Love, Prayer, Forgiveness and Surrender

love, prayer, surrender, forgivenessIf we were, just for a moment, to talk about a few of the most powerful actions and ideas available to us then my top four would be 1) love in action, 2) prayer, 3) surrender and 4) forgiveness.  In these, Jesus Christ is our model and we can be assured that in order to become more Christlike we must work towards being excellent at all four.

And I say “work towards” because we don’t start our walk with Christ being strong in these areas and none of us, no matter how long we have been a child of God, are perfect in all four.  We’ve all got work to do or perhaps it’s more accurate to say we must continue(or begin) to surrender our selves to the Holy Spirit so that He can work in us and on us.  It is the work of God to change us, it is the responsibility of the person to surrender themselves so that they may be changed.

(So there’s number 3 from our list, right there, and please bear with me even if this is not in numerical order!)  Just as Christ surrendered his position in heaven and left his throne to come and live as a man, and just as Christ then surrendered his life for all so must we surrender our rights and desires to Him.  Our surrender is what allows us to accept Jesus Christ as savior and Lord and it is our daily (or even hourly) surrender that allows us to continue to grow and know Him better.

Closely related to surrender is forgiveness(number 4 from our list).  God forgives us of our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness and this forgiveness is applied to our past, present and future!  The entirety of the sin debt of every man, woman and child who has ever lived or will ever live has already been paid for.  The enormity of that act is difficult to comprehend but what it means for us is that we no longer have the right to withhold forgiveness from anyone or anything.  God forgave it all, every last sin, at the exact moment that the sin debt was laid on His only son Jesus.  For us, who have been so forgiven, we are now free to surrender our right to retribution, hatred, revenge and all thoughts of “getting even”.

Not only that, we must forgive ourselves and not hold on to guilt or failure.  And sometimes, we even need to forgive a situation or circumstance.  Sometimes things happen that aren’t in our plan and are not welcomed or appreciated and if we aren’t careful we can develop bitterness that will poison our lives and everything that we touch.  God’s children must forgive and the only way this can be done is in the power of the Holy Spirit and in Jesus’ name.  We simply lack the ability to forgive and let go apart from the power of God in us.

So then, how do we access the power of God in us and live lives that are filled with the Holy Spirit?  We do this through prayer (number 2, here it is!) and meditation on God’s Word.  The Bible says we are to “pray continuously” and that we should “always, in everything, make our requests known to God with thanksgiving” and then, once we’ve done that, we can start to be amazed at what God can do through us and around us.  Prayer is powerful, not because of the words we say but because of who we are praying to; Jesus, in whom we live and move and have our being.  When we choose to communicate and cooperate with God it will always make an eternal and life changing difference.

And all of this, everything that we do, must be done out of a Christlike love for all people and to show love in action (number 1, here we are!)  Not love in feeling, which ebbs and flows and is only based on human emotion, but love like Christ has for all people and love that motivated Him to give up his own life to save all mankind.  Again, only God can change us to have a love like that and only through prayer, surrender and forgiveness can we share it with others.

God’s love never fails and never changes and He chooses to share it with us.  All that he asks is that we love Him in return by the way that we live our lives and the way that we treat others.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 1:13 (NIV)

 

The Choice Between Vision And Blindness

vision, goals, sinHopefully by the time that you read this today you will have eaten a meal.  Can I ask you a silly question?  Why did you do it?  Why did you eat or drink what you did?  My guess is, it was because you were hungry and thirsty and your body was telling you that you needed nourishment.  In other words, you had physical motivation to eat and drink.  Motivation is important, both in the physical realm and in the spiritual realm.  With that in mind, let’s consider the following quote by a fellow blogger:

It’s the vision that motivates the practice. – Tom Smith

Do you know what else can serve as an excellent motivator?  A vision, or a goal (I will use these two terms interchangeably from here on out).  As Mr Tom Smith so aptly stated, the practical work of whatever it happens to be can be motivated by the goal that we have in mind or the vision that we have been given.  This is an important truth that is applicable in many areas so I will ask you, do you have a vision?  Do you have a goal or goals that you are working towards that helps to shape your thoughts and actions?

