of abuse.
Nature is always lovely, and always to be admired. She always reminds us of God and our duty; always teaches us our own littleness and frailty, and works upon all our passions a calming subduing influence."
 - George Sumner Weaver
This place we live in is beautiful. Why? Because we serve a beautiful Creator. His creation reflects who He is. I don't know about you, but when I think about it that way, my walks in the park will never be the same.

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen."-- Romans 1: 20-25

Monday, March 14, 2011

Psalm 103

Thankful for this beautiful Psalm and all the promises within.

Tonight {and forever}, Lord, I will praise thee.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from 
   everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children's children,
to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the Lord, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.

Bless the Lord, O my soul!