Sunday, November 25, 2012

~Sweeter than all pleasures~

"How sweet all at once it was to me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose!... You drove them from me, You who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, You who are sweeter than all pleasures... O Lord my God, my light, my Wealth, and my Salvation."
~St. Augustine

Friday, November 23, 2012

All is grace

What a lovely Thanksgiving my family and I had yesterday with friends... and we also had some of the most beautiful snowflakes filling the air outside! Don't you just love this cozy time of year?! :)

Every morning for the past week I've read in a book called Comforts from the Cross. It has daily reminders of the gospel and it has been so wonderful to read! I'm so thankful for the gospel...

The Lord chose us to praise Him. This is baffling... but I'm grateful that He takes hell-bound sinners and washes them clean, casts rags of self-righteousness away and clothes them in His complete righteousness. And He tells us, His children, to "...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thess. 5:18 

Christ's children are so loved. Loved with a perfect love. And we have so much to be thankful for.

What else, but deep praise and thankfulness should we offer to such a faithful Father and King? I'm so thankful for the truth of the gospel that convicts and comforts me again and again.

This quote was shared by a facebook friend and I love what it says:

"A thankful heart is one of the primary identifying characteristics of a believer. It stands in stark contrast to pride, selfishness, and worry. And it helps fortify the believer’s trust in the Lord and reliance of His provision, even in the toughest times. No matter how choppy the seas become, a believer’s heart is buoyed by constant praise and gratefulness to the Lord." 
-John MacArthur

I've had many opportunities to write down what I'm thankful for this November. At the beginning of this month I joined a girls' online group where we each record 7 things we're thankful for each day. Also, my Pastor requested his "flock" to write down 2 lists of what their thankful for, using the alphabet. One list from A to Z of spiritual things we're thankful for and another A to Z list of material things we're thankful for. That's 52 things to be thankful for plus the 210 at the end of this month. 


At first these thankfulness lists were easy...
I'm thankful for, my family, my friends, the Lord, abundant grace, the gospel, my home....etc, etc... so forth and so on.

But something eventually happens when you're required to write out that many things...

I had to look deeper. And see the grace in the common and sometimes not so beautiful things. This is where faith and trust in God's sovereignty is tested. And where trusting my Savior comes in.

Sometimes it's the things that I would love to rip out of my life that I have the most to be thankful for... our King molds each of us in His image with these sanctifying tools of grace. And sometimes they're hard to be thankful for {i.e. weaknesses so that His power is made manifest.}

I'm learning all of this ever so slowly. 

...That all is grace...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

~Ask of Him~

Because of a few issues I had with tons of spam comments, the comment section on my blog has word verification again... and now? No more spam! Yay! Although I'm sorry it makes it a bit more of a hassle now for you all to comment. :( I really enjoy every comment from each of you! They're a true encouragement! :)

So today, I got this quote in an email and I just had to share it! Such a wonderful encouragement to pray more. :)

"Dost thou want nothing, O, my fellow-mortal? Hast thou nothing to ask? Yes, thou replies, I need an infinite supply. Well then, draw near to thy precious King and Bridegroom without fear.

Lo! He holds out His golden scepter to thee, saying, "Only ask; not the half, but the whole of My kingdom shall be granted; nay, I will give Myself unto thee."

Disclose to Him, therefore, thy whole heart, mentioning all thy wants and grievances. Whatever is poured out before Him, is lodged in its proper place; He takes the burden from thee, and encourages thee to hope for seasonable and full relief...Ask of Him, therefore, all thou needest, and ask in faith."
~C.H. Bogatsky

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

He is Our Everything

"Let my mouth be filled with Your praise and with Your glory all the day."
~Psalm 71:8

Over the past few days I have been learning to set my mind more fully on all that the Lord is for me in Christ. And oh, He is everything each of us ever will need in life! Who He is, steadies us in an unsteady world. 

The Lord is our:
~Refuge {Deuteronomy 10:17}
~King {Psalm 74:12}
~The great I AM {Exodus 3:13-14}
~He is God of gods and Lord of lords {Deuteronomy 10:17}
~Wonderful Counselor
~Mighty God
~Everlasting Father, 
~Prince of Peace {Isaiah 9:6} 
~Husband {Isaiah 54:5}
~Redeemer {Isaiah 54:5}
~Creator {Isaiah 40:28}
~Comfort {Psalm 46:1}
~great high Priest {Hebrews 4:14}
and much, much more...

Meditating on all Christ is for us, shifts our flesh-bent and prideful hearts off of ourselves and onto the Lord. He is jealous for His glory, my friends! 

And that is a very good thing for us, because praising the Lord and being happy in Him, positions us in our rightful place. He is greater than anything, and the knowledge of His holiness brings us to our very smallest and freeing state.  
"...yet would man praise Thee; he, but a particle of Thy creation. Thou awakest us to delight in Thy praise; for Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee." ~Augustine
As I read through  the Bible, I'm increasingly made aware that everything in our lives is there to glorify Him. This life is all about Him. The book off Ezekiel shows the zeal the Lord has for His people to know that He is the Lord God. Even if it means overturning nations. 

The Lord doesn't always resolve life circumstances the way we think He will, but this is because He has something far greater for us in mind.

As I read in the Bible I'm stunned with hope.

In John 9:2-3 it tells about the blind man:
 "And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him."

And then in John 11:3-4 it says of Lazarus and his sisters:
"So the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it He said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.

Ah... we are so finite! So often we look at life and think it's a mess and we are so uncertain and sometimes think we want life to happen our way. But look! The Lord has everything working out to the good of those who love Him {Romans 8:28}! We often think it's sin that caused the man to be born blind, we think it's too late for Him to heal Lazarus, we look at our weakness and blame our problems on it. But no. These weaknesses are the beginning of hope. They are there to showcase the power of God. 

Look to Him, my friends and be in awe. Not only is He our everything, but He uses everything for His glory!

“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory, for the sake of Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness!” 
~Psalm 115:1

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
~2 Corinthians 12:9

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Only to Be Yours Lord!

I love how the Lord brings along the right songs at the right time. I heard this particular song {lyrics below} while mixing up a batch of muffins yesterday evening. The lyrics echo my heart's plea. 

Only To Be Yours

Undivided, strip everything else away,
Burn the idols, the things in my life that have replaced You,
I lay my life down here on Your alter,
Empty my hands of all I've been holding back

Captivated, You've stolen my heart away,
I've been liberated, the chains of this world forever broken, 
You laid Your life down,
Now I surrender, lifting my hands,
I'm holding nothing back

For every need I want is found in You,
every breath in me a gift from You,
I have nothing here apart from You,
I am Yours Lord, only Yours

Take everything I have, only to be Yours, Lord, Yours Lord, take it from my hands until I'm holding on to only You.

~Meredith Andrews