Using a very relevant example, I write these posts and run this blog because God gave me a vision of sharpening and encouraging His people by writing and speaking His truth.  I have been charged to teach and to edify both with the written and the spoken word until the Lord tells me to stop or calls me home to be with Him.  For me, this is an excellent motivator to do as He has asked.

I believe that God wants the very best for us.  I believe He wants us to be who He created us to be before Sin entered the world and caused us to be evil and less.  I believe that He has a vision for each of us based on the talents and abilities that He has given us.  He wants to use our experiences, our personalities and even our worst failures in combination with His power and His grace to produce something marvelous and something unique to each of us.

Do you have a God-given vision and purpose?  Have you asked for one and sought it out?  I am certain that He has one for you but until you come to the place where you are ready to receive it, you will remain blind and directionless.  The great news is that you have a choice.  You can choose to receive all that God offers by crying out to Him and seeking His will for your life.  When you want it more than anything else, you will have it.

We Are Temporary, We Are Eternal

eternal, temporary, good worksAs I looked out the window this morning, the sky immediately caught my attention.  Higher up and farther in the distance I could see clear, blue sky with a few fluffy, white clouds.  As I focused on that which was far off, I noticed how beautiful a scene it was and that I was grateful for the coming day and for God’s creation.  Continuing in my study of the sky I could see that closer to me and lower in the sky, dark storm clouds had gathered and, depending on where I focused, they sometimes completely obscured the clear blue sky that was beyond.  And soon enough, the dark clouds opened and it began to rain.

As the rain started, everything turned grey and visibility out my window was quickly reduced.  Within moments I could no longer see the blue sky in the distance but only a hazy grey curtain of falling water.  My attention was now completely focused on the downpour and it didn’t take very long for me to completely forget about the beautiful picture I had witnessed earlier and the clear, blue sky and white fluffy clouds that awaited me in the distance.

And it’s only now, when I’ve had some time to sit down and think, that I realize the significance of what I saw.  God has given me eyes to see the multitude of blessings that He has bestowed upon me and upon this world.  He has given me physical eyes to see the beauty of his creation and spiritual eyes to perceive the eternity that waits for me.  I am so blessed; we are so blessed, to be called Children of God!

But, as I go, do I choose to focus on the circumstances and the storm that is close around me or do I choose to see that which lies beyond?  Am I a person of the here and now or a person who, by his actions, chooses to have eternal significance through the power of the Holy Spirit?  This is a choice that has to be made every day and, sometimes, on a moment by moment basis.

That which is eternal versus that which is temporary and the consequences to each is something that we all have to face.  This is the dichotomy (a big word that means a division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different) of our existence; that we occupy a specific space and time within temporary bodies and have relatively short life-spans while also possessing eternal souls that will last forever.  We are temporary and transient yet we are also eternal.

How do we best reconcile those two, completely different natures?  How can we live as eternal beings while still residing in temporary bodies?  Is it even possible to do so?

Yes, it is possible and we have actually been given all of the tools that we need to do so if we will follow the instructions that God has given us in His word.  Only by living our lives in accordance with God’s word can we make a difference in this temporary world while also having eternal significance.  Although our residence here on earth is temporary, God asks us to be involved and to love His creation and to always, with everything that we do, acknowledge Him and give Him glory and honor.  If we do this then we take that which is temporary and we give it eternal significance by offering it up to the Father, in Jesus’ name.  A kindness that we bestow on someone today, although we may forget it by tomorrow, will be written in the annals of heaven and celebrated and we will be rewarded for those deeds by the Father, in due time.

 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  Matthew 25:31-40 (NIV)

 

 

Hope And Blessings In The Darkness

faith, hope, uncertaintyWe all find ourselves in dark places from time to time.  Places where answers are hard to find and the future seems uncertain.  In those times our world seems to shake around us and the foundations we have laid for ourselves no longer seem capable or strong enough to last.  What we thought we knew no longer applies and we find ourselves perplexed and dismayed.

Everyone searches for hope in the darkness but few seem to find it.  Why is that?  Could it be that we often look in the wrong place for hope?  Could it be that we are ignorant of the source of true hope?

