Thursday, January 16, 2014

struggles, grace, and a thought about service

Sometimes things happen in this life of which our finite minds just cannot make sense.  Lately, it seems like there are more things happening in that category of life than in any other.  This past Sunday morning, just when I was finding myself submerged in my own world - focusing only on the struggles there, the Holy Spirit gently prodded me back to reality with a simple hymn.

He Giveth More Grace

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater;
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase.
To added affliction He addeth his mercy;
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

His love has no limit; His grace has no measure
His power has no boundary known unto men
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father's full giving in only begun.

His love has no limit; His grace has no measure
His power has no boundary known unto men
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!

No one is immune to the struggles of this world, but fortunately for us, we have the promise that greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)  No matter what we face, what heavy burden we carry, we have the promises of scripture to help us stay the course when we all we want to do is crawl under the covers and hide from the day ahead.

There are many scriptures that I could draw on for times like these, but among my favorite are:

 2 Timothy 1:12 
... for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

and Philippians 4:19
... But my God shall supply ALL your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

and finally, Philippians 4:6-7, which were also among my Mama's favorite verses,

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

One final thought ... our devotion this week in Wednesday night Bible study was led by one of my favorite ladies ... and she shared some thoughts on service.  Two things stood out to me that I feel the need to ponder on and I thought I would share them with you, just in case you might want to ponder them, too.

"Outside of the will of Christ there may be much activity, but there can be no service."

"Service is a state of being, not of doing."

Back to the original topic, here is a video of the Gaithers singing  He Giveth More Grace among some other hymns ... 

Friday, January 3, 2014

a shiny new year

Another year has come and gone and I, for one, am glad.  2013 was, without a doubt, the hardest year of my life, thus far. And yet, it wouldn't be correct to look at this past year as if there were no good days and nothing for which to be thankful.

I spent the morning of January 1st looking over a journal that I started for the specific purpose of recording the blessings in my life and realized that I had only written one page in that journal in 2013 ~ that realization both startled and saddened me.  Despite the difficulties of 2013, last year had just as many days for which to be thankful as any other year.  My level of thankfulness should never be based on my current circumstances.

In my first post of 2013, I concluded with this paragraph: prayer is that God will show me which things that HE wants me to focus on and which things I should simply leave in the past.  My desire is that when 2013 draws to a close, I will be able to say that the most important change in this year has been that I have drawn closer to God, because I know that in doing so, He will draw closer to me.  What more can we ask from a shiny new year?

Today, I pray that the lessons of 2013 will not be forgotten.  This past year taught reminded me that God will carry me through the hardest days - He always provides exactly what I need and His timing is always perfect.

Now, 2014 stretches before me, still fresh and new.  Before it comes to a close, there will be struggles and frustrations, good days, bad days, and days when I just want to give up ~ but through it all, there will be days of grace, days when forgiveness is sought and freely given ... life lessons lived and learned, and in the end, growth.

The end result is that my prayer for 2013 continues into 2014 and this song sums it up far better than I could.

Happy New Year!