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  Hebrews 11:1 (NASB)

As a child of God, our hope should be in God and God alone.  He is the only one with the power and the authority to speak calm into our turmoil and light into our darkness.  But even in this there is a proper time and a proper order that God alone knows.

When we find ourselves in a place of need, desperately searching for an answer, our first response should be to cry out to God.  But what if God does not answer right away? What if God does not answer in the way that we think He should?

Then we are blessed to be able to exercise our faith.  Faith is the assurance of that which we hope for and it is our conviction that even though we can’t see our way out we know that God can!  With just a word God created the world and everything in it.  When God speaks, all creation must take heed.  God’s word still has the power to completely change our lives and to perform miracles in places without hope.

God’s will is to take us home to be with Him in perfect fellowship for all eternity.  But we often forget that only He knows the path that will lead us home.  Sometimes the darkness is allowed to persist and the uncertainty lingers.  And the more uncomfortable our situation the faster we want out and the more we struggle against it.

Sometimes we must be led through the darkness in order to increase our faith and so that we may be a guide for others who are following behind us.  Our dark periods are not just for us alone and have far reaching spiritual ramifications that we will never fully understand until we see Jesus face to face.

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,  while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NASB)

We must learn to use our eyes of faith and see beyond that which is temporary to that which is eternal.  Whatever we are going through now and whatever situation we find ourselves in on this earth will change.  Good or bad, it will pass away and it will not persist.  In the light of eternity, it is momentary.  But even these moments, as confusing and uncertain as they often seen, can be used by the Lord God of all to produce in us an eternal weight of glory that is far beyond all comparison.

Trust in God, even in the darkness.  Don’t forget your hope and remember to look forward to the day when all is revealed and your reward is received.  It will be worth it all.

What Comes Next?

witnessing, praise, Psalm 9In the last post, we talked about what constitutes a proper memorial for a Christian.  We know that we have the privilege to remember all that God has done for us and then celebrate, rejoice and give thanksgiving to the Lord for his goodness and provision.  And this should be an ongoing practice for all of us who are born again.  Today’s battles are tomorrow’s victories and the next day’s rejoicing.  But what comes next?  Because I assure you, there is still more to do!

I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart;
I will tell of all Your wonders.  Psalm 9:1 (NASB)

Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion;
Declare among the peoples His deeds.  Psalm 9:11 (NASB)

That I may tell of all Your praises,
That in the gates of the daughter of Zion
I may rejoice in Your salvation.  Psalm 9:14 (NASB)

Notice how David, in Psalm 9, links praise with declaration.  In the three verses above, praising God is always accompanied by telling someone else about what God has done for him.  And so it should be with us!  We should rejoice privately, absolutely, but we also need to be rejoicing publicly and making sure that those around us know how blessed we are to be children of the most high God.

In verse 1 of chapter 9, David says he will “tell of all your wonders”.  In verse 11, he says he will “declare among the peoples His deeds.  And in verse 14 he says “that I may tell of all your praises”.  Clearly, David was so enthusiastic about what God was doing that He had to go and tell someone else.  I wonder, do we have that same level of enthusiasm when it comes to telling others about the goodness of the Lord?  Are we excited about the prospect of encouraging someone else with our stories of God’s victories over our troubles and strife?

I truly believe that one of the greatest tragedies in modern America is the relative silence of so many of God’s children.  We enjoy His blessings and we rest secure in His salvation but never share His goodness with those who need it most.  We see the lost and the hopeless all around us but allow them to continue on their way, never introducing them to the God who makes all things new.  We have been given the keys to the kingdom of God and are assured of every spiritual blessing but so often seem to be more interested in stockpiling and hoarding than dispersing and sharing.  (And by the way, the fastest way to rid yourself of many of God’s blessings is to try to keep them to yourself instead of using them to bless others.  Blessings are always meant to be shared!)

Let me conclude this by saying that God has gifted each one of His children in a unique way.  Some of us are artistic, others are builders and still others can teach or sing.  These gifts are often our best vehicle for sharing the good news with others.  If you are a quiet and shy person like I am then you will be glad to know that you can share your faith with others in more ways than just words alone.  As long as you are committed to sharing your faith and allowing God’s blessings to be channeled through you to others then God will give you opportunities to do what you do best under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit.

Take heart, God can use even you.  (I know, because if He can use me then He can most certainly use you!)

The Christians Proper Memorial Day

memorial day, remembrance, praise and worshipOne of the things I love about my Lord is how He never ceases to amaze me.  His goodness is truly awesome and some of the best gifts that He has ever given me were things that I never saw coming, involved no plan or idea of mine and had absolutely nothing to do with my merit or worth.  In each of these instances I perceived that God was pouring out His love on me in a visible and remarkable way and all I could do is receive it in humility and thanksgiving.

I had such an instance recently and not only did it grow my love for the Lord and His ways it also reminded me of past events where I know He displayed His love for me in grand fashion.  Having just celebrated Memorial Day, which is all about remembering and celebrating the heroes who served, many giving the ultimate sacrifice, I can’t help but see the correlation to my remembrance of God’s love for me and the fact that He is the One who gave His only son for the sin of all humanity and deserves to be celebrated as the true hero for all mankind.

At Christmas time we are often told to “keep Christmas in our hearts all year long”, and we should.  At Easter, we are told to keep the crucified and risen savior in our minds at all times, and we should.  But is it any less important to have those times of remembrance and celebration that Memorial Day calls to mind?  And in those times of remembrance and celebration for all that God has done we can hopefully draw strength and inspiration as we look back and see the victories that God has won on our behalf and the way that He displayed His lovingkindness for us.

Taking it a step further, our remembrance and celebration should also cause us to seek God ever more strongly and ask for Him to show His glory and power again and again.  I truly believe that one of the reasons that we don’t see more miracles and open displays of God’s glory is because we aren’t asking for them.  We make the mistake of not expecting God to be awesome and limiting His power and intervention by our doubt and our lack of asking, seeking and knocking.

God truly wants us to pray with fervent expectation in our hearts.  If we come before Him seeking Him to work in power and glory then He will, although it will almost never be in the way that we expect (it will be much better!).  Celebrate all that God has done for you.  Remember who He is and how much He loves you.  And then seek Him with all you have, expecting Him to show His power and glory in your life.  I promise that you will be amazed when you perceive His work!

 

Worth Celebrating

holiness, salvation, Exodus 19It always amazes me how God uses His Word to speak to us.  By reading about the events of the past and how God worked through His people to bring about great miracles it can encourage and teach us something in the present day.  The happenings recorded in God’s Word may all be historical in nature but God’s Word is always present tense in the sense that it is alive today.  It is powerful today.  And it is sufficient today, right now.

As I read Exodus Chapter 19 recently I was given a fresh picture of our Holy God and how awesome was the work that Jesus did on the cross through his death and resurrection.

Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. 19 When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder. 20 The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. 21 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Go down, warn the people, so that they do not break through to the Lord to gaze, and many of them perish. 22 Also let the priests who come near to the Lord consecrate themselves, or else the Lord will break out against them.” 23 Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for You warned us, saying, ‘Set bounds about the mountain and consecrate it.’” 24 Then the Lord said to him, “Go down and come up again, you and Aaron with you; but do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the Lord, or He will break forth upon them.” 25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.

 If you aren’t familiar with this passage of scripture then a little explanation is in order.  God is setting the stage for the giving of the ten commandments.  He’s preparing Moses, Aaron, the priests of Israel and all the people for the giving of His law.  The people have left Egypt and are on the way to the promised land and God is in the middle of establishing a special covenant relationship with them.

The first thing I noticed when I read this passage is that mighty Mount Sinai physically can’t handle God’s presence.  It rumbles and quakes violently and smoke pours out of it “like a furnace”.  In other verses it says that thunder and lightning accompanied the smoke and the shaking and in verse 19 when Moses spoke God answered Him with thunder.  How cool is that?

How awesome is our God that even the mountains quake and tremble in His presence?  His power can’t be contained by even the largest things on this earth and yet he chooses to love and to cherish the weakest things (us) as His very own.

The second thing I notice is His holiness.  God repeatedly tells Moses not to let the people gaze upon or come near the mountain lest they die.  The priests even have to go through a special consecration even to be able to serve in their normal capacity because God is so near.  God’s holiness and the people’s sinfulness are so incompatible that they can’t even approach God without fear of death.

Now contrast that picture with the state of the redeemed today.  We are just as sinful as the people in Exodus chapter 19.  Sin is sin and one sin or one thousand sins is more than enough to separate us from a Holy God and condemn us to death.  Yet Jesus Christ, God’s Son, came and lived a perfect life and died in our place satisfying our sin debt forever and making us clean before God.  We no longer have to fear for our lives in God’s presence because of the blood of Jesus Christ that washes away our sins.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV)

Unlike the Israelites in Exodus we need not fear coming before our God any longer.  God has not changed.  The mountains in our day still can’t handle his presence and nothing on heaven and earth can stand against Him.  His Holiness is still just as awesome today as it was on that day so many years ago.  So what changed?  Our status.  Praise God that we are raised to son and daughterhood by our belief and profession of faith in Jesus and that we may come boldly before God at any time.

Established By God Himself

established by God, victory, 1 Peter 5:10What does it mean to be established?  Typically we see the word establish as being related to a building, business or corporate body but the meaning actually goes deeper than that.  To be established can actually mean all of these things as well: “to make firm or stable” , “to put into a favorable position”  and “to put beyond doubt” according to Webster’s Dictionary.

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.  1 Peter 5:10 (NASB)

Despite being a single verse, 1 Peter 5:10 is absolutely profound.  And although I am focusing on the idea of being established as a child of God, let’s take a look at the rest of the verse leading up to how God establishes us.  Right away, in the very first clause, is an acknowledgement of trouble and strife and the suffering it can bring for the believer.  No matter the time or place we were born in, if we desire to live a Godly life then we can be assured that at some point along the way we will go through some suffering.  Much of the book of 1 Peter deals with the Christian’s reaction to suffering and how God uses our suffering for his glory, to win others to Christ and for our betterment.

The Holy Spirit through Peter wants us to know that on the other side of our suffering lies glory.  God Himself calls us and He intends to share with us the same glory that He has reserved for His only son, Jesus Christ.  We our joint-heirs and can expect an eternity that words can’t begin to adequately describe.  All of that is in front of us and we have a lot to look forward to.

Until that time, God will use the things we go through in this life to perfect us (make us mature and complete) strengthen us and establish us.  Looking back at some of the definitions of establish that we began with, let’s insert those words into this verse and see what happens. 1. God Himself will “make us firm and stable”.  Our spiritual position will be strengthened and the foundations of our character will become stronger.  2. God Himself will “put us in a favorable position”.  Ultimate victory is reserved for God and God alone.  Only He can help us be victorious against that which would come against us in this life.  In our day to day struggles, do we take point or do we allow God to fight our battles for us?  (Once I began to understand this truth and started asking God to fight my battles for me and trust Him with the outcome it changed my life!)  3. God Himself will “put us beyond doubt”.  To me, this means that I accept God’s victory and acknowledge that He has already won the battle.  My responsibility is to trust Him, to bring all of my doubts and worries to Him and to seek His presence above and beyond anything else.

To be established by God Himself is an amazing truth and an amazing promise for all believers.  What is so perplexing to me is that so often we do not live as members of God’s establishment.  Despite being given everything we need, we choose to walk in doubt, fear and error.  That’s why it’s so good to be reminded at every available opportunity just how much God loves us and just how much He has given us.  No matter where we are now or what mistakes we might have made, God has given us today and right now to turn back to Him.  I don’t want to miss out on what God has for me, how about you?

The 50 Year Prayer

prayer, Luke 1, faithfulnessHave you ever prayed for someone or something that you knew was God’s will but it didn’t seem like your prayers were being answered?  Perhaps you prayed for weeks or months or even years and you saw no outward sign that your prayers were having any effect at all.  How did you react to that situation?  What’s the right answer, for a prayer than seems unanswered?

I believe that God answers all prayers that are prayed in His will.  Sometimes we see the outcome, and if that happens, consider it a blessing and treasure it.  But perhaps much more often God uses our prayers and answers them in ways that we will never see on this side of eternity.  In this, it is our faithfulness that counts and our continued trust and reliance on God’s perfect will and perfect plan.  Even when we can’t see His hand working, we must trust His heart and continue to pray and do what He has asked us to do.

And then there are times when we have all but given up on a prayer but God shows up and answers it in a way that is far above and beyond anything that we could have hoped for or imagined.  In the first chapter of Luke’s gospel, Zechariah had such an experience.

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.  Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.  But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old. Luke 1:5-7 (NIV)

Luke is setting up the story here and he makes sure to let us know that Zechariah and Elizabeth were good, righteous people but that they were childless (which carried a social stigma and some degree of shame during this time period) and that they were very old.  In other words, they were both well past the age at which conception and healthy child birth would have been possible.

 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.  When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear.  But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.  He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth,  for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. Luke 1:11-15 (NIV)

And then something amazing happens.  As Zechariah is going about his priestly duties an angel appears to him and tells him that not only has his prayer been answered but that God is going to gift them with a son that “will be a joy and a delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord”.  As we know, Zechariah and Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist who prepared the way for Jesus and eventually baptized Jesus.  To say that God used John the Baptist in a mighty way would be putting it lightly!

But let’s back up for a moment.  How long do you suppose that Zechariah had been praying for a child?  I think it’s fair to say that this prayer began when he and Elizabeth were married and continued through what would have been the normal child bearing years and it is very likely that this prayer was at least 50 years old.  I also believe that Zechariah, being human, had probably not prayed this particular prayer in quite sometime.  Even as he never gave up on God he gave up on this particular prayer because he couldn’t imagine how God would answer it so many years later.  But answer it, God did, because 50 years and physical limitations are no barriers at all to Him who loves us so!

And don’t you know that Elizabeth and Zechariah rejoiced to have their prayer answered after so many years and marveled at what God had done for them?  I believe if you could ask them, they would tell you that it was worth the wait.

I hope you can see that there’s a strong lesson here for all believers.  God’s not through yet and He’s not finished with us either.  Keep on praying and keep on being faithful and get ready to be amazed.  His answer to our prayers will be perfect and will come at exactly the right time.

 

 

Always The Right Choice

praise, petition, trust in JesusIsn’t God good?  I hope that you know for sure that He is.  I hope that you have allowed Him to prove His goodness and mercy to you.  The fact is that His love towards us is constant and that His power and grace are always available to us if we will humbly acknowledge Him and His sufficiency,

The more we rely on Him and the more we acknowledge Him the more He is able to show us His goodness and His love towards us.  It is the sweetest thing when we begin to daily rely on the Lord for strength and can rest in His blessed assurance that no matter the circumstance we know that God is able.  We see Him working and can perceive with our spiritual eyes the way that He holds us up and empowers us to do His work.  We feel His hand of mercy and can sense Him working all things to our ultimate good.

Are you familiar with the hymn, “The Longer I Serve Him, the Sweeter He Grows”?  Here is the chorus and the second verse:

The Longer I Serve Him, The sweeter He grows
The more that I love Him , More joy He bestows
Each day is like heaven My heart overflows
The Longer I Serve Him, The sweeter He grows

Every need He is supplying
Plenteous Grace He bestows
Every day my way grows brighter
The Longer I Serve Him
The sweeter He grows

Is the hymn writer really saying that God is getting better all the time?  No, the writer is not saying that.  God’s goodness is constant and He is unchanging.  What the writer is trying to convey is that our perception of His goodness improves with our willingness to serve and acknowledge His Lordship.  In other words, the only people who think that God is not good are those who do not truly know Him and only those who know Him best know how truly good He can be!

Deciding to serve the Lord and to trust Him with everything, day in and day out, is always the right choice.  Despite distractions, despite circumstances and despite our strengths and weaknesses, God’s way is always the best, the sweetest and the most blessed.

My prayer is that we would all call on the name of the Lord as often as possible.  My prayer is that His praises would forever be on our tongues and that we would ever seek to know just how good He can be.  And my prayer is that we would seek to share His goodness and His message of salvation with all those who are willing to receive it.